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Walking in the Light: Pursuing God's Best (Ephesians 5:1-14)

Ephesians 5:1–14 - 1 Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children; 2 and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma. 3 But immorality or any impurity or greed must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints; 4 and there must be no filthiness and silly talk, or coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks. 5 For this you know with certainty, that no immoral or impure person or covetous man, who is an idolater, has an inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. 6 Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. 7 Therefore do not be partakers with them; 8 for you were formerly darkness, but now you are Light in the Lord; walk as children of Light 9 (for the fruit of the Light consists in all goodness and righteousness and truth), 10 trying to learn what is pleasing to the Lord. 11 Do not participate in the unfruitful deeds of darkness, but instead even expose them; 12 for it is disgraceful even to speak of the things which are done by them in secret. 13 But all things become visible when they are exposed by the light, for everything that becomes visible is light. 14 For this reason it says, “Awake, sleeper, And arise from the dead, And Christ will shine on you.” 

 

What does today’s passage say?

In today’s passage, Paul exhorts us as cherished children of God to follow Jesus’ pattern of self-giving, servant-hearted love (vv. 1-2). We must take care that sexual vice, moral impurity, and greed have no room among us, since these things incur divine punishment (vv. 3-5). Let no one fool you with hollow defenses sanctioning sexual misconduct; those propagating such lies will face judgment (vv. 6-7). Rather, since God has rescued you from darkness into light, walk wisely by displaying godly virtues in your lives (vv. 8-10). Refrain from participating in the unfruitful actions done in secrecy; instead reveal those deeds to the light (vv. 11-14).

 

How can I apply Ephesians 5:1-14 to my life?

Paul calls believers to walk in purity and wisdom in light of their new identity in Christ. As beloved, adopted children of the King, empowered by the indwelling Spirit, our lives should showcase His transforming grace. These verses outline basic principles for living as saints set apart for God’s glory. No longer blending in with the world’s patterns, we embrace our calling to shine Christ’s light of truth, hope and sacrificial love to all people. This high calling requires leaning on God’s strength through every temptation to settle for counterfeits that sabotage our witness. As we grow in discernment, we must filter out cultural deception that tags enlightenment onto self-destructive vices. Instead, we must have the courage to walk in counter-cultural wisdom guided by objective truth. As the redeemed community of the church, we spur each other on faithfully toward purity and purpose. Here are some basic principles from this passage that we should apply to our lives:

1.    Walk in Love as Christ Did (vv. 1-2): As Paul shifts gears from laying theological groundwork, he calls us to live out truth in action: by walking in the same sacrificial love that Christ modeled. What does this agape love look like practically? It's more than a sentimental feeling - it's humble, selfless service. It's patiently bearing with difficult people. It's seeing value in the overlooked. It's dying to self-interest to lift others up. This degree of love only flows from clinging to Christ's example. As we see His compassion, we find power to follow His footsteps among the hurting, the lonely, and the unlovely. Our world urgently needs this witness. As counter-cultural as it is, a church thriving in grace and unity captures people's attention. Our communities need to see lives authentically changed and shared. Our families need encouragement to love as Christ loved. As we walk in wisdom toward outsiders, we must especially ask God to soften our hearts for difficult relationships and use them to reveal His grace, mercy, and redemption  (1 John 4:7-11, 1 Corinthians 13:4-8a, Philippians 2:1-4).


Food for Thought: Why is walking in love as Christ did crucial for living the Christian life? What specific actions can you take this week to walk in greater love?


