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Ephesians 5:6-17 - Keep Walking (Expositional)

Out of the Darkness  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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walking through the book of Ephesians

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Last week we looked at this passaged and we preached a topical message about progressive sanctification.
This is a fancy way of saying once you become a follower Christ your life should begin and continue to drastically change over time. This week let’s look at the passage again and teach through the text to see the contributions it makes to our progressive sanctification.
Ephesians 5:6–7 ESV
6 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;
Ephesians 5:8–9 ESV
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),
Ephesians 5:10 ESV
10 and try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord.
Ephesians 5:11–12 ESV
11 Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them. 12 For it is shameful even to speak of the things that they do in secret.
Ephesians 5:13–14 ESV
13 But when anything is exposed by the light, it becomes visible, 14 for anything that becomes visible is light. Therefore it says, “Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.”
Ephesians 5:15–16 ESV
15 Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, 16 making the best use of the time, because the days are evil.
Ephesians 5:17 ESV
17 Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.
Let’s pray

Textual Idea: We must progressively walk out of the darkness and into the light.

How?

We must recognize that we are still susceptible to deception. (v. 6)

Ephesians 5:6 ESV
6 Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience.
We are not exempt from our own sin nature. It is important to remember that Paul wrote chapter 4 and he wrote chapter 5. The same guy wrote both chapters.
In chapter 4 he contrasts how the Ephesians were no longer like the Gentiles who were darkened in their understanding and alienated from the life of God. He says to the Ephesians...
In what ways are you susceptible to “modern thinking?” What influences our thinking?
Ephesians 4:20 ESV
20 But that is not the way you learned Christ!—
The Ephesians had learned something about Jesus that changed everything about them, but 12 sentences later he exhorts them to “not be deceived.” That tells me that the Ephesians, although born again, are still susceptible and vulnerable too foolish thinking that can lead to foolish living.
Paul is telling the Ephesians, look you have tasted grace, but before you tasted grace you were face down in a pig trough. You have have developed a taste for it, but don’t go back to eating it.
How easy is it to get drawn in these days by the thinking and the value system of modern man?
Comfort is craved and so we bubble wrap our lives because we equate “hard” with “bad” and we have no category for learning the secret of contentment through that which we suffer. But James tells us too, “consider threats to our comfort as pure joy.” And we look at him as if he just told us the moon was made of cheese.
Do you crave comfort more than obedience to God?
Materialism feeds our egos so we acquire more stuff to numb any nagging feeling of unfulfillment.
Have you ever acquired more stuff to “keep up with the Joneses?”
Modern man has become so advanced and so called “enlightened” and enabled that we end up worshiping ourselves. “You do you” is the motto that is heralded. This is horrible advice. Me doing me will land me in a whole heap of trouble. (WRATH)
And to us Paul says, “let no one deceive you with empty words.” We must be vigilant against the thinking of modern man and in order to do that...

We must recognize that we are still susceptible to deception. (v. 6)

We must also come to grips with the reality that sometimes the old way of life is still appealing to us. (v. 7)

Ephesians 5:7 ESV
7 Therefore do not become partners with them;
This is interesting because Paul has to command the Ephesians to “not become partners with them.” What is interesting is that Paul felt led by the Spirit to write this command to them. This tells me that there must have been some draw or power that the “sons of disobedience” had on the Ephesian believers. The Ephesian Christians in some way wanted to be “partners” with the “sons of disobedience.” This seems very strange on the surface, but let’s press in a little bit into that thought.
What does Paul mean by “partner” and what was the draw for the Ephesians and potentially us?
This is the same word Paul used in Ephesians 3:6 where Paul argued that both Jews and Gentiles are “partakers” or “partners” together in the promise of Jesus Christ.
Ephesians 3:6 ESV
6 This mystery is that the Gentiles are fellow heirs, members of the same body, and partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel.
Paul was saying that it doesn’t matter what ethnic background you come from, if you “hear the Gospel” and “believe the Gospel” you are subsequently linked up with the “promises” that are in Jesus Christ. All that was bestowed upon Him by His Father, has been passed on and handed down to us and...
2 Corinthians 1:20 ESV
20 For all the promises of God find their Yes in him. That is why it is through him that we utter our Amen to God for his glory.
So within the immediate context of the book, what Paul means by “partners or partakers” is someone who is inseparably linked with the accomplishments of someone else. This is perhaps what Paul is saying here in chapter 5. Don’t be inseparably linked to the “son’s of disobedience.” Don’t do what they do. Don’t like what they like. Don’t talk the way they talk. Do not be partners with them in their disobedience.
We say, “Of course.” Of course they shouldn’t be partners with them. They have been changed. But guess what, the draw must have still been there otherwise Paul would write it down. It must have been a draw for them. But this wasn’t just written for them. It was written for you too.
Do you hear the siren call to enjoy the olden days? But you have a whole new identity? You are a partaker of the promises in Christ. But you have a nagging desire to associate with deeds of lawless men. It’s up and down. You are like a yo yo, but you strike back and fight that old flesh…and you aren’t a yo yo on level ground you are a yo yo on an escalator as you need to be continually reminded to “not be partners with them.” You are in this world but not of it.
Do you have any nagging desires to be associated with the deeds of lawless men? Do you ever envy the wicked? (read Psalm 73)
There are a million ways to apply this command too, “not be partners with them,” but I will trust that the Spirit will do His job of bringing conviction to all those nuanced situations.
And finally we hit on this last week when we said that, “Nature abhors a vacuum.” Paul tells the Ephesians what not to do in verses 6-7, and now he is going to fill that void with a positive command to live out their true identity.
Ephesians 5:8–10 ESV
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.
Here is “THE REASON” for this book. Remember back to the first message of this series, I said this is the key verse of this book. This is THE REASON, the ULTIMATE REASON Paul even writes this book in the first place. Why bother writing these Ephesians? The reason is because, they used to be darkness, but now they are light and they need to walk in a way that demonstrates their new reality and they need some help and instruction along the way.
They needed words on parchment, inspired by God to be read aloud to them, that could instruct them on how to live in a way that was different by 180 degrees.
How about you? How about me? We also are in need of God’s inspired word to live out our new reality.
Psalm 119:9 ESV
9 How can a young man keep his way pure? By guarding it according to your word.

