I believe ‘Light’ is one of God’s favorite and most powerful ways to describe HIS essence. The Biblical Jesus Christ uses ‘Light Examples’ about 35 times (based on translation) to describe God. In the New Testament ‘Light’ is used to describe God or His influence more than 80 times!
When scripture speaks of God’s light it is not natural light, it is ‘supernatural light’. There are supernatural connotations attached to the way Jesus, Paul and other New testament writers used ‘Light’. It was understood to mean ‘Spiritual Illumination’ & ‘Divine Enlightenment’.
In this section of the letter to the Church in Ephesus, the Holy Spirit uses ‘Light’ in this way SIX times, drawing a stark contrast to what is not God’s light, spiritual darkness, which is described as willful rebellion, unrepentance and sin lifestyles.
Light is universally valued, desired and considered good. About the only time that light is not embraced is when it exposes things we don’t want to see. What makes us want to hide from the light? SIN! Part of God ‘Enlightening’ our thinking enables us to admit to our sin and renounce it. This is broadly know as repentance. Repentance is an incredible gift from God! Don’t underestimate the role it plays in salvation and the subsequent life of a disciple.
1 Since we are His prized offspring, let’s keep on imitating God, 2 grounding our lives in generous love just as Christ loved us; laying down His life as a fragrant sacrificial offering to God on our behalf.
- Our (Christ’s Church) motivation is based on revealed spiritual reality (Gospel)
- God made us His eternal kids by dying to forgive us
- He made the offering that we could not; the offering that was good enough
- We follow His ways by laying down our lives
- The foundation of our lives is the sacrifice Christ made for us: Generous Love
- This is the ‘Big Picture’ of how we live (We need big picture & specific lifestyle)
3 In light of this, allow no place in your community for the following: sexual relations that are not God ordained, all forms of impurity and lust, and 4 foolish talk full of obscenity and degrading humor. It is not proper for those who have been made holy to live in such ways. Instead live from a grateful heart.
- So because of this overarching spiritual reality there are specific ‘Don’ts’
- We are to have a culture that calls these things what they are: SIN
- We are to call them wrong but also to forgive those who repent of them
- Because we have been forgiven we live from the reality of ‘Gratefulness’
- We are not to tolerate a ‘little bit’ or change our standards to reflect the world
- 3 categories ‘Sin Lifestyle’ not to be confused w/ ‘acts of sin repented for’
- #1 The only sexual relations God ordains are within Biblical Marriage
- #2 We, Christ’s Spirit Indwelt Church, define impurity & lust based on scripture
- #3 Vulgar foolishness & degradation are also defined by scripture as ‘Anti-Christ’
- If Christ makes you holy; then you surrender how you live to HIM
- We must never, ever forget how much we’ve been forgiven, thankful for grace!
5 It is surely known amongst us that those who habitually fornicate, embrace impurity and defraud others as a lifestyle will not enjoy the privileges of Christ and of God’s Kingdom. Such people make these things their gods.
- From the beginning of ‘The Church’ certain things been agreed upon
- Have you studied the early church? What were their standards?
- Why in the world should ours be ANY different? Because we know better? HA!
- The language here clearly speaks of habitual, unrepentant lifestyles of sin
- Individuals Christ makes fit for His Kingdom He releases from the power of sin
- God says: If you embrace and make sin a lifestyle, that is your god, not Christ
6 So don’t be fooled by false doctrine! It is clear that non-repentance of these things invokes the judgement of God upon those who are willfully disobedient. 7 Therefore do not partner in anything with such people.
- What is doctrine: Specific statements of theological truth
- What is false doctrine? Statements based on inaccurate bible interpretations
- Examples pertaining to our text:
- Doctrine that claims certain things are not really sin
- Doctrine that claims Christ has a different definition of sin VS the O.T.
- Doctrine that redefines certain sins based on current societal views
- Doctrine that claims God gives forgiveness without repentance
- Doctrine that claims God will not judge us, He tolerates all sin
- We must deal with God as He is revealed in Scripture
8 Once we all existed in spiritual darkness but now we are spiritually enlightened because of our Lord. 9 A life that flows from spiritual illumination yields virtue, integrity and truth 10 that comes from discerning what the Lord values.
- We should always remain humble because we start without spiritual light
- ‘Spiritually Enlightenment’ happens by the power & will of GOD / CHRIST
- HE is the source of our spiritual enlightenment, the life HE creates honors HIM
- Post Illumination: our lives display fruit that looks like God’s character
- With HIS LIGHT we are now able to clearly see what really matters to God
11 Therefore don’t participate in the poisonous acts of spiritual darkness, 12 instead expose the unspeakable things that are done in secret. 13 Everything that is exposed to divine light is revealed for what it is.
- Because we have been given ‘The Light’, & know it’s good, we rebuke darkness
- Our goal & standard in the body of Christ is to have nothing to do with The Dark
- Don’t partake of evil AND take an active role in working to bring evil to light
- Expose evil to the light of God’s truth as a way of life!
- Ultimately all evil will be exposed for what it is, by God’s divine illumination.
14 Truly; God’s illumination clarifies all things. Scripture says: ‘when you are enlightened by Christ you are resurrected from spiritual death’. 15 So pay close attention to how you conduct your daily life, don’t live like you’re without divine wisdom, but rather as one who is spiritually enlightened.
- ‘Truly’ conveys intense emphasis on the statement that follows it…
- Jesus used a similar phrase almost 80 time in the Gospels: “Truly I say to you…
- We need God to enable us to see things for what they truly are: Illumination!
- We only see Christ clearly when God gives us spiritual insight
- If we have this ‘Enlightenment’, this Spiritual insight, then we should live like it
- The Spiritual reality God has enabled us to see will make us examine our living
- We must use the gift we have been given, to the Glory of God!
Part of the call to salvation in Christ is the call to imitate Him. The love that defined Christ sacrificial death on our behalf must also define the way we live as His Kids!
In light of The Gospel, there are things we are to have absolutely nothing to do with in our church body. At the same time our culture must clearly reflect the humble gratitude we share for what Christ has given us.
The standards and values of Christ’s Body were established based on The Old Testament and Christ’s teachings early on in the Apostolic Church, and have remained know since. We are warned by God about false doctrines because we can all be deceived if our guard is down.
We are to separate ourselves from evil conduct and the people who make sin their god and lifestyle. At the same time we are to be graceful and sympathetic for them because we all have come out of spiritual darkness.
The only thing that brought us out of spiritual darkness was God enlightening our minds to surrender to Christ. And by that divine illumination we are to live, imitating God’s character, heart and actions.
In the Biblical Body of Christ we intentionally uphold the God given standards in His Word, relying on the spiritual enlightenment that comes only from being resurrected by Christ to live God’s way.
Why are you a true imitator of The Biblical Christ? What does that look like?
When have you justified mixing darkness with light in your life and why?
Why would you say you have been spiritually enlightened? What evidence can you offer from your lifestyle?
Why do you think smart, honest, well meaning people in churches get deceived by false doctrines?
The all powerful God of the universe, the God revealed in The Bible, came to dwell amongst His creation to illuminate and enlighten our thinking as to who He really is: The essence of love, grace, mercy and forgiveness.
It is the illumination of divine enlightenment that causes us to surrender our lives to The Biblical Christ as His disciples. It is that same spiritual illumination that enables us to discern how we are to live based on the example of the Biblical Christ Jesus.