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Children of the Light, Part 2

Wisdom for the Heart / Dr. Stephen Davey
The Truth Network Radio
August 23, 2023 12:00 am

Children of the Light, Part 2

Wisdom for the Heart / Dr. Stephen Davey

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August 23, 2023 12:00 am

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Would you drive a race car without a seatbelt? Would you rappel without a harness? Would you skydive without a parachute? Not on your life! Well, this is your life -- your spiritual life -- so make sure you don't face it without first putting on the armor of Light.

 

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Know who you're fighting with. Know who you're fighting for.

Know who your commander is. We've got armor. Paul says it is the armor of light. What a great categorical expression for all of the pieces.

Why? Because we live in the world of darkness. And we robed ready to move against the theologies and the isms of the world system.

We move as children bearing light for, Paul said to the Ephesians, you who were once children of the dark are now children of the light. What kind of risks are you willing to take with your life? Even if you're a thrill seeker, you probably take some precautions. As we go through life, we take precautions to protect ourselves.

Can you think of some? It would be things like wearing a seat belt when you're in a car or providing a car seat for a baby or locking up a chemical cleaner to keep it out of reach. These things are designed to prolong our lives and keep us safe. The problem is we don't always put the same kind of thought and care into our spiritual life. We need to live each day in light of the fact that this life is not the end. We need to live like we're leaving because we are.

Here's Steven Davey with today's lesson. You ever waited for a package to arrive? You've been expecting a package?

What's your perspective on the mail system? And never move slower while you expected it to occur. Some of you mothers are expecting. It could happen at any time.

Hopefully you can wait 30 more minutes. That baby's going to announce, today is the day. You take heart, mom, you don't have to carry that baby forever, right?

Praise the Lord. But you're still not exactly sure when the baby will announce, today's my birthday. But the closer you get to that due date, the more often you lay down at night to sleep thinking, I wonder if I'm going to get a night's rest tonight. I wonder if tomorrow I'm going to be a mother. And the fathers are probably thinking some of the same kind of things.

I wonder if tomorrow I'm going to be a daddy. Well, as far as the apostles were concerned, we are to live as expectant mothers. Maybe today, maybe tomorrow, he will arrive. And so we go to our father, not with impatience, but with this sense of expectancy. We ask him, as it were, is it time? Paul is saying, it's time. It's time. Peter says, it's time. John says, it's time. The writer of Hebrews, it's time.

What do we think? Oh, it'll never happen while I'm alive. The truth is he's almost here. Paul writes further in Romans 13, 11, look at the time, surely it is already the hour for you to awaken from sleep.

He's writing to believers, sleep is a reference here to passivity, disobedience, or apathy, or complacency. And he goes on, for now salvation is nearer to us than when we believed. I thought we were already saved, then how could salvation be nearer to us?

What does he mean? Well, in the New Testament, salvation is presented to us in all three tenses. As it relates to the past, we've been saved from the penalty of sin. As to the present, we've been saved from the power of sin, that is we don't have to sin. As it relates to the future, we will be saved from the very presence of sin. Every day we live, one author wrote, we move closer to that future salvation. Someone put it this way, every day we pitch our tent a day's march closer to home, to our destination. So wake up, it's as if he says, don't be sleeping at your post, be alert, he's almost here.

Wake up to your spiritual opportunities, wake up to your spiritual disciplines, wake up, the journey is almost over, live with a sense of longing for that day. Those of you that have had younger children, if you've ever traveled anywhere in a car or a van 30 minutes further away from your home, you've heard them eventually ask you what question? Yours too, huh? Are we there yet? Now you remember those days, are we there yet, daddy? Are we there yet, mommy? Are we there yet? Are we there yet? Finally, I'd say we're there. Quiet. And then, oh, we're not. You knew the answer.

Don't follow my example, by the way, on that illustration, but it worked for us. The believer should live with this perspective on life that asks the father, not with a sense of anticipation, but a sense of true longing. Are we there yet, father? Are we almost there?

I think that's the way the apostles prayed. Father, is it time yet now? Could it be today? Are we almost there? Now notice verse 12, the night is almost gone, he says, and the day is at hand.

In other words, in the context of this verse of Scripture, the night is a reference to man's spiritual darkness. It's almost over. The corruption of the world system is almost over. The depravity of the human race is almost over. And the daytime, which is the imminent return of Christ, the dawning of that day is almost here.

It's about to dawn. This is our perspective on living. Now, Paul says, in light of the fact that you have that perspective on living, here is now the purity you are to have while living. He informs us further in this text that there is something we're to put away and something we're to put on. Notice further in verse 12, let us therefore lay aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light. He'll describe the deeds of darkness and I'll go through it with you in a moment, but first put on the armor of light. This is a reference to the full armor of God delivered by means of faith in Jesus Christ to every believer.

