Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Ephesians Five

Be Imitators of God

Ephesians 1-6

Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children; and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma. But immorality or any impurity or greed must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints; and there must be no filthiness and silly talk, or coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks. For this you know with certainty, that no immoral or impure person or covetous man, who is an idolater, has an inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God.
There is this idea out there in Christendom, that it really doesn't matter how we behave. We take sin rather cavalierly, no one really preaches that sin will land us in hell. But God's Holy Written Word tells us that NO IMPURE person "has an inheritance in the Kingdom of Christ and God." These are strong words. WE MATTER, what WE DO MATTERS!

Most former Adventists don't really need this lecture. We need hope, not fear. We have spent a lifetime fearing our names would come up in judgment and would be stricken from the book of life because we taped a bracelet under our watch, or we drank a Coke. We have been religiously terrorized by Satan over things that weren't sin, so we would be blinded to what real sin and its consequences are. Former SDAs need a great deal of healing first, lots of soothing, warm milk before we can get onto the meat.

But there are formers who go finally extract themselves from one deception just to fall prey to the next. And that is, it doesn't matter what you do. Since we are not saved by our good works, that we are not condemned by our bad works. Well, that is kinda true.... IF you repent. But we are not saved from sin, so that we can continue wallowing in it.

Ephesians 5: 7-12

Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things [see above] the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. Therefore do not be partakers with them; for you were formerly darkness, but now you are Light in the Lord; walk as children of Light (for the fruit of the Light consists in all goodness and righteousness and truth ), trying to learn what is pleasing to the Lord. Do not participate in the unfruitful deeds of darkness, but instead even expose them; for it is disgraceful even to speak of the things which are done by them in secret.
Note that certain sins should not even be spoken about they are so disgraceful! Are we, as those representing Christ to the world, carefully watching our words so that they will always show the utter horror of sin? Again, this is not about fearing our salvation, for we have Christ who is merciful and ready to forgive when we fall. Confess and repent, and do not allow the Devil to get a stronghold in your life because of un-repented sins. Do not allow shame and guilt to corrode your foundation. Stand with courage, for greater is He that is in you than he that is in the world. But keep in mind that those who teach you that we can live an un-repentent life of impurity and debauchery and it doesn't matter, you are going to heaven anyway--ARE DECEIVING YOU! (As the above text clearly indicates.)

Ephesians 5: 13-21

But all thingsbecome visible when they are exposed by the light, for everything that becomes visible is light. For this reason it says, "Awake, sleeper, And arise from the dead, And Christ will shine on you." Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, making the most of your time, because the days are evil. So then do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. And do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord; always giving thanks for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God, even the Father; and be subject to one another in the fear of Christ.

Marriage Like Christ and the Church

Ephesians 5: 22-31

Wives, be subject to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ also is the head of the church, He Himself being the Savior of the body. But as the church is subject to Christ, so also the wives ought to be to their husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her, so that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, that He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing ; but that she would be holy and blameless. So husbands ought also to love their own wives as their own bodies. He who loves his own wife loves himself; for no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ also does the church, because we are members of His body.
There is so much in this passage that is just staggeringly beautiful. Get past the whole women's rights offense, and see the richness of love in God's words. Husbands are to love us--their wives AS Christ loves His church. What did Christ do for His Church? He suffered and died for her. He gave His own body to intercede for the effects of sin. How POWERFUL is His love. Our dearest husbands should love us like that and all we are asked is to be submissive. Seems in comparison that isn't much to ask.

Then read what is NEXT!! Our beloved husbands are to wash us IN THEIR WORDS. They are to treat us in such a way, verbally as well as physically, that THEY CAN PRESENT US before God one day in glory without spot or wrinkle. He is to nourish us and cherish us. What a gift to women. What a glorious submission that we are given. I hunger and thirst for that type of relationship with my husband, and rejoice in the submission.

Here, again, is one of my passions. That Jesus DID come to start a church. Church is not the enemy, just as husbands are not the enemy. We naturally balk at abusive authority. That is right. However, when our authorities are truly godly, when they follow the Word of God, the glory and joy is beyond anything we have ever envisioned. There is a real church, just as wives have real husbands. Christ set up real authorities that we must submit to. We don't get an option, if we are obedient to Christ, he commands"wives ought to be obedient to our husbands in everything."

Ephesians 5: 31-33

FOR THIS REASON A MAN SHALL LEAVE HIS FATHER AND MOTHER AND SHALL BE JOINED TO HIS WIFE, AND THE TWO SHALL BECOME ONE FLESH. This mystery is great ; but I am speaking with reference to Christ and the church. Nevertheless, each individual among you also is to love his own wife even as himself, and the wife must see to it that she respects her husband.
Paul doesn't add, "this is not a big deal, do what your conscience tells you..." In fact, Paul says a man and his wife becoming one flesh is a "mystery that is GREAT!" This is a titanic, stupendous mystery that shows that the oneness of marriage, the beauty, the dance of love, really is a shadow and example of Christ and His Church! I love Ephesians!