Ephesians 5:6-14 Be in the world, but not of the world
6 Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. 7 Therefore do not become partners with them; 8 for at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light 9 (for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true), 10 and try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord. 11 Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them. 12 For it is shameful even to speak of the things that they do in secret. 13 But when anything is exposed by the light, it becomes visible, 14 for anything that becomes visible is light.
Paul teaches the church how to be in the world and yet not of the world. In other words, how can the church minister to the world without getting stained by its allure and darkness. By guarding ourselves from being deceived by empty words, learn to discern what is pleasing to God and walk in it. Keep a distance from people especially churchgoers who revel in darkness and not to be partakers of their activities, but rather confront them with what is true. In gentleness and humility remind them of the consequences of a sinful lifestyle.
Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. Therefore do not become partners with them; for at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord.
“Empty words” are words that do not give the urgency to walk in the light, but give room and liberty for people to dwell in a sinful lifestyle. Examples of “empty words” are,
“God is not angry with you. For you are righteous!”
Some even say, “You have not been sufficiently loved and blessed by God, that’s why you sin!”
Or, “Why do you look so guilty and solemn? Rejoice for God has forgiven all our sins forever!”
No doubt God has forgiven all our sins, but such words are empty; it does not provide an impetus for people to repent and walk in the light or redeem time by doing God’s work. Such people accept lukewarmness and sin as part of Christian life; by holding one another accountable to walk in the light would only cause “unnecessary” guilt and causes people to feel unloved by God or fall out of love with God. Paul cautions that the wrath of God will soon come upon those who dwell on a sinful lifestyle: for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience.
Hence, Paul instructs believers: do not become partners with them, do not walk closely with them or work with them, for it will only cause one to lower his guard against the pleasures of sin and acclimatized to it. Believers must walk in the light fundamentally because it is not in our nature to walk in darkness. Just as it is not in man’s nature to live in the mire, where pigs frivol: for at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord, we are to walk in the light, for we are children of light.
Walk as children of light (for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true), and try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord. Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them. For it is shameful even to speak of the things that they do in secret.
Paul wastes no time but continues his campaign against the lack of urgency for living godly lives: Walk as children of light, and again he says: Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them. Not only must believers walk in the light, they must not tolerate darkness but expose them. Believers must develop a hatred for the things of darkness: for sexual immorality, for covetousness, and for everything that is impure.
How do we differentiate between light and darkness? It is by asking the soul-searching question: is my action pleasing to God? Would Jesus have done it? – Try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord. Here, we are not merely dealing with what is right or wrong but the will of God. The will of God is to live life in total surrender: walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us (Ephesians 5:2).
What is the quality of light? Light is seen in its fruit: the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true. “Good” refers to a positive moral quality of being concerned for the welfare of others. “Right” refers to a state of justice or fairness. “True” is the state of being principled and having an allegiance towards what is right. The believer should take a repulsive stand against darkness: it is shameful even to speak of the things that they do in secret. Hence, one who walks in the light has qualities of putting the interests of others before oneself, being fair to all and principled in all he does.
But when anything is exposed by the light, it becomes visible, for anything that becomes visible is light.
Paul puts believers in a position of responsibility to confront the deeds of darkness, by doing so, we destroy and neutralize the works of darkness: for anything that becomes visible is light. How do we expose the deeds of darkness? Not by broadcasting to the world, but by speaking the truth in a spirit of gentleness, knowing that we are also weak and susceptible to sin and we ought to identify with one another and bear one another’s weaknesses.
- Unless sin is exposed and openly acknowledged and the person is willing to hold himself accountable to mature believers, the bondage can hardly be broken. Accountability to mature believers is the most effective way to break the bondages of various sins: sexual addiction and sins of covetousness like gambling, idolatry, stealing etc.
- Do not expose sin by broadcasting it to the world, for it only exposes the person to damaging shame and attacks of the devil. Confront the person in private in an attitude of mutual encouragement for the growth of the whole community. No one can pride himself on his moral ability for all have sinned against God. But we are made righteous because of God’s gracious offer to restore us as sons.
- Even as we love every person as Christ has commanded, but we can choose to be partners with those who possess common values with us; partners are people with shared endeavors or possessions. Keeping a distance does not mean rejection for Christ distant Himself from many people but kept only some of His disciples close by. Jesus says He will reveal Himself only to those who love Him and obey His commandments (John 14:15-19). In one incident, Jesus is observed to have distant Himself from the crowd; He chooses not to include them in His plans because He knew what is in their hearts (John 2:24). Potential partners may not immediately share the same religious convictions, but it is important that they share the same values system and life vision.
- Are you addicted to certain bondages like pornography, drinking, gambling, occult games and activities? Seek out a trusted believer and ask him to hold you accountable to him. But if you have difficulty resisting the temptations, it is an indication that you need the help of a deliverance minister.
- Do you have in your close circle of friends any one who is under the bondage of sin? Ask God how you can be of help to turn him/her back to God.
Dear Lord, I ask you to strengthen me to resist the temptations of ___________. I command the spirits operating behind the sins to go in Jesus’ name. I ask the Spirit to sanctify me and cleanse me from the passions of darkness. Help me to be an encourager to another, to help turn them back to You. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.