10-30-2022 - Turn the Light On
It's Harvest Time • Sermon • Submitted • Presented • 1:01:14
0 ratings· 79 views
1 Therefore be imitators of God as dear children. 2 And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma. 3 But fornication and all uncleanness or covetousness, let it not even be named among you, as is fitting for saints; 4 neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks. 5 For this you know, that no fornicator, unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. 6 Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. 7 Therefore do not be partakers with them. 8 For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light 9 (for the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness, righteousness, and truth), 10 finding out what is acceptable to the Lord. 11 And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them. 12 For it is shameful even to speak of those things which are done by them in secret. 13 But all things that are exposed are made manifest by the light, for whatever makes manifest is light. 14 Therefore He says: “Awake, you who sleep, Arise from the dead, And Christ will give you light.”
I never will forget when I was a child and we went on a vacation to Tennessee. Somewhere during the trip we stopped to take a tour of one of the caverns. I remember going down into this particular cavern with a large group of people. They got us down into area where it opened up what looked like a large room. The guide began to talk about how workers, before the invention of electricity, used to come down in these caves and mine for various things and how back then they only had a torch, or a lantern, for light. And then they turned the lights off.
I wasn’t ready for that. It was the darkest dark I’ve ever experienced. It was a impenetrable darkness. I couldn’t see my hand in front of my face. It was completely dark. There was no light in that place. And our guide starts talking about all the dangers that are around us. You know like the 100-ft drop our death just over to our right.
And meanwhile I’m calling out for mom. Because I’m thinking what are we going to do if somebody messed up and the lights don’t come back on. Today, everybody would just pull out their cell phone. But understand, we didn’t have cell phones back then. We heard about this cavern from a paper brochure we found at a rest stop on the interstate and navigated there using a paper map.
So I’m hearing all these voices in the dark, but I don’t hear mom’s voice. And all of a sudden they turned the lights back on. And I look up and say “mom?” and realize I’m holding hands with a complete stranger.
You know I’ve often thought, how did I get separated from my parents? What made me want to move around in the darkness? If I would have just stayed still and not moved, I would have been standing right there beside my parents. And I began to think about how difficult it would have been for me to try to find my way out of that place in complete darkness, with no light.
But that is exactly how the Bible describes those who don’t know Jesus. They are trying to navigate through this life in complete spiritual darkness. They can’t see the dangers and the pitfalls that are all around them. Without a source of light, they are helpless to fumble through the darkness. They need a light. They need somebody to “Turn the Light On.”
And Jesus comes into the world and proclaims during His earthly ministry, “I am the light of the world.” Jesus fulfilled Old Testament prophecies like:
2 The people who walked in darkness Have seen a great light; Those who dwelt in the land of the shadow of death, Upon them a light has shined.
And John, as he begins to write his gospel, pens these words under inspiration of the Holy Spirit:
1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. 4 In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. 5 And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.
Jesus is the true light! And Jesus came into the world to “Turn the Light On.” But He has always been the light. Where did the light come from in the beginning, back in the creation account of Genesis? The sun, moon, and stars were not created until day four. But there was a light that transcended this universe and that light was the light of Christ, the light of God Himself.
But when Adam and Eve sinned in the Garden of Eden, spiritual darkness has permeated this world. But there is coming a day when there will be no more darkness. In Revelation we are told there is going to be a new heavens and a new earth and a new city, New Jerusalem, where we are going to spend eternity.
23 The city had no need of the sun or of the moon to shine in it, for the glory of God illuminated it. The Lamb is its light. 24 And the nations of those who are saved shall walk in its light, and the kings of the earth bring their glory and honor into it.
One day Jesus is going to be the only light we need. We are going to illuminated by His glory for eternity!
But for now, we still live in a world filled with spiritual darkness. But during His earthly ministry, and as He prepared for His death, burial, and resurrection and to ascend back to heaven, Jesus made it clear that His light would continue to shine on the earth through His disciples!
14 “You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. 16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.
What a statement! You are the light of the world! You and I as children of God, as followers of Jesus Christ, are called to let the light of Christ shine through us! We are called to “Turn the Light On.” To be a guide to lead others out of darkness and show them the way to the light of Jesus Christ!
So what does it mean for us to be the light of Christ? What does that look like? How do we “Turn the Light On?”
Well Paul begins Ephesians Chapter 5 by telling us that we are to be different. As different as light is from darkness. That means when we “Turn the Light On,” we are going to stand out and be different. Paul describes this difference in the first seven verses of Chapter 5 that we read this morning:
In Verse 1, we are commanded to live like God. To imitate Him like a child imitates their parents.
In Verse 2, we are commanded to love like God. To love others the way Christ has loved us by offering His life for ours.
In Verses 3-7, we are commanded to leave the ways of this world behind. To come out from among the world and be separate, be different.
This is something that we all need to hear and heed. As Christians, we are in this world, but we are not of this world. We are strangers and pilgrims and we are just passing through. We were once citizens of this world, we were part of the kingdom of darkness. We lived like the world lives. We thought like the world thinks. We did what the world does.
