Ephesians 5:11

The apostle thus describes the duty of Christians in reference to evil works.

I. THE CHARACTER OF THESE WORKS. "Unfruitful works of darkness." They spring out of darkness, they delight in darkness, they lead to darkness eternal. They are not naturally unfruitful, for they are fearfully prolific of result, but, in the light of God they are fruitless, because most unlike to the fruits of light, which are goodness, righteousness, and truth. They have "no fruit unto holiness," with an end of eternal life (Romans 6:22).

II. THE DUTY OF SEPARATION FROM THEM. This is a negative security. Christians are to stand apart from every evil work. There must be no fellowship with darkness. The friendship of the world can only be purchased at the cost of the Father's friendship (James 4:4).

III. THE DUTY OF REBUKING WORKS OR DARKNESS. This is to be done with the view of producing a consciousness of guilt and evil. The Christian attitude must be aggressive toward all the forms of sin. The rebuke is to be administered

(1) with the lips, using all plainness, yet with prudence and meekness, so as to win Gentiles to the truth;

(2) with our lives, which, by their holy separateness, ought to demonstrate the folly and sin of the world. A holy man is a visible reproof of sin.

IV. THE REASON FOR THIS ATTITUDE OF SEPARATION AND REBUKE. The heinousness of the sins and the necessity of making them manifest to the sinner's conscience.

1. The sins are

(1) done in secret,

(2) and they are too shameful for mention.

Such sins would naturally shun the light of day, for "every one that doeth evil hateth the light" (John 3:20), and could not be committed to language without risk of defilement to others.

2. Yet they are not beyond cure. The light of Divine truth must be let fall upon them, that they may be corrected. "All things that are reproved are made manifest by the light." There is a necessary connection in Scripture between truth and holiness, and the truth must first be applied to the ignorant and the wicked, that it may make way for the sanctifying agency of the Spirit. The sun-glass of truth held in the hand of the rebuker will concentrate the light from heaven upon the conscience of the sinner so that he will see it full of all nameless lusts, and that very light will kindle a fire to consume them, unless the sinner, loving darkness, should turn away from the unwelcome light. Therefore let Christians remember the duty of pious and prudent reproof, which may not only put sin to shame, if not to silence, but lead the sinner from darkness to light, from the kingdom of Satan to the kingdom of God's dear SON. - T.C.

And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.
1. Those in whom there is the light of grace and true knowledge must not walk in evil works, nor communicate in them.(1). Not to have fellowship in sin is not to be an agent in sin, in whole, alone, or in part with others, neither in greater or less measure to live in it.(2) Not to be accessory unto the sins of others; as

(a)By provoking to sin.

(b)By commanding.

(c)By counselling.

(d)By consenting.

(e)By carelessness to prevent sin.

(f)By not repressing sin when it has entered.

(g)By applauding sin.

(h)By not testifying against sin.(3) Not to have fellowship with sin binds us to avoid the appearance of evil.(4) It binds us to turn from it with detestation.

2. The ways of sin bring no good to those that walk in them.

3. Those who walk in light must reprove and convince those who walk in evil.

(Paul Bayne.)

I. GOD'S PEOPLE, HIS CHILDREN, ARE A REPROVING LIGHT. They are called out of darkness into marvellous light, that they might reflect the, light of Him who hath "called them out of darkness into His marvellous light." But, beloved, there is another quality in light, there are many others indeed, but this one especially here to be noted, which is, that there is a detective and a reproving quality in light. We know not the beauty of an object but as the light unfolds it; we know not its faultiness, we see not its defects, they are to us unknown without the light; but the light reveals them. The Lord's people are especially called to stand; not merely as a reflecting light, not merely as a diffusing light, but as a reproving light, reproving the "darkness " around them. Whatever there is in a believer peculiar to him as a believer, is a light that reproves the world. Is it the life that he has, the life of faith? It is a reproving light to the world. If we look to the love of the believer, or what he loves; he loves Christ. In this love of Christ we shall see that he is a reproving light to the world. But especially do we see this in the quality of a believer's happiness. When a child of God is enabled by the Spirit of God to realize clearly his adoption; when he can look up with humble hope and believing confidence, and say, "My Father!" when he knows something of the power of this truth, that communion with God, submission to God, and obedience in the ways of God is the very highest element of real enjoyment; when it speaks peace to him and quiets him in the midst of all his troubles, and dries up his tears — oh! what a reproving light is this oft to the world that lieth in darkness. He says, "I see the effects; I see a real principle, I know not whence it comes, but I see a positive amount of happiness, I have never seen anything like it before. I have seen a man in wealth, but his wealth did not make him happy; I have seen a man in poverty, but his poverty did not make him miserable; I have seen him in health, he saw no brightness in health save only as he was enabled to 'live to God'; I have seen him in sickness, and in sickness I have seen him peaceful, he knew that joy, that 'peace that passeth all understanding'; I have seen him in death, I have seen him when called to die, 'ready to depart' — 'to me to live,' he said, 'is Christ, to die is gain'; and I have seen him in the last article of death, but death had no sting, he was enabled to rise above it by faith in Christ Jesus, and say, 'O death! where is thy sting? O grave! where is thy victory?'"

