“Live in the Light,” Ephesians 5: 8-15

Note from Andrew: I’m trying some different things with how I prepare and deliver sermons this year, I felt like I was getting too dependent on having a manuscript so I went with broader notes this week. I’ve tried to flesh them out a bit and make them easier for anyone to follow, but to see the sermon as it was delivered visit the Pleasant Hill Vimeo page.

Does Christmas ending make you sad?

  • December 26 bums me out
    • I blame my parents (both teachers)
      • Once Christmas is was over vacation might as well have been, all the focus shifted back to school starting up again
        • July 5th is the same way – summer is over
  • What I think the reality is – Christmas doesn’t live up to the hype
    • Do people ever like your gifts as much as you think they will
    • Do you ever like people’s gifts as much as you know you should
    • Christmas is way more about the build than the event itself
      • How do I know? Christmas songs are on the radio for a solid month at least before hand and off the radio by 5pm on December 26

That’s an issue in the secular world of Christmas but it hits us in the church too

  • The Sunday before Christmas is a much bigger deal than the Sunday after
    • A PHill our decorations are down,
  • That’s a problem – Christmas should be the beginning, not the end
    • The light comes and doesn’t leave, hope, peace, joy and love are realities in our lives, but once the excitement dies down it’s easy to lose that reality

 

Ephesians 5 – Paul gets that it is easy for the excitement to die down

  • If there was a city where this was a threat it was Ephesus – big city, temple to Artemis (wonder of world), a lot to entice them when the excitement of their faith died down
    • Rest of chapter 5 = tips to stay living in the light and as children of the light

 

This is the time of year where people like to make resolutions so I want to offer 5 resolutions for living in the light in 2018

  1. Focus on people more than pixels
    1. Maybe a reminder to those of us more attached to to our phones and computers than others but the big idea is the same, Be present
      1. We have so much technology that in theory allows us to be connected but what it really does is make our relationships suface level and superficial
        • We text instead of call
        • We wait for information on Facebook instead of seeking it out – presence is important – “children of the light, ” not individual child of the light – not supposed to be disconnected from each other and our world. There’s a reason Paul writes more to churches than individual, faith is supposed to be a corporate thing.
      2. We also have the means of thinking we know about the world without being in the world
        • If we rely on what we hear and aren’t present we’ll miss the good. When we’re present in the world we’ll feel more connected to the good in the world
  2. Take your soul seriously
    1. Lie we believe – what we see, hear, read, and the people we’re around don’t affect us
      • I’ve used the example before, the more time we spend in darkness the more our eyes adjust to it
        • Violence desensitizes us
        • Sex desensitizes us
        • Negative and hateful people and media will make us negative and hateful
    2. Decide to take your soul seriously
      • People we’re around and the things we choose expose ourselves to impact us, they leave us better or worse.
        • In Ephesians – “be careful how you live, not as unwise but as wise”
          • Be careful, think about what you’re exposing yourself too, take your soul seriously
  3. Increase your kindness
    1. Another lie we believe – feelings lead to action
      • Think that through – I’ll be faithful when I feel like it, I’ll work when I feel like it
      • If we wait for feelings to dictate our actions we’ll wait a long time
        • Pizza will never stop being good
    2.  More often than not our actions lead to feelings
      1. If we choose to be generous, if we choose to be kind, the actions and seeing the results will build those feelings in us
        • A great example of this are the Disciples, they followed Jesus first and figured it out as the went along
    3. People who have great prayer lives or who are really dedicated to bible study don’t have some special feeling we don’t have access to, they made those things habits and the results produced the feelings that then keep them going
    4. Choose actions that keep you in the light, don’t wait for the feelings. One you could try…
  4. Forgive people
    1. We give people a lot of power over us when we hold on to the things they’ve done we feel wronged by
      1. Some of us have very serious wrongs that have happened – its hard to let that go
        • Don’t start there
      2. We’ve also all got things that we know deep down is insignificant but we cling to them
        • Start forgiving people who cut you off in traffic – forgiveness is a skill that grows
        • A good place to start…
  5. Forgive yourself
    1. I find myself drawn to Genesis 3 a lot
      • Where things go wrong is that Adam and Eve hear God and hide
        • They know God’s gonna be mad so they run away
          • We run away a lot
            • Tullian Tcvidjian – the reason problem we have with grace isn’t a God problem, it’s an us problem

We don’t believe we can be forgiven because we can’t forgive ourselves

Paul in Romans – while we were sinners Christ died for us. Before any of us were born, before we did anything, God decided we were worth forgiving and saving. Christmas is the start of that. Christmas is a reminder that there’s nothing keeping us away from living in the light but our own belief that we can’t

Wake up sleeper. Rise from the dead, and Christ will shine in you. This year we can choose to forgive and be forgiven. This year we can choose to wake up. We can choose to live in the light

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