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Sunday, September 18, 2016 pm                                                    Ephesians Index

 

STUDIES IN EPHESIANS
Walk as Children of Light
Ephesians 5:8-14

     As we continue to examine Paul’s practical applications of how we are to conduct ourselves toward one another and as Christians. In our last lesson we noted how we are to walk in love and how that results in us walking in a way that shuns ungodly behavior which he gives a short list of.  This is concluded with the warning, “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 be partakers with them.” (Eph. 5:6-7)   Paul then mentions how we are to be walking as children of light.    That will be our lesson today.

 I.                     You are now light (vs. 8-10)

a.       Once in darkness – the idea of darkness is following after the ways of the world.  It is to have NO light in you.  In other words, you are in a lost state and without hope.  In our last lesson we reminded ourselves that Paul had described their former conduct and its misery – (Ephesians 2:1-3, 11-12, 4:17-19, 22, etc.).  Those ways that shun the light of the gospel.  Introducing Jesus as the Light, he notes,And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.” (John 1:5)
 As Jesus taught in John 3:19, where He noted that men loved darkness because their deeds were evil. Paul has previously addressed we noted this in our last lesson and previously. 
Romans 1:21 describes men who failed to glorify God who became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened.  They reject God and without hope.
Luke 11:34-35 your body is full of darkness, take heed that the light which is in you is not darkness.
1 John 2:9-11, John addresses the need to love our brethren in terms of light and darkness.  He noted that to hate your brother is to walk in darkness which causes him to be blinded to the truth.
There is a misery associated with those who are overtaken with the darkness of this world!

b.       Now you are in the light of the Lord – for the first time in this letter, Paul mentions light. 
This light is a reference to following Jesus and the truth.

                                                   i.       Jesus is the light of the world – one of the themes of the gospel of John – John 1:4-5.  1:9, John describes Him as “the true Light which give light to every man coming into the world.” 
John 8:12, “Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.”   
John 9:5, “As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.”  This was demonstrated by giving sight to a man born blind. 

                                                 ii.      He told His disciples, “Then Jesus said to them, “A little while longer the light is with you. Walk while you have the light, lest darkness overtake you; he who walks in darkness does not know where he is going. While you have the light, believe in the light, that you may become sons of light.” These things Jesus spoke, and departed, and was hidden from them.” (John 12:35-36)

                                                iii.      Finally, He told His disciples, “I have come as a light into the world, that whoever believes in Me should not abide in darkness.” (John 12:46)

                                                iv.      That light is found in His word – Psalm 119:105 – His word is a light to our path.
2 Peter 1:19, while speaking of the prophetic word (of the OT), he notes we would do well to heed it as a light that shines in a dark place. 

c.        Walk as children of light – We have addressed how the word “walk” has reference to our manner of life.  Used 7 times in Ephesians. 

                                                   i.      God is the giver of this light – James 1:17, He is the Father of lights giving us every good and perfect gift.
1 John 1:5, says, “God is light and in Him is no darkness at all.”

                                                 ii.      1 Thessalonians 5:5, we are sons of light
John 3:19-21, while describing those who hated the light and walking in darkness he notes that, “He who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen…”
Romans 13:12, calls for us to put on the armor of light.

d.       With the fruit of the Spirit –the idea of the fruit is the produce or results of some effort.  In this context Paul’s point is as we walk in the light, we will produce this fruit.

                                                   i.      It is the fruit of the Spirit – that is the results of the Spirit of God influencing our lives. 

                                                 ii.      Typically, we consider Galatians 5:22-23 where Paul contrasts the works of the flesh with the fruit of the Spirit.  Worthy of note is how the term “fruit” in both passages is singular, meaning it is ONE fruit and not many.  The various qualities mentioned are ALL present when the Spirit is producing in us as He should.

                                                iii.      Goodness – is defined as positive, moral character that is interested in others. (cf. BDAG).  We are given to doing good when we are in the light.  We care about others and act in their best interest.  (Cf. Rom. 5:7 – for a good man, someone would even dare to die).  NOTE: This is the only fruit mentioned here and in Galatians 5:22.

                                                iv.      Righteousness – we are just and do what we are supposed to do.  We are fair and equitable. 

