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January 21, 2022 3:00 am
The scene before and after pictures to show how a product make a difference in your life but these products don't address the kind of spiritual change that all of us need today on Truth for Life.
Alastair begged talks about a different kind of before and after looking at who we were and who we are today because of Christ going to read this morning from Ephesians chapter 5. I invite you to turn their and follow along as I read and will read from verse one therefore be imitators of God's beloved children and walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God but sexual immorality and all impurity or covetousness must not even be named among you, as is proper among scene, let there be no filthiness nor foolish talking, or crude joking which are out of place, but instead let there be Thanksgiving for you maybe should have this, that everyone who is sexually immoral or impure 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.
Therefore do not become partners with them for that one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord walk as children of light for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true and try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord, take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness but instead exposed for it is shameful even to speak of the things that they do in secret. But when anything is exposed by the light becomes visible for anything that becomes visible is light. Therefore, it says away cosleeper and arise from the dead in Christ will shine on you look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil.
Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the spirit addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, giving thanks always and for everything to God the father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ.
Thanks be to God for his work.
Magdeburg lifted me oh Lord, show me myself within your word. Show me myself and show me my Savior and make the book lifted me for Christ sake. Amen. In 1968 Johnny Nash had a hit. That only got to number 58 in the American top hundred but reached number six in Great Britain, proving just for the wonderful place. Britain is for an understanding of contemporary American music Johnny Nash is not a household name to many. If you know of him as possible, because you remember the song, I can see clearly now the rain is gone or when I want you in my arms when I need you with all your charms so all I have to do is dream that's that's him as well but the one that I have in mind is the song of 1968, entitled you got soul you got soul and those of you.
The six of you remember it will recall that it has the line. Hey, I can tell by the way you walk, you got soul soul you something deep inside, nothing in the world can hide you soul baby you got soul. Okay, now you say love fine, fair enough. But why are you mentioning it well because I think that although Paul may not have liked the music. I think if he had had access to this lyric he may well have decided to do what I'm doing now and that is make mention of it in order to drive home the central point that Paul is been making since the beginning of chapter 4, namely, that the reality of the profession of the believing community in Ephesus is to be seen in their walk in their walk out Paul.
I say this with some justification, at least in my own mind because Paul we know is quite happy to quote the points of his day. If we had nowhere else we know that when he dealt with the folks in Athens in acts chapter 17, he was able to say to them, as he argued along the way and even some of your own poets have said this so I don't think it's is unlikely that if he had been around now.
He might've been doing something similar, but you remember how chapter 4 began.
Therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, and if you don't remember then turned to it in your Bible.
I suggest therefore, a prisoner for the Lord. I urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called.
He is referring to the fact that they had hair the call of God in the gospel that the spirit of God had been a work in their hearts, and now walking out in obedience to Jesus, their lifestyle, their conduct, their walk is to bear testimony to that and so down in verse 17 of chapter 4 again urges them in the same direction. This I say and testify in the Lord that you must no longer walk as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their minds.
In other words, if you if you live in this way then you will make a dent in the culture of Ephesus because the people in Ephesus will end up saying why is it that you walk as you walk, why don't you walk where you used to work while you not present in these places. Why is your language different. You used to love those filthy jokes. What happened to you now.
So Paul is urging them and clearly so by the time we get to chapter 5, he begins walk in love verse two and he defines that love is the love of Christ. The sacrificial atoning love of Jesus and then in verse 15. If you allow yourself to advance a little. He's going to urge them to walk as wise, rather than as unwise and then back up to verse eight, which is where we are now. This morning he is calling them to walk in the light is very straightforward.
Chapter 5 walk in love, we are to come to the call to walk in wisdom.
And this morning we think about the importance of walking in light let me save what we've said.
I think on each occasion and purposefully so when Paul writes in this way. To these people. He is not issuing a call to them to become something that they are not is not asking them to, as it were put on an external framework that is representative, perhaps of their desire to be good and kind and proper people that would be a bit like as we use the analogy of Christmastime. It would be a bit like hanging on Christmas ornaments is you can hang them on the tree. They're not real they're not produced. There is no fruit in them. They are stuck on and they are removed.
So Paul in writing the second half of Ephesians is not calling for people to find sort of religious ornaments to attach to the tree of their lives, but he is saying where the Spirit of God has implanted the reality of his power within you, then the fruit that will be produced in your life will be revealed in your wall and so he's calling them not to become what they are, not by means of self effort, but to reveal what they are. As a result of God's grace and the recurring theme the melody line if you like is very straightforward. If I let me just show it to you and you have it here in verse eight, at least in two parts.
Look at verse eight. Four. At one time you where verse 8B, but now you are and as we get down towards the end of the chapter in verse 23 he is explaining to them all that they are in verse 27.
I should say all that they are going to become together as the precious redeemed Church of Jesus Christ they're going to be. Ultimately, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing as a completed work of not only sanctification but glorification about which we spoke last time. So if you have that is kind of a somatoform for those of you who are who don't like my reference to Johnny Nash because you're very classical. So let me come to you. So what you have it somatoform. You have exposition, you have development of recapitulation and that's exactly what he does all the way through.
