We've been going through Ephesians with the title Our Great Salvation. This morning, we heard from our pastor in a row, this great salvation, the change. And tonight, we're going to look at the walk. And those two texts are going to be intertwined very strongly.
So you'll hear me refer to his text this morning, a few times. As we approach this text, let's go to the Lord in prayer. Father, we come before you out of humility. We are so thankful, God, that we can come boldly to your throne. Acknowledge you as God. And God, we bring our humbleness to you and we ask that you would let us focus on first this morning that we are changed.
We are a new people. God, let us focus on putting off the old and putting on the new. And tonight, God, let us focus on our walk that we would show others that light inside of us, not hide it. We love you, Lord. It's in your name I pray.
Amen. The first three chapters of Ephesians focuses on the truth, the theology of our salvation. The chapter one, or the plan and power of our salvation and this wonderful, humble prayer from Paul. In chapter one, chapter two, the riches that we are not just reconciled to Christ, but we are reconciled to one another. Chapter three, this incredible mystery that Christ not only came to save the Jews, but also the Gentile, came to save all of us.
That's good news for us, especially those of us who are Gentiles tonight. This prayer for strength. And then when we get to chapter four through chapter six, we see the practicality of our salvation, how we live this out. In verse four, we saw this incredible unity that we are unified together as the body of Christ. And again, this morning we looked at, can you have the Holy Spirit living and dwelling inside of you? Can you follow Christ and not be changed?
Absolutely not. So as we get here, we need to, I'm going to read chapter four, 17. This is very much a continuation. When you see chapter five, verse one, that first word there is therefore.
So this is very strongly related. So let's just read verse 17. Now I say and testify in the Lord that you must no longer walk as the Gentiles do in the futility of their mind. And then we see this therefore. Verse one. Let's look at verses one and two. Our first truth. We're going to look at four truths tonight.
Our change in us from this morning gives us four truths. The first truth is from verse one and two. Be imitators of God.
This is our first truth. Be imitators of God. Verse one. Therefore, be imitators of God as beloved children and walk in love as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us a fragrant offering and a sacrifice to God. As a new creation, we are to be imitators of God as his children. In verse two, what is our example set in verse two? Our example set here in verse two is Christ's sacrifice. This is not a small calling, is it? This is not a small calling in our life.
The giving of our own selves. When you look back to chapter three, verse one, and you can even turn back there if you want. Go back to chapter three, verse one and chapter four, verse one. Paul calls himself something. What does he call himself? A prisoner of the Lord. And Paul is in chains in a jail cell when he's writing this. But he is not calling himself a prisoner of the cell that he resides in. He's calling himself a prisoner of the Lord.
He is a voluntary prisoner of the Lord. He has sacrificed his life to the Lord who sacrificed himself for him. Is sacrificial a word that describes your walk with God? Sacrificial. Is sacrificial a word that describes our desires? Is sacrificial a word that describes our walk, our speech?
Let me ask you this. Is sacrificial a word that describes our prayers? In fact, my prayers are often the most selfish thing, a part of me at times. To many who claim to follow Jesus, too many claim to follow Jesus. They want every benefit of his resurrection, every benefit of it. The salvation, the riches.
But they do not want to participate in his death. If we follow Christ, we participate in his resurrection and we participate in his death. The putting off, we looked at this this morning, the putting off of the old self. Galatians 2, I have been crucified with Christ and it is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives through me. Galatians 5, what are we to do? We are to crucify our, he says, flesh. Crucify my old self, my old desires.
We imitate God by being marked by love and by sacrifice. There's a new movement of Christianity, the new age Christianity. Many of you have heard that term, but it's becoming more and more prevalent specifically on social media. And those who do not have social media, I applaud you.
But it's becoming more and more prevalent and it twists the message a little bit, but enough to make it dangerous. We preach often here at Calvary and even sing the song, come as you are. Come just as you are. In the Philippians 1, 6, Christ will make you into a new creation.
