Summary: LENT 3 - Believers find out what pleases the Lord when they learn that this truth is not found in the darkness. What pleases the Lord means living in Light.
“FIND OUT WHAT PLEASES THE LORD” (Outline)
March 27, 2011 - Lent 3 - EPHESIANS 5:1-10
INTRO: To find out what pleases the Lord” is our loft goal this morning. All people know how to please themselves. For the most part people generally also know what is pleasing to others. We try to please our family, friends, neighbors, and others. What is pleasing to us and others in this world is not always what is pleasing to the Lord. Sin infests this world. Sin infects our lives. Evil and wickedness corrupts, disrupts, and erupts every day in every way all around us. All of us are well acquainted with evil. "Dear friend, do not imitate what is evil but what is good. Anyone who does what is good is from God. Anyone who does what is evil has not seen God" (3 JOHN 11). What a privilege and great blessing to gather together around God’s word. You have seen God by faith through grace. May we now
“FIND OUT WHAT PLEASES THE LORD”.
I. It is not the darkness. II. It is living in light.
I. “FIND OUT WHAT PLEASES THE LORD” - IT IS NOT THE DARKNESS
A. Paul writes about the negative aspect of living in a sinful, wicked world. He points out the darkness.
1. Verse 3. “Immorality, impurity, greed” were specific challenges in the church at Ephesus.
2. Verse 5. Sin is sin no matter what name it is given. Sin is described as idolatry.
a. Immorality, impurity = self-worship. b. Greed = money, possession worship.
B. Verse 4. Paul reminds these believers to watch their language. Foolish talk does not glorify God.
C. Verse 6. “Empty words” certainly include “obscenity, foolish talk, coarse joking.” They are empty.
1. “Empty words” are also those words that do not teach about the Savior or eternal salvation.
2. Ephesus had large temples for idols with many false prophets. They spoke “empty words.”
3. Verse 7. These believers needed to avoid the wicked, evil darkness in which they once lived.
D. “Find out what pleases the Lord” is the challenge placed before us. It is not an easy task. From the moment of our birth we live with sin. In fact, David stated in the Psalms that we are sinners from the very moment of our conception. At birth we continue the downward spiral of living in the sinfulness that is a part of our nature. We do not have to learn about evil. We do not have to teach children about evil. We do not need to go and learn how to become more evil. "Brothers, stop thinking like children. In regard to evil be infants, but in your thinking be adults" (1 COR. 14:20). We want to grow in faith not evil.
E. The world, our world, grows colder and colder with every passing day. At times, as believers, we may feel more and more out of step with those around us. It is that darkness of wickedness, rebellion, and sin that is contrary to the Light. "Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness?" (2 CORINTHIANS 6:14). Make no mistake: righteousness and wickedness, light and darkness have nothing at all in common. In fact, they are complete opposites. Opposites cannot and do not mix together very well. “Chrislam” is a new movement in religious circles. Some religious leaders are trying to combine Christianity and Islam together: “Chrislam”. These people contend that Jesus and Allah are the same. Jesus is part of the Holy Trinity: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Allah is not. Jesus rose from the dead. Allah did not. “Chrislam” tries to make the light dark. It is still only the light of God’s gospel that overcomes darkness.
F. The darkness in this world is not pleasing to the Lord. The darkness of this world surrounds all people. Mankind’s wisdom never matches up with God’s wisdom. Man’s words come and go, change and fail. The word of God makes every believer wise for salvation. In trying to explain the origins of all things man’s wisdom is dark. Darkness describes all the expert’s explanations of the extraordinary events in our world. "They know nothing, they understand nothing. They walk about in darkness; all the foundations of the earth are shaken" (PSALM 82:5). The very foundations of the earth are shaken. Mankind still walks in the dark wondering, “Why?” The question ought not be “why?” but “Who?”.
“FIND OUT WHAT PLEASES THE LORD”.
The darkness of and in this world is not God-pleasing.
II. “FIND OUT WHAT PLEASES THE LORD” - IT IS LIVING IN THE LIGHT.
A. On one’s own every person is a lost and condemned creature. No one can save himself.