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Christ Will Shine On You

Therefore do not become partners with them; for you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord; walk as children of light (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness, and truth), 10 as you try to learn what is pleasing to the Lord. 11 Do not participate in the useless deeds of darkness, but instead even expose them; 12 for it is disgraceful even to speak of the things which are done by them in secret. 13 But all things become visible when they are exposed by the light, for everything that becomes visible is light. 14 For this reason it says,
“Awake, sleeper, And arise from the dead,"  

Good Morning Beloved,

Welcome to worship this Lord's Day!
We're so glad you're here.

There comes a point at which God just gives people over to selfish, sinful, desires of their hearts and allows them to suffer the harmful consequences of their lifestyle. We don’t have to look too far to observe this aspect of God’s wrath at work in our culture today.

Forget wedded bliss. More and more women are skipping the traditional steps of love and marriage and heading straight into having babies.

Recent estimates show that about 40 percent of births in the United States occur outside of marriage, up from 28 percent in 1990. The fastest-growing group of unwed mothers: women 25 to 29. The number of babies born out of wedlock to women in this age group was 10% higher over the course of just one year.
This increase is consistent with changes in non marital childbearing seen worldwide.
As I'm sure you remember, Ephesians 4:19, teaches us "and they, having become callous, have given themselves up to indecent behavior for the practice of every kind of impurity with greediness."
Let us bow our heads in prayer.
Heavenly Father,
Father, we are so thankful for Your Word, the clarity of the truth revealed to us. Thank You for the beauty of Your holy presence, for quiet it provides to our anxious minds. Thank You for teaching us the principals of Your divine judgment, so that we might avoid the wrath of eternal judgment. As we look around at the world around us, we see the evidence of sin, immorality and unholiness, and rebellious heathen debauchery. O Lord, use us Your faithful servants, that we might spread the message of the Gospel, that we would bring Your heavenly Kingdom to earth, that even one more might be saved from eternal damnation. Protect us from the evil one, from the world that seeks to draw us away from You, that we ourselves, would not fall into ungodly desires and temptation. 

Father, You sent the light into the world, that we would become children of the light, let our lights so shine, that we would be the light in the darkness. Lord, we pray that You would touch the heart of those present with us who have never accepted Jesus as their Lord and Savior, and of those who have fallen away that today would be the day they would come to the cross, be cleansed by Christ's blood. Father, we pray that not a human voice would be heard, but You would speak to each of our hearts. 
We pray this in Christ's name
Today's Message: Christ Will Shine On You

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters. And God said, "Let there be light," and there was light. God saw that the light was good, and he separated the light from the darkness.

As we continue in our journey through Ephesians, Paul is sharing a similar message with those who are followers of Jesus Christ. He is encouraging his readers to leave their lights on so that they can be a source of hospitality, refreshment and rest for a world that is in darkness.
Darkness as defined in the dictionary, is the absence of light. The imagery of darkness and light that goes all the way back to Genesis, the beginning of the world. The world began with the physical separation of light and darkness and Paul uses that same picture to describe the spiritual separation between the sons of God and the sons of disobedience. Light vs. Darkness. Light is a symbol in the Bible, and if we are to be the light in the world, we had ought to know just what it is.

Open your Bibles with me to Ephesians 5, as we continue to study this wonderful epistle. I encourage you to follow along with me as I read to get our text set in our minds. Ephesians 5:7-14.

"Therefore do not become partners with them; for you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord; walk as children of light (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness, and truth), as you try to learn what is pleasing to the Lord. Do not participate in the useless deeds of darkness, but instead even expose them; for it is disgraceful even to speak of the things which are done by them in secret. But all things become visible when they are exposed by the light, for everything that becomes visible is light. For this reason it says, “Awake, sleeper, And arise from the dead," 

Darkness is not the presence of anything. It is inert, sterile, and barren. On the other hand, light is active, powerful and dynamic.
Paul warns us in verse 7 "Therefore do not become partners with them;" God is light and in Him is no darkness. If you are a child of God, you have been redeemed, you are a child of light. And if you are a child of the light, there is in you no darkness at all.

I John 1:7 teaches us "but if we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin."
Paul is very clearly looking back to the immediately preceding verses where he describes the consequences of living a lifestyle that is characterized by immorality, impurity and covetousness. And Paul warns his readers that they are not to be partners with those who engage in such a lifestyle.The word translated "partners" in this verse is only used one other place in the entire New Testament.  Not surprisingly, it also occurs in Paul's letters to the Ephesians.