II. But, observe now, secondly, they are PLACED IN THE MIDST OF THESE UNFRUITFUL WORKS OF DARKNESS. Ah! dear hearers, we have but poor notions of sin. Every sin is that which deserves God's wrath; it has death for its wages, and eternal misery, if unrepented of, for its consummation. Therefore, confine not your minds to gross sins merely, since all sins are the works of darkness. Why are they called unfruitful? I have no doubt that it has especial reference to this darkness, as the very cause of barrenness. Yet, beloved, the saints of God are placed in the midst of these "unfruitful works of darkness"; why is it? Could not the Lord God have delivered them and translated them at once to their eternal home? Could He not in the case of Israel of old have taken them to Canaan at once without taking them through the waste howling desert? Who denies it? But should you ask wherefore He does it not, we see it typically unfolded in the eighth of Deuteronomy, at the fifteenth and sixteenth verses — "Who hath led thee through a great and terrible wilderness, wherein were fiery serpents, and scorpions, and drought, where there was no water; who brought thee forth water out of the rock of flint; who fed thee in the wilderness with manna, which thy fathers knew not, that He might humble thee, and that He might prove thee, to do thee good at thy latter end." See, then, wherefore they are placed in the midst of a dying world; see wherefore they are surrounded by these "unfruitful works of darkness"; see the great end and object, it is not the result of chance, it is the appointment of infinite wisdom, tenderness, goodness, and love.

III. But, beloved, observe now "THE EXHORTATION that is given — "have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them." Now, observe, it is not said, "have no fellowship with the unfruitful workers of darkness," never will you meet with a precept of that kind in God's Word, we must needs go out of the world if we try. But there is more than this in the precept — "but rather reprove them." Here we come to one of the most difficult paths in the believer's walk. There are many ways in which the believer is called upon from time to time to reprove the "works of darkness." By diffusing the truth.

(J. H. Evans, M. A.)

That the children of light should live in a perfect abhorrence of, and stand at a great distance from, the unfruitful works of darkness.

I. For the object. We have a general and unlimited expression, "The unfruitful works of darkness." But what they are we may collect from the context, "Uncleanness, fornication, evil concupiscence," etc.; and (Romans 13:12, 13) the apostle reckoneth up other things. These and such like heathen practices are such as the apostle intendeth.

1. They are called "works of darkness" for these reasons —(1) Because they are done by men in their carnal estate, who are destitute of the Spirit of God, and all saving knowledge of His will.(2) Because they are suggested by the temptations of the devil, who is the prince of darkness, and the ruler of the darkness of this world; and therefore called "his lusts" (John 8:44); "his works" (1 John 3:8).(3) Because they cannot endure the light, but seek the veil and covert of secrecy.There is a three-fold light.(1) Natural. They rebel against this light (Job 24:13).(2) Light spiritual, the light of God's Word: "For everyone that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved" (John 3:20).(3) There is another light, and that may be called practical, or the light of a holy conversation: "Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify your Father which is in heaven" (Matthew 5:16).(4) Because these men are condemned to everlasting darkness; for if they live and die in these sins without repentance, they are unavoidably cast into utter darkness, where is weeping and gnashing of teeth.

2. These are said to be unfruitful by a μείωσις, that is, damnable; as Hebrews 13:17, "That is unprofitable for you." The meaning is, hurtful and pernicious; however, the expression is emphatical. These works produce not only no good fruit, but certainly bring forth evil fruit, and prove bitterness in the end. Mere evil, as evil, cannot be the object of choice; there is some fruit or benefit expected in all that we do, but sin will never make good its word to us.(1) It doth not answer expectation; the sinner looketh for more contentment and satisfaction than he doth enjoy: "And what profit hath he that hath laboured for the wind?" (Ecclesiastes 5:16). It is a fruitless enterprise; so that very experience is enough to confute it; and that is one reason why objects of sin are loathed when we have our fill of them (2 Samuel 13:15).(2) It is not valuable; the profit will not counterbalance the loss, nor the pleasure the pain (Matthew 16:25).

