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January 24, 2022 3:00 am
The by nature buses spiritually blind our sin has us trapped in darkness, so how can we see today on Truth for Life will learn how the lights get turned on in our lives and what happens as a result, here's Alister bag with part two of a four-part message titled walk in like were in Ephesians chapter 5 verse at one time or darkness, but now you are light in the Lord.
Paul is unequivocal.
He's already use these categorical terms.
You will recall back in chapter 2 the beginning of chapter 2, he says, and you where dad in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked see the walking again. You were dead, but now you're alive is an antithesis is in keeping with what he is saying here and I say to you, it is vitally important that we understand this, you are you are not halfway house now half dark or half-light.light by nature dark by grace light as long as we remain outside of Christ will remain in darkness. I may put it in even more straightforward terms. What either Christians or were not. We are either in Christ or outside of Christ. We are either spiritually dead or spiritually alive.
I went else are you going to find this kind of statement in our world today.
Think of all of the explanations that are given for the human condition on a routine basis. As we get up to a new day in the morning and were confronted by the drama of life.
The unfolding story of individual life and women's attempt to make sense of their existence and all the way and out at the look at the limits of all that social media can bring to us. I need my Bible to adjudicate on the world in which I live. Lord Jesus Christ is our culture completely. Jesus you are sovereign Lord and King Jesus. How is our culture to be impacted while in the same way he says to me that Ephesus was to be impacted and how was that not as a result of Paul taking to the streets of Ephesus to condemn the darkness not as a result of him taking on the culture and pointing out everything that was wrong, but as a result of him preaching the gospel telling this wonderful story that God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself that he was making a whole new one out of the two.
Before that people from a Jewish background in a Gentile background had been brought to the very same place in an understanding of who and all that Christ is then he says now will make an impact on Ephesus when we live out when we walked out and people say you got something deep inside, something that this world can hide baby you got soul you got Jesus in your soul. That's the impact that's the impact you here this morning. You don't believe you don't understand. You wonder you're trying to make sense of your life you're going down the road. That is just marked out before you, I will. I want to bring you here to to say unkind things to your and know this is written to the church.
This is written to the professed believers. You must be involved in the sexual nonsense shameful to think about it is worse to do it and your mind will be impregnated with it unless you are fueled by the truth of Scripture because he says think about you where you are not perfect but making progress. Now think about it. When the human condition is expressed as it is in our culture today that it is understandable that men and women have got to try and come up with a solution. You cannot change the human condition by simply educating or legislating or manipulating the issues from the outside.
That's why we have the gospel.
That's why the story of the Bible is focused entirely upon Jesus at the end of the 19th century William Booth was at the heart of engaging with the poor in London and I want occasionally asked him you know what what what is it you're actually doing and what is it really mean for somebody to be converted or written in the terminology of the time. What is it mean for them to be saved and Saddam is still the terminology of the time. His reply was to get a man or a woman roundly save it's not enough to put on in my new pair of trousers or to given regular work or even to give them a university education. These things are all outside of my end of the inside remains unchanged. You have wasted your labor who can change the insight who can change this change in myself you want. You try's not working as it how many years have you live, how many New Year's resolutions.
If you have how many new leaves of you turned over your attempt to sell renovation. It doesn't work so I'm a little bit under my little damn if I could just learn a little more minute something to really explain to me what happens in air in the nature of lung cancer that I never smoke another cigarette.
Goodness gracious. They put on the packet.
You're a dead man. If you do this you still do it so I was the education program working now you have to be change from the inside. And that's exactly what Paul is describing here so I have a lot of friends and if I ever would speak to them in this way, they say something like, well, that's all very well for you, but I don't see it that way et al. maybe you here this morning and as I perfectly understand and the Bible tells us why because your dark because there dark because you spiritually blind stressfulness, not simply that we live in a dark world, but that the darkness is within us that the darkness is internal and the darkness is inescapable. It is impossible to exist except that we are by nature dark. That's what the Bible says I think about this. You may pride yourself on your intellect and you listen to this kind of thing and you go away and say I can't believe that comes up with that stuff in the rest of them there all the same tarred with the same brush I met. I don't mind the services. Some of the songs are pretty good but I can't believe that they would say these kind of things and you convince yourself that the reason you do not believe it because you have a size 14 brain number one your arrogant and number two, you're wrong. The reason you don't believe is not because of your intellect. The reason you don't believe, is because your dark your dark your blind you are blind and you can make yourself see while think that one out for just a moment. Listen to how Paul puts it is a rights of the Corinthian believers, the natural person does not accept the things of the spirit of God, for they are folly to him and he's not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned.