Hey, you don't work for a piece and then a few years later you get a new piece and then maybe another piece and boy, it'd really be something if I just had the sword, but I got five years to go before I get that one. It's all available by faith in our Lord. We're just challenged to put it on. Paul describes the armor in Ephesians 6, put on. That is decide and the idea is daily deciding to put on the full armor of God as you daily decide to put away the deeds of darkness that you may be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil, the strategies of the devil. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood. I mean, we think our problems are things we see and interact with and deal with, but our real problem is the ruler, the power, the world force of this darkness. That is the strategies of Satan and his dark kingdom and this world system under the power of that dark kingdom, having been blinded by that false God. So he says, take up the full armor of God.

Paul calls it the armor of light. Put on the full armor so that you may resist that current of evil and having done everything to stand firm. So stay alert. Stay awake. Charles Spurgeon delivered to his congregation in London, England, these words as he preached to his congregation more than 100 years ago. You may sleep, Christian, that is you may be passive and inactive, but you cannot induce the devil to ever close his eyes. You may see evangelicals asleep, but you will not find falsehood slumbering. The prince of the power of the air keeps his servants well up to their work. If we could with a glance see the activities of Satan, we should be astonished at our own sluggishness.

That's true. We need a different perspective as it relates then to purity. In life at the height of the Cold War, James Montgomery Boice included in his commentary in Romans this story Robert McNamara, who was at the time the secretary of state, said that he always tried to remember to keep this perspective in his mind.

He said he always tried to remember that when we were sleeping, the other two thirds of the world were awake and up to some mischief. Well, here's the armor to ward off both spiritual sluggishness and sinful mischief. We have loins, he writes in Ephesians six, girded with what?

Truth. A piece of armor was more like a short apron that was part of the armory of the warrior, tight at the waist, hung down to the thigh. It was a central piece.

In fact, the breastplate would attach to it and the sword would hang from it. Everything hinged upon the truth. And in a generation where truth is trumped by whatever people happen to feel is true for them, it is little wonder that the objective truth of God's inspired word is set aside. And so even Christians today are falling prey to error and false teaching. It's interesting that the apostles who had this perspective that Jesus is a rapturing of the church was just around the corner also had this love and passion for the truth. John wrote in his second epistle to the church, many believe referred to here as the chosen lady and her children. He says, I love you in the truth and not only I, but also all who know the truth for the sake of the truth that abides in us over and over and over again, a reference to truth. He began his third epistle by writing, I was so glad when brethren came and bore witness to your truth. That is how you are walking in truth. I have no greater joy than this to hear of my children walking in the truth. This is the piece of armor.

This is the truth. It's referenced as the sword as well. In fact, all around us, this armor is related to the objective inspired word of truth. The believers armor also includes that breastplate of righteousness.

And we don't have time to get in all these pieces, but we're also told to put on the shoes of the gospel. What is the gospel? It is the truth about Christ, right?

You don't have to know everything about all the isms of the world. Just know what you believe about Jesus Christ. And whenever one of them knocks on your door or encounters you at work or whatever, you just simply say, what do you believe about Jesus Christ and measure it against that. Paul said, there are other gospels even applied to the Galatians that they could be delivered by angels. And if they are, the angel would stand accursed. If it's a different gospel than what I deliver to you for, I deliver to you that which I received from Christ, not an angel. It's interesting to me that both Islam and Mormonism, the two fastest growing religions in the world, are both a system of beliefs which they claim were delivered to mankind by angels. If we are going to take a stand in this dark era, this dark epoch, we must be wearing our armor, which includes a shield of faith and a helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

These are terms of war. Don't sleep. Be active. Be alert. Don't forget who you are. When our twin boys were around six years of age, I can remember taking them to the airport on one occasion and picking up their grandmother, my mother-in-law, Nanny, who now lives in our town. And as we were waiting for her to get off the plane ahead of her, in fact, ahead of everybody came a steady stream of soldiers disembarking from that same plane dressed to the hilt, the boots, the fatigues, the guns, the insignia, the hats, rifles, everything.

It was just an inspiring moment to stand there with my sons and they were walking right by us. And at one point one of my sons looked up at me and said, Daddy, there are those army men. And one of those soldiers walking past heard him and stopped and looked down at him and said, boy, we're not army, we're Marines.

I don't know who this boy belongs to. Know who you're fighting with. Know who you're fighting for. Know what your uniform stands for.

Know who your commander is. We've got armor. Paul says it is the armor of light. What a great categorical expression for all of the pieces.