II. The acts of our duty about it; and they are two.

1. That we must have no fellowship with them in evil. To understand that, we must consider how many ways we have fellowship with them.(1) If we do the same things that others do.(2) If we be accessory to the sins of others, which we may be many ways.(a) If we counsel, persuade, allure, or entice others to sins. These are Satan's decoys, who being ensnared themselves, draw others into the net.(b) By commanding that which is evil. This is the sin of those that have power over others; as David commanded Joab to set Uriah in the forefront of the hottest battle, and retire from him, that he may be smitten and die (2 Samuel 11:15).(c) By consenting, though we be not the principal actors; as Ahab (1 Kings 21:19).(d) By abetting, aiding, and assisting in the conveyance of the sin; as Jonadab assisted Amnon in getting an occasion to satisfy his lust on his sister Tamar (2 Samuel 13:5).(e) By applauding, approving, or praising the sin, which is the guise of flatterers (Romans 1:32).(f) By carelessness to prevent the sin: "I will judge his house forever, for the iniquity which he knoweth; because his sons made themselves vile, and he restrained them not" (1 Samuel 3:13). So that a culpable omission may make us accessory to their sin.

2. The other duty is, "But rather reprove them." Now reprove we may by deed or word.(1) By deed, or the example of a holy life; as "Noah condemned the world" (Hebrews 11:7).(2) By word, when it may be done with profit; as the apostle saith of the infidel, when he cometh into Christian assemblies, "he is condemned of all, and judged of all" (1 Corinthians 14:24); namely, as he heareth doctrines there contrary to his practice.

III. The reasons of the point.

1. Because there should be a broad and sensible difference between the children of light and the children of darkness.

2. This difference is discovered by those actions that are proper to either state; for actions are agreeable to their principle, and in actions must this difference be expressed, or how is it visible? Both show forth the influence of an unseen power, both the children of God and the children of the devil, the children of light and children of darkness.

3. This distinction is to be kept up on the part of the godly, and so conspicuously held forth, that they may either convince or convert the wicked.

4. The children of God are fitted and prepared for this, to abstain from sin (1 John 3:9).

5. The inconveniencies are great that will follow if God's children should have any fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness; our pretended communion with God will be interrupted (1 John 1:6, 7).To press the two duties in the text.

1. "Have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness"; that is, do not join or partake in the sins of the carnal world, though they seem to be authorized by vulgar and common practice. To this end remember —(1) You must not do as others do, but do as God requireth.(2) Love God, and love His law, and love His people, and the infection is prevented. Love God (Psalm 97:10).(3) We must eschew all unnecessary and voluntary friendship and familiarity with wicked men (Psalm 26:4; Proverbs 12:11).(4) Your happiness lieth in communion with God, and this we cannot have if we have fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness (1 John 1:6, 7).

2. "But rather reprove them," by deed and word.(1) By deed, spoken of before; as David convinced Saul (1 Samuel 24:17).(2) By word. It is a duty the world cannot bear, but we must perform it (Proverbs 15:12)

(T. Manton, D. D.)

My father once had two Irishmen digging a well, and they dug about five days and then they were paid some money and went off and drank for about a week. When they came back ready for work they uncovered the well and asked for a candle. They got the candle and tied a rope round it and let it down in the well, and when it got near the bottom it flickered and went out, and Pat said, "We can't go down there, there is death down there." And they went away and got some dry brushwood and built a fire in the well, and thou let down the candle again, and it burnt all right. Before you go into some places, my dear friends, put your light, that is, your God, your preacher, and your Bible down and see how they look.

(S. Jones.)

The pilot of a United States revenue cutter was asked if he knew all the rocks along the coast where he sailed. He replied: "No; it is only necessary to know where there are no rocks." These words suggest a deep moral and spiritual truth. Sermons, lectures, and books abound on the temptations which lie along the life course of the young to eternity. Over the most dangerous ones are lifted the solemn notes of repeated warning.

What is fellowship? It is more than sympathy, although that is the core of it. It is sympathy expressed or manifested in such a way as to draw others toward you in the bonds of brotherhood. Fellowship is making men feel that they are fellows with you; that they are your brethren; that they are related to you; that they are a part of your person, as it were.

