31/12/17 Ephesians 5:11-21 “What communion has light with darkness?”


Ephesians 5:11And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove [them].


fellowshipsygkoinoneo (to become partaker together with others) from syn (together; a synthesis; many being made into one) + koinoneo – to have fellowship with; be made a partner; join one’s self to an associate) Used in the following:

Revelation 18:4And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues.

unfruitful – metaphorically: without fruit, barren, not yielding what it ought to yield.

darkness – metaphorically: of ignorance respecting divine things and human duties, and the accompanying ungodliness and immorality, together with their consequent misery in hell; persons in whom darkness becomes visible and holds sway.

Romans 6:21What fruit had ye then in those things whereof ye are now ashamed? for the end of those things [is] death.

reprove – convict; refute; bring to the light; expose; correct.


“And (as children of the light – Ephesians 5:8) do not partake together with the unfruitful works of those who prefer the darkness to the light; rather (instead; more willingly) convict them (bring them to the light; correct them).”


2 Corinthians 6:14Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?


Do not be satisfied with living a life of light for yourself; rather, cause your life to actively oppose the unfruitful works of darkness. It is not your words which will reprove them, but rather your works of righteousness which will convict them of the darkness of their works. Note what we were looking at a couple of weeks ago: Neither give place to the devil. (Ephesians 4:27) Being unequally yoked means the equivalent of a Christian being partaker together with one who serves the enemy. Giving place to the devil means setting aside portion or part of your life for the devil (or one who serves him, including demons) to influence or take control of. It’s something that a Christian just should not get involved in. God has promised that, for Christians, all things work together for good (see Romans 8:28) but if the Christian gives permission for the enemy to get involved with his life, then the promise of Romans 8:28 has literally “flown out the window”! Note also that the promise that we are more than conquerors (Romans 8:37) may not apply either!


Ephesians 5:12For it is a shame even to speak of those things which are done of them in secret.


a shame  or dishonourable

“For it is shameful to even speak about those things that such people do in secret, that is, privately.”

(For such immorality should not even ever be mentioned concerning the saints!)

Ephesians 5:3But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints;


There is a definite trend in many churches to shock-preach, that is, use the language and imagery of the day to teach the Bible. (Eg. years ago with the God Squad who claimed that you had to speak the gutter-language of the lost; also the alarming tendency for many neo-calvinists such as Mark “potty-mouth” Driscoll, and the fascination with using the “s” word by such as Paul Tripp and John Piper.) There is no place for Christians to “say it as it is”, especially when it is certain to offend. I note that people would attend potty-mouth’s church to hear him swear, and if he didn’t, then to wonder if perhaps he might have got saved since the previous Sunday!


Ephesians 5:13But all things that are reproved are made manifest by the light: for whatsoever doth make manifest is light.


manifest – make visible that which has been hidden; expose to view; to be thoroughly understood.

Those who carry out all those unfruitful works of darkness (immorality, wickedness) that are reproved (brought to the light and exposed to view) have been revealed by the light (which the children of the light should have). For it is light that reveals what we need to see and know, that is, the truth. It’s the reason why we are obsessed with torches of all shapes and sizes when camping; we like to know where we are going in the dark and what we might be stepping in, for example. Exactly the same logic applies to the truth of the Bible.


A shadow only occurs when the light is blocked off or lessened in some way. A shadow can never occur unless something gets in the way of light. The source of light can never have a shadow unless something obstructs it!

Jesus came into the world as a light and the darkness could not overcome it.

John 1:5And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.


Men of darkness hate the light (of Jesus) because the light exposes their deeds.

John 3:19-2119 And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. 20 For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. 21 But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.

And God Himself is light dwelling in unapproachable light.

1 Timothy 6:16aWho only hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto; whom no man hath seen, nor can see:


Ephesians 5:14Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light.


awake – be aroused; cause to rise from sleep, bed, seat etc. It can have the idea of gathering or collecting one’s faculties, or coming to one’s senses. It is often associated with being risen from the dead, as in Luke 24:34Saying, The Lord is risen indeed, and hath appeared to Simon.

sleepest – metaphorically: to give in to laziness and sin; indifferent to one’s salvation.

arise – metaphorically: to raise up or cause to be raised up from the spiritually dead.

