LET THE BIBLE SPEAK
In Eph. 5, the apostle Paul admonishes Christians to "...walk as children of light:" (v.8). The apostle , under the direction of the Holy Spirit, took a firm and unbending attitude toward all enemies of the cross. He wrote: "And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them. For it is a shame even to speak of those things which are done of them in secret" (vs. 11-12).
The works of darkness are called unfruitful because they produce nothing of lasting value. Jesus said that "...men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil" (John 3:19).
The word, fellowship, has reference to communion, sharing, or participation. Therefore, we are not to participate in, or to share in, the unfruitful works of darkness. We are not to encourage, approve or endorse such works.
Paul's "no fellowship" will not allow "some fellowship." The child of God must not be involved in any way with the works of darkness.
"Whosoever transgresseth and abideth not in the doctrine [teaching] of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, hath both the Father and the Son. If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed: for he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds" (II John 9-11).
We learn from these passages that it is not sufficient merely to have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but we are to expose them.
It is important to emphasize these principles. It is one thing for the church to be in the world, it is another for the world to be in the church ( I Cor. 5:9-11). Should not a Christian be different, distinct and separate from the world? "And what communion hath light with darkness" (II Cor. 6:14)?
Fellowship is being extended to many in the church who are living in sin. Paul, in I Cor. 5:1-11, deals with just such a case. He commands them to "deliver such an one unto Satan" (v 5). That command to withdraw from the man that was living in a sinful situation was not because of the lack of love for him, but rather to show their love for him (II Cor. 2:4). The verse continues: "... that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus." The man was in a lost condition. Their love for his soul was great enough to withdraw fellowship from him that he might see his error and change.
To fail to obey the command would be bidding him God speed, thereby partaking of his "evil deeds"(II John 11). "Know ye not that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump? Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened" (I Cor. 5:6-7). "...if any man that is call a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such an one no not to eat" (v.11). To fail in carrying out God's commands, is to fellowship "the unfruitful works of darkness." "It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of a living God" (Heb. 10:31).
"If any man speak let him speak as the oracles of God" (I Pet. 4:11).
Don H. Noblin
For questions or comments about this article, email Don H. Noblin. If you decide to email me, please include the title of the article. Thank you.