Sermon 2401. The Child of Light and the Works of Darkness
INTENDED FOR READING ON LORD'S DAY, FEBRUARY 24, 1895.
DELIVERED BY C. H. SPURGEON,
AT THE METROPOLITAN TABERNACLE, NEWINGTON, ON THURSDAY EVENING, FEBRUARY 24, 1887.
"Have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them." Ephesians 5:11.
SINS, especially the grosser vices, are "works of darkness." They delight in concealment. They are not fit to be seen. Theyflourish in the darkness of the unrenewed heart. They are most fully maintained in the ignorance of a soul that is withoutthe knowledge of the ever-blessed God. They are also works of darkness because those who follow them have a sad life of it,after all-they are not only dark as to knowledge, but they are dark as to comfort as well! There is no true light, no realjoy in sin. "The wages of sin is death." And they are works of darkness, too, because they tend to further darkness-the manwho pursues them goes from blackness to a deeper blackness-and in the end his portion will be darkness unbroken by a ray ofhope, "the blackness of darkness forever."
You know that darkness stands for the powers of evil, as light is the fit emblem of the holiness of God and of His Infinitegoodness and purifying Grace. Well, now, whether we, who are the children of light, are busy or not, it is quite certain thatchildren of darkness work! They are always working-there is no cessation in their activity. Master Latimer used to say thatthe most diligent bishop in England was the devil, for whoever did not visit his diocese, the devil was always visiting hispeople! His plow never rusts in the furrow, his sword never rests in its scabbard. The powers of darkness cannot be blamedfor their slothfulness-is there ever a moment in which they are not busy and active? Luke warm-ness never steals over thepowers of darkness! The work of the night goes on horribly, there is no pause to it and, therefore, let us who are of theday work, too! God help us to counteract the working of the silent, hidden leaven of sin by our own struggling to producein the world a better tone of thought and feeling and, by spreading the knowledge of God's Grace and everything which willincrease reverence to God and love to men!
The text speaks of the works of darkness and it calls them "unfruitful." So they are, for sin is sterile. It produces itslike and multiplies itself, but as for any fruit that is good, any fruit that can elevate and benefit men, any fruit whichGod can accept and which you and I ought to desire, sin is barren as the desert sand! Nothing good can come of it. Every nowand then we hear it said, "Well, you know, on this occasion, we must set aside the higher laws of equity, because just nowit is imperatively necessary that such and such a policy should be pursued." But it is never right, either for an individual,or for a nation to do wrong-and the most fruitful policy for men and for nations is to do that which will bear the Light ofGod! The works of the Light of God are fruitful works, rich and sweet, and fit to be gathered, pleasant to God and profitableto men! But the works of darkness are fruitless, they come to nothing, they produce no good result. They are like the applesof Sodom which may appear fair to the eyes, but he that plucks them shall find that he has nothing but ashes in his hand!O you who are performing works of darkness, know that no good fruit will come of all your work! You can have nothing thatis worth having as the result of all your toil!
My text, which I have just introduced to you by these few remarks, demands our attention as a great practical lesson to Christians"Have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them." Those works of darkness which are horribleand unmentionable, you cannot have fellowship with them! They produce a very potent evil to all mankind and, of course, youwill avoid them. Pass not by them and flee from them! But you must also keep clear of those works of darkness which apparentlyseem to be colorless and to produce no particularly evil effect. You, as a Christian, have to live a solemn, earnest, seriouslife. To you-
"Life is real, life is earnest,"
and if there are works of darkness which do not seem to be as bad as others, but are simply frivolous, foolish and time-wasting,have no fellowship with them! These unfruitful works of darkness are to be avoided by you as much as those which are mostdefiling. Hear this, you Christians, and God help you to obey the command!
In coming to the consideration of our text, let us enquire, first, What is forbidden? Fellowship with "the unfruitful worksof darkness." Secondly, let us ask, What is commanded? "Reprove them." And thirdly, let us consider, Why are we to act thus?
I. First, then, WHAT IS FORBIDDEN? "Have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness." We can have fellowship withthem in a great number of ways.
