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THE CHRISTIAN AND IMMORALITY!

"Let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints." Ephesians 5:3

 

 A Preacher in his Study

 

 

OUR COMPLETE TEXT, EPHESIANS 5:1-7

"Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children; and walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour. But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints; neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient: but rather giving of thanks. For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience. Be not ye therefore partakers with them."

 

 

LESSON 1, VERSE 1:

The paragraph is short but powerful!

It's Paul at his best!

"Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children; and walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour. But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints; neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient: but rather giving of thanks. For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience. Be not ye therefore partakers with them." Ephesians 5:1-7

I've just finished reading a book, one of the most difficult ever. It's an overview of philosophy, evil philosophy. Maybe I had better say it is a compendium of wicked ideology! The Volume reviews and exposes a dozen or more of the most damaging books ever written!

Nearly all of these "target" books, directly or indirectly, explain and encourage the human propensity to immorality! The men and women who authored these things range in scope from naturalists to communists to fascists to so-called scientists to even feminists!

These works are filled with lies, but with lies dressed to look like truth! John 8:44 nearly personifies the spirit of these writers. "Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it."

And do remember the devil's main method of operation: "The god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not." 2nd Corinthians 4:4

Today we shall study the first verse of our Text.

It's short. "Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children." Ephesians 5:1 is of course written to Christians. "Children" is represented by the Greek noun "teknon," one's "offspring," often with this implication, "having likeness to his or her father!"

"Dear," the accompanying adjective, is spelled "agapetos." Anyone can see the noun "agape" therein. A deeply unselfish abiding kind of love. A giving love! In its highest form ascribed to God!

Paul is definitely writing Ephesians 5:1-7 to the saints of God!

The Greek lexicons say of the opening verb, translated "be ye," using the standard grammatical sequence: "verb, imperative mood, present tense, middle or passive voice, 2nd person plural."

"Be ye" is a command here! That's what an "imperative" is!

God requires such of His people, the quality expressed next in the verse, "following" Him!

"Be ye" is also an ongoing, durative way of life for the Believer too. Not a one-time thing! A lifestyle! Hence, "present tense."

But here's the ambiguous thing. Purposely so I'm sure. The voice is either "middle or passive!" The verb form here used is compatible with both! If indeed "be ye" is in the "middle" voice, our obeying this injunction will impact us so much that we'll be changed in the process! If it's a "passive" voice, we are not even the ones doing the changing! God is! We merely respond to His Holy Spirit!

And Paul is writing not to just one Christian somewhere. If so, the verb would have been "singular" in number. But instead, it's "plural." A group! The "Church" at Corinth! They are being addressed collectively.

"Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children."

The noun "followers" is "mimetes." It is built upon "mimeomai," meaning "to imitate!" Actually our English word "mimic" is borrowed form these terms! Is anyone old enough to remember the old "mimeograph" machines? Primitive duplicators!

In a good sense, we are being told to "mimic" our Heavenly Father!

That's what a "teknon" does! A child learns from his Father or Mother! She has no other source of knowledge in early life!

This Verse alone, if obeyed diligently, would solve many an "issue" for the family of God!

Such "problems" Paul will soon mention in full, wicked things like fornication, covetousness, filthiness, foolish talking, improper jesting, even idolatry!

Grandma used to say, "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure!" Nowadays it might be worth a "ton" of cure!

This Passage is so brief each of us could memorize it today, including the reference! Let's try! "Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children." Ephesians 5:1

                                                                               --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 2, VERSE 2:

Our Text, Ephesians 5:1-5, is basically a sermon against sin, especially and particularly sexual sins. Things like fornication and filthiness and foolishness, all sensual in nature.

But Paul begins his Message with an emphasis on the love of God!

Partly, "Walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour. But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you."

What does that, the precious love of God, as positive a truth as there is in all the Bible, have to do with overcoming some of the most hideous of all sins, negative as they can be?

Avoid fornication!

Live in the Love of God!

This is ... overcoming false love, lust really, with the Real Thing, with Real Love!

Almost as if Truth and pristine Beauty and genuine Love, the very Essence of Almighty God, could expel the devil's pack of lies, replete moral ugliness and ultra selfish lust!

And do so handily!

Love overcoming sin!

