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Sunday, August 21, 2016 pm                                                    Ephesians Index

 

STUDIES IN EPHESIANS (31)
Not Even Named Among You
Ephesians 5:3-7

 

Today we continue our study of Ephesians.  We have been examining the conduct of Christians as Paul outlines it in this book (Eph. 4:17-5:2ff).  WE have talked about how the new man is no longer walking as the rest of the Gentiles do (as the ungodly of the world).  Instead, they are truthful, exercising self-control, and lives with kindness and forgiveness.  Then, as noted in our last lesson, we strive to imitate God and walk in love.   Later in this chapter we will notice more calls for the way a Christian is to walk.  But tonight we find a description of how we are NOT to walk.  In fact, what we address this evening is conduct not even to be named among you.

In Ephesians we have already noted some passages that describe the behavior of the ungodly – In describing the way they once walked in 4:17-19 we notice the world with darkened understanding, ignorance and blindness in their hearts had given them over to lewdness, uncleanness and greediness.    They had been caught up in deceitful lusts (4:22), 2:2-3 describes how they walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, and the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, conducting themselves in the lusts of the flesh, fulfilling the desires of their flesh and mind.   As a result, they were children of wrath.   All of these are general descriptions of the state of the ungodly.  NOW, in our text, Paul specifically identifies some of these sins and more pointedly notes that as Christians we should have NO part in them.

 I.                     Let these not even be named among you (3-4)

a.       Fornication (immorality - NASB) – a general term for all forms of illicit sexual relations – including adultery, homosexuality, bestiality, extramarital relations as well as premarital relations.  We have addressed this sin on numerous occasions recently.  Thus we simply mention it here.

b.       All uncleanness (any impurity - NASB) –

                                                   i.      ἀκαθαρσία, (akatharsia) – a term defined as moral impurity, filthy, vileness, moral corruption.    It is the opposite of purity.  As a matter of fact, literally it means “not pure”.

                                                 ii.      The word is found 10 times in the New Testament.   In Matthew 23:27 it describes dead men’s bones and their graves (describing the corruption of the Pharisees). 
Romans 1:24 – God gave the ungodly up to uncleanness in the lusts of their hearts to dishonor their bodies.
Paul in 2 Corinthians 12:21 is fearful of the church having failed to repent of their fornications, uncleanness and lewdness.
Galatians 5:19 – it is a work of the flesh.

                                                iii.      Uncleanness is immoral and filthy behavior.  It is one who lives to fulfill his sensual lusts.  It is probably tied to fornication (“and all” – “or any” NASB) and describes how God views the one caught up in such behavior.  We see it all around us in this society.  We hear of all sorts of perverted behaviors today and conduct.  And it’s not just done in secret.  It is done openly and bragging.  Immoral relationships and conduct is treated as normal and even encouraged in many instances. 

                                                iv.      In God’s eyes, it involves anything that makes you unclean before Him (under the Old Law this included idolatry, improper sacrifices, etc.).  

                                                  v.      NOTICE in our text it is “all” or “any” – anything that fits into this category is under consideration.  One thing I think of with this is how we seem to tolerate certain forms of fornication while ignoring others.  E.g. unlawful divorce and remarriage which leads to adultery vs. homosexuality.

                                                vi.      Paul here is saying that we should have nothing to do with fornication or anything like it or that promotes it. 

                                              vii.      1 Thessalonians 4:7, God did not call us to uncleanness, but to holiness.

c.        Covetousness (greed – NASB) – again, this is a subject we have addressed in recent studies.  It describes greediness and selfishness as one desires and pursues that which he is not entitled to (this includes in God’s eyes – i.e. the pursuit of wealth to the neglect of spiritual matters, etc.).
In 1 Timothy 6:6 – we are told to be godly and content.  Vs. 9-10 describes covetousness. 

d.       Neither filthiness – behavior that flouts moral and social standards, shamefulness, obscenity (BDAG).  It describes shameful behavior.  In our society this is related to the uncleanness above.  The uncleanness is the behavior while the filthiness is the causes. 
Today this includes profane and vulgar language which is everywhere, movies and music that promote this language, the rank immodesty and nudity that is so prevalent and promoted today, television that shows loose morals in the form of fornication, immodest dress and other lewd behavior, movies that show nudity, AND lest we ignore it, pornography, which is an absolute blight on society and brings this filthiness into our homes.
Colossians 3:8 speaks of putting off…filthy language (derived from the same root word)
James 1:21 – lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness (different Greek word)
Friends, we must remove filthiness from our lives and sphere of influence!