Think of others that his wife in the teaching of the Bible and we are committed to the teaching of the Bible you teach the Bible do your best to explain it to people can be sitting side-by-side on one person comes out and says you know I both understand and believe on the other person walks out the door and says I'm the foggiest idea with the fellows on why was he getting so upset about it. Goodness gracious. What's wrong with the chat what's what's the difference the differences. The illumination of the spirit of God in the darkness of the human think about it, just in relationship to the unfolding story of life you take. Again the human condition on what the Bible says about the fact that we have spurned God's law that we have rejected his love that we have decided that will go on our own, and the Bible. Ashley calls that sin that we have arrogant strayed from his ways. Like lost sheep that we have missed the mark that we are involved in iniquity that our lives are like while bowling ball in crumbles, which is played mainly in England, I think if you've ever used one of those things. It is part impossible for it to run straight to run through because it is biased. Therefore you have to deal with a biased Luther says that's the problem that we are turned in upon ourselves. That's what the Bible says what is our world say will know we may be a little Nazi. As a result of our environment or were suffering from a disease or were just the human machine.
There's nothing we can do with just the kind of programmed mechanism hey teacher leaders kids alone, just another brick in the wall. You wonder why it is that people can make sense to the life they get in the car on a Monday morning and drive off and they've ended the they reflect upon the moments that have passed in the weekend to try to make sense to me and I'll be thinking about sin, but it probably thinking about the fact that they were unkind that somehow or another they don't have to deal with her jealousy that if only they could stop cussing the way they do. If only their mind in defaulted nobles go to the dark into the empty side of thing. If only there was significance. If only there was a reason. If only there was a purpose, if only somehow or another I could unscramble this if only I could believe that this journey through life is set within the context of the purposes of an eternal God, who is prepared in the mercy and majesty of his love to draw people to himself. You see, when we sing these songs as we sign there either true or not true. We don't make them true by singing this Christ is going to return and roles of flight. I think we sent the picture from the book of Revelation that there is actually an end. There was a beginning and God created and there will be an end when God wraps up time and history as we know it, that it will be a new heaven and a new earth, in which there dwells righteousness and those who are there will not be there.
As a result of our own endeavor, but as a result of God's amazing grace that the story of the Bible is that from the garden of Eden sin if you like is put out the light in man put out the light and only the spirit of God turns the light back on rescue is the spirit of God turn the light on how would I know there's a number of ways you would know you wouldn't be saying things like, while I believe the creeds and I'm good on the ethics and I'm trying my best know you be saying things like this amazing grace, how sweet the sound that saved a bum like me I once was lost but now I'm found I was blind but now I see you be singing songs like I once was lost in darkest night, but thought I knew the way past tense. But now you are about as amazed as your family is amazed and your work colleagues are amazed because you know what that nice half the time and some of the time.
General pain in the neck and you looking on yourself and you say, I'm not sure I'm really making any progress in this thing at all and your friends say to you know there's other people in the office that are a lot nicer than you and you are tempted to say all, no they're not. You just don't really know me if you knew me, you know how wonderfully nice I then you can hear your wife in the background, but I don't think you should say that because what is the answer to that question. The answer that question is. I am amazed at the grace of God I am amazed that while I am still a sinner.
Christ died for me. I am amazed that he puts his treasure and no clay pots. I am amazed that he has promised to bring to completion the good work that he is begun in me. In other words, we are amazed by the fact that the light was turned on with use the analogy before when your mom used to wake you up in the morning if you're in a good sleep all you can hear first is a noise and you can hear a voice and then you can hear your name and then you're awake.
That's a bit like what happens when the light turns on your reading the Bible, you're healing the sermons minorities and then suddenly it's all voice. The voice of a man. The voice of God and you realize actually mine, my name is Sheila, but Paul is not talking here about how and when that happened.
Our preoccupation is so often with that.
Tell me how tell me when Paul is not concerned about whether this happened spontaneously instantaneously gradually or whatever else it is you not talking about where they where in the pilgrimage of their life. What he saying is this, this will be the shared reality that when the Bible is read when the songs are sung when Christ is lifted up deep in your heart you will affirm the reality of this and in doing so you say you know what I once was, but now I because again I must stop, but again in in second in first good news I quoted you just to to second Corinthians 4 similar sermons for healers in the and even if our gospel is veiled, which is the gospel is veiled, he says elsewhere. You know when the Lord is read anything about always Jewish friends and we have lots of Jewish friends. I was with someone on the other night why do they not believe that all Old Testament we've read it and it seems that all the sacrificial system is pointed to the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. Why in the world are they not because their gospel is veiled to them and only in Jesus is the veil taken away levels you see how important it is that we pray. Some of us think of you talk for a month of Sundays we would fix everything if we would get on our knees and talk to God for 1/4 of the time. Who knows how many of our friends and loved ones and family would be radically confected and changed know I was courting was not even if our gospel is veiled is veiled to those who are perishing, perishing.