Isn't this what Simon Peter at least "hints" in 1st Peter 4:8? "And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity shall cover the multitude of sins."

And John, in His first Epistle, does too!

Watch!

Love first, God's Love!

Then victory over sin, all kinds of sin!

"Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him." 1st John 2:15

Love expelling the sins of the world!

More ... "Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world." Now we have Verses 15 and 16 of 1st John chapter 1, elaborating the defeated sins! Three categories of them!

All are "slain" by Love!

Conquering Love!

Overcoming Love!

The blessed Love of God!

Of course, let me be quick to mention, God's Love is culminated at Calvary! It is illustrated with the precious flowing Blood of Jesus! "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." John 3:16's "giving" occurred on Golgotha's Hill!

Sometimes a person can be "loved" out of sin more easily that he can be "beaten" of of sin!

Back to today's Verse, today's full Verse.

"And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given Himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour." Ephesians 5:2

The verb "walk," in Greek "peripateo," refers to one's whole manner of life. One's overall conduct! The path he or she walks day in and day out! "Peri" means all "around." And "pateo" means "to tread" with one's feet. The Bible is full of lovely "word pictures!"

"Love," both times it appears in the Verse, is "agape" or "agapao," a noun and a verb respectively. It infers God's Love, deep abiding love, never-ending love, unselfish love, giving love, giving no-matter-how-its-recipient-responds love! Miraculous Love! 1st Corinthians 13 Love!

Jesus has "loved" us so much, so deeply, so overwhelmingly, at Calvary, that such Love should permeate and saturate and imbue our lives from end to end! We love ... because He first loved!

We've even learned how to love ... because we've experienced His great Love!

In our Verse today, we "love," present tense!

Because He "has loved" us; aorist tense, past tense, even a 2,000-years-ago sense!

And again, just like John 3:16 quoted earlier, the Holy Spirit links "loving" and "giving!" See here: "Walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given Himself for us." Amen!

"Paradidomai," an intensive verb due to its prefix, means "to give" in this sense, "to deliver, to commit, to place in custody!" To put oneself into the hands of another! Jesus did this on the Cross!

The preposition, "for," as in "for us," translates "huper," meaning "in the place of" someone else! "In behalf of" him or her or them! Jesus died in your place, and mine! This is sometimes called "vicarious" Death, or "vicarious" Atonement. A "vicar" is one who has taken the place of another!

Then, in rapid succession, Jesus is likened to three metaphors.

He is an "offering!"

The noun is "prosphora" and means "to carry" something ("phero") "before" (in front of, "pros") Almighty God!

Jesus, through His shed Blood, sinless and powerful, picks us up, old sinners repenting from their past, and sets us down in the very heavenly Presence of the eternal God!

Offering!

Next, Jesus is a "sacrifice!" Now "thusia" means someone or something that has been "immolated, slain, brutally put to death" such as a little lamb ... for religious purposes. To "cover" sin! This is a bloody word! But, "without the shedding of blood there is no remission," says Hebrews 9:22.

Then, lastly, Jesus is "a sweetsmelling savour." That's the Greek term for a pleasant fragrance! In the Song of Solomon the Bride is constantly telling her Groom, Her Husband, Her Lover, that He smells good! "Because of the savour of Thy good ointments Thy name is as ointment poured forth." Song of Solomon 1:3

Jesus' Death on Calvary, as the Perfect Substitute and the Obedient Son and the sinless Sacrifice, is infinitely pleasing to God the Father!

Is fragrant to Him!

Here's Leviticus 1:9, written by Moses thousands of years ago! It's talking about the whole burnt offering, a little dying lamb, but certainly a direct picture of Jesus on the Cross! "But his inwards and his legs shall he wash in water: and the priest shall burn all on the altar, to be a burnt sacrifice, an offering made by fire, of a sweet savour unto the LORD."

Jesus' Death, the way to Heaven!

Such love as this, "Behold what manner of Love,"  has the awesome power to drive out of our lives all kinds of sins!

Including fornication and all uncleanness, covetousness, filthiness, foolish talking, jesting, and all the rest!

Out-of-this-world Love!

Oh, by the way, when Paul tells us to "walk" in such love, "peripateo" there is framed as an imperative verb!

It's a command!

Not an option!

