Ephesians 5:8-14

Sunday Morning Bible Study

July 9, 2006


Paul has been talking about how we are to live, how we are to walk.

Last week we looked at some of the stuff we’re NOT supposed to be doing, and Paul ended with …

(Eph 5:7 NLT) Don't participate in the things these people do.

And now Paul goes on to talk about why we shouldn’t be doing some of these things.

:8 For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light

The Bible has a lot to say about this idea of “light” and “darkness”

(John 3:19-21 NKJV) "And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. {20} "For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. {21} "But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God."

Light is a picture of all that is good. Dark is a picture of all that is evil.

:9 (for the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness, righteousness, and truth),

Spirit – We are familiar with what Paul calls the “Fruit of the Spirit” in Galatians 5, but here the emphasis is more on “light”, some of the modern translations even have the word “light” here. These qualities are what “light” is all about.

Light is all about what is “good” and “right”

truthaletheia what is true in any matter under consideration; that kind of mind which is free falsehood, deceit

Literally, “not hidden”. I think this is one of the key ideas behind the concept of “light”. “Light” uncovers things hidden in darkness.


One afternoon the members of a health club assembled for a meeting on nutrition and exercise. The dietitian leading the discussion asked each member in turn to describe his or her daily routine. The first participant admitted to a number of excesses, including overeating. Others joined in agreement. But one seriously overweight member reported, “I eat healthfully and moderately, I drink moderately and I exercise frequently.” “I see,” said the dietitian. “Are you sure you have nothing else to tell us?” “Well, yes,” said the man. “I also lie extensively.”

A first step at getting healthy is learning to tell the truth.

:10 finding out what is acceptable to the Lord.

finding outdokimazo – a word that was used in the testing of metals to see if they were genuine. Putting something to the test, seeing if it’s the real thing, and then putting your approval on the thing being tested.

Part of learning to walk in the light is putting the things in my life to the test to see if they are acceptable, well pleasing to the Lord.

Sometimes before a couple gets engaged, a gal takes her boyfriend home to meet the parents and see if he “passes the test”.

Do the things in my life “pass the test” with God?

:11 And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them.

have … fellowship withsugkoinoneo (“with” + “fellowship”) to this word comes from the word koinoneo, which means to come into communion or fellowship with, to become a sharer, be made a partner. The word “communion” is translated from a form of this word, communion is where we “share” together in the bread and the juice. Paul wrote,

(2 Cor 6:14 NKJV) Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness?

The point is that you can’t be light and dark at the same time.

exposeelegcho to convict, refute, to expose; to find fault with, admonish, reprove; to call to account, show one his fault, demand an explanation; to rebuke in such a way so as not just to inform the other person they did a bad thing, but for them to actually be convinced themselves of just how wrong they were, for them to experience the conviction of sin.


Exposing the darkness

How do we “expose” the darkness?
1. There may be a time to speak up.
It may not be politically correct to speak up about sin.

“Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness”, one of the most famous phrases in the Declaration of Independence.

People take that phrase “pursuit of happiness” to mean that they ought to have the right to do whatever they want as long as it makes them happy.

But that assumes that there is no absolutes, no absolute right or wrong.

If I feel good by killing people, should I have the right to do this? Of course not. Thankfully we still recognize that murder is wrong. About forty years ago it was pretty well recognized that it was wrong to commit adultery. Not any more.

I don’t think we ought to apologize for speaking up about what’s right and what’s wrong.

George Whitfield (1739) said, “The Christian world is in a deep sleep. Nothing but a loud voice can waken them out of it.”

2. Sometimes words aren’t needed.
There may be times when simply our presence, the work of the Holy Spirit in the obedient Christian that brings conviction.
Do you remember where the Pharisees brought to Jesus a woman who had been caught in the act of adultery (John 8)?  They wanted Jesus to command that the woman be stoned to death.  But Jesus just stooped down and wrote on the ground.
(John 8:7-11 NKJV) So when they continued asking Him, He raised Himself up and said to them, "He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first." {8} And again He stooped down and wrote on the ground. {9} Then those who heard it, being convicted by their conscience, went out one by one, beginning with the oldest even to the last. And Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst. {10} When Jesus had raised Himself up and saw no one but the woman, He said to her, "Woman, where are those accusers of yours? Has no one condemned you?" {11} She said, "No one, Lord." And Jesus said to her, "Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more."

It’s possible that Jesus may have been making a list of sins as He wrote on the ground. But it may have merely been His presence that brought conviction on these Pharisees. I find it interesting that the next thing Jesus says is …

(John 8:12 NKJV) Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, "I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life."

He is light. He exposes what is in the darkness.


A well-known professional golfer was playing in a tournament with President Gerald Ford, fellow pro Jack Nicklaus, and Billy Graham. After the round was over, one of the other pros on the tour asked, “Hey, what was it like playing with the President and Billy Graham?” The pro said with disgust, “I don’t need Billy Graham stuffing religion down my throat!” With that he headed for the practice tee. His friend followed, and after the golfer had pounded out his fury on a bucket of golf balls, he asked, “Was Billy a little rough on you out there?” The pro sighed and said with embarrassment, “No, he didn’t even mention religion.”

