VB074 Fruit Will Not Grow In Darkness (Eph 5:8-14)

Display that new nature through your actions so that everyone can see the type of actions that are pleasing to God. Your life is the only Bible some people will ever read. …VB074

Fruit Will Not Grow In Darkness (Eph 5:8-14)

Ephesians 5:8-14 (NKJV) –For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light [9] (for the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness, righteousness, and truth), [10] finding out what is acceptable to the Lord. [11] And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them. [12] For it is shameful even to speak of those things which are done by them in secret. [13] But all things that are exposed are made manifest by the light, for whatever makes manifest is light. [14] Therefore He says: “Awake, you who sleep, Arise from the dead, And Christ will give you light.”

In Ephesians 5:7, Paul encouraged the Ephesians not to become partakers with unbelievers in their sins. Why? Because the nature of the believer has been changed. It was darkness; now it is light.

Many people act holy trying to find a relationship with God. Paul is advocating holiness because of the relationship we already have with God. It’s the nature of Christians to walk in the light, not in darkness. When a Christian really knows who they are and what they have in Christ, holiness just naturally flows out of them. It’s their spiritual nature.

Paul did not say that we were getting more and more light from the Lord, but that we are right now, “light in the Lord.” True believers become light, signified by all the goodness of God, instead of darkness which is the devil’s evil in the world. The moment we are born again, we are in Christ, in our inner selves. This is called “positional truth,” a spiritual reality that doesn’t fluctuate with our performance. But we need to realize our position in Christ is more than an unchanging spiritual truth, it is also a “temporal truth,” an experienced reality while in the physical realm.

Before we were born again, we were not just part-time children of the devil; we were lost all the time even when we were acting good. Now we have become full-time children of light. That’s who we are. That’s our nature.

[5:9] (for the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness, righteousness, and truth),

Galatians 5:22-23 lists nine things as the fruit of the Spirit. Natural fruit can’t grow without sunlight. The fruit of the Spirit can’t grow without “Son” light. We have to walk in the light to produce the fruit of the light.

Only God is good (Mk 10:18). We are only righteous through Christ (2Cor 5:21), and God’s Word (Jn 1:1) is truth (Jn 8:32).

In Ephesians 5:8, Paul was promoting holiness because that’s the nature of a Christian. Here, he gave us another reason for living godly lives. It’s because the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness, righteousness, and truth.

Ungodliness inhibits the fruit of the Spirit in our lives. That’s not because God’s love is conditional. His love for us is unconditional. But just as seeds cannot grow without light, so the darkness of ungodliness in our lives hinders the fruit of the Spirit. If we cultivate a life of hatred, the fruit of love (Gal 5:22) will not manifest. If we are truly born again, that love is present in our spirits, but it cannot flow while we are operating in the darkness of hatred.

[5:10] finding out what is acceptable to the Lord.

Those who are truly born again are accepted in the Beloved (see, Eph 1:6), but their actions can be unacceptable and grieve the Holy Spirit (Eph 4:30).

The words, “finding out” (KJV, proving) as used here is speaking of making manifest to the physical realm, or showing openly to the world our new natures as children of light spoken of in Ephesians 5:8. Paul had spoken of Christians as children of light in their hearts (see, Eph 5:8). Here, he said, “Display that new nature through your actions so that everyone can see the type of actions that are pleasing to God.” This goes along with the old saying, “Your life is the only Bible some people will ever read.” Make sure they are being presented the truth.

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

The Greek word sugkoinoneo[4790] (sïng-koi-no-ne’-o) v. to participate in something with someone, i.e. co-participate, here is a rare Greek word for “fellowship” that is only used three times in the New Testament (this verse, Phil 4:14, and Rev 18:4). This is the only time of the three where it was translated “fellowship.” This is a strengthened form of the more common Greek word for “fellowship,” koinoneo[2841] (koi-no-ne’-o) was used twenty times in the N.T.1

The Greek word used in this verse indicates the actual partaking of an ungodly person’s deeds, as can be seen by the way it was translated in Revelation 18:4. When speaking of Babylon, the Lord told His people to separate themselves from the ungodly religious system lest they become partakers (sugkoinoneo) of her sins and receive of her plagues.

The instruction in this verse is not to avoid unbelievers, but rather not to co-participate in their ungodly deeds. It is important to notice that the “works of darkness” are what we are to avert (see, 1Cor 15:33), not the people who are doing these acts. We are to reject the sin, not the sinner.

Ephesians 5:11-13 gives us a simple way of judging whether or not our contact with the lost is in a godly fashion. We are supposed to reprove their actions. If we can do that and still maintain relationship, then we are probably relating to them in the proper way. If we are not exposing their deeds to the light, we should question whether the relationship is really God’s will. Care has to be taken that we are the ones ministering righteousness to them, and not the other way around, where they are ministering ungodliness to us.

This English word “expose” (reprove, KJV) was translated from the Greek word “elegcho.” It was translated “rebuke” (1Tim 5:20), “tell [him] his fault” (Mt 18:15), and “convince” (Titus 1:9). These uses, combined with Ephesians 5:12-13, leave no doubt that this is speaking of shining the light of God’s righteousness on the ungodly darkness of the lost. We must take a stand against ungodliness.

There is a right and wrong way of letting our light shine. The Pharisees were hypocritical in their proclamation of what was light. They also missed the issues of the heart, and only dealt with the external. They totally omitted love, and were self-serving in their rebukes. The truth without love is like a club, and tradition ministered in a judgmental attitude is even worse.

[5:12] For it is shameful even to speak of those things which are done by them in secret.

Satan can and should be exposed in a way that does not glorify his actions or expose the listeners to temptation. One of the sad things going on in our society today is the open display and discussion of things that used to be considered unspeakable. There are certain things that are a shame to even speak of.

[5:13] But all things that are exposed are made manifest by the light, for whatever makes manifest is light.

It is a deception of the devil to think that our lives alone will shed God’s light on the darkness of the world. It is true that speech without a life to back it up is hypocritical, and often turns people away from the truth. But a godly lifestyle without openly expressing the source of our goodness only brings glory to ourselves. These verses instruct us to verbally express our witness.2

[5:14] Therefore He says: “Awake, you who sleep, Arise from the dead, And Christ will give you light.”

There is no Old Testament verse that says exactly what is quoted here. It is possible that Paul was paraphrasing Isaiah 60:1-3.


1Zodhiates, Spiros. Hebrew-Greek Key Study Bible–NASB (Chattanooga: AMG, 1984; rev. ed. 1990), 1877.

2Andrew Wommack’s Living Commentary. (Colorado Springs: AWMI, 2014)

God bless you my friend,

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