Listen to this study with Real Audio TH2148
Please turn in your Bibles this evening to Ephesians chapter 5 as we continue our study through the Word of God. As Paul opened up chapter 4 he said, I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called. Ephesians 4:1. Now, as we have seen beginning in chapter 4 and continuing on through chapter 6 Paul is speaking of how we as Christians are to walk. We have seen that we are to walk in unity in Ephesians 4:1-16. Then we moved on to walking in purity from Ephesians 4:17 and that section will continue on through Ephesians 5:18. So with that said, lets begin reading in Ephesians chapter 5, starting in verse 1 and see what the Lord has for us as we continue to walk in purity.
Remember what I have told you before, when you come to the word therefore ask yourself, What it is there for! In this case it flows from what Paul was saying in Ephesians chapter 4, And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you. Ephesians 4:32. In other words, we are to relate to others as God relates to us; in love, with forgiveness! That is how we are to walk.
Remember when you were kids how you would imitate your parents. Little boys would get out their tools and work on a project like their dad. Little girls would get out their dolls and be like their mom. We, as children of God should imitate our Heavenly Father by walking in love, as we forgive each other. His nature should flow from our lives. That is how we become imitators of God!
As we walk in love our lives are like a sweet smelling sacrifice unto God. The aroma, the fragrance is pleasing to God. The thing is, there is another aroma out there that is not pleasing to God and Paul is going to pick up on that next.
In these verses Paul speaks of what our conduct and what our speech should not be. Now please understand that by not doing these things, avoiding these things doesnt make you a saint. What Paul is saying is that since you are a saint, walk accordingly, walk in purity!
In the area of our conduct Paul lists sexual sin, all kinds of immoral behavior, greed should not be a part of a child of Gods life, it is not proper, it does not fit who we say we are, at least it shouldnt!
In the area of our speech Paul lists shameless talk, stupid words, vulgar words, all these things do not fit a child of Gods life, it is not proper, it does not fit who we say we are, at least it shouldnt once again! Instead of this kind of speech Paul says we are to give thanks or have grateful language. You see, the other kind of speech can be harmful to people, it can hurt them and it may even destroy them. We are not about destruction but construction, building people up and that is a sweet smelling sacrifice unto God. It is as Paul said in Colossians 4:6, Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one.
Who is Paul speaking to here, the Christian or the person who is not saved? This cannot be a child of God because a Christian cant lose his salvation! What if a person is involved in these things and says he is a Christian? Please understand this, just because I say I am a great football player doesnt make me one. My actions must reflect what I am saying. The same is true here; if his actions dont match up to his profession of faith it is an empty profession. Does that mean we as Christians will never stumble, never sin? Of course not, but it is not the pattern of our life, it is not a habit and our desire is to live lives that are holy unto God! Paul is speaking to the unsaved person who is spiritually dead to the things of God and this lifestyle doesnt affect him at all, there is no conviction of sin.
Again, to show the contrast, listen to what Paul says in I Corinthians 6:9-11, Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God. We were like that but not any more because we have been washed in the blood of Jesus, he has cleansed us and our sins have been forgiven!
Some people try to negate the behavior, the language of others or even their own, but their words are empty, they are vain because those that practice such things, those outside of Christ will not inherit the kingdom of God but they will see the wrath of God come upon their lives. Paul put it this way in Colossians 3:6, Because of these things the wrath of God is coming upon the sons of disobedience. We need to warn people of the coming judgment of God instead of giving them empty words to make them feel good about living in sin! We are to warn people!
This is not a suggestion; Paul is commanding us not to be a co-participant with them. Paul, in II Corinthians 6:14-18 tells us, Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness? And what accord has Christ with Belial? Or what part has a believer with an unbeliever? And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For you are the temple of the living God. As God has said: I will dwell in them And walk among them. I will be their God, And they shall be My people. Therefore Come out from among them And be separate, says the Lord. Do not touch what is unclean, And I will receive you. I will be a Father to you, And you shall be My sons and daughters, Says the LORD Almighty.
