A Voice in the
"Awake, you who sleep, stand forth out from among the dead, and Christ will shine on you. See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil." (Eph5:14-16)
Every periodically we have addressed some specific little passage, making the observation that, were all the rest of the Scriptures somehow missing or destroyed, and all we had was that one little passage, that that passage, in and of itself, would be sufficient to tell us how to be pleasing to God, escape the judgment of the Lake of Fire, and spend eternity in Heaven. This, that we have just opened with, is another such passage.
Here we have the very definition of what the Christian life is. And the surrounding context summarizes the things that Christians 'do', and the things they do -not- do.
Awake, you who sleep... What we see today is sleepers. As we have observed in many other places and at other times, most of those in the churches today are not True Christians. They are in the [c]hurch, but they do not belong to the [C]hurch of Jesus Christ; as Paul says of Israel, "Not all those of Israel are Israel" (Rom9:6b) Just because they are "Israel" (by genetics) does not mean they are "Israel" (in the "Faith of Abraham") (Rom4:16)
But there are -those- within the [c]hurch who -are- part of Jesus' [C]hurch. If that's you, reading this, 'you' are one to whom this is being written. This article is not for unbelievers of whatever persuasion: pretenders, in ignorance, wolves in sheep's clothing, etc. But to you who TRULY -do- "know the Lord". (Heb8:11)
Today's apostasy has tired out many who are in the Faith of Jesus Christ. They have been banging on you with their dialectics of "gray areas", arrived at through 'consensus' mentality. They purposely introduce false doctrine, stir it around with Truth, and come out with mush. Let's decide the 'important' doctrines, and lay aside the unimportant ones; and regarding those things we don't agree, learn to "disagree agreeably". But, I ask: If "-every- Word of God is pure" (Pr30:5), and we are to guide our lives based on "-every- Word of God" (Mt4:4, Lk4:4); -which-, pray tell, are the "unimportant" Biblical teachings and doctrines?
But you are doing like I did years ago. You have caved in to their pressure. You are now speaking their language. You are now being 'tolerant' of ALL VIEWS. You participate in their sham of what they call "christianity".
This passage is to you: WAKE UP! Hear the "clang" and "banging" of the garbage can lid next to your sleeping ears! C'MON, WAKE UP! Quit snoozing! Quit compromising! Quit BLENDING IN! Quit being like they are! Quit coasting and floating down the river (like a dead fish)! That's not what God has called you to. You are in a race, and they are passing you right and left. You are weighed down with all the dirt, corruption and pollutions of this world. (Heb12:1, Ac15:20, 2Pet2:19, etc) You've got your gaze fixed on the wrong goal and prize. (Php3:13-14)
God is calling you to WAKE UP and.... what? "...stand forth out from among the dead" (vs14) If you look around you, what you see and smell is the putridity of the dead world, rotting in their sins. And we USED TO BE LIKE THEM! We were "formerly" ... "dead in trespasses and sins" (2:1-2) but God has made us "ALIVE together with Christ". (2:5) That's why we are called "CHRIST-ians".
When a 'live' person is standing up and walking around a field of dead corpses, is there not a -difference-?! So, why are you busy trying to BLEND IN? You say, "But, I'm not!" ? Well, in many of your cases, yes you are. You might as well be lying down on the ground, put one corpse's dead arm over your face, another corpse's rotting leg over your body, and burrow down and snuggle in next to that other rotting flesh.
When you compromise and dress like a prostitute, and wiggle sensuously to the 'worship' music, that might just as well be "sexual perversion". (vs3) It is supposed to "not even be named among you" (vs3) When you enjoy dirty talking, that is "not fitting". (vs4) And there is a whole list there...please read it. But "because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience" (vs6)
"...DO NOT BE PARTAKERS WITH THEM" (vs7) DO NOT COMPROMISE. Do not show tolerance by participating. Do not show support by attending.
We are no longer dead, but alive. LIVE LIKE IT! We used to be dead. We used to be of darkness. But now we are "...light in the Lord. WALK AS CHILDREN OF LIGHT" (vs8) When we wake up, and get out from among all those smelly, rotting dead bodies, "Christ will shine on you" (vs14b)
As Christians we are supposed to be a "sweet-smelling aroma" unto God (vs2) How can we do that if we have burrowed ourselves into the putrid pile of dead corpses?
Whine, whine...snif, snif! "But it's sooo haaarrrd!" Boo-hoo!
GET UP...WAKE UP! Get your nose out of the corpses, and smell the roses!
Of course there's going to be adversity. Jesus promised it, "in this world you have affliction" but what? "be of good courage, I have overcome the world" (Jn16:33) If Jesus suffered what He did, to effect our salvation, you were expecting a bed of roses and a life of ease? Yes, I know that's what the charlatans from the pulpits told you. But it was a LIE! They didn't tell you that you needed to "count the cost" (Lk14:28): that following Christ did not come with "peace but a sword" (Mt10:34) They know that if they were to preach that, as Jesus did, that many will go "back and walk with [them] no more" (Jn6:66) But how can they possibly "grow-a-church" that way?