We must walk in a way that is in step with our new reality. (v. 8-9)

Ephesians 5:8–9 ESV
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),
Paul says, “walk as children of light.” Well what does that mean?
He says well here is some fruit that you should see produced from the tree of your life.
There are things that should be evident in your life that people observe and say…man that was good.
There are things that should be evident in your life that people observe and say…man what I just witnessed was right.
There are things that should be evident in your life that when people see them, they walk away saying…I just witnessed truth.
What I have come to notice is that there is quite a bit of fruit out here in Whatcom County. There a just a few berries in these crops. Here’s the most obvious common knowledge thing I will say today. People don’t like to eat rotten berries. It’s called Barbies Berries, not Barbies Rotten Berries…Barbies Rotten Berries will make you sick. They will be incompatible with your digestive system.
The children of light need to diligently do fruit inspection of their lives to see whether or not there are good, right and true things being produced...because we must bear fruit in keeping with our repentance.
One final comment from Paul. I love the bible. I love verses like this. So much grace is found in verses like this.
I want to look at it in the NASB because it translates the syntax much better than the ESV.
The ESV says
Ephesians 5:10 ESV
10 and try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord.
The gist is there, but to me the grace isn’t. The NASB says,
Ephesians 5:10 NASB95
10 trying to learn what is pleasing to the Lord.
The NASB translates the participle “trying to learn” as a participle while the ESV translate it as a verb. In the Greek it is a participle. Translating it as a participle actually describes the action a little bit more.
We are trying to learn what pleases God. We don’t just try to learn...
We are trying to learn. We strive and seek to know what is pleasing to God. We are trying.
Now if you are like me, you try and but so often you fail. But isn’t it amazing that we sometimes learn more from our mistakes? Isn’t this just so gracious of our God?
This might sound crazy to you, but I have felt the Holy Spirit’s presence more in my life and have become more convinced in His realness in my trying and my failing…because in my failing He brings about His conviction...and my darkness doesn’t mingle well with His light and I am convicted and in my conviction I learn that what I have desired or done is “not pleasing” to Him.
This is so often my case and when it is, I am experiencing grace.
Now let’s think about this for one final moment. This would fascinating to trace this throughout the Scriptures, but let’s ask ourself the question.
Make it your daily goal this week to each morning wake up and say, “What would be pleasing to the Lord? How can I go about doing HIs will today in all circumstances instead of doin what comes natural to me?”

What is God ultimately pleased with?

Thankfully, we can know for certain what God is pleased with because He testified to it with His very own voice from heaven when Jesus, who was fulfilling all righteousness on our behalf by identifying with us in our need for repentance from our sin when He stepped into the waters of the Jordan River to be baptized by His cousin,
Matthew 3:17 ESV
17 and behold, a voice from heaven said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.”
God is only pleased with what Christ has done. He fulfilled all righteousness for us which is hard to believe but we receive Him by faith and we seek after Him and strive to walk the way He walked.
Hebrews 11:6 ESV
6 And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.
2 Corinthians 5:9 ESV
9 So whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to please him.

As children of light, we expose those areas of our lives that remain in the darkness. (v. 11-14)

