During the present pandemic and inability of the saints to gather for public worship and fellowship, elder Tom Cammenga has been writing a couple of meditations a week for Faith PRC, the congregation in which he serves. With his permission we post one of the early ones he wrote for the church's comfort and guidance in these difficult times.
Children of Light
Read Ephesians 5:1-21
The book of Ephesians was written by Paul, likely while he was imprisoned in Rome. Having visited Ephesus at least three times and having lived and worked there for about three years, Paul writes this letter under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, to further instruct these beloved saints and to strengthen them in the faith.
In verses 1 and 2 the inspired Apostle directs the saints in Ephesus as well as the saints of Faith PRC, to be followers of God and to walk in love, having Christ as our example. Paul then goes on in much of the remainder of the text to, on the one hand, illustrate negatively those things that inhibit us from following God and walking in love, and the fruit of such activities, and on the other hand, positively, what actions and activities are evidence of a right relationship with God.
As you and I read through the text, are we convicted by the negative examples? Is our conscious pricked when we read verses 3 and 4 of the text? “But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints; Neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient: but rather giving of thanks.” Do you and I apply these examples to ourselves or do we think of other members of the congregation? The real question is, how do you and I walk? Do we follow God as children of light, or do we follow the devil as children of darkness?
But why children of light? Why is this how God has chosen to describe his elect children? Well, have you ever wondered at the power of light? Think about it for a moment and maybe even discuss it with your children. Is there ever a time, other than the plague of darkness in Egypt and the three hours of darkness while Christ was on the cross, when light is not able to overcome darkness? A good way to illustrate this would be to place several pieces of duct tape that you have stuck together, after having poked a hole through all of them with a pin, over the lens of a flashlight. Now, in the darkness of night find the darkest corner of your home, maybe in a closet or in the basement, and shut off all the lights. Once your eyes have adjusted to the darkness, switch on the flashlight. What happens? If the end of the flashlight has been taped adequately, only a small pin prick of light will be visible. The key word is that it is visible. No amount of darkness, even though you have found the darkest place in your home, is able to overcome or extinguish that small, pin prick of light.
And so, it is with us, if we are truly following God. The results of our following God will be visible for all to see as if they were light that pierces the darkness of night. The light that we project, however, is not our light, but the light of Jesus Christ. Notice what verse 14 says; “Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light.”
So then comes our calling as it is set forth in the text, beginning in verse 15. Paul, knowing our nature and the nature of the saints in Ephesus because it was the same as his own, exhorts them and us “to walk circumspectly (diligently), not as fools but as wise.” And then he further instructs that we redeem the time. That the Ephesians and the saints who make up the congregation of Faith PRC use whatever time we have been given, to diligently follow after God and walk in love, for Him first of all, but then also (and if we truly love God this will certainly follow) for one another.
But how can we do that now, separated and unable to come together as a congregation? Thankfully, God has given us amazing technology that allows us not only to talk to one another, whether with email, texts, or on the phone, but also to see one another as we communicate. And don’t forget, we all have Bibles and Psalters and favorite hymns that can be sung, both individually as well as together as families. Certainly, these are good things we can use and do as we seek to follow God.
There is one thing, however, that we can do for one another that is far more beneficial; pray. Pray for the needs of the body. Pray for contentment in our current circumstances. Pray that soon we may be brought together again soon. Pray for those who are experiencing loneliness. Pray that in every aspect of all our lives, God may be glorified and exalted. Ephesians 5:19-21: “Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord; Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ; Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God”.