Summary: Today we’re going to find out who you used to be. This text describes who you used to be, who you are now, and what it means for your life today.
How many of you are glad you are no longer what you were? Recently I was going through some pictures and I came across some painful reminders of what I was. [show old pictures of Dave]. I sure don’t want to go back and relive those days! Aren’t you glad I’m not what I was?
Of course, not all of us feel that way:
Some of us still act like kids, especially when we don’t get our way.
I often see parents living through their children, trying to hang on to their glory days.
What about you? What were you? Who did you use to be?
PREV: Today we’re going to find out who you used to be. Go ahead, Gwen, roll the slides. Just kidding, I don’t have any more pictures. Instead, I have a text from the Scriptures that describes who you used to be, who you are now, and what it means for your life today. It’s found in Ephesians 5, beginning in verse 8. As I read Ephesians 5:8, notice who you were and who you are.
Did you see what Paul said you were? He said you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. He’s describing an amazing thing that happens “in the Lord,” that is, when a person comes to have personal faith in Jesus Christ. When you believe in Christ, you go from darkness to light. This is a remarkable spiritual transaction that has profound practical results in our lives, as we will see.
During the season of Lent, we have been preparing our hearts to celebrate anew the death, burial, and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. We began with an emphasis on death – the fact that we are all dead, spiritually, because of our sin, and we all face death because of sin. Before we meet Christ, we are bound by, our futures are determined by the impact of sin in our lives. That’s darkness. When Paul says you were darkness, he means not just that you and I were in the dark, but we were the dark – our hearts were filled with darkness as a result of sin.
But when we meet Christ and believe in his death for our sins and resurrection for our lives, the lights come on. The darkness in us is removed through forgiveness and replaced by the presence of God’s Holy Spirit. God is light, the Scriptures tell us in 1 John 1:5, and so when his spirit comes to dwell in us, we are now full of light. We go from darkness to light, just like that!
I. JESUS CHRIST HAS BROUGHT US FROM DARKNESS TO LIGHT
The light of Christ has purged the darkness in our lives. What once was dark in us has been replaced by light, in Christ.
If you have never taken that step before and let Christ take you out of darkness and into the light, I invite you to put your faith in him today. The darkness that holds you, keeps you from God, and keeps you from being who you are meant to be can be removed, replaced through faith in Jesus Christ.
Transition: This is a marvelous, wonderful theological truth. But Paul is not content to leave it as some lofty idea for us to ponder. No, he gets real practical on us. Notice again how verse 8 in our text ends as I read it again along with verse 9. Read Ephesians 5:8-9.
Because we are no longer darkness but are light, we must live like children of light. Because God has brought us out of darkness into his kingdom, his family of light, we now must live like it. We are no longer children of darkness, we are children of light. He says our behavior ought to match this reality in our lives, that we are now light.
Have you ever been in dark? I mean, have you ever been in a situation where the lights go completely out and you are left in pitch blackness? Do you know the fear, the uneasiness that comes with that? And then do you remember the relief you felt when the lights suddenly came back on? Paul says that is what has happened to you, spiritually. You were completely blacked out. Now, you are in full light. But it doesn’t make any sense to live, to act like the lights are still off!
And yet this is exactly what we do so often in our lives. We’re glad to have the new life of Christ, glad to be transferred, as the book of Colossians says, by God from the kingdom of darkness to the kingdom of his Son, but we just keep on living in the dark. We act as if we are still consumed by darkness, not light.