August 1, 2021

Living in the Light

Scripture:

This morning we woke up and got dressed (v. 11 – wake up!), (vv. 12-14) – put on or get dressed!

But why is this text placed here?

To some extent – these verses are the basis for the call, which has already been examined in the 12th chapter – live a sacrificial life, work on your character, minister, apply your spiritual gifts, love your enemies, submit to authorities and love your neighbor! (v. 11) begins… “Besides this”, literally – “and this”. In other words, this text is the basis for such life!

It is very important to see the context; the big picture.

(12:1) – “therefore” – in the light of what God has done for us in Christ on the cross, and how we have been saved in the past, in the present time, we need to live accordingly. In other words, the past defines our present.

Example: We say to grown-up children that they are already adults, so we tell them to behave accordingly… you don’t need diapers, and you don’t need to be spoon fed.

Our text says that our future also determines our present. For example, if a little boy was born into the family of the king of England, and one day he will become king, then from his childhood, he is told how he should behave in the light of who he will become one day.

What motivates you to love? The Gospel! But which element of the Gospel, the past or the future? The past element is the death of Christ on the cross, your personal salvation when you believed, and the forgiveness of your sins. Or, are you motivated by where we striving to be, and who we will be and what is awaiting for us in eternity?

2 factors of living in the light that will equip you to love:

I. Knowing the time (vv. 11-12a)

Knowing the time – to really understand the time in which we live. 

Imagine you are relaxing in Florida, sitting on your balcony, drinking your morning coffee, looking at the sunrise… but, one BUT, this is the city of Serfside, Florida, it’s June 24, 6 am, and in just few minutes the building will collapse and 98 people will die… The last information nullifies everything which is associated with the enjoyment of coffee, the breath, vacation. Why? I know the time!! Or positively, you about to inherit millions

Our text tries to awaken in us precisely that acuteness of understanding of the end time, and what we should do in light of that!

But we all know the words of Christ that we cannot know the time (Matt. 24:36)? But, (v.37) continues to talk about that time, no longer about specific hour, but about the season. This is important because in Greek, there are two words for time – chronos – chronological, specific time (days, hours, seconds), and Kairos time, which is a season (epoch, era), a period of time not tied to a specific moment. 

In our text, is this seasons that we must know. This is the end time season. We cannot know the day and the hour, but we can know the end time. The Bible talks a lot about the end-time symptoms. This is what we must know. Why? It changes our behavior, our lives, decisions and plans!

A couple of examples: (2 Tim. 3:1-9) – the people in this world will immerse into sin, (2 Tim. 4:1-4) – in the church, people will leave the faith for the sake of lies.

What kind of response should we have to knowing the time?

(v. 11) – wake up from sleep! We cease to remain detached, lazy, indifferent (we should say “NO” to spiritual lethargy)!

(v. 11) “Salvation is nearer to us” – there are three elements of salvation: 1) salvation in the past – we are saved from condemnation by faith (8:24 – we are saved, but how? 10:9-10… we can equate this with justification, freed from slavery), 2) salvation in the present (Phil. 2:12-13 – we learn to live as free, not slaves), 3) final salvation (5:9-10 – glorification, when our bodies will be freed from sin and enter eternal inheritance (Rom. 8:23)).

(v. 11) – believe… faith is the acceptance of what I do not fully comprehend, based on what I do understand. For example, I put my trust in an airline, I put myself in a metal pan called an airplane, and expect that metal pan will fly. I don’t understand all the processes, but I trust it. I know some of the facts, like aerodynamics, and the shape of the wings that creates negative pressure over the wings of the aircraft and thereby it overcomes the gravity of the earth. On the basis of what is understood and clear, I accept by faith what is incomprehensible to me yet.

We did not believe in Jesus Christ because someone once laid out and explained the entire universe to us. We do not know and understand everything, but there are some clear, undeniable facts of Scripture, like our sin, conscience, guilt, life, death, eternity, spiritual world that.

The second component of livening in the light, that motivates love…

II. Sanctification (vv. 12b-14) (3 couples talking about the same things)

A. From Darkness to Light (v. 12b)

The works of darkness… the details are in the next verse (sin).

Observation: there can be no one without the other! Without forsaking the sin, it is impossible to properly exercise deeds of righteousness!

We have not the works of light, but the weapons of light! The fact is that the life of a Christian is often called a war! At war you need weapons!

There are 3 areas where we feel like we are at war: evangelism (when we step on the front line and attack the enemy), ministry (when we fight of the spiritual well-being of others), and personal sanctification (when we are at war with our own sin)… Our text talks about sanctification!

John Owen, an English Puritan, long ago said these words: Be killing sin, or it will be killing you.

(Eph. 6:10-20) – these are all-weapons, applicable not only in the external war with evil and sin, but also in the internal struggle for personal holiness! That’s why prayer is quickened, that’s why Bible reading becomes vital, that’s why the assurance of personal salvation is simply a matter of life and death.

I am sure that the Ephesian believers very carefully studied the issue of spiritual warfare, for another reason – in (Acts 19:13-17) – 7 sons of the high priest tried to drive out demons from a man, as a result, this man with such power took over these poor guys, that they naked and beaten ran out of that house – and this was in Ephesus, some time before this letter was written!

Understanding that the spiritual struggle for personal holiness is a war, will lead you to quickly grab much needed weapons. This is very serious. The forces of evil and sin are real!

I will try to remind you of the reality of sin – in the world there are constant wars, murders, many abortions, deception, theft… your heart doesn’t love but hates, does not forgive, gets offended really easy, envies and etc. If you approach this matter without a weapon, you can quickly find yourself naked.

B. From Sin to Decency (v. 13)

Sin is the deeds of darkness, and piety and right deeds are the deeds of light or decency.

A general listing of all the deeds of darkness – feasting (orgies), drunkenness, immorality and sensuality (sexual sins), quarrelling and jealousy – all these deeds of darkness have one thing in common – they are all done in secret, under the cover of the night. 

(Eph. 5:8-14) – they do it secretly; the light is always open and visible. The call is the same – wake up!

The first couple talks about parties where alcohol loosens up people and they are open for more sin.

The second couple, this is even more destructive – these are the sins of adultery, fornication, pornography…

The third pair is what brings destruction to the relationship – quarrels (struggle, disagreement and enmity due to the desire to dominate others). Envy is disagreement with what others have, but not me. This is replaces by the right behavior – decency – that which meets the expectations.

C. From Lust to Christ (v. 14)

Again, we talk about clothing and dressing… The point is simple – whether we like it or not, but what we wear communicates a lot. Clothes change our perception of each other in a significant way. When we put on Christ, then, people looking at us, should see Christ, His character, His actions, His righteousness, His holiness, His love.

At the same time, we stop feeding and pleasing the flesh. There are important needs that we must meet, but we cannot turn it into idols, into lusts.

Good things can become sinful lusts – food, intimacy, respect, acceptance, honor, order at home, rest, work, money… etc. 

Today we celebrate the Supper. It is a test on what motivates us to love?

(Mark. 14:22-25) – the past element of the Communion is the death of Christ in our place. The future part of the Communion is what awaits us – this is a promise!

The listed sins – for this Christ died on the cross, and paid the penalty! This is the power for living in the light!

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