2401. The Child Of Light And The Works Of Darkness

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No. 2401-41:85. A Sermon Delivered On Thursday Evening, February 24, 1887, By C. H. Spurgeon, At The Metropolitan Tabernacle, Newington.

A Sermon Intended For Reading On Lord’s Day, February 24, 1895.

Have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them. {Eph 5:11}

1. Sins, especially the grosser vices, are “works of darkness.” They delight in concealment, they are not fit to be seen, they flourish in the darkness of the unrenewed heart, they are most fully maintained in the ignorance of a soul that is without the knowledge of the ever-blessed God. They are also works of darkness, because those who follow them have a sad life of it, after all; they are not only dark concerning knowledge, but they are dark concerning comfort as well. There is no true light, no real joy, in sin: “The wages of sin is death.” And they are works of darkness, too, because they tend to further darkness; the man who pursues them goes from blackness to a deeper blackness, and in the end his portion will be darkness unbroken by a ray of hope, “the blackness of darkness for ever.”

2. You know that darkness stands for the powers of evil, as light is the fitting symbol of the holiness of God, and of his infinite goodness and purifying grace. Well, now, whether we who are the children of light are busy or not, it is quite certain that children of darkness work. They are always working; there is no cessation in their activity. Master Latimer used to say that the most diligent bishop in England was the devil, for whoever did not visit his diocese the devil was always visiting his people. His plough never rusts in the furrow, his sword never rests in its scabbard. The powers of darkness cannot be blamed for their slothfulness; is there ever a moment in which they are not busy and active? Lukewarmness never steals over the powers of darkness. The work of the night goes on horribly, there is no intermission; therefore, let us who are of the day work, too. God help us to counteract the working of the silent, hidden leaven of sin by our own struggling to produce in the world a better tone of thought and feeling, and by spreading the knowledge of God’s grace, and everything which will increase reverence for God and love for men!

3. The text speaks of the works of darkness, and it calls them “unfruitful.” So they are; for sin is sterile. It produces after its kind, and multiplies itself; but as for any fruit that is good, any fruit that can elevate and benefit men, any fruit which God can accept, and which you and I ought to desire, sin is barren as the desert sand. Nothing good can come of it. Every now and then, we hear it said, “Well, you know, on this occasion, we must set aside the higher laws of equity, because just now it is imperatively necessary that such and such a policy should be pursued.” But it is never right either for an individual or for a nation to do wrong; and the most fruitful policy for men and for nations is to do what will bear the light of day. The works of the light are fruitful works, rich and sweet, and fit to be gathered, pleasant to God and profitable to men; but the works of darkness are fruitless, they come to nothing, they produce no good result. They are like the apples of Sodom, which may appear fair to the eye, but he who picks them shall find that he has nothing but ashes in his hand. Oh you who are performing works of darkness, know that no good fruit will come of all your work! You can have nothing that is worth having as the result of all your toil.

4. My text, which I have just introduced to you by these few remarks, demands our attention as a great practical lesson to Christians: “Have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.” Those works of darkness which are horrible and unmentionable, you cannot have fellowship with them. They produce an evil very potent to all mankind; of course, you will avoid them, do not pass by them, and flee from them; but you must also keep clear of those works of darkness which apparently seem to be colourless, and to produce no particularly evil effect. You, as a Christian man, have to live a solemn, earnest, serious life. To you, —

    “Life is real, life is earnest”;

and if there are works of darkness which do not seem to be as bad as others, but are simply frivolous, foolish, and time-wasting, have no fellowship with them. These unfruitful works of darkness are to be avoided by you as much as those, which are most defiling. Hear this, you Christian men, and may God help you to obey the command!

5. In coming to the consideration of our text, let us enquire, first, What is forbidden? Fellowship with “the unfruitful works of darkness.” Secondly, let us ask, What is commanded? “Reprove them”; and thirdly, let us consider, Why are we to act like this?

6. I. First, then, WHAT IS FORBIDDEN? “Have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness.” We can have fellowship with them in a great number of ways.