Notice that the text does not say, "Have no fellowship with wicked men. Have no dealings with men who are not converted,"for then we must necessarily go out of the world. Many of us are obliged to earn our daily bread in the midst of men whomwe certainly would not choose for our companions. Many of you, I know, are forced every day to hear language which is disgustingto you and you are brought into contact with modes of procedure which sadden your gracious spirits. Our Savior does not praythat you should be taken out of the world, but that you should be preserved from the evil of it! If you are what you professto be, you are the salt of the earth, and salt is not meant to be kept in a box, but to be well rubbed into the meat to keepit from putrefaction. We are not to shut ourselves up as select companies of men seeking only our own edification and enjoyment!It is intended that we should mingle with the ungodly so far as our duties demand. We are forced to do so-it is the Lord'sintent that we should, so that we may act as salt among them. God grant that the salt may never lose its savor and that theunsavory world may never destroy the pungency of the piety of God's people! With evil men, then, we must have some kind offellowship-but with their works we are to have no fellowship. In order to avoid this evil, let us see what is here forbidden-"Haveno fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness."
And first, dear Friends, we have fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness by personally committing the sins so described."Be not deceived; God is not mocked." After all, a man must be judged by his life. If you do that which is holy and righteousand gracious, you have fellowship with the holy and the righteous and the gracious. But if you do that which is unclean anddishonest, you have fellowship with the unclean and the dishonest. The Lord will, at the last, put us among those whom weare most like-in that day when He shall separate the people gathered before Him, as a shepherd divides the sheep from thegoats-the sheep will be put with the sheep and the goats with the goats. If you have lived like the wicked, you will die likethe wicked and be damned like the wicked! It is only those who live the life of the righteous who can hope that they shalldie the death of the righteous.
I, who preach to you with all my heart the Doctrines of the Grace of God, do, nevertheless, just as boldly remind you thatthe Grace of God brings forth fruit in the life and, where it is really in the heart, there will be in the life that whichtokens its presence. If you and I are drunks, if we can do a dishonest action, if we are guilty of falsehood, if we are covetous,(I need not go over the list of all those evil things), then we belong to the class of men who delight in such practices-andwith them we must go forever! We are having fellowship with them by doing as they do and we shall have an awful fellowshipwith them at the last by suffering as they shall suffer!
God make us holy, then! The very name of Jesus signifies that He will save His people from their sins and He saves them fromtheir sins by their ceasing to commit those sins that others do. His own Word is, "Be you holy, for I am holy." "Be you cleanthat bear the vessels of the Lord." Nothing more dishonors Him than to have a following of unclean men-men who refuse to bewashed and resolve not to quit their old sins! Great sinners, yes-the biggest sinners out of Hell-are welcome to come to Christin order to be cleansed from their sin and set free from it! He keeps a hospital wherein He receives the most sick of allthe sick, but it is that He may heal them! And if men do not wish to be healed but count the marks of their disease to bebeauty-spots-if they love their sins and hug them to their bosoms-then thus says the Lord to them, "You shall die in yoursins." God save all His professing people from this form of fellowship with the works of darkness!
Next, we can have fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness by teaching wrongdoing, either by plain words or by justinference. Any man whose teaching tends towards unholiness, who directly or indirectly, either by overt phrase or by naturalinference, leads another man into sin, is particeps criminis, a partaker of the crime! If you teach your children what theyought never to learn. If you teach your fellow workmen what they had better never know and if they improve upon your lessons,and go much farther than you ever meant that they should-if they proceed from folly to crime-you are a partaker of their sinsand you have fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness. And, believe me, there is nothing more awful than for any ministerof Christ to have fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness by keeping back any part of the Truth of God-by withholdingany of the precepts of God's Word, or by denying the terrible and eternal consequences of sin! There is nothing more dreadfulthan the end of such a man must be! I think that I would sooner die and be judged of God as a murderer of men's bodies, thanhave to go before the Judgment Seat charged with being the murderer of their souls through having kept back helpful Truthsof God, or insinuated destructive and erroneous doctrines! Yes, we can easily have fellowship with the unfruitful works ofdarkness in that way.
Further, there are some who will have fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness by constraining, commanding, or temptingothers to sin. How much harm is often done in this respect by lack of thought! What you do by another, you do yourself. Ifyou command another to do for you what you know to be wrong-I will not say that the other is right in the compliance-but Iwill say that you are wrong in having given the command. Let fathers, let masters, let mistresses see to it that they nevercommand others to do what God has not commanded them to do!
