IN THE UNFRUITFUL DEEDS OF DARKNESS: kai me sugkoinoneite (2PPAM) tois
ergois tois akarpois tou skotous:
(Do not: Eph 5:7; Ge 49:5, 6, 7; Ps 1:1,2; 26:4,5; 94:20,21; Pr
4:14,15; 9:6; Jer 15:17; Ro 16:17; 1Co 5:9, 10, 11; 10:20,21; 2Cor 6:14, 15, 16, 17, 18; 2Th 3:6,14;
1Ti 6:5; 2Ti 3:5; 2Jn 1:10,11; Rev 18:4) (Unfruitful: Pr
1:31; Is 3:10,11; Ro 6:21; Gal 6:8) (Deeds: Ep 4:22; Job 24:13, 14,
15, 16, 17; Jn 3:19, 20, 21; Ro 1:22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29,
30, 31, 32; 13:12; 1Th 5:7)
All verbs in
indicate commands, not suggestions!
hold mouse pointer over
underlined links for pop up of Scripture which stays open and can
Paul had just commanded them
"Therefore do not be partakers with
them (the sons of disobedience upon whom wrath of God is coming)
for you were formerly darkness, but now you are light in the Lord;
walk (live, behave, move around in society composed predominantly of
darkness and dead souls) as children of light (Eph 5:7, 8)
This principle of separation
of God's people from evil pervades the Old and New Testaments the
How blessed is the man who does (1) not
walk in the counsel of the wicked, (2) Nor stand in the path of sinners,
(3) Nor sit in the seat of scoffers! (Note
the axiomatic truth = if #'s 1-3 are disobeyed, the attitude and
actions in verse 2 will come to fruition. Corollary -- Are you in the
Word regularly? If not perhaps you might want to do an inventory of
#'s 1-3) But his delight
(Not drudgery or duty,
but devotion motivated by love for the Writer of the Law) is in the law of the
LORD, and in His law he meditates day and night. (See notes
cp Ps 26:4, 5, Pr 4, 14,15, Jer 15:17)
In one of his most detailed calls
to separate from evil and evil people Paul writes...
Do not be bound together
with negative = stop doing this!)
with unbelievers; for what partnership have righteousness and
lawlessness, or what fellowship has light with darkness?
15 Or what harmony has Christ with Belial, or what has a believer in
common with an unbeliever?
16 Or what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the
temple of the living God; just as God said, "I WILL DWELL IN THEM AND
WALK AMONG THEM; AND I WILL BE THEIR GOD, AND THEY SHALL BE MY PEOPLE.
- Now! It's urgent.) FROM THEIR MIDST AND BE SEPARATE," says the Lord.
"AND DO NOT TOUCH
with negative = Stop touching
the "untouchables" --
Beloved what are you "touching"
that is dirty and filthy?) WHAT IS UNCLEAN;
and I will welcome you (An incredible motive for purity!).
18 "And I will be a father to you, And you shall be sons and daughters
to Me," Says the Lord Almighty.
7:1 Therefore (term
of conclusion), having these promises
(What promises? Rehearse them in your heart and mind and let them
motive you to carry out the last part of this passage), beloved, let us cleanse
ourselves from all defilement of flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness
in the fear of God. (2Cor 6:14-18,
John Eadie writes that "This admonition is much the same as
that contained in the 7th verse. Ro 6:21, 8:12; Gal. 6:8. A line of
broad demarcation was to separate the church from the world; and not
only was there to be no participation and no connivance (Ephesians
sun = with, reflecting intimate
= to partake, have fellowship - word study
koinonia) means to
join in fellowship with someone or participate in something with
someone. It means to be associated with someone in some activity
and so to be connected with them.
of the more familiar related noun
koinonia which is often
translated "fellowship" helps us understand why Paul is commanding his
these Gentile believers to
stop "fellowshipping" with
the unfruitful deeds of darkness.
Koinonia describes an
association involving close mutual relations and involvement.