7. Notice that the text does not say, “Have no fellowship with wicked men; have no dealings with men who are not converted”; for then we would have to leave the world. Many of us are obliged to earn our daily bread in the midst of men whom we certainly would not choose for our companions. Many of you, I know, are forced every day to hear language which is disgusting to you; and you are brought into contact with modes of procedure which sadden your gracious spirits. Our Saviour does not pray that you should be taken out of the world, but that you should be preserved from its evil. If you are what you profess to be, you are the salt of the earth; and salt is not meant to be kept in a box, but to be well rubbed into the meat to keep it from rotting. We are not to shut ourselves up as select companies of men seeking only our own edification and enjoyment, but it is intended that we should mingle with the ungodly as far as our duties demand. We are forced to do so; it is the Lord’s intent that we should, so that we may act as salt among them. May God grant that the salt may never lose its savour, and that the unsavoury world may never destroy the pungency of the piety of God’s people! With evil men, then, we must have some kind of fellowship, but with their works we are to have no fellowship. In order to avoid this evil, let us see what is forbidden here: “Have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness.”

8. And first, dear friends, we have fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness by personally committing the sins so described. “Do not be deceived; God is not mocked.” After all, a man must be judged by his life. If you do what is holy and righteous and gracious, you have fellowship with the holy and the righteous and the gracious; but if you do what is unclean and dishonest, you have fellowship with the unclean and the dishonest. The Lord will, at the last, put us among those whom we are most like; in that day when he shall separate the people gathered before him as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats, the sheep will be put with the sheep, and the goats with the goats. If you have lived like the wicked, you will die like the wicked, and be damned like the wicked. It is only those who live the life of the righteous who can hope that they shall die the death of the righteous. I, who preach to you with all my heart the doctrine of the grace of God, do, nevertheless, just as boldly remind you that the grace of God produces fruit in the life; and where it is really in the heart, there will be in the life signs of its presence. If you and I are drunkards, if we can do a dishonest action, if we are guilty of falsehood, if we are covetous (I need not go over the list of all those evil things), then we belong to the class of men who delight in such practices, and we must go with them for ever. We are having fellowship with them by doing as they do, and we shall have an awful fellowship with them at the last by suffering as they shall suffer. May God make us holy, then! The very name of Jesus means that he will save his people from their sins, and he saves them from their sins by their ceasing to commit those sins that others do. His own word is, “Be holy, for I am holy.” “Be clean you who bear the vessels of the Lord.” Nothing more dishonours him than to have a following of unclean men — men who refuse to be washed, and resolve not to leave their old sins. Great sinners, indeed, the biggest sinners outside of hell, are welcome to come to Christ in order to be cleansed from their sin, and set free from it. He keeps a hospital where he receives the most sick of all the sick, but it is so that he may heal them; and if men do not wish to be healed but consider the marks of their disease to be beauty spots, if they love their sins, and hug them to their hearts, then the Lord says to them, “You shall die in your sins.” May God save all his professing people from this form of fellowship with the works of darkness!

9. Next, we can have fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness by teaching wrong-doing, either by plain word or by just inference. Any man whose teaching tends towards unholiness, who directly or indirectly, either by overt phrase or by natural inference, leads another man into sin, is particeps criminalis , a partaker of the crime. If you teach your children what they ought never to learn, if you teach your fellow workmen what they had better never know, and if they improve on your lessons, and go much further than you ever meant that they should, if they proceed from folly to crime, you are a partaker of their sins, you have fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness. And, believe me, there is nothing more awful than for any minister of Christ to have fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness by keeping back any part of the truth, by withholding any of the precepts of God’s Word, or by denying the terrible and eternal consequences of sin. There is nothing more dreadful than what the end of such a man must be; I think that I would sooner die, and be judged by God as a murderer of men’s bodies, than have to go before the judgment seat charged with being the murderer of their souls, through having kept back helpful truth, or insinuated destructive and erroneous doctrines. Yes, we can easily have fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness in that way.

