Ephesians – Wayne Barber/Part 64
|By: Dr. Wayne Barber; ©2000|
|Filthiness, silly talk, coarse jesting. Dr. Barber explains why these types of things must not be part of a Christians vocabulary, and what the consequence are when they are in use.|
Don’t Be Deceived
Paul says something in verse 4 that I want to share it with you. In verse 4 it says there should be no filthiness and silly talk or coarse jesting. Every one of these three things have to do with immorality because he does not leave that context. The word “filthiness” means exactly what it says: talking openly in mixed company about things that are filthy, things that are unclean, things that God says are immoral and impure. Hopefully that never becomes a part of any of our conversations in the body of Christ.
Then Paul moves on to the next thing. It is not quite as distinct. It is the word “silly talk.” I thought for a while I could never again tell a joke. That is not what it is saying. “Silly talk” means that you take something that is shameful and you make it appear acceptable by the humor that you put into it.
Then he moves to the thing that starts the whole thing off, coarse jesting. It means to be talking to somebody, usually of another sex in this context, and you have a hidden agenda. You are baiting the person with what you are saying. You have a double meaning. You are seeing if they are going to listen to you so you can move to the silly talk and then to the filthiness which leads you to the greed which says, “I want something. I want to feel good.” That leads you to the impurity and then right into the immorality. Paul said, “Don’t you dare let any of that be a part of you.”
Then he goes on in verse 5 and says, “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.” Do you know where immorality comes from? You will always have immorality when you have idolatry. When I stop surrendering Jesus in my life, immediately in my flesh my old garment gets on and when I begin to worship myself instead of worshiping Jesus, immorality is going to take place of some kind.
Do you know why this kind of person doesn’t have an inheritance in the kingdom of God? Well, to have an inheritance, you have to be a child in the family. I want to tell you how all this fits together. We are children. We are beloved children, therefore, we have the nature of God, and we walk in love. You see, people who don’t have the nature of God, who aren’t God’s children, don’t have the inheritance. When my mother and daddy died, I was part of their inheritance. The family that you are in determines the inheritance you are going to get. In this family is the inheritance of the kingdom of God, the family of God, the family of Christ. There is another family. Jesus said in John, “Your father is the devil himself.” He has a spiritual family and there is no inheritance of God in it. There is an inheritance of nothing but the wrath of God to come.
Paul says, “You put this garment on. You can’t live that way and claim to know Jesus Christ if it is habitual and there is no conviction of sin in your life.” You see, when you become a Christian, something changes. You stop chasing sin. Sin starts chasing you. It doesn’t mean you can’t fall in one of those areas, but it means you cannot pursue it and claim to know Jesus Christ. The seed of God inside of you will not let that take place.
You’ve got to remember, when you receive Christ it is not some religious insurance policy, it is the heart change. The Spirit of the living God comes inside of you. That doesn’tmean that person can’t have tendencies and weaknesses and times of wearing the wrong garment and fall back into it and be pulled that way, but he cannot habitually pursue it anymore and call himself to be a Christian.
Verse 6 says, “Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. Therefore do not be partakers with them.” There are two things that I want you to see. First of all, don’t ever be deceived into thinking that immorality of any kind is ever acceptable to God. It is not acceptable to God. Look again at verse 6. “Let no one deceive you with empty words.” Now we have to realize what the word “deceive” means.
First of all for me to be deceived, I am going to have to trust you. I am not going to be deceived by someone who I already have a question about. It is going to be someone who has my ear. It is going to be someone who has my time. When I am listening to them, then I am going to be deceived. The word “deceive” means to be led astray. You are walking on a path and all of a sudden something gets your ear. You trust what you are hearing and all of a sudden you start turning that way. That is what it means to be deceived.
Sometimes we think of the word “deceive” and we think, “Not me!” Hey, look over at 6:11. When you put on Christ, when you put on the garment, you have also armed yourself against something. Look at verse 11. “Put on the full armor of God, that you may be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil.” Folks, he knows what our weaknesses are.
He knows how to get us all, and he works on us. Anyone who says they have arrived doesn’t understand spirituality. Spirituality is not an arrival. Spirituality is a pursuit until the day Jesus comes back. Just because you know a lot doesn’t mean you are free from this. The devil has millions of schemes. They are in three categories. I John 2:15 lists them as: the lust of the eye, the lust of the flesh, and the pride of life. The devil uses them to get us to move off track and to get us to be deceived into something.
