Summary: Living in the light is to be visible evidence of God-like living.
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Text: Ephesians 5:8-14
Thesis: Living in the light is to be visible evidence of God-like living.
Lenten Series: Reflecting, Repenting and Returning to God
The Lenten Season is a time for reflection, repenting of our sin and returning to God. During Lent we confront the presence of evil in the world, the reality of temptation and human sinfulness. However, it is in acknowledging human sinfulness and the need for repentance that we find our way to return to God who is merciful and gracious.
Years ago I remember my first exposure to Lower Wacker Drive in Chicago. Wacker Drive is a multi-level street that runs along the Chicago River. The upper level is for local traffic and the lower level for truck traffic with dock areas for serving buildings along the drive. Chicagoans are currently busily reviving the Lower Wacker Drive area but it was once a perfect example of life in the underbelly of the city. A virtual community of people lived down there in the darkness. Residents drug discarded living room furniture down there. They set up makeshift shanties and built fires in old oil drums. It was a dark world.
Not far away is the Four Seasons Hotel with a 5,000 plus square foot penthouse suite. The suite is richly decorated with a wood burning fireplace, green marble and black granite. Mahogany paneling, wide plank wood floors, birds-eye maple and pear wood accentuate the décor. But the most glorious feature is an unobstructed 180 degree view to the north, south and the east toward Lake Michigan. And you can live there for $9,950,000.
Life in a makeshift shanty on Lower Wacker Drive is a stark contrast to life in the penthouse of the Four Seasons Hotel. One life is lived underground and the other on top of the world. One life is lived in darkness and the other is lived in glorious light.
The contrast of darkness and light is one way to describe the way we lived before we became followers of Christ and the way we live as followers of Christ.
I. The Way We Were, But Now Are Not
For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Ephesians 5”8a
Using comparisons and contrasts is a powerful literary device in making a point. The greater the contrast the more powerfully a point is made. When we use descriptive language like “the difference between night and day” or “the difference between black and white,” the contrast is vivid in our minds.
Comparison and contrast is used in the bible to illustrate the difference between not being a follower of Christ and being a follower of Christ.
Jesus said in John 3:19, “Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. In John 8:12, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”
In Ephesians 2:12-13 Paul wrote, “Remember that at that time you were separate from Christ, without hope and without God in the world. But, now in Christ Jesus you who were once far away have been brought near.”
Colossians 1:21, “Once you were alienated from God and enemies in your mind because of your evil behavior. But now he has reconciled you…”
In Timothy 3:3-5, “At one time you were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us…”
“You are a chosen people… a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. Once you were not a people – now you are the people of God.” I Peter 2:9-10
It is with that kind of powerful, descriptive language that our text begins. For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Ephesians 5”8a
William Barclay states, “[The Apostle] Paul saw the heathen life as life in the dark; and the Christian life as life in the light. So vividly does he wish to put this that he does not say that the heathen are children of the dark, and the Christians children of the light; he says that the heathen are dark and the Christians are light.” (William Barclay, Letters to the Galatians and Ephesians, Westminster Press, P.194)
A. You were darkness describes what we were before we became followers of Christ.
B. You are light is how we are described as followers of Christ.
The bible says that living in the light results in fruit.
II. The Way We Ought to Be
(You were once darkness, but now you are light.) Live as children of light (for the fruit of the light consists in goodness, righteousness and truth) and find out what pleases the Lord. Ephesians 5:8b-9