In Ephesians 3:6 Paul says "to be specific, that the Gentiles are fellow heirs and fellow members of the body, and fellow partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel."
In Verse 8 "for you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord; walk as children of light."
Paul is telling us that as the ones whom the blood of Christ is cleansing from all sin, then we are the ones having fellowship one with another, then we are the ones walking in light. 
Paul’s point here is that followers of Jesus Christ are not to participate in the same immorality, impurity and covetousness that characterize the darkness of their culture. I don’t think any of us would disagree with that premise. But just how far are we to carry that? There are many believers that carry this principle to such an extreme that they completely isolate themselves from unbelievers. They work with other Christians. All of their friends and acquaintances are Christians. And they often try to isolate their kids from the world by either home-schooling or sending them to Christian schools.  

As a footnote, there are plenty of legitimate reasons to home school and/or send you children to Christian schools, but what I’m speaking here about those who do it merely for the purpose of isolation.
That seems to fly in the face of the principle of being in the world, but not of the world that Jesus so eloquently expressed in his prayer in John 17. In his first letter to the church at Corinth, Paul also makes it clear that he is not advocating isolationism here in Ephesians.
In I Corinthians 5:9-10, Paul wrote "I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people; I did not at all mean with the sexually immoral people of this world, or with the greedy and swindlers, or with idolaters, for then you would have to leave the world."
When we become followers of Jesus Christ, God leaves us here on this earth for the very purpose of being light in the midst of darkness. If we have no contact and interaction with unbelievers, that task becomes impossible. So Paul is not encouraging his readers to withdraw and isolate themselves from the people in the culture around them.
In the original language, the words “you were” are in what is known as the emphatic position. Paul does that to emphasize the point that their darkness is in the past. Even though they were darkness, they no longer are in that state.

It is also instructive to note that Paul does not write that they were “in darkness”, as we might expect, but rather that they “were darkness.” In other words, they were the very essence of darkness. This seems to go back to our definition of darkness. Paul is claiming that they were darkness because there was no light in their lives.

But all that has changed for his readers now. Even though they were once darkness, now they are "light in the Lord." They have been transformed from darkness to light, not by anything that they have done, but rather by God’s work in their lives, which is characterized by them being "in Christ." We’ve seen Paul use that phrase, or similar like "in Him" throughout his letter. And because they are in Christ, they are now light. God is light, light produces light, God's children are light.

Jesus Himself, said in Matthew 5:14-16, "“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Your light must shine before people in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven."
If we are God's children, we have been cleansed, we have fellowship with Christ, therefore we are to walk in the light.

In Colossians 1:14-15, Paul wrote "For He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins."
And in John 8:12, Jesus said "I am the Light of the world; the one who follows Me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the Light of life."

When we choose to follow Jesus Christ, he is continually present in our lives and because we have Him, we become light. I am not merely enlightened - I am light because the light of the world lives in me.

Although Paul is certainly not someone who dwells in the past, his letter indicates that there is great value on us recalling what we were before Jesus became the Lord of our lives. If for nothing more, than it makes us appreciate and be grateful for that fact that God did something that we could never do for ourselves by transforming us from darkness to light.

At the same time, Paul also warns against reverting back to that darkness. Since we are now light, we are to live our lives in a manner that is consistent with that light. And when we do that, our lives will bear fruit that is consistent with light. If we are truly children of light, then our lives had ought to be characterized by goodness, righteousness and truth.

Jesus said in Matthew 7:16-20, "You will know them by their fruits. Grapes are not gathered from thorn bushes, nor figs from thistles, are they? So every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. So then, you will know them by their fruits."
Jesus is very clear that our character will be revealed by the fruit we produce. If we are darkness, we will produce fruit that is consistent with the absence of God in our lives. If we are light, our lives will reflect that and will produce goodness, righteousness and truth.
I do not believe there is any middle ground here. When you were saved, you were taken out of the darkness. Now, I have had some people ask, "But what about when I sin?" When you sin, when you do deeds of darkness, you do them in the light. I don't believe that a true Christian can walk in darkness, you may do deeds of darkness, but you're going to do them in the light. They are exposed before God. He sees them all. God is light, He is light. And if we are His children, we are children of light. And furthermore, we are expected to live that way! Light and darkness are opposites, they are in contrast of one another. The world is in darkness, that's why Paul tells us to "walk as children of light."

