“Redeeming the Time” – Sermon at Evening Prayer for the Doxology Insight Conference
Preached by Rev. Dr. Harold Senkbeil,Executive Director for Spiritual Care
“Awake, O sleeper, and rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you. Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, (redeeming) the time, because the days are evil.” Ephesians 5:14-15
It’s time to wake up. Oh, I know it’s been a long day and we all could use some shuteye; but this is not about the hour of the day, it’s about the hour of action. When it comes to Christ’s Church, it’s high time we wake up. These are the days in which we need to rise and shine. We’ve been undercover long enough; God doesn’t need any more secret agents; what He needs are men and women of courage and integrity who are willing and eager to seize the day; to stand up and let their lights so shine before others that by seeing the good works of Christ’s people, others, too, may glorify the Father who is in heaven.
This exhortation from our text: “Walk as children of the light,” needs to be our watchword especially now in our time. And that’s as it should be, for God is all about light, you see.
Into the black void and chaos of the first creation God spoke: “Let there be light!” And there was Light. And that’s the way it’s been ever since the world began. God has always been in the business of creating Light in the midst of darkness.
When the fullness of time was come, God sent forth His Son, made of a woman, made under law, to redeem those who were under the Law. He was the eternal Word from the Father by whom all things were made. In Him was life, and that life was the light of men. And that Light, my friends, still shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
And that’s why we have come together in this sacred space here at the end of the day; to find strength and courage in the Light of God’s Son not only against the darkness of this night, but more importantly against the spiritual darkness that rapidly encroaches all around us in our time.
Jesus Christ is the Light of the world, and because He is our Light, He will be our hope. You see, the God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. 2 Cor. 4:6
And that’s a good thing. For before you and I can be lights in this dark world, the light of Christ needs to shine in our own hearts first. The darkness we face is not all out there somewhere, it’s in here (point to self) – we have all sinned much and deserve nothing but God’s wrath and punishment. Our thoughts are desires have been soiled with sin. There is nothing good that dwells within us, that is, in our sinful nature. Out of the heart proceeds murders, adulteries, thefts and fornication. Sadly you know how bitterly true that is, don’t you?
And yet whenever our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and He knows everything. Jesus knows those sins of yours better than you do, He knows your remorse and guilt and shame intimately well, for He bore them all in His own body on the tree. In Christ Jesus, God has removed your sins from you as far as the East is from the West.
He has trodden all your iniquities under foot; He has cast all your sins into the depths of the sea. For Christ has redeemed you as His very own, purchased and won you from sin, death, and the power of the devil not with gold or silver, but with His holy, precious blood and with His innocent suffering and death.
Now you belong to Him; now you have been redeemed; you are His very own precious son or daughter … to live under Him in His kingdom and serve Him in everlasting righteousness, innocence, and blessedness.
And you and I are set as bright beacons of hope to bring light and life to a world which knows only darkness and death, where the classic Christian virtues of what is good, right and true have been set aside and traded in for what is expedient, fulfilling and fun.
Certainly in a world like ours we are no pie-eyed optimists; we know full well how difficult is our challenge, we know the formidable powers against which we wrestle, and we know the tide is against us in this struggle.
But friends, be of good courage. For Jesus our Lord told us about this ahead of tie. He said: “In this world you will have tabulation; but do not be afraid, for I have overcome the world.”
Yes, it’s time and high time we wake from our slumber to spread Christ’s light and life in this dark world. And you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this. Yes, the days are evil, but redeem the time just as you have been redeemed. This is your moment to rise and shine, but with a borrowed light – the light of Christ, who is your LIfe.
Thank God, through you even in these grey and latter days that Light of Christ still shines in the darkness – and the darkness shall never ever overcome it.
+In the name of the FATHER and of the SON and of the HOLY SPIRIT+
*To learn more about Doxology go here.
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