Summary: The church has been sleeping for too long. It is time to wake up and see what God expects from you.
December 13, 2009
Text: Ephesians 5:8-18
Subject: Living for God
Title: Good Morning Palmyra, Missouri – Time to Wake Up
We are living in a time when things happen often and they happen fast. We don’t always realize it but something may have happened just overnight that will change your life forever. Governments are overthrown. Disasters take place. People are born and people die. Our government passes legislation in overnight votes without even reading what they are voting on. The president takes executive actions on various fronts and they become the law of the land and we don’t even know about it. Devout extremists Muslims are being appointed to high government posts. Companies are extending marriage benefits to same sex partners. Spotted owls and trees are being saved and children are being slaughtered – all this while the church sleeps.
For many of us who grew up in the sixties and seventies, it may seem like just the blink of an eye and the norm for our society went from being church based to entertainment based. The pattern for the normal family went from the Cleavers on Leave it to Beaver, to the Simpsons. The normal morality went from Bible -based to sex-based. But it’s not the seventies any more. It’s worse than we could ever have imagined. Who is to blame? It would be easy to point fingers at the world and blame them, but the truth is the world is just doing what it does – it walks in darkness. The problem isn’t the world – it’s the church’s role in the world.
I want to look today to once again, as I have done in the past, to show you what God expects you (the church) to be.
Lord open my eyes to see and my ears to hear what the Spirit is saying to the church.
What happens when the sleeping church is awakened?
I. IT BEGINS TO LIVE IN THE LIGHT 8For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light… Let’s talk about just what this verse is referring to – holiness! That’s not a very popular topic in the church today, mainly because the church has allowed itself to be influenced negatively by society instead of the church being the positive influence on society. It’s kind of like the teenaged church girl who is attracted to a bad boy and thinks that she can change him. It rarely happens. What does happen though is that the Christian ends up being pulled down by the unbeliever. The word that is translated as “darkness” in verse 8 means, “shade or shadow; obscurity” Before Jesus came into your life your spiritual vision was obscured. You walked in the shadow of the enemy. … but now you are light… The holiness I talked about is the reflection of Christ as the light in the darkness. 1 John 1:5-7, 5This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. 6If we claim to have fellowship with him yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth. 7But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin. We’ve talked about this before. Darkness does as darkness is. It’s dark by nature. But when light comes near the darkness something happens. John 3:20, Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. Light always dispels darkness. . Live as children of light… Children inherit the gene pool of their parents. If you are God’s child then now you are genetically changed from darkness to light. So live like it. 9(for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) Do you remember when the rich young ruler came to Jesus and called Him “Good Teacher”? Jesus’ response to him was, “There is only one who is good – God!” So as children of God you have inherited “goodness, righteousness and truth”. It’s not your goodness, your righteousness or your truth, but it is what has been passed down to you to possess. It doesn’t come from you but it belongs to you and you are expected to live in it. Live as children of light 9(for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) 10and find out what pleases the Lord. Verse 10 could easily read, “discerning what is fully agreeable to God…” What is it that pleases God? Goodness, righteousness and truth. We know that goodness comes from God. Righteousness is our through Jesus Christ. Our righteousness is as filthy rags but His righteousness makes us righteous, Habakkuk 2:4, the righteous will live by his faith… Now, let’s get down to the final characteristic that Paul says pleases God – truth. That doesn’t mean not telling lies. It means that when we stand on truth we please Him. We are in complete agreement with the whole word of God. Jesus said in John 17:17-18, 17Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth. 18As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world. The same way that God sent Jesus into the world, with the belt of truth, so Jesus sends us. We please God when we know His truth – His word - and do something with it. It is knowing God’s promises and your position of authority as His children and then acting on it that pleases God. Roger Staubach who led the Dallas Cowboys to the World Championship in ’71 admitted that his position as a quarterback who didn’t call his own signals was a source of trial for him. Coach Landry sent in every play. He told Roger when to pass, when to run and only in emergency situations could he change the play (and he had better be right!). Even though Roger considered coach Landry to have a "genius mind" when it came to football strategy, pride said that he should be able to run his own team. Roger later said, "I faced up to the issue of obedience. Once I learned to obey there was harmony, fulfillment, and victory." The church has an even more reliable source of truth. You can trust that when God’s word says do this or do that, it is for you right here and right now. The just shall live by faith…