Part 3 - An Introduction into the ethics of the apostle (Ephesians 4:1 – 6:20)
Avoid dirty language (Ephesians 5:3-7)
5:3 But fornication and all uncleanness or covetousness, let it not even be named among you, as is fitting for saints; neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks (Eph. 5:3-4).
In the Old Testament nation it was considered a disgrace to speak openly or write about sexual transgressions. Everything that was considered “unclean” was taboo. For this reason the liberal life style of the Greeks and Romans was considered to be degeneration by most Jews and Jewish Christians. Paul was in agreement with this unwritten law, for the Holy Spirit is the One who makes holy and sanctifies every area of life and resists every form of impurity and sexual offence.
Today we live in a liberal, so-called free society. Since the time of psychological analyst Sigmund Freud (1856-1939), sexual practices have openly been discussed, written about and filmed. Commerce and advertising have made a habit of placing seductive pictures on billboards, in magazines and in films, all in the interest of increasing their profits and/or influencing the masses. In some kindergartens and schools small children and youth are openly instructed about their sexual predispositions, while being encouraged to carefully experiment with their capacities. Since the world population in recent days has surpassed the seven billion mark, some countries are now openly agitating for birth control and even going so far as to punish non-compliance, such as in China. To that end condoms, contraceptives and abortion pills are openly and unscrupulously offered. In some countries and churches homosexual partnerships are being legalized as acceptable family forms. So-called “love-parades” are used to advertise these practices. International television stations are not ashamed, either night or day, to show openly exposed people – something that should be enough to make any normal person go red in the face.
In our churches and fellowships we need to have the courage to wisely speak about sexuality, so that children do not have to be schizophrenic with their parents. In schools and in society they are often made to become intimately acquainted with a godless sexuality, while at home and in the church these subjects are seldom discussed. We should recognize the gift of being able to beget children as a substantial part of our thanksgiving toward God, for it remains a miracle that in many families children are still being born.
Paul further writes that the saints should not only avoid every moral transgression or impure prattle, but also are to be careful to not fall into greed. In our day modern advertising brings about numerous inordinate desires, which otherwise would not have even been noticed. Everyone thinks he has to have a portable telephone and, if possible, the best washing machine, a flat television screen and a car. But that all costs money and is why many women and mothers go working. Otherwise the income of the father would not be enough to drive to summer and winter vacation spots or to buy the newest fashions. How blessed is the one who has the courage to live simply! His conscience is less plagued than that of the prosperity slave.
The apostle expanded his testimony and wrote to the believers in Christ: “For this you know, that no fornicator, unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God” (Eph. 5:5).
The missionary to the nations explained that the ethics of the Holy Spirit represent an irreplaceable component of the kingdom of God, which is, at the same time, the kingdom of Jesus Christ. The spiritual realm of law and power of our Father in heaven is described as “the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus that has made me free from the law of sin and death” (Rom. 8:2). Whoever desires to live “in Christ” cannot continually live in sexual bondage or in reckless greed. Jesus frees us from the “compulsion to sin” (John 8:34). However, the one who falls into sin against his own will still finds in Jesus a “merciful High priest”, who beseeches the Father in heaven for forgiveness for him (1 John 1:8 – 2:6).
The inheritance that the Lord Jesus appropriated for His church is the entire blessing of heaven, which the heavenly Father gave to us with the coming of His Son (Eph. 1:3). This merciful gift encompasses all of the fruits and gifts of the Holy Spirit, as well as the entire fullness of deity, which dwells bodily in Jesus Christ (Gal. 5:22-25; Col. 2:9-10). Every conscientious follower of Christ is entitled to an inheritance in the fullness of the Holy Trinity – and that by grace alone!
However, the one who lends his ear and tongue to empty chatter over coffee or tea or at the “happy hour” of the local pub quickly loses the gracious gift that was entrusted to him. No one can serve two lords. Whoever follows Jesus cuts himself off from the godless regions of this world.
Paul completes the severance between the kingdom of this world and the kingdom of God with final consequence: “Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. Therefore, do not be partakers with them” (Eph. 5:6-7).
How many young people and adults were brought into bondages and entanglements through the friendly seduction of their colleagues. Seduction usually begins with nice sounding words or powerful promises. Jesus, while in the wilderness, immediately saw through the cunning temptations of Satan and rejected them by using Scripture (Matt. 4:1-11). Blessed is the man or woman who can discern the spirits, or who, after hearing the warning of the Holy Spirit, is able to say “no” to every unchristian enticement.
Paul clearly warned that the wrath of God will fall upon the disobedient, those who use sexual practices or financial allurement to seduce others. Philipp Friedrich Hiller composed a prophetic verse concerning this subject:
When the sinfulness of Sodom resounds, the smell of sulphur can soon be found!
With these words the silent composer of hymns warned our churches and all who propagate or practice the unscrupulous and unprincipled practice of same-sex relationships, that fire, bombs, rockets and sulphur will fall from heaven on them. In the Old Testament Lot was compelled by the Angel of the Lord to quickly leave the place of temptation. His wife, however, while fleeing, turned around and looked back with longing – only to be turned into a pillar of salt! Who is it today that resembles Lot? And who resembles his wife? (Gen. 19:1-26).
Prayer: Father in heaven, we thank You that You sent Your beloved Son into our impure society here on earth in order to make holy those who desire to be made holy. Help us to turn from the spirit of this world and be entirely open to Your Spirit, so that we can be cleansed by the blood of Your Son. Help our families and acquaintances also, so that they will desire to have a pure conscience and clean tongues. Amen.
- Why should we, openly and wisely, speak with our children about the merciful gift of our sexual drive?
- Why can the kingdom of God endure no empty chatter or dirty jokes?