Sometimes it is not actually a command that you give, but you put the person into such a position of temptation and trialthat the probabilities are that that person will do wrong-and if it is so-in the sight of God you will have to share the guiltof that wrong! When a master pays his servant less wages than he ought to have-if that servant commits a theft, I condemnthe theft, but I cannot clear the master who put the man into a position in which he must have been sorely tempted to takesomething more to make up for that of which he had been defrauded! I do not excuse the theft by him who committed it, but,still, I cannot screen the one who put the other where, in all probability, he would be driven to commit a dishonest act.If I place a man in a position where it is most probable, seeing that human nature is what it is, that he will commit a sin.If I have wantonly put him there, or put him there for my own profit and gain, I shall be a partaker of the sin if he falls!
If you are a nurse girl and you take those little children and set them on the edge of the cliff, letting them go to the verybrink of it-and they fall over, you cannot clear yourself of blame in the matter! It may be that you told the children notto go too close to the edge, but then you put them where you might be morally certain that, as children, they would go-andyou are responsible for all that happens to them. So, if I set another in a place where I might be able to stand, myself,but might be pretty sure that he could not, I shall be a partaker of his sin. "Well, I drink my glass of wine," says one.Yes, and apparently it does you no harm, whatever-you have never been excited by it, and you feel grateful for it-but thereis another man who could not do as you have done without becoming a drunk and, by your example he is made a drunk and helpedto remain so. The practice may be safe enough for you, but if it is ruinous to him, take heed lest you be a partaker of hisunfruitful works of darkness!
It will require great care and some self-denial, so to act towards others that we can say when we go to bed at night, "Ifany man has done a wrong thing, today, it is not because I have set him the example." Oh, that we might all repent of otherpeople's sins! Did you ever repent of them? "I have had enough to do to repent of my own sins," says one. But these sins ofwhich I am speaking are your own, as well as other people's, if you have led others into the way of committing the sin, orhave put any pressure upon them to lead them to commit the sin! You are having fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness!
Sometimes men get to be partakers of others' sins by provoking them. When fathers provoke their children to anger, who hasthe chief blame of that sin? Surely the father has! And when, sometimes, persons purposely play upon the infirmities of othersto provoke them, are they not more to blame than the offenders? I am sure that it is so. I have known some try to draw othersout when they have known their propensity to go beyond the truth-they have, for mirth's sake, led them on and tempted themto lie! Who is the greater sinner of the two in such a case as that? I am no casuist and shall not attempt to weigh actions,but I am able to say this most assuredly, that, if you provoke another to anger, that anger is, in part, your sin! If youwantonly incite another to sin by daring him to do it, or by any other method of tempting him to do wrong, you, yourself,shall share the accusation at the Last Great Day.
Further, Friends, we can be partakers of the unfruitful works of darkness by counseling them. There are some men who willnot do the wrong things, themselves, but they will give evil advice to others and so lead them into iniquity. We have knownpersons act the part of the cat with the monkey-they have used some other hand to draw the chestnuts from the fire. They werenot themselves burned, but, then, they really did the deed by their agents. Theirs was the advice, theirs the wit, theirsthe shrewd hard-headedness by which the evil was done! And though they did not appear in the transaction, yet God saw themand He will reckon with them in the Day of Account.
I feel very jealous of myself when I have to give advice-and that experience often falls to my lot. A person will plead, "Well,if I do right in such a case as this, I shall remain in poverty, or I shall lose my job. If I follow out my conscientiousconvictions to the fullest, who is to provide for me?" And, you know, the temptation is to feel, "Well, now, really, we mustnot be too severe in our judgment upon this poor soul. Can we not agree with the evident wish of the person asking the advice,moderate the Law of God, or, in some way make a loophole, and say, Well, it will not be right, but, still, you see, underthe circumstances_."
Now, I never dare do that, because, if wrong is done and I have counseled it, I shall be a partaker in the wrong! You whoare called to give advice to others-as many of you may be by reason of your age and experience-always give straight advice.Never let any man learn policy from you. Of all things in this world, that which often commends itself to certain "prudent"men, but which, nevertheless, never ought to commend itself to Christians, is the idea of doing a little evil in order toobtain a great good! In fact, what we are doing is believing ourselves to be wiser than the commands of God and imaginingthat strict truth, honesty and integrity would, after all, not be the best thing for men, even though God has so ordained!Let us so guide others that we shall have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness!