e.       Foolish talking – this refers to speech which results from not thinking.  Described as foolish or silly talk.  This is not talking about someone engaging in idle conversation or as we say, “cutting up” (when appropriate) but rather it is one who is saying things that makes one look foolish, particularly where God is concerned.  In other words, it is conversation that negatively impacts spiritual matters (note: I’m not speaking of the consequences of speaking the truth, etc.). 
It can be striving over words, foolish disputes (Titus 3:9), etc.  I think of those who argue without any facts and thus they don’t know what they are talking about.  I think of those who are constantly speaking nonsense, even at inappropriate times.  I think of those who love to be heard for their many words.  Those who act like they are smarter than they really are.

f.         Coarse jesting – (KJV – “nor jesting”) this is going further than mere foolish talk.  The actual word here in a good sense can mean wittiness. 
However, in this text, it is clearly used to describe vulgar speech.  It is using profanity and taking God’s name in vain.  It is using suggestive speech and innuendo with filthy implications.  It is hurtful insults, etc.
Again this is a big problem today in our society.  Most comedians thrive as they use this filthy language. 
is it wrong to joke around?  It can be, if at the wrong time or using ungodly language.  But I am not convince telling a joke here or there is wrong. 
With both the talking and jesting, they are qualified and are describing behavior, “which is not fitting” or proper (KJV says, “convenient”). 

g.       Let it not even be named among you as is fitting for saints – these types of behaviors ought not even to be named in our midst.   Not only do we not participate in such behaviors, we do not condone those who do.  I think of the Corinthian brethren in 1 Cor. 5:1-2.  I think of 2 John 9-11.  I think of Ephesians 5:11, “And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them” (we will deal with this next time)
Consider how many, even among brethren, today are seeking to redefine what is sin, even in some of these area.   Others are teaching that God overlooks our weaknesses as long as we are trying the best we can.  They would tolerate those involved in some of these behaviors.  May we never be guilty of such!

h.       Instead, let us give thanks.  Again, we have emphasized this continually!  1 Thess. 5:18, in everything give thanks.  A genuine understanding of gratitude, especially toward what God has done for us can move us to renounce our ungodly behaviors and live FOR Him instead of against Him!

 II.                   Why are we to avoid these things?

a.       This you know – because we have been taught the consequences of such things.   As is typical, Paul’s writings are not his first contact with these brethren.   They are brethren and have been taught (Acts 19 describes Paul’s time at Ephesus.  He was there for at least 2-3 years – Acts 20:31).
As Christians, we need to study the Bible continually so we can learn what to do and what not to do! 

b.       No fornicator, unclean person, or covetous man (here he adds, who is an idolater) -
These words are all forms of the sins we previously discussed. 
The only addition here is describing the covetous person as an idolater.  (Colossians 3:5).  This is a strong saying and ought to get our attention.  We must strive to ensure that we do not let things become idols in our lives. 

c.        Has any inheritance in the kingdom of God – worthy of note, as Paul is writing TO these Ephesians Christians he notes that one who IS practicing any of these sins has any inheritance in the kingdom of God.  We MUST receive forgiveness for our sins!  If you have never obeyed the gospel, become a Christian (cf. 1 Corinthian 6:9-11). 
If you are a Christian and carried away in these sins, you need to repent!

 III.                 Warning!

a.       Let no one deceive you with empty words – we need to beware of false teachers and false teaching.
Sometimes the world seeks to deceive us – I think of those who try to use worldly wisdom to convince us to reject God and His word.  I think of those who appeal to pleasures and will tell you that there is nothing wrong with... (fill in the blank, but we’ve probably mentioned it in this lesson).
Sometimes it is so-called brethren – wolves that enter into our midst (Acts 20:28-29, Matthew 7:15) and take advantage of the gullible (2 Timothy 3:5-6).  Peter was clear in 2 Peter 2:1-3 that deceivers will come among us.
2 Thessalonians 2:9-12 warns of the coming of the lawless one who with deception among those who are perishing.
When it comes to sin that we struggle with, we need to be extra vigilant against this.  Don’t let some slick preacher or teacher tell you that you are ok when you are in sin.  Walk in love!

b.       Because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience – as already noted in vs. 5, those practicing ungodliness will not inherit heaven.  Rather they will be face the wrath of God. 
2 Thess. 1:6-9 warns of the wrath of God that awaits those who trouble the godly..
Not only will those of the world face the wrath of God, but also those who allow themselves to be deceived with empty words – Hebrews 10:31, 2 Peter 2:20-22.

c.        Therefore, do not be partakers with them – have nothing to do with those practicing and teaching error (2 John 9-11 again).  2 Corinthians 6:14-18 describes this same admonition.
To not partake with them includes considering their ways, participating in their conduct or even approving of them.  Romans 1:32.

The admonition of this text is to walk in love.  When we imitate and love God, it will affect both what we do and what we DON’T do.  Let us resolve to overcome ungodliness in our lives.  Think about it.