One in Practical Wisdom

Our New Ambition - Part 13

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Cory Brock

May 15, 2016


Disclaimer: this is an automatically generated machine transcription - there may be small errors or mistranscriptions. Please refer to the original audio if you are in any doubt.

[0:00] Well, if you've been around our Ephesians series, which we're a number of weeks into now, you know a couple things that we've been reiterating that this passage is written to believers, this book, this letter.

[0:13] It says at the beginning that Paul is writing to the Christians, to the saints, in Ephesus. And you also know that there are two questions that undergird this book. And the two questions are first, very simply, what's a Christian?

[0:27] And then what does a Christian do? And these two questions kind of map out according to the structure of the book in two halves. In chapters one to three, you have the question being answered, what's a Christian?

[0:39] And Paul answers it like this. We were once dead in our trespasses and sins, but now we have been made alive together with Jesus Christ.

[0:50] By grace you have been saved. A Christian is somebody who's risen from death to life, Paul says, spiritually and in hope physically.

[1:03] Now in chapters four to six, the section that we're in today, he's answering the question, what does a Christian do? We know what a Christian is. Now what does a Christian do? How does a Christian live?

[1:14] And in our passage specifically, he's honing in on a question that's undergirds that. What does a Christian need in order to grow, in order to live the Christian life?

[1:25] What does a Christian need? And the answer that I think Paul is giving us in this passage is very simply this. You need the light of Christ, or you need the vision of Christ, or you need the eyes of Christ, you need to see things as Christ sees them.

[1:42] So that's what we're going to do. We're going to ask, we're going to look at the vision, the light of Christ. We need the vision, the light of Christ. And then secondly, we're simply going to say, how do you get and keep this vision of Christ?

[1:54] How do you get and keep this vision of Christ? So first, we need the eyes of Christ. Now you probably noticed that there's a major metaphor running throughout this entire passage.

[2:04] And that metaphor, if you look down at verse eight is really clear. For at one time you were darkness, but now you are light. And he says just a couple of verses later, don't take part in the works of darkness.

[2:17] So the metaphor that Paul is using in this passage to kind of structure the whole thing is a metaphor of light and dark. Metaphor of light and dark. And we have to immediately say, what do you mean by that, Paul?

[2:29] And there are two prominent places where we can go across the New Testament to kind of think about what Paul means by this lightness, darkness metaphor. One of them you'll probably know immediately if you've been a Christian for a while, and that's the book of John.

[2:45] John uses the metaphor of light all over the place. One of the great seven I Am statements of Jesus Christ is in John eight, I am the light of the world.

[2:56] And then later in chapter 12, he tells his disciples, walk in the light, because if you walk in the darkness, you will stumble. But one of the things to remember is that Paul actually is writing this letter way, way before John wrote his gospel.

[3:14] And so even though he agrees with John, one of the best places to go to think about what Paul means is to think about Paul's own life. It's interesting that Paul uses the light, darkness metaphor to describe his own conversion.

[3:30] So you'll remember that Paul was a Pharisee. He was a persecutor of the Christians. He murdered a number of Christians before he was converted. And he was on the Damascus Road and he had this radical conversion experience.

[3:45] And in Acts 26, he's speaking to King Agrippa in Caesarea, and he describes to Agrippa exactly what happened to him.

[3:56] Listen to the words, at mid-day, O King, I saw on the way on the road a light come from heaven brighter than the sun that shone around me and all those that journeyed with me saw it as well.

[4:12] What was the light? What was the light that Paul saw? Well, he goes on and says this, it was a voice. The light came with a voice. Why are you persecuting me, Paul?

[4:23] Saul? And Paul said, who are you? And the voice said, I am Jesus. Christ himself is the light.

[4:34] You see, Christ himself was the light that shone on Paul. So that's the first thing we can see. What does Paul mean by light? He's referring to Jesus in one way.