He is saying this again and again in order that we may be left in no doubt now let's just say something is vitally important to in case we miss because Jesus died on the cross for the sins of men and women, all are not automatically forgive. There is a word out on the street that suggest we I know about that.
There is a Jesus. He died on the cross and there's forgive you have people who are saying well.
I believe the creeds and I like the ethics and unfriendly try my best. That is not what it means to be a Christian. Remember, Paul. We've noted has not been using the word Christian throughout. He's been using phraseology that is characterized by two words increased us in Christ, or alternatively in the Lord and all the way through.
He has started by saying here's the wonder of God's grace in this great symphony with which chapter 1 begins that God out of all of eternity has purpose to have a people that are his very own, and by the extent of his amazing love towards us in Jesus. He has reached down into our lives, and he has drawn us to himself. And we have heard the word of truth, the gospel of our salvation. We have believed it would been sealed with the Holy Spirit. In other words, he says we are no longer what we once where but we are now in Christ, as in Adam. He says elsewhere world dead man in Jesus we are made alive.
But as Calvin puts it all that Christ has done for us is of no value to us, so long as we remain outside of Christ. Note, I suggested to you that we were a little stuck here this morning and I confess to you that I I found myself purposefully stuck it in my studies this week. I guess I must say that I just felt the burden of trying to make sure that I understand and then that we understand together the dramatic contrast this significant antithesis that is represented in just one phrase of verse eight, namely you, you will notice at one time where darkness, but now you are light in the Lord.
It is not safe at one time you were a nonchurch attender now your church attender at one time you were religious and nonreligious. At one time you were flaky and now you're not so flaky know it is far more significant in this. In fact, he doesn't simply say at one time you lived in darkness, which is true, and now you live in the light which is true.
No, he says you were dark you were darkness.
Scotus and now you are false. Now you are light now. I want us to camp here and purposefully. I actually had two points but you believed in over only having one. The two points are these the change that he describes and then the challenge that he delivers the challenge that he delivers. We need to go back up into verse seven because as part of the challenge and then on down through their if God spares as will come to that.
Another time we want to focus on is this dramatic change and essentially to do so in such a way to try and help us understand where we are in relationship to this what it means for us then to communicate with our friends and our neighbors who will say to us that they are professedly unbelieving, they may be agnostic. They may profess to be atheistic. How then does this notion. This reality help us both to understand our approach and then to be gracious in that approach. At one time you were darkness. 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. That was your way of life you were with a dead man you are with the sons of disobedience. That's the rock band that you played in the sons of disobedience by nature is what he said you were dead, but now you're alive in antithesis is in keeping with what he is saying here and I said you it is vitally important that we understand this you where you are there no halfway house and I have dark or half-light. Dark light by nature dark by grace light as long as we remain outside of Christ will remain in darkness. It is not a will in a neutral territory and as we finally come to years of understanding we decide why thing I like to live on the dark side, or I think I'll choose the light site know by nature, the darkness is an inescapable darkness because the darkness is in the very core and center of our human existence by me put it in even more straightforward terms were either Christians or were not. We are either in Christ or outside of Christ. We are either spiritually dead or spiritually alive. I where 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, men and women's attempt to make sense of their existence and all the way and out at the let the limits of all that social media can bring to if you do, if I don't read my Bible in the morning. There's no saying well I will end up by 9 o'clock because I have already read the London Times, the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal and if I go the wrong way round on this. I'm like a rabbit bear, you know I run around shouting and things 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 that even after I preach the first service will be will come to me and I know the way they listen to what I said because the reaction was simply what that something the world needs to hear. That wasn't what I was saying that cost me a lot of energy to for you to misunderstand that that's easy 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 will either. I'm going to bring you here to to say unkind things to your and think know this is written to the church.
This is written to the professed believers that you must be involved in the sexual nonsense is 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 are going to try and come up with a solution so I know I don't want to belabor the point. But as much as we love and appreciate education and are involved in it. Here want to educate our children on a day by day basis. Heritage Christian Academy, and in other places to as much as we are concerned about that. We realize that education cannot, in itself, change the human condition, nor can a process of renovation you think about all of the all of the commitments that are made in our world to deal with specific issues with it. It is of immorality or abortion or whatever might be justifiable but unnecessary and necessary engagements. But what are they doing precious little easy because 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 one 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, incidentally, is still the terminology of the time.
His reply was to get a man or a woman roundly saved. It's not enough to put on a my new pair of trousers or to give them 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 contains the insight who contains this change in myself you want.
You try's not working as it how many years of you live, how many New Year's resolutions have you had how many new leaves have you turned over your attempt to sell renovation doesn't work, so I'm a little different and I'm a little dim if I could just learn a little more minute summary could 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 the so I was the education program working are you got to be changed from the insight and that's exactly what Paul is describing here real spiritual change in our lives addresses our heart, not just her behavior listing to Truth for Life.
Alister big with part one of a message titled walk in light will return to this topic next week. It's the gospel message that has the power to transform our lives from the inside out, and that's the very message that fuels our mission here at Truth for Life. We know that God's Spirit works in the hearts and minds of those who listen to God's word being taught, and that's why we teach straight from the Bible so that men and women can hear it and leave it and be changed by if that mission resonates with you.
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Alister explains why so many people here but don't believe the message of the gospel. The Bible teaching of Alister big is furnished by crew pulling the learning is