Sermon by Rev. Lance Filio
Last week, we learned that God calls us to live as his children bounded together by his love. As God’s people, we are called to live in the light of this reality and the way to living like him is wisdom. We demonstrate our love for God as our father by treating our neighbors as God intends for us to treat them. We love God by loving our neighbors. We respect them by not practicing any immoral behaviors. It is important for us know that while we live in world, we do not belong to it. We belong to Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior. And by virtue of our union with him, we commune with God’s people. We associate and become their friends. We partner with them in the gospel and live in that light.
We will continue our sermon points for today. We were done with the first point: Living in Love. This Lord’s Day we will understand what it means to live as Light and in Wisdom.
As always, before we begin, let us pray for the Holy Spirit’s guidance.
Living as Light
verses 8-14: “for at 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 expose them. For it is shameful even to speak of the things that they do in secret. But when anything is exposed by the light, it becomes visible, for anything that becomes visible is light. Therefore it says, “Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.”
Verse 8 reminds us again that we used to live in darkness. Actually, it is emphatic in saying that we are darkness and not only living in it but by nature are it. This is our former condition and by God’s grace, we are now light by virtue of our union with Christ and through the Spirit, our minds are renewed by God’s light. The fruit of light specified here as good, right, and true (verse 9) are the effects of godly living and part of it is the ability to discern God’s will through the illuminating work of the Spirit. God revealed his will to us in Word and the Holy Spirit enables us to understand them and also to live by them. And as a result, we are given the ability to dispel any misdeeds done in open or even in secret by exposing them (verse 11). It does not necessary require us to actively engage in debates or anything. It is simply pointing out how our lives will give light not only to ourselves but also to others around us. And in verses 13-14, Paul states that light will always be seen. Light is visible. It cannot be hidden. It is not done in secret. They are no undercover Christians. If you are indeed one, everyone around you will know it and your deeds towards them will truly demonstrate its reality.
We live in two kingdoms. God rules the world by his common grace and yet the spiritual reality of the God’s kingdom is indeed upon us. We are in a semi-eschatological state. While we are citizens of this world, our citizenship is in heaven. And yet while we live in such state of things, our lives are not divided. We do not compartmentalize the way we live. We live singularly before God. Compromise and living double lives do not have a place in Christian living. We live consistently as light and not darkness.
Self-deceit kills its host and everyone it gets contact with. Like a virus spreading, it multiplies itself and bring perdition everyone on its path. The cure to such deceiving sin it the gospel of light. By convicting us of our own sin and enabling us to see the grace of God in Christ, we becomes agents of God’s light in this world. Rather than spreading the sickness and death of sin, we labor in bring the good news of God’s saving work to the world. We become ambassadors of God’s grace. We demonstrate God’s wisdom in this world.
Living in Wisdom
Verses 15-21: 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. And 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.
John Calvin says as an introduction to his book Institutes of Christian Religion: “True wisdom consists in two things: Knowledge of God and Knowledge of Self.” And in that order he begins explaining who God is and then ventures to explain man in relation to him.
This indeed is the Scriptural approach. The book of Proverbs states that the fear of God is the beginning of wisdom. To fear God means to consider Him and to live according to His ways. Verse 15 reminds us to live wisely. It means we are called to follow the way of the godly living by making sure we make use of our time wisely and discern God’s will his/her every way (verse 16).
Time is short. Compared to eternity our lives is but a mist here today and gone tomorrow says the apostle James (James 4:15). It is wise to count our days. As much as we don’t have a hand when we get born, we also do not know the time we will die. By year 2011, Steve Jobs who was one the most popular and most success tech CEO, and amassed the great wealth of $10 billion died at the age of 56 because of pancreatic cancer. The whole world mourned his death. And just recently, Kobe Bryant who won five NBA championships, was an 18-time All-Star, 15-time member of the All-NBA Team, 12-time member of the All-Defensive Team, was named the 2008 NBA Most Valuable Player (MVP), and was a two-time NBA Finals MVP winner died at the age 41, only a year younger from me, from a tragic helicopter accident with daughter Gianna who was only 13 years old. His death shocked the whole world. I was not even a fan of Bryant and yet I was personally affected by the news. Why? Because the death of someone famous is a potent reminder how short life is.
And yet for Christians, we have already Scriptures to remind us of the shortest of life. In fact, it is one of the prominent teaching in its Wisdom Literature. Psalms 90:12 says “… So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom.” But why do we need “to number our days?” Going back to our text, Paul reasons “because the days are evil”. Our apostle is not trying to be all negative here. Rather, he/she is simply pointing out a wise person understands how this world would remains in its destructive path therefore, he/she needs to be watchful and alert. Peter exhorts us with the same message when he wrote: “Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour (1 Peter 5:6).” It is also the main idea of the Parable to the Ten Virgin Jesus taught in Matthew 25. The five wise virgins took extra oils for their lamp and even with the delay of the arrive of the bride and groom, they were able to greet them and come with them. But the five foolish virgins were too lazy and got locked out. In verse 13, Jesus concludes, ” Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour.” There is no vacation time when comes to Christian mindfulness. There is no room for idleness and break from righteousness to relieve ourselves from the responsibility from doing what is right. We are not pigs who enjoy playing in the mud nor dogs who eat his own poop. No, we are God’s children whose pleasure is to obey the will of our Father. Let us become who we are in Christ.
So in conclusion, wisdom teaches us to know God and ourselves. We need to understand that God is God and we are not. He is our Creator and we are his creatures. He is infinite and we are finite. Our finitude marks our dependency from God. He determines time and all the events of our existence. Therefore, it is wise to consider Him and follow his ways. We are called to be alert and watchful and discern his will in every step of the way.
ZCRC(Imus), we are called to live in God’s love, live in wisdom of that light. Let us encourage one another in this path of godly living. May God enables us to live according to his Word. Amen.