Tuesday in the Fifth Week of Ordinary Time

Ephesians 5:11-14

Expose the Deeds of Darkness

Paul now moves from urging the Ephesians not to be deceived by joining others in the works of darkness to exposing them, outing them, shining the light on them so that everyone may see the wickedness and shame of such evil works. 

Paul first tells them to “take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness.”  Here we are reminded that while godliness produces the fruit of the Spirit, wickedness produces—nothing.  We may say that wickedness produces either no fruit or rotten fruit, but either way, immorality and ugly speech produce nothing.  We must bear in mind how wasteful sin is.  Oh, I do not mean to suggest that the wages of sin are nothing; indeed, those wages are ruined lives and ultimate death (Romans 6:23).  But in saying that it produces nothing, we mean that it produces nothing lasting that is worth keeping.  With what is the prostitute left when she is old and worn?  Does anyone want her?  With what is the malicious man left?  Will anyone befriend him?  With what is the swindler left?  Will he take his money to the grave?  There is nothing more unproductive, more unfruitful than sin.  This is why its wages are death: There is nothing else it has to offer.

That’s when Paul tells us to expose the works of darkness instead.  Now it seems odd that he would tell us in the same breath that “it is shameful even to speak of the things that they do in secret.”  I believe what Paul is telling us is that rather than talking about such things (which can lead to wondering about them, obsessing over them, and then doing them), bring these dark deeds into the light of gospel day that all may see their ugliness and stand back in horror.  Shine the light on diseases which sexual immorality begets, the suicide rates of people who indulge unnatural passions, the broken children of divorce, and the list goes on forever.  But the deeds of darkness wither in the light.  Sin destroys and so Satan is called, “The Destroyer” (Revelation 9:11).

Paul then quotes what appears to be an early Christian hymn, perhaps sung during baptismal services in welcome to the new convert: “Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.”  Waking from sleep and rising from the dead—this is what it means to come to saving faith in Christ Jesus.  Such people hate the deeds of darkness, they are scandalized by them and flee from them.  If they must have any interaction with them, it is in exposing them that their ugliness may be abhorred by all.

Author: The Reformed Baptist

My name is Stephen Taylor, ordained Baptist minister of eighteen years pastoral experience with a Ph.D. in Historical Theology from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas. Better than that, I am married to a godly woman, Karla, who has been very patient with me since 1989. I have two daughters, both of whom I homeschooled for extended periods of time, who became godly young women, and who ran off and married godly young men, all of which is very proper. The oldest daughter has even seen fit to bless me with a grandson and a granddaughter, and my youngest daughter with a grandson, all three of whom are bundles of exceeding joy. As you can see, I am quite blessed. This website is dedicated to helping people grow in the wisdom and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ through the gift of writing that the Lord has given to me. It is specifically about helping His people grow in godliness, the theme you see repeated above. I write devotions with this aim and hope that they might be of some help to God’s people. Full disclosure: I am of a Reformed bent, meaning that my understanding of Scripture is primarily informed by the Reformers and their successors of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. However, as a student of church history and theology, I strive to remain true to that teaching handed down once for all unto the saints through every age of the Church. I like to think of myself as a “catholic” Christian, as the Reformers thought of themselves. At any rate, feel free to read, pray, and contact me if you wish, or correct me if need be. As you can see, I tend to follow the church year. Of course, I make no special claims about these devotions. I know very well that others have written better and plumbed the depths of God’s word with greater insight. But if my musings help someone draw closer to the Lord, well then, I have my reward. Blessings to you and may the God and Father of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ speak to you that word which He knows you especially need to hear. Grace & peace, Stephen Taylor

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