Confront them with the Gospel Page 3 of 3 (series: Lessons on Ephesians)

by John Lowe
(Woodruff, S.C.)

14 Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light.


This little section concludes with what modern translations set down as a quotation, introduced by the words “HE SAITH” (4:8; James 4:6{10]).

Paul cries out, “AWAKE, THOU THAT SLEEPEST!” We need to be alert; we need to be sober and vigilant. Our adversary, the devil, as a roaring lion is walking about, seeking whom he may devour, and he is no respecter of persons—never forget that! Read and study 1 Peter 5:8-10{11].

Many interpreters understand this verse to express the substance of Isaiah 60:1, 2—“Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee. For, behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people: but the Lord shall arise upon thee, and his glory shall be seen upon thee.” It is a call to “wake up” from the pagan sleep of sin and death, with the promise that Christ will then shine on the convert with the saving light of His truth. By others it is thought to be a quotation from an early Christian hymn often sung when a convert was baptized, and he quotes two lines:
“Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead,
and Christ shall give thee light.”

Paul had been in the area of Ephesus for three years. He would have known the psalms customarily sung by the Christian fellowships there. Or perhaps Paul means that, in terms of the coming of Christ as the fulfillment of prophecy, this is what the text says or what Christ says to us through it.

In any case, these words express the glorious, powerful call of Christ Himself in the gospel. They are a reworking of the teaching in Ephesus 2:1{12]. We were dead in sin; Christ called us—deaf and dead though we were—through His deafness-penetrating, death-reversing word. We heard His voice and arose to follow Him. We once walked in darkness; we now enjoy the light, just as he Himself said: “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows Me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life” (John 8:12).

If you are light in the Lord—Shine!







Scripture and special notes

[1} “But the fruit of the Spirit

is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.” (Galatians 5:22-23)
[2} “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” (Matthew 5:16)
[3} “For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved.” (John 3:20)
[4} REPROVE THEM: to disapprove of strongly; censure
[5} “Then there arose certain of the synagogue, which is called the synagogue of the Libertines, and Cyrenians, and Alexandrians, and of them of Cilicia and of Asia, disputing with Stephen.” (Acts 6:9)
[6} “Though I might also have confidence in the flesh. If any other man thinketh that he hath whereof he might trust in the flesh, I more: Circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, an Hebrew of the Hebrews; as touching the law, a Pharisee; Concerning zeal, persecuting the church; touching the righteousness which is in the law, blameless.” (Philippians 3:4-6)
[7} “Then there arose certain of the synagogue, which is called the synagogue of the Libertines, and Cyrenians, and Alexandrians, and of them of Cilicia and of Asia, disputing with Stephen.” (Acts 6:10)
[8} “And all that sat in the council, looking stedfastly on him, saw his face as it had been the face of an angel.” (Acts 6:15)
[9} “And when we were all fallen to the earth, I heard a voice speaking unto me, and saying in the Hebrew tongue, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks.” (Acts 26:14)
[10} “But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble.” (James 4:6)
[11} “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: Whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world. But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you.” (1 Peter 5:8-10)
[12} “And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins;” (Ephesians 2:1)

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