Gospel of John [20:19]. Christ's Resurrection, part 10 (fellowship with Christ and the Father - Antinomianism).
Title: Gospel of John [20:19]. Christ's Resurrection, part 10 (fellowship with Christ and the Father - Antinomianism).
Eph 5:11 And do not participate in the unfruitful deeds of darkness, but instead even expose them;
"participate" - sunkoinoneo = to become a partaker together with others.
This is the word used by John in his first epistle with the prefix "sun" (with) which emphasizes close partnership.
It is again emphasized that we should not fellowship with the unfruitful deeds of darkness. Every person has an intellect, a sensibility, and a will. Whatever sphere we walk in we will produce the fruit of that environment which exists in our souls. Proper fellowship with Christ does have fruitful deeds that are of divine power and origin. When we love the light we desire to produce the character of God in our lives through His truth, His Spirit, and His plan.
Fellowship is not only a place of being with Him but of thinking like Him, sharing in common with Him His thinking and His fruit by means of the Holy Spirit.
This is only possible for the believer through the filling of the Spirit. This is why it is imperative that when we recognize sin in our lives that we confess or agree with God as to its sinfulness and immediately halt it, thus knowing that the old man has been laid aside and the new man has been put on, immediately thinking in partnership with Christ, trusting in the Holy Spirit to lead and guide to the proper solutions and applying those solutions. This is why it is imperative that we do not go about the plan of God without dependence upon the Spirit of God. It is therefore imperative that we do not grieve or quench the Holy Spirit, but that we walk by means of Him.
On the contrary to partnership with the unfruitful deeds of darkness, Paul states that we should convict and rebuke these things. Expose is not a good translation here.
"expose" - elegcho = convict, rebuke, reprove. To reprove or rebuke so as to bring out a conviction [Wuest]
This is not compromising the truth, and yet it is not following people around, peeping into their bedrooms and residences and rebuking them. The people in the church have no place in another person's private life, however, if the person publically brings sin and evil into the church that person needs to be dealt with properly, graciously, but uncompromisingly. The church is not to condone such things, but speak the truth and the truth will convict, and if heeded and believed, the truth will set people free. The church is to forgive and love, but not compromise the truth, and in fact constantly herald the truth.
Sin is to never be mentioned in conjunction with the gospel. However, from the pulpit the entire realm of doctrine from the scripture must be taught with boldness and without compromise, while giving people the freedom to grow in grace and knowledge without guilt or condemnation. That includes the doctrines of sin and evil. The sins of the congregation and the pastor are a private matter between each person and God and are not to be publically celebrated.
A perfect example is found in Corinth and Paul's instruction concerning association with the deeds of darkness.
1Co 5:1 It is actually reported that there is immorality among you, and immorality of such a kind as does not exist even among the Gentiles, that someone has his father's wife.
1Co 5:2 And you have become arrogant, and have not mourned instead, in order that the one who had done this deed might be removed from your midst.
1Co 5:3 For I, on my part, though absent in body but present in spirit, have already judged him who has so committed this, as though I were present.
1Co 5:4 In the name of our Lord Jesus, when you are assembled, and I with you in spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus,
1Co 5:5 I have decided to deliver such a one to Satan for the destruction of his flesh, that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus [only an apostle could do this].
1Co 5:6 Your boasting is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump of dough?
In this case the lump is the church. Celebrate some sin or evil and it will only be a short time before many more sins and evils are celebrated.
1Co 5:7 Clean out the old leaven, that you may be a new lump, just as you are in fact unleavened [forgiven of all sin and so dead to it]. For Christ our Passover also has been sacrificed.
1Co 5:8 Let us therefore celebrate the feast [all the grace benefits of the finished work of Christ], not with old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.
1Co 5:9 I wrote you in my letter not to associate with immoral people;
1Co 5:10 I did not at all mean with the immoral people of this world, or with the covetous and swindlers, or with idolaters; for then you would have to go out of the world.
1Co 5:11 But actually, I wrote to you not to associate with any so-called brother if he should be an immoral person [pornos - sexual immorality], or covetous [same word as "greed" in Eph 5:3], or an idolater, or a reviler [abusive], or a drunkard, or a swindler [extortion or robbery] — not even to eat with such a one.
Three of these same vices are mentioned by Paul in Eph 5 as deeds of darkness and not to be partaken of by the believer.
1Co 5:12 For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Do you not judge those who are within the church?
1Co 5:13 But those who are outside, God judges. Remove the wicked man from among yourselves.
So then, brethren, we are under obligation, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh — for if you are living according to the flesh, you must die; but if by the Spirit you are putting to death the deeds of the body, you will live.
And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father.
Eph 5:11 And do not participate in the unfruitful deeds of darkness, but instead even expose them;
Eph 5:12 for it is disgraceful even to speak of the things which are done by them in secret.
