Ephesians 5:7

The apostle counsels believers not to be partakers with sinners. That is, in their sins, not their punishment. We are here taught -

I. THAT IT IS POSSIBLE FOR BELIEVERS TO PARTAKE OF THE SINS OF OTHERS. They may do so by conniving at them, by not checking or punishing them, by not mourning over them, as well as by actually committing them. It is a dishonor to God, a lure to others, a mischief to ourselves, to stand in the way of transgressors.

II. THAT BELIEVERS OUGHT TO MAINTAIN A VERY SEPARATE WALK IN THE WORLD. They who have named the name of Christ ought to depart from iniquity (2 Timothy 2:19). The cry to them ever is," Come out from among them, and be ye separate" (2 Corinthians 6:17). There is no common standing-room for Christ and Belial in the Church. This does not countenance our separation from society; for Jesus, who was" separate from sinners," was always in society that he might win stoners to God. Our walk is yet to be as separate as it is to be circumspect, that we may stand apart from the plagues that will descend upon a doomed world. - T.C.

Be not ye therefore partakers with them.

1. Not to oppose, in many cases, is to embolden transgressors, and to be partakers with them.

2. We have more direct fellowship with the wicked when we encourage them by our example.

3. They who provoke and incite others to evil works have fellowship with them.(1) This may be done by the propagation of licentious opinions, which confound the difference between virtue and vice.(2) This may also be effected by direct persuasions and enticements.

4. They who explicitly consent to, and actually join with sinners in their evil works, have fellowship with them.

5. To comfort and uphold sinners in their wickedness is to have fellowship with them.

6. There are some who rejoice in iniquity when they have lent no hand to accomplish it.


1. One argument is taken from the superior light which Christians enjoy.

2. Another argument is taken from the grace of the Holy Spirit, of which believers are the subjects.

3. The apostle teaches us that the works of darkness are unfruitful.

4. This is a shameful fellowship.

5. If we have fellowship with sinners in their works we must share with them in their punishment.

(J. Lathrop, D. D.)

The marrow of this truth lies in knowing how and in what ways we may be in danger to be partakers of other men's sins.

1. By practising the like evils. The apostle seems especially to intend this. Commit not the like sins; act not like the children of disobedience. If ye be imitators of them, you are in some sense partakers with them; and so the Lord may justly punish you for them.

2. By concurring. And this in divers ways.(1) By contriving. When sin is contrived, there is concurrence of the head, though not of the hand. Thus David was guilty of Uriah's death, though Joab was the actor, and the Ammonites the executioners (2 Samuel 11:15). Thus Rebekah of Jacob's dissembling. She contrived it, to defeat Esau, though he was the actor. And if he smarted for it in so many hardships after, she had her share in his chastisement. Whoever effect what thou plottest, though thy hand be not in it, though theft be not seen therein, the Lord, who is the searcher of hearts, will charge the sin upon thy soul.(2) By consenting. Where there is consent to sin, there is a concurrence of the will, though not of the outward man. This consent is always guilty, whether it be free, so Saul was guilty of Stephen's death (Acts 8:1); or whether it be extorted, so Pilate was guilty of Christ's death, though the Jews seemed to overrule him thereto; or whether it be tacit,, and showed no way but by silence.(3) By inclination. Where there is an inclination to an unlawful act, there is a concurrence of the heart, though the outward man act not.(4) By rejoicing. When a man is glad that an unlawful act is done by others, he concurs in affection, though not in action. Thus was Ahab guilty of Naboth's blood.(5) By sentence and vote. Thus Saul was guilty of Christians' death (Acts 26:10).(6) By assisting. He that contributes anything to the promoting of sin, though he be not the principal actor of it, brings the guilt thereof upon his soul. Thus was Saul also guilty of Stephen's death (Acts 7:58). He did not cast stones at Stephen; so far as the relation acquaints us, he only kept the clothes of those that stoned him. Yet, promoting this sin but thus far, he made himself guilty of it.(7) By communicating in the pleasures or profits of sin. Thus panders are guilty of whoredom, and receivers are guilty of theft.

