Bible Reading: 

Ephesians 5: 1-20

Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.

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. Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving. For of this you can be sure: No immoral, impure or greedy person—such a person is an idolater—has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of such things God’s wrath comes on those who are disobedient. Therefore do not be partners with them.

For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light (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 It is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret. 13 But everything exposed by the light becomes visible—and everything that is illuminated becomes a light. 14 This is why it is said:

“Wake up, sleeper,

    rise from the dead,

    and Christ will shine on you.”

15 Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, 16 making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. 17 Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is. 18 Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit, 19 speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord, 20 always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Reflection: 

Sexual immorality is something that is often mentioned in church gatherings, through teachings, and in sessions all over the country; but it is often also something that people shy away from talking about in detail, mostly through embarrassment. So what does Paul mean by saying “sexual immorality”? Well, at the time that Paul was writing it was not uncommon for people to have lots of different partners and act in a way that could be considered promiscuous and experimental. Paul is pointing out that God’s ideal for humanity was to have just one partner, and to be totally committed to them. Paul is writing to the Ephesians about this presumably because he knows that this is something that Ephesus struggles with. 

Paul urges people to live like God’s holy people, which is to have nothing to do with this culture, not even to discuss it, or make obscene jokes. Paul says to his readers that if we want to live a life that is worthy of God, we should be set apart from this world completely, and to focus on thanksgiving, and being people of the light. 

Paul calls us, as his readers, light in the Lord, and says that we should live as children of that light. This means to try to think as God might think, and to not just go with the flow, but instead to follow God’s path, and to live in this Light that we have been talking about over the past few weeks. The light that is solid, and sound for building a life upon, taking the moral ground, and living a life worthy of God. 

Of course our world is full of things around us that try to pull us back into the “darkness” of the world. How should we avoid it? It’s just a matter of asking yourself if whatever you are taking a part in is something that would be pleasing to God. It is certainly not always easy, but Paul encourages us all to strive to do this with our whole life. 

One of the things that Paul recommends is singing. Now we have no idea what the singing in Paul’s time would have been like exactly, but it’s fairly likely that this little quote in verse 14 is from one of the popular songs from his time. The reason is suggests singing is because he knows how catchy music is. There aren’t many people out there who could honestly say that they don’t like any form of music, and I bet you can find a christian song in pretty much every genre out there (yes, even death metal, it’s out there!). Because music is so catchy, those lyrics will get stuck with you, and they will be in your mind as you are going about your life. Lyrics which can help us to focus on following the light, rather than be sucked into the darkness. 

The light is God’s presence, somewhere that it is amazing to be. The darkness, is the absence of God, somewhere is unpleasant to be. Always try to remain in the light. 

Prayer: 

Lord, sometimes I find things really hard; and I struggle to always live in your light, but I ask that you would help me to spend even more time in your light. Help me to follow you as I choose how to live my life. In Jesus name, Amen. 

Sum it up: 

God’s perfect plan for our lives is to live with him, following his paths. The light is this place. Living in darkness is living away from God, away from what is holy. 

Weekly Challenge: 

Although it may seem very difficult, why not take a look at what you are watching on TV, Netflix, Amazon Prime etc. and see if you think this is something that is helpful to you living in the light?

If you want to really push yourself, why not take a look at who you follow on Instagram, or TikTok or any other social media. Do they help you to live in the light? 

St Mary’s Church

12 East Street

Billingshurst

RH14 9PY

01403 782332