Why? Because we live in the world of darkness and we robed ready to move against the theologies and the isms of the world system. We move as children bearing light for, Paul said to the Ephesians, you who were once children of the dark are now children of the light. We're like little light bulbs moving around in our dark world.

Imagine that. Is it any wonder then that the believer shouldn't act like darkness? Well, how does darkness act? How do the children of darkness live?

What is darkness like? Well, Paul answers that question in the next few phrases as he gives us a list of sins. He selects six of them. The list could be long, couldn't it? But he selects, in fact he gives us three pairings of two sins each that sort of go together.

This is how darkness acts. Verse 13, let us behave properly as the day that is belonging to the day, not in carousing and drunkenness, not in sexual promiscuity and sensuality, not in strife and jealousy. You read a list like this and you might be tempted, what is Paul thinking? Telling the church not to belong to people or to become people that do these kinds of sins? Why would Paul warn Christians not to do this stuff? Why would Paul warn the believers in Rome of such wicked acts? No, that's the wrong question. The question you ought to ask is why does Paul include himself in the warning?

Did you notice? Let us put aside the deeds of darkness. Verse 12, let us behave properly. The honest believer knows he has the potential of depraved actions and attitudes. He knows his own potential for sinning greatly against his Lord. To think that you are beyond any sin is trouble because while you are standing, you are to take heed lest you what?

Fall. First Corinthians 10, 12. That's why Paul is writing this to the believer. He's warning the believer and he says, by the way, I'm part of the warning.

Let us. He isn't writing this to the Roman Senate. He's writing this to the Roman Christian. You get into the word and if you're honest, it has a way of exposing who you really are, doesn't it?

It doesn't have that ability. You see, we read the Bible and we discover the Bible is reading us. We talk about discovering the word.

Well, when you do, you find that the word discovers you, doesn't it? We take an honest look here at this text and it reveals what we are capable of doing. That's why Paul warned the Colossians as well in chapter 3, verse 8. He said, put away anger and wrath and malice and slander and abusive speech from your mouth. Remember, he's writing a church.

Imagine this. Do not lie to one another since you laid aside the old self with his evil practices. The tense of the verb indicates continually laying it aside, continually resisting it as you strap on your armor when we choose not to resist it and when we choose to sin. One author wrote, we put on our dirty clothing, as it were, covering our armor of light and disallowing the world to see the distinctiveness of who we are as children of light. The writer of Hebrews then tells the believer, similarly, lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily tangles you up.

It's a daily battle, isn't it? Peter tells us, put aside all malice and guile and hypocrisy and envy and slander. 2 Peter 2, 1. James adds that the believer is to put aside all filthiness and all that remains of wickedness and in humility, receive the word, be held accountable to the word. Now Paul says the same thing to the believers living in Rome, Italy. The honest truth is we are capable of doing everything in this list.

But because we belong to the God of light, because we have been brought from the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of light, because we are now the children of light, because the world of darkness desperately needs to see our light and because at any moment the Lord of light might appear because of that and that perspective, we pursue purity. Now six sins are listed in three pairings. The first one is carousing. We use that word today, don't we?

When we go out there and carouse, don't be carousing around out there. Well, it comes from the Greek word kamas and it refers literally to revelry, literally more crassly, orgy-ing. It comes from the context of the followers of Bacchus, the Roman god of wine and intoxication that was prevalent in Paul's day.

They had a festival every March 16th and 17th. The Bacchanalia, they called it, or the Bacchanalia were orgies in honor of their god, Bacchus and his consorts. By the time of Paul, these wicked celebrations had become notorious for their open public demonstration of sexual immorality.

On these days it's just came out into the streets. As I studied this, it reminded me perhaps of the believers in the church at Rome having come out of the practices of the Bacchanalia and now they belong to Jesus Christ and they could be lured back in. They would be reminded of this with the words he's using. Perhaps even Christians today, maybe you have a past where you can remember that spring break from college where that season was open immorality or a visit to Mardi Gras or Vegas. These are seasons and places known for their immorality where it just sort of comes out in the open. It's applauded, it's expected, it's allowed. Like Romans chapter 1 at the very end of the perversion of mankind, it is the applauding of sin.

Paul says this is the activity of the children of darkness, not the children of light. He goes on to add, not surprisingly, the word drunkenness. He pairs those two together and certainly in our world we see them paired together.

Not always but often the world is aided in its sexual inhibitions by the use of alcohol. It often goes together. A few weeks ago I mentioned that we were at the Charlotte Arena for a five hour concert of gospel music. We were having our New Year party there with about 10,000 people and it took us after the party was over two hours to get out of Charlotte. Two hours to get out of the downtown area.

