What we know: I need to wake up from my sleep. I need to get up out of my coffin. Jesus is showing me the way. Jesus is shining His light on me. I need to watch my step. I need to use my head. I need to think and not live carelessly.
God’s goal: God’s goal for is to understand what Jesus wants me to do. Understanding what Jesus wants, I am to obey Him. The goal is to listen and act. I have to make the best use of my time.
- May I understand what Jesus wants me to do.
- May I know it deep in my heart.
- May I not only know but also do it, demonstrating my obedience.
But when anything is exposed by the light, it becomes visible, for anything that becomes visible is light. Therefore it says,
“Awake, O sleeper,
and arise from the dead,
and the Messiah [Christ] will shine on you.”
Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Master [Lord] is. And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit, addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Master [Lord] Yeshua [Jesus] the Messiah [Christ], submitting to one another out of reverence for the Messiah.
English Standard Version. (2016). (Ephesians 5:13–21). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.
Paul was admonishing his readers to “walk as children of light.” Paul did not say that we were “in the darkness,” but that we “were darkness.” Now that we are saved, “what communion has light with darkness?” After all, light produces fruit, but the works of darkness are unfruitful as far as spiritual things are concerned. “For the fruit of the Spirit [or “the light”] is in all goodness and righteousness and truth.” It is impossible to be in darkness and light at the same time!
The light produces “goodness,” one manifestation of the fruit of the Spirit. Goodness is “love in action.” Righteousness means rightness of character before God and rightness of actions before men. Both of these qualities are based on truth, which is conformity to the Word and will of God.
Jesus had much to say about light and darkness. “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven” (Matt. 5:16). “Everyone that does evil hates the light, neither come to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. But he that does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God” (John 3:20–21).
To “walk as children of light” means to live before the eyes of God, not hiding anything. It is relatively easy to hide things from other people because they cannot see our hearts and minds; but “all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of Him with whom we have to do” (Heb. 4:13). Every time I take a plane to a meeting, I must surrender myself and my luggage to a special inspection, and I am happy to do so, because this inspection helps to detect bombs. I have never been afraid to walk through the “detection tunnel” or have my luggage pass through the X-ray equipment, because I have nothing to hide.
An author asked Charles Spurgeon for permission to write his life story, and the great preacher replied, “You may write my life in the skies—I have nothing to hide!”
But walking “as children of light” also means revealing God’s light in our daily lives. By our character and conduct, we bring God’s light into a dark world.
As God’s lights, we help others find their way to Jesus the Messiah. The mind of the unsaved person is blinded by Satan and by sin. Only as we witness and share the Messiah can the light enter in. Just as a healthy person can assist the sickly, so a child of God can lead the lost out of darkness into God’s wonderful light.
- Light reveals God
- light produces fruit
- light also exposes what is wrong
No surgeon would willingly operate in darkness lest he made a false move and take a life. How could an artist paint a true picture in darkness? The light reveals the truth and exposes the true character of things. This explains why the unsaved person stays clear of the church and the Bible. God’s light reveals his true character, and the exposure is not very complimentary. As we disciples [learners] walk in light, we refuse to fellowship with the darkness, and we expose the dark things of sin for what they really are.
Here is good news: “I am come a light into the world,” said Jesus (John 12:46). He also said to His disciples, “You are the light of the world” (Matt. 5:14). When He was here on earth, the perfection of His character and conduct exposed the sinfulness of those around Him. This is one reason why the religious leaders hated Him and sought to destroy Him. “If I had not come and spoken unto them, they had not had sin, but now they have no cloak for their sin” (John 15:22).
Just as a healthy person unconsciously exposes the handicaps and sicknesses of people he visits in a hospital, so the Christian exposes the darkness and sin around him just by living like a Christian. Paul tells us to live balanced lives—positively, to walk in the light; negatively, to denounce and expose the wickedness of those in the darkness. It is not enough simply to expose the wickedness of those in the darkness. It is not enough simply to expose sin. We must also bear fruit.
Be careful how you deal with the “unfruitful works of darkness.” The motto today seems to be, “Tell it like it is!” And yet that can be a dangerous policy when it comes to exposing the filthy things of darkness, lest we unconsciously advertise and promote sin.
The main thing: Paul said, “It is a shame even to speak of those things” (Eph. 5:12). Some preachers enjoy reveling in the sensational, so much so that their sermons excite appetites and give to the innocent more information than they need. “But yet I would have you wise unto that which is good, and simple concerning evil” (Rom. 16:19).
Frank Hubeny said:
Good point that light reveals God, produces fruit, and exposes what is wrong.
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Good analogy with the Surgeon and artist!
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