Christ will make you holy. That's part of the message of the gospel. But this is the message that this new type of Christianity, this new age Christianity brings. It says, come as you are and stay who you are.
Come as you are and be who you would like to be. And it hides behind cliches like, who are we to judge you anyways? And it says this, notice how dangerous this is. If Jesus really loved you, he wouldn't want to change you.
How dangerous is that message? That's the exact opposite of the gospel. Christ loves me too much to leave me in my sin.
He loves me too much to let me sit in my pool of sin and despair. That's what condemnation is, not salvation. It's pretty much universalism repackaged. Worship, live however you want.
As long as you believe that there's a God, we're cool. This mindset has leaked into the churches, into many churches, into our nation. And in these churches, worship is replaced with community.
And sacrifice is replaced with individualism. What's the danger? What's the danger of this message? The danger of this message, you'll find it in Matthew 7, verse 21. Not all who call Lord, Lord will enter into heaven, but who? But those who do my Father's will.
It's a dangerous message, wrapped up and called tolerance, wrapped up and called love. For the one who has followed and been changed by Christ, there is no other way to live our life but to sacrifice for the one who sacrificed for us. For those who have found new life in Christ, we receive this immeasurable love, this immeasurable sacrifice. How can we live any other way but to exude it in our walk? We imitate the Father. Our second truth tonight, we find it in verses three through six. Number two, we were darkness. What's that key word there?
Were. Verse three, but sexually immoral, but sexual immorality and all impurity or covetness must not even be named among you as it is proper among the saints. Let there be no filthiness or foolish talk or crude joking which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving. For you may be sure of this, that everyone who is sexually immoral or impure or who is covetous, that is an idolater, has no inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. Hear that echo, no longer walk as the Gentiles do.
We were darkness. These three words he uses in verse three, immoral, impure, covetous, all these have strong hints of sexual misconduct. Paul has added the whole spectrum of sexual sins and sexual misconduct with these three words. I've walked through the streets of Ephesus and it's really miraculous. You can walk through and it's paved everywhere.
All the roads are paved with marble. It's really quite a sight. But when you walk about a half a mile down into the city you see this massive temple, the temple of Artemis. It's one of the seven wonders of the world.
It's quite impressive to stand in front of. And imagine at this temple, this is where prostitution was legally demanded, not allowed, but demanded. And where many worship services were very sexual in nature, the culture was very twisted. Many actions and relationships done in direct violation of how God planned for our relationships and intimacy.
They violated God's plan so much that, what does Paul say in verse three? Don't even speak them. Don't even communicate.
Don't even talk about them. What Paul is demanding is radical for this culture in Ephesus. Radical. Save and respect intimacy. View it as sacred. A message most Ephesians would have hated and condemned. No longer live as the Gentiles do. Without a doubt the Christians in the first century were seen as prudes.
Unreasonable and hated for their stand and this belief. It was a culture structured around and thrusted from sexual immorality. It's a good thing we don't deal with that today, right? Notice the sarcasm. Surely our culture doesn't have these almost exact same tendencies today, does it?
Is intimacy sacred today in the world we live in? My wife has, her birthday is on February 15th. Let that sink in for a minute.
It's one of the many ways she blesses me. And it's that day every single year. I can't get it changed.
I've tried. So this past week was pretty busy for me and so I went to the store to grab a few cards, not just one. And I was shocked by just looking at Valentine's Day cards. How immoral some of these Valentine's Day cards. The pictures on some of them, the words on some of them were striking.
And they're right next to, happy birthday, grandson. The devil has always twisted God's gift of sex. But here's the difference today. The difference today is that you can commit these sins an absolute secret. We have something that they did not have, technology. We can commit these sins in deep secret.
We can go home. We can open up a computer, look at a phone, we can look at a tablet. We can indulge in any sexual immorality that we would like to with the screen.
And then we can erase the history like it never happened. Is intimacy sacred today? Can I ask you this while we're on this topic. Can I ask you to take 10 minutes to pray for our students this week.
