Eph. 5:1 "Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children."
We closed our last lesson with the grand and glorious thought, that God had for Christ’s sake forgiven us our sins (4:32). Thus it is, Paul says, "be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children." The central thought is, we are begotten of God, and being His offspring’s we should be like Him. As with the begetter, so with the begotten. As with the Father, so with the Son.
The elect of God are precious in His sight; they are infinitely
dear to Him. God manifests His love for His children with inflexible
constancy, and His love is an "everlasting love" (Jer. 31:3).
Human nature is strange and mysterious, and shall ever remain an enigma to the philosophical sciences, it would seem, the more God manifests His love toward us, the more He would be appreciated by us, but in the main, it is not so. We see a reflection of ourselves in ancient Israel, whom God implored, saying, "what could have been done more to my Vineyard that I have not done in it? Wherefore, when I looked that it should bring forth grapes, brought it forth wild grapes" (Isa. 5:4).
We are over and over in scripture admonished to follow the Lord. Our following the Lord is not the cause of our acceptance with Him, but our following is the effect of our acceptance with Him, a person does not work to be saved, but he works because he is saved. Knowing the great love wherewith He has loved us should result in our lives being a carbon copy of His life.
At best, there will be a distance in this life between the Saved person and his Lord, but his following should be of such nature as to ever be trying to close the gap. Satan is going to see to it that the winds of adversity in unabating force come against us in our determination to follow Christ. As with Paul when he was buffeted with the messenger of Satan, Christ says to His present day followers as He said to Paul.
We have the compass, the word of God. We have the navigator, the Holy Spirit. We have the ship, the church of God, and we have our destination, holiness. "Be ye holy, for I am holy" (1st Pet. 1:16). Our course infallibly charted and executed (Phil. 1:6).
Vs. 2 "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 sweet smelling Savour."
"Walk in love..." our sins are forgiven through-by the offering which God’s love for us provided. Paul says, "…the Son of God loved me and gave Himself for me" (Gal. 2:20). Christ walks in loving forgiveness with us, ought we not to walk in the same kind of love with one another?
True love is a sacrificing love, thus it is we read, "Christ also hath loved us, and hath given Himself for us..." It is this same kind of sacrificing love we are to have one for another, walking in that love to the extent of giving ourselves for our brethren. It will help if we remember; Christ gave Himself for us while we were as yet, His enemies.
It is too often that sentiment is taken for love. Sentiment has a fickle nature, and is easily exhausted. I have had people tell me how much they love the Lord’s church, and I have seen some of these people leave the church the first time their vote was in the minority. It is beyond dispute, they were lying when they said they loved the church. Genuine love follows the object upon which it is fixed, it may have to go through some deep waters, through some valleys, and climb some rugged mountains, but it will press on toward the mark, or object upon which it is stationed.
Love for Christ and His church is a sure defense against the awful sins mentioned in this verse, and in verses 4 & 5. The Ephesians were not long out of paganism, and paganism fostered fornication, and even plenished their heathen temples with prostitutes (priestesses) to be used is satisfying the sexual lusts of the men who came to bow down before their idol gods. Sexual immorality prevailed in all quarters of heathenism and marriage was reduced to mockery. It is against this background, Paul says, "fornication...let I not be once named among you."
Prostitution among the heathen was common in Paul’s day, but I commonality did not exempt it from the curse of God. We are in an era when the sanctity of marriage is on an accelerated decline, fornication is no longer repulsive, but is accepted as a part of our contemporary way of life. "fornication" as used by Paul in this text is a reference to a kind of sexual infidelity, including not only prostitution, but homosexuality. "Let it not once be named among you, as becometh saints," while the world may give license to these atrocious crimes, Paul says they are alien to the nature of a child of God.
"…Uncleanness or covetousness, let it not be once named among you..." "Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s wife."
I was witnessing to a man concerning the state of his soul before God, he became a little uncomfortable, and ever so often tried to Change the subject every time there was a pause, he would break and ask, "Do you know where Cain got his wife?" Finally, I said to him, you had better quit worrying about other men’s wives, and be concerned with the destiny of your soul. A serious concern for destiny of ones soul will cause the eyes to be fixed on Christ, and having our affection set on Christ will serve to crucify illicit sexual desires.
The word "filthiness" in this text is translated from a Greek word which means obscene, and keeping within the frame of reference it would have to do with indecent dressing, or any kind of action or conduct which would incite the carnal lusts of the opposite sex. This sin also comes under the class of evils which are not so as to be named among the saints. The thought so far, is that of preserving sexual purity. And a woman can go a long way in doing this by dressing in modest apparel, and a man can be a great help to his fellows by seeing to it that his wife and daughters cover their body in public.
The Lord would bless the brother or sister who has a pair of
shorts, though meeting the public dress code, if he or she would go
home and put them in the garbage. "Follow not after a multitude to
"Nor foolish talking," this means more than the censoring of lips regarding filthy stories, it includes gossip, complaining, undue criticism, simply, it means be not like a fool in talking "nor jesting," Paul is not condemning clean humor, he is not saying we should avoid everything that would tend to make us laugh. No, there is such a thing as decent humor, and a good laugh often helps in lifting up the soul. Certainly, the church should never let a carnival type atmosphere develop in its worship services, on the other hand Christians have more to be joyous over than any people.
While the Christian is not to be gloomy or pessimistic, and there is a kind of humor which is helpful, Paul assures us, that our cheerfulness and gladness is rather to be manifested in the giving of thanks.
"Which are not convenient," Paul says, the aforementioned things, fornication, covetousness, uncleanness, filthiness, foolish talking Unedifying humor is alien to the nature of a Christian. These were characteristics of the "old man", and should not so much as be mentioned Among the saints.