Do not participate in the unfruitful deeds of darkness

by Mike Ratliff

6 Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. 7 Therefore do not be partakers with them; 8 for you were formerly darkness, but now you are Light in the Lord; walk as children of Light 9 (for the fruit of the Light consists in all goodness and righteousness and truth), 10 trying to learn what is pleasing to the Lord. 11 Do not participate in the unfruitful deeds of darkness, but instead even expose them; 12 for it is disgraceful even to speak of the things which are done by them in secret. 13 But all things become visible when they are exposed by the light, for everything that becomes visible is light. 14 For this reason it says,
“Awake, sleeper,
And arise from the dead,
And Christ will shine on you.”
15 Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, 16 making the most of your time, because the days are evil. 17 So then do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. Ephesians 5:6-17 (NASB) 

What does it mean to “participate in the unfruitful deeds of darkness”? Read the entire passage of Ephesians 5:6-17 (above), and then we will look at the word participate, and at what unfruitful deeds of darkness are.

The word “participate” or “take part in” comes from the Greek word sugkoinoneo (4790), and means have fellowship, to share in company with, to be a partaker of, co-participate in. Are there different levels of participation? Yes, you can actively participate by being a part of the evil deed (Psalm 26:4-5, Proverbs 4:14-16, Jeremiah 15:17, Romans 16:17), or you can passively participate by not stopping the person from doing the evil deed (Numbers 20:1-13, Numbers 20:23-29, Numbers 27:12-14, 1 Corinthians 10:4, Psalm 141:5, Matthew 18:15-17, Luke 17:3-4, Galatians 2:11-14, Titus 3:10-11, James 5:19-20, 1 John 5:16), or by not reporting the evil deed (Leviticus 5:1, Proverbs 29:24).

The unfruitful deeds of darkness are:

Immorality (Translated from the Greek word porneia (4202), and means fornication. Fornication is the sexual act between unmarried people.) — 1 Corinthians 6:9-11, 1 Corinthians 6:13-20, 1 Corinthians 7:2, Hebrews 13:4.

Impurity (from the Greek word akatharsia (167), morally or sexually unclean) — Ephesians 5:3, Romans 1:24, Romans 6:193.

Sensuality (from the Greek word aselgeia (766), morally unrestrained, will participate in any sexual act with anyone or anything) — Leviticus 18:5-30, Romans 1:24-27, Ephesians 4:17-19, 2 Peter 2:24.

Idolatry (from the Greek word eidōlolatria (1495), worship or serving images, false gods, that includes self or money) — Deuteronomy 4:15-19, Romans 1:20-23, Colossians 3:55.

Sorcery (from the Greek word pharmakeia (5331), the use of medicine, drugs or spells) — Deuteronomy 18:9-14, 2 Chronicles 33:6, 1 Corinthians 3:176.

Enmities (from the Greek word echthra (2189), hatred, hostile) — Romans 8:7, Romans 1:30, 2 Timothy 3:4, Job 21:14-15, Psalm 81:15, Isaiah 1:4, Isaiah 30:11-15, Matthew 22:37-40, 1 John 3:15-17, 1 John 4:20,7.

Strife (from the Greek word eris (2054), quarrelsome, causing conflict) — 2 Timothy 2:24, Proverbs 20:3, Proverbs 6:12-19, Proverbs 10:12, Proverbs 15:18, Proverbs 16:28, Proverbs 26:17-28, James 4:118.

Jealousy (resentfully suspicious, resentfully envious) — 1 Corinthians 3:3, 2 Corinthians 12:20, James 3:14-169.

Outbursts of Anger (from the Greek word thumos (2372), temper, rage) — Proverbs 12:16, Proverbs 14:29, Proverbs 15:1, Proverbs 19:19, Proverbs 22:24, Ephesians 4:26, Ephesians 4:31, Colossians 3:8, James 1:19-2010.

Disputes (from the Greek word eritheia (2052), rivalry, ambition) — Ecclesiastes 4:4, 1 Timothy 6:3-5, Titus 3:9-11, 1 Timothy 1:7, 2 Peter 2:1211.

Dissensions (from the Greek word dichostasia (1370) to stand apart, disagree, violent quarreling) — Romans 16:17, Acts 15:1-31, 2 Thessalonians 3:14-15, Titus 1:10-11, Galatians 1:7-9, Colossians 2:8, 2 Peter 2:1-2, 1 John 2:19-24, 2 John 1:7-10, Jude 1:1912.

Factions (from the Greek word hairesis (139), to choose sides, to choose an opposing opinion) — Titus 3:10-11, Proverbs 28:10, Matthew 7:15, 1 Corinthians 1:10-13, 1 Corinthians 11:18-19, Ephesians 4:14, 2 Timothy 3:5, Hebrews 13:9, 2 John 1:10-1113.

Envying (to envy, resent, dislike) — Don’t envy the righteous (Genesis 4:4-12, 1 John 3:12, Numbers 12:1-16, Numbers 16:1-40, Psalm 106:16-18, 1 Samuel 18:8-9, Mark 15:10, Matthew 20:1-16, ), nor the wicked (Psalm 37:1-5, Psalm 73:1-28, Proverbs 3:31-34, Proverbs 23:17-19, Proverbs 24:1, Proverbs 24:19-20).14.

Drunkenness (habitually intoxicated) — 1 Corinthians 6:9-11, Ephesians 5:18, Proverbs 20:1, Proverbs 23:20-21, Proverbs 23:29-35, Isaiah 5:11, Isaiah 5:22, Isaiah 56:12, Hosea 4:11, 1 Corinthians 5:11, Luke 12:45-47, Luke 21:34 — The LORD commanded that neither His priests, pastors, deacons, kings nor rulers should drink when in service, nor be drunkards (Leviticus 10:9-10, Numbers 6:1-4, Proverbs 10:16-17, Proverbs 31:4-5, Isaiah 28:7-13, Ezekiel 44:21, 1 Timothy 3:3, Titus 1:7, Titus 2:3).15.

Carousing (from the Greek word komos (2970), participate in drinking parties) — Exodus 32:1-35, 1 Samuel 25:36, 2 Samuel 13:28, Isaiah 22:12-14, 1 Corinthians 10:7, 1 Corinthians 11:20-22, 2 Peter 2:13

So how can you avoid participating in evil deeds? By walking uprightly in your heart before GOD (Proverbs 15:1-5, Proverbs 2:7, Proverbs 10:9, Proverbs 28:18, Deuteronomy 12:28, Ezekiel 18:5, James 1:22-25, 1 John 2:3-6, 1 John 2:29, 1 John 3:7-10, 1 John 5:2-5, Revelation 22:14), and separating yourself from evil doers (Psalm 1:1, Proverbs 14:7, Romans 16:17-18, 1 Corinthians 5:9-11, 2 Corinthians 6:14-18, 2 Timothy 3:5).

Ways in which someone can hold to a form of godliness but deny its power (Isaiah 29:13, Ezekiel 33:30-31, Matthew 23:27-28, Titus 1:16), James 1:27, 2 John 1:10-11).

Why must you separate yourself from evil doers? There are at least three reasons:

You will become an evil doer yourself, by hanging out with them (Proverbs 16:29, 1 Corinthians 15:33)

You will begin to share in the cup of demons instead of The LORD (1 Corinthians 10:20-21)

You will be caught up and punished along with them (Numbers 16:26, Deuteronomy 7:26, Joshua 6:18, Joshua 7:11-12, 1 Timothy 5:22, Revelation 18:4-5)

Soli Deo Gloria!

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