Fourth Sunday in Lent
- Old Testament – 1 Samuel 16:1-13
- Psalm – Psalm 23
- New Testament – Ephesians 5:8-14
- Gospel – John 9:1-41
Ephesians 5:8-14 | New Living Translation (NLT)
For once you were full of darkness, but now you have light from the Lord. So live as people of light! For this light within you produces only what is good and right and true.
Carefully determine what pleases the Lord. Take no part in the worthless deeds of evil and darkness; instead, expose them. It is shameful even to talk about the things that ungodly people do in secret. But their evil intentions will be exposed when the light shines on them, for the light makes everything visible. This is why it is said,
“Awake, O sleeper,
rise up from the dead,
and Christ will give you light.”
Light…it really is an amazing thing. Paul is reminding us to live as children of light – If Jesus is the Light of World, we could really say, “Live as children of the Light.” He tells the Ephesian church that they were once darkness…note it doesn’t say living in the darkness…no, it says they were full of darkness. This could apply to everyone who doesn’t know Christ – without Christ we are full of darkness.
However notice the contrast. “Once you were full of darkness, but now you have light from the Lord.” What does this light produce? In the NIV, we hear The fruit of the light produces goodness, righteousness, and truth. Last week, we looked at Abraham and how the Lord counted him righteous because of his faith and not because of the things he did. We were reminded that our good deeds – the good things we do – don’t count toward righteousness – those are not the things that save us – those are not the things that will take us to heaven. BUT…when we switch from darkness to light…those good things we do are products (they are fruit) of the Light. We have a light from the Lord and we should live as people of the light…People of the light should “produce only what is good and right and true.” So how do we know what is good and right and true?
Paul gives us the answer in the next verse. We should carefully determine what pleases the Lord. He says, “take no part in the worthless deeds of evil and darkness.” Goodness and light go together and evil and darkness go together. Paul tells us not only have no part with evil and darkness, but to expose the darkness.
This is the great part. How do we expose darkness? By shining the light on it. Paul says, “their evil intentions will be exposed when the light shines on them.” Think about it this way. We live out in the country. At night, there is very little artificial light. It is amazing the amount of stars that you can see on a clear night. Because of this, our house is very dark at night. One of the things that we have here is a nightlight in the bathroom because when you get up in the middle of the night – when there is no light on, it is difficult to find your way. I know that I have stumbled around in our bedroom trying to find my way back to bed. The thing about darkness is that all you need is light and the darkness goes away. Even now as I write, it is dark outside and yet as soon as I turn on a light, there is light and not darkness. It is amazing that even with just the light of the dining room, I can see around. I wouldn’t want to go looking for something small in the kitchen, but I can make everything out. Light turns away darkness. Think of it this way…the only way to have darkness is to extinguish the light. Darkness is the absence of light…so shine on.
Paul tells us to wake up from our sleep…to rise up from the dead…and Christ will give you light. So many times we, as Christians, are quick to curse the darkness…today reminds us that instead of cursing the darkness…we should light a candle and be the light that comes from Christ. We need to live as people of the light and make a difference in the world around us.
Below is a great song from Kari Jobe about being the light of the world.