Have you ever had people apologize to you for something they said or did even though you didn’t even say anything?
Either way, there ought to be a proper attitude when it comes to exposing things.
My dad is a photographer. He often took me into the bathroom where he had set up a darkroom, and I’d watch him print out his pictures. When you print a picture, you have to “expose” the paper to the image which is made by turning on the light. There’s a right way to do it and a wrong way to do it.
We too “expose” things through the process of turning on the light.

(2 Cor 4:3-12 NKJV) But even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, {4} whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them. {5} For we do not preach ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord, and ourselves your bondservants for Jesus' sake. {6} For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. {7} But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us. {8} We are hard pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; {9} persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; {10} always carrying about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body. {11} For we who live are always delivered to death for Jesus' sake, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. {12} So then death is working in us, but life in you.

God puts the treasure of His light into clay pots.

It reminds me of the story of Gideon and his amazing victory over the Midianites. Gideon and his men carried clay pots, torches, and trumpets. They hid the torches in the clay pots and then surrounded the enemy. When the signal rang out, each man broke his clay pot, causing the light to shine. Then they blew their trumpets, and the enemy was freaked out and defeated.

In the same way, God uses our own brokenness so that others can see the treasure inside the broken clay pot.

I think the proper attitude when it comes to “exposing” things to the light is brokenness.

I remember hearing the story of a pastor (it was Chuck) who found out that a fellow in his church was having an affair. He went over to the fellow’s house. He had things he wanted to say, but all he could do was just weep. And that’s really all the other fellow needed, was to see his friend’s brokenness.

:12 For it is shameful even to speak of those things which are done by them in secret.

I wonder if sometimes we as a society haven’t gotten a little bit close to losing our sense of “shame”.

Even if we speak up to “expose” people’s sins, we need to be careful just what we talk about.

There are some things that we shouldn’t even dignify with words. Sometimes I think we Christians can get a little too much enjoyment of talking about the details of other people’s sins.

:13 But all things that are exposed are made manifest by the light, for whatever makes manifest is light.


Being exposed

When light exposes evil things, they become “manifest”, they become obvious. When this happens in the life of a believer, something happens …

(1 John 1:5-7 NKJV) This is the message which we have heard from Him and declare to you, that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all. {6} If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. {7} But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.
When things are exposed to the light in the believer’s life, he deals with it. He lets Jesus take it away and cleanses it.
Light exposes things so they can be dealt with.

A surgeon has to have light if he is to operate.

We were painting some of the classrooms yesterday and it was very important to open up the blinds and let in the sunlight. Without the light, it was hard to see some of the spots that you might have missed.

As a believer, we open ourselves to God’s light so we can see the areas that He wants to work on.

Walking in the “light” means you have nothing to hide because everything is exposed.

When you take a trip on a plane, you will have to go through all sorts of xrays, scans, sometimes even searches. We learn to put up with it because we are hoping that if a person with a bomb or a gun wants to get on the plane, that they will get caught.

We don’t mind going through the scanner because we have nothing to hide.

Do you have parts of your life that are “hidden”?
I think that one way to measure growth in our personal lives is to ask ourselves, “How close is my life at home or work to how I act at church or in front of church people?”  I’ve learned over the years that people don’t always act at church the way they act at home.
Over the last ten years, one of the scariest parts of people’s secret lives are the things that happen on their computer. The Internet can open the floodgates of perversion into our souls if we let it. And one of the greatest weapons that Satan has with the Internet is the potential for us to do things “secretly”. We feel that no one is watching. Twenty years ago, if you wanted to look at pictures of naked people, you had to risk someone seeing you as you went into a liquor store or adult bookstore. Now you only need to turn on your computer in that back bedroom where no one is watching.
There are filters you can use to keep you away from bad things on your computer, but the problem with filters is that for some of us, it simply presents a challenge for us to overcome – can I find that site that won’t be blocked? I think a better way is to bring things out into the open where everyone can see. Some people have their family computer out in the living room where everyone can see. Another way is to use a reporting type of software that will tell your spouse or friend just where you’ve been on the internet. I use a program called Covenant Eyes, and my wife and my three sons all get reports every week telling them where I’ve been on the Internet. When I’m on the Internet it’s as if my wife is looking over my shoulder – and frankly it’s a great relief to have things out in the open. It seems to remove most of the power of the temptation just knowing that somebody’s watching me – somebody who cares and somebody who will confront me if I go to bad places.

:14 Therefore He says: "Awake, you who sleep, Arise from the dead, And Christ will give you light."

The point is this, if you’ve been “asleep” in the “dark”, it’s time to wake up and let Jesus shine His light on you.

Jesus said,

(John 12:36 NKJV) "While you have the light, believe in the light, that you may become sons of light." …