Enlightened to Shine (Ephesians 4:17-32)

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Ephesians 4:17-32

Knowledge of Christ & Faith Should Enlighten us (v. 17-24)

 Enlightenment: to be given understanding or knowledge in something.

In the case of Christ Followers, we have been enlightened in the knowledge and hope of Jesus Christ.  We have come to know the way to heaven, which someone who has not heard about Jesus has not had opportunity to have as of yet.

God has blessed us, by putting someone or a group of people into our lives to help us to understand the Bible, and the way to salvation and New Life in Christ.

Our new life should shine out to help try to enlighten the world around us.  We sing the children’s song, “This Little Light of Mine.”

This little light of mine

I’m gonna let it shine

This little light of mine

I’m gonna let it shine,

let it shine, let it shine let it shine.

 

Hide it under a bushel.  NO!

I’m gonna let it shine

Hide it under a bushel. NO!

I’m gonna let it shine

Let it shine, let it shine, let it shine

 

The only problem is that we do hide our enlightened lives.  We Christ Followers often fail to “let it shine.”  Instead our actions really can not be seen any different than the  ways of the world.  Sadly some people claiming to be Christian have allowed things into their lives and they are pushing people away from Jesus instead of shinning goodness like him into the world.

 

Those Lost in Sin Really Don’t Know the Way & We Need to Help Them See The Way (v.18-20)

Paul reminds us that those who are not followers are locked in the darkness and lies that Satan has put into the world.  We have been given the grace to see and know God, but they still have not had the opportunity to meet him yet.

There are different reaction from Christians to the world around us.   We hear the worlds of someone who doesn’t know Jesus, and it is coarse or harsh, and we wonder how to react.  Some of the Worldly flaunt sin in our face trying to get a reaction, and we wonder how to react to them.

There are three reactions I’d like to look at.  The first two are polar extremes, and the third is a middle ground.

First, some people feel that the world is not to be held to our standards of faithfulness, and even more they feel we should just let them be.  After, all why ruffle feathers, when God really wants to save everyone anyway.  So, the person in this first camp says nothing, and never does anything to persuade a more Godly or righteous view.  In fact some in this camp may even go along with others at work, acting much like others in how they conduct business or act so they can fit in.

A Second extreme, overreacts to everything they encounter in the world around them.  They get angry that those out of touch with God, are liars, thieves, and very rough.  They may at times decide to speak out, but it is in harsh ways, and they demand others give in to their way and think the world should change for them.  Some of these extremist treat sinners harshly, judging them instead of sharing about God’s love with them.

There is a third reaction that we can have.  If we have truly had an encounter with Christ Jesus, and truly have been enlightened by his spirit we can treat them as Christ would.  A Christ-like way is a more balanced way.

Jesus said that he was accused of being a “friend of sinners and tax collectors,” (Mt. 11:19).  He was often in the places and company of sinful people.  He called them to come and follow him right from the place of sin, and not after they had already cleaned themselves up.

Lately, I have been even more impressed by Jesus’ word’s to the Pharisee’s, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners (Mark 2:17).

Another quote that has been on my heart a lot lately is  attributed to Augustine,“The church is not a hotel for saints, but a hospital for sinners.”

I want you to pause and think for a few moments what could Jesus be asking you to do if he simply said to you, “How can I help”.  The truth is Scripture, and these verses are telling us that that is exactly what Christ has done.  He is helping to equip us.  So, lets take a moment to ask God to show us more of how we can help.

 

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