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Summary: 43rd in a series from Ephesians. How to view sex from God’s perspective.

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I don’t really know if there is intelligent life elsewhere in the universe. That’s not an issue that the Bible addresses either way. But let’s just suppose for a moment that an alien from elsewhere in the universe was to make his way to the earth, and to the United States in particular. And this particular being was able to observe our culture for a period of time and then return to his own planet. And when he returned, he was asked a whole lot of questions about what he observed. Finally, someone asked him, “From what you observed, who or what would you say is the God of this planet. Who or what do they worship?” How do you think the alien would answer that question?

I have no doubt that his answer would be a three letter word. And unfortunately that word would not be “G-o-d.” I’m convinced it would be

“s-e-x.” Every part our culture seems to be obsessed with sex – our music, our TV programs, our movies, our magazines and the internet are filled with it. I could bore you with endless statistics to support that premise, but I don’t think it is necessary. And since we live in the midst of all of this focus on sex, there is a tendency for us to think that things are far worse that they have ever been. But as we continue our study of Paul’s letter to the Ephesians this morning, I think we’ll discover that there really is “nothing new under the sun.”

Although we’re going to focus on verses 3 and 4, let’s begin reading in Chapter 5, verse 1 so that we can put our passage in the proper context.

Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. 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. Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving.

Ephesians 5:1-4 (NIV)

Beginning all the way back at verse 22 of chapter 4, Paul has been writing about how followers of Jesus Christ need to take off their old way of life and to put on clothing that is consistent with who they are in Jesus Christ. He has made it clear over and over again that we cannot continue to live the life that we once lived once we become Christians. This is true not just for us as individual believers, but it is also true for us as the body of Christ, the church.

When we last looked at Ephesians three weeks ago, you’ll remember that we found that as followers of Jesus Christ we are to imitate God by loving others in the same way that Christ loved us – with a giving, sacrificial love that loves even the unlovable. But Paul lived in a culture that was not altogether different from ours. It seems that the people of Ephesus had totally blurred the distinction between love and sex.

But, the problem was much more extensive than that. In this very city of Ephesus, to which Paul’s letter is addressed, there was a temple to a pagan goddess, Artemis, who was also known as Diana to the Romans. The worship of Artemis was made possible by a multitude of young priests and priestesses who gave their bodies to whoever could pay the price, as an act of worship. The whole city accepted sexual immorality as an act of worship and regarded it as normal and proper, even religious.


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