10. Further, there are some who will have fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness by constraining, commanding, or tempting others to sin. How much harm is often done in this respect by lack of thought! What you do by another, you do yourself. If you command another to do for you what you know to be wrong, — I will not say that the other is right in the compliance, — but I will say that you are wrong in having given the command. Let fathers, let employers, let mistresses, see to it that they never command others to do what God has not commanded them to do.

11. Sometimes, it is not actually a command that you give, but you put the person into such a position of temptation and trial, that the probabilities are that that person will do wrong; and if it is so, in the sight of God, you will have to share the guilt of that wrong. When a master pays his servant less wages than he ought to have, — if that servant commits a theft, I condemn the theft, but I cannot clear the master who put the man into a position in which he must have been severely tempted to take something more to make up for that of which he had been defrauded. I do not excuse the theft by him who committed it; but still I cannot screen the one who put the other where, in all probability, he would be driven to commit a dishonest act. If I place a man in a position where it is most probable, since human nature is what it is, that he will commit a sin, if I have deliberately put him there, or put him there for my own profit and gain, I shall be a partaker of the sin if he falls. If you are a nanny, and you take those little children, and set them on the edge of the cliff, letting them go to the very brink of it, and they fall over, you cannot clear yourself of blame in the matter. It may be that you told the children not to go too close to the edge; but then you put them where you might be morally certain that, as children, they would go there, and you are responsible for all that happens to them. So, if I set another in a place where I might be able to stand myself, but might be pretty sure that he could not, I shall be a partaker of his sin. “Well, I drink my glass of wine,” one says. Yes, and apparently it does you no harm whatever; you have never been intoxicated by it, and you feel grateful for it; but there is another man who could not do as you have done without becoming a drunkard, and by your example he is made a drunkard, and helped to remain so. The practice may be safe enough for you; but if it is ruinous to him, take heed lest you are a partaker of his unfruitful works of darkness. It will require great care, and some self-denial, so to act towards others that we can say when we go to bed at night, “If any man has done a wrong thing today, it is not because I have set an example for him.” Oh, that we might all repent of other people’s sins! Did you ever repent of them? “I have had enough to do to repent of my own sins,” one says. But these sins of which I am speaking are your own, as well as other people’s; if you have led others into the way of committing the sin, or have put any pressure on them to lead them to commit sin, you are having fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness.

12. Sometimes, men get to be partakers of others’ sins by provoking them. When fathers provoke their children to anger, who has the chief blame for that sin? Surely the father has. And when, sometimes, people purposely play on the infirmities of others to provoke them, are they not more to blame than the offenders? I am sure that it is so. I have known some to try to draw others out when they have known their propensity to go beyond the truth; they have, for mirth’s sake, led them on, and tempted them to lie. Who is the greater sinner of the two in such a case as that? I am no casuist, {a} and shall not attempt to weigh actions; but I am able to say this most assuredly, that, if you provoke another to anger, that anger is in part your sin; if you deliberately incite another to sin by daring him to do it, or by any other method of tempting him to do wrong, you yourself shall share the accusation at the last great day.

13. Further, friends, we can be partakers of the unfruitful works of darkness by counselling them. There are some men who will not do the wrong things themselves, but they will give bad advice to others, and so lead them into iniquity. We have known people to act the part of the cat with the monkey; they have used some other hand to draw the chestnuts from the fire. They were not themselves burned, but then they really did the deed by their agents. Theirs was the advice, theirs the wit, theirs the shrewd hard-headedness by which the evil was done; and though they did not appear in the transaction, yet God saw them, and he will deal with them in the day of account.

14. I feel very cautious when I have to give advice; and that experience often falls to my lot. A person will plead, “Well, if I do right in such a case as this, I shall remain in poverty, or I shall lose my job. If I follow my conscientious convictions to the full, who is to provide for me?” And, you know, the temptation is to feel, “Well, now, really we must not be too severe in our judgment on this poor soul; can we not agree with the evident wish of the person asking for the advice, moderate the law of God, or in some way make a loophole, and say, ‘Well, it will not be right; but still, you see, under the circumstances, ———— .’ ” Now, I never dare do that, because, if wrong is done, and I have counselled it, I shall be a partaker in the wrong. You who are called to give advice to others — as many of you may be by reason of your age and experience, — always give straight advice; never let any man learn policy from you. Of all things in this world, what often commends itself to certain “prudent” men, but which, nevertheless, never ought to commend itself to Christian men, is the idea of doing a little evil in order to obtain a great good; in fact, believing ourselves to be wiser than the commands of God, and imagining that strict truth and rectitude and integrity would, after all, not be the best thing for men, even though God has ordained it so. Let us so guide others that we shall have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness.

