Sunday Service 9-22-19 - Eph 5:1-5 - God-Centered Ethic
Ephesians • Sermon • Submitted • Presented • 1:28:52
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Intro: It’s all about the “Therefore”!
Big therefore - since we are blessed with every spiritual blessing, since we are adopted as sons/daughters, since the purpose of it all is to unite all things in Christ in heaven and earth, since you’ve been saved by grace through faith from death to life, since we are unified in this salvation as citizens of a kingdom and members of a family, since we, the church, are the channel where god has decided to broadcast his manifold wisdom to the visible and invisible world, since we know the height and breadth and depth of the love of christ which surpasses knowledge ...
Middle therefore - since we are humbled, forgiving, loving, unified by the One Spirit, baptism, faith, Lord, God and Father, since we are also unique in the special gift that Christ secured and distributed to us, since we have been schooled in truth, the truth of Christ in the school of Christ, taught by Christ himself, since that truth is that we have put off the old me and put on the new me which is recreated in God’s true image - that of His Son - renewing our minds in this truth continually. ...
Little therefore - since we are sealed for redemption by the very Spirit of God in us, since God in Christ forgave us ...
Therefore be like God. Be like your father, as His beloved children from whom he holds nothing of himself back, whom he gives great gifts and blesses and takes care of and provides for and loves and speaks to and teaches and guides and brings you into his own family, into his arms and his embrace as father at the cost of himself in the Son.
The therefore is everything. It is Christianity. Christianity is God, therefore, we. Religion is We, therefore, God. It is possible to have excellent, virtuous behavior and it be a result of wickedness/rebellion rather than righteousness/love (See 1 Cor 13). There is a common morality which is actually vain, prideful, self-interested/serving. A morality that is geared on earning a “blessed life”, to hold something over God’s head, to say “Look at everything I do for you. You owe me.” A morality that is competitive, you have to feel good about yourself and so you try to be morally better than others so that there will be something you can hold over their heads, some gratitude that they owe you. Another morality that is really about making you happy. You have to have others happy in order for you to be happy, and so you give them whatever they want, so that they’ll be happy, abut that’s really so that you will be happy.
I. Eph 4:30 - Do not grieve the Holy Spirit - It starts and ends with relationship.
A. Perverseness, Unity, Truth
II. Eph 4:32 - as God in Christ forgave you
A. kind (Chrestos), tenderhearted, forgiving.
Luke 6:35 But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, for he is kind to the ungrateful and the evil.
III. Eph 5:1 - be imitators of God, as beloved children.
Matt 5:45, 48 so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. … You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.
IV. Eph 5:2 - as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us
Jn 13:34-35 A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”
Rom 14:15 For if your brother is grieved by what you eat, you are no longer walking in love. By what you eat, do not destroy the one for whom Christ died.
Phil 3:3-8 Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.
A. a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God - pleasing to God. We can also offer ourselves as a fragrant offering and sacrifice in Christ to God - and this actually pleases God! We can please God - that is hard to grasp for a Bible-centric Christian.
V. Eph 5:3-4 - Sexual Thankfulness: the foil to sexual immorality.
A. From love to its opposite/counterfeit. From self-sacrifice to self-indulgence. From being used to using. From I am a servant of God and others to God and others are my servants.
This is the fake kind of love that happens so OFTEN IN CHURCH!!! In Church, we look to be kind to one another, we try to have real relationships, we “do life together”, and then we wonder why there are affairs. So, is the answer to not do life together or just to have separate everything for men and women, including the worship services, and lord’s tables? Of course that wouldn’t work either because there are those for whom same-sex temptations are what they have repented of. There are a plethora of answers in Scripture each referring to an aspect of dealing with this temptation. But, this particular passage focuses on two surprising aspects: Again, completely God-centered in its approach to this ethical path: Thankfulness and Idolatry.
B. Sexual immorality and impurity - porneia (an act of disobedience to God’s law) and akatharsia (unclean/impurity of heart). All kinds - we’re all lumped in here together. And, if you think you’re excluded, he also says “covetousness”.
C. Not even named - saints.
D. Your words, what you see, hear, say.
E. Thanksgiving - This is our stance. This is where we should live. When we think of sex or anything else, we see all things as being from God.
This pushes us from covetousness - focus on what we do not have - to thankfulness - focus on what we do have. We will waste everything in covetousness, never enjoy any of it, always trying to replace heaven with more and more of earth.
This is how we do battle, how we rid ourselves of lust, how we kill it, how we strike back against Satan to cause him to flee. God created human intimacy so that it is described as KNOWING and results in new, valuable life - Adam knew his wife Eve and she conceived and bore a son. See the gift of sex as God’s avenue for husband and wife, you and your spouse to know each other in a way that illustrates completeness, perfect knowledge. “With sum - totality”.
This is the message of the long prologue to Proverbs - Prov 7:4, 5:18
Wisdom as an intimate companion helps you to keep you from sexual perversion because you are not duped, you know the purpose of it, you know the better way for it.
Let your fountain be blessed and rejoice in the wife of your youth. You drink from a better fountain. Enjoy the gift of God, don’t screw it up by bringing poison into it. This wisdom is fun and brings all creation into the realm of rejoicing between man and God and man and man.
What if you don’t have a wife/spouse? Two options, and ONLY two, and both begin and end in thanksgiving - enjoy being satisfied in God and in his work and use the energy and time that could be devoted to a spouse to knowing and serving God and his people and his mission - this is an incredibly great and blessed option. In fact it’s called the better option if you can do it. Option two - find a spouse (Christian man or woman - goes without saying) - this is also a great and blessed option and is also called a good thing. Just know that if/when you take option two, it will not solve your hunger for God and heaven, it can and should help you to enjoy the gift of marriage but only insofar as it becomes a planet in the orbit of your relationship with God not if it becomes the center pushing God to the periphery.
It is right to be thankful for our God-given desires, to be especially thankful for what He has given us and blessed for our delight, fulfillment, and rejoicing in Him. This is a higher view, not a lower view of sex!
VI. Eph 5:5 - It’s a God/god issue. Everything else is covetousness-idolatry.
1 Cor 5:10-11 not at all meaning the sexually immoral of this world, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters, since then you would need to go out of the world. But now I am writing to you not to associate with anyone who bears the name of brother if he is guilty of sexual immorality or greed, or is an idolater, reviler, drunkard, or swindler—not even to eat with such a one.
1 Cor 6:9-10 Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.
Col 3:5 Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry.
Context - Artemis - Diana of the Ephesians - fertility goddess - orgy worship. A high standard for the Ephesians - this was no easier for them as it is for us. To not participate meant relinquishing social status and connections which would then affect one’s finances.
Should say much more about idolatry and covetousness here (1st and last commandments!!) (perhaps satan and job provide a poignant illustration versus israel vs jesus in the wilderness)
VII. Conclusion - This is our response: God’s being —> God’s doing —> Our being —> Our doing. (Our believing/committing/loving.)
Eph 4:1 Walk worthily in the sphere of the calling.
Eph 5:3 as is fitting among the saints (not even named among you).
We are called to put away, put to death these things. We are, in some way, actively participating in the sanctification God is working within us.
Eph 3:14-21 - Paul’s Prayer - Because of who God is. Because of what He has done. Because of who we are. This is what we do. We love Him. We love those who belong to Him. We take His love with us into the world and are thus both effective and unaffected.