Yes, "Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children; and walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour." That's our Text, so far!

More tomorrow!

What a Book, the Bible!

                                                                           --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 3, VERSE 3:

Our Verse for today, Ephesians 5:3, gets to the very "heart" of our Text. Paul is really preaching! "But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints."

This Verse, along with a dozen or so others, is why Paul is known as the Apostle who hated anything "physical!" Anything "sexual" in nature!

As with most impetuous accusations, this one is wrong, seriously wrong! If Paul "hated" sex and physical love and marriage and even women, why did he pen such things as:

"Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it." Ephesians 5:25

"Husbands, love your wives, and be not bitter against them." Colossians 3:19

"Teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children." Titus 2:4

Paul even defended his right to marry and travel with his wife from place to place! "Have we not power to lead about a sister, a wife, as well as other apostles, and as the brethren of the Lord, and Cephas?" 1 Corinthians 9:5

"Let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband." 1st Corinthians 7:2

"He that is married careth for the things that are of the world, how he may please his wife." Then, "She that is married careth for the things of the world, how she may please her husband." 1st Corinthians 7:33-34

And "Marriage is honourable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge." Hebrews 13:4

It's not all things sexual that Paul dislikes, but things that violate God's Word. Things like: "Thou shalt not commit adultery," or even, "Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's wife ...."

Moral purity, likeness to our Saviour as much as is humanly possible, is Paul's driving motive here. Especially here in today's Text Verse. "But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints." Again, this is Ephesians 5:3.

The Roman Empire had become so sensual, so perverse, so driven by its base desires! The saints of God, when living Biblically, would "shine" in such moral darkness as "lights" to that dark world! And Paul knew it! "That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world. Holding forth the word of life." Paul wrote this to the Philippians, who lived in the middle of such Roman filth! 

Paul has written a list, so far with only three members, to be avoided! "Not once named" among the saints of God! The adverb "once" is "mede," a blending of "me" and "de" in Greek, meaning "no, never" and "but, to the contrary" respectively. Look again at "once" in the Verse: "But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints."

Paul is serious!

The general population in Paul's day would have thought this command to be stupid! Anti-social! From some other strange world! Outrageous! Perhaps psychologically harmful!

And so do people today!

The verb "named," in Greek "onomazo," can even mean "mentioned!" Not a "hint" of this stuff! So warns Paul!

Pursue lives that are "becoming" to the saints of God! Here "prepo" means "proper, suitable, fit," but more literally "eminent, conspicuous, outstanding!" When standing alone, "prepo" means "to stick out, to tower up!"

"Saints" are those who are "clean, separated, holy ones." The word is "hagios," people "set apart," actually "consecrated" to God!

Live like the children of God, commands Paul! Yes, the verb "named," as in "not once named," is in the imperative mood! It's an absolute requirement for the Christian life!

Now, specifically, three sins are listed.

"Fornication," in Greek "porneia," is derived from a verb that literally means "to prostitute one's body to the lust of another." Further back, "porne" is a person who "sells" his or her body for sexual purposes. It means "unlawful sexual intercourse," according to one dictionary. And for Paul the "law" in view is not civil, but Biblical!

No sexual relationships outside of marriage!

Not for the Saint of God!

Now once a person is married, Paul reverses this stand! With one's own mate! Here is Paul on the "physical" side of marriage. "Let the husband render unto the wife due benevolence: and likewise also the wife unto the husband. The wife hath not power of her own body, but the husband: and likewise also the husband hath not power of his own body, but the wife. Defraud ye not one the other, except it be with consent for a time, that ye may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again, that Satan tempt you not for your incontinency." This, 1st Corinthians 7:3-5, is his solution to the "fornication" problem for the Believer! "Nevertheless, to avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband." Verse 1 of the 1st Corinthians 7 context.

It's definitely "no" to fornication!

One sin down ... two to go!

Next comes "uncleanness." It originally just meant "dirt," as is often on the floor, needing to be swept away. That's an example. Then it came to mean "ceremonial defilement," things like having touched a dead body, as when one is a pallbearer or something. When that happened a Jew could not go to the Temple and worship God for a set period of time. He was ritually unclean in the eyes of God. Eating pork or enjoying catfish would have done the same thing too, for an Old Testament Israelite. Of course, dead bodies still had to be interred! The dead were still respected. Someone just had to be purified religiously.