Specifically about this. They are being brought up in this culture that is driven by sexuality. Pray for our students. Pray for our single brothers and sisters in this culture that we live in. Our students and we preach sex is sacred and yet today just like then we are seen as intolerant, as prudes.
Here's some lies that our culture would like for us to believe. You have to try out intimacy with someone before you commit to them. You have to know that you're compatible.
I'm going to give you a piece of advice. If you are both striving after the Lord, if you are a man and a woman striving after the Lord, you're compatible. It's not a big deal to have casual intimacy but it is a big deal to be a virgin. The average person is introduced to pornography at the age of 11 today. By the way that's true for me.
I was introduced at the age of 11 in a locker room, in a basketball locker room where another boy brought in a magazine, stole it from his dad. And I praise the Lord to this day that I was raised by the people I was raised and I was brought up in the church that I was brought up to know what to do in that situation. I heard it said by one of my friends a few weeks ago that if Paul was still alive the American church would be getting a letter. I think that's true. This message is just as radical today as it was then.
Just as seen as hatred as it was then by our culture. Sexual sins can hurt us in very particular ways. In fact, go to 1 Corinthians 6 with me.
This verse probably popped into some of your heads whenever we were talking about this. Verse 18 through 20, what should we do with sexual immorality? Verse 18, flee from it.
Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside his body but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body. Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own. You are bought with a price so glorify God with your body.
God created intimacy so that you may be bonded with another person and that might symbolize a relationship between Christ and his church and Christ will not leave his church. I want to give you a word of encouragement. There likely is someone here tonight that struggles with this category of sin. I want to encourage you of two things. Number one, you are not ruined. You are not ruined. You are not unwanted. You are not discarded.
You are desired by the God that created you. And number two, this is a great place to repent tonight. The other sins mentioned in this text have to do with the behavior of the mouth in verses 4 and 6.
4 and 6, let me ask this. Do the non-believers in my life notice that I talk differently? Do non-believers in my life notice that my words are different than theirs? What does James say in chapter 3?
You can turn there with me. What does James say in chapter 3? He is discussing how important words are. He is talking about the tongue.
And he uses these three examples. Although a horse is very large, there is a small bit in its mouth that desires where it goes. It pays where it goes.
Although a ship may be big, a small rudder decides and gives it direction. Although we have a huge forest fire that can start. It starts from just a simple small spark. And then in verse 6, chapter 3 verse 6 in James. And the tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness. The tongue is set among our members, staining the whole body. Set on fire the entire course of life and set on fire by hell. Verse 9, with it the tongue we bless our Lord and Father and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God.
We need to be careful. Immoral jokes, although they may seem innocent at a time, give our hearts direction. These sins focus on the self. If you look at verse 4, thankfulness focuses on humility and obedience. Instead of foolishness in our mouths, we should have in verse 4, let there be thanksgiving. It's amazing what happens to my heart when I replace my selfishness with thanksgiving. It's amazing how much greater of a husband I become as a father I become when I replace my selfishness with thanksgiving.
It's amazing how much better of a church member I become and how much more I participate in worship in my pew when I replace my selfishness with thanksgiving. What does he say in verse 4, 29, in chapter 4 verse 29 about the mouth? Let no corrupt talk come out of your mouth, but only such as which is good for building up as fits the occasion, that it may give what? Grace to those who hear.
Through our mouth let's give grace, let's give thanksgiving. There's a call back to the inheritance that we looked at in chapter 1. But in verse 6, there is no inheritance for those who do not walk in love. These are the deceivers in verse 6. Let no one deceive you. Would you be able to know that sin was repackaged?
If it was given to you, repackaged is a good thing. Most commentators believe that these are likely deceivers not outside of the church, but guess where? Inside of the church. These are those in the church that underestimate how serious sin actually is. Is it not so dangerous when we begin to justify our sin? Is it not so dangerous when we allow others to justify our sin for us?