That means in dating, in business relationships or partnerships, with friends, they cant be your close, intimate friends; you cant be unequally yoked, it wont work. And you know what, before long you wont be unequally yoked because you will be a co-participant with them because you did not heed Gods warning. Instead of bringing them up, they brought you down! Be careful and be wise, God knows what He is talking about!
Notice what Paul is saying here. He is saying that we were once darkness not that we were once in darkness. Our lives were dark; the works that came forth were fornication, uncleanness, covetousness, filthiness, foolish talking, coarse jesting and the like. But now we are light because we are walking in the light, we have received Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. Paul put it this way in Colossians 1:13-14, He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love, in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins. Again, the idea is walking in purity as God has called us to walk!
Now how do we find out what is acceptable to the Lord? It is so easy and yet we make it so hard. God has told us in His Word and we need to find out what He desires of us. The problem comes when we disagree with what God has said or we think we know better than God or we think this is not for us. And guess what, when we do that we are partaking of that which is evil, we are going back to the darkness. Think about how often this is done. In Gods eyes we are married so sex is not wrong! I know he is not saved, but Im sure after we date he will come to know the Lord. He may even be saved and doesnt even know it! God wants me to divorce my wife to marry this other woman, it is His will! Im in control of my drinking! And the list can go on-and-on. Anything that goes contrary to Gods Word is wrong! Dont justify your sin, repent and get right!
What happens when you turn the lights on in a room? It expels the darkness! As we enter a room, as we are around people, their sins are exposed, brought to light with the hope that they would see their sin, repent and receive Jesus as their Lord and Savior. Now we are not to fellowship with them or share in company with them, they cant be our close, intimate friends. We are not to avoid them but love them. Share with them the Lord. In fact, Paul says some of the things they are doing is shameful to speak of. Thus, as Paul tells us in Romans 13:12-14, The night is far spent, the day is at hand. Therefore let us cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light. Let us walk properly, as in the day, not in revelry and drunkenness, not in lewdness and lust, not in strife and envy. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts. May we do that!
I dont care how smart you think you are, how cleaver you think you are at hiding your sin, God will bring it to light either in this life or when you go before Him. People were upset when O. J. Simpson got away with murdering his wife and another man, and rightly so. But also understand he will stand before the righteous Judge and have to give an account and folks, what was done in secret will be brought to light!
The solution for all sinners is to awake from their spiritual sleep, the deadness of their spirits and receive Jesus into your life, ask Him to be your Lord and Savior and you will instantaneously be transported from the kingdom of darkness to the kingdom of light! Notice what Jesus will do if you allow Him. Paul tells us in Ephesians 2:1-10, And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others. But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them. It doesnt get any better than that so arise from the dead and only Jesus can take your dead spiritual body and make it alive once again to God let Him!
Years ago I as at a nursing seminar in the Milwaukee area and I got up early in the morning to go running. Some snow was falling and it was beautiful out even though it was still dark. As traffic was building on the roadway, which I was not familiar with, for whatever reason I was not paying attention, which is a bad idea, and I ran right into a sign, knocking me to the ground. I was not running carefully, I was not watching where I was going!
That is what Paul is speaking of here. We are to walk carefully, pay attention to what is happening around us, where we are walking because the days are evil, it is dangerous and you dont want to be drawn into it. Be wise with what you watch, be wise on the Internet, be wise with your relationships at work! And as we are walking carefully we also need to take advantage of the days we are living in, the opportunities that come our way. We shouldnt cower and hide ourselves but buy up the time, use if for Gods glory, to bring people into the kingdom of God to shine forth our faith!
