educate equip enable
Ephesians 5:11-21 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." (15) See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, (16) redeeming the time, because the days are evil. (17) Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is. (18) And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit, (19) speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord, (20) giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, (21) submitting to one another in the fear of God.
Taking on the name of Christ carries with it ongoing responsibilities as witnesses for Him.
We are to shun darkness and expose ourselves to the light. We are to be filled with the Holy Spirit. And we are to learn the real meaning of mutual submission.
Verses 11-12: Describing the works of darkness as unfruitful serves to emphasise the difference between darkness and light. Light produces fruit, the fruit of the Spirit, whereas darkness produces no fruit, only works. Instead of being involved in them, we are to expose them. Since it is shameful to even speak of these works, it is logical to assume that we expose them by refusing to take part in them and through the testimony of a godly lifestyle.
Verses 13-14: Light exposes our works and reveals their true nature. Therefore, if we live as light, it will expose the works of darkness in the lives of others. (See John 3:20-21.) This light comes from Christ Himself as we "awaken" to Him and walk in the resurrection life He has made available to us. Verse 14 is not a direct quotation from the Old Testament, but is most likely an ancient Christian hymn.
Verses 15-16: We are to walk circumspectly (Greek: "diligently, exactly, carefully) and wisely, not foolishly. The way this is done is by redeeming the time. "Redeeming" is a commercial term that has the sense of "intensively buying." "Time" can be translated "opportunities." Paul is saying that we are to make the most of the opportunities we get and the reason is that we live in evil times.
Verse 17: Paul repeats the idea that we should not be unwise. Instead, it is implied, a wise person will understand God's will.
Verse 18: In keeping with the rest of Scripture, the use of alcohol is not forbidden, but drunkenness is. The reason drunkenness is prohibited is that it leads to dissipation. The Greek word for "dissipation" means "debauchery, abandon, wantonness." The adverb is used in Luke 15:13 to describe the lifestyle of the prodigal son. Instead of being drunk, we are to be filled with the Holy Spirit.
Verses 19-21: The description given in these verses could either be the evidence of being filled with the Holy Spirit, or the means of staying filled with the Spirit. First, singing has always been important in a Spirit-filled church. If the three kinds mentioned here are meant to be distinguished from one another, psalms are songs accompanied by music (originally the harp), hymns are songs of praise, and spiritual songs may be Spirit-inspired songs.
Second, thanksgiving for all things to the Father in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. Gratitude to God is a hallmark of a Spirit-filled life. Third, submission is an important Christian virtue. It is that condition of mind and heart where a person does not insist on their own way. This is to be done in the fear of God.
How can you expose the works of darkness without saying a word?
How can you make the most of the opportunities that come to you in a way that glorifies God?
How can you understand the will of God for your life? See Romans 12:2.
Why does God prohibit drunkenness?
How can you stay filled with the Holy Spirit?
Does God care about the quality of a person's voice when they sing to Him?
What is the fear of God?
If you like these Expository Bible Studies, don't forget to check out our Topical Bible Studies too.