Realizing our Riches | Ephesians 5:11-14
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. 13 But all things that are reproved are made manifest by the light: for whatsoever doth make manifest is light. 14 Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light. (KJV)
For several verses now the Holy Ghost, through Paul, has been speaking of a contrast between good and bad, fruitful and unfruitful, us and "them" and between light and dark. He gives in these verses above the benefit and profit of reproving these unfruitful works of darkness. We are overlapping our verses for context’s sake, I don’t want to cover verse 11-12 again but wanted to include them because it is where the idea of reproving is introduced to us. Rather we will focus on 13-14.
"But all things that are reproved are made manifest by the light" Here is the reason for reproving or standing against the unfruitful works of darkness, it shines a light and "manifest" those sinful works for what they are. This is a continuation of Paul's light illustration. One of light's most useful ministries is manifestation, what I mean is when the lights are turned on we can see clearly the things that were once hidden. A dark room may seem clean until the lights are turned on and turns out that the floor is dusty, all the things are out of place and that light manifested the dirty state of that room. So is our standing against the unfruitful works of darkness, when we don't participate in the filthy conversations at work or school or in town it shines a light on the filthiness of that deed and manifest its true nature. Now you should be prepared to not be the most popular person at work, because "Men love darkness rather than light because their deeds are evil." When we stand up for truth, for holiness, for separation it manifest the true nature of those unfruitful works of darkness.
O how we need a revival of reproof in the church today, the church of today has joined in the worlds activities and no longer reproves anything for fear of being "unloving." This is why our churches are filled with unregenerate people who may never be regenerated, because the few Christians in the church never reprove anything and the lost remained lost because the light of reproof has never shown them their lost state. We live in an hour when we can't tell the church apart from a rock venue, a Christian apart from a heathen or a pastor apart from a motivational speaker. The Churches of today spend all their time and effort catering to the lost and very little time and effort is spent on feeding the sheep. The music is crafted to sound and feel like every other pop song that is currently in the top 10, the sermon is crafted to cater to the physiological and emotional tenderness of an overly offended generation of unregenerate church goers. Meanwhile the 20 regenerate people in the "booming" church of 500 starve to death spiritually because the minister spends all his time entertaining the goats instead of feeding the sheep. I thank God for the "Old Fashioned" Churches I have been priveledged to be a part of; They didn't entertain the lost, but they loved them. When a hungry soul came to church he didn't get more of what the world had already offered him, but he got the bread of Life. God help us to stand up for what is right and act like a Christian, look like a Christian and reprove the things that need reproving! By this reproof the unfruitful deeds are brought to light. Sadly many people, even professing Christians, won't take reproof. They see it as an act of hate, rather than love, but if you love someone you will tell them the truth. God give us boldness to tell the hard truths of reproof!
A clean Christian life is a gospel message that cannot be denied. A separated Christian is a light to everyone he or she comes in contact with. The difference that has been wrought in you shines a light on the old sinful nature that still dominates the life of the lost, and even the carnal Christian. Can people see a difference in you? Or do you look like, act like, dress like, talk like, drink like and think like them? Every unfruitful work of darkness you stand against is a light, revealing or "manifesting" the unfruitful works of darkness for what they are.
We'll close with the call that goes out in verse 14. "Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light." This is a call to wake up! Church, wake up; Christian, wake up; "thou that sleepest" wake up! Rise from those dead unfruitful works. Rise from those dead friends, rise from those filthy conversations, rise from emulating the lost world in dress and speech and thought. "Come out from among them and be ye separate! "And Christ shall give you light.” If you will wake up and understand that God saved us from sin and not to sin, if you will reprove the unfruitful works of darkness, if you will be willing to be different and unpopular you will become a light set on a hill, a testimony to the people at work and school and in your town and even in your church. The light of righteousness will shine in you and through you and that light will reveal to men and women their need for that same change to take place in them.
I'll conclude with a testimony that illustrates this truth. I was working with a man for several years when I was an electrician. This man like to revel in the unfruitful works of darkness. Me and him struck up a friendship, although we were on totally different ends of the spectrum. I had given my life to the Lord some years prior to meeting this man and he had yet to meet the Lord. By providence, this man was put on the crew with me and my uncle and another saved man at work and for two years this man went out of town with us, worked with us day in and day out. Me and my uncle and our saved workmate would sit down at the lunch table and discuss the Bible. We would pray for one another and we were far from perfect but the new life we were living was quite different than the life our friend was living. One day as me and my uncle and our other saved workmate were talking our lost friend came to where we were, and it was apparent that he was troubled. He said something that I will take to my grave, "I want what you guys have." We shared the gospel with him like we had many times before and he came back to work the next day and told us that the Lord had saved him that evening. From that day forward there were four saved men at the lunch table instead of three and there was a life changing difference wrought in that man, so much so that new hires didn't believe the stories of our friends’ old life, before He meet the Lord. I told that story not to glorify me or my uncle or our other saved friend but to glorify the difference that was wrought in us by Christ and the light of a changed life that shined to the lost world around us. God has given you a light, don’t let fear of rejection or any other thing hid it under a bushel.
This little light of Mine, I'm gonna let it shine!!
According to the Riches of His Grace!