Summary: 1. People of Light are People of Love 2. People of Light don't Adopt Lifestyles of Darkness 3. People of Light Wear God's Armor of Light
Theme: Light Living - Being a Person of Light
1. People of Light are People of Love
2. People of Light don't Adopt Lifestyles of Darkness
3. People of Light Wear God's Armor of Light
Grace and peace from God our Father and from Jesus Christ, God's Only Son, our Messiah and King!
Did you know that the older we get the more we become morning people. At least, that's according to the latest scientific evidence collected by a number of human behavioral specialists, scientists that study aging along with a number of sociologists. It happens as we age year by year. By the time most of us reach our 60's and 70's we will have transformed from being night owls to morning people.
Now, that may make some of you happy while others it may bring a little disappointment. You discover that you can't stay out all night and feel good the next day. You discover that you can't bounce back as well as you did a few years ago. Overall, I think it would make the Apostle Paul very happy. In our passage this morning, Paul wants to challenge us to be daytime or daylight people in Christ. Paul wants us to be people living in the light of Christ rather than people of who choose to live in sin and darkness.
Paul wants us to enjoy a full life of salvation and spiritual transformation. Paul wants us to wake up and enjoy living life in Christ by being radically indwelt with His Holy Spirit. He is wanting us to change the way that we envision our lives and how we live out those lives in Christ. He challenges us by getting us to look at the difference between those who rise early and live their lives in Christ verses those who remain asleep only to barely wake up and live their lives in darkness.
Now, is Paul in this passage condemning those among us who are night owls? Of course not. That is not his intention. But at the same time, I believe Paul's words are giving us some definitive warnings about the temptations and the concerns that can happen when we overly become people of the night. For there are some things that happen at night that can be very detrimental to our walk in Christ. There are some temptations that become very difficult to resist the later we stay out at night.
To understand all that Paul is saying in this passage let's take some moments this morning and look at our passage in more detail.
I. Paul wants us to understand that People of Light are also People of Love - v. 8-11
If you didn't know better you would think that Paul started off this passage wanting to share some advice concerning how we approach our finances. That Paul wants to give his readers some needed financial advice. A few verses earlier Paul touched on the areas of being subject to certain authorities and the need to be a good citizen. Paul focused on the need to obey and pay one's taxes.
Ugh. How much better would some of us have felt if Paul had advocated the idea of us not paying our taxes on some spiritual ground. If Paul had said that when the government is evil then we as followers of Jesus can simply refuse to pay our taxes. But Paul doesn't, does he? Instead, his words are clear -
"That too, is why you pay taxes. The officials in question are God's ministers, attending to this very thing. So pay each of them what is owed; tribute to those who collect it, revenue to those who collect it. Respect those who should be respected. Honor the people one ought to honor." Romans 13:6-7 (KNT)
Paul is wanting his readers and listeners to be good citizens. In like manner, we are to live the same way today. Even though we may not like taxes and revenues and the leaders that have authority over us we are to pray for them, do our best to honor and obey them and as best we can to pay our taxes. That does not mean that we subsequently bow down to their lawlessness, their immorality or their godliness. We do all we can to be good citizens of this earth but be even better citizens of the Kingdom of Heaven. There were those times that Paul willingly suffered at the hands of pagan rulers in order to be true to His Heavenly King Jesus. There are times that we may have to suffer as well.
Paul goes from those statements by telling us that we should not be in debt to anyone. It would be easy to go off on a tangent and start talking about fiscal responsibility, financial planning and Christian stewardship. However, that is not what Paul is doing here. Although, it is good for us to not find ourselves enslaved in financial debt - whether that debt is individual debt, family debt, church debt or community debt. We all know that millions of people, thousands of churches and hundreds of communities have found themselves in financial ruin because they foolishly took on too much debt. They tried to bite off more than they could chew so to speak.