Several friends have gently asked me why I’m not writing on my blog anymore, and I responded in the usual – “I’ve just been busy.”You can imagine they were quite unimpressed by my answer.
I’m trying something new here on the blog in an attempt to stay more disciplined in shepherding through writing. Each time I preach a weekend message, I’m going to take some of what ended up on the ‘cutting room floor’ and post it. There’s just never enough time in 30 minutes to follow all my considerations when it comes to a text or to its application. I hope it will help you to think more deeply and worshipfully about the subject. So here goes…
As our church continues through the book of Ephesians, I had the charge to preach on Eph 5:1-14. (Originally, I was supposed to 5:1-21, but I stopped short because of time constraints.) The main idea of the sermon was that as beloved children and children of light, sexual immorality and darkness must not be named among us. In fact, Paul called the church to walk in light and expose the darkness with the possibilities that the darkness exposed could actually become light! What a sense of mission and purpose in our purity.
My pastoral concern in this message was the helplessness (and hopelessness) that can come as we fight for purity in a sex-obsessed world. It’s in the air we breathe. I think Paul understood the difficulty of this fight even as he reminds us in v. 5-6.
“For you may be sure of this, that everyone who is sexually immoral or impure, or 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.”
Remember how I said that this is an assurance, not a threat? This is Paul’s reminder that all of the sexual immorality around us will be dealt with, so don’t throw in the towel. Don’t give up. Don’t participate because people are saying, “where is God?” I would have added one more thing.
We are not walking in love and light in a vacuum. God has not left us to fend for ourselves. Rather, we are waiting for his victory to be finally delivered. I would have added Luke 12:35-38 here.
“Stay dressed for action and keep your lamps burning, and be like men who are waiting for their master to come home from the wedding feast, so that they may open the door to him at once when he comes and knocks. Blessed are those servants whom the master finds awake when he comes. Truly, I say to you, he will dress himself for service and have them recline at table, and he will come and serve them. If he comes in the second watch, or in the third, and finds them awake, blessed are those servants!”
We are awaiting the return of our Savior, and we are walking in love (not porneia). We are walking in light and exposing the unfruitful works of darkness, and as we do that, the Lord will return and find us waiting. And get this, he will come and serve us! The master will come, and as he sets everything right, we will dine with him. We’ll know that all of the ridicule, accusations, and marginalization we experienced as a result of walking in love and light will be worth it. We’ll know that remaining true to our identity as beloved children was a way of keeping our lamps burning.
Walk in love and light today, knowing that you’re not just biding time, but we are waiting for His return, and the longer we have to wait (and endure), the sweeter will be the reward.
And that’s a weeklong sermon.