Then "akatharsia" arrived at the meaning Paul's using here, "moral impurity." Sexually dirty! Lustful profligacy! Simon Peter wrote about dirty old men who, "Having eyes full of adultery, cannot cease from sin." 2nd Peter 2:14

Then thirdly, and strangely, avoid "covetousness" requires Paul! The noun is "pleonexia," hailing from the verb "echo," meaning "to have, to hold, to grasp" and the adjective "pleion," that is "more and more and more!" This is a word picture! Hands full, again and again!

Grabbing  for more and more! Never satisfied! Ever hungry!

But here, obviously, "covetousness" is being used in a sexual sense. More and more things of the flesh! Excuse me, I'm just going to say it, "More sex! Then more! Then more again!"

Hooked!

Like a person on narcotics!

Insatiable!

An addict, to ungodly men or women!

That's the way the heathen world lived! And still does!

And such a lifestyle is creeping into the Church today as well!

Paul is starkly drawing a line!

Stop!

No!

It can't be!

"But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints."

Period!

And the Word of God has not changed over the past two thousand years, either!

What's so wrong with "loose" American Christianity?

Or is it even Christianity anymore?

                                                                          --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 4, VERSE 4:

The Verse is prohibitive.

It forbids certain activities for the Christian.

Yet this is not a case of mere denial. Something better has taken the place of the now absent lifestyle.

Well, really, more than just taken its place!

It has expelled it!

It has outclassed it!

The "new" life is so superior to the "old" life that practically no choice remains!

"Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children," Ephesians 5:1. God loves us ... like His Own children! God is Holy! If I follow Him, I will be that way too! Not within myself, but by the power of the Holy Spirit! "Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy." God is here being quoted in 1st Peter 1:16.

God's Love literally overcomes my love for the world! If Someone loves me this much ... "Christ also hath loved us, and hath given Himself for us an Offering and a Sacrifice" ... no other love can compare! Ephesians 5:2

Therefore, sins that insult and belittle Almighty God, sins that question His Lordship, His Supreme Status in my life, must be extinguished! Conquered! "Not once named," says Paul in no  uncertain terms!

Here are the first three: "But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints." Ephesians 5:3

Now, we're ready for Verse 4, more things that should have "fallen away" by now! Just like old dead leaves, those few remaining "stubborn" ones, finally "drop" from the tree in the Springtime, when the invigorating sap begins to rise, infusing new life into the tree, forcing out the old and the dead ... bringing in the new and the vibrant! That's how the Holy Spirit, the Love of God, our New Creaturehood, a Born-again life ... expel these next three sins!

"Neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient: but rather giving of thanks." Ephesians 5:4

Let's get started.

"Filthiness" translates "aischrotes," a noun used only here in all the Bible! However, it does have a few relatives in Scripture, all related to the word "shame." These are activities that should "shame" us! Disgraceful! Obscene! Base! Venal!

Of course some people can slide so far into sin that even "shameful" things do not phase them one bit! Listen to Paul describe this crowd, "They are the enemies of the cross of Christ: whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things." Philippians 3:19, note the capitalized clause!

But for the saint of God, no "shameful" acts!

"Foolish talking," another hapax legomenon, is spelled "morologia." This compound word links the Greek word for "fool," that's "moros," and their word for "talk" or "words," the very familiar "logos." That's "foolish" in the sense of being impious, ungodly!

Even our words are to be sanctified!

Listen to Jesus in Matthew 12:36. "But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment." Wow! Our Lord's word for "idle" is "argos," meaning "not working!" Useless! Not profitable! Unemployed! Not producing something good! The prohibitive "a" in front of "ergon," common "work or labor!"

Then, no "jesting" is allowed! "Eutrapelia" means "well-turned!" A cute little "turn" of words, with a dirty slant of course, meant to be humorous! A filthy joke, in other words! Sensual comedy! Double meanings in the moral sense! Maybe it goes even this far, a "light" or "frivolous" lifestyle! This is another "one time only" word in the New Testament.

But then Paul, compositely, says of all these sins ... "fornication, and all uncleanness, covetousness, filthiness, foolish talking, and jesting" ... "which are not convenient."

