The Corruption of Evil Company
Category : General
Ephesians 5:11 (KJV)
11 And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.
The story was told concerning a distinguished Christian lady who was spending a few weeks in a hotel at Long Branch, and an attempt was made to induce her to attend a dance, in order that the affair might have the prestige bestowed by her presence, as she stood high in society. She declined all the importunities of her friends, and finally an honorable senator tried to persuade her to attend, saying, “Miss B., this is quite a harmless affair, and we want to have the exceptional honor of your presence.” “Senator,” said the lady, “I cannot do it, I am a Christian. I never do anything in my summer vacation, or wherever I go, that will injure the influence I have over the girls of my Sunday school class.” The senator bowed, and, “I honor you; if there were more Christians like you, more men like myself would become Christians.”
Please note, it is the unfruitful works or the deeds of darkness that produce no “benefit” to the body or the soul. The word “unfruitful” is used here in contrast with the “fruit of the Spirit,” Ephesians 5:9. But rather the reproving of them which is by our life, our conversation, and all our influence. This is and should be the business of every Christians. Our lives should be a standing rebuke of a sinful world, and they should be ever ready to express their disapprobation of its wickedness in every form.
Observe “the exhortation that is given–“have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.” Now, observe, it is not said, “have no fellowship with the unfruitful workers of darkness,” never will you meet with a precept of that kind in God’s Word, we must needs go out of the world if we try. But there is more than this in the precept–“but rather reprove them.” Here we come to one of the most difficult paths in the believer’s walk. There are many ways in which the believer is called upon from time to time to reprove the “works of darkness.” By diffusing the truth
God’s people, His children, are a reproving light. We are called out of darkness into His marvelous light, that they might reflect the, light of Him who hath “called them out of darkness into His marvelous light.” But, beloved, there is another quality in light, there are many others indeed, but this one especially here to be noted, which is, that there is a detective and a reproving quality in light. We know not the beauty of an object but as the light unfolds it; we know not its faultiness, we see not its defects, they are to us unknown without the light; but the light reveals them. The Lord’s people are especially called to stand; not merely as a reflecting light, not merely as a diffusing light, but as a reproving light, reproving the “darkness” around them. Whatever there is in a believer peculiar to him as a believer, is a light that reproves the world. Is it the life that he has, the life of faith? It is a reproving light to the world. If we look to the love of the believer, or what he loves; he loves Christ.
We must at all times remember the acts of our duty about it; and they are two. That we must have no fellowship with them in evil. To understand that, we must consider how many ways we have fellowship with them. If we counsel, persuade, allure, or entice others to sins. These are Satan’s decoys, who being ensnared themselves, draw others into the net. By commanding that which is evil. This is the sin of those that have power over others; as David commanded Joab to set Uriah in the forefront of the hottest battle, and retire from him, that he may be smitten and die (2 Samuel 11:15). By consenting, though we be not the principal actors; as Ahab (1 Kings 21:19). By abetting, aiding, and assisting in the conveyance of the sin; as Jonadab assisted Amnon in getting an occasion to satisfy his lust on his sister Tamar (2 Samuel 13:5). By applauding, approving, or praising the sin, which is the guise of flatterers (Romans 1:32). By carelessness to prevent the sin: “I will judge his house forever, for the iniquity which he knoweth; because his sons made themselves vile, and he restrained them not” (1 Samuel 3:13). So that a culpable omission may make us accessory to their sin. The other duty is, “But rather reprove them.” Now reprove we may by deed or word.
It is important to understand that what we learn from bad habits and in bad society we will never forget, and it will be a lasting pang to those of us who are involved.
As Augustine pointed out, “Bad company is like a nail driven into a post, which, after the first and second blow, may be drawn out with little difficulty; but being once driven up to the head, the pincers cannot take hold to draw it out, but which can only be done by the destruction of the wood.”
Have a great and God filled day!