CHILDREN OF LIGHT
Scripture: Ephesians 4:17–32, 5:1–21
Memory verse: Ephesians 5:8
“Now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light.”
Bring to class several empty plastic bottles or coke bottles and a scarf to use for a blindfold for the illustration.
Choose one student to be blindfolded. Clear an area and set up an obstacle course. Have the blindfolded student try to walk through the obstacle course without knocking over any of the bottles. Allow other students to see if they can get through the obstacles course successfully. The chances are no one will be able to accomplish this feat. Then have several students walk through the obstacle course blindfolded, but give them verbal directions. This will be easier for the students.
Point out that going through life without Jesus is very much like walking through an obstacle course wearing a blindfold. Allowing Jesus to guide us makes living for Him much easier. He tells us the way to go. Tell the students this week’s study is about Paul’s message to the Ephesians concerning this topic.
Hearing God’s Word
Ask: Have you ever heard the expression the “difference between day and night?” What does that mean to you? (Allow responses.)
Paul wrote about this subject in his letter to the Ephesians.
The City of Ephesus
Ephesus (EHF-uh-suhs) was an important city in the Roman province of Asia. It was a heavily travelled trade centre. A highway linking other areas of Asia went through Ephesus. In this city was also a temple honouring the pagan goddess Diana (also called Artemis (AR-tuh-muhs). This idol worship created big business for some of the people in Ephesus. Silversmiths benefited from the idol worship. They made money by selling small silver shrines to those who had visited the temple.
Paul was well-acquainted with the situation at Ephesus. He had spent 2 years teaching and preaching to the people there. (See Acts 19:10.) Acts 19 records some of Paul’s experiences in Ephesus. (Review the events that took place during Paul’s stay at Ephesus.)
Paul’s Letter to the Ephesians
Several years after Paul left Ephesus, he was imprisoned in Rome. While he was in prison, he wrote several letters. One of these letters was to the Ephesians. The letter was passed around to several of the churches in the area so everyone could benefit from Paul’s words. This letter did not address a lot of problems as the letters to the Corinthians and the Galatians had. Instead, it was a letter of encouragement.
In those days, clear distinctions were made between Jews and Gentiles. Today we call these distinctions “prejudices.” Both Jews and Gentiles attended the same churches, but each group tended to look at the other as inferior or not quite as righteous as themselves.
Paul reminded the Ephesians that we are all one in Jesus. He does not think more highly of any one group than another. As Christians we are all part of one Body and there should not be division. Working together as one group is the only way the Church can effectively win others for Jesus.
Another area Paul discussed was that people come out of sin’s darkness into God’s light when they accept Jesus as their Saviour. The believer should then reflect that light in his daily life.
Light Exposes Mistakes
Let us think again about the difference between day and night. If you failed to comb your hair, wash your face, or put on clean clothes, would you want to be in a brightly lighted room filled with people? Probably not, because you would not want people to see how you looked.
Anyone who has not accepted Jesus as his Saviour is living in sin or darkness. He cannot see his spiritual problems. When we come to Jesus, we leave the world of “darkness,” or sin, and come into the “light,” or righteousness. Jesus is that light. As we live for Him, His light shows us our sins, the areas where we are not pleasing Him. We become more sensitive to wrong things in our lives.
Just as a dirty face will not show up in a dark room, so a sinful life will seem fine when one is far from God. But when we come close to Him, we find ourselves wanting to be clean from selfishness, dishonesty, wrong thoughts, and anything else displeasing to God.
The Choice is Ours
As we have already learned, we still have the ability to make choices. We can choose to respond to the Holy Spirit’s direction, or we can reject Him. Paul wanted the church at Ephesus to know what an important decision this is and the consequences of it. If we accept Jesus into our lives and let the Holy Spirit control our lives, we will walk in the light of God’s presence. If we reject Jesus, our souls remain in the darkness of sin.