[4:44] The same thing that John refers to, Jesus Christ says, I am the light of the world. The second thing we ask is then, what does Paul mean by darkness? What does Paul mean by darkness? Well, just right after that, when he's talking to King Agrippa in verse 18, he says this, about his mission, what he was sent to do to the Gentiles, I was sent to open their eyes so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive the forgiveness of sins and have a place among those who are sanctified by faith.

[5:14] Look, in other words, Jesus Christ is the light and the darkness that he's talking about, he contrasts with Jesus as the power of Satan in this passage.

[5:26] And you see it all over the passage in Ephesians chapter five. He refers to the works of darkness, the deeds of darkness, the deeds that go against the right, the good, and the true.

[5:37] The right, the good, and the true being Jesus Christ himself, I am the truth. I am the righteous one. I am the good. The works of darkness are the things he's been describing in the whole back half of the passage.

[5:50] Do not, do not, do not do this. These are against the commands of God. They are the works of Satan. It's the power of Satan over this world. It's the condition the world lives in.

[6:01] Now look, our contemporary culture wouldn't be so upset with a phrase like the works of darkness, the deeds of darkness.

[6:12] Look, everybody in the world agrees that there are deeds of darkness, right? The society is actually really happy to point out major evil when it's really kind of upfront and right in our faces.

[6:24] You can think of how much our society rightly hates the atrocities committed at 9-11, the Holocaust, things like Joseph Stalin's forced starvation of the Ukrainian peoples.

[6:39] Everybody in culture, it's common to hate the deeds of darkness. And there are even deeds of darkness that Paul describes in this passage like greed, power hunger.

[6:52] It's like that, that the culture is happy to say, yes, that is a deed of darkness. That's bad, so that's evil. We're happy to call evil evil in those ways when it's right up in front of our face.

[7:04] But look, Paul is saying more. Paul is saying more than that. Paul is saying that the Christian, in order to grow, in order to live the Christian life, has to remember something.

[7:20] And it's in verse 8, they have to remember that at one time, it's not just that they did bad things, but that they were the darkness.

[7:31] You see? But Paul is upping the ante on what our culture is happy to call evil. It's not just that there are deeds external to us that are evil, great atrocities, but Paul is saying, you are darkness.

[7:48] That's a condition. That's a condition. That's what we are in sin. We aren't just lawbreak.

[7:58] We don't just do lawbreaking, we are lawbreakers. You see, my wife is in a book group and every time they start a book, I find myself deciding to read it as well to keep up so that she doesn't read a book I haven't read, maybe.

[8:17] But they recently read a fantastic book, a Pulitzer Prize winner from 2014, I think. Anthony Dewar's All the Light We Cannot See. Some of you might have read it.

[8:28] It's wonderful. It's about World War II. It's about a blind young French girl and the relationship she has with a young German soldier. But Dewar does something really interesting in that book, and that's that he doesn't talk about the Holocaust.

[8:44] I mean, it's said in Germany and France, it's right in the midst of the concentration camp era, but he doesn't ever mention it.

[8:55] And I think he's actually trying to get at something. None of the German soldiers talk about it. It's just kind of people on the ground living life and doing what they've been told to do, right?

[9:05] What's he getting at? Well, many of you will probably remember in the mid-20th century. Well, not many will remember, but you'll have seen.

[9:17] When Adolf Eichmann was arrested in 1960, he was one of the masterminds of the concentration camp system.

[9:28] He was the man that was in charge of actually constructing the schedule of the trains, of getting the trains to the concentration camps on time with the right number of people loaded onto them. He was found in 1960, taken to trial in Jerusalem in 1961.

[9:42] And I'd read Hannah Arendt's famous, the philosopher's work, some of her work on this trial, but I'd never heard this story until I was listening to a talk about Tim Keller actually recently.

[9:53] And he mentioned one of the things that happened at the trial, a man by the name of Duer.

