THE CHURCH: GOD’S NEW SOCIETY
Turning on the Light
Jerry A Collins
v What does it mean to walk in the light?
v What should the light expose to others?
v What are the characteristics of light walking?
Don’t you want more for your life? Then why are you making the choices you are making? As believers we can make choices that will ruin our lives. We can make decisions that can place our lives on a track of destruction. We do that when we follow the worldly thinking around us. So it is vital, it is absolutely important that we watch out for one another. We cannot let each other waste our lives in sinful thinking and behavior just because that is the way it is. Life is too precious. That kind of life has not pleasure in Gods eyes. We are our brothers keeper. Like light that exposes things so we too act as light with each other to expose those things that may destroy us and lead us on a path that will kill us spiritually, personally, or morally. So we are going to learn why it is paramount that we move in and out of each other’s lives like a flashlight exposing and revealing things that may destroy us and render our lives useless. It is time for us to wake up and get our spiritual act together. Now not later. And there are two basic facts to keep in mind.
DON’T ADOPT UNBELIEVERS AS YOUR ROLE MODELS 7-10
Should you decide to do that you are jeopardizing your spiritual values. You are placing yourself in a vulnerable position.
1. Don’t get involved 7
This is the opposite of vs 1 where we are to be imitators of God. Here we are no to be participants with unbelievers. Be imitators not partakers! Don’t think that it is harmless to adopt unbelievers as role models. Obviously, God does not think so. When you do that you are giving validity to their way of thinking about life. What is important, what you should value, what you should live for, and what you pay for! The ‘them’ are those in vs 3-6. These people live under the wrath of God. God adds no value to their behavior, lifestyles or choices.
1. This does not imply that we have no association with them but that we do not set them up as role models to associate with their lifestyle choices or behaviors. 2. We do have a ministry of shining as light in a dark world but that comes about not be being more like the darkness but contrary to it.
2. We do not get involved because we are changed persons 8.
*We use to be unbelievers ourselves. But that is in our past! We do not exist within that realm anymore. We no longer are under its spell or held in power of darkness. We live in a new realm.
*BUT NOW—notice the contrast. And notice the timeframe—we are now in this new realm, held in its sway. It is one of ‘light’ further qualified by ‘in the Lord’. So we now live in a realm characterized by light—that is, by revelation from God. This is something we cannot know by scientific discovery, research or investigation. It is a whole new realm of light. We see things differently because of the light—God’s revelation to us. Taking our cues from sinful role models is incoherent. Light and darkness are opposed to each other. Light and darkness cannot coexist. They cannot communicate the same message. People in darkness are on their own trying to square life by their own doing. But for us in the light the source of that light is in the Lord, His Word, His nature, and His will. We do not define the light it has been defined for us and revealed to us.
*As such we must walk in that light
as children of light. With privilege comes responsibility. Once again the injunction to ‘walk’. Live your life characterized as light. You cannot do this if unbelievers are your role models. What does this look like?
3. Walking in light consists of 3 things 9
The word ‘fruit’ tells us there is produce that we yield as light walkers. Here is the list:
*It produces goodness. Generally walking in the realm of light—God’s revelation of Himself and His view of the world—produces beneficial things. It brings welfare and benefit and generosity to the table.
*It produces righteousness. Living in this realm the outcome is actions and deeds that are righteous—appropriate for every situation.
* It produces truth. This is dealing with life as it actually is not hiding or tolerating or compromising. Living in light is living is reality. Each of these characteristics are connected to God’s nature which is where this realm originates. Which means that we are being imitators of God as 5:1 commands.
*By its very nature light exposes things—darkness, evil and falsehood. Unbelievers live there and these role models have nothing to do with the light.
4. You have God’s approval 10
The goal of the spiritual life is a continual process of figuring out what is pleasing to the Lord. We do this by ‘trying the learn’ or approving what pleases God. So we are taking our cue form the Light—Gods disclosure of Himself and His view of the world. 1. By the directive will of God in the Bible and 2. By the wisdom derived from the Bible—that is, applying God’s revelation to our lives in areas where there is no directive will.
DON’T SHARE IN UNBELIEVERS LIFESTYLES 11-14
1. Don’t get involved 11
Not only are we to avoid unbelievers as role models but not share in their lifestyles. Their source is darkness; their outcome is God’s wrath vs 6. Their lifestyles are ‘unfruitful’—no goodness or righteousness, or truthfulness. Just unproductive, useless lives. Don’t go there.
2. Instead expose them
But expose them to whom and for what reason? We must not just tolerate these lifestyles of darkness. The whole context is about believers lives. Their lives are not to be lived as those in darkness but in the realm of light. So when you see this kind of thing in one another’s lives you must expose it not ignore it or accept it. Similar to what I saw yesterday when a coach pulled a player aside who nearly cost his team crucial field position by taunting the other team. Exposure, bringing that deed to the light of the moment is the same kind of thing we are called to do here with those who are sharing in an unbelieving lifestyle. Exposure is for correction—something the Corinthians were unwilling to do with incest in their own fellowship. But why do this?
3. These lifestyles are shameful 12-13 First, exposing these deeds reveals how repugnant they really are. They are disgraceful by nature. Second, the exposure is necessary for correction to arrest the spread but promote light living! The emphasis is on correction for change. Darkness tries to conceal sins that should be exposed. We want to keep them secret but they fester and infect others and us. Unbelievers may sin openly without shame but not so for us in the light. Third, light shows the true nature of this lifestyles and its deeds 13. The idea is that every single thing that is being exposed by the light becomes visible. Not one thing is missed. Believers adopting unbelievers as role models and sharing in their lifestyles should be exposed so they can correct their course and change to produce the fruit of light.
4. Wake up and change your ways 14 Repentance is always the proper response to correction and this hymn is a call to repent. Move away from sinful focus and lifestyle to a life pleasing to God!
1. Obviously believers will adopt an unbelieving lifestyle in a variety of ways. This is a warning to each of us.
2. We have the responsibility to probe and expose this when it is evident in believers around us.
3. The reason for exposure is correction so they can benefit from the fruit of the light.