Fourth Sunday of Lent

Ephesians 5:14
Awake, you sleeper, and rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.


            To walk in the light of Christ, that is what it is to live as a Christian. Not to do those unfruitful things of darkness, those things we keep secret because we are ashamed. Rather as we walk in the light we produce goodness, righteousness and truth. The Spirit through Paul brought this good and right, truth to the Ephesians, and now He brings it to you, to guide you, teach you, and remind you who you are in Christ and what He has done for you. Now I don’t think I need to prove that working in the dark can be fruitless, anyone who’s walked into a table or chair when the lights are out knows that it’s kind of pointless; and of course when we do something shameful we seek to keep it in the dark, everyone knows this, everyone does this. And this is why we need reminders to bring us back to the light, to walk in it.

            The Spirit tells us, once you were darkness, now you are light in Christ. And earlier in the letter, you were dead in your trespasses and sin; but because of His great love God made you alive in Christ, raised with Him onto the throne of heaven (Ephesians 2:1-10). From death and darkness into light and life. God promises you that you are now alive in Jesus, you have the life of Jesus; and as He is the Light of the World, He reveals what is real, the truth about you and the lies as well. So what is that truth?

            The corrupt world says, you are alive, fight to keep it that way; so long as it doesn’t hurt anyone else, do whatever just make sure to look out for yourself. We hear and see this everyday, and more so today as we live with a pandemic, like those 10 plagues God sent to reveal His power against Pharaoh, and to His people (Exodus, 7:1-5). And like that time we hear the news the fear of the death, we see how the devil plays his game, how people across the world are driven to panic and division. Now this is true, what our world reveals about humanity, but what does God reveal?

            What is the Spirit teaching us through the text today? What is the light of Christ revealing? Yes, perhaps that you waste the time God has given you on shameful things, on fruitless things, chasing idols of fame, fortune, pleasure or whatever, or just that you are lazy and sleep on your faith, forgetting prayer, God’s Word and His people. The Spirit calls out, reminding of your baptism, ‘Awake you sleeper, rise from the dead and Christ will shine on you’! But what is He revealing to us now? This viral plague He has authority over, what is it revealing? A fear of death, of the unknown, worship of wealth and self; the truth of this sinful world, what is really valued, made visible by a virus.

            I asked before, what is true, now what is true about you? The world thinks you’re fighting to live, but the Holy Spirit has told you, you are as good as dead, dead to this world in which we live, but alive to Christ (Romans 6:11). Your life is Christ’s life, and in this season we look forward to His death, to our death. This is why Easter, the Christian Passover celebration, traditionally was a time for baptism. In baptism, you died to this corrupt world. So now, as all these people panic in their fear of death, remember you are in the light and life of Christ, you have already died so death has no power over you (Hebrews 2:14-15; 1 Corinthians 15:54-55). Our lives are joined to Christ’s, this is where the church seasons come from, to live again our temptations in the desert alongside Jesus and rejecting them with Him, to live again our trial, our death and our resurrection within Christ our head as we hear again His Passion. Through all this we remember what Christ has done, saving from sin, death, and the devil, giving us His holiness, life, and the Holy Spirit. And through these seasons we now seek, by His strength which He has given, to walk in the light. Christ has opened our eyes, Our Father brought us to new life in Jesus, The Holy Spirit has given us all we need, has given us faith (John 9:39; John 6:44; Romans 12:3, 9). And now you are alive to Christ, not this world; called to live in His light, promised that as we do goodness, righteousness and truth come.

            In the face of death of any sort, we need not fear for we have already died and been risen again in Christ the source of everlasting life. So now we are free to do good, to do what is right, and to confess what is true by the strength of the Spirit. To love each other and those in need, and to await the world of Light to come.

            Until then, the peace of God which passes all understanding guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. Amen.

Pastor Joseph Graham.