Realizing our Riches | Ephesinas 5: 3-4
Ephesians 5:3-4 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. Now Paul has shifted from what our walk in Love should be to what it is not. The pendulum swings on the word "But" from the positive to the negative from the do to the do not. In these two verses are six particular sins that are mentioned: Fornication, uncleanness, covetousness, all sins of the flesh and having their taproot in the heart, and filthiness(obscenities), foolish talking and jesting, all sins of the tongue also having their taproot in the heart. Fornication, as we know, is sex outside the blessed bond of marriage. Let me say as a side note that sex is a gift from God to be enjoyed in the bonds of marriage by husband and wife. Fornication robs the participants of the joy, blessedness and sacredness of the conjugal bond of marriage. Fornication takes hold of the fleshly pleasure and forsakes every other blessing of sex. For example, a child born in the bonds of marital sex is almost always seen as a blessing, but when a child is born of fornication it is seen as a shame and a tragedy. Do you see how fornication robs the blessedness of sex? Children are the byproduct of sex and in a right relationship you feel and proclaim the blessedness of God's blessing of children, in fornication that same act and same byproduct have been robbed of their blessedness. No wonder Paul said let it not be once named among you. Uncleanness is several times used in tandem with other sexual perversions (Romans 1:24, 2Cor 12:21, Gal 5:9). This uncleanness, I believe speaks of sexual perversions. There is no need to expand on all the different perversions of our day, but it suffices to say that there are many. Fornication is a perversion of God's blessing of sex and uncleanness is also deviation from God's original plan for sex. How has this blessing been distorted and misused in our day! Sex was intended for a married man and his wife, not for men with men or women with women, furthermore, not intended as an individual self-act. Now, I will not go any deeper than that but to say that uncleanness is rampant in our Churches. The church may not be full of fornicators, but how many are practicing uncleanness? Addicted to pornography and filling their minds with uncleanness. Paul is building in layers here, which leads us to our next sin in the list, covetousness. Paul started at the tip of the iceberg we all fear, fornication, and has quickly uncovered the making of that sin. Through covetousness and then uncleanness comes fornication. I would dare say that the number of readers who have dealt with fornication is lower than the number that have dealt with uncleanness but there is not one person who has not dealt with this taproot of covetousness. The desire for something that is not yours. That man or woman on the computer screen does not belong to you but you start looking and desiring them in your heart and then comes uncleanness, and before long that taproot that produced uncleanness further ripens to fornication. Fornicators didn't just wake up one day and decide that today I will fornicate; Rather by a slow process and an unchecked, covetous heart that longed after everything accept what God had given them. How many men have you known who weren't content with the house God gave them, the car God gave them, the job God gave them, and eventually even the wife God gave them? Covetousness manifests itself in many different areas of our life and if left unchecked it will manifest itself in every area of our life. It will lead to lying, thieving, uncleanness and even fornication. Covetousness is a sin known even by the most adherent to the law. Paul told us that he would not have known sin except the law told him not to covet, the law Paul referred to was that of Exodus 20:17 "Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour's."
Possibly one of the greatest Bible lessons on covetoness is that of Achan in Joshua 7: 21
"When I saw among the spoils a goodly Babylonish garment, and two hundred shekels of silver, and a wedge of gold of fifty shekels weight, then I coveted them, and took them; and, behold, they are hid in the earth in the midst of my tent, and the silver under it."
Achan and his entire family suffered from this sin of covetousness that lead to theft and death.
We all gasp in horror when we here of some case of fornication, but often other acts of covetousness are even applauded and mistaken for God's blessing. Friends, let it not be once named among you! Fornication and uncleanness are the byproducts of a covetous heart, which is contrary to the new nature that ought to govern and rule the heart of God's people and are not becoming of saints. The next three sins are sins of the tongue and the tongue is a revealer of the heart. Remember the words of Christ in Matthew 12:34? "O generation of vipers, how can ye, being evil, speak good things? for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh." Jesus told us that out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh, meaning if you will listen to someone long enough, you'll find out the content and sort of their heart. I have been around some men who only talk of business and making money, that was a revelation of their heart. Their heart was consumed with the love and gain of money. Have you ever been around a person whose speech was filthy, foolish, and full of indecent gestures? Rest assured that person’s heart was foolish, filthy, and indecent. All the sins Paul mentions have their taproot in the heart, and that is what we are to guard, our heart. If you want to stay away from fornication and uncleanness, then start by cutting the taproot of covetousness. If you want to stay away from filthy, foolish, incident conversation guard your heart. Paul ends on a good note as the pendulum swings back to a positive instruction, "But rather giving of thanks." A mouth that gives thanks is attached to a thankful heart, which is the opposite of covetousness. If you are truly thankful what you have you will not be looking at and longing after what your neighbor has. You will be "content with whatsoever things that you have." Paul ends with the cure for every sin mentioned, "giving of thanks." Be thankful for the house you live in, be thankful for the job God has given you, be thankful for the Church God has given you, be thankful for the spouse God has given you and that will lay the axe to that horrible taproot of covetousness. Your conversation will be that of thanksgiving and your life will be becoming of a saint and not a sinner.
According to the Riches of His Grace!