15. But we may have fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness by consenting to them, and conniving at them. For example, you live in a house where there is a great deal of evil going on, and you yourself keep clear of it. So far so good; but you never protest against it, you have been altogether silent about it. “Mum,” has been the word with you; and, sometimes, when they come home from a place of ill repute, and they tell you about the “fun” they have had, you laugh with the rest, or if you do not laugh, at any rate you have not decidedly expressed your disapproval. You do disapprove of the evil; in secret, you even pray against it; but no one knows that it is so, the wrong-doers especially are not aware that it is so; in fact, they imagine that, just as they treat leniently your pursuit of religion, though they think it fanatical, so you treat leniently their pursuit of sin, though in your heart of hearts you believe that pursuit to be evil. Our Lord commands us to clear ourselves of all conniving at sin, — not with harshness, not with denunciation, and in an unkind spirit, — but with a mild, gentle, but still powerful, honest rebuke. We must say, especially if we are parents, or employers, or people having much influence with others, “Oh, do not do this abominable thing! I cannot have any share in this evil, even by silently tolerating it. How I wish that you would give it up! I entreat you, come out of this Sodom; escape for your lives!” A few more loving home testimonies for God, and who can tell if the husband may be converted, and the son may be led to the Saviour? But for lack of this personal witness-bearing among Christians, I am afraid that the Church of God comes to be paralysed, and much of her power and usefulness is taken from her. Do not let us connive or wink at sin in any case whatever.

16. Far be it from us also ever to have fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness by commending or applauding sin, or seeming to agree with it. We must let all men know that, whatever they may do which has about it a bad savour, it has a bad savour to us, and we cannot endure it, but must always protest against it, lest we are partakers of the sins of others. Oh dear friends, I believe that the great lack of the church just now is holiness! The great lack of the church is nonconformity; I mean, nonconformity to the world. We must endeavour to bring back the strictness of the Puritan times, and somewhat more. Everyone is so liberal and takes such latitude, nowadays, that in some quarters it is impossible to tell which is the church and which is the world. I have even heard some ministers propose that there should be no church distinct from the congregation, but that everyone should be a church member, without the slightest examination, or even a profession of conversion. It is supposed that people are now so generally good that we may take them indiscriminately, and that they will make a church quite good enough for the Lord Jesus Christ! Ah, me! that is not according to Christ’s mind, and that is not Christ’s teaching. God’s call to this age, as for all that went before, is, “ ‘Come out from among them, and be separate,’ says the Lord, ‘and do not touch the unclean thing; and I will receive you, and will be a father to you, and you shall be my sons and daughters,’ says the Lord Almighty.” Bear your protest, my brothers and my sisters, against everything that is unrighteous and unholy, everything that is not Godlike and Christ-like, and let your lives be such that men shall not need to ask to whom you belong, whether to God or to the devil, but they shall see at once that you are the people of the ever-living and blessed God.

17. This, then, is what is forbidden: “Have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness.”

18. II. The time flies so fast, that I can only very briefly answer the second question, WHAT IS COMMANDED? “Reprove them.” Our life’s business in the world includes this among our other Christian duties, the reproving of the unfruitful works of darkness.

19. First, we are to rebuke sin. I find that the word which is here rendered “reprove” is what is used concerning the Holy Spirit: “When he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment.” We are, therefore, so to live as to let light in on men’s consciences, so that we may rebuke them for their sin.