What does this mean? "Convenient" is "aneko," usually meaning "not to have come or arrived or achieved intimacy" with a person. Paul is saying of these sins something like this: "This is not where you are headed! You will not find closeness to Jesus here!  These things are not fit for the Believer!" This same clause, "not convenient" or "not fit," occurs in Colossians 3:18. "Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as it is fit in the Lord."

Then Paul adds one more thing!

Not something to be omitted, but included!

The "giving of thanks!"

It's almost as if this "thanksgiving" can further ward off these sins!

A "sin repellant!"

The word "giving thanks" is lovely too! It is spelled "eucharistia," It combines the Greek word for "good," that's "eu," and the noun "grace" or "charis!"

Good Grace!

Literally!

Talk much of God's good grace in your life! And express to Him sincere appreciation for it! That's truly giving thanks, the Bible way!

And, just maybe, that spontaneous thanksgiving will further lessen the "pull" of these malicious sins too!

Today's whole Verse again, things "not once" to be named among us Christians: "Neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient: but rather giving of thanks."

Amen!

                                                                          --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 5, VERSE 5:

Today's Verse is blunt!

It leaves no doubt in one's mind!

"For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God." Ephesians 5:5

The verbal adjective "know" translates "ginosko," which often includes "perceiving and understanding" as well as the acquiring of knowledge.

The personal pronoun "ye" is included in another little verb, nearly hidden, "eimi" in its 2nd person plural form. Paul is preaching to a group, the whole Church at Ephesus!

No exceptions!

It seems that in Paul's mind no true Christianity can really exist ("eimi") in the presence of these sensual sins!

These kinds of people, simply stated, are just NOT saved!

They have no part in the Kingdom of God!

Who are they?

Paul is specific!

"Whoremongers" utilizes the noun "pornos," which we studied earlier in this series of lessons. It means a "fornicator." It is from the verb "pernemi" and means "to sell." One who sells his body! Yes, male prostitutes existed n Paul's day, as well as female. Both secularly and religiously they were abundantly present in the polytheistic Greek-Roman world.

"Unclean" people, "akathartos," are stained with filth and impurity. Morally and spiritually again! "Kathairo" first means "to cleanse" from dirt! Then from ritual impurity! And finally, from the darkness of sin! The little "a" in front of the word, the alpha privative, negates the meaning. NOT cleansed! These are folks who sin and sin and sin, chain sinning, with no thought of repentance or remorse, even though they "profess" to be saved!

Yes, the true Christian sins, but not on a wholesale level! Not with impunity! Not without sorrow! The saint of God has learned to use 1st John 1:9 consistently! "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness."

The idea of "covetousness" enters the list, a sensual list obviously, because lust and its companions are never satisfied! The word picture behind "covetousness" is a person who always wants more of a thing! "Pleonektes," a noun, is built upon the Greek verb "echo," meaning "to vigorously hold on to something," and "pleion," meaning "more and more!"

More girlfriends, for the sex fiend!

More affairs, for the libertine!

More one night stands, for the fornicator!

And once a person gets this far, he or she has become a devotee to one's "base" desires! Living only to satisfy his or her flesh!

Sensuality has become their very god!

Hence, they are "idolaters." If any person covets something MORE than God, he or she is immediately an idolater anyway! By definition! "Eidolon" is the Greek word for an idol. And "latreuo" is the verb for "serving or ministering" in a religious sense. A "servant" of sin!

Paul has built a "progression" here, a downward spiraling one! That is; initially fornication (where it all starts), then a filthy lifestyle (where it leads), then covetousness (once it's a habit) and finally idolatry (an addiction by now) ... with absolutely no room for Almighty God!

These folks, pleasant as they seem, and they well may be physically alluring, personality plus types, have no "inheritance" in God's Kingdom!

The modifier "no," used once in our Verse but implied twice more, is the "absolute" negative in Greek! It is placed just before the verb in the Textus Receptus; people who do NOT have any place in Heaven!

Saved people are forgiven, and they stay clean in their moral lives!

Whereas mere religious "professors," folks in Church but not in Christ, might live just anyway they please, loosely speaking.

The noun "inheritance" is "kleronomia," part of an estate. That which was given you in the "will" of a deceased loved one! "Nomos" means "law" in Greek. And "kleros" is any object used to make decisions, as in the casting of "lots," for example.