Why don't like the word perishing. I don't care whether you like it or not it's a Bible work well perishing you don't know your parish and get a mentor that will help you if you don't trust the Miller trust your spouse trust somebody will be honest with you, well, perishing for God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son, that whoever believes in him will not perish but have everlasting life is veiled to those who are perishing, because in their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of unbelievers to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God for what we proclaim is not ourselves by Jesus Christ as let's let's let's allow Luther to to close this out for us. For those of you going to write to me tomorrow.
Send an email saying where was that quote from. Let me preempt that this is from the bondage of the Will, page 73 Luther nobody who is not the spirit of God nobody was not the spirit of God sees a jot of what is in the Scriptures. All men have their hearts darkened so that even when they can discuss." All that is in the Scriptures, they do not understand or really know any of they do not believe in God, nor do they believe that they are God's creatures, nor anything else for the fool has said in his heart there is no God. The spirit is needed for the understanding of all Scripture and every part of Scripture, the antithesis is clear when we come together tonight our opening song will be and can it be God willing I will be able to assist saying that wonderful phrase alive in him. My living head and clothed in righteousness, divine I was that happened in this way that God says Paul again, who first ordered light to shine in the darkness and creation has flooded our hearts with his light, so that now we both understand the gospel and believe and by the enabling of the spirit. Seek to walk in love to walk in wisdom and to walk in light I had the privilege of conducting a wedding yesterday afternoon, I was struck again by how definitive it is, how clear it is and how there was very little emotion and it actually in terms of the words that were spoken and nobody was really there to say how they were feeling and nor was the idea brought that you could say to somebody say, have you heard about marriage yes you like the idea of marriage, love like to be married sometime. Oh yeah, sure. You know what you are married first or you lost your mind know you have to come to the point where they say do you you say I do and some of you from sitting there going okay. Get all the stuff and I really do believe that the light turned on for me either now or four months or five years of or whatever else it is, but I've been wondering around a minute. This this gospel trainers. As I stopped at the station is 50 times and and I've been meaning to get on but I never got on a liner get on this morning, so how'd you get on with just talk to God, so I don't want to say to then let me end by a prayer that you can make your own all right spray this may be helpful to some. Dear God, I know that I'm not worthy to be accepted by you. I don't deserve your gift of eternal life. I'm guilty of rebelling against you and ignoring you and I need forgiveness. Thank you for sending the Lord Jesus Christ to die for me, that I may be forgiven thank you that he rose from the dead to give me new life. Please forgive me and change me that I may walk with Jesus as my Lord and Savior and friend Lord Jesus Christ. Hear our prayers that are Christ come unto you, your grace and mercy and peace be the abiding portion of all who believe.
Today and forevermore. That is Alastair big reminding us that only God's spirit can illuminate darkened heart listing to Truth for Life. If you prayed along with Alastair at the end of today's message and you'd like to know more about the gospel about God's plan for salvation, visit the learn more page on our website will find a couple of brief videos. Some additional messages. You can listen to for free. Just go to Truth for Life.org/learn more and if you're enjoying Alistair's teaching in this current study you can on his teaching through the entire book of Ephesians. It's a series titled grace and peace for just five dollars you get 83 messages on the convenient USB drive find it in our online store that Truth for Life.org/store in today's message Alastair explained that it is God's spirit that enables us as believers to walk in love and light and wisdom. This does not come naturally for us to understand more about how spiritual growth takes place in our lives. We want to recommend to you a book titled spiritual disciplines for the Christian life author Donald Whitney unpacks 10 spiritual disciplines including less familiar disciplines like fasting or journaling or solitude. Find out how each spiritual discipline helps you grow in holiness. This version of the book is the 30th anniversary edition it's been updated and revised to include in-depth discussions on Bible study and prayer, including methods for praying through and meditating on Scripture request a copy of spiritual disciplines for the Christian life.
When you give a donation to step on the image of the mobile app or visit us online at truthforlife.org/donate. If you'd rather mail your donation and request the book right to Truth for Life at PO Box 39, 8000, Cleveland, OH 44139 about the pain. Thanks for listening.
Sure to join us again tomorrow. When will learn how to live in the world without blending into the culture or isolating ourselves from the Bible teaching of Alastair big is furnished by Truth for Life learning for living