But we may have fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness by consenting to them and tolerating them. For instance,you live in a house where there is a great deal of evil going on and you, yourself, stay clear of it. So far so good. Butyou never protest against it-you have been altogether silent about it. "Mum," has been the word with you and, sometimes, whenthey come home from a place of evil resort and they tell you about the "fun" they have had, you laugh with the rest! Or ifyou do not laugh, at any rate you have not decidedly expressed your disapproval. You do disapprove of the evil in secret-youeven pray against it-but nobody knows that! The wrongdoers, especially, are not aware that it is so. In fact, they fancy that,as they treat leniently your pursuit of religion, though they think it cant, so you treat leniently their pursuit of sin-thoughin your heart of hearts you believe that pursuit to be evil!
Our Lord commands us to clear ourselves of all toleration of sin-not with harshness, not with denunciation and in an unkindspirit-but with a mild, gentle, but still powerful, honest rebuke. We must say, especially if we are parents, or masters,or persons having much influence with others, "Oh, do not this abominable thing! I cannot have any share in this evil, evenby silently tolerating it. How I wish that you would give it up! I entreat you, come out of this Sodom- escape for your lives!"A few more loving home testimonies for God and who can tell but that the husband may be converted, and the son may be ledto the Savior? But for lack of this personal witness among Christians, I am afraid that the Church of God comes to be paralyzedand much of her power and usefulness is taken from her. Do not let us tolerate or wink at sin in any instance, whatever!
Far be it from us, also, to ever have fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness by commending or applauding sin, orseeming to agree with it. We must let all men know that whatever they may do which has about it an ill savor, it has an illsavor to us and we cannot endure it. We must always protest against it, lest we be partakers of the sins of others. O dearFriends, I believe that the great lack of the Church just now is holiness! The great need of the Church is nonconformity!I mean nonconformity to the world! We must endeavor to bring back the strictness of the Puritan times and somewhat more. Everybodyis so liberal and takes such latitude, nowadays, that in some quarters it is impossible to tell which is the Church and whichis the world! I have even heard some ministers propose that there should be no Church distinct from the congregation, butthat everybody would be a Church-member, without the slightest examination, or even a profession of conversion!
It is supposed that people are now so generally good that we may take them indiscriminately and that they will make a Churchquite good enough for the Lord Jesus Christ! Ah, me, that is not according to Christ's mind, and that is not Christ's teaching!God's call to this age, as to all that went before, is, "Come out from among them and be you separate, says the Lord, andtouch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, and will be a Father unto you, and you shall be My sons and daughters,says the Lord Almighty." Bear your protest, my Brothers and Sisters, against everything that is unrighteous and unholy-everythingthat is not God-like and Christ-like-and let your lives be such that men shall not need to ask to whom you belong, whetherto God or to the devil, but they shall see at once that you are the people of the ever-living and blessed God!
This, then, is what is forbidden-"Have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness."
II. The time flies so fast that I can only very briefly answer the second question, WHAT IS COMMANDED? "Reprove them." Ourlife's business in the world comprehends this among our other Christian duties-the reproving of the unfruitful works of darkness.
First, we are to rebuke sin. I find that the word which is here rendered, "reprove," is that which is used concerning theHoly Spirit-"When He is come, He will reprove the world of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment." We are, therefore, soto live as to let the Light of God in upon men's consciences that we may rebuke them for their sin!
But we are also to try to let the sinners, themselves, see the sinfulness of their sin, to let the Light in upon the sin and,by God's Grace, so to reprove them as to convict them of sin-to make them feel, from the testimony of God's people, that sinis an evil and a bitter thing-and that their course of conduct is that evil thing. The Light of God has come into the worldon purpose that the darkness may know that it is darkness and that God's Light may overcome and disperse it. We are not toquench our Light and mingle with others who are in the dark, but to unveil our lamps and let the Light that is in them soshine that the darkness shall thereby be reproved! I do not say, Brothers and Sisters, that we are to go through the worldwearing surly faces, looking grim as death, perpetually promulgating the Law of God and saying, "You shall not do this andyou shall not do that." But, cheerful as we must be with the Love of God in our hearts, we shall prove to men that the freestand the happiest life is a life of holiness, a life of consecration to God and that, together with the faithful testimonyof our lips, shall be a reproving of the sin that is in the world. The very existence of a true Believer is the reproof ofunbelief! The existence of an honest man is the reproof of knavery! The existence of a godly man is the best reproof of ungodliness!But when that existence is backed up by verbal testimony and by a consistent example, then the command in the text is fulfilled,for we are reproving the unfruitful works of darkness.
