Have no fellowship - Have no religious connection whatever with heathens or their worship.
Unfruitful works of darkness - Probably alluding to the mysteries among the heathens, and the different lustrations and rites through which the initiated went in the caves and dark recesses where these mysteries were celebrated; all which he denominates works of darkness, because they were destitute of true wisdom; and unfruitful works, because they were of no use to mankind; the initiated being obliged, on pain of death, to keep secret what they had seen, heard, and done: hence they were called απορῥητα μυστηρια, unspeakable mysteries - things that were not to be divulged. That the apostle may refer to magic and incantations is also probable, for to these the Ephesians were greatly addicted. See the proofs in the notes on Acts 19:19.
Rather reprove them - Bear a testimony against them; convince them that they are wrong; confute them in their vain reasons; reprove them for their vices, which are flagrant, while pretending to superior illumination. All these meanings has the Greek word ελεγχω, which we generally render to convince or reprove.
And have no fellowship - See the sentiment here expressed fully explained in the notes on 2 Corinthians 6:14-18.
The unfruitful works - 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 reprove them - By your life, your conversation, and all your influence. This is the business of Christians. Their 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.
When men are not under the control of the Word and the Spirit of God, they are captives of Satan, and we know not to what lengths he may lead them in sin. The patriarch Jacob beheld those who take pleasure in wickedness. He saw what would be the result of association with them, and in the Spirit he exclaimed, “O my soul, come not thou into their secret; unto their assembly, mine honour, be not thou united” (Genesis 49:6). He lifts up the danger signal, to warn every soul against such associations. The apostle Paul echoes the warning: “Have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness” (Ephesians 5:11). “Be not deceived: Evil company doth corrupt good manners” (1 Corinthians 15:33, R.V.). 2SM 129.1
The soul is deceived when it trusts to worldly policy and human inventions instead of trusting in the Lord God of Israel. Can man find a better guide than the Lord Jesus? a better counselor in doubt and trial? a better defense in danger? To set aside the wisdom of God for human wisdom is a soul-destroying delusion. 2SM 129.2
If you would see what man will do when he rejects the influence of the grace of God, look to that scene in the judgment hall, when the infuriated mob, headed by Jewish priests and elders, clamored for the life of the Son of God. See the divine Sufferer standing by the side of Barabbas, and Pilate asking which he should release unto them. The hoarse cry, swelled by hundreds of passionate, Satan- inspired voices, is, “Away with this man, and release unto us Barabbas” (Luke 23:18)! And when Pilate asked what was to be done with Jesus they cried, “Crucify him, crucify him” (Luke 23:21)! 2SM 129.3Read in context »
Solemn are the lessons taught by this experience of one to whom had been given high and holy privileges. The course of Gehazi was such as to place a stumbling block in the pathway of Naaman, upon whose mind had broken a wonderful light, and who was favorably disposed toward the service of the living God. For the deception practiced by Gehazi there could be pleaded no excuse. To the day of his death he remained a leper, cursed of God and shunned by his fellow men. PK 252.1
“A false witness shall not be unpunished, and he that speaketh lies shall not escape.” Proverbs 19:5. Men may think to hide their evil deeds from human eyes, but they cannot deceive God. “All things are naked and opened unto the eyes of Him with whom we have to do.” Hebrews 4:13. Gehazi thought to deceive Elisha, but God revealed to His prophet the words that Gehazi had spoken to Naaman, and every detail of the scene between the two men. PK 252.2
Truth is of God; deception in all its myriad forms is of Satan, and whoever in any way departs from the straight line of truth is betraying himself into the power of the wicked one. Those who have learned of Christ will “have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness.” Ephesians 5:11. In speech, as in life, they will be simple, straightforward, and true, for they are preparing for the fellowship of those holy ones in whose mouth is found no guile. See Revelation 14:5. PK 252.3Read in context »
We are called to be the Lord's special people in a much higher sense than many have realized. The world lies in wickedness, and God's people are to come out of the world, and be separate. They are to be free from worldly customs and worldly habits. They are not to accord with worldly sentiments, but are to stand out distinct, as the Lord's peculiar people, earnest in all their service. They are to have no fellowship with the works of darkness.—Letter 280, August 27, 1906, to “My Brethren and Sisters in Denver and Boulder.” TDG 248.6Read in context »