[10:05] He was called in to testify against Eichmann, and he walked into the trial, and he sees Eichmann in a glass cage so that nobody would attack him.

[10:15] And he spastically can't keep control of himself, and he passes out. And later, Mike Wallace, the American reporter, was interviewing Duer, and he asked him, you know, what happened?

[10:30] What happened to you in that moment? What were you thinking? What were you feeling when you saw Eichmann and you passed out? Now, what would you expect him to say? This man was evil.

[10:42] I saw evil embodied. I had the memories of my family and friends that went to the gas chambers. But that's not what he says.

[10:52] He says this, when I saw Eichmann, I realized he was no demon, no superman. He was an ordinary human like me.

[11:04] And suddenly I became terrified about myself. And I saw I was capable of the exact same things. Look, Duer realized something.

[11:14] He realized that the darkness wasn't just outside of him. Not just the deeds of humanity, but their internal condition bent and bruised and broken, bent against the good, the right and the true.

[11:31] And what Duer was implying, I think, by not speaking about the Holocaust at all in his book or any of the events, was something that Eichmann said at his trial. And he said this when they asked him, why did you do it?

[11:42] And he said, I didn't do anything but obey the orders I was given. I just did my job. I woke up in the morning. I put my trousers on and I did my job.

[11:54] Right? Hannah Arendt commenting on this, she called it the banality of evil or the mundanity of evil. Evil creeps up on us quietly, slowly, until all of a sudden we find ourselves in the midst of it.

[12:15] It's just there. What Paul's saying to us is that if you want to live the Christian life, if you want to do what a Christian does, if you want to grow up, as he talked about in 5 verse 1, to be an imitator of God and Christ Jesus.

[12:31] The Christian does not forget what they were before Christ, that they were darkness. They know what they were. They know they didn't come to the light because of their own goodness.

[12:44] They know their disposition. They were in darkness. They were capable not only of deeds of darkness, but they were darkness. You see this in verse 13 especially.

[12:55] Verse 13, when anything is exposed by the light, it becomes visible. When anything is exposed by the light, it comes visible.

[13:06] Now remember we said that Jesus Christ is the light. That's how Paul thinks about the light. When Jesus comes into the world, when Jesus encounters you who are in darkness, verse 13 is absolutely fulfilled.

[13:20] Listen to it again. When anything is exposed by the light, it becomes visible. Jesus coming into the world is like turning on a flashlight in the darkest of caves.

[13:35] You can't see the rock formations. You can't see the bats. You can't see all the stuff that's around you when you're in a pitch dark cave, but when the light comes on, what happens?

[13:46] The truth comes out. You see exactly what's on those walls, right? You can't see your own darkness is the point until the light of the world comes in and shines on you.

[13:58] This is what you are if you're a Christian today. You've been exposed. You haven't come to the gospel because of your goodness, but you've come because the light has exposed you.

[14:09] Has exposed you and it's turned you away from yourself to Jesus Christ. So to live the Christian life day in and day out, you can't forget that you aren't a Christian because you were already the light because you were one of the good guys or gals, but that you were exposed.

[14:28] That light from the outside made you who you are. Now the second thing that Paul is telling us here is that when you remember that, you then turn and become like the light.

[14:44] Whether you're exposed by the light of the gospel, you remember your condition and darkness, but then the Christian calling is actually to be an imitator of God. It's to become like the light.

[14:55] In other words, the Christian life is about being light in the darkness. He's not simply saying in this passage that Jesus is the light, but he's calling you to be the light as well.

[15:10] You see it all over the place. Walk as children of the light. Walk as imitators of Jesus Christ, in other words. Try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord. Take no parts in the unfruitful works of darkness.

[15:24] 13, but when anything is exposed by the light, it becomes visible. These commands are for us. These commands are for us.

[15:35] It's interesting, you can't see it in your print out, in the passage that's in your bulletin, but if you look at verse 14 in your bulletin, it says, Awake, O Sleeper, and Arise from the Dead, and Christ will shine on you.

