The following post is from a two-part sermon preached at Pioneer Bible Church on December 4 and December 11, 2022.
Walk As Children of Light1
Walking as children of light has two aspects – Negative (what to avoid) and Positive (what to pursue).
I. Negative – Avoid Sinful Practices and Words2
A. What is to be avoided?
- Sinful Practice – sexual immorality, impurity, and covetousness (idolatry). Notice that this list is general, which reminds us to avoid all sin.
- Sinful Words – filthiness, foolish talk, crude joking – These words likely have a sexual connotation to them.**
B. Why must they be avoided? – Not even named among us
- The seriousness of sin
- Those who habitually live in these have no inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God
- The wrath of God is coming on the sons of disobedience for these things
- They are improper for saints; they are out of place; shameful to even talk about them – They do not match our new identity in Christ (4:1; 5:7-8).
II. Positive – Walk as Children of Light
Since we are no longer darkness but are now light in the Lord, we must walk as children of light – Live habitually as children of God, imitating Him, walking in fellowship with Him, and reflecting His character (see also 1 John 1:5-2:2).
A. Why must we walk as children of light? – it is important to understand the why.
- Because we are no longer darkness
- We are light in the Lord (NEW IDENTITY IN CHRIST)
B. What is involved in this?
- Rather than sinful talk, we are to give thanks (v. 4)
- Discern what is pleasing to the Lord (v. 10) – Know what the Lord says is pleasing to Him (revealed will in the Bible). Put it to the test through grace-empowered obedience. Prove what the Lord says is right is right.
- Do not take part in but instead expose unfruitful works of darkness (vv. 11-13)
- In action – behavior that is in the light will expose behavior that is in darkness.
- In word – Call sin what it is, unashamedly. 3
- Wake Up – In light of all these things, Paul calls believers to wake up, rise out of the deadness of sin, and it is promised “…Christ will shine on you.”
C. How can we do this?
We are no longer darkness, but we are now light in the Lord. In our union to Jesus Christ, we are not only obligated but have been and are being enabled to live as children of light.
- The comparison and contrast of light and dark is a common theme in the Bible. 1 John 1:5 says, “God is light and in him is no darkness at all.” Light in the Scriptures represents what is good. Ultimately, it is what represents God’s character. Jesus is the light of the world (John 8:12), and we are the light of the world (Matthew 5:14-16). We are to reflect Jesus’ light in our thoughts, words, and actions. Darkness is anything that contradicts and thus opposes God’s character. We are to avoid all that is darkness (See also 1 John 1:5-2:2).
- Remember the historical setting of these words. Ephesus was the center of Artemis (Diana) worship. Artemis was the goddess of fertility; there were thousands of temple prostitutes, sexual practices of false worship, etc. Sexual sin was the norm of the Ephesian culture. (We can definitely see our own culture in the mirror of this passage). However, we do not want to limit this passage to sexual sins, because Paul makes clear that we are not to take part in the unfruitful works of darkness, not in any of them.
- Notice that Paul says, “… it is shameful even to speak of the things that they do in secret.” So, is Paul contradicting himself? No. Instead, we are not to speak in an approving or infatuated way about the things they do in secret. The only time we are to speak about these things is to expose them as they really are – sin, darkness.