Have you ever been in bed at night when suddenly someone turned on the light? You probably had to squint or hide your face for a while because the light hurt your eyes. It is the same way with our spiritual lives. When we have sin in our hearts, the love of Jesus and the conviction of the Holy Spirit is like a bright light shining into our souls. We want to hide our sins; we do our best to cover them up so no one can see them.
But Jesus’ light brings all our deeds into clear view. Then when we accept Jesus’ forgiveness, our hearts are cleansed and the love of Jesus fills us with His light. We then become like lighthouses, reflecting His love to those in sin around us.
Living in the Light
Our memory verse last week was Galatians 5:25. (See if any student can quote the verse from memory.) Our memory verse this week is also about our daily walk as Christians. It says, “Now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light” (Ephesians 5:8). (Repeat the verse several times with the students.)
Notice the verse says, “Live as children of light.” Being steady, faithful, and dependable is more important than being full of enthusiasm and energy at the beginning, only to tire and quit after a while. Living for God and obeying His Word each day is the only way to live in His light. It is also the only way to be united with other Christians to do God’s work.
Paul wrote much about the way Christians should live. He listed some areas on the dark side of life, but he concentrated more on teaching how to live and walk in the light. (Ask students to read Ephesians 4:25–32.) The life of darkness is full of greed, deceit, lying, anger, stealing, bitterness, and evil speech. The Christian life should show righteousness, holiness, hard work, kindness, forgiveness, love, goodness, and truth. There is quite a difference between the two!
The Holy Spirit Helps Us
Paul knew the Ephesian Christians could not show all the characteristics of light by themselves. They needed help. That help comes from God’s love and the Holy Spirit’s power. We need help in living Christian lives today too. Is it not good to know that the Holy Spirit is here to help us live as children of light and that we do not have to depend on our own strength? Earlier we compared a Christian to a lighthouse.
Ask: What does a lighthouse do? (Allow responses.)
A lighthouse directs ships away from a rocky shoreline so they will not be destroyed. We, as Christians, must be lighthouses to those who do not know Jesus. Our lives, our actions, and our words tell others about our love for God. Without our witness, those people will be destroyed by sin. Let God use you to rescue others by pointing the way to Jesus and the safety of His love.
Accepting God’s Word
Stress that God wants His children to be “lighthouses” for Him. However, we cannot do this until we become His children by repenting of our sin and believing on Jesus as our Saviour. Until then, we too are living in darkness. God’s presence has to be within us before we can reflect His love to others. Encourage those who have not accepted Jesus to do so at this time. Pray individually with any who respond. Also pray with those who desire to be brighter lights for God in the coming week.
Present the information about the Hausa tribe in Nigeria given below.
Meet the Hausa
Thirty percent of all Hausa can be found in the north and northwest regions of Nigeria, an area known as "Hausaland." The Hausa have been heavily involved in long distance trading for many centuries.
In the "holy wars" of 1804 and 1808, the Hausa were conquered by the Fulani, their strongly Islamic neighbours. They were made slaves until the early 1900's. At that time, many of the villagers were either forced or bribed into becoming Muslim.
The Hausa culture is strongly linked to Islam, which makes it difficult to reach this people group with the Gospel. There is a lot of prejudice against the Christians of southern Nigeria, and there has been intense persecution of the Christian Hausa.
REMEMBER TO PRAY!
Pray for the Hausa tribe in Nigeria
1. Persecuted Hausa believers in Christ to stand firm in their faith,
2. Jesus lifted up as the One who can bring peace and stability to the region,
3. In the midst of difficult days, may many Hausa come to faith in Jesus Christ.
"And I (God)...am about to come and gather the people of all nations and languages, and they will come and see my glory" (Isaiah 66:18).
MORE INFORMATION: www.joshuaproject.net
Remember: CHILDREN OF LIGHT
Memory verse: Ephesians 5:8
“Now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light.”
1. The Bible is God's light showing me how to live a Christian life.
2. I will read the Bible on a regular basis and obey its teaching.
3. "Jesus, let your light shine through me to those around me."
Pray for the Hausa tribe in Nigeria.
Study 7 | Give to God / Paul Writes | africaatts.org/go-teach