III. Thirdly, let us ask, WHY ARE WE TO ACT THUS? Why are we sent into the world, dear Friends, to reprove sin and not tofollow in its track? The reasons are given in this very chapter.
First, because we are God's dear children and, therefore, we must be imitators of Him. You, a child of God, and having fellowshipwith the unfruitful works of darkness? You, a child of God, imitating the lost and fallen world? You, a child of God, submittingto the influences of the devil and his filthy crew? Far be it from you! Ask your Father to make you holy as He is holy. Tothat end were you born and sent into the world-entreat your Father to help you to fulfill the very purpose of your being!
Next, remember that we who are Believers have an inheritance in the Kingdom of God. We are heirs of God, joint-heirs withJesus Christ. Well, then, shall we have fellowship with those who have no inheritance in this Kingdom? Remember what we readjust now-"For this you know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, has any inheritancein the Kingdom of Christ and of God." And will you, who have a part in this inheritance, make common lot with such people?Oh, be it far from you! Heir of Glory, will you be a companion of the heirs of wrath? Joint-heir with Christ, will you siton the drunk's bench, or sing an unclean song with the profane? Are their places of amusement fit for you to frequent? Aretheir dens of iniquity haunts for you? Up and away from the dwellings of these wicked men and women lest you are destroyedin their destruction!
A little further down in the chapter, in the seventh and eighth verses, we read-"Be not you, therefore, partakers with them.For you were sometimes darkness, but now are you light in the Lord." What? Has a marvelous conversion happened to you? Haveyou been turned from darkness to light? Are you really new creatures in Christ Jesus, or is it all a lie? For if, indeed,you have been twice-born, if you have had a resurrection from among the dead, if a second creation has been worked in you,how can you go and live with these dead men and mingle with these who know not the life of God? Unless your profession isnothing but a farce or a fraud, Grace will so constrain you that you must come out and refuse to have fellowship with theunfruitful works of darkness!
The text describes these works as being unfruitful and you read, in the ninth verse, "The fruit of the Spirit is in all goodnessand righteousness and truth." Now, if you are to bear the fruits of the Spirit, what fellowship can you have with the unfruitfulworks of darkness? The two things are opposed to one another! You fruit-bearing trees, are you going to join in affinity withthese cumber-grounds that soon must be cut down and cast into the fire? What? Will you interlace your vine branches with thesefig trees that have leaves upon them, but no fruit, and upon which no fruit will ever grow, for they are under the curse ofGod? No, it must not be so! People of God, serve Him and come away from those who render Him no service, but who rather seekto pull down His holy Temple, and to destroy His name and influence from among the sons of men!
The Apostle gives us one more reason why we should have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness-"for it is a shame,even, to speak of those things which are done by them in secret." What? Shall we have fellowship with things of which we areashamed, even, to speak? Yet I have to say it and to say it to my own sorrow and horror-I have known professors to have fellowshipwith things that I dare not even think of now! They have been found out at last-some of them were never found out till afterthey were dead. What a life to lead-to sit with God's people at the Communion Table! To talk, even, to others about the wayof salvation, yet all the while living in the practice of secret sin! Why, surely, it were better to get into prison at oncethan to be always afraid of being caught! To go up and down the world making a profession of religion and yet to be actinga lie all the while, and living in constant fear of being found out! Whatever sin we may fall into, God save us from hypocrisyand make us honest and straightforward in all things! Shall we, then, go and have fellowship with things of which we shouldbe ashamed, even, to speak? God forbid!