It can also picture the sharing of one's possessions with the
implication of some kind of joint participation and mutual interest. It
can describe joint-participation in a common interest and activity (like
a partnership). Thus we can understand Paul's charge to not let this be
our lifestyle (present tense).
with a negative
commands them to stop an action already in progress or forbidding
continuation of joining in fellowship in the unfruitful deeds of
is found only 3 times in all of Scripture...
Ephesians 5:11 And
do not participate
in the unfruitful deeds of darkness, but instead even expose them;
Philippians 4:14 Nevertheless,
you have done well to share with me in my affliction.
Revelation 18:4 And I heard
another voice from heaven, saying, "Come
out of her, my people,
that you may not participate in her sins and that you may not
receive of her plagues
explains it this way -
says, "Therefore be not partakers with them," which is very
similar to the word participate in verse 11. But there is a
difference. Partakers means simply that you join in with somebody
and do what they do. It may be a one-time thing, maybe a two-time thing
or whatever. You just happen in a weak moment to come along side of them
and you do what they do. But the word (command) "Don’t
participate" goes a step further. It
means to share in common with. In the first situation you are partaking
of the deed. In the other it goes further and you are beginning to
absorb within you the very attitudes of the people that are around you.
Not only are you
partaking in the deeds, but you are sharing things in common with people
who wear garments of darkness. We are not to do that but are to wear the
garment of light. We have the power in the new garment to refuse the
deeds of darkness... We refuse the deeds of darkness when we wear the
right garment. We have the power to do that. So we can be in the world,
but not of the world. You see, a boat in water is by design. Water in
the boat is disaster. We are not to have the water in us, we are to be
in the water. We have to reach them for Christ, but not partake with
them and not share in common the deeds of darkness. Only in the garment
of Christ do we have the power to refuse the deeds of darkness.
from a = without, +
karpos = fruit,
produce) means barren, without fruit, unprofitable.
Akarpos - 7x in
the NT - Mt. 13:22; Mk. 4:19; 1 Co. 14:14; Eph. 5:11; Titus 3:14; 2Pet.
1:8; Jude 1:12
Now the deeds of the flesh are
evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery,
enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions,
factions, envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of
which I forewarn you just as I have forewarned you that those who
practice (perform repeatedly or habitually - practice does not make
perfect!) such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. (Galatians
With the fruit
of the Spirit...
But the fruit of the Spirit is love,
joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness,
self-control; against such things there is no law. (Galatians 5:22-23-notes)
(ergon from ergo = to work) refers to toil as an effort or
occupation. The implication is that it takes some effort for a believer
to push through the light of God's truth, the grace that enables
resistance and the "alarm bells" of the Spirit to intertwine oneself
with these deeds of darkness.
it was this feature of utter
barrenness that once prompted Paul to ask the Roman Christians, “What
fruit did you have then in the things of which you are now ashamed?” (Ro
(skotos) refers literally to physical darkness,
the essence of darkness, but in this context is used
figuratively to describe spiritual darkness.
describes the character of the life of the unconverted as void of truth
and virtue in intellectual and moral matters. Sin loves the dark and
like a decaying parasitic mold thrives in the darkness!
For example, John
And this is the message we have heard
from Him and announce to you, that God is light, and in Him there is no
darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with Him and yet walk
in the darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth; but if we walk in
the light as He Himself is in the light, we have fellowship with one
another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin. (1Jn
The realm of
darkness is presided over by the “power of darkness,”
"While I was with you daily in the
temple, you did not lay hands on Me; but this hour and the power of
darkness are yours." (Lu 22:53, see
Satan rules those
headed for “eternal darkness”
but the sons of the kingdom shall be
cast out into the outer darkness; in that place there shall be weeping
and gnashing of teeth." (Mt 8:12).
These are springs without water, and
mists driven by a storm, for whom the black darkness has been reserved.