20. But we are also to try to let the sinners themselves see the sinfulness of their sin, to let the light in on the sin, and, by God’s grace, so to reprove them as to convict them of sin, to make them feel, from the testimony of God’s people, that sin is an evil and a bitter thing, and that their course of conduct is that evil thing. The light has come into the world on purpose so that the darkness may know that it is darkness, and that God’s light may overcome and disperse it. We are not to quench our light, and mingle with others who are in the dark; but to unveil our lamps, and let the light that is in them so shine that the darkness shall be reproved by it. I do not say, brothers and sisters, that we are to go through the world wearing surly faces, looking grim as death, perpetually promulgating the law, and saying, “You shall not do this, and you shall not do that”; but, cheerful as we must be with the love of God in our hearts, we shall prove to men that the freest and the happiest life is a life of holiness, a life of consecration to God, and that, together with the faithful testimony of our lips, shall be a reproving of the sin that is in the world. The very existence of a true believer is the reproof of unbelief; the existence of an honest man is the reproof of knavery; the existence of a godly man is the best reproof of ungodliness; but when that existence is backed up by verbal testimony, and by a consistent example, then the command in the text is fulfilled, for we are reproving the unfruitful works of darkness.

21. III. Thirdly, let us ask, WHY ARE WE TO ACT LIKE THIS? Why are we sent into the world, dear friends, to reprove sin, and not to follow in its track? The reasons are given in this very chapter.

22. First, because we are God’s dear children, and therefore we must be imitators of him. You, a child of God, and having fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness? You, a child of God, imitating the lost and fallen world? You, a child of God, submitting to the influences of the devil, and his filthy crew? Far be it from you; ask your Father to make you holy as he is holy. For that purpose you were born and sent into the world; entreat your Father to help you to fulfil the very purpose of your being.

23. Next, remember that we who are believers have an inheritance in the kingdom of God. We are heirs of God, joint-heirs with Jesus Christ. Well, then, shall we have fellowship with those who have no inheritance in this kingdom? Remember what we read just now: “For you know this, that no fornicator, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.” And will you, who have a part in this inheritance, make a common lot with such people? Oh, may it be far from you! Heir of glory, will you be a companion of the heirs of wrath? Joint-heir with Christ, will you sit on the drunkard’s bench, or whistle an unclean song with the profane? Are their places of amusement fit for you to frequent? Are their dens of iniquity haunts for you? Up and away from the dwellings of these wicked men, lest you are destroyed in their destruction!

24. A little further down in the chapter, in the seventh and eighth verses, we read: “Therefore do not be partakers with them. For you were sometimes darkness, but now are you light in the Lord.” What! has a marvellous conversion happened to you? Have you been turned from darkness to light? Are you really new creatures in Christ Jesus, or is it all a lie? For, if indeed you have been twice-born, if you have had a resurrection from among the dead, if a second creation has been created in you, how can you go and live with these dead men, and mingle with these who do not know the life of God? Unless your profession is nothing but a farce or a fraud, grace will so constrain you that you must come out, and refuse to have fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness.

25. The text describes these works as being unfruitful, and you read in the ninth verse, “The fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth.” Now, if you are to bear the fruits of the Spirit, what fellowship can you have with the unfruitful works of darkness? The two things are opposed to each other. You fruit-bearing trees, are you going to join in affinity with these that encumber the ground that soon must be cut down, and cast into the fire? What! will you interlace your vine branches with these fig trees that have leaves on them, but no fruit, and on which no fruit will ever grow, for they are under the curse of God? No, it must not be so. People of God, serve him, and come away from those who render him no service, but who rather seek to pull down his holy temple, and to destroy his name and influence from among the sons of men!

26. The apostle gives us one more reason why we should have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness: “for it is a shame even to speak of those things which are done by them in secret.” What! shall we have fellowship with things of which we are ashamed even to mention? Yet I have to say it, and to say it to my own sorrow and horror, I have known professors to have fellowship with things that I dare not even think of now. They have been found out at length; some of them were never found out until after they were dead. What a life to lead, — to sit with God’s people at the communion table, to talk even to others about the way of salvation, yet all the while living in the practice of secret sin! Why, surely, it would be better to get into prison at once than to be always afraid of being apprehended; to go up and down the world making a profession of religion, and yet to be acting a lie all the while, and living in constant fear of being found out! Whatever sin we may fall into, may God save us from hypocrisy, and make us honest and straightforward in all things! Shall we, then, go and have fellowship with things of which we should be ashamed even to mention? God forbid!