3. By occasioning the sins of others. When we give others occasion to sin, and that may be done many ways.(1) By evil example. One sin of an exemplary person may occasion many. When magistrates, or ministers, or parents, or masters of families, or anyone eminent in the account of others, makes bold with that which is evil, it is a pregnant sin, has many in the bowels of it. One sin may this way bring along with it the guilt of many thousands.(2) By the offensive use of things indifferent. Is it not better not to go so high, than to endanger the ruin of others by following thee?(3) By scandalous sins, either in judgment or practice; for these are not only abominable in themselves, and the occasions of sin in others by example, but also in a more dangerous and dreadful way, by strengthening the hands of sinners, and opening their mouths to blaspheme.(4) By provoking. He that says or does that which provokes another to sin is at least the occasion of it. Hence the apostle advises so often to beware of this (Galatians 5:26; Ephesians 6:4).(5) By ensnaring. Those whose garb, gestures, words, are as snares, may justly be accounted occasions of sin, and so guilty of those iniquities wherein they ensnare others.(6) By leading others into temptations. Thus was Eve guilty, not only of her own, but of her husband's sin (Genesis 3:6).(7) By showing opportunities to sin. Thus Judas was guilty of crucifying Christ by showing the Jews an opportunity to apprehend and crucify Him.(8) By affording matter of sin to others, that which they know or suspect will be sinfully abused, hereby occasion their sin, and partake in their guilt:(9) By not removing the occasions of sin. When costly apparel becomes an occasion of pride, or delicate fare an occasion of intemperance, etc. Those that have power, magistrates, parents, should reduce them to necessaries, who abuse superfluities, else they are in danger of a participation in others' guilt. I might exemplify this in many particulars.(10) By authorising. When those are put into such place and office, as they are not fit, not qualified for, those that are instrumental in calling them thereto are accessory to their sinful miscarriages in the managing thereof.

4. By causing. He that is the cause of another's sin, partakes thereof, not only as an accessory, but many times as a principal. Now, one may be the cause of another's sin many ways.

(1)By commanding.

(2)By threatening.

(3)By counselling and persuading.

(4)By alluring.

(5)By deriding.

(6)By boasting of sin.

(7)By hiring others to sin.

(8)By countenancing the sins of others.He that is a countenencer of others' sins, is a partaker of other men's sin; and that sometimes of sins past, sometimes of future sins. Now, ye may countenance the sins of others, and so be accessory to them, many ways.

(1)By defending them.

(2)By justifying others' sins.

(3)By extenuating of others' sins.

(4)By commending.

(5)By conniving.

(6)By company.

(7)By rejoicing.

6. By not hindering sin. He that hinders not others from sinning is in danger thereby to partake of their sins. He that hinders not others from doing evil, does the evil himself; is guilty of, accessory to it.(1) By not punishing, censuring, correcting, in State, Church, families.(2) By not complaining of sin. He that has not power to punish sin may complain of it to those that have power; and he that complains not is in danger to be accessory to the sin which he conceals. I confess there are many temptations to keep men from the practice of this duty. It is counted odious to be an accuser; and so it is, when it proceeds from spite, malice, and revenge, and not from tenderness to the glory of God and thy brother's soul; but against the temptations which may hinder thee from complaining of other's sins, set the danger of sin to him, to thee, and the command of God; see how strictly and punctually He enjoins it without respect of persons and relations, how near and dear soever (Deuteronomy 13:6, 8).(3) By not reproving or admonishing sinners. He that rebukes not, nor does not admonish, according to the quality of those who are guilty, makes himself guilty with them (Leviticus 19:17). To reprove another is a thankless office, and carnal men take it as an expression of hatred; but see how the Lord judges of it: "He that rebukes not his brother does hate him in his heart."(4) By not mourning for it. He that mourns not for the sins of others is in danger to partake of them. Mourning is a means to hinder the increase of sin; he that bewails not the sins of others does not what he can to hinder them, and so may be accessory to them.(5) By not praying against the sins of others. Prayer is a sovereign means to hinder sin. He that prays not against it is accessory to it, by not endeavouring to hinder it.(6) By not affording means whereby sin may be hindered. He that denies others the means requisite to the avoiding of sin, when it is his duty to afford them, is accessory to the sins of others by not hindering them; e.g., as we say, he that denies a man food, without which death cannot be prevented, is accessory to his death.(7) By not applying severe providences for the hindering of sin. The Lord sometimes speaks from heaven against sin by remarkable acts of providence.

(D. Clarkson, B. D.)

Christians, Ephesians, Paul
Associate, Fellow-partakers, Partakers, Sharers
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 5:7

     7028   church, life of

Ephesians 5:3-7

     8273   holiness, ethical aspects

Ephesians 5:6-7

     6173   guilt, and God
     8282   intolerance

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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