2 Peter 2:17)
sinners love the darkness
And this is the judgment, that the
light is come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather
than the light; for their deeds were evil. For everyone who does evil
hates the light, and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should
be exposed. But he who practices the truth comes to the light, that his
deeds may be manifested as having been wrought in God. (Jn 3:19, 20,
It is that very
darkness from which salvation in Christ delivers sinners.
Again therefore Jesus spoke to them,
saying, "I am the light of the world; he who follows Me shall not walk
in the darkness, but shall have the light of life. (John 8:12)
For He delivered (rhuomai) us from the domain
= right and might)
of darkness ("darkness" does have power, especially the prince of
darkness and his hordes of God hating minions) (When did God deliver us?
At the inception of our salvation), and transferred (methistemi) us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, (See
But you are A CHOSEN RACE, A royal
PRIESTHOOD, A HOLY NATION, A PEOPLE FOR God's OWN POSSESSION, that you
may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness
into His marvelous light (What
a motivation for ministry!) (see note
1 Peter 2:9)
BUT INSTEAD EVEN
THEM: mallon de kai elegchete, (2PPAM):
(But: Genesis 20:16; Leviticus 19:17;
Psalms 141:5; Proverbs 9:7,8; 13:18; 15:12; 19:25; 25:12; Proverbs 29:1;
Isaiah 29:21; Matthew 18:15; Luke 3:19; 1Timothy 5:20; 2Ti 4:2 = expose
by preaching the Word - corollary "pabulum preaching" = no reproof or
exposure of sins of the hearers;
But instead even (but rather even) - This is a verbal "formula"
that gives special intensity to Paul's antithesis. Compare a similar
formula in Galatians 4:9.
As Eadie says "It was a duty to have nothing to do
with the deeds of darkness; but it was a far higher obligation to
reprimand them. There was to be not simply negative separation, but
positive rebuke—not by the contrast of their own purity, but by formal
and solemn reproof. 1Co 14:24; 2Ti 4:2-note
related to elegchos
= bringing to light) strictly speaking means to bring to the light
and then to expose, to reveal things hidden, to convince, to reprove.
The idea is
to shame or disgrace and thus to rebuke another in such a way
that they are compelled to see and to admit the error of their ways. To
show someone that they have done something wrong and summon them to
In context Paul's charge is that
believers who are light in the Lord are to convict those who are
darkness (and in darkness) by turning the light on the darkness, by
walking as children of light, their lives convicting those in the
dark as much as their words (in fact the testimony of their walk
validates the sincerity of their words!)
I think we would be amazed at how
many silent sermons are preached by the way we conduct ourselves each
day! Are you convicted? I am! We must purpose in His power to
continually walk as children of the light.
calls for the Gentile
believers to do this as their lifestyle.
Elegcho - 17 times in
NT - Matt. 18:15; Lk. 3:19; Jn. 3:20; 8:46; 16:8; 1Co. 14:24; Eph.
5:11, 13; 1Ti 5:20; 2Ti 4:2; Titus 1:9, 13; 2:15; Heb. 12:5-note; James. 2:9;
Jude 1:15; Rev. 3:19.