[15:49] If you have a Bible out, you'll see that that is set into poetic lines. That's for a reason. A lot of people look at that verse 14 and think that it's a quotation from the Old Testament.

[16:00] Actually it's not. It's not found anywhere in the Old Testament. Most scholars think that it was a line from an early hymn. People are giving you a line that the early church probably sung.

[16:12] But look at what he says. It's exactly the summary of what we've been talking about. Wake up, sleeper. Arise from the dead. The light is shining on you. The light has exposed you.

[16:25] Come from death to life. That's what it is to be a Christian. That's chapters 1 to 3 of Ephesians. But then look at the last line when it says Christ will shine on you. The preposition on you there, on, O-N.

[16:38] I'll say it on funny, I think. O-N is actually, it's just implied in the Greek text there. Another way I think, and maybe a better way to read it, is arise from the dead, O-Sleeper.

[16:50] Become a Christian and Christ will shine through you. You see? In other words, what it's saying is this. When you become a Christian, it's not just the light has shined on you and exposed your darkness, but that then you become a flashlight.

[17:07] You become a flashlight in a dark cave. In other words, you are an imitator of Jesus Christ. You go about exposing the darkness through the good works, through your good deeds.

[17:20] Now what does that look like? What does that look like for Christians in life? It doesn't look like pointing a finger of shame at people's sins.

[17:34] It doesn't look like that. You're in a church, in your workplace. It is a way of confronting sin. Jesus Christ came into the world to confront sin, but how?

[17:47] But how? How do we learn how to expose the darkness as Paul commands us? Well, we look at how the light himself did it. And how did he do it?

[17:57] Jesus, the light of the world, the brightest flashlight coming into the darkest of caves. How did he treat the darkness of humanity? Well, he went to dinner with the sinners.

[18:13] He came to eat with the lowly, you see. He touched the lepers that no one else would touch. The people exposed by sin to the world, he ate and drank with them.

[18:31] He drank the water from the well of the jar of a prostitute and an adulterer. An absolute crime of shame in his culture. Look, he exposed sin by going into the world and exhibiting self-sacrificing love.

[18:50] Self-sacrificing love. He gave himself up unto death. He exposed our deeds of darkness through a love that no human could have ever imagined by becoming the darkness, by taking it on.

[19:06] Right? Now, when we become imitators of Christ, the ethic of Christ as lights of the world, lights that can't be hidden under a basket, cities to be shined from the top of hills, we're called to expose the deeds of darkness like Jesus through subtle self-sacrificing love.

[19:26] Self-sacrificing love. The Christian witnesses to Jesus Christ, witnesses to the gospel by loving in a way that hurts, loving the people that are hard and in doing so, finding opportunities to speak to them about the true light.

[19:42] The Christian hates darkness but loves the sinner, but loves the sinner because he can't forget. The members of our state that he is one, that he is one.

[19:58] He loves them so that he can speak to them, to tell them what he once was and what he is now becoming. Look, how do you live a Christian life that shines light into the darkness?

[20:13] You live righteously. You live under the obedience of God's commands. You go out and you live an alternative sexual ethic than the norm of the culture and that screams witness to the gospel.

[20:26] You go out and you treat money in a different way than the culture treats money. You don't live according to the questions of the economic as your primary end goal of life and it's a screaming self-sacrificing subtle witness that there's more.

[20:43] It's yelling in the face. It's exposing the darkness, it's shining a flashlight in the cave and it's all to point people to the only place where they can truly live in the light, Jesus Christ.

[20:53] Okay, so that's the first thing. That's the long one. The second one's shorter, not too short. Secondly, how do you keep this light of Christ? How do you keep the eyes, this vision of light of Jesus Christ?

[21:09] This is an important question because we're being called in this passage to have the eyes of Christ to look out onto the world with the vision of Christ. But look, you woke up this morning to kids that didn't sleep long enough.

