Summary: 41st message in the series from Ephesians continuing with the admonition to live in purity.
“Living In Purity”
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 4:17-24
D. Live in Purity 5:3-14
Paul isolated two specific groups of people in this section of his letter. He contrasted the sons of disobedience (those who reject God’s standard) and the children of light (those who embrace God’s standard). He provided specific instruction for children of light living among the sons of disobedience.
Avoid all involvement in the deeds of darkness or with any who practice them.
Live like grateful children of light who please God by their life and expose evil in the world.
1. Guard your reputation 5:3-6
2. Guard your associations 5:7-10
3. Guard your lifestyle / practice 5:11-14
Last week I unpacked the basic content of this passage. This week want to suggest some specific applications to our present culture. There is a fine line between Biblically exposing evil and crossing the line into shameful conversation concerning the details. The Bible never backs away from the subject of sensuality and sexuality. The subject runs all the way through the Bible. The good, the bad and the ugly gets exposed for what it is. It is a subject that is a massive problem not only in our culture but even in the church. It is the proverbial elephant in the room that is obvious to all but intentionally avoided by most.
Paul was clear that sexual and sensual behavior should not even be named in the church.
There should not even be a hint of such behavior among members of God’s eternal kingdom.
Unfortunately it is not only named but at times is considered normal. As I mentioned last week, the Bible addresses sensuality as well as sexual immorality. Sensuality is not necessarily sexual. Sexual immorality is an all-consuming sensuality. What qualifies something as sensuality rather than just a normal function of the senses? Something sensual merely deals with the senses. We are sentient beings. We feel, we hear, we see, we taste, we touch.
God made us that way. We are also spiritual beings with the capacity to function on another mysterious but real level. This is the level of connection to God who is spirit. Our connection to God through the spiritual aspect of our being must be primary. True Meaning and purpose in life can only be found through intimate relationship with our Creator.
Satan succeeded in diverting Adam and Eve’s focus from their dependence on Him for life to seek life on their own terms without God. Rather than living in daily dependence on God, Satan suggested the possibility of becoming equal with Him. (Be like God!)
Of course he himself had already tried that and failed miserably but he knew such a focus would severely sabotage humanity’s union with God. He succeeded in causing them to become self-focused rather than God-focused.
When we seek meaning and life primarily from the things that appeal to our senses rather than deeper connection with God, our life focus becomes sensual rather than spiritual. That focus dethrones God from His primary position and elevates things and experiences.
There is a rather simple but effective test to detect a sensual focus. For a time, eliminate all the things that directly appeal to our senses. Go on a fast from all the things that we turn to first when faced with the harsh reality of a fallen and painful world. Pay attention to the pangs of addiction. What do we depend on to bring solace and comfort from a difficult situation?
Where do we turn for relief from stress? They don’t call it comfort food for nothing. What do you do when you are stressed and tired and just want to “veg” and escape? We will generally engage in the things that stimulate the pleasure centers of the brain. Rather than process or endure pain, we do all we can to escape it.
Sensuality becomes addictive when we expect things that stir the senses to dull or postpone the pain, loneliness, boredom, fear, insecurity, disappointment, hopelessness, depression, discouragement. It may include a whole range of things and activities many of which are not evil in themselves. God says He has given all things for us to enjoy. We of all people have the capacity to enjoy life. Survey after survey indicates the excessive amount of hours people spend in sensory stimulation through the media. Television not only stimulates the senses but stirs us in much deeper as it imparts moving stories with vivid imagery that mark our very soul.
It provides a temporary escape from the harsh realities of our world. It relieves boredom.
It powerfully penetrates the hearts of America.