LET US LIVE AS CHILDREN OF LIGHT! —PART 2
Last week what we looked in Ephesians was just the first half of what it means and what we would look like if we are living as children of light. In review I will hit some of the important characteristics from Ephesians 4. Do not live as the Gentiles do in the futility of your thinking. We are no longer Gentiles, we are Christians. They are separated from God because of ignorance from a hardened heart. Get rid of deceitful desires by having a new godly attitude toward life. Quit lying to one another. It is alright to get angry but do not let it lead to sin. Quit stealing, instead do work, which is good for everyone. Only say things that will build up, not tear down. Do not grieve the Holy Spirit by falling back into your old ways. Eliminate as best we can bitterness rage, anger, brawling, slander, and malice. Instead as God’s people, be kind and compassionate, forgiving because God first has forgiven us of everything. That is the lengthy list of what we saw we should be doing and not doing from last week.
This week we see in Ephesians 5 more practical application of how we should be acting as children of light. Let us look at these specific things mentioned today. No sexual immortality or any other kind of impurity or greed. No obscenity, foolish talk, or coarse talking. Do not let yourself be deceived with empty words or be partnered with those who are disobedient. Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness. It is shameful to even mention what the disobedient do in secret. Do not live as unwise. Do not be foolish. Do not get drunk. This is the specific list of things not to do or be involved with as children of light.
Now what we should be doing. We are to live a life of love as Christ loved us. Live as children of light, which includes goodness, righteousness, and truth. Expose the darkness. Be careful how you live as the wise. Make the most of every opportunity God gives you. Try hard to understand God’s will. Be filled with the spirit. Sing and make music in your hearts to the Lord always giving thanks to God the Father for everything in Jesus name. Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.
Why are we to do this? Out of our love for God and as we read, we are encouraged to “wake up o sleeper, rise from the dead and Christ will shine on you.” As children of light, we are to be different from the rest of the world. We are to speak up for what through God we know is right that can take a variety of forms. We are to have the courage to celebrate things that are going the right direction in our world and country. Yet at the same time, expose those things that are not right. Last week I acknowledged my own soul searching about what is happening in America at this time. Yesterday this nation remembered our Independence from Great Britain. This year’s celebrations were much different than any other because of all the things going on in America at this time. The Coronavirus concerns lead to the cancellation of many of the events, not only in our area but in many other parts of the country as well. This nation is also facing other challenges as well at this time.
As I briefly pointed out last week, there is a desire by some to remove statutes and other historic landmarks across the country. This has already happened in many places across this country. There is a group of people who have decided for everyone what is appropriate and what is not. Every historic person is now viewed from the prism of race. The founding fathers of this nation are looked at differently by some now than every before. If they do not measure up to a certain standard, they must somehow be removed from sight. Some of the founders of this nation did some things that were good, but they also did or believed in some things that we now know are wrong. They were not perfect people, just as we are not perfect. Romans 3:23 says all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. The past and present leaders of this nation are no different. We, as a nation, should be willing to look at our past and our present honestly recognizing the things we have done right and yet also acknowledge those sins that did and do still exist. The founders from the very beginning knew this nation would be a work in progress. That is why they with God’s guidance, I am sure, created a constitution that allowed for changes as we the people saw the need arise.
In the midst of the turmoil, this nation faces on several fronts what God’s children, as children of the light, are to do. As we read in Ephesians 4 and 5 what children of light should and should not do, where does that leave us today? Again, what are God’s people to do? First, we should acknowledge this simple truth, we are Christians first. Americans second. One of the things mentioned in these verses is our willingness to expose the darkness wherever that might be, which means we must be willing to look at the entire lives of those men and women from our past and present that have and are currently playing a role in this nation’s history, which leads us to some of what is happening to American today.
This most recent racial divide occurred because of the death of George Floyd by a policeman in Minneapolis. Virtually everyone agrees he should not have died because of his crime. What has happened since in America has taken on a life of its own. While we agree George Floyd should not have died and those who believe this are of all races. We have been more divided by what happened in America ever since. One of the leading groups calling for change in America is called Black Lives Matter. Black Lives Matter has been more than willing to point out the shortcomings, even we might say, the sins of white people past and present. They, however, are ignoring the tragedy that is happening in virtually every major city in America.