(H. W. Beecher.)

In the rebellion of 1798, the rebels took prisoner a little drummer of the king's troops, and they desired him to beat the drum for them. The little boy laid his drum on the ground and leaped into it, smashing the parchment into atoms. "God forbid," said he, "that the king's drum should ever be beat for rebels." The ruffians piked the little hero, but they could not obliterate the remembrance of a deed worthy of a place in the noblest records of courage, loyalty, and fidelity — an example which, if it were imitated in a spiritual sense by the Christian, would best illustrate the fulfilment of the apostle's exhortation here.

(R. J. McGhee, M. A.)

Matthew Wilks once rode by coach with a young nobleman and a female passenger. The nobleman entered upon an improper conversation with the coachman and the woman. At a favourable opportunity Mr. Wilks attracted his attention, and said, "My lord, maintain your rank!" The reproof was felt and acted upon. Let the Christian ever maintain his rank.

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

A distinguished Christian lady was recently spending a few weeks in a hotel at Long Branch, and an attempt was made to induce her to attend a dance, in order that the affair might have the prestige bestowed by her presence, as she stood high in society. She declined all the importunities of her friends, and finally an honourable senator tried to persuade her to attend, saying, "Miss B., this is quite a harmless affair, and we want to have the exceptional honour of your presence." "Senator," said the lady, "I cannot do it, I am a Christian. I never do anything in my summer vacation, or wherever I go, that will injure the influence I have over the girls of my Sunday school class." The senator bowed, and, "I honour you; if there were more Christians like you, more men like myself would become Christians."

To dwell on the works of darkness which were done in ancient Greece and Rome would be very unprofitable. What pen would dare to write, what eye endure to read, the things which are done all the year round in Paris and London? No villager need wander from his own village, in order to find works which will not bear the light. Indeed we need not go any whither exploring, we need not leave our own door; we may find within our own breasts more than enough to humble us. Let each of us sit still, and keep watch for a while in the silent house of his spirit: he will find things transpiring there which will suggest self-abhorrence, and clothe him with shame before God. Not only the kingdom of heaven, but the kingdom of darkness also is very nigh unto us, and comes without observation. Let us watch and pray, that we may have grace and strength enough to disown the inward imagery, with which it seeks to fascinate and pollute the heart. Let us hold no fellowship with the thoughts which it stirs in us. Let us drag thorn before the light of God, that they may be made manifest, and reproved there.

(J. Pulsford.)

I. NEGATIVE. "Have no fellowship."

1. All and every kind of intercourse with evil-doers is not included; for we are commanded to rebuke, and this implies some intercourse. Besides, we are exhorted to do good unto all men, as we have opportunity.

2. All friendly intercourse with even gross sinners is not prohibited. Our Saviour sat at meat with publicans, and sinners, and Pharisees; and Paul instructs Christians how to conduct themselves when invited to a feast by an unbeliever.

3. All business intercourse is not interdicted. In 1 Corinthians 10:25, permission, and even advice is given.

4. The discharge of the relative duties which arise out of the family relation is not included in the prohibition.

5. Civil connection with wicked governments is not forbidden. Subjection to rulers is permitted and directed by the precept of Paul, in Romans 13:1. Joseph held office under the despot of Egypt. Daniel did likewise under the kings of Babylon and Persia, and while so doing was greeted by the angel with the title, "well-beloved."

6. Not all ecclesiastical connection with wrong-doers is forbidden.


1. It plainly includes the direct commission of sin.

2. It occurs in the support of others in the commission of wrong, when we employ them or supply them with the means of some iniquitous purpose.

3. Iniquity is fellowshipped when wrong is justified as right; when sweet as called bitter, and bitter sweet; when darkness is called light, and light darkness.

4. The same thing takes place when men support wrong on the whole. This is done by endeavouring to produce an underestimate of the wrong itself; or by urging its necessity or expediency, as if Providence compelled us to sin.

III. LET US NOW CONSIDER OUR POSITIVE DUTY AS ENJOINED IN THE TEXT. A proper understanding of the word "reprove" will furnish us with a clue to guide us to this end. The term implies an appeal to the understanding of the evil-doer — to convince him by proving that his course is one of wickedness and folly — to arouse his sense of right, and not to irritate his sensibility to obloquy and scorn.

(E. C. Pritchett.)