There are 48 uses in the
Septuagint - Ge 21:25; 31:37, 42; Lev. 6:5; 19:17; 2Sa 7:14;
1Chr 12:17; 16:21; 2Chr. 26:20; Job 5:17; 9:33; 13:3, 10, 15; 15:3, 6;
22:4; 32:12; 33:19; 40:2, 4; Ps 6:1; 38:1; 50:8, 21; 94:10; 105:14;
141:5; Pr 3:11; 9:7f; 10:10; 15:12; 18:17; 19:25; 24:25; 28:23; 30:6; Is
2:4; 11:3, 4; 29:21; Jer. 2:19; Ezek 3:26; Ho 4:4; Amos 5:10; Hab
1:12; Hag 2:14;
Trench says that elegcho
(elencho) “implies not merely the charge, but
the truth of the charge, and further the manifestation of the truth of
the charge; nay, more than all this, very often also the acknowledgment,
if not outward, yet inward, of its truth on the part of the accused; it
being the glorious prerogative of the truth in its highest operation not
merely to assert itself, and to silence the adversary, but to silence
him by convincing him of his error.” (Elencho
R. C. Synonyms of the New Testament)
used in the Greek law courts not merely of a reply to an opposing
attorney, but of a refutation of his argument. No one could prove any
charges of sin against our Lord. No one could bring charges against Him
in such a way as to convince Him that He was guilty. (because of
course He wasn't)
Jesus said that
"everyone who does evil hates the
light, and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be
exposed (elegcho)." (Jn
Jesus describing the role of the
Holy Spirit says that
"He, when He comes, will convict
(elegcho) the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment"
Wayne Barber writes "I think Paul is talking about something in line with what he said in
verse 1. Don’t talk it, walk it. He is saying,
"Since you now have a garment that is light, you don’t reprove the world
by what you tell them. You reprove the world by how you live."
It is my garment that exposes what is going on around me. If I am not
wearing my garment, then what I say means nothing anyway. When I am
wearing my garment, the garment of love, the garment that reaches out
and cares about other people, the garment that speaks of the
righteousness and the holiness of God, then that garment begins to
reprove the people around me. By wearing the garment of light, we
reprove those acts of darkness around us.
Charles Hodge comments...
The apostle having in the previous verse insisted on the duty of
Christians of so walking as to show by their works that they were the
subjects of divine illumination, adds here a statement of their duty in
reference to the sins of those still in darkness. Those sins he calls
“the unfruitful works of darkness.” By unfruitful is meant not merely
barren or worthless, but positively evil. For in a moral subject the
negation of good is evil. Works of darkness are those works which spring
from darkness, i.e. from ignorance of God; as “works of light” are those
works which light or divine knowledge produces.
The duty of Christians in reference to the works of darkness is twofold;
first, to have no communion with them; and secondly, to reprove them.
The former is expressed by the words me sugkoinoneite have not
fellowship with them. Those who have things in common; who are
congenial; who have the same views, feelings, and interests; and who
therefore delight in each other’s society, are said to be in fellowship.
In this sense believers have fellowship with God and with each other. So
we are said to have fellowship in anything which we delight in and
partake of. To have fellowship with the works of darkness, therefore, is
to delight in them and to participate in them. All such association is
forbidden as inconsistent with the character of the children of light.
Our second duty is to reprove them.
Elegchein is not simply to reprove in the sense of admonishing or
rebuking. It means to convince by evidence. It expresses the effect of
illumination by which the true nature of anything is revealed. When the
Spirit is said to reprove men of sin, it means that he sheds such light
upon their sins as to reveal their true character, and to produce the
consequent consciousness of guilt and pollution. In 1Corinthians 14:24,
Paul says the effect of intelligible preaching of the Gospel is
conviction—which is explained by saying “the secrets of the heart are
revealed.” The duty, therefore, here enjoined is to shed light on these
works of darkness; to exhibit them in their true nature as vile and
destructive. By this method they are corrected; as is more fully taught
in the following verses. The ethics as well as the theology of the Bible
are founded on the principle, that knowledge and holiness, ignorance and
sin, are inseparable. If you impart knowledge you secure holiness; and
if you render ignorant you deprave. This of course is not true of
secular knowledge—i.e. of the knowledge of other than religious
subjects; nor is it true of mere speculative knowledge of religious
truth. It is true only of that knowledge which the Scriptures call
spiritual discernment. Of that knowledge, however, intellectual
cognition is an essential element. And so far as human agency in the
production of the conviction of sin is concerned, it is limited to
holding forth the word of life; or letting the light of divine truth
shine into the darkened minds of men, and upon their evil deeds. (Ephesians
><> ><> ><>
Source Unknown - One single
year is made up of 31,536,000 seconds. Every tick of the clock records
the ever-lessening opportunities of life. Time is in perpetual motion.