Ephesians 5:11–13 ESV
11 Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them. 12 For it is shameful even to speak of the things that they do in secret. 13 But when anything is exposed by the light, it becomes visible,
Ephesians 5:14 ESV
14 for anything that becomes visible is light. Therefore it says, “Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.”
Do you see how all this is flowing. You are born again but still susceptible, there are things in the world or in our past that still seem pleasurable to us even though we have come to understand that they do not satisfy... but the attraction still remains. And so we are in the center of the ring exchanging head and body blows with our old nature because we know that we must keep in step with our new reality…and we seek to please God with our lives because He is pleased with us because of Jesus. And when that truth grabs our hearts, it provides the strength and precision to land a knock out punch to our old nature and we, as children of light expose those areas of our life that are still drawn to the darkness.
I want to let my guard down and be vulnerable with everyone here today. I am a weak man. I need help. I struggle with all the things we have talked about over the last few weeks. I am not exempt from my own sin nature. There are sins that I am tempted to commit with my body. There are sins that I am tempted to commit in my mind. There are sins that tempt me to not do things that I know I should do and and sins that I do, but know I shouldn’t. Wretched man that I am…who will save me from this body of death?
I am tempted and tried in every way. I need someone who has been tempted and tried in every way and yet without sin to save me. I need a High Priest who is able to sympathize with me in my weakness. And that is who Jesus is…His name means, “He will save His people from their sins.”
And so I need Jesus now more than ever. I need Him to save me in all these moments, not just on June 8, 1996. I need him now.
And as I grow to love Him more, I am continually developing a distaste for my sin. But many times I can’t convince myself of this. That is why I also need people, who are part of ekkleisia of God…the called out ones who make up the tangible expressions of Jesus in this world…the Body of Christ, that exist outside of my own head and body, that can remind me of what I truly want. But in order for them to see my darkness, I have to tell them about it. and that’s humbling.
So…where this hits me the most, is in areas of purity. It is easy for me to desire the wrong thing. And sometimes I can sense it from a mile away and sometimes it just sneaks up on me unsolicited and unexpectedly, but in either case…BOOM there it is…it is calling. And so often it is not just calling, but it is reaching out to take hold of me and trying to shackle me in the cords of sin. So in that moment…in those moments. I have a choice. Hide in the dark and entertain private thoughts? or expose them to the light of day which will free me from my privacy and empower me to see the venomous fangs that hide behind her honey dripping lips.
And I grab my phone, and I open up my group texting app and within 30 seconds: Cornell, Jason, Joel, Mark, Mark, Mike, Scott, Tim and Walt see my darkness and the light of Christ starts to flood my soul and my darkness is replaced with His light as they one by one respond and all of a sudden...
What areas of darkness exist in your life that need to be exposed to the light? Who are your people that you can go to in a moments notice to shine light on your temptation so you can see it for what it is?
I am not longer the ox lead to the slaughter.
I am no longer the stag caught till an arrow pierces my liver.
I am not the bird that rushes into a snare that will eventually costs me my life.
I have exposed my darkness and although this won’t be the last time, at least this time, I have avoided a calamity that could have come upon me suddenly that in a moment could have brought about brokenness beyond healing.
Praise God for the ability to expose my darkness to my born again brothers in Christ. I could not do this without them.
Remember when we talked about the cosmic show and tell time a few months back? We talked about how God saved us in order to show off His grace in the coming ages. We called it a “Cosmic Show and Tell.
Well this is a much more humbling version of it. This is our version of show and tell, but it is not a Cosmic Show and Tell Time it is a Caustic Show and Tell Time.
Something that is caustic has the ability to burn or corrode tissue by a chemical action.
Do you want to kill sin in your life? Do you want your sin to corrode and dissolve into nothing as it chemically comes into contact with the Blood of Christ?
Show and Tell - Call upon the Lord in your day of trouble…He will deliver you and you will glorify Him (Psalm 50:15)…and then “expose your darkness” to your brothers or sisters in Christ and let them rush in with their 90000 lumen Tactical flashlights to show you the sharpened claws that are hiding behind the velvet paws of the lion who is seeking someone to devour.
In Genesis 16:13 Hagar, the neglected Egyptian maidservant of Sarah, said that Yahweh is “Yahweh El Roi.” He is the God who sees. He saw her in her misery and provided for her. He can see you in your misery as well and He can provide for you.
Or, you can try to pretend to hide your darkness…but remember, He is Yahweh El Roi, He is the God who sees. God see all the acts your body and even the intentions of your heart. They won’t be “found out” they are “already known.” Your cards are already on the table. Acknowledge them.
Proverbs 28:13 ESV
13 Whoever conceals his transgressions will not prosper, but he who confesses and forsakes them will obtain mercy.

As children of light, we expose those areas of our lives that remain in the darkness. (v. 11-14)

Each step in our walk must be calculated.

Ephesians 5:15–16 ESV
15 Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, 16 making the best use of the time, because the days are evil.
This last point will be brief intentionally, because I think at this point in the sermon, we all understand the point of the sermon.
In these last 3 verses, Paul is emphasizing that you better be careful how you walk. There is a wise way and foolish way. Don’t walk with foolishness. Don’t walk around as if you have no brain. You have a brain and you have had the light of Christ shine on you…walk in a way that is good. Walk in the way that is good and that has a Good Shepherd that can guide you along the good way like the prophet Isaiah foretold when he said...
Isaiah 30:21 NIV
21 Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.”
The days are evil…so calculate each step and make sure that you have a firm and solid landing spot before you put your foot down…because the culture in which we live is built on sinking sand.
Well what should I do? What is God’s will for me? This verse says to, “understand what the will of the Lord is.” What is it?
Let’s listen to the sage teacher Solomon...
Ecclesiastes 12:13 ESV
13 The end of the matter; all has been heard. Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man.
If you don’t like what he said, listen to what God Himself has gone on record saying said,
1 Peter 1:16 ESV
16 since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.”
What is God’s will for you?
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