TEXT: Ephesians 5:8-12
8 For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light:
9 (For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth;)
10 Proving what is acceptable unto the Lord.
11 And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.
12 For it is a shame even to speak of those things which are done of them in secret.
Fighting the Pull of Darkness, Part 3 (Pilgrim’s Progress According to the Bible #59)
Over the past week, much of the talk on the news has centered around the terrorist attack in Paris by an extremist group that calls itself the Islamic State. One of the critical issues that has been discussed is how young men and young women who were raised in modern, democratic countries, taught in public, secular schools, and surrounded by 21st century materialism and culture, can be “radicalized” and drawn into a barbaric, bloodthirsty, murderous organization that has done nothing but spread death and destruction since it emerged on the world scene over a year ago. The FBI has even arrested young people in the United States who were attempting to join or support this organization.
The question that has baffled government officials and civilians is why people are attracted to such darkness? Who would even sign up for that kind of lifestyle?
The truth of the matter, though, is that people walk in darkness every day. Even some Christians are still walking in darkness. Some who have lived righteously for long periods of time have been drawn back into sin.
In this part of our Pilgrim’s Progress According to the Bible series, we have been looking at how we can fight the temptations of the devil, the desires of our flesh, and the sins which so easily beset us. The Bible describes us “children of light” as compared to the children of “darkness.” Our behavior ought to be different from the behavior of those in the world. As Paul writes, “For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light.”
Last week, we considered the works of the children of darkness (or the “children of disobedience”) as well as the consequences (“the wrath of God”) that comes down on them because of their evil deeds. Today, we see how we ought to act as children of God. Verse 9 says, “For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth.” If we are filled with the Spirit — and God has done His part in sending the Holy Spirit to live inside of us — we ought to be living in goodness, righteousness, and truth. God is good. God is righteous. And God is truthful. Our actions as His children ought to reflect His character.
Furthermore, we ought to seek to please God and have all of our actions be acceptable to Him. Verse 10 reads, “Proving what is acceptable unto the Lord.” The Greek word for “proving” means “to recognize as genuine after examination, to approve, to deem worthy.” Our actions as Christians ought to be genuine. When we do good, we ought to do it out of a Godly heart and spirit, not with hypocritical motives. God is not just looking on the outside — at what we do and say — but on the heart, and He will judge us accordingly. Just as a child seeks to please his or her parents, we ought to seek to please our Heavenly Father.
One way in which we can please Him is by not associating ourselves with sinful behavior. Verse 11 says, “And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove [or rebuke] them.” We ought not to be sinning, and we ought not to allow others to draw us into their sin. This is not just in reference to the world, but to the church as well. If a brother or sister is sinning, we are obligated to warn them about their sins and the consequences they will face. In commenting on this passage, H.W. Hoehner said, “Christians are forbidden to be ‘sharers together’ with the sons of disobedience; they are told not to take part with unbelievers’ actions. Christians, by conducting themselves as ‘children of light,’ expose the ‘deeds of darkness.’ These deeds, however, refer here to the deeds of other believers who are not walking in the light. This is because only God can expose and convict unbelievers’ deeds. Believers, on the other hand, can expose evil deeds among other Christians within the church.”
Our attitude toward sin ought to be similar to what is described in verse 12 of our passage: For it is a shame even to speak of those things which are done of them in secret.” Sin ought not to even be a topic of discussion among believers. This does not mean that we shove it under the rug and pretend that it does not exist. Rather, it means that we are to do as we are commanded in verse 11: “reprove them.” This term means to rebuke someone or tell them about a fault. We ought not to make someone’s sin a topic of gossip. Our goal ought to be to convince the brother or sister who is sinning to get out from under Satan’s shadow and come back to the path of light.
In the classic Christian allegory, Pilgrim’s Progress, John Bunyan tells the story of two pilgrim’s who briefly are led out of the straight and narrow way and into a dark path. Last week, we read how one of God’s angels, a “Shining One”, led the two pilgrims, Christian and Hopeful, back into the light. At that time, he also chastised them for their disobedience. Allow me to read again from this story as we see what happens after Christian and Hopeful are chastised for leaving the way:
Having chastised them, the Shining One directed them to be on their way and pay particular attention to the other directions of the Shepherds. So thanking him for all of his kindness, the Pilgrims proceeded along the right way, while singing:
Come hither, you that walk along the way;
See how the pilgrims fare, that go astray!
They are caught in an entangling net,
‘Cause they good counsel lightly did forget;
‘Tis true, they rescued were, but yet you see,
They’re scourged as well; let this your caution be.
The Pilgrims had a mind to warn others who would follow them not to fall for the tricks of the devil or his servants. We ought to adopt their attitude. We ought to have a spirit that wants to see a church that is pure and free from sin when Jesus Christ returns. To that end, we ought to get rid of the sin in our lives and be committed to walking as children of light and helping our brothers and sisters in Christ to do the same.
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If you do not know the Lord Jesus Christ as your Savior, allow me to share with you briefly how you can be saved from your sins and be guaranteed a home in Heaven with God today.
First, please understand that you are a sinner, just as I am, and that you have broken God’s laws. The Bible says in Romans 3:23: “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” Please understand that because of your sins, you deserve eternal punishment in hell. Romans 6:23 says “the wages of sin is death…This is both physical death and spiritual death in hell. That is the bad news.
But here is the good news. John 3:16 says “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
If you believe that Jesus Christ died on the cross for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead, and you want to trust Him for your salvation today, please pray with me this simple prayer: Holy Father God, I realize that I am a sinner and that I have done some bad things in my life. I am sorry for my sins, and today I choose to turn from my sins. For Jesus Christ sake, please forgive me of my sins. I believe with all of my heart that Jesus Christ died for me, was buried, and rose again. I trust Jesus Christ as my Savior and I choose to follow Him as Lord from this day forward. Lord Jesus, please come into my heart and save my soul and change my life today. Amen.
If you just trusted Jesus Christ as your Saviour, and you prayed that prayer and meant it from your heart, I declare to you that based upon the Word of God, you are now saved from Hell and you are on your way to Heaven. Welcome to the family of God! Congratulations on doing the most important thing in life and that is receiving Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour. For more information to help you grow in your newfound faith in Christ, go to Gospel Light Society.com and read “What To Do After You Enter Through the Door.” Jesus Christ said in John 10:9, “I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.”
God loves you. We love you. And may God bless you.