Like a strong, ever-flowing river, it is bearing away everything into
the boundless ocean of eternity. We never know the value of time till we
know the value of the fragments into which it is broken up. To make the
most of a single hour we must make the most of every minute of which it
is composed. The most dangerous moments of a man's life are those when
time hangs heavily on his hands. He who has nothing to do but kill time
is in danger of being killed himself. It is a miracle of divine goodness
if he is preserved from serious folly, or something worse; and such
miracles rarely occur. The man who has learnt the value of time can
learn any lesson this world may have to teach him. Time is the
opportunity for the exercise of Christian wisdom, and should be the more
sedulously used when the days are evil ”when evil is in power. Oh for
wisdom to number our days (Ps 90:12), to grasp the meaning of present
opportunity! Here come the moments that can never be had again; some few
may yet be filled with imperishable good. Let us apply our hearts ”all
our powers” unto wisdom.
><> ><> ><>
Vance Havner has these pithy comments on Ephesians 5:11 (Listen
to Vance Havner's presentation)
Some time ago a friend of mine took me to a restaurant where they must
have loved darkness rather than light. I stumbled into the dimly-lit
cavern, fumbled for a chair, and mumbled that I needed a flashlight in
order to read the menu. When the food came I ate it by faith and not by
sight. Gradually, however, I began to make out objects a little more
clearly. My host said, "Funny, isn't it, how we get used to the dark?"
"Thank you," I replied, "You have given me a new sermon subject."
We are living in the dark. The closing chapter of this age is dominated
by the prince and powers of darkness. Men love darkness rather than
light because their deeds are evil. The night is far spent; the
blackness is more extensive and more excessive as it deepens just before
the dawn. Mammoth Cave is not limited to Kentucky; it is universal!
Strangely enough, man never had more artificial illumination and less
true light. Bodily, he walks in unprecedented brilliance, while his soul
dwells in unmitigated night. He can release a nuclear glory that out
dazzles the sun, and with it he plans his own destruction. He can put
satellites in the sky, and left to himself, he is a wandering star to
whom is reserved the blackness of darkness forever.
The depths of present-day human depravity are too vile for any word in
our language to describe. We are seeing not ordinary moral corruption,
but evil double-distilled and compounded in weird, uncanny, and demonic
combinations and concoctions of iniquity never heard of a generation
ago. This putrefaction of the carcass of civilization awaiting the
vultures of judgment is not confined to Skid Row; it shows up in the top
brackets of society. Plenty of prodigals live morally among swine while
garbed in purple and fine linen. A Bishop once said: "There is no
difference in reality between the idle rich and the idle poor, between
the crowds who loaf in gorgeous hotels and the crowds who tramp the land
in rags, save the difference in the cost of their wardrobes and the
price of their meals."
Man lives in the dark and even his nuclear flashlight cannot pierce it.
