Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Bethany Bullet - August 21, 2012

We have been walking through Paul’s letter to the Ephesians this summer and this past Sunday we began with Chapter 5.

Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of such things God’s wrath comes on those who are disobedient. Therefore do not be partners with them.

Empty words, many are the words of the world, most of them empty.  The world says: 
  • If it feels good, do it….empty words. 
  • God doesn’t really exist…empty words. 
  •  Why do you listen to all of that religious bologna? …empty words. 

All too often we have given in to empty words.  Perhaps empty words have even come out of our mouths as well.  Our sinful flesh delights in the empty words of the world and loves to cower in the dark corners of this world.  In fact, we love the perceived protection the darkness affords and we avoid the light that comes from the word made flesh, Jesus Christ.

But my friends the darkness of the world does not protect. Many unseen traps and roadblocks, hazards and obstacles are lurking, and in no time we find ourselves in pain, feeling their effects.

If you have kids, you may know exactly what I mean.  Nothing can prepare you for it, no amount of schooling, no books, no blogs, no workshops or conversations; the lurking threat of the rogue Lego. 

You know the one, that lone brick, blending beautifully with the carpet.  With the lights turned out, it finds its mark, your bare feet, making a bleared eyed trip to the kitchen to brew that first pot of coffee or an early morning dash to the restroom a painful proposition.  You dare not cry out because the baby is sleeping, but the pain is intense.  If only you had some night vision goggles with a Lego laser finder.  Who would have thought that little block could do so much damage? 

Perhaps it was at that time when some empty words came spewing from your mouth; words, not mentioned in mixed company, let alone church.  You know what I mean…

In a practical sense, we know that living in darkness is not a good thing. Paul continues…

For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) 10 and find out what pleases the Lord. 11 Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them. 12 For it is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret. 13 But everything exposed by the light becomes visible, 14 for it is light that makes everything visible. This is why it is said:

“Wake up, O sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.”

Notice how Paul turns up the heat here.  He does not just say that we used to live in the darkness.  Look at it again, he says “For you were once darkness.”  This is not a passive; woe is me kind of thing.  It is not that we just happened to be living in a dark world at no fault of our own, but WE are the darkness.  If that doesn’t make you shake in your boots, it should. 

But Paul sets up a stark contrast in the second half of verse 8.  Listen to the words carefully, “…but now, you are the light in the Lord.” 

Christians do not simply live enlightened lives, they literally become light!  Not only have we been influenced by the light of Christ be we now become influencers in the world that quite literally bring the light of Jesus into the world.  Scripture calls us to LIVE as children of the light!  Have nothing to do with darkness.  Expose fruitless deeds.  Light makes everything visible. 

Jesus told his disciples “You are the salt of the earth….you are the light of the world” (Matthew 5:13, 14).  He didn’t say, “You really should be the salt of the earth” or “Strive to become the light of the world”.  God’s people are light!

WAKE UP!!  RISE FROM THE DEAD!!  Christ will shine on you!!!

What are the Lego pieces that are strewn in your path?  What do you find yourself falling victim to over and over again.  
  • Is it the destructive behavior tearing apart your marriage? 
  • Is it the substance that captivates and controls you? 
  •  Is it the empty words spoken to others? 

Perhaps the Lego pieces are not of your own making.  
  • Perhaps it is the lack of employment, or the results of a blood test. 
  • Could it be the loneliness that comes because the love of your life has died?  
  •  Is the darkness of fear, or anxiety, or abuse creeping in on you again?  
  • Are you groping around in the dark, fumbling and frantically searching for comfort?

WAKE UP!!  RISE FROM THE DEAD!!  Christ will shine on you!!!

Exposing the dark things of this life is not fun, but it is necessary to live as a child of the light.  And on our own we are dead!!

But remember it was Jesus who did the rising.  It was by the actions of the true light of the world, Jesus that the world woke up to the reality of sin.  It was the light of Jesus that shined in the darkness, took our darkness, and defeated the darkness so that we could rise and be light. 

The dark things in this life were exposed because the light of world gave up his life, so that you can be a child of the light.  We have awakened to a new reality, one bathed in the light of Christ and we have become children of the light!

Paul continues…
15 Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, 16 making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. 17 Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is. 18 Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit. 19 Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord, 20 always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.21 Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.

Paul tells us to be very careful how you live.  In realty Paul provides two paths here; walking in the dark or in the light.  An unwise move would be to live in the dark, playing the part of that rogue Lego, separated from others and poised for pain. 

The wise move would be to build others up and walk in such a way as to shine the light of Christ on others making the most of every opportunity and to be filled with the Spirit, which is not a false sense of elation and empty feelings that may come with overindulgence of drink but filled with the true power of the Holy Spirit to build the body of Christ. 

When we speak to one another with psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs here in God’s house, we shine the light of Christ and we build each other up. 

When we sing and make music to the Lord, when we give thanks to God the Father for everything we live as children of the light. 

One thing you may notice about these Lego pieces, they are different shapes, sizes and colors, not unlike the people gathered here today.  Gathered in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ we come together to build each other up. 

Sometimes we don’t know what part we may play in the bigger scheme of things.  Perhaps we provide the base, perhaps it is part of a wall, but we are all important.  When we understand that it was the Lord’s will to build his people into the church, to gather for worship, to sing and make music and to give thanks, we participate and experience the grace of God and to shine HIS light in all we do.   

Let us pray…

-Pastor Seth Moorman


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