What you learn from bad habits and in bad society you will never forget, and it will be a lasting pang to you. I tell you in all sincerity, not as in the excitement of speech, but as I would confess and have confessed before God, I would give my right hand tonight if I could forget that which I have learned in evil society — if I could tear from my remembrance the scenes which I have witnessed, the transactions which have taken place before me. You cannot, I believe, take away the effect of a single impure thought that has lodged and harboured in the heart. You may pray against it, and by God's grace you may conquer it, but it will, through life, cause you bitterness and anguish.

(J. B. Gough.)

Bad company is like a nail driven into a post, which, after the first and second blow, may be drawn out with little difficulty; but being once driven up to the head, the pincers cannot take hold to draw it out, but which can only be done by the destruction of the wood.

(St. Augustine.)

A pious officer of the army, travelling through the Mahratta country, was asked by Judge D —, a religious gentleman, to accompany him to a public dinner, at which the commanding officer of the district, with all his staff, and various other public characters, were expected to meet. "I expressed a wish to be excused," says the officer, "as I had no relish for such entertainments, and did not think that much either of pleasure or profit was to be derived from them." His reply was: "While I feel it my duty to attend on such an occasion, I certainly have as little pleasure in it as you have. But there is one way in which I find I can be present at such meetings, and yet receive no injury from them. I endeavour to conceive to myself the Lord Jesus seated on the opposite side of the table, and to think what He would wish me to do and to say, when placed in such a situation, and as long as I can keep this thought alive on my mind, I find I am free from danger."

An ancient historian, mentioning the laws which Charondas gave the Thurians, says: "He enacted a law with reference to an evil, on which former lawgivers had not animadverted — that of keeping bad company. As he conceived that the morals of the good were sometimes quite ruined by their dissolute acquaintance; that vice was apt, like an infectious disease, to spread itself and extend its contagion, he expressly enjoined, that none should engage in any intimacy or familiarity with immoral persons; appointed that an accusation might be exhibited for keeping bad company; and laid a heavy fine on such as were convicted of it."

I. WHAT IS FORBIDDEN. "Fellowship." This may be produced in several ways.

1. By personally committing the sins described, or by joining with others in bringing them about.

2. By teaching wrong-doing, either by plain word or by just inference.

3. By constraining, commanding, or tempting; by threat, request, persuasion, inducement, compulsion, bribery, or influence.

4. By provoking, through exciting anger, emulation, or discouragement.

5. By neglecting to rebuke, especially by parents and masters misusing their office, and allowing known evils in the family.

6. By counselling, and advising, or by guiding by example.

7. By consenting, agreeing, and cooperating.

8. By conniving at sin: tolerating, concealing, and making light of it.

9. By commending, countenancing, defending, and excusing the wrong already done; and contending against those who would expose, denounce, and punish it.


1. Rebuke.

2. Convict.

3. Convert.

III. WHY IT IS COMMANDED TO ME? It is especially my duty to be clear of other men's sins.

1. As an imitator of God and a dear child (ver. 1).

2. As one who is an inheritor of the kingdom of God (vers. 5, 6).

3. As one who has come out of darkness into marvellous light in the Lord (ver 8).

4. As one who bears fruit, even the fruit of the Spirit, which is in all goodness, righteousness and truth (ver. 9).

5. As one who would not be associated with that which is either shameful or foolish (vers. 12, 15).If our fellowship is with God, we must quit the ways of darkness.

IV. WHAT MAY COME OF OBEDIENCE TO THE COMMAND. Even if we could see no good result, yet our duty would be plain enough; but much benefit may result.

1. We shall be clear of complicity with deeds of darkness.

2. We shall be honoured in the consciences of the ungodly.

3. We may thus win them to repentance and eternal life.

4. We shall glorify God by our separated walk and by the godly perseverance with which we adhere to it.

5. We may thus establish others in holy nonconformity to the world.Let us use the text as a warning to worldly professors. Let us take it as a directory in our conversation with the ungodly.

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

A member of his congregation was in the habit of going to the theatre. Mr. Hill went to him and said, "This will never do — a member of my Church in the habit of attending the theatre!" Mr. So-and-so replied that it surely must be a mistake, as he was not in the habit of going there, although it was true he did go now and then for a treat. "Oh!" said Rowland Hill, "then you are a worse hypocrite than ever, sir. Suppose anyone spread the report that I ate carrion, and I answered, 'Well, there is no wrong in that; I don't eat carrion every day in the week, but I have a dish now and then for a treat!' Why, you would say, 'What a nasty, foul, and filthy appetite Rowland Hill has, to have to go to carrion for a treat!' Religion is the Christian's truest treat, Christ is his enjoyment."

