As we consider Ephesians 5:7-14, notice three elements in the form of commands about shining bright.
I. We must walk as children of light (7-10).
Notice the first command: Therefore You must not become partakers with them (7).The word “Therefore” draws a conclusion from what was said in verse 6. The word “partaker” carries the idea of sharing or casting in your lot with another.
Consider Prov. 1:10-19.
10 My son, if sinners entice thee, consent thou not. 11 If they say, Come with us, let us lay wait for blood, let us lurk privily for the innocent without cause: 12 Let us swallow them up alive as the grave; and whole, as those that go down into the pit: 13 We shall find all precious substance, we shall fill our houses with spoil:
14 Cast in thy lot among us; let us all have one purse:
15 My son, walk not thou in the way with them; refrain thy foot from their path:
16 For their feet run to evil, and make haste to shed blood. 17 Surely in vain the net is spread in the sight of any bird. 18 And they lay wait for their own blood; they lurk privily for their own lives. 19 So are the ways of every one that is greedy of gain; which taketh away the life of the owners thereof.
This does not mean that we should not try to reach others.
This means that you should not be following along linked up with them in such a way that you are acting as they do.
The reason we, the believers, are not be partakers with the children of disobedience is
because we were once darkness (8a). This is a significant statement, for we were actual
darkness. It is a horrible picture of someone groping around in the dark, helpless,
hopeless, unable to be satisfied, full of all sorts of wickedness, no future but a certain day
of fiery torment awaiting.
But now we are light in the Lord (8b). There has been an awesome transformation.
Light typically refers to God (character and revelation. This light has been made possible
through Jesus Christ.
Consider John 8:12 which says “Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.”
The only option for the believers is to walk as children of light (verse 8c). This conclusion is drawn in such a way as to amplify the command “Walk as children of light.”
Even more, believers are to walk as children characterized by light. The reason is because
it is the light that bears fruit (9a and see also 11). There are three qualities through which
this light flows.
Goodness which has the idea positive moral quality especially in the sense of being generous to others.
Consider Gal. 5:22-25 which says “22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. 24 And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. 25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.”
Righteousness which has the idea of upright behavior. It is not a self-righteous attitude but rather the character of doing right. It involves having integrity.
Truth which is, simply put, being truthful. It also pertains to being upright in thought and deed.
The manner in which believers are to walk is proving what is pleasing to the Lord
(verse 10). The Greek word used here (dokimazo) has the idea of examining something to
determine its genuineness. This is not being critical of others but rather being without
cracks in your own life. Walk in a way that shows what it looks like to be pleasing to the
Lord. Walk so as to please the Lord.
Consider Philippians 1:10 which says “That ye may approve things that are excellent; that ye may be sincere and without offence till the day of Christ.”
We must shine by walking in the light and we do this by not linking up with darkness.
We also do this by walking in goodness, righteousness and truth as we prove what is
acceptable/pleasing to the Lord. We need to Shine by walking in the light.
Not only are we to walk in the light, we are to shine into the darkness.
II. We must shine into the darkness (11-13).
Notice that there is a negative/positive command in verse 11.
You must not participate in the unfruitful works of darkness.
Instead, you must expose them. (Reprove carries the idea of exposing them)
You must expose the unfruitful works of darkness because it is even a shame to speak of
those things done by them in secret. In other words, there is argument being made that since it is even a wrong to speak of such things, we ought to be doing something about it. We should not just sit back and say “boy what a shame that such and such happened.” When folk gossip, are you one the first persons they call or share such things with? We should say “Stop. That is not right.”Point them to Christ. Point them to getting the situation resolved with the person they have the problem with.
When it comes sharing the sinful news of others, the gossiper is really in some ways
worse than the one who committed the act(s). Why? If it were not for the one who did the
sinful deed, the gossiper would have nothing to talk about. Rather than doing something
constructive to bring the sinner into reconciliation and restoration, the gossiper uses the
dark deeds of others for a personal platform of self-righteousness spewing out in secrecy how horrible the other person is or the deed that was done.
By shining into the darkness, the truth about the works of darkness are made visible (13).
It looks a lot like the drywaller who uses flood light to show the imperfections on a wall.
The 500 watt light shows the high the dimples and high spots. He works so as to smooth
out the drywall joint compound spread out over the joints and screws as best as possible.
When the light is taken away the imperfections seem to disappear. Few folk ever walk
around with 500 watt bulb shining it on your walls. The Word God exposes the
imperfections of this world in even greater way.
We must shine into the darkness by our lifestyle and by sharing the word of God.
Do people tell you dirty jokes? What does that say about you?
Do people share gossip with you? What does that say as well. What about other things?
Still, walking in the light and shining into the darkness necessitates a third element.
III. We must reflect the light in Christ (14).
The conclusion of the whole matter is summed up in a saying.
“Awake, he who sleeps
and arise from the dead
and Christ will shine on you.”
1. While this saying does not appear in the Bible, parts of it are at least alluded to.
2. It is believed that this was part of a creedal hymn used at baptism which is possible.
3. There is a call here to Awake and arise.
4. By awakening and arising, Christ will shine on you– give thee light.
On a clear night when the moon is bright, one can see quite well. Still, that is nothing
compared to light of Christ. The fact of the matter is that you can’t shine apart from
Christ. Like the moon reflecting the sun, we shine the reflection of the light of Christ into
a dark world. Still, we will meet him one day and experience His glorious radiance to
the fullest. While we are here we are to reflect the light through his enablement.
Conclusion: You are designed to SHINE.
I. Walk in the light
II. Shine into the darkness
III. Reflect the light of Christ
Pastor Richard Woodruff