The word “empty” there is the word that means empty, hollow. It is something that you think is one thing, but it ends up being devoid of anything. Paul says these people who are going to deceive you are going to use words that on the outside are going to be flowery and pretty and they are going to sound good. They sound good, but he says, “Don’t be deceived by those hollow apologies for immorality.” It is not a way of life for us anymore. You say, “I am not going to be deceived, especially at church.” Well, now, dear God I pray it will never happen, but let me show you how it can get into the church.
Look in Revelation 2. It is amazing how difficult times sometimes set the stage for the devil’s deceiving hollow words to get people to do what God says they should never do. Revelation 2 is the letters to the churches. Verse 18 is the one to the church at Thyatira. It says, “And to the angel of the church in Thyatira write: The Son of God, who has eyes like a flame of fire, and His feet are like burnished bronze, says this: ‘I know your deeds, and your love and faith and service and perseverance, and that your deeds of late are greater than at first.’” Of course, this is a growing church. Things look good so far. Verse 20 goes on, “But I have this against you, that you tolerate the woman Jezebel.” I do not believe that is her name. If you will look in Israel’s history, you will remember there was a Jezebel who polluted all of Israel by getting them to marry into immoral, idolatrous situations.
Verse 20 continues, “who calls herself a prophetess, and she teaches and leads Mybond-servants astray, so that they commit acts of immorality and eat things sacrificed toidols.” You have to know what is going on here. The city of Thyatira really wasn’t much of acity. The real strategic place it played was that it had more trade unions than any other cityin all the continent of Asia Minor. Well, I am not so sure they called them unions, but theywere the same thing. If you were a baker and you wanted to sell something, you had to be a member of the baker’s union or you didn’t make a buck. All of the unions were tied into a local pagan cult. They would take their customers down to the temple where they had prostitutes playing the role of priestesses. They would have these illicit affairs. So therefore, if you were going to be in the union, you were tied directly to the immorality of the community. All of it was to make a buck and put it in your back pocket.
Now here is a little church in the midst of Thyatira. What are they going to do? How are they going to make their money? Well, a prophetess came in. She called herself a prophetess, and she began to teach. Maybe it was a Bible study in her house. She began to teach. I don’t know what she said. Whatever it was, she got their ears because evidently to deceive you have to have the ear of somebody. To be deceived you are going to have to be in their company. You are going to be impressed with them. They are like candy-colored stuff that doesn’t have anything on the inside. She taught these believers, these bondservants, there that they could actually participate in all the illicit stuff that was going on in the city and still claim to be a Christian.
You see, it can get in the church. You may be in the church and nobody really knows about you. You are filled with immoral thoughts and immoral things and you are trying to come beside other people and find the weak people and begin to pull them off the trail and lead them astray. The apostle Paul says, “Don’t let people do it. Don’t let them lead you astray with empty words into thinking you can participate in anything that has to do with that which is immoral or that which is impure. Don’t be deceived.”
Secondly he says those who deceive you, those people who do that, are children of the devil himself. “Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience.” Paul uses huios for “sons” there. Huios means “I have grown up and I am in full agreement with my father.” Now you know the father is not the one we have. It must be the other one. Their father is the devil. As a matter of fact, they are working as a reflex action of the devil himself. They are in the body of Christ pulling believers off the trail and making them think they can live immoral and impure lives.
Go back to chapter 2 and I’ll show you where he uses that phrase again. He is talking about people with no spiritual life in themselves. 2:1 says, “And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience.” You see, we used to live according to that same spirit. We all did. But now we have a brand new spirit in our life. It is the Spirit of God. So Paul says, “Don’t go back. The people who would deceive you into thinking immorality can be accepted in any form are sons of the devil himself, straight out of hell.”
Paul goes on to say the wrath of God is coming upon them. The word “comes upon them” is in the present tense. I want you to see this. Look in Romans 1:18. You think God is not doing anything right now? Look at Romans 1:18. God is already allowing His wrath to be seen in people like this. Look at this. “For the wrath of God is “being” revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness.” Now some of you are saying, “Oh, come on. I don’t see them suffering at all.” Folks, remember, they are corrupting at all times. The worse they get, the more intense God’s wrath becomes and they are coming side by side, parallel.