Matthew 20:19And shall deliver him to the Gentiles to mock, and to scourge, and to crucify [him]: and the third day he shall rise again.

shall give … light – to shine upon. That is, Christ will pour upon you the divine truth as the sun gives light to men aroused from sleep. Also translated as “rose again” in 1 Thessalonians 4:14.


Rise up from your spiritual sleep, you that have given in to laziness (slothfulness) and sin; rise up from being spiritually dead and Christ shall give you the light of His gospel, for satan blinds the eyes of the lost lest the light of Christ’s gospel should expose the deeds of darkness and they be saved.

2 Corinthians 4:3-43 But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: 4 In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.


Ephesians 5:14 could be a paraphrase of Isaiah 60:1Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee.

But no exact match can be found for the quote. However, who is Paul quoting? It is quite possible that Paul is quoting some unnamed person here. The subject here (that is, the speaker) doesn’t seem to be determined by the grammar and could be translated as “”it may be said” or “someone has said”.


Ephesians 5:15See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise,


walk – to conduct one’s self; live or control one’s life

circumspectly – exactly; accurately; diligently. Related to a word meaning “the most precise and rigorous in interpreting the Mosaic law, and in observing even the more minute precepts of the law and tradition”. That is, crossing all t’s and dotting all i’s. Translated as “diligently” in the following:

Acts 18:25aThis man was instructed in the way of the Lord; and being fervent in the spirit, he spake and taught diligently the things of the Lord


The Bible defines a fool as a person who says that there is no God.

The fool hath said in his heart, [There is] no God. (Psalm 14:1)


This wisdom is of God and not of the world; note the following:

1 Corinthians 1:21-2321 For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe. 22 For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom: 23 But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness;


Ephesians 5:16Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.


Amos 5:13Therefore the prudent shall keep silence in that time; for it [is] an evil time.


redeeming – here it is said to mean to make wise and sacred use of every opportunity for doing good, so that zeal and well doing are as it were the purchase money by which we make the time our own.

evil – full of labours, annoyances, hardships; harassed by labour and toil (noting Christians who are harassed because of their faith and steadfastness); in an ethical sense, evil, wicked, bad.


The idea here is that we have somehow by our sin sold our time to satan; we are slaves under his control, for the whole world lies in wickedness (1 John 5:19). Also note 2 Timothy 4:2. It can have the idea of buying some time, a breathing space so to speak, such as in Daniel 2:8The king answered and said, I know of certainty that ye would gain the time, because ye see the thing is gone from me.


Paul is probably telling the Ephesians that they need to take back control of the time they have. They need to make every minute count doing the will of God (see next Vs). They need to redeem the time, that is, buy up (or buy back) every opportunity for service to God (by using the light of the gospel of Christ to overcome darkness while the time for such still exists). The days are evil such that we must buy up every opportunity to be lights on a hill, for only light can dispel the darkness. We must buy back (redeem) that time from those evil days.


Ephesians 5:17Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord [is].


understandingsyniemi (to set or bring together like hostile combatants, but also bringing together or joining together things in the mind, thus coming to an understanding) from syn + hiemi – to send.

The world is unwise; not one lost person understands the wisdom of God; not one lost person even wants to know about God.

Romans 3:11There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God.


“But you, the saints of Ephesus, you must not be unwise (that is, you must not be fools), but instead you should understand what the will of God is concerning you.


Romans 12:1-21 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, [which is] your reasonable service. 2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what [is] that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.


Not all who claim to be Christians, not all who call God Lord, Lord, will enter heaven.

Matthew 7:21Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.


If a man hears the word of God but doesn’t ponder its meaning (he understands it not), then the seed of the sower is snatched away by satan.

Matthew 13:19When any one heareth the word of the kingdom, and understandeth [it] not, then cometh the wicked [one], and catcheth away that which was sown in his heart. This is he which received seed by the way side.

Note that this seed was sown in the person’s heart, yet even then it was snatched away.


Ephesians 5:18And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit;


be … drunkmethysko (be drunken; intoxicated) from methyo (drunken; metaphorically: one who has shed blood or murdered profusely) Being drunk carried the idea of literally having no limits to behaviour. Ancient Greek μέθυ (méthu, “wine”)

be filledpleroo


This appears to be a seeking after Mammon, a hedonistic pursuit of the vanity of the pleasures of the world in a frenzy of riotous living.