We don't get to go through this life sitting on a lawn chair, next to the pool, sipping our ice tea; but are exhorted to "...be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might" (Eph6:10) And if you follow that passage you see the implements related to protection in warfare. And we are given the exhoration that, when things get tough and we think we can't hold out any longer, we are to "...having done all, to stand" (6:13b) There is no giving up. It is the one who "endures to the end" who is "kept safe". (Mt10:22) And in some extreme cases even family members will "deliver up...to death" (vs21) But the faithful martyr is exhorted, "Be faithful unto death, and I will give you the crown of life" (Rev2:10)
So, with that being the 'cost', should not our -lives- also be of a different caliber and nature to the dead world's? If the dead world is full of putrefaction, why would we even -want- to be like them? Or do we forget that we are NOT FROM HERE? Our "citizenship is in Heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior..." (Php3:20)
How do we decide how to live? "Proving what is acceptable to the Lord" (vs10) It is not so much figuring out, "what would Jesus do?"; but, what sort of behavior would be "pleasing to Him"? (2Co5:9) We are not Jesus. We are not Deity. He might call us His "friends" (Jn15:14); but we must never forget that He is our "Master" (Jn15:20)
First of all, we are to "have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness" (vs11) Always remember that, while we may be "-in- the world" (Jn17:11), we are "not -of- the world" (Jn15:19, 17:14,16) But we are to "shine as lights in the world" (Php2:15)
And then, we are to "reprove" the works of darkness. The greatest message of reproof is non-participation. But sometimes we are also called upon to -speak-. And how do we know when to speak, and what to speak?
First of all, we are to always be "ready" to "give a defense" regarding our faith to anyone who asks. (1Pet3:15) But we should never be worried about it, because if we are "walking in the Spirit" (Ga5:25), then when the time comes, "...it will be given to you in that hour what you should speak; for it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father who speaks in you." (Mt10:19-20) In many cases it may be 'gentle' words. In other cases, it might be like Stephen who lashed out, "You stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears! You always oppose the Holy Spirit..." (Ac7:51) But then, he also gave his life at their hands.
Today there is such a climate of NON-OFFENSE. Everybody is so much into "not offending" others. And if somebody says something contrary to the majority consensus, it is called "hate".
But the world's perversity is "shameful".(vs12) That, too, is a word the world is repulsed by; today's teachings in "self-esteem" are in opposition to "shame". Well, Scripture tells us that sin is shameful. God even calls some of the world's perversities an "abomination". (Lev18:22, 20:13) In other words: abhorrence or disgust.
And this is why they do not like Christians, because God's holiness -exposes- their shameful, deplorable and disgusting acts. And we, having God's holiness within us through the Holy Spirit, become 'lights' which expose their darkness. They think that God "does not see"; but God calls them "stupid ones" and "fools" (Ps94:7-8)
But we are to be "redeeming the time, because the days are evil" (vs16) If we draw back, we are shirking our responsibility. It is a rescue mission to pull sinners "out of the fire" (Ju23) Thus, we are to walk "circumspectly, not as fools" (vs15) Fools get drunk and live in debauchery. (vs18) They lose control of themselves. But one who is circumspect is prudent; taking great care to consider the consequences of his behavior. If I remember from the Latin derivations, "circum" would be that which is 'around' a person, as in a 'circle'. "spect" would be the aspects of vision. 'Looking-around' one's self to make sure everything is in proper order. Staying alert, like the "watchman" (Ezk33)
The Christian is to be wise, and to "UNDERSTAND what the will of the Lord is" (vs17)
I suspect a lot of Christians are sleeping, and living like the world, because they don't understand the reality. They are looking at things from the world's perspective...not from the Heavenly vantage point. For some reason the enemy has conned them into behaving like the world, in order to not upset the cart. But God's will is for the Believer to
"Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him." (1Jn2:15)
We claim to "love" God? Well then we will "keep His commandments" (Jn14:15, 1Jn5:3) And what is His command? to be "holy and without blemish" (Eph1:4, 1Pet1:16) That is: to be 'separate' and 'distinct' and (by definition) 'different'. Yes... we live in an ever-developing "global" world, where everything and everybody is the same. Well... not so much the "same", but rather: unified in their rejection of God. They have 'tolerance' for all religions, EXCEPT anything that is uniquely, distinctly [C]hristian...the kind of Christianity that "reproves" them and their sin...by its mere existence and proximity to them.
If you claim to belong to Christ, by definition, the global consensus has declared war on -you-. If you belong to Jesus Christ IT IS NOT POSSIBLE for you to blend in, and also remain true to Christ. Remember, you "cannot serve two masters" (Mt6:24) It is not possible. You cannot have it both ways. You -must- make a choice!
So... are you hunkered down, snuggled in with all the rotting dead flesh?
Or have you... Stood forth out from among the dead?