Paul David Tripp says, when we take lightly what God takes seriously, we are in danger and need to evaluate our hearts. These will not inherit the kingdom of God. Do all Christians commit these sins?
Yes. All Christians commit, likely all categories of sins. So what's the difference?
What's the change from this morning? The difference is Christians who are truly a creation, a new creation in God, will actively turn from their sins and actively repent. Not to dwell in them. That's what it means, Romans 12 under 2, by the way, to be a what?
A living sacrifice. Do not walk as the Gentiles do. Walk in love as your Father does. Imitate the Father as He leads you to light. We need to imitate our Father, point number 2.
We work darkness. Our third point is verses 7 through 10 tonight. We are now children of light. How wonderful that word is, children. Let's read that together. Verse 7 through 10.
Therefore do not become partners with them. For at one time you were darkness, but now you are light, and the Lord walk as children of light. For the fruit of light is found in all that is good and is right and is true, and try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord.
That word children is a beautiful word. We see it in verse 1, we see it in verse 8. Turn with me to Galatians 4. Galatians 4, it's just a few pages back. Verse 6. And because you are sons, God has sent the spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying what? This is how we were taught to pray, right? Abba, Father. So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God. Children have desire, this inward desire to imitate their parents. I have a two and a half year old, his name is Judah, and he reminds us every day that he's two and a half years old.
I've never taught him how to sin, but he figured it out. And he, every day that I go home, I want to get comfortable, relax for a few minutes. So every day I get home, I will take off my shoes and I will put on these really comfortable, fashionable shoes called Crocs. Have you ever heard of those? They're fabulous.
They're very comfortable. So I put those on, I make my fashion statement, and then as soon as I walk away from my shoes, guess what? Judah, my son, does. He runs over to where I am, he grabs my shoes, decides that we are the same shoe size, and he puts them on his feet. And with great difficulty, he will run across the kitchen. When I get my guitar, and I play my guitar in our living room sometimes, he will go get his little toy guitar, he will bring it over, and he will show me how to play. And he'll show me some chords that he has found out he's made. He just wants to be like his father. He has this desire, this inward desire to be like his father, and my deep prayer is that number one, that I will be the example that he needs, but number two, that he will apply that to his heavenly father. We ought to have, if we are new, if we are children of God, we ought to have that desire in us to follow our father, to follow his light. We can imitate our father because we are created in his image. And if we are going to imitate our father, we must walk different from the darkness.
We must walk in light. If you'll turn to John 3 with me, John 3, 19. John 3, 19-21.
John 3 verse 19, and this is the judgment. The light has come into the world and people love the darkness rather than the light because of their works were evil. For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed. But whoever does what is true comes to the light so that it may be clearly seen that his works may have been carried out in God. Is it clear by our actions who we are children of?
Is it clear by our actions who we are children of? We have four commands here starting in verse 7. Number 1, verse 7, do not interact with the darkness. Second command, verse 8, display the light by walking as the light. Third command, verse 9, do what is good, right, and true. This is the fruit of the light. And fourth, verse 10, please the Lord.
Here are the four commandments to stay out of darkness. And I ask you, have you ever set spiritual boundaries for your life or for your family? This past Sunday I spoke with the parents of our eighth grade students. I had a wonderful conversation with some wonderful parents who desired greatly to lead their children in the Lord.
It was a wonderful conversation. And I gave them a challenge. I want to give you a challenge, specifically parents but everybody. I'm going to be specific with parents here.
Here's the challenge. What boundaries have you set? Whose house is your child allowed at? Do you decide what they watch or do they decide what they watch?
How often, if you do, take the phone away from them? Do they notice the boundaries that you have set for your own life to protect yourself from darkness? What do your boundaries look like?
Have you shown your children how to make those boundaries for themselves when they're not under your care? How are you pursuing holiness in a world that is full of darkness? If you are a child of light, don't walk in the darkness.