I am afraid that I am speaking many Truths of God that you will regard as having nothing in them that is comfortable to you,but, Brothers and Sisters, can I help it? Can it be avoided? If we are to make full proof of our ministry and preach all theTruth to you, must we not take every passage of God's Word, whether it is of rebuke or of comfort, in its due season? To myself,the effect of thinking over this subject is this-I have cried, "Lord, have mercy upon me." I have fled, again, to the Crossof Christ. I have sought anew for an anointing of the Holy Spirit that I might not, in anything, have fellowship with theunfruitful works of darkness. And if my discourse has that effect upon you, it will do you great service! Oh, ask the Lordto make our outward lives more thoroughly pure and true! Give me a little Church of really gracious, devoted, upright, godlymen, and I will be glad to minister to them and I shall expect God to bless them!
But give me a large Church consisting of thousands, if there are in it many whose lives, if they were known, would disgusta man of God, and whose lives, being known to the Spirit of God, are a grief to Him, why, then the blessing must be withheld!We may preach our hearts out and wear ourselves to death in all kinds of holy service, but, with an Achan in the camp, Israelcannot win the victory! I beseech you, therefore, search and look! One pair of eyes, two pairs of eyes in the pastorate, andthe eyes of the elders and deacons of the Church can never suffice to watch over such a company as this is! The Lord watchover you, and may you have a mutual oversight of one another! And, above all, may each one exercise daily watchfulness overhis own heart and life! Thus, beloved Brothers and Sisters Christ, I leave the text with you, praying God to bless it-"Haveno fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them."
Now, if any here are living in fellowship with those unfruitful works of darkness, I pray them to escape for their lives fromthem! May they fly to Christ, who alone can save them! And when they have once found healing through His wounds and life throughHis death, then let them pray to be kept from all sin that they may lead a holy and gracious life to the glory of Him whohas washed them in His own most precious blood! The Lord send a blessing, for His dear Son's sake! Amen.
EXPOSITION BY C. H. SPURGEON: EPHESIANS5.
Verse 1. Be you, therefore, followers of God. Or, imitators of God-
1. As dear children. Children are naturally imitators. They are usually inclined to imitate their father. This is, therefore,a most comely and appropriate precept-
"Be you, therefore, imitators of God, as dear children."
2. And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us, and has given Himself for us, an offering and a Sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savor. What a path to walk in! "Walk in love." What a well-paved way it is! "As Christ also has loved us." What ablessed Person for us to follow in that divinely royal road! It would have been hard for us to tread this way of love if ithad not been that His blessed feet marked out the trail for us. We are to love as Christ has loved us and the question whichwill often solve difficulties is this, "What would Jesus Christ do in my case? What He would have done, that we may do-"Walkin love, as Christ also has loved us." And if we want to know how far that love may be carried, we need not be afraid of goingtoo far in self-denial. We may even make a sacrifice of ourselves for love of God and men, for here is our model-"As Christalso has loved us, and has given Himself for us, an offering and a Sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling savor."
3. But fornication and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becomes saints. So far fromever falling under the power of these evils, do not even name them-count them sins unmentionable to holy ears! In what a positiondo we find, "covetousness," placed-side by side with, "fornication and all uncleanness"! In the Epistle to the Colossians,covetousness is called, "idolatry," as if the Holy Spirit thought so ill of this sin that He could never put it in worse companythan it deserved to be in! Yet I fear it is a very common sin even among some who call themselves saints. God deliver us altogetherfrom its sway and help us to hate the very name of it!
4. Neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient, but rather, giving of thanks. All sortsof evil, frivolous, fruitless talk should be condemned by the Christian. He should feel that he lives at a nobler rate, helives to purpose-he lives to bear fruit-and that which has no fruit about it and out of which no good can come is not forhim. "But rather, giving of thanks." Oh, for more of this giving of thanks! It should perfume the labors of the day! It shouldsweeten the rest of the night, this giving of thanks! We are always receiving blessings-let us never cease to give God thanksfor them. If we never leave off thanking until we are beyond the need of blessing, we shall go on praising the Lord as longas we live, here, and continue to do so throughout eternity!
5. For this you know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, has any inheritance inthe Kingdom of Christ and of God. What a sweeping sentence! This is, indeed, a sword with two edges! Many will flinch beforeit and yet, though they flinch, they will not escape, for Paul speaks neither more nor less than the Truth when he declaresthat "no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, has any inheritance in the Kingdom of Christand of God."
