Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them. For it is shameful even to speak of the things that they do in secret. But when anything is exposed by the light, it becomes visible . (Eph 5:11-13)
Jesus exposed evil. The Light of the World does that. His people are the light of the world and we are to do the same evil-exposing that He did. His Word shows us the pattern:
Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you clean the outside of the cup and the plate, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. (Matthew 23:25)
Alexander the coppersmith did me great harm; the Lord will repay him according to his deeds. Beware of him yourself, for he strongly opposed our message. (2 Timothy 4:14-15)
I have written something to the church, but Diotrephes, who likes to put himself first, does not acknowledge our authority. So if I come, I will bring up what he is doing, talking wicked nonsense against us. And not content with that, he refuses to welcome the brothers, and also stops those who want to and puts them out of the church. (3 John 1:9-10)
It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and of a kind that is not tolerated even among pagans, for a man has his father’s wife. And you are arrogant! Ought you not rather to mourn? Let him who has done this be removed from among you. (1 Cor 5:1-2)
Need I go on? This is the pattern of Light exposing evil as God commands. Is it the typical pattern we see in churches now? Hardly.
Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them.
Notice very carefully that the failure to expose evil hiding in the church is necessarily then to participate in that evil. When child molesters parading as Christians are tolerated, excused, “forgiven,” “loved,” and thereby not exposed for what they are, the church leaders and members who refuse to obey the Lord are in fact molesting those children themselves because by their disobedience they are participants in these sordid deeds.
Every pastor, church leader, or professing Christian who makes the accusation that exposure of an evildoer is gossip or slander against a “Christian brother” is calling the Lord Jesus Christ and His Apostles gossips and slanderers.
Recently myself and our church elders had a firsthand encounter with wickedness. A man who had come to our church one Sunday over a decade ago suddenly showed up again. Walked right in, all dressed very meticulously in suit and tie, very pious looking, taking notes, carrying his Bible and so on. It took me a bit to remember who he was, but eventually I did. The last time he was there was his last time there! We had told him to leave and not come back. Why? Because he was on a mission. He was carrying a whole pile of books on marriage and divorce and the reason he had come was to “enlighten us” with his discovery that anyone who is divorced is not permitted by God to remarry while their ex is living and if they do, they are guilty of adultery AND therefore he was “called” to tell them that they needed to divorce from their present spouse. Fun guy, eh?
No, you aren’t going to do that here. You are gone.
Now here he is back again over a decade later. Pious smile. Pleasant greeting to me. Speaking of what a fine church we have. This is what you can call crazy-making. It’s like a guy smiling at you and saying in words how much he likes you while at the same time he’s pointing a gun at you! It’s all done very intentionally. “Ok, Mr. M., you need to come back to my office with me.” Certainly, that would be great!
So we sit down with M. “Don’t I recall that we had some trouble the last time you were here?” “Oh yes, you told me I was a prideful man and needed to leave.” Still a pleasant smile, pleasant tone, no hint of anger.” “Do you still hold to those notions about marriage and divorce that you did and is it your intent to tell others those things?” “Oh yes.” Still smiling. Calm tone. Friendly face. Meticulous tie, dress shirt, suit.
“Well, M., you have to leave. You cannot be here. You are not allowed here.” I opened the door for him.
“Oh, well, you want me to leave? If I had known that I certainly would not have wanted to cause any problems. Certainly I will leave.” Exit out the door. STILL mind-boggling “pleasantness.”
Ha! Our two elders who were present and who had been getting ready to pray for the worship service about the begin, looked up and said, “What just happened?” We all just shook our heads. We knew this guy’s motives, whatever they were, certainly were evil. BUT I ASSURE YOU THAT IF YOU HAD BEEN THERE YOU WOULD HAVE THOUGHT HE WAS THE NICEST GUY. And you may well have thought that we were being harsh to the poor man. After all, he had also told us “my wife is still very ill.” Yes, and most people assume that his WIFE is the problem!
I have absolutely no doubt that many if not most professing Christians and pastors are convinced that to handle a fellow like this in this manner is unloving, unkind, un-Christian, and just plain wrong. The Bible says otherwise. I choose to go with Scripture. This man was exposed. His darkness was illuminated. Evil was put out from our midst. And if we could only know what such men have done and continue to do in the darkness, we would agree with Paul that it is so shameful it is hard to even speak about them.