Ephesians 5:6-10 Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. 7 Therefore do not become partners with them; 8 for at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light 9 (for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true), 10 and try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord.
At the beginning of Jesus’ ministry Matthew observed that he was fulfilling the prophecy of Isaiah who said, “The land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, the way of the sea, beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles— 16 the people dwelling in darkness have seen a great light, and for those dwelling in the region and shadow of death, on them a light has dawned.” 17 From that time Jesus began to preach, saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” (Matthew 4:15-17) With the coming of Jesus the light came into a world of darkness. In spite of vigorous efforts to put it out the light continues to grow. In the very beginning of time Satan and his demons have worked to suppress the light. Our role and responsibility is to pick up the mantle dropped by the previous generations and bear it towards the end.
“Because of these things” refer back to the verses just before. In those verses a short list of basic sin is laid out. It is because of these things…
God’s wrath is on the disobedient. Let’s look at Colossians 3:5-7. Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. 6 On account of these the wrath of God is coming. 7 In these you too once walked, when you were living in them.
We have the responsibility, and the ability, to “put to death” the tendency toward sin that is such a common part of our heritage. Self-centered refusal to trust in God reflects itself in many ways. Yet it is always idolatry. The world around us is filled with such dissatisfaction leading to covetousness.
This passage is an expansion on Paul’s statement to the Ephesians that God’s wrath is directed towards the disobedient people of this world. The concept of God’s wrath is rejected by many people in our world today. Apparently they want God to be a kind and gentle old man who, no matter what you do, pats you on the head and tells you everything is going to be all right.
God’s wrath is shown throughout the Bible and should remind us that God intensely hates all sin. The classic example is found in the book of Exodus when God’s people made an idol and bowed down to worship it when Moses was on the mountain receiving God’s instruction. Moses stood against God’s wrath and quoted God’s words back to him remembering the promises made to Abraham, Isaac, and Israel.
Some would say that it is only in the Old Testament that God’s wrath is mentioned. However we find in John’s gospel chapter 3 verse 36 that those who do not obey the Son has the wrath of God on them.
Many New Testament passages proclaim God’s wrath against sin. As we see our world going to hell in a hand basket…
We must not join with them. Let’s look at Philippians 2:14-15. Do all things without grumbling or disputing, 15 that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world,
We are the light of the world because the true light has come to live in us. As such we must not join with the worldlings. We are not to spend our time grumbling and arguing. Instead we are to be blameless.
Now blameless does not mean without fault or error it means that our heart is in the right place. There may be many things in our lives that need be corrected but because of the blood of Jesus, offered on the altar in heaven, all blame has been removed. We are children of God and he has removed every blemish from us. We are surrounded by a crooked and twisted generation and we are to be separate from them. We are not perfect but we are being perfected by God. Before we came to place our faith in the Lord Jesus Christ we too were following the prince of the power of the air…
That is our past. Let’s look at 1 Corinthians 6:9-11. Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, 10 nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. 11 And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.
I repeat again the attitudes and actions of those who have failed to inherit the kingdom of God. All of these negative attitudes — sexual immorality, idolatry, adultery, sexual sin, thieves, greedy, drug abusers, refiners and swindlers — separate men and women from an inheritance in the kingdom of God. It is easy to put such people down until we are reminded that the Bible says “such were some of you” reminding us that we are cleansed of our sin in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ by the Spirit of our God! When we look back at our past we see the same kinds of sin that we see in the world around us. If we did not commit them in actuality we committed them in our thought life. Our past was no better than the present of the majority of people today. We need to turn aside and…
We need to look to the future. Let’s look at Philippians 3:13-14. Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.
Even Paul struggled with sin. He did not claim that he had — in his life on earth — obtained perfection. However, he pressed forward toward that goal. When the apostle Paul thought of the sins of others he reminds us that he persecuted the church. He not only arrested people who believed in Christ but participated in their trial and execution! Turning away from the past is something we all should do. Very early in life I learned a practical truth that I try to follow today. And that is: we remember what we rehearse. If you’ve gone to God with it and asked forgiveness stop rolling it around in your mind. If we confess our sins he forgives our sins and we need to have the same attitude toward them. One of the greatest struggles in my life is being able to put aside all that I have done wrong in the past. I know that those thoughts are often stimulated by Satan’s emissaries.