6. Let no man deceive you with vain words for because of these things comes the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience.These are the very things God hates! If, therefore, they are in you, God cannot look upon you with the love that He feelstowards His children. "These things" He cannot endure and, "because of these things comes the wrath of God upon the childrenof disobedience."
7. 8. Be not you, therefore, partakers with them. For you were sometimes darkness. Then, "these things" suited you.
8. But now are you light in the Lord: walk as children of light. Get clean away from these dark things! Travel no more inthe thick gloom of these abominations! God help you to walk in the Light as He is in the Light!
9. 10. (For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth) proving what is acceptable unto the Lord.We ought to pray that our whole life may be "acceptable unto the Lord." We are, ourselves, "accepted in the Beloved." And,that being the case, it should be our great desire that every thought and word and deed, yes, every breath of our life shouldbe "acceptable unto the Lord."
11, 12. And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them. For it is a shame, even, tospeak of those things which are done by them in secret. It was so with the old heathen world in which Paul lived-he couldnot write or speak of those abominable vices which defiled the age. But is London any better than Ephesus? Surely, old Corinth,which became a sink of sin, was not a worse Sodom than this great modern Babylon! There is great cause to say of the wicked,even to this day, "It is a shame, even, to speak of those things which are done by them in secret."
13. But all things that are reproved are made manifest by the light. Then drag them to the Light of God! There will be a greathowling when these dogs of darkness have the Light let in upon them, but it has to be done.
13-15. For whatever makes manifest is light. Therefore He says, Awake, you that sleep, and arise from the dead, and Christshall give you light. See, then, that you walk circumspectly. Not carelessly, not thinking that it is of no importance howyou live, but looking all around you, "walk circumspectly," watching lest, even in seeking one good thing, you spoil another.Never present to God one duty stained with the blood of another duty! "See then that you walk circumspectly."
15, 16. Not as fools, but as wise, redeeming the time. Buying up the hours-they are of such value that you cannot pay toohigh a price for them!
16-18. Because the days are evil. Therefore be you not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is. And be notdrunk with wine, wherein is excess, but be filled with the Spirit. If you want excitement, seek this highest, holiest, happiestform of exhilaration-the Divine exhilaration which only the Holy Spirit can give you-"Be filled with the Spirit."
19. Speaking to yourselves in Psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord. Wewould have thought that Paul would have said, "singing and making melody with your voices to the Lord," but the Apostle, guidedby the Holy Spirit, overlooks the sound, which is the mere body of the praise, and looks to the heart, which is the livingsoul of the praise-"Making melody in your heart to the Lord," for the Lord cares not merely for sounds, though they are thesweetest that ever came from the lips of man or angel-He looks at the heart. God is a Spirit and He looks spiritually at ourspiritual praises-therefore let us make melody in our heart to the Lord.
20, 21. Giving thanks, always, for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ; submitting yourselves,one to another, in the fear of God. That principle of maintaining your rights, standing up for your dignity and so on, isnot according to the mind of the Spirit! It is His will that you should, rather, yield your rights and, for the sake of peace,and the profit of your Brothers and Sisters, give up what you might naturally claim as properly belonging to you-"Submittingyourselves, one to another, in the fear of God."
22-30. Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, even asChrist's is the Head of the Church and He is the Savior of the body. Therefore as the Church is subject unto Christ, so letthe wives be to their own husbands, in everything. Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the Church, and gaveHimself for it; that He might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the Word, that He might present it to Himselfa glorious Church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish. So oughtmen to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loves his wife loves himself. For no man ever yet hated his own flesh;but nourishes and cherishes it, even as the Lord, the Church; for we are members of His body, of His flesh, and of His bones.What a wonderful expression! To think that we, poor creatures that we are, should be thus joined to Christ by a marriage union,no, by a vital union-is, indeed, amazing! Oh, the depths of the love of Christ, that such an expression as this should bepossible!
31, 32. For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and the two shall be oneflesh. This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the Church. There is the mystery, that He should leave HisFather, and quit the home above, and become one flesh with His elect, going with them and for their sakes, through poverty,pain, shame and death! This is a marvel and a mystery, indeed!
33. Nevertheless, let everyone of you in particular so love his wife even as himself, and the wife see that she reverenceher husband. Thus the Spirit of God follows us to our homes and teaches us how to live to the Glory of God! May He help usto do so, for Christ's sake! Amen.