To Be an Imitator of God, Here is What Not to Do, Part 3 — Ephesians 5:4 (Revive the Family, Revive the Church, Awaken the Nation #6)

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A series of homilies on Ephesians 5 & 6

A homily is “a short talk on a religious or moral topic; a usually short sermon; a lecture or discourse on or of a biblical theme.”


I am sharing a verse-by-verse series of short messages on Ephesians 5 & 6 (as well as other passages of Scripture) specifically targeted at reviving families and encouraging and exhorting husbands, wives, fathers, mothers, and children to do what God has commanded them to do, for if the church is to be revived and the country is to be awakened, the family must be revived first.

Ephesians 5:1-4:

1 Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children;

2 And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour.

3 But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints;

4 Neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient: but rather giving of thanks.

——-

In verses 1 & 2, we saw how we should be imitators of God, and that part of imitating God is loving others in a self-sacrificial way as Jesus Christ loved us. In the 3rd verse, Paul begins to tell us some things that we should not be doing as followers of Christ. Today, we are continuing to look at these things as we focus on verse 4.

Jeremy Taylor said, “He that loves not his wife and children feeds a lioness at home, and broods a nest of sorrows.”

We have already discussed how Christians should not be engaged in filthiness or obscenity in words or deeds; we have also seen how we should not indulge in “foolish talking” or talk that has no eternal value. The third issue addressed in this verse is jesting or constant joking especially about matters that are sinful or serious. God wants His children to be happy and joyful and to express that joy (even through clean humor), but He also commands us to be “grave” in our behavior, that is to take life seriously and to take God, His Word, and His work seriously.

In Titus 2:7, Paul told Titus that his life was to show forth “a pattern of good works: in doctrine shewing uncorruptness, gravity, sincerity.”

1 Peter 5:8 says, “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.”

Titus 2:12 says, “Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world.”

1 Peter 4:7 says, “But the end of all things is at hand: be ye therefore sober, and watch unto prayer.”

The word “gravity” simply means “the characteristic of a thing or person which entitles to reverence and respect, dignity, majesty, sanctity.” We ought to ascribe such reverence and respect to God and the things of God. The word “sober” means “to be in one’s right mind, to exercise self control, to think of one’s self soberly, or to curb one’s passions.” We ought to have a serious outlook on our lives and on the lives of others particularly in these perilous times when so much is at stake.

Warren Wiersbe says about this passage, “In Ephesians 5:4 Paul warned against sins of the tongue, which, of course, are really sins of the heart. It is not difficult to see the relationship between the sins named in Ephesians 5:3 and those in Ephesians 5:4. People who have base appetites usually cultivate a base kind of speech and humor, and often people who want to commit sexual sins, or have committed them, enjoy jesting about them. Two indications of a person’s character are what makes him laugh and what makes him weep. God and the saint of God sees nothing humorous in obscene language or jests. ‘Foolish talking’” does not mean innocent humor but rather senseless conversation that cheapens the man and does not edify or minister grace to the hearers. Paul is not condemning small talk because much conversation falls into that classification. He is condemning foolish talk that accomplishes no good purpose.
Jesting is a translation of a word that means “able to turn easily.” This suggests a certain kind of conversationalist who can turn any statement into a coarse jest. The gift of wit is a blessing, but when it is attached to a filthy mind or a base motive, it becomes a curse. There are quick-witted people who can pollute any conversation with jests that are always inconvenient (out of place). How much better it is for us to be quick to give thanks! This is certainly the best way to give glory to God and keep the conversation pure.”

The story is told of a Christian woman who attended an anniversary dinner in honor of a friend, not knowing that there would be a program of low comedy following the meal. The so-called comedian tried to entertain the crowd with coarse humor that degraded everything that the Christian guest held to be sacred and honorable. At one point in the program, the comedian’s throat became dry. “Please bring me a glass of water,” he called to a waiter. At that point the Christian woman added, “And bring a toothbrush and a bar of soap with it!” To be sure, soap in the mouth will never cleanse the conversation, but she made her point.

Paul says these things — filthiness, foolish talking, and jesting — are “not convenient,” that is, they are improper or unbecoming of a Christian. Instead of foolish talking and jesting, we ought to use our tongues for praise and thanksgiving of God in public and in private and for edification and admonishment of others in public and in private.

Let’s pray.

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