If you are saved, God has placed you in His "Will!" You have an inheritance in Glory! A mansion! Citizenship in that fair Land! Eternal Joy! Companionship with Jesus, unendingly! 

And, perhaps just to be conclusive, Paul uses two terms for Heaven, for the future state of the Child of God. He leaves no room for doubt here.

Both "the kingdom of Christ" and "and of God" are listed! That's encircles Heaven and New Jerusalem and the Millennial Kingdom, everything future and glorious and wonderful for God and Christ and the redeemed!

No Verse could be more clear!

Christianity has given the world quite a gift, moral purity!

Amen!

                                                                          --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 6, VERSE 6:

Today's Verse is frightening!

Unless one has been saved by the Grace of God!

"Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience." Ephesians 5:6

Any Verse that threatens the "wrath" of God is very serious!

The noun for "wrath" here is spelled "orge." It means "anger" but with this nuance, "an anger that lasts indefinitely, always calling for judgment." The Greek teachers often contrast "orge" with a synonym, "thumos," a more agitated but less lengthy episode of fury.

While all sinners are subject to the wrath of God; "He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him," it also seems that certain "sins" invite His wrath in a particular way.

A few named sins especially arouse God's anger! Even to the point of holy hatred! Here's an example. "These six things doth the LORD hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him: a proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, an heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief, a false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren." Proverbs 6:16-19

So, to all lovers of fornication, uncleanness, covetousness, filthiness, foolish talking, coarse jesting, "whoremongering" Paul calls it in Ephesians 5, beware! "Because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience."

The verb "cometh," in Greek "erchomai," is famed in the present tense. It just keeps on coming and coming! Until a person repents and gets saved! Otherwise, it's eternity in Hell!

The noun "son" here is "huios," one of several available words to Paul. Usually "huios" carries with it the idea of "dignity" and "status" in the family! Whereas "teknon" might indicate a likeness to one's father! And "pais" or "paidion" hints at children who will need discipline!

"Children" of disobedience, rebellious as they are, are appaently still precious candidates for the Grace of God, His saving Grace! Remember, God is using the "quality" word for these men and women! They are not "trash" in His Eyes! Jesus died for such people!

The word "disobedience" translates "apeitheia," the state of being "not persuadable!" The first letter, the "a," reverses the meaning of the main syllable. Then "peithes," as a verb "peitho," means "to convince or persuade," then ultimately, "to believe or trust."

These "disobedient" ones are stubborn! Not easily persuaded concerning the truth! If one does not "believe" a command of God, is not "persuaded" of its validity, he or she certainly will not "obey" it!

Again, "For because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience."

But so far we've omitted the first clause in today's Verse. We can't do that! "Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience." Remember, this is Ephesians 5:6.

To be "deceived," spelled "apateo" in Greek, is "to be cheated or beguiled" primarily. Sins deceives! It cheats one of quality of life! I can only find "apateo" four times in the whole New Testament! Paul  uses it twice in 1st Timothy 2:14. "And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression."

"Apateo" in our 1st Corinthians 5:6 Text here is built as an imperative verb too, expressing a direct command from Paul to the Ephesians! Really, it's from God to the Ephesians ... if one believes in verbal inspiration.

The expression "no man" translates "medeis," which also has other forms for "no woman" and "no thing." The King James Version translators have accurately rendered it "no man" because of its gender, "masculine."

"Vain" words are "empty, devoid of truth, without effect!" In Greek this adjective is spelled "kenos."

"Words," the familiar noun "logos," means speech which is "logical, chosen carefully!" But keep this in mind too, "There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death." These words are found both in Proverbs 14:12 and again in Proverbs 16:25! Twice in Scripture! Must be very important!

Man's "logic" is most often opposed to God's "Logic" anyway! "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD." Isaiah 55:8, but the Passage continues: "For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts."

While "vain" words can deceive, God's Words bring life! That's according to Jesus! "Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life." John 5:24

God's Words are trustworthy! "The words of the LORD are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times." Psalm 12:6

I don't know what else to say today.

"Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience."

And Ephesians 5:6 is God's Word!