2.    Reject Immorality and Impurity (vv. 3-5): As children of light, we must be vigilant to reject behaviors and speech not fitting for saints. Sexual immorality and all impurity in deeds or words should have no place among us. Rather than conformity to culture, we are called to discern what pleases the Lord. Façades of freedom offer only slavery to sin's fleeting pleasures and inevitable consequences. Yet many still casually indulge, numb to the offense. Such acceptance among God's people tears at community, quenches the Spirit, and destroys our witness. Scripture soberly warns that no participant in these patterns inherits God's kingdom regardless of empty assurances. We must take sin seriously. In positive contrast, living sacrificed for Christ ushers true freedom and overflows with Christ's amazing love. May we listen closely to the Spirit's guidance, desire purity in our innermost being, and speak words that build up rather than tear down. As we navigate these tensions wisely, we can have confidence that redemption is possible even for those who seem trapped in sin (1 Corinthians 6:9-11, Galatians 5:13, Ephesians 4:29-30).


Food for Thought: What mindsets and safeguards can help us steer clear of impurity? How should we approach issues of sexual brokenness in our communities with both conviction and compassion?


3.    Do Not Be Deceived by Empty Words (vv. 6-7): In a culture saturated with messages minimizing sin, we must reject empty philosophies that indulge the flesh. From media to academia and even religious settings, deception abounds with clever appeals for moral relativism. But as sons of light, we embrace objective truth - what glorifies God, not self, as the ultimate moral gauge. These competing voices often specifically target sexual ethics, downplaying adultery, promiscuity, and homosexual practice as personal preferences or innate identities rather than soul-damaging perversions of God’s intent. Tragically, buying such lies brings about divine wrath, not enlightened freedom. We must test persuasive arguments against Scripture, steer clear of mindsets hostile to God’s design, and surround ourselves with wise community - especially upholding God’s best for marriage and sexuality. In a confused world indulging drift and vain deceit, may our feet stand firm on the Rock, rooted in grace and truth (2 Corinthians 10:3-5, Colossians 2:8, Hebrews 3:12-14).


Food for Thought: What cultural messages today could lead our community to compromise? How can we build discernment while reaching out in hope?


4.    Walk as Children of Light (vv. 8-14): As those united with Christ, we must live consistently with our true identity as saints empowered by the Spirit. No longer blind in the futility of sin, we now see clearly Christ's light illuminating a better path - the life for which we were created. This means courageously walking in wisdom, actively pursuing what pleases the Lord across all of life. It means bearing Spirit-filled fruit in place of defect and darkness. Living as children of light impacts how we spend our time and invest our talents. It guides our conduct toward family and neighbors. It determines what we tolerate in entertainment. It checks hidden motives and agendas. And when sin creeps in, walking in the light means quickly acknowledging it before God and turning toward His mercy. As we walk transparently and accountably in community, the light exposes and heals. May we faithfully steward this amazing gift of grace that God gives so generously (Romans 13:11-14, Galatians 5:16-17, James 1:22-25).


Food for Thought: What areas of your walk need more light? What habits and relationships help you live intentionally as a child of light?


In these verses, Paul clearly outlines God’s high calling for our conduct as Christians. Through the power of the Holy Spirit, we can walk in the wisdom, love, and purity that honors our reconciliation to God and reflects His nature to the world. May we as the church encourage each other to embrace our true identity in Christ and steadfastly walk as He walked. Our communities desperately need to see the Spirit’s light transforming lives, replacing entropy with selfless love. True freedom, meaning and security is only found in pursuing God’s best according to His Word amid competing voices. By God's grace, may our fellowship and witness point people to the perfect Father reflected in the Son.

 

Prayer

Dear Heavenly Father,

I pray that You would increase my discernment and courage to walk as a child of light. Expose any areas of sin, deception, or complacency that sabotage my witness. Give me wisdom to filter out cultural lies that exalt self-indulgence. I pray that You would help me to grow humility and integrity in my life, empowering me to love and serve my family, neighbors and community with Christlike sacrifice. Make my life an authentic reflection for the hope, freedom, and security found only in embracing Jesus as Savior and Lord rather than the empty counterfeits of this world. Conform my desires to Yours.

I pray these things in the most precious name of Jesus, Amen.

 

Ephesians 5:8 – “for you were formerly darkness, but now you are Light in the Lord; walk as children of Light”

 

 

With His Blessings,

Pastor Corby

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