Summary: Those without Christ are called ’darkness’. Christians are called ’light’. We are to shine in their darkness. (#5 in The Christian Victor series)
“And 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, for everything that becomes visible is light. For this reason it says, ‘Awake, sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.”
In 1971 Jane Fonda and Donald Sutherland starred together in a movie named “Klute”. It was about a small town detective who had come to the big city in search of a killer, who coincidentally was stalking Jane Fonda’s character. At one point in the movie Donald Sutherland’s character, Detective Klute, was hot on the trail of this mad killer and chased him to a spot where there was an open cellar door.
The music, lighting, and the chase all served to build suspense to a chest-constricting level. As Klute approached the cellar door, revolver drawn, and looked down into the darkness, I think everyone in the theater was holding their breath. That is, until my friend, sitting next to me, said out loud, “If he goes down there he deserves what he gets”.
The theatre audience burst out laughing and the tension was released, at least momentarily.
The Apostle Paul is continuing his theme of light vs. darkness in our text verses today. He is warning against entering into; participating in; deeds of darkness, for they are unfruitful, disgraceful, and we are rather to expose them.
Those who are of the world and still in darkness cannot help themselves. But based on what I see the Apostle telling us in this chapter, the Christian is light and therefore if he enters deliberately into the darkness for the sake of participation, he deserves what he gets.
This is the subject I want to discuss with you today; who or what it is we’re being exhorted to expose, and how we go about doing that.
UNDER COLOR OF AUTHORITY
There is a term we learned in the police academy having to do with the proper exercise of our authority. “Under color of authority”. It referred to the ethics of our profession and the proper use of the powers vested in us by federal, state and local law.
If we over-stepped those parameters and used our badge as an excuse to abuse someone physically, or extract some favor from them by intimidation or duress, then we could be held accountable for committing those acts ‘under color of authority’.
In other words, we would be using our influence as officers of the law in a way that any civilian doing the same thing would be arrested or sued for.
I think that in may ways the church in general and people in the church have been guilty of abusing people under color of authority. Christians, seeing themselves for some reason as the morals police of the world, have gone to great lengths, supposedly standing on the authority of God’s laws, to legislate morality and shake a condemning fist at the unsaved and unchurched, for their ungodly actions and their ungodly philosophies.
Our society has many ills and evils, to be sure. But let me just take the abortion issue today to use as an example for what I’m getting at.
Now I hope I can safely make the assumption that any Spirit-filled believer in Christ is going to agree that convenience abortion is wrong. It is murder. The taking of innocent life.
Proceeding on that assumption then, let’s ask the question, ‘how far should Christians go in fighting against the widespread genocide of the unborn in our country?’
I’ll bet you’d all agree that it should be fought with vigor in the courts, wouldn’t you?
But how many of you would vote ‘yes’ to bombing abortion clinics or shooting doctors in the parking lot?
Of course you would not. So where is the line? What, really, is our duty?
Let me tell you a true story.
A young lady of 19 was pregnant. She was not married to the father. Despite his assurances that he wanted to marry her, she did not have confidence that she would be cared for and that he would stay around. After all, her mother was on her fourth marriage and the girl had never had a boyfriend treat her with respect. So she had no reason to believe this guy would treat her honorably. She planned an abortion. It was to be her third.
The father had made it very clear to her on a number of occasions, that he considered abortion murder, and he also assured her with many words that whether they married or not, he would never let her down. He would provide for the baby and always be there for that child.