We just sat in traffic. I mean it was literally tens of thousands of people who had sort of poured out into the streets and parking lots who were finishing up their particular parties. At one point I passed a building where there were about 100 to 150 police in riot gear, armed to the teeth, holding plastic shields as the revelers poured out of one particular building where they had been partying and they're shouting and laughing and you can tell that they're under the influence, intoxicated and I couldn't help but think how interesting the distinction is between the children of darkness who party and look like that and must be controlled by the children of darkness perhaps with riot gear. What a difference between the children of light, 10,000 strong who spent five hours worshiping God. No need to be intoxicated by wine. Intoxicated as it were by the Spirit.

No need for riot police to guard the children of light. Paul emphasizes in the third and fourth sins that he pairs together, sexual promiscuity. This refers to relations, sexual relations outside the bonds of marriage and sensuality. I think that could be better translated shamelessness in the context of this pairing. The Greek word aselgea refers to someone not only captivated by sexual immorality and lust but someone who is actually lost to shame, who feels no shame. While most people try to hide their sin, this person doesn't even try. He flaunts his sexual sin.

He boasts of his experiences in the locker room, at the water cooler there in the corporate world or in the shop. Let me tell you what I did over the weekend. Maybe you're going to go back to work and you know one guy is going to tell you or try to everything he's done. That's the person who is shameless. Maybe this is the digression of darkness here.

Paul seems to be implying to me this downward digression as it relates to these sins. First, a person goes to a party and a person gets drunk. A person gets involved in immorality and ultimately he doesn't care. She doesn't care.

In fact, they get to the point where they want to tell you all about it. No shame. By the way, you know the best thing to do to avoid any of that? Stay away from the party. Stay away from wine.

Stay away from anything that would pull you into sexual immorality and you will not approve it. The last two sins the children of light are to put away are strife and jealousy. Perhaps another progression that Paul had in mind from the outward acts of sin into the inward attitude of sin.

Both actions and attitudes are included in this list, by the way. The word strife refers to someone who doesn't want to be ignored or passed over or slighted. Her personal power and prestige is utmost in their minds.

This is the diatrophes of the early church in 3 John 1.9, who loved thee what? Preeminence. Add to that sin the jealousy, Paul writes, of the human heart that not only wants to be first but it is coupled with strife. It causes trouble.

Why? Because it looks with jealous eyes at whatever blessing someone else in the church has, whatever advantage someone in the church might have. It wants it for himself. Let's not be so quick to comment on sexual sin and overlook the hidden sins of the proud heart that demands to be first, that strives to walk over anybody and everybody to be recognized. So how do we avoid reverting back to the deeds of darkness? How do we resist the undertow back to those dirty clothes that will cover the armor of light? Well, the answer is clarified even further in the next verse that we don't have time for this morning. We'll take it up there Lord's Day, but we have learned enough for me to give you three reminders as we close our session today.

Number one, remember you don't belong to the dark. You don't belong there. That's why every true believer is miserable when they sin. You don't belong in that.

You don't belong in that activity. And part of the evidence of genuine conversion is you are so upset with yourself. You are so miserable. In fact, it's true, the most miserable person on the planet is a believer in sin.

You don't belong there. Second of all, remember Christ is coming back. He's coming back. It could be this afternoon right in the middle of the Carolina victory over the Chicago Bears. It could happen then.

Then those Chicago believers will love us still because we'll all be in heaven together. Remember thirdly, we are in a war. Never go out for a moment without your armor on. Would you drive in a NASCAR race without your seatbelt on? Would you rappel down a mountainside without a harness?

Would you skydive without a parachute? You'd say not on your life. This is your life. Don't risk it. Don't waste it. I have about 300 or less months to go. I'd like to be able to walk all the way to the tape in the truth. Wouldn't you? So don't waste a moment.

Certainly don't waste a month. We are children of the light. We are to live as demonstrations of the light. We are headed as the Lord of light comes and gets us to the kingdom of everlasting light and life.

That was Stephen Davey and a message he called Children of the Light. One of Stephen's passions is training and equipping men and women for service to God. That's why he founded and serves as the president of Shepherds Theological Seminary. Graduates of Shepherds Seminary are serving God in their churches and communities all over the world. If you or someone you know is interested in graduate level theological training I encourage you to consider STS. We have many people who just take a class or two.

They want to have a better understanding of the Bible and theology. Even if God has not called you to serve him full time in Christian ministry the classes STS offers will help you. You don't have to leave your current job or relocate. All of the courses that are offered have an online option as well. You can join in with a class of students from wherever you are.

If you want to study in person there are classes offered here in Cary North Carolina, in Laramie, Wyoming and in Bryan, Texas. Go to wisdomonline.org forward slash STS to learn more. Join us back here next time to discover more wisdom for the hearts. you
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-08-27 17:29:36 / 2023-08-27 17:40:03 / 10

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