But now our citizenship is in heaven. We have changed our allegiance from the kingdom of darkness to the Kingdom of Light. When we were saved by the grace of God, we were delivered out of our old life of sin, and we were born again into a new life of righteousness.
But even though we have been delivered from darkness and the things of this world, there is still a part of us, the flesh, or our sinful nature, that still desires the things of the world. The darkness that is around us is constantly trying to creep back into our lives and diminish the light of Christ that is in our hearts.
People who are in darkness may be trying to influence us to be more like them.
We are bombarded constantly with advertisements, entertainment choices, and all types of media that are trying to convince us to be more like the world and do what the world does.
And even though we have the Holy Spirit within us, there is that part of us that still desires the forbidden fruit and loves the pleasures of sin and hates the rigors of holiness.
Paul knows this. And so in Verse 7, he just says very plainly, “do not be partakers with them.” Don’t let the darkness diminish your light.
There is a harvest of souls that need to see the light that is within you. Don’t let the light go out. Don’t let the light be hidden. “Turn the Light On.” Get the brightest bulb you can get by continuing to draw close to Jesus and continuing to be filled with His Spirit on a daily basis.
As we talked about last week, the harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray the Lord of the Harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.
I’m praying this morning that the Lord will send out some laborers from Farm Hill Church into the harvest. God, “Turn the Light On” in our hearts and let our lights so shine before men that they will see our good works and glorify You in Heaven!
The rest of Chapter 5 that we read this morning teaches us how to make this happen. Let’s take a look at these verse and talk about how to “Turn the Light On.”
How We Are Changed (Verse 8)
Who We Were
We "were once darkness.” The god of this world had us blinded (2 Corinthians 4:4). The light of the Gospel had not yet shined on us. Not only were we in darkness, but we “were” darkness. We lived like the world and we enjoyed it. The sins of Verses 4–5 were who we were and what we did. We were enslaved to sin. We knew nothing else. We wanted nothing else. We were lost in the dark and headed to Hell. We lived like the lost people we were.
Who We Are
But now we are “light in the Lord.” When Jesus saved us, He delivered us out of darkness.
13 He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love,
And since we have been delivered from darkness we no longer walk in sin, but we walk in the light. We are no longer children of darkness, but children of the Light. Our lives once manifested the works of the world, the flesh and the devil. Sin was a way of life for us. Darkness was where we lived, and what we loved. But, by the power of His grace, the Lord has touched us, saved us, delivered us and changed us. He has brought us out of darkness into His marvelous light.
9 But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light;
How do we “Turn the Light On” and walk as children of the light?
We do it by avoiding sinful thinking and sinful living.
We do it by surrendering our all to the Spirit of God, who will produce within us the “peaceable fruit of righteousness.”
We have been changed, and we should live different lives.
By the way this is not something we should have to be constantly encouraged to do. If we are truly saved, and if we have been truly changed, then holiness should be a way of life for us!
How We Are Characterized (Verses 9-10)
This word refers to “uprightness of heart and life.” It speaks of godliness in the motives, thoughts and actions. It is the quality of god-likeness. This has also to do with our treatment of others. When we practice “goodness,” we are walking in love to those around us. We are being God-like toward them, as we treat them like God treats us.
This word refers to our standing before the Lord. When He saved us, God declared us righteous. He took away all our guilt, imputed the righteousness of Christ to us, and made us holy in His sight. Righteousness is seen in our lives when we live out the reality of who we are, and what we have been made in Christ Jesus. It speaks of a godliness that makes a life as being different and as belonging to the Lord.
This word has to do with honesty, reliability, and trustworthiness. When this quality is seen in the life of a believer, it stands in stark contrast to the hypocritical, deceptive and false ways of the world.
These three characteristics are called “fruit.” Fruit is the unfolding of life. None of these things, taken to their perfect fulfillment, are things you will find in the lives of unbelievers. They are the “fruit”, the proof, of the presence of the life of the Lord in us. When we know Him, we will be like Him!
You will notice that he did not speak about praying a prayer, joining the church, being baptized, being good to people, doing good works, or giving to or serving the church. All those things are good, but they are works that are easily accomplished in the flesh. Anyone can do them, even someone who has never been saved.
On the other hand, the three characteristics Paul did mention, goodness, righteousness and truth, are only possible through the work of the Spirit in the life of a redeemed believer.
How We Are Commanded (Verse 11a)
These phrase “have no fellowship” means “do not be a partaker of.” Those who know the Lord should not be a partaker of those things that are evil, even by association.
We are to avoid all things that are evil. We are to avoid even the appearance of evil:
22 Abstain from every form of evil.
We have to be in the world. If we are not in the world at all, we cannot witness to the lost. However, we must be careful that we do not allow ourselves to get trapped by the ways of the world. We are to be a separate, holy people to the glory of the Lord.
Some of the kind of sins we are to avoid were mentioned here in Ephesians Chapter 5. But this is not an exhaustive list of sins we are to avoid. We are to avoid all sin! The depth of our separation is pointed out clearly by Paul in 1 Corinthians.