[21:27] Or so a thousand and one worries and anxieties about your job, about your marriage, about your financial situation, about the power of pornography over your heart right now, for some of you, over the struggle of a constant lust for more, for more stuff, for more money, for more power, for envy of that girl and that guy that has exactly what you don't.

[22:01] For the anger you have at God for your singleness, you woke up with that. You wake up with that in the week. You don't wake up saying, I want the vision of Christ to flow through my eyes to see the world the way Jesus Christ saw the world.

[22:16] You just don't wake up like that, most of us. Our hearts still have problems. So how do we put on the eyes of Christ and keep them there when we just don't want them?

[22:30] There are two tools I think Paul's giving us here very briefly. There are many more we could say, but there's just two in this passage that I can see.

[22:41] And the two things are this. You need to have Jesus' vision of history first, and you need to love music. You need to have Jesus' vision of history, and you need to love music.

[22:52] So first you need to have Jesus' vision of mystery briefly. Look with me at verse 15. Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time because the days are evil.

[23:05] Therefore don't be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. So he turns from the darkness light metaphor about putting on the vision of Christ to saying to you, walk in wisdom.

[23:18] This is what I'm trying to say, Paul is saying, walk in wisdom. Walk wisely. Live your life in a wise way. Now what does that mean? Well he says in verse 17, it means to understand the will of the Lord.

[23:29] Now what's the will of the Lord? Well you've seen the will of the Lord. It's God's commands. It's discerning life in the way Jesus discerned life. It's self-sacrificial love. These are the things that pleases God.

[23:41] You can look at the Tim Commandments for one way of seeing what one aspect of the will of God is. But here's the thing. With Paul telling you walk in wisdom, you have to be walking somewhere.

[23:57] When you walk out of your door in the morning, you probably know where you're going. And by knowing where you're going, that gives you a map for getting there.

[24:09] How then should you walk? Well you need to know your destination in order to know where to walk to. And so in between saying walk with wisdom, according to God's will, he inserts really interestingly and confusingly in some ways a little clip about what he thinks about history, about where time is going.

[24:33] What are you walking towards? That's what he's getting at. Now look at it with me in verse 16. He says this, he puts this clause in between what it means to walk in wisdom. Make the best use of the time because the days are evil.

[24:48] What does he mean by this? Well, the second clause, because the days are evil, the wording there is a little bit tricky. But Paul says this kind of thing all over the place in his letters.

[24:59] And one of the places that's a little bit clear is in Galatians 1.4. And in Galatians 1.4 he says that Jesus came to save us from this present evil age. So instead of using the word days, he uses age and that's what he means by days.

[25:14] In other words, Paul's saying we live in a, our present age is evil. It's just a continuation of the darkness metaphor. Our present age is dark.

[25:24] Now what does that mean? Well, it means that he wants you to see history the way Jesus sees history. The big picture of what God is doing in all of history. Three simple things, creation is very good.

[25:39] Genesis 1-2, creation is very good. That's the right ethic. That's the right way to live. After that, at the end of history, recreation in Jesus Christ.

[25:53] It's very good. That's where we're headed. That's where the Christians headed. That's the end goal. That's where we're coming to live with Christ materially and spiritually. And creation, but in between now, the present evil age.

[26:11] That's all he means. That's his vision of history. You live in a present evil age. And so that brings us to the ethic that he's prescribing at the first clause. Make the best use of the time.

[26:22] This is the tool he's giving you. Make the best use of the time. Now we're moderns, all of us in here, no matter what you think, you're a modern person. We're all moderns. We grew up in a context of modernity.

[26:32] We push back on it in all sorts of ways. But the immediate thing is moderns that we think when we read sentences like make the best use of the time is, of course, schedules.

[26:44] Make the best use of the time. In other words, be efficient. Structure your day in such a way that you can use it as best as you can for Jesus. But look, Paul knew nothing about schedules.