27. I am afraid that I am speaking many truths that you will regard as having nothing in them that is comforting to you; but, brothers and sisters, can I help it? Can it be avoided? If we are to make full proof of our ministry, and preach all the truth to you, must we not take every passage of God’s Word, whether it is of rebuke or of comfort, in its due season? To myself, the effect of thinking over this subject is just this. I have cried, “Lord, have mercy on me.” I have fled again to the cross of Christ. I have sought anew for an anointing of the Holy Spirit so that I might not in anything have fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness; and if my discourse has that effect on you, it will do you great service. Oh, ask the Lord to make our outward lives more thoroughly pure and true! Give me a little church of really gracious, devoted, upright, godly men, and I will be glad to minister to them, and I shall expect God to bless them. But give me a large church consisting of thousands, — if there are in it many whose lives, if they were known, would disgust a man of God, and whose lives, being known to the Spirit of God, are a grief to him, why, then the blessing must be withheld! We may preach our hearts out, and wear ourselves to death in all kinds of holy service; but, with an Achan in the camp, Israel cannot win the victory. I beseech you, therefore, search and look. One pair of eyes, two pairs of eyes, in the pastorate, and the eyes of the elders and deacons of the church, can never suffice to watch over such a company as this is. May the Lord watch over you, and may you have a mutual oversight of each other; and above all, may each one exercise daily watchfulness over his own heart and life! So, beloved brothers and sisters in Christ, I leave the text with you, praying God to bless it: “Have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.”

28. Now, if any here are living in fellowship with those unfruitful works of darkness, I ask them to escape for their lives from them. May they flee to Christ, who alone can save them; and when they have once found healing through his wounds, and life through his death, then let them pray to be kept from all sin, so that they may lead a holy and gracious life for the glory of him who has washed them in his own most precious blood. May the Lord send a blessing, for his dear Son’s sake! Amen.

{a} Casuist: A theologian (or other person) who studies and resolves cases of conscience or doubtful questions regarding duty and conduct. OED.

Exposition By C. H. Spurgeon {Eph 5}

1. Be therefore followers of God,

Or, imitators of God, —

1. As dear children;

Children are naturally imitators. They are usually inclined to imitate their father; this is, therefore, a most fair and appropriate precept: “Be therefore imitators of God, as dear children.”

2. And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us, and has given himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling savour.

What a path to walk in! “Walk in love.” What a well-paved way it is! “As Christ also has loved us.” What a blessed Person for us to follow in that divinely royal road! It would have been hard for us to tread this way of love, if it had not been that his blessed feet marked out the track for us. We are to love as Christ also has loved us and the question which will often solve difficulties is this, “What would Jesus Christ do in my case?” What he would have done, that we may do: “Walk in love, as Christ also has loved us.” And if we want to know how far that love may be carried, we need not be afraid of going too far in self-denial; we may even make a sacrifice of ourselves for love of God and men, for here is our model: “As Christ also has loved us, and has given himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling savour.”

3. But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becomes saints;

So far from ever falling under the power of these evils, do not even name them; consider them sins unmentionable to holy ears. In what a position do we find “covetousness” placed, side by side with “fornication and all uncleanness!” In the Epistle to the Colossians, covetousness is called “idolatry,” as if the Holy Spirit thought so badly of this sin that he could never put it in worse company than it deserved to be in. Yet I fear it is a very common sin even among some who call themselves saints. May God deliver us altogether from its sway, and help us to hate the very name of it!

4. Neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient: but rather giving of thanks.

All kinds of evil, frivolous, fruitless talk should be condemned by the Christian. He should feel that he lives at a nobler rate, he lives for a purpose; he lives to bear fruit; and what has no fruit about it, and out of which no good can come, is not for him.