Jesus said in Matthew 24:12, And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold. Have we become callous like that, are the days we are living in really that evil? Listen to these two stories and see what conclusion you come to. We are told:
In Massachusetts, a 15-year-old was accused of murdering a college student during a mugging, then bragging to his two high school-age accomplices that the knife he used went all the way through the body. After the boys first appearance before the court, his friends cried not for the person who had been murdered, but because a high bail had been placed on their friend. Someone asked one of the friends what an appropriate punishment would be for a murderer. Counseling, he replied. Another friend, a girl, said, Whats the big [bleeping] deal? People die all the time. The days are truly evil!
Actor River Phoenix collapsed and died outside a fashionable L.A. hot spot, but his death hasnt slowed down the club scene at all. Cliff Cantor, a co-owner of the club Dragonfly said, Nothings changed. Look around. Nobodys talking about it. The people who go out and do drugs are doing them . . . Business as usual. The week started out on a really glum note. But its really reassuring to see that people arent going to wallow in remorse. One 20 year-old named Carol said: People are pretty jaded about the whole thing. I mean, were sad, you know? But what are you gonna do? Order another drink, quipped her male companion. The days are truly evil!
We need to comprehend intellectually what Gods will is for us, we must know what pleases Him before we can live as He desires us to live. Thus, be in His Word and know His will! If you dont you will be unwise!
Paul is telling us that we must be continually being filled with the Holy Spirit. The idea is a total surrender, moment by moment, day by day, week by week and-so-on to the Holy Spirit! In contrast, drinking is wasteful and as much as you think you are in control, it has control over you! It is far better to be controlled by the Spirit of God. Think about it, alcohol is a depressant and it depresses our self-control. The Holy Spirit is a stimulant; He controls every aspect of our life. Who do you want to be controlled by?
Now we are going to move into our third section on walking in Ephesians 5:19-6:9, walking in harmony.
A life that is surrendered to the Holy Spirits guiding will be a life filled with joy, overflowing with joy, so much so that we speak to one another in Psalms or Old Testament Psalms sung with stringed instruments. We speak to one another with hymns or praises composed by Christians. We speak to one another with spiritual songs. Our joy just bubbles forth, it bursts forth with singing unto the Lord and others witness that joy.
People today freak out about the various styles of worship music. I rejoice in the variety that is out there. People want to go back in time, they dont want new songs but that is not the heart of God. In Psalm 33:3 we are told, Sing to Him a new song; Play skillfully with a shout of joy. God still speaks to His people today and He gives us new songs to sing to Him. If you doubt that you can check out the Scriptures regarding new songs that God gives to His people in Psalm 40:3, 96:1, 98:1, 144:9, Isaiah 42:10, Revelation 5:9. You see, when you are filled with the Spirit of God there is a passion to worship God and that bursts forth from our lives!
Also, a person who is filled with the Spirit will not be a Connie Complainer but they will have a thankful heart. You see, complaining and being filled with the Spirit dont go together!
Also, when you are filled with the Spirit you will submit to one another in the fear of God or out of respect to God for all He has done, for who He is! Of this Erdman tells us:
It is a phrase too often neglected . . . It names a test of spirituality which Christians too seldom apply . . . Many persons feel that shouts of hallelujah and exulting songs and the utterance of praise in more or less unknown tongues are all proofs of being filled with the Spirit. These all may be spurious and deceitful and without meaning. Submission to our fellow Christians, modesty of demeanor, humility, unwillingness to dispute, forbearance, gentleness these are the unmistakable proofs of the Spirits power . . . Such mutual submission to their fellow Christians should be rendered in the fear of Christ, that is, in reverence to him who is recognized as the Lord and Master of all.
As I have said, this section deals with walking in harmony and the key is submission to those whom God has placed in authority over us and in doing that, we are walking in the fear of God. As we move on we are going to deal with relationships marriage, children, employers, employees and the key is submission folks in all these things! You see, if you think about it, you really dont need more books on marriage, on relationships, nor tapes, seminars, videos, and-so-on. What we need to do is submit to one another in the fear of God and that is only done as we submit to the guiding of the Holy Spirit. Do you see how this is all working together? I hope so!
