Thursday, December 23, 2021

2021.12.23 Hopewell @Home ▫ Ephesians 5:8–14

Read Ephesians 5:8–14

Questions from the Scripture text: What were the Ephesians before (Ephesians 5:8)? What are they now? How should they walk? In what three things is the fruit of the Spirit (Ephesians 5:9)? What are they to find out (Ephesians 5:10)? With what are they not to have fellowship (Ephesians 5:11a)? What should their conduct do instead (verse 11b)? What is shameful even to speak of (Ephesians 5:12)? What does the light do to those things (Ephesians 5:13)? What two things are we commanded to do by the light of Christ in Ephesians 5:14?

Up to this point in Ephesians, the apostle has been teaching that Christ’s salvation is a life-transforming salvation. Believers are a new creation (Ephesians 2:10), with a new calling (Ephesians 4:1), and a new character (Ephesians 5:1). 

The contrast between the old and the new is put quite starkly in Ephesians 5:8—not just that we were once in darkness, but that we ourselves were darkness. Not just that we have come into the light, but that we ourselves are now light. 

When he tells us to walk as children of light, He is picking up on the fact that the God of Whom we are beloved children (Ephesians 5:1) is the God Who is light, and in Whom there is no darkness at all (cf. 1 John 1:5). “Now that you are light,” says the apostle, “keep making step by step in your forward progress as lightlings.”

So, what does a “light-ling” look like as he walks? He’s fruitful (Ephesians 5:9a). The Spirit of God, the Spirit Who is producing light in us, bears fruit in us: all goodness, righteousness, and truth (verse 9b). The fruit of consistency with God’s character (goodness), God’s standards (righteousness), and God’s Word (truth). These are the kinds of things that we should determinedly discover, constantly “finding out whatever is acceptable [pleasing to] the Lord” (Ephesians 5:10).

Lightlings do works (Ephesians 2:10) that are fruit of the Spirit’s light in them. But those who are still darkness do works that have none of this fruit in them at all—unfruitful works of darkness (Ephesians 5:11). Everything that we do is either a fruit of light, or else it is an unfruitful work of darkness. So, when lightlings and darklings come across one another, the fruitlessness of the darkness is exposed by the fruitfulness of the light. 

This is an uncomfortable thing for those who are darkness. It’s hard to be someone in whom the miracle of new creation has not taken place, when everyone around you is popping out light-fruit. The temptation for those who are lightlings is to “tone it down” to make it easier for the darkness to be around them. 

But to tone it down is to stifle the fruit, to hide the light, and even to have some share in the darkness continuing to be unfruitful. Are we really willing to have a share in the kind of thing that it is even shameful to speak about (Ephesians 5:12)?  Or, would we prefer to have a share in that exposing of darkness that Jesus uses to actually turn darkness into light (Ephesians 5:13)? 

Christ is that awakening, resurrecting, shining light described in Isaiah 51:17, Isaiah 52:1, Isaiah 60:1–3; Luke 1:75, Luke 1:78–79. And when He saves us, He turns us into light-lings that expose others as darkness Whom He may save and transform into light. 

So, don’t shrink back from bearing that light-fruit and the discomfort that can come to the darkness when it is exposed. Instead, since He has transformed you into light, SHINE!

Around whom are you embarrassed to shine by walking in goodness and righteousness and truth? Whom should you seek to please when around those people? How is this actually good for those people? 

Sample prayer:  Blessed are You, Lord God of Israel, for You have visited and redeemed Your people. You have fulfilled Your promise to save us so that we might serve You without fear, in holiness and righteousness before You all the days of our life. Through Your tender mercy, O God, You have made Your sunrise to shine upon us and given us light so that we might be light. Forgive us for when we slide back into living as if we are darkness, and grant that Your Spirit would persist with us until You have shaped us completely according to Your marvelous light in Jesus Christ, through Whom we ask it, AMEN!

Suggested songs: ARP1 “How Blessed the Man” or TPH400 “Gracious Spirit, Dwell with Me”

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