We not only live in the dark, we get used to it. There is a slow,
subtle, sinister brainwashing process going on and by it we are
gradually being desensitized to evil. Little by little, sin is made to
appear less sinful until the light within us becomes darkness—and how
great is that darkness! Our magazines are loaded with accounts of sordid
crime, our newsstands with concentrated corruption. We are engulfed in a
tidal wave of pornographic filth. Television has put us in the dark with
Sodom and Gomorrah—right in the living room. We get used to it,
acclimated to it. We accept, as a matter of course, its art, its
literature, its music, its language. We learn to live with it without an
Lot was a righteous man, but he moved into Sodom, lived in it, probably
became its mayor. His soul was vexed from day to day with the Sodomites'
unlawful deeds, but he lost his influence with his family and had to
flee for his life. He died in disgrace. I have met many Lots in the past
few years! "... as it was in the days of Lot;... Even thus shall it be
in the day when the Son of man is revealed" (Luke 17:28-30). Modern Lots
tell us that we should hobnob with Sodom and get chummy with Gomorrah in
order to convert them. But the end does not justify the means. Such
people do not turn the light on in Sodom—they merely get used to the
The worst of all is that such people get so used to the dark that they
think it is growing brighter. Sit long enough in a dark room and you
will imagine that more light is breaking in. Men who dwell too long in
darkness fancy the day is dawning. We call "broadminded tolerance" what
is really peaceful coexistence with evil. It is an effort to establish
communion between light and darkness, a concord between Christ and
This condition extends into the religious world and even into
evangelical Christianity. It is possible to fraternize with unbelievers
until false doctrine becomes less and less objectionable. We come to
terms with it and would incorporate it into the fellowship of truth. We
begin by opening doors to borderline sects who "believe almost as we
do." Others find overtures from Rome attractive. Still others would make
a crazy quilt of world religions, a syncretism of "the best in all
faiths." "Syncretism" is only a big word for "hash." These theological
chefs who are busy mixing Mulligan stews think the darkness is lifting;
the truth is that they are merely getting used to it.
The same danger exists with regard to worldliness. One may live in a
twilight zone, in conditions of low visibility, until he finds the
practices of this world less repulsive. He mistakes the stretching of
his conscience for the broadening of his mind. He renounces what he
calls the "Pharisaism" and "puritanism" of earlier days with a good word
for dancing, smoking, and even cocktails now and then. Instead of
passing up Vanity Fair, he spends his vacations there. John Bunyan tells
us that his pilgrims were quite a novelty to the worldlings: "And as
they wondered at their apparel, so they did likewise at their speech;
for few could understand what they said. They naturally spoke the
language of Canaan; but they that kept the Fair were men of this world.
So that from one end of the Fair to the other, they seemed barbarians to
each other." How out of date that sounds! Operators of Vanity Fair would
see little difference in the clothes, conversation, and conduct of most
professing Christians today. If the proprietors of that Fair beheld the
modern church member, especially in the summertime, wearing in public a
garb in which he should never have left the house or even come
downstairs, they would not seem barbarians to each other! Bunyan's
pilgrims were not getting used to the dark.
Of course we do not get used to it all of a sudden. Alexander Pope
described the gradual process:
Vice is a monster of such frightful mien,
As to be hated needs but to be seen;
Yet seen too oft, familiar with her face,
We first endure, then pity, then embrace.
Here is how it works. A secular journal says: "The desensitization of
20th-century man is more than a danger to the common safety.... There
are some things we have no right ever to get used to. One... is
brutality. The other is the irrational. Both... have now come together
and are moving towards a dominant pattern." There was a time when sin
shocked us. But as the brainwashing progresses, what once amazed us only
amuses us. We laugh at the shady joke; tragedy becomes comedy; we learn
to speak the language of Vanity Fair.
I heard a preacher tell a doubtful joke to a man of this world.
Evidently he wanted to give the impression that preachers are used to
the dark; actually he was accommodating himself to the dungeon of this
age. Dr. John H. Jowett describes this peril of the preacher: "We are
tempted to leave our noontide lights behind in our study and to move
among men with a dark lantern which we can manipulate to suit our
company. We pay the tribute of smiles to the low business standard. We
pay the tribute of laughter to the fashionable jest. We pay the tribute
of easy tolerance to ambiguous pleasures. We soften everything to a
comfortable acquiescence. We seek to be all things to all men to please
all. We run with the hare and hunt with the hounds. We become the
victims of illicit compromise. There is nothing distinctive about our
character." That applies to more people than preachers!
The housewife who moves into suburbia and wants to go along with the
group spirit of the community faces the same temptation. So does the
organization man at the boss's party or the student on a pagan campus.
There are new techniques for socializing at Vanity Fair, but Bunyan's
pilgrims had the right idea. We are not here to learn how to live in the
dark but to walk in the light. We are not here to get along with evil
but to overcome it with good.