“But rather giving of thanks.” Oh, for more of this giving of thanks! It should perfume the labours of the day, it should sweeten the rest of the night, this giving of thanks. We are always receiving blessings; let us never cease to give God thanks for them. If we never stop thanking until we are beyond the need of blessing, we shall go on praising the Lord as long as we live here, and continue to do so throughout eternity.

5. For this you know, that no fornicator, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.

What a sweeping sentence! This is indeed a sword with two edges. Many will flinch before it; and yet, though they flinch, they will not escape, for Paul speaks neither more nor less than the truth when he declares that “no fornicator, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.”

6. Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things comes the wrath of God on the children of disobedience.

These are the very things God hates. If, therefore, they are in you, God cannot look on you with the love that he feels towards his children. “These things” he cannot endure, and “because of these things the wrath of God comes on the children of disobedience.”

8. Therefore do not be partakers with them. For you were sometimes darkness,

Then, “these things” suited you.

8. But now you are light in the Lord: walk as children of light;

Get completely away from these dark things; travel no more in the thick gloom of these abominations. May God help you to walk in the light as he is in the light!

9, 10. (For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth;) proving what is acceptable to the Lord.

We ought to pray that our whole life may be “acceptable to the Lord.” We are ourselves “accepted in the Beloved”; and, that being the case, it should be our great desire that every thought and word and deed, yes, every breathing of our life, should be “acceptable to the Lord.”

11,12. And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them. For it is a shame even to speak of those things which are done by them in secret.

It was so with the old heathen world in which Paul lived; he could not write or speak of those abominable vices which defiled the age. But is London any better than Ephesus? Surely, old Corinth, which became a sink of sin, was not a worse Sodom than this great modern Babylon. There is good reason to say of the wicked even to this day, “It is a shame even to speak of those things which are done by them in secret.”

13. But all things that are reproved are revealed by the light;

Then drag them to the light! There will be a great howling when these dogs of darkness have the light let in on them, but it has to be done.

13-15. For whatever reveals is light. Therefore he says, “Awake you who sleep, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give you light.”

See then that you walk circumspectly, not carelessly, not thinking that it is of no importance how you live; but looking all around you, “walk circumspectly,” watching lest even in seeking one good thing you spoil another. Never present to God one duty stained with the blood of another duty. “See then that you walk circumspectly,” —

15, 16. Not as fools, but as wise, redeeming the time,

Buying up the hours; they are of such value that you cannot pay too high a price for them.

16-18. Because the days are evil. Therefore do not be unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is. And do not be drunk with wine, in which is excess; but be filled with the Spirit;

If you want excitement, seek this highest, holiest, happiest form of exhilaration, the divine exhilaration which the Holy Spirit alone can give you: “Be filled with the Spirit.”

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

We should have thought that Paul would have said, “singing and making melody with your voice to the Lord”; but the apostle, guided by the Holy Spirit, overlooks the sound, which is the mere body of the praise, and looks to the heart, which is the living soul of the praise: “Making melody in your heart to the Lord,” for the Lord does not merely care for sounds, though they are the sweetest that ever came from the lip of man or angel; he looks at the heart. God is a Spirit, and he looks spiritually at our spiritual praises; therefore, let us make melody in our heart to the Lord.

20, 21. Giving thanks always for all things to God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ; submitting yourselves to each other in the fear of God.

That principle of maintaining your rights, standing up for your dignity, and so on, is not according to the mind of the Spirit. It is his will that you should rather yield your rights, and, for the sake of peace, and the profit of your brethren, give up what you might naturally claim as properly belonging to you: “Submitting yourselves to each other in the fear of God.”

22-30. Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ’s is the head of the church: and he is the Saviour of the body. Therefore just as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands, in everything. Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; so that he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, that he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish. So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourishes and cherishes it, even as the Lord the church; for we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones.

What a wonderful expression! To think that we, poor creatures that we are, should be joined like this to Christ by a marriage union, indeed, by a vital union, — is truly amazing. Oh, the depths of the love of Christ, that such an expression as this should be possible!

31, 32. For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined to his wife, and they two shall be one flesh. This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church.