                                                                            --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 7, VERSE 7:

Today we study Ephesians 6:7, a short but powerful Verse of Scripture. "Be not ye therefore partakers with them."

The pronoun "them" refers to certain categories of people Paul has earlier mentioned. Namely, fornicators and idolaters and whoremongers, plus those who covet!

The verb "be" translates "ginomai," which in our context is in the imperative mood. We have been commanded to disassociate with these people! "Ginomai" means "to become, to come into being, to happen, to take place, to come to pass."

The adverb "not" is "me," pronounced "may" in Greek. It is the most often used particle of "qualified" negation, according to the lexicons. There might be a case where such strict separation is not possible. Say, for example, if a lady is married to a husband who otherwise is good to her, but tells a lot of dirty jokes ("foolish talking" or "jesting" of our Text, back in Ephesians 5:4) ... she is not to leave him and divorce him over his twisted sense of humor! Such is not a Biblical cause for divorce!

On the other hand, the Greek word for "absolute" negation is "ou," sometimes spelled "ouk," indicating no exceptions whatsoever!

Don't tell me that every word in the Bible is not inspired! Even its adverbs! When God speaks, every word carries ultimate weight! "The words of the LORD are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times." Psalm 12:6

"Therefore," another adverb, is spelled "oun," meaning "then" or "so" or "wherefore" or even "now." That is, "consequently, accordingly." A conclusion is being drawn by Paul. By the Holy Spirit really!

The noun "partakers" is quite a blend! "Summetochos" basically means a "sharer" or a "participant" in something. It is taken from three Greek words. "Sun," the prefix, means "with." Then "meta," the middle component, means "among, in the midst!" Finally comes a verb, "echo," meaning "to have, to hold, to keep!"

This is close fellowship!

Too close!

It's nearly cohesion!

Addiction!

And it's wrong!

Especially when later Paul commands, "Abstain from all appearance of evil." 1st Thessalonians 5:22, the very "appearance!"

Today's Verse, "Be not ye therefore partakers with them," needs no embellishment at all! It just needs to be obeyed!

It "fits" into the Pauline pattern of "separation" from sin taught from Romans to Hebrews, in all fourteen of the Apostle's writings!

"Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?"

"Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, and will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty."

"Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners."

"But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such an one no not to eat."

Wow!

That's clear enough!

                                                                           --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 8, AN ADDENDUM:

This Lesson is important too!

We have been studying one of the Bible's premier Texts on the subject of moral purity. That is, Ephesians 5:1-7. In part, "But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints; neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient. For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. Be not ye therefore partakers with them."

This whole Paragraph defies most modern philosophy. And a great deal of ancient philosophy too!

The evolutionists tell us, wrongly so of course, that we are mere animals. And animals, when it comes to sex, are simply following a biological instinct! That's all! Therefore, reasons Darwin and his ilk, when men are sensual and uninhibited, they just can't help it! They are hard-wired through eons of evolutionary history to be that way!

Earlier philosophers say that man is his best in his primordial state! Back when he was wild! Without law! Unrestrained! Sexually and socially and every other way!

Then enters psychoanalysis! Here we are informed that our inner sex drives determine who we are! We prehistorically hated out Fathers! Loved our Mothers, or at least lusted after them! So said Freud! The earliest of psychotherapists find herein the "seeds" of religion, guilt and hope and trust! They also strip us of any obligation to live pure lives! Not to be free sexually is to repress one's very personhood!

Then came the sociologists, the immoral ones especially! They normalized ungodliness, fornication and such, tracking it in other cultures around the world! And postmodernism now demands that one culture is just as good as another! No values judgments please! If the happiest and the longest living peoples of earth are free lovers and drifters without the slightest hint of restraint sexually, then perhaps we should all be!

Folks, this "garbage" is yet being taught on many a university campus, American universities included!

Then case studies, with the numbers stacked toward the libertarian side, reflect that "Everybody's doing it these days!" Wife swapping, one night stands, hooking up, defiant sex! And, with the added help of godless science, her gifts of birth control and abortion and rapid transportation and readily available media, the "revolution" is well underway!

And I've not even mentioned the radical anti-Christian feminists! Those who preach a woman's right to ... everything! And not just the legal option of killing any unborn child she might wish! The right to  love freely! To magnify her sexuality anyway she pleases! To love another man ... or woman! This crowd is big enough now that they well might be the deciding factor in some future national election, even in the United States!