                                                  v.      Truth – the standard by which we walk in the light.  As noted, it is Jesus who is the light.  As Jesus prayed in John 17:17, “Sanctify them by Your truth.  Your word is truth.”

e.       Finding out what is acceptable to the Lord – the expression here means to approve or to declare something as genuine.  The NASV says, “trying to learn what is pleasing…”.  The KJV says, “proving what is acceptable” (ASV similar).  The ESV says, “trying to discern what is pleasing…”   As I understand this, our walk declares to others and ourselves the truth of God and His ways – we believe it and apply it. 

  II.                   Have no fellowship with darkness (11-13)

a.       Have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness – WHEN we are walking in the light, we are going to do so with total integrity.  No compromise or duplicity. 
I am reminded of Jesus teaching in Matthew 6:24, no one can serve 2 masters…
The truth is if we are walking in the light, we are avoiding the darkness as much as we can. 
2 Corinthians 6:14, what communion has light with darkness?
2 Corinthians 11:14, tells us that even Satan transforms himself into an angel of light, warning us to be cautious as we seek the truth. 

b.       But rather expose them – is it enough to just avoid darkness?  In some instances, yes. We should flee evil company and places (2 Tim. 2:22, 1 Cor. 6:18, 15:33, etc.).  But when it comes to darkness, we must make sure others know we do not approve!  There are times when we need to expose darkness (even if we are making a statement by NOT participating).
When we are dealing with those walking in error, especially in our midst, we MUST expose (reprove – KJV) them!  This is the premise of “church discipline” (1 Cor. 5:4-6, Romans 16:17, 2 Thessalonians 3:6, etc.)  2 John 9-11 implies that when one comes teaching error we don’t receive him lest we share in his evil deeds.   Paul, Galatians 2:11-12, withstood Peter for his hypocrisy.
As we walk in the light, we expose the false teacher and his companions; we expose those living ungodly and immoral lives; we expose those who are seeking to divide us, etc.

c.        Why?  It is shameful even to speak of those things done by them in secret.   Paul is noting their shameful conduct.  There are many who are proud of their ungodly behavior.  They wantonly expose themselves for who they are.
BUT, others seek to hide their sinful conduct – whether it be lustful behaviors, scheming against the godly, or trying to slip in some form of error.   In many ways, these are the worst and the most dangerous.  2 Peter 2:2-3 warns of the false teacher with deceptive works deceiving others. 
Jesus warned us to beware of wolves in sheep’s clothing (Matthew 7:15-16).

d.       All things that are exposed are made manifest by the light – this is HOW we expose error, with the light.  This implies that 1) We seek to know it and 2) we seek to live it.  By example, we let our lights shine (Matthew 5:16).

 III.                 Therefore (14)

a.       Therefore, He says, Awake, you who sleep. Arise from the dead And Christ will give you light.

b.       This is an interesting passage as it makes reference to something God has said.  There is no direct statement in the Old Testament, but there are passages that refer to the idea (cf. Isaiah 26:19, 60:1, etc.).  There are other theories about this phrase, but all we NEED to know is that in some way the Lord had warned them

c.        As we strive to walk in the light and expose darkness what this verse teaches is absolute.
Paul challenges them to be awake – be alert to the ways of darkness. 
Romans 13:11, Paul notes that it is time to awake out of our sleep.

d.       We must also be alert - 1 Peter 5:8 calls for us to be sober and vigilant so that we will not be devoured by the devil.
Paul warned the Ephesian elders to be watching for the wolves – Acts 20:28-30.  There was a need for awareness. 
1 Thessalonians 5:5-8 says, “You are all sons of light and sons of the day. We are not of the night nor of darkness. Therefore let us not sleep, as others do, but let us watch and be sober. For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk are drunk at night. But let us who are of the day be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love, and as a helmet the hope of salvation.

e.       Friends, if we are to walk in the light, we have to WAKE UP!  And let Christ be your light!

 

And thus Paul continues his admonition to these brethren.  They are to walk in love and in light.  In our next study we will notice how they are also to walk in wisdom.  Let us resolve that we will walk the way we ought to.  As John said in 1 John 2:6, “He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked.  So, how are you walking?  Think about it!