We need to remember that Satan knows everything we have ever done. He can bring it before us in many different ways. He is our adversary and is constantly looking for ways to bring us down. He wants to cripple our spiritual life by causing us to remember the things that we’ve done that were displeasing to God.
The next time Satan reminds you of your past take a moment and remind him of his future. By the blood of Christ we are going to enter into God’s presence in heaven. On the other hand Satan and his demons are going to be cast into the lake of fire that burns forever and ever. When God is through with them they will face eternal torment. Our life will be one of eternal joy and peace.
Since we are children of light…
Our day-to-day life needs to reflect light. Let’s look at Romans 13:12-14. The night is far gone; the day is at hand. So then let us cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light. 13 Let us walk properly as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and sensuality, not in quarreling and jealousy. 14 But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires.
Many years ago I heard Maj. Ian Thomas ask a crowd of Christians, “How are you today? Are you full moon?” And then he went on to explain that the moon has no light of its own but it only reflects the glory of the sun.
In the same manner we reflect the glory of the Lord Jesus Christ. We should be “full moon” but we often reflect a partial moon or even a moon in eclipse!
We need to consciously put on the Lord Jesus Christ. The way we do that is found in conversion. Conversion is our willing response to the gospel. It is shown by our sincere repentance while turning to Christ for salvation. There is a turning from and a turning to. We turn from sin! And we turn to Christ! Repentance and faith go hand-in-hand.
We must not be like the people of the world. They know right and wrong — they know good and evil. It’s not a matter of what we know but instead it is what we do with what we know. The Bible tells us that there are many people who know God’s laws but dislike them. Even the demons know who God is and know the facts about Jesus’ life and saving work. That knowledge does not mean that the demons are saved.
The people of the world reject the light that came into the world. In the first chapter of John’s Gospel we are told that Jesus’ life was the light of men and the darkness cannot overcome it. But those of us who have put our faith in the Lord Jesus Christ need to constantly seek to reflect light into the world. And when we do put on the Lord Jesus Christ and walk in his light we will reflect…
The good, right and true. Let’s look at Galatians 5:22-23. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.
Here we see a listing of the fruit of the Spirit which is an expansion on the fruit of light. Not only is that fruit good, right and true, the fruit of the Spirit is love! That love is reflected in joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.
In the book of Romans we are told that Christ saved us, “in order that we may bear fruit for God” (Romans 7:4). Our lives are to be productive and will reflect the light of the Lord through the gifts he has given us. We weren’t saved to go to heaven. We were saved to bring heaven to earth and introduce people to the light so that they can be attracted to the light and join us in leaving the kingdom of darkness. As a result of this we are to…
Apply our thoughts in pleasing God. Let’s look at 1 John 4:1-2. Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world. 2 By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God,
It is very important that we not drift along, spiritually, allowing all kinds of spirits to affect our lives. The devil can transform himself into an angel of light. He and his followers are not going to come out at us smelling of brimstone and covered with smoke. He is going to present himself as attractive as possible. When he speaks into your mind he’s going to use your voice. He works through the law of sin. He will accent his temptations according to your personal accent he will impersonate you so that the temptation seems like you!
The sinful thoughts the Christian experiences are not generated by the Christian. They are the product of indwelling sin under Satan’s control. Sin gives temptation, deception, or accusation thoughts to you based on your habits. He has observed you and knows what turns you on and turns you off. We need to make a sincere effort to take our thoughts captive and put to death everything that is not pleasing to God.
Paul goes on in this passage to say that we are to avoid being part of the unfruitful works of darkness. Instead, we are to expose them — bring them to the light. In fact, when we have a problem concerning the moral value of some action, word or thought we need to bring it before Jesus. We do that by comparing it to the word of God — the Bible — because that contains the mind of God. The light of God will burn away the evil world. Are you focused on the light? Is Jesus your Lord? That is the most important question you will ever ask.
All scriptures quotes are from: The Holy Bible: English standard version. 2001. Wheaton: Standard Bible Society