Eph 5:13 But all things become visible when they are exposed by the light, for everything that becomes visible is light.
The point being that the truth exposes the darkness. The truth exposes and rebukes the sinfulness of sin and evil. If the church is silent and compromising then the truth is not heralded and so those in darkness are not set free and believers may become involved in going back to what they have been delivered from.
For you were called to freedom, brethren; only do not turn your freedom into an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.
"For everyone who does evil hates the light, and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. "But he who practices the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be manifested as having been wrought in God."
Our lives and our words serve to reveal the truth to the world around us. This truth is not a superficial knowledge of the Bible, but the word of God incorporated into our hearts from a God who loves us - His intellect, His truth, eaten, metabolized, and well understood through application. The pulpits are to speak the truth and not gloss over the things that the world considers controversial at the time, while at the same time respecting the privacy of each individual person and giving them the opportunity to change their own thinking before God. We simply teach the truth with boldness and let each man decide for himself. This affords each person the freedom to fellowship with the Father and the Son without hindering them and without promoting the things that do hinder such a relationship with the Father and Son. We are not to have one service for the legalists and another service for the antinomian, or for those who trend in either direction.
In 1936 Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote his brother-in-law who was as liberal theologically as Bonhoeffer was conservative:
[begin quote] First of all I will confess quite simply - I believe that the Bible alone is the answer to all our questions, and that we need only to ask repeatedly and a little humbly, in order to receive this answer. One cannot simply read the Bible, like other books. One must be prepared really to enquire of it. Only thus will it reveal itself. Only if we expect from it the ultimate answer, shall we receive it. That is because in the Bible God speaks to us. And one cannot simply think about God in one's own strength, one has to enquire of Him. Only if we seek Him, will He answer us. Of course it is also possible to read the Bible like any other book, that is to say from the point of view of textual criticism, etc.; there is nothing to be said against that. Only that that is not the method which will reveal to us the heart of the Bible, but only the surface, just as we do not grasp the words of someone we love by taking them to bits, but by simply receiving them, so that for days they go on lingering in our minds, simply because they are the words of a person we love; and just as these words reveal more and more of the person who said them as we go on, like Mary, "pondering them in her heart," so it will be with the words of the Bible. Only if we will venture to enter into the words of the Bible, as though in them this God were speaking to us who loves us and does not will to leave us along with our questions, only so shall we learn to rejoice in the Bible…. If it is I who determine where God is to be found, then I shall always find a God who corresponds to me in some way, who is obliging, who is connected to my own nature. But if God determines where He is to be found, then it will be in a place which is not immediately pleasing to my nature and which is not at all congenial to me. This place is the Cross of Christ. And whoever would find Him must go to the foot of the Cross, as the Sermon on the Mount commands. This is not according to our nature at all, it is entirely contrary to it. But this is the message of the Bible, not only in the New but also in the Old Testament. And I would like to tell you now quite personally: since I have learnt to read the Bible in this way - and this has not been for very long - it becomes every day more wonderful to me. I read it in the morning and the evening, often during the day as well, and every day I consider a text which I have chosen for the whole week, and try to sink deeply into it, so as really to hear what it is saying. I know that without this I could not live properly any longer. [end quote]
Eph 5:13 But all things become visible when they are exposed by the light, for everything that becomes visible is light [truth exposes darkness so that the truth of sin and evil are known].
Eph 5:14 For this reason it says,
And arise from the dead,
And Christ will shine on you."
We are not of night nor of darkness; so then let us not sleep as others do, but let us be alert and sober.
The combined figure of sleep and death speaks of the sleep walker or the dead walker as an unbeliever or a believer acting like one.
"Christ will pour upon thee the light of divine truth as the sun gives light to men aroused from sleep." [J. Thayer]
Eph 5:15 Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men, but as wise,
"See" is blepo, "to discern mentally, observe, perceive, consider, contemplate, look to in the sense of taking care, take heed."
"Circumspectly" is akribos, "exactly, accurately, carefully." "Walk" is peripateo, "to order one's behavior, to conduct one's self."
The translation reads, "Be constantly taking heed how accurately you are conducting yourselves." That is, see to it that your conduct is accurate with respect to the demands of the Word of God.
This is like following a specific trail that has many intersecting trails. There is a way that is Christ. We walk that way by means of the Spirit and as God is righteous there is only one way. We must be careful not to take the wrong trail and so we constantly take heed to how we are walking. When we find that we took the wrong trail we are not to stubbornly keep on it in pride or in the hope that it will take us where we are to go; it won't for there is only one path of righteousness. We acknowledge or agree with God that we took a wrong turn and humbly head back to the way of Christ. Like the Angel of the Lord stood in Balaam's path so His discipline will help us see clearly and produce the fruit of righteousness.
All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness.