Summary: WISDOM IN WATCHING AND WALKING (EPHESIANS 5:1-21)
WISDOM IN WATCHING AND WALKING (EPHESIANS 5:1-21)
On the third day of the Chinese New Year more than ten of us from two fellowships headed to the Peak at my suggestion because I used to walk there with Doris and her sisters on the third day of the year since the third day is traditionally not a day to visit relatives. It was a crowded day. Of course, we have to use the restroom before we start for the hour-long circular walk.
It was a tricky situation without Doris’ sisters as we were not familiar with the lanes. Doris’ sisters did not join us because they had to walk with her fellowship a few days later. There were three lanes next to each other, one enter, one exit, and a middle lane to another direction leading to a garden and some buildings nearby. I led the group to the middle lane and had to backtrack after taking a few pictures at the lovely garden.
It took me at least more than halfway the walk before I remember one particular song we sang together, with me providing the echo previously to every line she sang. In the end I remembered the song “Unto Thee O Lord.” The walk was fine but the day was getting dark because we left after Sunday church lunch and began walking near 5 p.m. After we took a group picture the daylight was gone, so I was pleasantly surprised and quietly thankful.
It would have been better if we took a different entrance.
Every time I say, 'no', my kid hears, ask again, she didn't understand the question
Every time I say I don’t, I do.
The prohibitions “not” occurs nine times in the passage till verse 21 – “mede” in verse 3, “ouk” in verses 4 and 5, “medeis” in verse 6, “me” in verse 7, 11, 15, 17 and 18.
The conjunction “therefore” (vv 1, 7, 15) perfectly and passionately separates the three sections, with the verb “walk” (vv 2, 8, 15) placed in its context.
What progress are we making in our walk with God? What pitfalls are we to avoid? What pace are we to follow?
Be Separated as Saints
1 Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children 2 and 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. 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. 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.
“Is the sermon done?” asked one member of the congregation of another. “No, the preacher is done, but the sermon has to be worked out in our lives,” replied the practical listener. (from Illustrations of Bible Truths # 554)
I prefer to start in verse 1 because verse 3 begins the prohibitions stated in the negative whereas verse 1 stated it positively, proactively and passionately, even though it is not easy to hear. There are three “be” imperatives in the chapter, in verses 1, 7 and 17. The first imperative in the chapter is “be” plus “imitators,” as favored by NASB, RSV and ESV, more than just “follow” (KJV, NIV). Follower (v 1) is derived from “mimetes,” where we get the word “mime,” or “mimic,” not necessarily the pace of following, but the person to imitate.
Verse 2’s “walk in love;” walk is the verb, the “what” - the action, behavior, conduct, deeds. Walk is short and simple, slow and steady, and most of all, step by step and side by side. Our example of love, as always, is the sacrificial, selfless and sweet-smelling love of Christ.
The prohibitions, as contrasted with the imperatives, begin with the strongest possible “no” (mede) or literally “not even.” Verse 3’s “hint/name” is call (Acts 19:13) – identified, found, caught, charged. NIV’s “hint” is weak, lame. First we are followers/imitators, then children (v 1) and finally saints (v 3).
Fornication (v 3), and all uncleanness, or covetousness, filthiness (v 4), nor foolish talking, nor jesting. Fornication is physical, uncleanness is spiritual, covetousness is relational, foolish talk and jesting is social.
Fornication (v 3)
(porneia) Uncleanness (akatharsia) Covetousness (pleonexia)
greed Filthiness (aischrotes) shame, i.e. obscenity:
Foolish talking (morologia) Jesting
Hypersexual Spiritual Ethical Social Verbal Behavioral
There is a reason: no whoremonger, unclean person, covetous man, idolater will enter the kingdom of God. Inheritance means possession, portion and part or piece. Our earthly lusts are not worth the eternal loss. Our earthly pleasures are not worth the eternal pain. Our earthly desires are not worth the eternal damnation.