The world is in darkness, in Ephesians 4:18-19 I believe Paul really sums up just how dark it really is. "being darkened in their understanding, excluded from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the hardness of their heart; and they, having become callous, have given themselves up to indecent behavior for the practice of every kind of impurity with greediness."
In his letter to the Ephesians, Paul is very clearly warning his readers not to allow their old way of life to recur. Once we experience what it is like to live in the light, we should not ever want to go back to the darkness. Beloved, once we’ve made our way into the light through Jesus Christ, any attempt to go back into the darkness to try and retrieve something that we left behind there never has a happy ending. That’s why Paul so adamantly warns his readers time after time not to go back to the darkness.
In verse 10, Paul says "as you try to learn what is pleasing to the Lord." Paul is saying, if you're walking in the light, there's going to be some fruit there. There's going to be goodness, righteous and truth. In other words, if you're a Christian, your life should validate that. People should be able to see it, the fruits ought to be there. You should bear a resemblance to your Father.
Beyond Paul telling us to walk in the light, there's a command in verse 11 "Do not participate in the useless deeds of darkness, but instead even expose them;" Just in case you're clear in what he's saying here. Paul is telling us, that since we are removed from the darkness, have no fellowship with sin. Don't engage in the unfruitful activities of darkness. Don't engage in immorality. There is no place for that in the life of a child of God.
I believe the problem with many Christians today, is they're living in the grey area. God views the world in light and darkness. I don't believe that we see things in that same dramatic contrast. Sure, we know that some deeds are obviously of darkness, we clearly know what is deeds of light. Then, we view other things as a grey area, maybe they not of deeds of light, but they're not really that bad. They're not really deeds of darkness.
The idea here is that if we live our lives in a manner that is consistent with the light of Jesus that is in our lives, it will cause other people to look at our lives, and give glory to God. Our purpose in living as children of light is not to bring attention to ourselves, but rather to give praise to the One who has transformed us from darkness to light. In other words, when we produce the fruit of the light, we actually reveal God through our lives.
Paul has spent a lot of time writing to Christ-followers and exhorting them to take off their old way of life and put on the new way of life that is consistent with who they are in Jesus. But I’m struck by the fact that not even one time does Paul instruct his readers to try and impose this same way of life on those who are not believers. He never encourages them to go out into the world and condemn and revile those who are still in darkness and who live their lives in a way that produces fruit that corresponds to that darkness.

In fact, although I can’t completely rule out the possibility that it is there somewhere, I cannot find even one instance in the New Testament where unbelievers are either commanded or expected to live their lives in a way that is consistent with being a child of light. And though there are plenty of warnings about the consequences of an immoral lifestyle, I cannot find any place where unbelievers are condemned and reviled for their lifestyle.

About the only place where I see people being condemned for their lifestyle is the way Jesus confronted the religious leaders of His day. And even there, it seems that Jesus was so hard on them primarily because of how they were leading others astray. That is consistent with how the New Testament writers confront very directly and forcefully sin within the body. But when Jesus dealt with the people who were darkness, like the woman caught in adultery, or the woman at the well, he didn’t condone their sin, but he didn’t condemn and revile them personally either.

Since darkness is the absence of light, the way that we overcome the darkness is not by cursing the darkness. We can’t get rid of darkness by condemning it because there is nothing there in the first place. The only way to overcome darkness is by allowing the light of Jesus that is in us shine in the midst of that darkness.

Obviously, as followers of Jesus, we can never condone sin. And both Paul’s letter to the Ephesians and the rest of the New Testament make it clear that we are not to tolerate open, consistent and unrepentant sin within the body. But when we’re dealing with those outside the body, we need to let our light shine in order to reveal God and avoid reviling those who live lives that are consistent with the darkness they live in.

This message is primarily for those of you who have made Jesus Christ the Lord of your life. But if you’re still in darkness this morning, I want to encourage you to let Jesus, the light of the world, transform you from darkness to light.

In verses 13 and 14, Paul teaches us "But all things become visible when they are exposed by the light, for everything that becomes visible is light. For this reason it says, “Awake, sleeper, And arise from the dead, And Christ will shine on you."

In Closing...

The reality is, that most Christians, who should be mature enough to expose evil, are so busy hanging onto the edge in their own lives, they can't even begin to thing about dealing with anyone else. They're struggling with their own issues. We can't afford to isolate from the world, we have to speak to sinners. We have to let them know what they are doing is so rotten, so wretched, so damning we have to expose it. We can't just tolerate it, turning a blind eye. The command is don't have anything to do with the things they do. The commission is to expose it. You may be the only light in their lives to expose it.

The point is, nobody knows what sin is, until somebody exposes it. It's like with your kids, they aren't born knowing something is wrong until you tell them.

Let’s reveal God by the way we live our lives, exposing their sin, without condemning them. Remembering the words of our Lord in John 8:11, "Jesus said, “I do not condemn you, either. Go. From now on do not sin any longer."

If you're still walking in darkness today, Paul extends an invitation to you in verse 14, he invites you to let Jesus, the light of the world, transform you from darkness to light. "Awake, sleeper, And arise from the dead, And Christ will shine on you."

May it be so..

And now may the Lord bless you and keep you;

the Lord make His face shine upon you,
And be gracious to you;

The Lord lift up His countenance upon you,
And give you peace.

Now and forever, in Jesus' name

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The Brian Monzon Ministries



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