There is the mystery, that he should leave his Father, and leave the home above, and become one flesh with his elect, going with them, and for their sakes, through poverty, and pain, and shame, and death. This is a marvel and a mystery indeed.

33. Nevertheless, let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself, and the wife see that she reverence her husband.

So the Spirit of God follows us to our homes, and teaches us how to live for the glory of God. May he help us to do so, for Christ’s sake! Amen.

 {See Spurgeon_Hymnal “Jesus Christ, His Praise — Redeeming Love” 423}
 {See Spurgeon_Hymnal “The Christian, Desires After Holiness — Holy Principles Desired” 649}
 {See Spurgeon_Hymnal “The Christian, World Renounced — Escaping From The Current Of Sin” 656}

Jesus Christ, His Praise
423 — Redeeming Love
1 To our Redeemer’s glorious name,
      Awake the sacred song!
   Oh may his love (immortal flame!)
      Tune every heart and tongue.
2 His love, what mortal thought can reach,
      What mortal tongue display?
   Imagination’s utmost stretch
      In wonder dies away.
3 Let wonder still with love unite,
      And gratitude and joy;
   Jesus be our supreme delight,
      His praise, our blest employ.
4 Jesus who left his throne on high,
      Left the bright realms of bliss,
   And came to earth to bleed and die —
      Was ever love like this?
5 Oh may the sweet, the blissful theme,
      Fill every heart and tongue,
   Fill every heart and tongue,
      And join the sacred song.
                              Anne Steele, 1760.

The Christian, Desires After Holiness
649 — Holy Principles Desired
1 I want a principle within
      Of jealous, godly fear;
   A sensibility of sin,
      A pain to feel it near.
2 I want the first approach to feel
      Of pride, or fond desire;
   To catch the wandering of my will,
      And quench the kindling fire.
3 That I from thee no more may part,
      No more thy goodness grieve,
   The filial awe, the fleshy heart,
      The tender conscience, give.
4 Quick as the apple of an eye,
      Oh God, my conscience make!
   Awake my soul, when sin is nigh,
      And keep it still awake.
5 If to the right or left I stray,
      That moment, Lord, reprove;
   And let me weep my life away,
      For having grieved thy love.
6 Oh may the least omission pain
      My well instructed soul;
   And drive me to the blood again,
      Which makes the wounded whole!
                     Charles Wesley, 1749.

The Christian, World Renounced
656 — Escaping From The Current Of Sin
1 I send the joys of earth away,
   Away, ye tempters of the mind;
   False as the smooth deceitful sea,
   And empty as the whistling wind.
2 Your streams were floating me along
   Down to the gulf of black despair;
   And whilst I listen’d to your song,
   Your streams had e’en convey’d me there.
3 Lord, I adore thy matchless grace,
   That warn’d me of that dark abyss,
   That drew me from those treacherous seas
   And bade me seek superior bliss.
4 Now to the shining realms above
   I stretch my hands, and glance my eyes;
   Oh for the pinions of a dove,
   To bear me to the upper skies!
5 There from the bosom of my God,
   Oceans of endless pleasure roll;
   There would I fix my last abode,
   And drown the sorrows of my soul.
                        Isaac Watts, 1709.

Spurgeon Sermons

These sermons from Charles Spurgeon are a series that is for reference and not necessarily a position of Answers in Genesis. Spurgeon did not entirely agree with six days of creation and dives into subjects that are beyond the AiG focus (e.g., Calvinism vs. Arminianism, modes of baptism, and so on).

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Modernized Edition of Spurgeon’s Sermons. Copyright © 2010, Larry and Marion Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario, Canada. Used by Answers in Genesis by permission of the copyright owner. The modernized edition of the material published in these sermons may not be reproduced or distributed by any electronic means without express written permission of the copyright owner. A limited license is hereby granted for the non-commercial printing and distribution of the material in hard copy form, provided this is done without charge to the recipient and the copyright information remains intact. Any charge or cost for distribution of the material is expressly forbidden under the terms of this limited license and automatically voids such permission. You may not prepare, manufacture, copy, use, promote, distribute, or sell a derivative work of the copyrighted work without the express written permission of the copyright owner.

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