(Charlesworth's "Life of Rowland Hill.)

On one occasion, travelling in the Portsmouth mail, Andrew Fuller was much annoyed by the profane conversation of two young men who sat opposite. After a time, one of them, observing his gravity, accosted him with an air of impertinence, inquiring, in rude and indelicate language, whether on his arrival at Portsmouth he should not indulge himself in a manner evidently corresponding with their own intentions. Mr. Fuller, lowering his ample brows, and looking the inquirer full in the face, replied in measured tones: "Sir, I am a man that fears God." Scarcely a word was uttered during the remainder of the journey.

(Memoir of Andrew Fuller.)

Christians, Ephesians, Paul
TRUE, Clear, Company, Convict, Dark, Darkness, Deeds, Expose, Faces, Fellowship, Fruit, Fruitless, Instead, Nothing, Participate, Quality, Rather, Reprove, Unfruitful, Unprofitable, Works
1. After general exhortations to love;
3. to flee sexual immorality;
4. and all uncleanness;
7. not to converse with the wicked;
15. to walk carefully;
18. and to be filled with the Spirit;
22. he descends to the particular duties, how wives ought to obey their husbands;
25. and husbands ought to love their wives,
32. even as Christ does his church.

Dictionary of Bible Themes
Ephesians 5:11

     5864   futility
     6213   participation, in sin
     8737   evil, responses to

Ephesians 5:8-11

     6627   conversion, nature of
     7922   fellowship, with God

Ephesians 5:8-12

     4811   darkness, symbol of sin

Ephesians 5:8-14

     4836   light, and people of God

Ephesians 5:8-16

     3254   Holy Spirit, fruit of

Ephesians 5:11-12

     5941   secrecy
     8273   holiness, ethical aspects

Ephesians 5:11-13

     4918   dawn

January 1. "Redeeming the Time" (Eph. v. 16).
"Redeeming the time" (Eph. v. 16). Two little words are found in the Greek version here. They are translated "ton kairon" in the revised version, "Buying up for yourselves the opportunity." The two words ton kairon mean, literally, the opportunity. They do not refer to time in general, but to a special point of time, a juncture, a crisis, a moment full of possibilities and quickly passing by, which we must seize and make the best of before it has passed away. It is intimated that there are not
Rev. A. B. Simpson—Days of Heaven Upon Earth

June 27. "Be Filled with the Spirit" (Eph. v. 18).
"Be filled with the Spirit" (Eph. v. 18). Some of the effects of being filled with the Spirit are: 1. Holiness of heart and life. This is not the perfection of the human nature, but the holiness of the divine nature dwelling within. 2. Fulness of joy so that the heart is constantly radiant. This does not depend on circumstances, but fills the spirit with holy laughter in the midst of the most trying surroundings. 3. Fulness of wisdom, light and knowledge, causing us to see things as He sees them.
Rev. A. B. Simpson—Days of Heaven Upon Earth

April 22. "Christ is the Head" (Eph. v. 23).
"Christ is the head" (Eph. v. 23). Often we want people to pray for us and help us, but always defeat our object when we look too much to them and lean upon them. The true secret of union is for both to look upon God, and in the act of looking past themselves to Him they are unconsciously united. The sailor was right when he saw the little boy fall overboard and waited a minute before he plunged to his rescue. When the distracted mother asked him in agony why he had waited so long, he sensibly replied:
Rev. A. B. Simpson—Days of Heaven Upon Earth

Third Sunday in Lent
Text: Ephesians 5, 1-9. 1 Be ye therefore imitators of God, as beloved children; 2 and walk in love, even as Christ also loved you, and gave himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for an odor of a sweet smell. 3 But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not even be named among you, as becometh saints; 4 nor filthiness, nor foolish talking, or jesting, which are not befitting: but rather giving of thanks. 5 For this ye know of a surety, that no fornicator, nor unclean
Martin Luther—Epistle Sermons, Vol. II

Twentieth Sunday after Trinity the Careful Walk of the Christian.
Text: Ephesians 5, 15-21. 15 Look therefore carefully how ye walk [See then that ye walk circumspectly], not as unwise, but as wise; 16 redeeming the time, because the days are evil. 17 Wherefore be ye not foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. 18 And be not drunken with wine, wherein is riot, but be filled with the Spirit; 19 speaking one to another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord; 20 giving thanks always for all things
Martin Luther—Epistle Sermons, Vol. III

God's Imitators
Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children'--Eph. v. 1. The Revised Version gives a more literal and more energetic rendering of this verse by reading, 'Be ye, therefore, imitators of God, as beloved children.' It is the only place in the Bible where that bold word 'imitate' is applied to the Christian relation to God. But, though the expression is unique, the idea underlies the whole teaching of the New Testament on the subject of Christian character and conduct. To be like God, and
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture Ephesians, Peter,John

Pleasing Christ
'Proving what is acceptable unto the Lord.'--Eph. v. 10. These words are closely connected with those which precede them in the 8th verse--'Walk as children of light.' They further explain the mode by which that commandment is to be fulfilled. They who, as children of light, mindful of their obligations and penetrated by its brightness, seek to conform their active life to the light to which they belong, are to do so by making experiment of, or investigating and determining, what is 'acceptable
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture Ephesians, Peter,John

Unfruitful Works of Darkness
'And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.'--Eph. v. 11. We have seen in a former sermon that 'the fruit,' or outcome, 'of the Light' is a comprehensive perfection, consisting in all sorts and degrees of goodness and righteousness and truth. Therefore, the commandment, 'Walk as children of the light,' sums up all Christian morality. Is there need, then, for any additional precept? Yes; for Christian people do not live in an empty world. If there were
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture Ephesians, Peter,John

Sleepers at Noonday
'Wherefore He saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light,'--Eph. v. 14. This is the close of a short digression about 'light.' The 'wherefore' at the beginning of my text seems to refer to the whole of the verses that deal with that subject. It is as if the Apostle had said, 'I have been telling you about light and its blessed effects. Now I tell you how you may win it for yours. The condition on which it is to be received by men is that they awake
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture Ephesians, Peter,John

What Children of Light Should Be
'Walk as children of light.'--Eph. v. 8. It was our Lord who coined this great name for His disciples. Paul's use of it is probably a reminiscence of the Master's, and so is a hint of the existence of the same teachings as we now find in the existing Gospels, long before their day. Jesus Christ said, 'Believe in the light, that ye may be the children of light'; and Paul gives substantially the same account of the way by which a man becomes a Son of the Light when he says, in the words preceding
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture Ephesians, Peter,John

The Fruit of the Light
'The fruit of the light is in all goodness and righteousness and truth.'--Eph. v. 9 (R.V.). This is one of the cases in which the Revised Version has done service by giving currency to an unmistakably accurate and improved reading. That which stands in our Authorised Version, 'the fruit of the Spirit' seems to have been a correction made by some one who took offence at the violent metaphor, as he conceived it, that 'light' should bear 'fruit' and desired to tinker the text so as to bring it into
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture Ephesians, Peter,John

Paul's Reasons for Temperance
'And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them. 12. For it is a shame even to speak of those things which are done of them in secret. 13. But all things that are reproved are made manifest by the light: for whatsoever doth make manifest is light. 14. Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light. 15. See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, 16. Redeeming the time, because the days
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture Ephesians, Peter,John

Redeeming the Time
'See, then, that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil.'--Eph. v. 15, 16. Some of us have, in all probability, very little more 'time' to 'redeem.' Some of us have, in all probability, the prospect of many years yet to live. For both classes my text presents the best motto for another year. The most frivolous among us, I suppose, have some thoughts when we step across the conventional boundary that seems to separate the unbroken sequence
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture Ephesians, Peter,John

On Marriage.
TEXT: EPH. v. 22-31. IN completing lately the annual round of our Christian holy-days, I expressed to you the wish that the holy emotions which our hearts experience at such seasons might not pass away with them; but that the impressions then made might accompany us during the other half of the year, so that without any extraordinary festival incitement we might constantly retain a more lively sense of communion with the Redeemer, and a fuller enjoyment of what the eternal Father has done through
Friedrich Schleiermacher—Selected Sermons of Schleiermacher

The Light of God
Preached for the Chelsea National Schools.] Ephesians v. 13. All things which are reproved are made manifest by the light: for whatsoever is made manifest is light. This is a noble text, a royal text; one of those texts which forbid us to clip and cramp Scripture to suit any narrow notions of our own; which open before us boundless vistas of God's love, of human knowledge, of the future of mankind. There are many such texts, many more than we fancy; but this is one which is especially valuable
Charles Kingsley—Sermons for the Times

Against Foolish Talking and Jesting.
"Nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient."-- Ephes. v.4. Moral and political aphorisms are seldom couched in such terms that they should be taken as they sound precisely, or according to the widest extent of signification; but do commonly need exposition, and admit exception: otherwise frequently they would not only clash with reason and experience, but interfere, thwart, and supplant one another. The best masters of such wisdom are wont to interdict things, apt by unseasonable
Isaac Barrow—Sermons on Evil-Speaking, by Isaac Barrow

Sensual and Spiritual Excitement.
Preached August 4, 1850. SENSUAL AND SPIRITUAL EXCITEMENT. "Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is. And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit."--Ephesians v. 17, 18. There is evidently a connection between the different branches of this sentence--for ideas cannot be properly contrasted which have not some connection--but what that connection is, is not at first sight clear. It almost appears like a profane and irreverent juxtaposition
Frederick W. Robertson—Sermons Preached at Brighton

Members of Christ
"For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones."--Ephesians 5:30. YESTERDAY, when I had the painful task of speaking at the funeral of our dear friend, Mr. William Olney, I took the text which I am going to take again now. I am using it again because I did not then really preach from it at all, but simply reminded you of a favorite expression of his, which I heard from his lips many times in prayer. He very frequently spoke of our being one with Christ in "living, loving, lasting
Charles Haddon Spurgeon—Spurgeon's Sermons Volume 38: 1892

Living, Loving, Lasting Union
With new portraits of Pastor C. H. Spurgeon and Mr. William Olney "For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones--Ephesians 5:30. BEFORE the funeral, at Norwood Cemetery, of the late Mr. William Olney, senior deacon of the church at the metropolitan Tabernacle, a service was held in the Tabernacle. The building was crowded with sympathizing friends, who came to testify the affection they bore to the beloved deacon who had been so suddenly called from their midst. The senior Pastor
Charles Haddon Spurgeon—Spurgeon's Sermons Volume 38: 1892

Wary Walking.
(Twentieth Sunday after Trinity.) EPHESIANS v. 15. "See then that ye walk circumspectly." Some people tell us that salvation is the easiest thing in the world. We have only to feel that we believe in Jesus Christ, and all is done. Now neither Jesus Christ Himself, nor the Apostles whom He sent to teach, tell us anything of the kind. On the contrary, our Saviour, whilst He dwells on the fulness and freedom of salvation, offered to all without money, and without price, tells us that many are called,
H. J. Wilmot-Buxton—The Life of Duty, a Year's Plain Sermons, v. 2

Tenth Day. Love to the Brethren.
"And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us."--Eph. v. 2. "Jesus," says a writer, "came from heaven on the wings of love." It was the element in which he moved and walked. He sought to baptize the world afresh with it. When we find Him teaching us by love to vanquish an enemy, we need not wonder at the tenderness of His appeals to the brethren to "love one another." Like a fond father impressing his children, how the Divine Teacher lingers over the lesson, "This is My commandment!" If
John R. Macduff—The Mind of Jesus

"For to be Carnally Minded is Death; but to be Spiritually Minded is Life and Peace. "
Rom. viii. 6.--"For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace." It is true, this time is short, and so short that scarce can similitudes or comparisons be had to shadow it out unto us. It is a dream, a moment, a vapour, a flood, a flower, and whatsoever can be more fading or perishing; and therefore it is not in itself very considerable, yet in another respect it is of all things the most precious, and worthy of the deepest attention and most serious consideration;
Hugh Binning—The Works of the Rev. Hugh Binning

"If So be that the Spirit of God Dwell in You. Now if any Man have not the Spirit of Christ, He is None of His. "
Rom. viii. 9.--"If so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his." There is a great marriage spoken of, Eph. v. that hath a great mystery in it, which the apostle propoundeth as the sample and archetype of all marriages or rather as the substance, of which all conjunctions and relations among the creatures are but the shadows. It is that marriage between Christ and his church, for which, it would appear, this world was builded, to be
Hugh Binning—The Works of the Rev. Hugh Binning

"The Truth. " Some Generals Proposed.
That what we are to speak to for the clearing and improving this noble piece of truth, that Christ is the Truth, may be the more clearly understood and edifying, we shall first take notice of some generals, and then show particularly how or in what respects Christ is called the Truth; and finally speak to some cases wherein we are to make use of Christ as the Truth. As to the first. There are four general things here to be noticed. 1. This supposeth what our case by nature is, and what we are all
John Brown (of Wamphray)—Christ The Way, The Truth, and The Life

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