Why are we sinners saved by grace? Why? Because Jesus took all that wrath uponHimself. You see, folks, it is either receive the Lamb or take the wrath. Which do you want?Help yourself! “Well, I kind of like my immorality. I kind of enjoy pleasing myself.” You want the wrath, help yourself. But brother, don’t call yourself a believer. Remember this, Ephesians raises our view of salvation. We are living in a time when our view of salvation is about a sub-zero standard. People don’t think much about being saved anymore. If they did, they would live differently. If they had a high view of salvation, they would have a high view of Christ. They’d have a high view of God’s Word. We would see a revival break out that hasn’t been seen since the 1700’s. We’ve been pulled so far off dead center, I wonder how long it is going to take us to get back. Well, it is coming.
By the way, that word “is coming” is present tense. It is also used of the Lord Jesus coming for us. He is coming. He is the coming One. You know some people look at me and say, “Oh, I don’t believe in the rapture of the church.” Well, that’s okay. Stay here if you want to, but I am going! He is coming for us. What does it say? He is going to deliver us. Why would God have to take His church out of this world? Because the sin that is in the world is going to receive His full wrath with no mercy. You can’t put a Christian in the world when God does that. He is going to take us out of here, folks. We will have to stand accountable at the Bema Seat of Christ for our works, but that is supposed to be a good thing, not a bad thing. Most people are scared of it, because they are not living like they ought to live. Put the garment on and you won’t have to worry about it anymore. Perfect love casts out that kind of fear.
Then Paul goes on in verse 7 and says, “Therefore do not be partakers with them.” The word “partakers” means don’t get in there and participate in what they are participating in. It doesn’t mean don’t associate with them. I mean, we are to win the world for Christ, but friend, when your association becomes participation, look out. There is a fine line in there somewhere.
Don’t date them. Don’t marry them. Don’t make partners with them in business. You’d better watch your association with them. You never use an emotional means to accomplish a spiritual end. Every time you say something like this, people are drawing back and say, “How can we reach the world for Jesus?” That’s not what I am saying. They usually say that because they are dating somebody or they are friends with somebody. When they are with them they get to do what they want to do and nobody is around to convict them. They kind of like that. They say, “Oh, but we will win them to Jesus.” Yeah, 99.9% of the people who have tried that have been sucked right into what they were up to. You’d better make sure God tells you to do it. If God tells you to do it, don’t even ask me, go do it. Don’t even think about it. But you had better be careful, because there is a fine line. Don’t participate in what they are participating in or you are going to end up just like them, sucked into that corruptible old man that you don’t want to get into anymore.
Well, that’s tough, but that is not the end of the message. You may have fallen into any of these areas. You’ve made mistakes. I have made mistakes in those areas. Remember, spirituality is not an arrival. Don’t you ever look down your nose at somebody who is struggling in this area. There is something we need to hear. We have all the spiritual blessings in Christ we will ever need. One of those blessings is forgiveness. Oh, thank God for forgiveness! We have grace. Grace is what deals with the sin. Grace is forgiveness.
I want you to know something else. We have mercy. This is the hard part. Mercy is to help us bear up under the consequences of our stupid choices when we put the other garment on, when we were misled and go the other way. Mercy is a wonderful word but it is kind of a hard word because what it suggests when we make those choices, we will bear the consequences. Folks, some of us are living today with scars of wrong choices in the past. But I want you to know, there is good news in Jesus Christ. Today could be the first day of the rest of your life if you will just come and say, “Lord Jesus, I’m sick of it. I don’t want it anymore. I agree with you. My life is not somebody else’s fault. It is my own choices. Lord, thank you for your forgiveness. Give me the mercy now to bear up under the pain of the consequences I have to bear.”
There are ways that God can mend, folks. God can heal. Don’t ever think that He is condemning you because you have made a stupid choice. Everyone has made a stupid choice when it comes to things we have talked about. I want you to know the good news is the grace of God, the forgiveness of God and the mercy of God. You may bear a consequence. You will probably not escape that. I have scars all over me from not wearing the right garment. Don’t love Him just for His grace and mercy. Maybe God can heal you by letting you know He still loves you. Ephesians 1 says He loved you before He ever made you, before you ever did anything, which means you can’t do anything to keep Him from loving you. He still loves you, and He is the answer whether you have made a mistake or not.
I tell you what, the more I am seeing this new garment as a lifestyle, the easier it is to understand why I need to be strengthened in the inner man by the spirit of God.