We are currently doing an in-depth study of Revelation by Chuck Missler and last night our “homework” included reading Ephesians in preparation for tonight’s look at the letter to the Church in Ephesus. As I was reading and preparing chapter 5 really stood out to me. I know I talk a lot about how we as Christians are called to conduct ourselves but it is something I feel is so very important. As followers of Christ, bearers of the Holy Spirit then we should strive to live or lives as Christ lived, follow the example he gave us and allow the Holy Spirit to flow through us enacting a change in us. We are to put off our old man for the new, we are to not just ask forgiveness from our sin but to truly repent of it and that includes turning from it. The change that turning brings allows us to no longer be the enemies of Christ’s light and love but the bearers of it. When we continue to live in a sinful way, following the world instead of Jesus then we are effectively putting a basket over our light thus preventing it from shining into the darkness of this world. We aren’t doing the Father’s work then, we aren’t following our Savior, we aren’t winning souls for the kingdom no matter how much we preach and talk to folks about it. You know why, they only hear about half of what we say, but they see everything we do, and they judge us by it. So if we say we follow Christ but live like we follow the world we are damaging our testimony, weakening our strength as followers and crippling our ability to be disciples. The first half of Ephesians chapter 5 has a lot to say about this topic so let’s dig in.
Be ye therefore imitators of God, as beloved children; and walk in love, even as Christ also loved you, and gave himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for an odour of a sweet smell. Ephesians 5:1-2
Be imitators of God as beloved children – that phrase makes me thing of when our son and how he has always imitated his daddy, from the time he could walk he has followed him, confident that his dad will never steer him wrong, lead him astray or harm him. We should all look to our Father in heaven the way a young boy does his earthly dad, with complete trust and devotion. Incidentally, our son still follows in his dad’s footsteps but he is beginning to follow in the Father’s footsteps even closer, I love that, that he is such a light and is growing in his faith, trust and walk with the Lord.
But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not even be named among you, as becometh saints; nor filthiness, nor foolish talking, or jesting, which are not befitting: but rather giving of thanks. Ephesians 5:3-4
Paul gets right to it here, laying out what we ought not do as followers of Christ. It hurts my heart to read this list and then think about the people I know who profess to be believers in Christ but fail to follow him. Only the Lord truly knows their hearts but the following verses show that when we are true believers in our hearts, minds and souls then we are fertile soil and will bear much fruit.
And those are they that were sown upon the good ground; such as hear the word, and accept it, and bear fruit, thirtyfold, and sixtyfold, and a hundredfold. Mark 4:20
Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; so neither can ye, except ye abide in me. John 15:4
Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; and so shall ye be my disciples. John 15:8
Ye did not choose me, but I chose you, and appointed you, that ye should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should abide: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you. John 15:16
But when professing Christians continue to commit the sins on Paul’s list, all of which happen to tie into the Big 10 laws of God, then those actions are all the lost, dark, dying world sees. The world is blinded to the light of Christ which isn’t being fed, is being starved out by the world’s darkness, all they see is the darkness because they love it. They love to hide in the dark, to avoid facing the reality of their choices, their sins. So they use the walk of a professor of Christ who doesn’t necessarily live in Christ.
For this ye know of a surety, that no fornicator, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, which is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. Ephesians 5:5
Not bearing good fruit but instead continuing to wallow in your sins will cost you dearly. Paul tells us that no one who lives this way will see the kingdom of Christ and God. He is talking to so called follower’s here, so called believers and saying watch out! Be sure you are following the right path, be sure you are bearing good fruit, if not then you are not truly a believer and thus have no place in the kingdom to come.
Let no man deceive you with empty words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the sons of disobedience. Be not ye therefore partakers with them; Ephesians 5:6-7
We are strongly warned not to partake of the ways of sin of those who do not truly follow our Lord.
For ye were once darkness, but are now light in the Lord: walk as children of light (for the fruit of the light is in all goodness and righteousness and truth), proving what is well-pleasing unto the Lord; and have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather even reprove them; for the things which are done by them in secret it is a shame even to speak of. Ephesians 5:8-12
We are now light in the Lord as believers and must walk as such! I find that a beautiful call, a glorious command, to walk as the light of my sweet Lord. For to me Jesus is sweet, he is my Savior, my Lord – he is all that is good and pure and true in this world, he is the only way to be restored to oneness and rightness with God the Father. When we walk as the Light then we prove what is well-pleasing to God, we prove what we preach by our walk, by our fruit. As such we are told to have no fellowship with those who profess to believe but only with their mouths, they never let it sink into their hearts. Now that doesn’t mean to hate them or reject them, it means not to take part in or condone the activities they participate in that are an affront to God, we are even told to rebuke them in love for their secret deeds and thoughts are so vile, evil and wrong that it is a shame to even speak of them.
But all things when they are reproved are made manifest by the light: for everything that is made manifest is light. Ephesians 5:13
When we reproof someone continuing to embrace and live in their sin then we are casting the Light on it, calling it out of the dark into the light and thus revealing it, and providing an opportunity for true repentance, reflection, truth.
Wherefore he saith, Awake, thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall shine upon thee. Ephesians 5:14
One day Christ will say Arise to the dead in Christ, and those currently alive will be called up just after and there the light will shine on us forever. I long for that day! Long to be in the presence of my Light, my Life, my Lord, the Christ.
Look therefore carefully how ye walk, not as unwise, but as wise; redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Wherefore be ye not foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. And be not drunken with wine, wherein is riot, but be filled with the Spirit; speaking one to another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord; giving thanks always for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God, even the Father; subjecting yourselves one to another in the fear of Christ. Ephesians 5:16-21
Do not be foolish, which is what the world is. It runs after all the wrong things – money, lust, greed, wars, killing, laziness… We are no longer part of that, we are soldiers for our Lord Jesus Christ. Let’s start acting like it, let’s embrace it!