"Do not participate in the unfruitful deeds of darkness, but instead even expose them; for it is disgraceful even to speak of the things which are done by them in secret. But all things become visible when they are exposed by the light." Ephesians 5:11-13
Evil works best under the cover of darkness. The righteous saints are not only commanded to not participate with the wicked, but to expose their evil deeds. Perhaps no other familiar face conjures the thought of evil more than that of Adolf Hitler. Infamous for plunging the world into war and for systematically exterminating millions, including an estimated six million Jews.
Many of the German people were ignorant of his plan to exterminate the Jews until one man cried out as a voice in the wilderness exposing the wickedness of the Furor and the Nazi administration. Dietrich Bonhoeffer, a Lutheran Minister repeatedly exposed the evil by broadcasting the truth on radio.
He scolded the German people saying, -"Silence in the face of evil is itself evil; God will not hold us guiltless. Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act."
This man did his part, but it simply was not enough. There was no major uprising against this evil while it was still in power. People went along to get along.
Wickedness flourishes and spreads where it is not exposed to light. In the darkness there is no accountability. The wickedness of sin is like leaven which spreads if left unchecked, -"Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump of dough?. . .I wrote you in my letter not to associate with immoral people; . . .Remove the wicked from among yourselves. . .Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the Kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor the perverted, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the Kingdom of God." (1 Cor.5-6)
Our text commands us to "not participate" in the deeds of darkness. As Ambassadors for Christ, we cannot go along to get along, or even give the impression that we are tolerant of wickedness, especially in the Church. Too many today are afraid of offending someone because of a hard stand against their unfruitful deeds of darkness. No one will ever truly be convicted unless they are confronted with the upright standard of holiness.
Peter wrote that we must be holy because our God is holy, and that it is with difficulty that the righteous are saved implying that it is impossible for the unrighteous. We cannot force anyone to repent from their evil deeds, but we can expose the evil by bringing the light of Godís Word of Truth in love - something we are commanded to do.
The early Church was persecuted severely, even unto death, -"For your sake we are being put to death all day long; we were considered as sheep to be slaughtered." (Rom.8:36) Even today there is an estimated 200,000 Christians who suffer torture and martyrdom each year. Paul wrote, -"Indeed, all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted." (2 Tim.3:12) In Hebrews 11 we read of the hardships of the great cloud of witnesses who have gone before us.
No one suffers persecution for doing nothing - but suffers persecution for bringing the Light of Truth into the darkness to expose the wickedness there. Virtually all of God's Prophets were killed because the people didn't like nor receive their message. What were their messages? Consistently, they were sent to expose wickedness, deliver an appeal for repentance, and announce God's judgment.
The people rarely received God's messenger or His message because they judged themselves and their practices to be fine. They seemed always to be living in delusion - thinking that they were in God's favor when in fact they were in danger of His wrath. They didn't see themselves or their practices as being wicked, so they were usually moved to attack the messenger and his message of change rather than repent.
"Wickedness" is a seldom used word in the today's watered-down Church, and few accept as being wicked what God says is wicked. In His Word God declares many things and practices to be wicked or an abomination to Him - if we are to faithfully represent His Kingdom, we must faithful declare His judgments and heartily agree with them ourselves.
In today's deluded world the true God seems harsh, and if you announce and uphold His Ways, exposing wickedness - you will be thought of as harsh.
But the saints are commissioned to judge, -"For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Do you not judge those who are within the Church? But those who are outside, God judges. Remove the wicked man from among yourselves. . .Do you not know that the saints will judge the world? If the world is judged by you, are you not competent to constitute the smallest law courts? Do you not know that we will judge angels? How much more matters of this life?" (1 Cor.5:12-13, 6:2-3)
To subject yourself to ridicule and persecution for the cause of Christ is one of the greatest expressions of sacrificial love - let us never shrink back but do our part to enlighten and rescue the ungodly from the devil's snare - it is there only hope.
Remember our faithful beloved Paul who was stoned to death for boldly preaching the truth, was revived by God, got up beaten, bruised and bloody, and walked back into that town -"in order that I might save some." That my friends, is the sacrificial love of Christ.