Manna for Today

 

Live in the Light (Eph. 5:8-14)

For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light 9 (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) 10 and find out what pleases the Lord. 11 Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them. 12 For it is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret. 13 But everything exposed by the light becomes visible, 14 for it is light that makes everything visible. This is why it is said: “Wake up, O sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.” (Eph. 5:8-14)

Learn it:

            On Monday Paul was explain to them the consequences of living a life of unrepentant sin.  In today’s passage Paul is now describing how their identity has changed and what their lives should look like now.  He again does this comparison of you were once darkness but now you are light.  Their identity has completely changed!  They now belong to the Lord and they should be producing fruit that is good, righteous and true.  These are things that please the Lord, not what he was just writing about.  He again tells them not to have anything to do with darkness.  He is not calling them to isolate themselves from sinners.  He is telling them not to participate in their sinful ways, in verse 7 he tells them to become “partners” with them.  We can have relationships with them we just have to make sure we are not partakers with them in their sinful ways

            We must be the light in the darkness.  Weather the sin is in our lives, or those around us we must be revealing the truth in a loving manner.  Need to be doing that in our own lives as well.  It is the Holy Spirit that shines his light in our lives to reveal the darkness we may be harboring.  It is not always a fun process, but it is one that brings forth a lot of healing.  He then ends this passage with a quote from the Old Testament.  This Scripture was commonly used during baptisms.  It describes a person that was risen from spiritual death and brought into the family of God.  Everyone who has surrendered their life to God, repented of their sins and is pursing Christ has arisen from the dead. 

Live it:

            Monday, we read about things we shouldn’t be doing.  Today we read about characteristics that we should have in our lives.  These things are only possible by God creating them in us.  How well are you producing this fruit in your life?  Doing good deeds?  Seeking righteousness and truth?  Ways we do this is by letting the light of Christ shine in our lives.  One way we do this is by having close Christian relationships in our lives.  Having accountability partners where we can bring light to the sin, darkness, in our lives.  When we confess our sins to one another we remove the foothold that Satan has in our lives.  Do you have someone in your life that you can trust with your struggles?  If not, I encourage you to find one today.  Seriously, make a phone call, send a text do whatever it takes and setup a time to meet with someone.  If you begin to meet with them regularly your life will begin to change.  Your walk with Christ will become so much stronger.  We need those relationships to help us walk in the light. 


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Get rid of vices (Eph. 5:3-7)

But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people. 4 Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving. 5 For of this you can be sure: No immoral, impure or greedy person—such a man is an idolater—has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. 6 Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of such things God’s wrath comes on those who are disobedient. 7 Therefore do not be partners with them.  (Eph. 5:3-7)

Learn it:

            Since the beginning of chapter four Paul has been writing about what it looks like to live in a manner worthy of your calling.  In today’s passage he lists out some vices that the Ephesians church might be struggling with.  The first one he mentions is dealing with all types of sexual immorality.  He has more detailed lists of these in Galatians 5:19 and 1 Corinthians 6:9. Some of the big sexual sins in this time would be adultery and visiting prostitutes.  These are improper for God’s people.  He then goes into the way believers should talk.  Believers should not be crude and disgusting.  Instead they should be focused on giving thanks to God.  If we are truly thankful for what God has given us it will help us avoid these two sins. 

            He then points out the consequences of people who live their lives in unrepentant sin.  They will not share in the kingdom of God.  People who do these things habitually and show no signs of remorse will not be welcomed into the kingdom of God.  This is a stern warning from Paul.  This is something we must take seriously and examine our lives to make sure we are pursuing holiness.  He then ends with one more warning about not being influenced by other people.  There will be people in our communities that will rationalize sin and say that it’s okay to do.  We should not be lead astray by them and we should not be partners with them.  We need to be sure that we are focused on God and live in the manner that he wants us to. 

Live it:

            There’s a lot in this passage about how we are to live our lives.  We must stay away from sexual sins, filthy talk, and greed.  With our culture constantly influencing us we must make sure we strive to live by the standards that Christ has given us.  We see culture influencing us in sex before marriage or moving in together before you get married.  Christians are also influenced in how people talk with one another.  It is not always uplifting, clean and can be vulgar but it’s all considered normal.  These are things that culture tells us is alright and it influences believers.  We must push against what is common and strive for something better.  We must examine our lives and see how we can pursue holiness and giving thanks to God.  What areas of our life do we need to surrender to God and let him change us?  Are there people that we are “partners” with that we may need to change how that relationship looks like.  We don’t want to totally isolate ourselves because then we lose the chance to be a change agent with that person.  Lots to think about and I hope you can be focused on God and give him glory with your life. 


