Summary: In this sermon I discuss several of the admonishions given to us by Paul as to how Christians should live their lives.
The Path of Purity
Text: Ephesians 5:1-7
By: Ken McKinley
Now before I begin let me just say that this sermon is rated NC17, no one under 17 is admitted without an adult… just kidding, but I bet I got some of your attention there didn’t I? There is a slogan today in marketing and advertisement that is truer than we would like to admit. And that slogan is this: Sex Sells!
Sexuality forms the basis of 90% or more of advertising today. Sitcoms always seem to get the most canned laughter from a sexual situation. Movies push it, or at the very least insinuate it, newsstand magazines advertise it, and the internet is full of it. And it seems like many people today see traditional morality as outdated as a horse and buggy.
Throughout history; humanity has struggled with this, in nearly each and every culture. We tend to think that sexual liberation happened in the 1960’s but that’s not at all true. The fact of the matter is that even in Paul’s time, and before there were people who were just as immoral, and lust as promiscuous as there are today.
When Paul wrote to Ephesus, he was writing to a sex-saturated society. The temple of Diana had paid temple prostitutes whose only job was to satisfy the so called worshipers who came there. But in our text we see Paul doing what he did so well; rocking the cultural boat, upsetting the immoral apple-cart, and being the firebrand that God had called him to be. And the great thing about this is that Paul’s words are just as important and just as practical today as they were nearly 2000 years ago.
So what does Christ’s death and resurrection have to do with my sexual behavior? Everything! Does God even care about this? Absolutely!
Now when we read this we need to remember that Paul was writing to the Saints in Ephesus, he wasn’t directing this letter to unbelievers who practiced immorality, he was directing it to believers who participated in immorality.
So what does God command regarding this issue? Well lets look at our text again (Read)
The word that Paul uses is the Greek word porneia, it’s where we get our word pornography. The broad term refers to any sexual activity that is outside of marriage. And like I was saying, this is a real problem with many people today. The pornography industry in one of the fastest growing industries in the world today, and even during our recession the pornography industry hasn’t really taken any kind of hit in its overall income. Just to give you an idea of how rampant this junk is in our society today I’m going to compare the pornography industry with some other well known companies. The pornography industry makes an average of $8 to $10 billion dollars a year. That’s more than the NFL, the NBA, Major League Baseball combined. It’s more than the Walt Disney corporation makes (though I think the argument could be made that Disney is involved in the porn industry).
The word that the NKJV translates as uncleanness is sometimes translated as impurity and it is often used to describe decaying bodies rotting away in a grave. Paul uses it here to describe the internal condition of a persons heart – that is rotting away because of sin.
The next word – covetousness is the Greek word pleonexia. Paul puts this word with the first two, fornication and uncleanness, and so when we look at the context we see that he’s not talking about coveting money or wealth, he’s talking about a hunger that drives a person to seek out filth and perversion. And the root of that is selfishness, self satisfaction. The Bible tells husbands to love their wives as Christ loved the Church, and gave Himself for her. Wives are supposed to submit to the authority of their husband. Both of these things are sacrificial, and both of them slap selfishness in the face. Now here’s the thing guys… If I’m not loving my wife as Christ loves the church, then I have no right to expect her to submit to my authority as head of the household. And if a husband or wife is seeking satisfaction outside of marriage then 9 times out of 10 they are seeking to satisfy themselves rather than their spouse. And usually that happens because somewhere along the way, the God-given design for marriage has broken down. Maybe the husband stopped loving his wife sacrificially and she felt she wasn’t getting her needs met and so she strayed, or maybe the husband was giving of himself sacrificially and the wife wasn’t reciprocating with respect and so he felt he wasn’t getting his needs met and so he strayed. In both of those instances both the husbands and wives were guilty of sin.