This is a brief news story from the Decatur Herald and Review newspaper this past Monday: Shooting across Chicago kill 3 kids--Chicago—Activists and local leaders called for more state and federal support Sunday as weekend shootings across Chicago left three children deal, including a 10-year-old who was struck by a stray bullet that came through an apartment window. The Saturday night death was among at least 10 shooting fatalities since Friday evening, which follow a deadly Father’s Day weekend and fresh concern about a violent summer ahead. A 1-year-old and 17-year-old were also killed. “It’s out of control where even innocent children are losing their lives,” said neighborhood activist Raul Montes Jr., who planned a Sunday evening vigil on the city’s southwest side. He called for federal intervention while a state legislator announced a new task force to address underlying issues.
When was the last time you saw the national news spend any time on this story. This is happening every week across this country in virtually every major city. It is not just a tragic isolated event like what happened to George Floyd. I am sorry for saying this but as a child of the light, I must point out the hypocrisy of Black Lives Matters. One could almost conclude the black lives that matter are those wrongly killed by white people. But if blacks are killing their own across the country, dozens each week, that does not apparently matter. What a tragedy that should not be happening. I do not know what the answer is other than the simple, profound fact this nation needs Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. Yes, we need equality for all in this nation. The irony is as many faults as this nation has the fact is millions are coming to this nation every ear both legally and illegally because this nation still gives opportunity for all. Is this nation perfect? No. Is God still using this nation? I believe so. I believe we should be willing to acknowledge the things the men and woman of the past did right that helped us get where we are today while also admitting to the things that have been done wrong in our past as well. As children of light, we must be honest about the things both good and bad as we seek to honor God as responsible Christians and Americans. In closing, the encouragement from God in Chronicles 2 applies if we are serious about seeking God’s help for ourselves and this Nation.
2 Chronicles 7:14-15 if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land. 15 Now my eyes will be open and my ears attentive to the prayers offered in this place.
July: We will worship in the sanctuary at 10:00 for those who feel comfortable coming. Physical distancing must be maintained and the wearing of face masks, please. We will also continue the facebook live service for those who wish to stay home.
July 5: 9:00 a.m. Sunday School begins again.
July 7: 9:30 a.m. Bible Study resumes
July 8: Board Meeting 6:15 executive committee, 7:00 commissions, 7:30 board
Please remember to lock the doors when you are the last one to leave the church. We have found unlocked doors on occasion in the past month or so.
If you have copier issues, please let Carol know.
Upper Room and Daily Bread: new issues available in the back of the sanctuary
THANK YOU: to the people who have been mowing!
to all who helped in any way with our revised edition of the Strawberry Festival!
to the State Bank of Cerro Gordo for the grant money
Offerings are still being collected in the back of the sanctuary. We are thankful to all who are faithful in bringing them or mailing them. (PO Box 45)
First Sunday of the month: Food Banks
Food needs: boxes of cereal, boxes of prepared foods, such as soups, potatoes, rice, mac & cheese, peanut butter, jelly
Donation Box July and August: AC bills
Keep up on denominational happenings at www.brethren.org and district at www.iwdcob.org
Larry Traxler’s phone number: 217-454-2362
Keep in Your Prayers
Anna Gentry Thompson; Larry Cripe; Arnold Schultz (at Hickory Point Christian Village for rehab); Clyde and Nancy Fansler; Shirley Clarkson; Mike Seidenstricker; Adiline Young; Barb Baker; Kim Lehmann; Dylan Junior; Doug Fansler; Liam Martina; Ali Bryant; Jeff Sawyer; Liza Yore; Candy Dobson; Anna Rose Larrick; Gary Jesse; Norm & Marge Starr; Shawn Cain; Robert Cripe; Mayo Hanaver; Zola Copeland and family; Jennifer Like; Patty Cripe; Lauren Gross; Stacie Warren; Nancy Gorrell; many unspoken requests; Coronavirus crisis; healthcare workers and first responders; the families of the 130,000 people who have died from COVID-19
Military and Other Services and their families
Brethren Volunteer Service workers; Disaster project workers
Joe and Tina Martina thank everyone for their prayers for Joe’s cousin Lou who is now doing well after having COVID-19.
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