Paul is teaching the church at Ephesus how to walk worthy of the calling of the gospel. What his is going to show us at the end of chapter 5 is the reason. That reason is that the church is to Christ as the wife is to her husband.
The Big Idea
So, the big idea in our text today is that we want to walk worthy in our calling to be unified in one body under King Jesus by imitating King Jesus.
Imitate God (v. 1-2)
Chapter 5:1-2 is a restatement of Jesus’ summary of the Law as love of God and love of neighbor (Mark 12:30Luke 10:27).
As we imitate God we love the way Jesus did by giving ourselves up for our neighbor (Luke 10:25-37).
- We are to love God because God loves God!
God is supremely committed to his own glory.
“For my name’s sake I defer my anger, for the sake of my praise I restrain it for you, that I may not cut you off. Behold, I have refined you, but not as silver; I have tried you in the furnace of affliction. For my own sake, for my own sake, I do it, for how should my name be profaned? My glory I will not give to another.”
God chose his people for his own glory (Ephesians 1:4-6)
God created us for his own glory (Isaiah 43:6-7)
God called Israel for his glory (Jeremiah 13:11)
God rescued Israel from Egypt for his glory (Psalm 106:7-8)
God raised Pharaoh up to show his power and glorify his name (Romans 9:17)
God defeated Pharaoh at the Red Sea to show his glory (Exodus 14:4)
God spared Israel in the wilderness for his glory (Ezekiel 20:14)
God gave Israel victory in the promised land for his glory and his name (2 Samuel 7:23)
God did not cast his people away when they sinned for the glory of his name (1 Samuel 12:20)
God saved Jerusalem from attack for the glory of his name (2 Kings 19:34)
God restored Israel from exile for the glory of his name (Ezekiel 36:22ff)
Jesus sought the glory of Father in all that he did (John 7:18)
Jesus taught us to do good works so that Father gets glory (Matthew 5:16)
Jesus warned that not seeking God’s glory makes faith impossible (John 5:44)
Jesus said that he answers prayer that glorifies Father (John 14:13)
Jesus endured his suffering for Father’s glory (John 12:27-28; John 17:1 cf. 13:31-32)
God forgives our sin for his own sake (Isaiah 43:25; Psalm 25:11)
Jesus receives us into his fellowship for the glory of God (Romans 15:7)
The ministry of the Holy Spirit is to glorify Jesus (John 16:14)
God instructs us to do all things for his glory (1 Corinthians 10:31)
Jesus fills us with fruits of righteousness for his glory (Philippians 1:9, 11)
God seeks to make the wealth of his glory known through wrath (Romans 9:22-23)
God’s plan is to fill the earth with the knowledge of his glory (Habakkuk 2:14)
Everything that happens will be turned for his glory (Romans 11:36)
If we love God we will imitate God.
- We are to love our neighbor because Jesus came and gave up his life to save sinners
Reject covetous idolatry because it won’t enter the kingdom of Jesus Christ (v. 3-5)
These “things” listed in verses 3-5 “must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints.” (v. 3) “…but instead let there be thanksgiving.” (v. 4)
Because those who name them as their practice have “…no inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God.” (v. 5)
- Sexual immorality – pornia; any sexual sin
What defines proper sexuality? Genesis before the fall defines proper sexuality. Husband / Wife / Before God / Not Separable
So, anything not pre-fall constitutes immorality.
- Impurity – unnatural pollution; lewdness (particularly regarding sexuality)
We won’t get specific, but stuff contrary to natural created purpose.
- Covetousness – to hoard / hold / the essence of idolatry
- Filthiness – indecent / improper conduct / shameful / conduct, when exposed by the light brings shame
- Foolish talk – literally from the root “morologos” – moronic word
- Crude joking – easily sportive / crude / the idea of taking filth, and moronic language and taking it to another level / someone says something out of place and then the next level of “out of placeness” / anything that makes sport of or highlights the curse of the fall as humor
I would argue that covetousness is the headline issue here that defines the other “not God imitating and not neighbor loving” sins.
What is the first commandment? No other gods before the only God. In other words, no idolatry is allowed.
To covet is to not be satisfied with what one has. When one seeks other things to satisfy themselves apart from God, they have an idol. This is why Paul defines coveting as idolatry in verse 5.
Sexual immorality, impurity and filthiness are coveting sexuality that is contrary to God’s purposes.
Foolish talk and crude joking are coveting humor that is contrary to God’s purposes.
Therefore, coveting is the essence of or the heart of the abuse of sexuality and/or humor. It’s the essence because, in sin, sexuality and humor exist for themselves alone and not for loving God and neighbor. And this is contrary to the love of God and love of neighbor.
People who are like this are not part of the kingdom!
Now, if we have the Holy Spirit as the guarantee of our inheritance (1:14), then those who are immoral and impure have no Holy Spirit. Therefore, they are not in unity, they are contrary to unity, and they will not be in the kingdom. This person “…has no inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God.” (v. 5)
We refuse to be deceived into making peace with idolatry (v. 6-7)
I’m not sure this could get any clearer.
Those not loving God and neighbor are covetous idolaters.
Paul tells us that anyone doing verse 3-5 or trying to convince you that verse 3-5 are normative for the Christian is actually part of the “sons of disobedience” mentioned in 2:2 and 5:6.
- Those who seek to sway you into immorality and impurity are “sons of
disobedience” not lovers of God and neighbor
- Don’t be “partakers” with them
Partaker means to be an associate with or have common sharing. Paul is exhorting us to not be sharers of God’s wrath.
Evangelism does not mean partaking of sin together. It means telling the good news and loving people. We don’t have to break fellowship with saints to invite sinners into the kingdom.
- Be holy because our leader, Jesus, is holy and we are part of his body
Holiness makes for peace.
- The wrath of God comes on those who don’t love God and neighbor
Let’s be clear. The wrath mentioned here is not fatherly discipline. This is the wrath of God poured out on those who choose wrath through not repenting, and are not Christians, but who, perhaps, moonlight as such.
“Comes” is present / middle-passive. This means that God’s wrath is not coming in the future on these kind of people, but presently coming in the moment to deal with those people wherever they find themselves on the timeline of redemptive history. This also means that God’s wrath comes from God and sent by God but also that the person’s sin ushers it on.
If you want the wrath of God, then don’t love God and neighbor and covet after our idolatrous fancies and be sure we have invited wrath and it will be sent.
- God’s wrath is positive and negative
God’s wrath is negative in that it is rightly poured out on those who ask for it.
God’s wrath is also passive. If you are in sin, and there is not conscience about it, then you may be “handed over to your appetite” and your doom is sure.
God’s wrath is also active. Father can deal with you in the moment.
God’s wrath is positive in that it gets those killing unity in the fellowship and preserving those who love him and his people.
We are sure of better things at TRCC
We love God and neighbor. We are seeking the unity of the gospel in our love for God and each other under the leadership of King Jesus.
There are two things you can do today:
Psalm 147:1 “Praise the Lord! For it is good to sing praises to our God; for it is pleasant, and a song of praise is fitting.”
- Repent where necessary