[26:59] Scales did not exist in the ancient Near East like this, except on a big macro scale. There were no clocks. They didn't measure time by the hour, by the minute.

[27:10] They didn't say, meet me here at one. That's not how they saw life. They saw it according to feast days and the Sabbath. That's how they scheduled their lives, according to the sun, according to the agricultural time clock.

[27:22] It's not about efficiency. It's not about scheduling your time. That's not the command he's saying for living in this present evil age. What is he telling you of how to live in this present evil age instead? Well, the translation here says make the best use of the time, but literally, literally, if you just straight up what it says is this, bring redemption to the age.

[27:45] Bring redemption to the age. It's an idiom. Redeem the time. You've heard that phrase. What does he mean by that? Look, what he's saying is this.

[27:57] You live in an age that's evil, but there's a future and it's good and you're walking toward it. Now bringing redemption to the time now then and tells a couple of things.

[28:12] What's this look like? Well, it means mapping out the goodness, the beauty, and the truth of the age to come in your life now.

[28:25] In other words, it's simply having a big vision of history where you look into the future and you say, this is what the world is going to be like, what it should be like in Jesus Christ and living in a subtle way of witness now that maps out beauty, goodness, and truth in whatever little world you live in.

[28:41] That's how you bring redemption to your small sphere of influence. Look, we're running out of time, so I'm just going to skip this. How does a mom in the present evil age bring redemption to the time?

[28:57] How does a mom do it? By pursuing righteousness, of course, yes. By teaching your children righteousness, yes, of course.

[29:08] By imitating Christ in all those ways, yes, of course, by doing the will of God according to the law. Yes, of course, but look, by simply fulfilling your job.

[29:18] That's one way to please the Lord. By just being a mom. You've been called to be a mom, so be a mom. Be a mom. Look, who else in this world looks like Jesus Christ but the mom who is struggling to get in time to read the Bible because she's been up all night with a child that's screaming that doesn't give a rip about her needs.

[29:45] Who else? That looks like self-sacrificing love. That looks like Jesus. One of the ways to map out the end time future, the beauty, the goodness, the truth of being exactly what one ought to be in the horizon of the future when Jesus is coming back is just to fulfill your vocation well and in doing it, you're witnessing.

[30:09] You're witnessing to Christ. You're pursuing righteousness. You're pursuing goodness. You're pursuing truth. God is an architect, fulfill their job as a Christian by making the most beautiful buildings he can possibly make.

[30:23] You know this is important. You know God cares about the way things look, about beauty. If you walk down the royal mile and you turn, sorry, around this, what's this hill called? Johnston Terrace, I think? I can't remember. This hill right here.

[30:34] You look to the left, you'll see a bunch of buildings that were built in the 70s. Walk back up, stand out in front of the hub and look up and see the difference in architectural sin and architectural beauty.

[30:48] It's real. It's real. God cares. Fulfill your vocation. Do righteousness. Witness to the gospel. Preach the gospel and fulfill your duty and do it well.

[31:00] This is how we manifest the goodness that is coming in the future even in our life now. And finally, and very briefly, just a couple minutes. Just hanging with me here. Lastly, you need to love music.

[31:11] That's the other tool he's giving us in this passage. Look, Paul knew very briefly, humans are not brains on sticks. Humans are not brains on sticks.

[31:22] Have you ever had the experience where you know what's right? You know the will of God. You know the command, but you don't desire it.

[31:33] And so you do the opposite. See, the thing is that just knowing something isn't enough. You can't simply know your way into righteousness and know your way into sanctification.

[31:44] Your heart has to change. You have to desire it if you want to do the good. You can't just walk out of your door and say, the poor need help. I'm going to help the poor without longing, without having a broken heart for them.

[31:59] And Paul knew this. So Paul in verse 19 says this, and I wanted to talk about what he's doing with getting drunk, but we just don't have time.