One of the signs of getting used to the dark is the way we excuse sin.
We give it new names: adultery is free love; the drunkard is an
alcoholic; sodomy is homosexuality; the murderer is temporarily insane.
Church workers fall into grievous sin and move on to new positions
without repentance or change of conduct. Parents let down in discipline,
saying, "What's the use?" Pastors give up preaching against sin, arguing
that the world's evils are here to stay and since church members are not
going to be any better we might as well accept the status quo and live
with it. We see this mixture of light and darkness in television
programs that join worldliness with hymns. We see it in Hollywood
portraying the Bible.
The world lives in the dark because it rejects Jesus Christ, the Light
of the world: "And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the
world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds
were evil" (John 3:19). The word here translated "condemnation" is
"crisis" in the original. The coming of Christ precipitated a crisis. It
compels men in the very nature of things to come to the light or abide
in darkness. This light shines in the Saviour: "I am the light of the
world..." (John 8:12). It shines in the Scriptures: "Thy word is a lamp
unto my feet, and a light unto my path" (Psalm 119:105). It shines in
the saints: "Ye are the light of the world" (Matthew 5:14). "... every
one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest
his deeds should be reproved" (John 3:20). That explains why some people
do not come to church.
I remember a couple in my first pastorate. The husband, an unsaved man,
brought his wife to church on Sunday nights, but he sat outside in his
car. He was in the dark in more ways than one because he did not like to
face the gospel light. His wife enjoyed the service because she loved
the light and came to the light that her deeds might be made manifest
that they were wrought in God. When you overturn a stone in the field
and the sunlight strikes beneath it, all the hidden creeping and
crawling things scurry for cover. So do our sinful hearts grow restless
under the light of God's truth. In an unlighted cellar you do not see
the spiders and snakes and lizards and toads until the light breaks in.
So men do not realize their sinfulness until they face the Light. No
wonder some live in the dark all week and then blink their eyes and
wince in church on Sunday morning when the preacher turns on the Light!
They have photophobia—they fear the Light.
Our business as Christians is to let our light shine: "... have no
fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove
[expose, turn the light on] them" (Ephesians 5:11). We expose them not
so much by denunciation, although that has its place, but by the
contrast of our godly living. Alas, we are so afraid of being offensive
that we are not effective! Our Lord said that two things would smother
the light of our testimony, a bushel and a bed. Today we dim our light
in a third way: we turn it low for fear of creating a disturbance; we
shade it to match the dim dungeon of this age. We would rather grieve
the Holy Spirit than offend the wicked.
The early Christians did not dim their lights to match the times. Paul
exceedingly troubled the places he visited, and even in prison at
midnight he turned night into day. The saints in Rome lighted the
streets with their burning bodies. Christians met in catacombs, but they
illuminated the world.
We are a city set on a hill, not hidden in a dungeon. We are to shine as
lights in the world. This is no time to get used to the dark; it is time
to turn on the Light! Too long have the caverns of this world been
undisturbed. Of course some cave dwellers will squirm, but others will
see our good works and glorify our Father in heaven. Light has no
communion with darkness. We are not here to commune with it but to
conquer it, and "this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our
faith" (I John 5:4).
Early Christianity set the world aglow because absolute Light was
pitched against absolute darkness. The early Christians believed that
the gospel was the only hope of the world, that without it all men were
lost and all religions false. The day came when the church and the world
mixed light and darkness. The church got used to the dark and lived in
it for several centuries, with only occasional flashes of light. Today
too many Christians think there is some darkness in our light and some
light in the world's darkness. We half-doubt our own gospel andl
half-believe the religion of this age. We are creeping around in the
dark when we should be flooding the world with light. We need to get our
candles out from under bushels and beds, take off the shades of
compromise and let them shine in our hearts, our homes, our businesses,
our churches, and our communities with that light that shines in the
Saviour and in the Scriptures and in the saints. (Why
Not Just Be Christians)