9 I wrote to you in my epistle not to keep company with sexually immoral people. 10 Yet I certainly did not mean with the sexually immoral people of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or idolaters, since then you would need to go out of the world. 11 But now I have written to you not to keep company with anyone named a brother, who is sexually immoral, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or an extortioner—not even to eat with such a person.
We are to guard our hearts, our minds and our bodies. Sin is all around us, but so is the help of the Spirit of God.
4 You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.
If we trust Him, He will help us to live lives that are holy and pleasing to Him.
How We Are Commissioned (Verse 11b-13)
Our responsibility to abstain from sin goes farther than simply not doing sinful things. Here, we are commanded to “expose them.” This means that we are to “expose” evil for what it is. When we are silent about sin, we are guilty of encouraging it. When we ignore sin, we are guilty of promoting it.
The word “expose” carries the idea of “correction, discipline, and punishment.” It means that we confront sin by refusing to tolerate it. This means that there are times when we must speak out. We must tell others what the Bible says is right and what it says is wrong.
Sometimes our intolerance of sin will be direct, as we deal face to face with those who are involved in sinful activities.
At other times, when we expose darkness it will be more indirect. That is, we do the opposite of what the world around us does, and God uses that to rebuke them for their error. They are selfish, but we are giving. They curse, we bless. They live for self, we live for God and for others. They lie, we speak the truth. Simply living for the Lord is a powerful testimony in the face of evil.
One of our problems is the fact that we don’t take sin seriously enough. We wink at it. We laugh about it. We see those around us who are engaged in sin, and we fail to confront.
We just don’t take sin as seriously as we should. While we would never do many of the things those around us do, we enjoy them from a distance. As a result, we are still contaminated by it, because we refuse to take a stand against sin and rebuke it.
Verse 12 tells us that it is a shame to talk about the things the world does. We love to hear a juicy bit of gossip, don’t we? We talk about the sins of others, passing it around from ear to ear. God says some things are to be handled with as few words as possible. To talk about their sin in a way that spreads it all over the place is a shameful thing.
Verse 13 teals us how to handle sin. We handle sin by taking every action and exposing it to the light of the Word of God. We are to hold it up to the Bible, and if the Bible is against it, we are to be against it too. If the Bible is for it, we are to be for it. The Word of God alone is to be the standard for our lives.
Light makes things “manifest,” or “easy to see.” When we walk in the light, it makes the evil of the world around us easy to see. The children of God should walk so holy, so clean, and so close to God that we stand out as beacons of light in a dark world.
As we lift up truth and expose sin, not everyone will be happy. Still, it honors the Lord and is a far better advertisement for Him than a life which partakes of the sins of the world.
We are commissioned to be different. When we are different, sin is exposed, the Gospel is magnified, and God is glorified. Those are reasons enough to walk in the will of God!
How We Are Called (Verse 14)
Paul closes this section with an invitation for the lost to come to Jesus for salvation. If they will simply wake up, and come to Jesus, He will save them and give them light. He is calling the lost people who might have been in that congregation listening to come to Him for salvation. That is a call that still goes out today. If you are lost, you can be saved. The Lord will change your life, delver you from darkness, and fill you with His light.
There is also a call here for believers to wake up. We have wandered through this world in a spiritual slumber for far too long. It is time we woke up and got about the Savior’s business. When we do, we will be light to a world trapped in darkness. It may just be that the Lord will use that light to save sinners. Here is how Paul said it Romans:
11 And do this, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep; for now our salvation is nearer than when we first believed. 12 The night is far spent, the day is at hand. Therefore let us cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light. 13 Let us walk properly, as in the day, not in revelry and drunkenness, not in lewdness and lust, not in strife and envy. 14 But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts.
“Turn the Light On.”
If you are here this morning and you have not been born again, Jesus wants to help you “Turn the Light On.” The reason why He came into the world was to offer a way for people to come out of the darkness of sin and into the marvelous light of His love. He has provided a way for us to avoid eternal punishment in hell and to experience eternal life in heaven. He is setting before you today a choice: life or death. Choose life this morning! Through His death on the cross and His resurrection from the dead, you can be saved and born again simply by acknowledging you are a sinner, believing by faith that Jesus Christ is the only means of salvation, and confessing Him as Lord and Savior. If you will do that this morning, He will “Turn the Light On” and lead you out of darkness into His marvelous light.
If you are here this morning and you are born again, but maybe you are not letting your light shine the way that you should, Jesus wants to help you “Turn the Light On.” Don’t let the darkness diminish your light. You were once in darkness, but now you are the light of the Lord! Don’t let the darkness creep back in. Guard your hearts and your minds against the unfruitful works of darkness. Don’t give into the darkness, but rather expose it in the light of Christ. If you need to this morning, ask Jesus to “Turn the Light On” and dispel the darkness around you. Ask Him to help you to overcome the power of darkness that may be trying to creep in. Ask Him to fill you and empower you with the Holy Spirit and crank up the power and the wattage of your light so that you can reach more souls for the Kingdom of God!