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Words and Unity (Eph. 4:25-5:2)

Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to his neighbor, for we are all members of one body. 26 “In your anger do not sin”: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, 27 and do not give the devil a foothold. 28 He who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with his own hands, that he may have something to share with those in need.

29 Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. 30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31 Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. 32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.

5   Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children 2 and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.  (Eph. 4:25-5:2)

Learn it:

            In today’s passage Paul continues to guide the church in how they should be living together as the body of Christ.  We need to be speaking lovingly with our neighbor, not gossiping.  We should be quick to clear any disputes we have between members of our body.  The longer we wait the more the devil will use it as an opportunity to let bitterness fester in our hearts.  Paul’s list continues in telling us not to steal and speak only in a way that builds up the body.  When we act in a way that causes division Paul says it grieves the Holy Spirit.  It frustrates him, but since the Holy Spirit is God his mission continues but it does slow things down.

            Paul then goes rapid fire and tells us six things that we have to get rid of.  We should replace those things with kindness, compassion and forgiveness.  These are things we have to be striving for and loving other people in the body of Christ.  We have experienced unimaginable grace and forgiveness through Christ.  Because we have experienced such love we should be able to show the same type of love to our brothers and sisters in Christ. 

Live it:

            In our culture gossip and sarcasm come as natural as breathing.  The words we speak to one another can do powerful things.  The can spread division and bitterness or bring people together.  There is nothing more the devil likes to see then a church that is divided because people spread rumors and gossip about one another.  Sometimes it seems like harmless chit-chat, but it can often lead to things that we should not be talking about.  We should only be speaking in ways that build each other up and point one another to Christ.  How are you using your words to love those in your church?  Are there people you need to apologize to and bring healing to the relationship? 


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Breaking free from our past (Eph. 4:17-24)

So I tell you this, and insist on it in the Lord, that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking. 18 They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts. 19 Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, with a continual lust for more.

20 You, however, did not come to know Christ that way. 21 Surely you heard of him and were taught in him in accordance with the truth that is in Jesus. 22 You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; 23 to be made new in the attitude of your minds; 24 and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.  (Eph. 4:17-24)

Learn it:

            Paul continues to move in more practical habits that emerge from a person that has surrendered their life to Christ.  Starts out this passage, in verses 17-19, reminding the Ephesian readers of their former life.  Before they followed Christ, they were living a life of no hope.  Their hearts were hardened, and they were pursuing every type of impurity or sensuality their hearts desired.   But then their lives were changed.  They were taught to put off their old self.  This means they were to let go of how the used to act as pagan Gentiles.  They were to stop giving themselves over to every desire that came their way.  Paul gives a list of these but for right now he wants them to focus on how they have been transformed.  They now have a new attitude and new thoughts.  They should be pursuing holiness and glorifying God.  We see this is something they should be striving for and there is always room for growth.  In this new creation we are now apart of, we are called to have a character like God, righteous and holy.

Live it:

            How are you doing at breaking free from your past?  Have you taken off your old self and put on a new self?  I get a mental picture of changing clothes.  Our old selves were dirt old ripped up clothes and we are now in the process of putting on the clothes of Christ.  Pure, holy and perfect.  As we go through this process it might feel like the clothes do not fit.  Like a new pair of jeans, they sometimes feel tight and not broken in.  We like our old clothes because they were comfy and well worn.  We need to strive to put on the new clothes because they are so much better, and they glorify God. 

            It is a long process in letting go the impure desires we had before we came to know Christ.  We have to continue to strive every day to find our new identity as his creation, as his son or daughter.  Those old desires no longer have a place in our life.   We have to surrender those feeling and desires and ask God to fill us with his fullness.  He truly satisfies us.  He completes us and gives us everything we need.  What is something from your past that keeps popping up and distracting you from following God?  Pray to God that he would take that burden from you and that he would fill you with his Spirit to overcome it. 


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Pastor’s Corner