1 Peter 4:1-41 Forasmuch then as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind: for he that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin; 2 That he no longer should live the rest of [his] time in the flesh to the lusts of men, but to the will of God. 3 For the time past of [our] life may suffice us to have wrought the will of the Gentiles, when we walked in lasciviousness, lusts, excess of wine, revellings, banquetings, and abominable idolatries: 4 Wherein they think it strange that ye run not with [them] to the same excess of riot, speaking evil of [you]:

Instead they were to be filled (pleroo) with the Spirit of God, that is, to have the fulness of the Spirit who indwelt them.


Ephesians 5:19Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord;


psalmspsalmos (a striking, twanging, of chords of musical instrument; a pious song; a psalm)

hymnshymnos (a song in praise of gods, heroes, conquerors; a sacred song; hymn) from hydeo – to celebrate.

spiritualpneumatikos (relating to the human spirit, or rational soul, as part of the man which is akin to God and serves as his instrument or organ; pertaining to the wind or breath; windy, exposed to the wind, blowing)

songsode (song; ode)

making melodypsallo (pluck; cause to vibrate by touching, to twang, especially of musical instrument; to sing to music of a harp; sing a hymn or song of praise) From psao – to rub or touch the surface.

to yourselves – to one another


The terms do not actually specify hymns as we would understand them, but simply singing a hymn or song of praise. If it doesn’t praise God, then it doesn’t apply, and that has to include the music as well as the lyrics. The next verse gives much more clarity to the meaning: that it must give thanks always for all things; it must be literally praise given to God, the Father, and Jesus Christ.

Colossians 3:16-1716 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. 17 And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, [do] all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.

This does add, however, that our singing must be with grace in our hearts.


Ephesians 5:20Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ;


unto God and the Father – literally “to the God and Father”.

always, all things – both are absolutes that, lacking any definable limits of any sort, must be taken at face value to mean all-ways, all things.


Some teach that “all things” can actually mean “all people”. Barnes says: The sense, according to this, would be, that we are to praise God for his general mercy to mankind; for all the happiness which mortals are permitted to enjoy; for the love of God to mankind in creation, in providence, and in redemption - just as a grateful child will give thanks for all the kindness shown to his brothers and sisters.

It is true that the grammar does not say “things”, nor does it say “people”, but simply “all” (pas). Thus, we give thanks for all (which includes both things and people!).


Ephesians 5:21Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.


submitting – to be subject to; obey; submit to another’s control; yield to admonition or advice.  A Greek military term meaning "to arrange [troop divisions] in a military fashion under the command of a leader". In non-military use, it was "a voluntary attitude of giving in, cooperating, assuming responsibility, and carrying a burden".

fear – fear; dread; terror; that which strikes terror; reverence for one’s husband (see following verses next week for context).


This is leading into a passage that many militant feminists challenge as a male chauvinist translation, and that if women had been translating the Bible, they would have written it otherwise. Of course, the Bible might well have been written many different ways according to the politics of the translators (and all too often today many versions are just that, full of political correctness). However, the meaning is not a put-down of women (as is all too often found in Muslim writings) but a simple statement of the lines of authority. Such lines of authority do not create greater and lesser beings, but rather a difference of responsibilities. In particular, those who have greater responsibility will have the greater scrutiny in judgment, and if those who consider themselves the downtrodden desire more authority, then they will answer to God concerning that greater authority. Authority without responsibility is dictatorship.

James 3:1My brethren, be not many masters (teachers), knowing that we shall receive the greater condemnation (judgment).


However, while the next passage teaches on submission of some to others, here we are to submit to one another (mutually) according to this verse. That is, this verse does not specify who submits to whom, and actually teaches that we are to submit one to another, reciprocally. The word itself means “reciprocal”.

We are to submit to one another in the fear (dread; terror) of how we are going to answer to God when He judges us on such.

Matthew 10:28And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.

2 Corinthians 5:10-1110 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things [done] in [his] body, according to that he hath done, whether [it be] good or bad. 11 Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men; but we are made manifest unto God; and I trust also are made manifest in your consciences.


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