Please understand that God is not saying that women are inferior to men. God has just placed the man over the woman, that is how He has established the family, it is how it is to work. Thus, as you submit to your own husband it is your service rendered to the Lord, you are walking in harmony in the fear of the Lord. And notice this is not subject to your husband being a great guy, you submit willingly, lovingly as unto the Lord period! That doesnt mean if there is physical abuse, emotional abuse that you stick around and be a punching bag for your husband. You need to separate until he gets help and the problem is resolved. Also, if he wants you to do something illegal or something that goes against Gods Word, then you obey the Lord who is over all!
When I worked back in Illinois a guy came up to me, knowing I was a Christian, and quoted me this verse, Wives, submit to your own husbands and he stopped there. Many men do that very thing and negate their responsibility in the marriage relationship. Husbands are to love their wives as Christ loves the church sacrificially, unconditionally! As the spiritual leader of the family we are to care for our wives, make them feel loved, help them grow in the Lord. Ladies, if your husband did this you would have it far better than any womens liberation movement could take you! And the reality is ladies; true satisfaction can only come from the Lord! If you do that you will never be disappointed. Now Pauls point of loving our wives goes far beyond loving them as our own bodies. Paul is saying that men out to love their wives because they are their own bodies. What does that mean? Lets read on and see.
Paul is saying that when a man and woman come together in marriage, they are one. That word joined in the Greek is PROSKOLLAO (pros-kol-laho) and it speaks of gluing together, adhering to one another. That is why the man needs to leave his mother and father, the same with the woman, because they are joined together with each other, not their parents. If the cord is not cut, then there will be problems.
Also, if in marriage the two are glued together, you can understand what happens in divorce. Think of two pieces of wood being glued together and then, after it is dry, try pulling them apart. You would have splinters, jagged edges, it would be a mess and so it is in divorce. Jesus put it this way in Mark 10:6-9, But from the beginning of the creation, God made them male and female. For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh'; so then they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate.
Listen to what D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones said regarding a Christian marriage. He tells us:
The danger is that we should think of marriage among Christians as essentially the same as it is with everybody else, the only difference being that these two people happen to be Christians whereas the others are not. Now if that is still our conception of marriage then we have considered this great paragraph entirely in vain. Christian marriage, the Christian view of marriage, is something that is essentially different from all views.
Paul is saying that the Christian marriage is a picture; it is a type of Christ and His church. The man being a type of Christ, the woman representing the church. And thus, as the unsaved look at our marriages, they should be drawn to Christ.
Listen again to what D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones said regarding Christ and the church. We are told:
Woman was made at the beginning as the result of an operation which God performed upon man. How does the church come into being? As the result of an operation which God performed on the Second Man, His only begotten, beloved Son on Calvarys hill. A deep sleep fell upon Adam. A deep sleep fell upon the Son of God, He gave up the ghost, He expired, and there in that operation the church was taken out. As the woman was taken out of Adam, so the church is taken out of Christ. The woman was taken out of the side of Adam; and it is from the Lords bleeding, wounded side that the church comes.
Paul goes back to his original topic of marriage and again stresses the harmony that should be seen in a Christian marriage, between a husband and a wife. Again, D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones tells us:
Unity is the central principle in marriage; and it is because so many people in this modern world have never had any conception of what is involved in marriage, from the standpoint of unity, that they are riding so loosely to it and breaking their vows and pledges, so much so that divorce has become one of the major problems of our age. They have never caught sight of this unity; they are still thinking in terms of their individuality, and so you have two people asserting their rights, and therefore you get clashes and discord and separation. The answer to all that, says Paul, is to understand this great principle of unity.
Folks, if there is disunity in marriage it means that there is an absence of the Holy Spirit there. The solution is to submit to one another in the fear of God as you surrender your life to the Holy Spirits guiding. Next time we will finish up this section on walking in harmony and move into Pauls last section, walking in victory!