Sunday, 8 February 2015

God Illuminates - Eph 4:17 - 6:9

From Paul's 'urging' in v1 he now notches up to 'insisting' in v17. Each of us is put off the old self and live our new lives in Christ, which is unpacked in various ways through this whole section. In many ways it repeats the 'New Life, New Life-Style' series we saw in 1 and 2 Corinthians last year. Paul will not tolerate any of us living a double-life - we are to leave our non-Christ-like behaviour behind.

The old and new are characterised as Light and Dark. Life without God was corrupt, in the shadows and darkness. In coming to Christ God turned the spotlights on, exposing, bringing out into the open. Our lives are therefore now to be lived in the open - to return to old habits leads back into darkness.

To live in His light and by His light is shown especially in 5:8 - 14. Yet Paul goes further ... with light shining on us we now reflect that same light of Christ onto those around us. The call is to be light reflectors, exposing darkness in the world. We are to be intentional, making most of opportunities (v16).

This requires an ongoing progress in our lives, with self-discipline to enable it to continue. The put off of old self and put on the new self (4:22 - 24) is a continual process, just as the 'be filled with the Spirit' is a command in the present continuous (in the Greek) ... i.e. be continually filled.

For our discipleship we are advocating three habits of discipleship to help this process:
  1. The Discipline of OFF
    the world bombards us - let us learn to turn things like mobiles/email/Facebook off from time to time. Let us learn to make space to reflect, to listen ...
  2. Share the Walk
    do discipleship with a trusted close friend or two. Explore the key questions and challenges together, and hold each other accountable
  3. Ever closer to Jesus
    seek more and more closeness with Jesus – you will discover more of His resurrection life as you do.
To reflect the light of Christ more clearly, we ourselves need to get closer to the light. The third discipline is therefore of crucial importance, and goes hand in hand with the ongoing command to go on being filled with His Spirit.

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