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Light and Darkness

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Ephesians 5:6-14

Introduction:  In 100 verses in the NT, God uses “light” to illustrate Himself or the life-style he wants us to live.  In this passage Paul also uses darkness to illustrate evil.  There are some mighty lessons here for us to learn.

I. Darkness   vs. 6-8

     A. Darkness deceives with empty words   vs. 6

                1.  ἀπατάω:  to cause someone to have misleading or erroneous views concerning the truth; to mislead, to deceive, deception.

          2. κενός:  empty; without content, without any basis, without truth, without power; without result, without profit, without effect, without reaching its goal

          3. The readers are not to be led astray by anyone who asserts that there will be no judgment on sin.

     B. Do not associate with them    vs. 7

          1. συμμέτοχος: one who shares in a possession or a relationship; sharer, partner.

          2. Do not become partners with them.

          3. Vs. 11

          4. Numbers 16:26    Moses said to the congregation, “Depart, I pray you, from the tents of these wicked men, and touch nothing of theirs, lest you be swept away with all their sins.”

          5.  I Timothy 5:22     Do not be hasty in the laying on of hands, nor participate in another man’s sins; keep yourself pure.

     C. We know what darkness is like because once we were part of it    vs. 8

II. Light   vs. 8-14

     A. Not “might be”, “could be”, “will be”, but “are”    vs. 8

     B. Being in the light has some responsibilities

          1. A certain life-style is expected, “walk” or “live”

          2. “Good, right, and true”   vs. 9

              a. in the present passage Paul uses agathōsunē, which refers to moral excellence, to being good in both nature and effectiveness. … , agathōsunē goodness finds its fullest and highest expression in that which is willingly and sacrificially done for others. “Always seek after that which is good for one another and for all men,” Paul told the Thessalonians (1 Thess. 5:15). [1]

              b. Righteousness in this context has to do with how we live

               c. Truth has to do with honesty, reliability, trustworthiness, and integrity—in contrast to the hypocritical, deceptive, and false ways of the old life of darkness.1

          3. Learn what is pleasing to the Lord     vs. 10

              a. δοκιμάζω: to try to learn the genuineness of something by examination and testing, often through actual use; to test, to examine, to try to determine the genuineness of, testing.

                        b. εὐάρεστος:  used of God’s attitude towards human conduct. 

                   2 Corinthians 5:9    So whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to please him.

          4. Expose evil   vs. 11-13

              a. This may refer to the sexual sins he discussed in the previous paragraph or to sin in general

              a. ἐλέγχω: to state that someone has done wrong, with the implication that there is adequate proof of such wrongdoing; to rebuke, to reproach.

              b. ἐλέγχω:  1. bring to light, expose, set forth; 2. convict or convince someone of something, point something out to someone; 3. reprove, correct;  4. heightened, punish, discipline

              c. We have a tendency to ignore evil instead of expose it

              d. Shine the light of Jesus (the gospel) on evil is all we need to do

Conclusion:  Paul’s conclusion (warning) in vs. 14 reminds us that we can fall asleep and move into the darkness.  Let’s review our lives and see that we are awake.


[1]MacArthur, J. (1996, c1986). Ephesians. Chicago: Moody Press.

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