6-Week Series: Against All Odds


Summary: This is the 15th sermon in the "Accounting" series from the Book of Ephesians.

Series: Accounting [#15]


Ephesians 5:1-7


Today, we celebrate Palm Sunday. While, we are going to continue with our series in Ephesians, Palm Sunday is a reminder of how fickle people can be. As Christians, we are supposed to live like Christ; but often we are like the people as Jesus entered into Jerusalem. We live like Jesus 1 moment and the next, we act like we don’t even know who Jesus is. During this series about our riches in Christ, I want us to consider this financial colloquialism, “Don’t get caught with your hand in the cookie jar”. The colloquialism is a warning given to people to not steal from the cash register. Spiritually, we are not to do things that hinder our riches in Christ.

A little boy’s mother had just baked a fresh batch of cookies. She gave the usual instructions, “Don’t eat the cookies until after dinner; but it was not long until she heard the lid of the jar move, and she called out, “What are you doing”? To which he said, “My hand is in the cookie jar resisting temptation.” Too late. The fact is no one can resist temptation when your hand is already in the cookie jar. There are cookie jars all around us. How do Christians keep their hands out of the cookie jar?

Ephesians 5:1-2 (NIV)

1 Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children. 2And walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.

You keep your hand out of the cookie jar by…

1. Patterning your life after Jesus.

A popular saying amongst Christians from the 1990’s was “WWJD”- What would Jesus do. It is a great question. As our text tells us, Jesus is love and was will to give Himself completely to the will of the Father. He offered Himself “as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God”. As a Christian, you are to do the same. Is how you live your life a pleasing smell to God or do you stink?

Ephesians 5:3-4 (NIV)

3 But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people. 4 Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving.

You keep your hand out of the cookie jar by…

2. Putting off sin.

Not only are you to get rid of sin in your life; but you are to not have “even a hint” of sin in your life. Paul lists some of the enemies of living a godly life. Notice, each of these are the total opposite of who Jesus is.

An enemy of doing good is...

? Sexual immorality.

Paul starts his list with all sexual sins. We could spend an entire sermon on this subject because it covers everything from pre-marital sex to extra-marital sex to homosexuality to pornography, etc…

An enemy of doing good is...

? Impurity.

An impurity is something that ruins the uncontaminated nature of something. If someone accuses you of impurity, they think you or your nature has been spoiled in some way by sin.

An enemy of doing good is...

? Greed.

Greed occurs when you are being selfish. Greed wants and is willing to do whatever to get its way. There should not be even a hint of greed in a Christian’s life. That means that even our intentions matter.

An enemy of doing good is...

? Obscenity.

To be obscene is to be offensive or disgusting by accepted standards of morality and decency. This is the dictionary definition of obscene. What I would add to this definition is God’s standards of morality and decency.

An enemy of doing good is...

? Foolish talking.

Some things just don’t need to be said. Often times, we talk about things that are stupid and don’t matter. We often are guilty of just wasting the usefulness of words.

An enemy of doing good is...

? Coarse joking.

Simply put, dirty jokes. It is unnecessary to tell or listen to jokes that degrade people or bring attention to perversions.

Ephesians 5:5-7 (NIV)

5 For of this you can be sure: No immoral, impure or greedy person—such a person is an idolater—has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. 6 Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of such things God’s wrath comes on those who are disobedient. 7 Therefore do not be partners with them.

You keep your hand out of the cookie jar by…

3. Preparing for eternity.

These verses make many people very nervous. For many, rightfully so. This tells us that no one can inherit the Kingdom of God. You may be thinking, “That is not what that says”; but actually it is. All sin is immoral, impure, and greedy; and the wages of sin is eternal death. The Good News is, through the blood of Jesus Christ; you can be saved. When a person is saved, (born again); they are a new creation. When God looks upon His children, He sees perfection because He sees the blood of Jesus. Jesus is your only avenue to Heaven.

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