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No Shadow of Doubt

Ephesians 5:11-12

The Apostle has been quite straight about the sort of behaviour that is off-limits for Christians.  It may jar with the tolerant age which has become usual in the West, but 'living in the light' will always be a peculiar lifestyle to those who don't love Jesus (1 Peter 4:4).  The 'deeds of darkness' are described as being 'fruitless' - they have no ability to produce any of the good things that God desires of us.  By contrast, when sin is brought to the light it can be dealt with in the same way that a surgeon can remove a cancerous tumour when it is visible through the illumination of the

Wake Up!

Ephesians 5:13-14

It is not uncommon for a teacher to alert a child with the need to 'wake up'.  Although some pupils may be physically asleep, the meaning is a clear warning to day-dreamers that a disaster is around the corner unless action is taken soon.  This quote, about the sleeper needing to wake up, has echoes of Isaiah 26:19; 51:17; 52:1; 60:1, but none of them have the full text quoted.  So, it might be a baptismal exhortation or an early Christian hymn. Whichever, the meaning is clear: the Christian who is sleepwalking in sin needs to wake up and walk in the Light.

Mind the Step!

Ephesians 5:15-16

Small children underestimate danger.  As do naïve adults.  The expression, "take care" is often an affectionate parting expression - knowing that problems may exist but not really expecting any to come too close.

A Clear Head

Ephesians 5:17-18

Alcohol is a gift of God in moderation (Psalm 104:15).  But in excess or as a habit, it is a demonic curse taking charge of a person's mind as a deceiver (Proverbs 20:1); convincingly persuading the drinker that foolishness is wisdom.  Most believers know that drunkenness is wrong, but if the habitual drinker is to change course, behaviour manipulation is not enough - because it will soon be overcome by more foolish thinking.   Firstly, we need to identify foolishness for what it is: a failure to love God and lack of desire to understand His will.  

Expressing Praise

Ephesians 5:19-20

The opposite to the foolishness that Paul had previously written about (Ephesians 5:15-18), is the wisdom of honouring the Lord.  We cannot do that without the help of the Holy Spirit, but when we are filled with the Spirit (Ephesians 5:18) then we will overflow with praise of all the good things the Lord has done for us.  That should start in personal devotions but then quickly extend to sharing our love of the Lord with other Christians, in the family, at church or at work.  It is a normal part of a believer's life.  It is good for us, as well as glorifying to God (Psalm 135:3).  


Ephesians 5:21

Western business practice may have travelled a long way from the days of bosses being segregated from the workers; but however flat the management model, there are some people who are on top of the pile, and others inevitably underneath.  It may have nothing to do with the organisational style, and is usually more about the personalities who will not submit to others.  It is not wrong to have leadership and the job will often be done better and faster with clear direction (as long as everybody is happy to accept it).  Some people are natural leaders and others work best when they follow oth

Accepting Responsibility

Ephesians 5:22-24

Mutual submission is the 'Jesus-rule' for harmonious living (Ephesians 5:21).  It is immensely liberating to know that you do not have to take the ultimate responsibility.  That does not mean the person is always right, cleverer or wiser; it just means that the responsibility cannot be off-loaded onto anyone else.  Paul now examines how that principle is worked out in marriage, the family and workplace.  Firstly: marriage.  Although submission is now almost considered to be a form of abuse, it simply means 'to place yourself' under the authority of another.  This is not a demeaning thing; e

Loving to Give Everything

Ephesians 5:25-27

There is no doubt that most husbands want their wives to radiate loveliness.  But how does that happen?  The way in which Jesus Christ has treated us, flawed and corrupted human beings, is also God's pattern for marriage (Ephesians 5:22-24).  Without the loving self-sacrifice of the Lord Jesus, we would have no freedom from guilt on earth, nor any legitimate hope of heaven; without His grace there would be nothing eternally desirable about us at all (Hebrews 9:14-15).  But through the sacrificial blood of Christ we can be confident that we are loved and will be loved for ever (Ephesians 2:1

Indivisible Unity

Ephesians 5:28-30

Individualism has been one of the cultural curses of the so-called civilised West.  Of course, personal responsibility is an essential part of any relationship, especially with God, and this has encouraged both the entrepreneur and the maverick explorer (and the pioneer missionary).  But the idea that we are self-sufficient, so that we can do it all on our own, is false (2 Corinthians 3:5).  God does not work like that, so why should we think that we can?  The Father, Son and Spirit have always existed in the mutual harmony of the Godhead, the very essence of family (Ephesians 3:15).  As ma

The Commitment to Commitment

Ephesians 5:31-33

In these verses Paul seems to mix up the themes of human marriage with the relationship of Christ with His church (Ephesians 5:23-26).  First, the apostle writes about the intimacy of husband and wife, then he says he is really talking about the Lord and His people.  The latter, Paul says, is a great mystery.  By that, he means that this is a divine truth which cannot be discovered except by God's revelation (Colossians 1:26).  As we listen to God's Word, we understand that godly marriages give us an insight into the extraordinary love of God for us; and the example of His loving grace is t