Well, I've got news for these people!

Everybody is not in agreement!

Not all people are immoral!

The saints of God are not!

Instead, real Christians, going back to our Text now, love God first! Not their own bodies! Not their passions! Not multiple partners!

And we strive to have "not once named among us" fornication and adultery and other unbridled lusts!

We are "not partakers" of those things!

Paul even goes further. In Ephesians 5:11 he encourages the saints of God to "reprove" such lawless lifestyles! "And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them."

Wow!

"Elegcho" means "to convince a person he is wrong, even to the point that shame envelops him or her!" Or, "to chide severely!" This is a strong verb! It is once translated "convict" in the King James Bible!

Paul encourages us, in Ephesians 5:12 now, not to go into detail about the lewd sensual sins these people commit! "For it is a shame even to speak of those things which are done of them in secret." That's why, in today's opening paragraphs, I had to speak in vague generalities when describing their false teachings!

Of course nowadays, it's no longer done in secret! They have come out of hiding, "out of the closet" so to speak. 

Then, in one last salvo, Paul basically calls these sexually out-of-control individuals "fools!" Listen, the Apostle is addressing the Christians at Ephesus. "See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise." Ephesians 5:16

"Circumspectly," even in English, means "looking all around!" Vigilantly! Alertly!

Two separate lifestyles! As different as day and night! "For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light." Ephesians 5:8

Thank God for the Light!

And to those still intoxicated by such alluring sins of the devil, "Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light." Ephesians 5:14

There's hope!

Hope in the Lord Jesus Christ!

That "darkness" need not be permanent!

                                                                          --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 9, CONCLUSION:

Today we conclude our study of Ephesians 5:1-7, perhaps Paul's greatest Text on the subject of moral purity in the life of a Christian.

Any immorality is forbidden, absolutely!

Here are Paul's words, verbatim: "Let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints." Ephesians 5:3

That not only forbids any direct act of fornication, for example, but also such things as coarse joking about sensuality!

Not just sex outside of marriage, but "neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting" as well! Ephesians 5:4

A Christian scholar of bygone years said that the most outstanding contribution nascent Christianity made to the culture of its day, the first century Greco-Roman world, was moral purity! He literally called it a "moral miracle!"

And Corinth, obviously the city in which the Corinthian Church was located, the people to whom Paul originally wrote our Text, were infamous for their moral laxity!

Just to be known as a "Corinthian" was once to be considered a moral pervert! The morals of that seaport city were such that even pagan Rome at times blushed!

Yet in that sensual free-for-all, that lustful metropolis, God raised up a Church of born-again Believers, sanctified by the Holy Spirit, pure and separated from the world! 

Glory to His Name!

Things were so bad in Greek culture, that one ancient orator, Demosthenes, said this: "We have courtesans (prostitutes) for the sake of pleasure; we have concubines for the sake of daily cohabitation; we have wives for the purpose of having children legitimately and caring for our household affairs."

Then, after three centuries of that kind of sexual chaos, Christianity exploded on the world scene! It arrived teaching, yea, even demanding, a new way of life! Supplanting immorality!

Extinguishing it with something far better!

One man, one woman, one lifetime!

Marriage, holy and picturesque!

The husband a picture of Jesus!

The wife a symbol of the Church!

The goal, "not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish." Ephesians 5:27

I sense the need to read with you our whole Paragraph, a "pericope" of Scripture it's called, on more time! Please don't skip it, even if you're rushed today.

"Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children; and walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour. But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints; neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient: but rather giving of thanks. For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience. Be not ye therefore partakers with them." Ephesians 5:1-7

I once heard a Preacher say, "No difference, no conviction!" If we as Believers are no different from the world, including the moral issues, there probably will be less and less true Revival in our land! Less Holy Ghost conviction! Fewer and fewer souls being saved!

Lord, help us!

Amen!

                                                                        --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

Each of us should be morally stronger for having studied this Slice of Scripture! It is Paul's "classic" Text on moral purity in the lives of God's children. In just a few divinely inspired words, it truly says it all! "The words of the LORD are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times." Psalm 12:7

 

 

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