February 12, 2018
(All Scripture is from the New King James Version unless otherwise indicated)
This series, Little Acceptable Sins, is based on Ephesians 4:22 through 24:
…put off concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows cor-
rupt according to the deceitful lusts, and be renewed in the spirit of your
mind, and…put on the new man which was created according to God, in
righteousness and true holiness.
In the following verses, and well into chapter 6, Paul spells out how a Christian’s life should be – and how it should not be! You see, too often we allow Little Sins – sometimes not so Little! – to maintain an ongoing place in our lives and in the lives of other believers. In this tenth blog, let’s go on to Ephesians 5:10 through 13. Our lives should show forth the proof of…
…what is acceptable to the Lord. And have no fellowship with the unfruit-
ful works of darkness, but rather expose them. For it is shameful even to
speak of those things which are done by them in secret. But all things that
are exposed are made manifest by the light….
We will concentrate on verses 10 and 11. Verse 10 – For the Christian, what is acceptable to the Lord?
• Negatively considered (not acceptable) – anything that will “…fall short of the glory of God…”! (Romans 3:23), in thought, word, and/or deed! (See, for example, Matthew 5:28; Ephesians 5:4; Matthew 23:13-33).
• Positively considered (acceptable) –
✞ Loving and obeying God! (Compare Matthew 22:37 with John 14:15).
✞ Dwelling richly in His Word, and “…the word of Christ dwell[ing] in you richly…” (Colossians 3:16).
✞ “…continuing steadfastly in prayer…” (Romans 12:12 – see also Luke 18, 1; I Thessalonians 5:17).
✞ “…not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together…” (Hebrews 10:25).
✞ Sharing the gospel with others! (See Matthew 28:19, 20; Acts 1:8; II Timothy 4:2; I Peter 3:15).
Next, in Ephesians 5:11, Paul tells us that it is not enough to personally stay away from sin: “…have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness….” The apostle goes on to say, “…but rather expose them.” We are to expose sin where we find it!
• Such sin could be hiding in our own lives – sins so secret that not even we are aware of them! This is why I believe it is very important to pray the last two verses of Psalm 139, verses 23 and 24 (Literal Translation of the Holy Bible), and to pray this prayer often: “Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me, and know my thoughts; and see if any wicked way is in me; and lead me in the way everlasting.”
• We are also to expose sin in others! We are admonished to do just that in Leviticus 19:17 (Bible in Basic English): “…make a protest to your neighbor, so that he may be stopped from doing evil.” (See the example of Paul exposing sin in I Corinthians 5:1-5).
• This requires wisdom! God would not have us expose a brother or sister’s struggles to just anyone! There are too many who use such information to spread gossip (see Leviticus 19:16; Proverbs 18:8). We are to only expose sins when, where, and to whom, the Holy Spirit leads us! (See Paul’s rebuke of Peter in Galatians 2:11-14).
• Keep in mind the following Scriptures as you undertake exposing sin in other Christians:
✞ Galatians 6:1 and 2 – “Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted. Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ….” The law of Christ is to love one another as He has loved us! (See John 13:34, 35; I John 3:23; II John 1:6).
✞ Ephesians 4:13, 15, and 16 – God has gifted us by the Holy Spirit so that “…we all come to the unity of the faith, and the knowledge of the Son of God… speaking the truth in love, [we] may grow up in all things into Him who is the head — Christ — from whom the whole body, joined and knit together…[causing] growth of the body [of Christ, the Church] for the edifying of itself in love.”
✞ Hebrews 10:24 (KJV) – We are called to “…consider [look closely upon and examine] one another to provoke [prod]…one another…unto love and good works.”
✞ I Peter 1:22 – “…in sincere love of the brethren, love one another fervently with a pure heart.”
How many who say they are followers of Jesus Christ neglect to obey what is emphasized in Ephesians 5:10 and 11?
• …showing forth in their lives what is acceptable (or avoiding what is unacceptable) to the Lord – even the basic things named above!
• …exposing sin where it is found – in ourselves and (lovingly) in others!
Let us be serious about fulfilling all that Jesus has called us to do!