Don't consume the darkness. There's questions we should ask ourselves. Does culture shape our appetite? Does culture shape our entertainment, our humor?
Does culture shape our desires? What we are consuming gives us a path for our next steps. When we partner with the darkness, it gives us direction. Psalm 119, 105. What is it that is a lamp unto our feet and a light unto our path? It's God's Word. God's Word is that lamp. God's Word is that path. It's very difficult to walk in that path if we do not pick up God's Word. It's very difficult to set godly boundaries if we do not use God's Word in our homes.
Light and darkness cannot exist together. I encourage you to set those boundaries. If you haven't set those tonight, you should set those boundaries. In verse 10, I have a saying with our students. Whenever they're walking away and they're saying, Bye Pastor Cameron. See you later. I don't ever say bye. I have said a new saying.
I bet any of our students could tell you right now what that saying is. And they're all nodding at me. Good.
It's this. If they say bye, I say, all right, make good choices. I think they need the reminder. But what if, before everything we did, we stopped and asked, Does this please the Lord? How do you know if your actions are pleasing to the Lord? Here's how we do it.
In verse 9, he gives us, Look at the fruit. Is it good? Is it right?
Is it true? Here's our standard for life. How many here are currently trying to claim both light and darkness on the same path and the same walk? Who here tonight speaks of light and will go home and partner with darkness? Colossians 1 uses a phenomenal word.
It's a really awesome word that it uses. Christ is what? Preeminence. Christ is preeminence in our lives. We cannot compartmentalize Christ to be an aspect of our life. Christ is our life. And if you were to take away Christ from my life, there is nothing left. There is not a sliver of light in my walk of darkness. It is light where it is darkness.
Christ is my life. He is our identity. We are not only to be the light, but we are also to expose the darkness. This is verses 11 through 14 in our final point. Light exposes the darkness. Verse 11, let's read. Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them.
For it is shameful even to speak of these things that they do in secret. But when anything is exposed by the light, it becomes visible. For anything that may become visible is light. Therefore it says, wake, O sleeper, arise from the dead and Christ will shine on you. Not only are we called to be children of light, but we are to take that light and use it to expose darkness. When the light shines on the fruit of the darkness, it reveals just how rotten it really is.
That word expose can also mean to convince or to correct. And have you noticed how very little light is needed to light up an entire room? If you were here for our Christmas services, you actually experienced that.
It was a wonderful experience. Dr. Monroe started with a small sliver of light. He passed that on.
It was passed on. Although all of our lights were just, what, this big? It illuminated the entire sanctuary, even the cross above our heads. It illuminated the entire sanctuary. What is amazing is how so much more powerful God's light is compared to the darkness. Verse 5 says, let your light shine before men so they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven. Notice too, the light does not avoid the darkness. The light does not avoid the darkness.
We are to live in such a way that our holiness exposes what is contrary to God. Light does not avoid darkness. It illuminates it. J.B. Phillips says this, it's even possible for the light to turn the thing it shines upon into light also.
After all, brother or sister, is that not exactly what happened to you? Light shined on you. You were in darkness. You became light. We've seen this word. We've seen these lyrics. Light of the world, you came down into darkness. You opened my eyes. You let me see.
You let me see. Are we abiding in Christ's light so that we shine that same light to those who are in darkness? The later part of verse 14 is a really powerful hymn. Paul uses it here.
It's likely they used it in the first century during baptisms. The hymn here is really a beautiful display of the gospel. Three illustrations here. From dead to life. From darkness to light. From being asleep to being awoken. Don't come back from which you came. What you have buried, let it remain buried.
Don't dig it back up. What might a walk look like to be alive or alight or awakened? It might look like a group from Calvary going to elementary school, washing children's feet and giving them new shoes. It might look like feeding the hungry in our community. It might look like providing a loving and caring community in a world obsessed with individuality.
