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And He Himself gave some to be....evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ...
- Ephesians 4:11-12

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Location: The Hill Country of Texas

Pastor - Providence Reformed Baptist Church
Director - TIME in the Word Ministries

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Expose the Unfruitful Works of Darkness

TIME in the Word - Daily Devotional
Together for Inspiration, Motivation, and Encouragement

Verse of the Day - Ephesians 5:11-13
And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them. For it is shameful even to speak of those things which are done by them in secret. But all things that are exposed are made manifest by the light, for whatever makes manifest is light.

Daily Scripture Reading - 2 Corinthians 6

Puritan Catechism
Question #45 - What is required in the second commandment?

Answer - The second commandment requires the receiving, observing (Deut. 32:46; Matt. 28:20), and keeping pure and entire all such religious worship and ordinances as God has appointed in His Word (Deut. 12:32).

Devotional Thoughts
When we walk as children of light there are things that we are expected to do and things that will happen as a result of the way we live. We do not live in a vacuum. What we do affects others. Remember, what we sow we reap and contrary to the popular lie that is out there is no such thing as a sin that does not hurt anybody. We have been lied to and told that there are secret sins and things that we can do that only affect us and so the reasoning goes that as long as we do not hurt anybody we can do whatever we want. Sin is sin. The wages of sin is still death. When we sin there are consequences.

We cannot believe for a moment that we can sin without hurting anyone. It hurts us. It hurts those around us. It harms our relationships. And it brings consequences and results that can and will impact those around us. The best example found in the Scriptures to illustrate this point is found in Joshua 7. There we read about a man named Achan. As the nation of Israel was conquering Jericho in that great and impressive display of God's power over such a mighty city, God gave a command.

And you, by all means abstain from the accursed things, lest you become accursed when you take of the accursed things, and make the camp of Israel a curse, and trouble it.

The spoils of battle were to be left. No one was to take them for themselves. And what did Achan do?

But the children of Israel committed a trespass regarding the accursed things, for Achan the son of Carmi, the son of Zabdi, the son of Zerah, of the tribe of Judah, took of the accursed things; so the anger of the LORD burned against the children of Israel.

One man took things and hid them under the ground in his tent. One man sinned secretly and he thought no one knew and no one would find out. And yet we learn that for one member of the body to sin affects the whole body. For God says that the children of Israel sinned. As a whole people they were guilty because one of them sinned.

We fail to see how we are indeed members of one another in the Body of Christ and what we do or do not do greatly effects others!! We are so narrow minded and so blinded by pride and self concern that we miss how we are connected to one another. And so God judged all of Israel for one man's sins. As they went to attack a small city, an easy target, they were defeated! God then exposed Achan's sin and he and his family were killed in judgment. We never ever sin but that it will affect others and of course, ourselves, for the worse.

As we walk in the light we are told to "have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness." That means that when we walk as we should we will not find ourselves encouraging or excusing sin. We will not fellowship with these unfruitful works. This speaks of agreement, endorsement, and participation. We will not agree in our minds or hearts with sinful attitudes. We will not endorse sin by speaking out in its defense. We will not participate in sin with our actions. Not if we are walking as children of light.

Instead the way we live will expose the unfruitful works. This does not speak of an active confrontation as if we should run around and convince everyone of how sinful they are. This means that when we walk as children of light the way we live will expose the way they live as unfruitful. The things that sinners do are shameful. Where has shame gone? No one is ashamed anymore? Don't believe me? Look at how people dress and talk and act!

The Bible is clear here - the unfruitful works of darkness, those things that stand in contrast to the fruit of the Spirit (Gal 5:19-23) are things we should be ashamed of. Yet how often do we boast about our sin? And how often do we eagerly engage in gossip, talking about the sins of others? These things are not to be talked about! We need to be very careful about the topics of our conversations. We must not enjoy discussing sin and we must not sin in the things we talk about.

These things are so dangerous that we have been given instructions in the church as to how to deal with sin between believers so that we can maintain purity and deal effectively with sin before it grows and corrupts the body. The steps for dealing with sin are clearly laid out for us in Matthew 18:15-17:

Moreover if your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he hears you, you have gained your brother. But if he will not hear, take with you one or two more, that ‘by the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.’ And if he refuses to hear them, tell it to the church. But if he refuses even to hear the church, let him be to you like a heathen and a tax collector.

We must be ready and willing to deal with sin in our lives and in the lives of those around us. And the truth is that we will not have to work hard at confronting and exposing sin, for if we are walking in the light then the light that we are and the light that we have, and the light who is the Light of the World, will expose these unfruitful works. It is enough to be holy in order to stand in stark contrast to the world around us. And when we are holy the unholy becomes clear.

To see that the light makes manifest is to see that the light allows us to see something for what it really is. And what is the standard by which we then think, say, or do in response to what is revealed? It is the Word of God. For only the Word of God is "living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart." (Heb 4:12). The Word of God discerns thoughts and intentions of the heart.

Think of it this way - we are not called to contextualize the gospel so that those around us understand it on a cultural level. We are not to try and make the gospel relevant to the age. In fact we are not called to save the culture. We are called and empowered and expected to answer the call to be separate from the culture. What's more, we are called to live in the culture but to do so all the while living differently than the culture! This is to walk in the light - and the way we live then will indeed expose the unfruitful works of darkness. We are called to LIVE the gospel by walking in the light. When we do, we will be different and we will make a difference in the lives of the people around us.

Links for Further Study
(links to study each daily topic in more detail if you have the desire and the time)

Jesus' Death Shows Us How to Live by John MacArthur
Treason Against the Soul by Richard Baxter

Bible Reading For Further Study

Recommended Songs for Worship

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