[32:09] If you want to know, just come talk to me afterwards. Addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with all your heart, giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father.

[32:21] Look at the context. He's saying, don't walk in darkness. Walk in the light. Put on the eyes of Christ. Follow your vocation.

[32:32] Look at the end time goal of what's coming and live according to the imitation of Christ and sing songs to each other. See? He's not primarily giving us a taxonomy of what types of songs we ought to sing, although that possibly is secondary.

[32:48] He's saying, you need music if you're going to make it through this life. Music is an essential tool of reshaping your desires.

[32:58] We read the facts of the gospel and then we sing them so that we'll long for them. You see? Singing is serious.

[33:09] There's a reason we sing. We don't simply sing in worship just to fill up time to get to the sermon. Singing is there to reshape your desires. You know this.

[33:19] You know what music does to you. You know what music does to you when you're sitting in your car jamming out to something or whatever and it starts to subtly shift your emotions and your desires and you want whatever they're talking about.

[33:32] That's why Paul says here, you'll notice, sing to each other and sing to the Lord. To desire the Lord, you sing to and about the Lord.

[33:43] That's why we sing scripture here. We'll close with this. We're JR Tolkien in his mythology of creation.

[33:55] The whole big thing of the Lord of the Rings, if you're a Lord of the Rings fan, you might know this, but the whole big thing of the Lord of the Rings started, you might say, in the midst of World War I. In 1917, Tolkien long before Frodo, long before Bilbo, long before Sauron in the Rings started writing a mythology of Great Britain that he substituted the term Middle Earth for.

[34:17] In writing this mythology of Great Britain, he wrote this vast corpus of works about the history of how this world came about. It's kind of like a parallel of an ancient Greek mythology.

[34:31] You can read that whole mythology. It's beautiful and amazing in the book, The Silmarillion, which came out in the 80s or 70s. Anyway, one of the first things that he wrote was an account of creation.

[34:46] The God that he conceived of, the creator God, was named Eluvatar or Erdo in a different language. Yeah, I know that.

[34:58] The most interesting thing about his creation myth for Middle Earth is this, that Eluvatar makes creatures that are kind of like angels, and then he makes the world. You can kind of see a pretty direct parallel to the reality of the Christian account of creation.

[35:14] He makes them through singing. He makes them with harmonies. The beautiful harmonies that come out of his voice and then come out of the voice of the angels is what forms the chaotic matter of Middle Earth together to make the beauty of a perfect creation.

[35:34] You know that if you've read the Lord of the Rings, that elves and men and dwarves sing all the time. And they especially sing on two occasions. They sing whenever they have great victories and they sing whenever they have absolute suffering.

[35:50] They sing songs of victory and they sing songs of lament. Why? What does Tolkien include all this? Well, because he understood humans and he understands Christianity.

[36:01] You see that at the very end of our passage in verse 20, Paul says, how do you sing? Giving thanks always.

[36:12] You gotta have a big theology of God and of the end of history if you can be a person who sings always. Because always means in the most intense moments of suffering and the biggest faces of evil that have ever existed in the midst of your recognition of who you really are in fighting sin.

[36:35] You gotta have a big theology that looks to the end of history from the beginning of a huge sovereign powerful God of a promise of a hope in Jesus Christ for a true and final end that is guaranteed if you want to be a person that can be a singer in the midst of great lament.

[36:55] We sing because it holds us up. It holds us up. It points us back to the gospel. It points us back to the final hope we have in the midst of great suffering.

[37:05] Here Paul's hymn of benediction, awake, oh sleeper, arise from the dead and Christ will shine through you. Let's pray. Father, we ask that you would make us people who have the eyes of Christ because we have been exposed by the light of Christ.

[37:22] Now we would see the power of the death and resurrection for us afresh and that we would enter into this world longing to see it as he does and to witness to it, witness to him in it.

[37:35] Let us heart this desire as we sing that you would reform us in Jesus' name.