It might look like looking at those in the world that the world deems untouchable and welcoming them and embracing them. Have you ever seen someone come from darkness to light? Have you ever witnessed that?
It's incredible. I saw this a few years ago. I was helping out with a chapel service of a school in the area where I was serving at my previous church. And as we were singing the songs, I noticed this girl was turned. She wasn't singing, she wasn't standing, she was turned away. And when I got up to teach, I noticed that she turned all the way around.
I thought, I don't think I'm doing that bad. She was completely avoiding me and at the end of the chapel service, I went over and one of the teachers introduced me to her. And when I was talking to her, when she realized I was a pastor, she got very nervous. And you could see on her arms where she had inflicted herself over and over and over again. Countless times.
Countless scratches. And she started telling me about how she doesn't feel like this world is real. She doesn't see how this world is real. She doesn't see how Jesus' love for her is real. She doesn't understand. She doesn't see how any of this Christian stuff could be real.
Doesn't see it. I had to go on a mission trip for a few weeks. Well, before I talked with her, I asked her to pray with me and she refused. I asked her if I could pray with her. She said no. I said, can I pray for you later on? She said no.
I did anyways. And on my way out I realized, I said this to myself, surely this is what darkness looks like. Surely this is what darkness looks like in someone's life. I came back, I went to a mission trip for a few weeks and came back and saw that same girl talking, laughing with other girls in her class. When it came time to sing, she wasn't just singing, she was standing up, she was worshiping with everybody else. When I was speaking, she was taking notes, not avoiding me, not avoiding eye contact. And right after the chapel service, she came up to me and she said, or I said, hey, something's very different about you. And she said, I can see it. I can see it. I understand.
She said three or four times, I can see it now. I can see the love of Christ. And I thought in my head, surely this is what light looks like in someone's life. We have reason, great reason upon reason upon reason to celebrate with one another every time we are together.
Do we not? We were darkness, we are light. We will use that light to expose this darkness and bring others to the light that saved us and sacrificed himself for us. As we conclude, let's read verse 8 together. Here's our celebration today.
If you have any reason to rejoice tonight, it's this. Verse 8. For at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of the light.
A few takeaways tonight. Number one, let us celebrate together every single time we meet. You look at Ephesians 1. Half of Ephesians 1, Paul has put together this incredible poem about our salvation and how incredible it is.
And then in verse 16 of chapter 1, what is Paul's response? I cannot cease to give thanks. I cannot cease to be thankful. Number one, let us celebrate together because we have hope. We are in Christ's light. And number two, may we live in and walk in that hope so much that others notice the light that has changed us.
They will notice because our walk will not be a walk of lust or immorality or selfishness or personal desires, but we will be imitating our Father in heaven. So as we go to a time of response here, let us celebrate worship with one another, for we have been found. We are in light. Let's also take a moment and search our hearts. What do we keep going back to the grave in our darkness and try to keep instilling into our life?
Individually for each of us, what can we not keep buried? And I also want to encourage you, if you are here tonight and you have not joined that light in Christ, I want to encourage you to consider that. Jesus lived and died for us, to save us, to bring us into his marvelous light.
Let's pray. God, we thank you for your light. God, I thank you that you did not leave me in my sin. I thank you that you did not leave me to sit in despair of my own devices.
You loved me too much. God, we thank you for our salvation tonight. We pray for those, first of all, who are the light but still seem to lean towards darkness. God, change hearts tonight.
Give repentance tonight. And God, we pray for those who live in darkness. We pray that we would walk in a manner worthy, that they would look at us and by our walk notice the light.
So that they may be able to say, I can see it now. God, thank you for being the light of the world. Father, as we respond to you, God, I pray that you would dwell in our hearts, that you would change us. This morning, God, we learned about the change. We pray that you would be changing us every single day of our lives to become more like you, more like our Father. God, we lay our lives down. We sacrifice our lives for you today. It's in your holy, precious name we pray. Amen.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-02-20 18:06:00 / 2023-02-20 18:20:18 / 14