Sermons

Summary: 40th in series from Ephesians dealing with a pure life.

“Living In Purity”

Ephesians 5:3-14

REVIEW

I. Our Wealth and Worth In Christ 1-3

II. Our Worthy Walk in Christ 4-6

A. Live in Unity 4:1-16

B. Live in Newness of life 4:17-24

C. Live in Love 4:17-5:2

Introduction

Not only does the way we treat one another distinguish us as Children of God but also how we conduct our personal lives from day to day. Our behavior identifies us as either as children of the light or as sons of disobedience. God instituted a code of conduct that corresponds to the original image He imbedded in every human being. That standard functions like a manufacturer’s operating manual for a complicated piece of machinery.

Most radios don’t perform well underwater unless specifically designed that way.

Diesel engines don’t run too well on gasoline.

Lawn mowers need oil to function efficiently.

Humans were designed to best function according to a specific standard handed down by the divine designer. That standard covers every area of function from physical health to relational health, to spiritual health to national health.

When we don’t, things fall apart.

Marriages disintegrate

Psychological disorders proliferate

Life spans diminish

Physical diseases multiply

Government and society plunge toward complete meltdown.

The Ephesian culture had strayed far from God’s standard; not unlike today’s culture.

These brand new converts to the “New Way” had grown up in a highly sensualized culture.

Ephesus was one of the most degenerate and evil cities in Asia Minor. It served as a religious center, with multiplied temples and idols. The worship in Ephesus focused particularly on the goddess Diana (Gk., Artemis), often represented by an ugly multi-breasted beast.

The temple of Diana was one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, and served as more than a religious center. It was an art museum with one of the world's largest collections of art treasures. A quarter mile-wide perimeter served as an asylum for criminals. It was the greatest bank in the world. A sacred temple was the perfect place for a bank in those days because the people feared reprisal from the gods. And it was also a place of business. Pilgrims came by the thousands to worship there. Where sex is the chief aspect to a religion, it will be extremely popular. Silversmiths made a fortune selling thousands of little idols there. The people would put those idols in their homes, hang them around their necks, wear them on their wrists or ankles, and some even fastened them to the front of their chariots. Acts 19:23-41 records the events surrounding a revolt of silversmiths who feared Paul's preaching would ruin their business.

Diana was worshiped as a sex goddess. Scores of eunuchs, priestesses, temple prostitutes, singers, and dancers led the people in their worship, which was nothing more than a great orgy. One writer said that the worship was a type of hysteria where the people, with shouts and music, worked themselves into frenzies of shameless sexual activity, including mutilation. Heraclitus, a Greek philosopher, from Ephesus of the fifth century before Christ, often criticized the morals of his city and the temple (cf. Diogenes Laertius: Lives of Emminent Philosophers, 2 vols., R.D. Hicks, ed. [N.Y.: Putnam, 1925], 2:409-10).

The temple was serviced 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 intercourse as an act of worship and regarded it as normal and proper, even religious, a sign of dedication. (Steadman)

The church in Ephesus was like an island in a cesspool. What a vile, sinful world those early Christians had to live in! That's why Paul urged them to be different. (MacArthur)

To the people surrounded by those who viewed such deviant behavior as not only accepted but revered, Paul issued some clear instruction. How do we not only survive but excel in such a culture? Unfortunately, the things that had become a way of life in the time of the Ephesian church are rapidly becoming more and more practiced and accepted in the culture of our day.

God instructs all true followers of Christ to imitate the one true God who is not only love but holy. He calls us to be holy just as He is holy. He Himself is infinitely separated from all that is contrary to His own moral law. Holiness has to do with complete separation from evil as defined by God’s written standard. It is every Christian’s ultimate destiny to be holy as Jesus is holy as well as to live even now as Jesus lived; both loving and pure.

Christians are to not only be known by their genuine love, but by their godly life. So much of the New Testament deals with living differently than the world around us. Jesus told His disciples that even though they lived in the world system, they were not to part of the world. (John 17:16)

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