Sunday June 13th
I heard a story about this Scottish man who was walking around in New York City when he happened to look in one of the shop windows and saw a sign that caught his eye. The sign said, "Suits $10.00 each, Shirts $4.00 each, Trousers $5.00 per pair". He thought to himself, "I could buy a whole lot of those, and when I get back to Scotland, I could sell them for ten times the price and make a fortune".
So he goes into the store and says, “I'll take fufty suits et $10.00 each, fufty shirts et $4.00 each, and fufty pairs of trousers et $5.00 each.”
The owner of the shop asks, 'You're from Scotland, aren't you?'
'Well... Yis,' says the surprised man. 'How dud you know thet?'
The owner says, 'This is a dry cleaners!'
Speaking of walking around, in the opening verses of Chapter 5, Paul addresses how we are expected to “walk” as Christians:
Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children; 2 and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma.
First, he says “be imitators of God”.
We imitate God by walking in holiness. And we can also say that ONLY holy behavior imitates God because He is completely holy.
The second thing that Paul challenges us to do, as a part of walking in holiness, is to “walk in love.” And if there is any question about what kind of love we are asked to walk in, Paul spells it out for us; “just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us.”
So, the kind of love that we are asked to imitate and to walk in is a very self-sacrificing love, which imitates Jesus’ willingness to lay down His life for others.
That’s not an easy love to walk in, but the only alternative to walking in holiness and walking in love is to return to our “former lusts”. And Paul is going to explain next why that’s just totally unacceptable:
3 But immorality or any impurity or greed must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints; 4 and there must be no filthiness and silly talk, or coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks. 5 For this you know with certainty, that no immoral or impure person or covetous man, who is an idolater, has an inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God.
If we’ve been restored to a right relationship with God, then we aren’t sinners anymore, we’re saints! And it’s not “proper” for saints to act like sinners!
Things like immorality, impurity, greediness, filthy or even silly talk, or coarse jesting (like telling dirty jokes) don’t match our new profile. And it’s clear that none of those behaviors could be said to “imitate” God.
This isn’t something that God takes lightly.
He is serious about our restoration. And He is serious about holiness. And He is going to punish those who willfully disobey Him. Look at what verse 6 says:
6 Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience.
So, if ungodly people and their ungodly behaviors are going to be judged God, how should we, as born-again believers, relate to them?
Paul explains it all here in verses 7-14
7 Therefore do not be partakers with them; 8 for you were formerly darkness, but now you are Light in the Lord; walk as children of Light 9 (for the fruit of the Light consists in all goodness and righteousness and truth),
10 trying to learn what is pleasing to the Lord. 11 Do not participate in the unfruitful deeds of darkness, but instead even expose them; 12 for it is disgraceful even to speak of the things which are done by them in secret.
13 But all things become visible when they are exposed by the light, for everything that becomes visible is light. 14 For this reason it says,
And arise from the dead,
And Christ will shine on you.”
Paul says “you were formerly darkness, but now you are Light in the Lord.”
In verse 13 he says, “all things become visible when they are exposed by the light”.
The very presence of Christians in dark circumstances and environments is designed to expose sin through the contrast between how it looks when we walk in the light and how it looks when those around us walk in darkness.
Keep in mind that the key question that always arises when believers spend time with unbelievers is this: “Who is going to rub off on whom?”
That’s why Paul’s next words are:
15 Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, 16 making the most of your time, because the days are evil. 17 So then do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. 18 And do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit, 19 speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord; 20 always giving thanks for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God, even the Father.
Paul says that for believers in Jesus Christ, the true path to worship isn’t found through wine, but by being filled with the Spirit.
And one of the ways that we live the spirit-filled life is by doing what verse 21 says next:
“and be subject to one another in the fear of Christ.”
The reason that I want to highlight that last phrase, about being subject to “one another”, is that it holds the framework for everything else that Paul is going to say for the rest of chapter five.
Unfortunately verse 22 is often looked at separately, as if it’s not just a part of the larger discussion of MUTUAL submission:
22 Wives, be subject to your own husbands, as to the Lord.
But I’m going to ask my wife to share about that.
23 For the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ also is the head of the church, He Himself being the Savior of the body. 24 But as the church is subject to Christ, so also the wives ought to be to their husbands in everything.
25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her
26 so that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, 27 that He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she would be holy and blameless.
28 So husbands ought also to love their own wives as their own bodies. He who loves his own wife loves himself; 29 for no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ also does the church, 30 because we are members of His body. 31 For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and shall be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh. 32 This mystery is great; but I am speaking with reference to Christ and the church.
33 Nevertheless, each individual among you also is to love his own wife even as himself, and the wife must see to it that she respects her husband.