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The Unsearchable Riches of Christ, Pt 63

Retreating from sin, Pt 3.

Ephesians 5:3-20.

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6. Jesting. How careful we must be even in such a matter as humour. There is that which is allowed or lawful mirth. But it can very quickly degenerate and become offensive to others and to God.

II. NOTE THE SUBTLETY OF SIN INTIMATED.
1. Nature illustrates how sin can begin in a tiny insignificant way only to grow into a raging torrent. The rivers of the world. One snowflake, when joined by others can smother and paralyse the land.
2. The Bible records how sin may begin in a tiny insignificant way only to end in tragedy. The temptation of Eve, The mistake of Cain, Gen 4:3. The greed of Judas.
3. Hell will be filled as a result of sins which began in a tiny insignificant way. Amongst the Hitlers, the Pharaohs, the Judases, the antichrists, there will be sons and daughters of the righteous who were enticed to rejected their parents faith for the lie of the devil.

III. NOTE THE SEPARATION FROM SIN REQUIRED
“Let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints,” verse 3.
1. It is a mark of conversion that our mouths are cleansed. Hosea 2:17; Exodus 23:13; Joshua 23:7. “Their sorrows shall be multiplied that hasten after another god: their drink offerings of blood will I not offer, nor take up their names into my lips.” Psalms 16:4.
2. We are required to guard our lips. “I said, I will take heed to my ways, that I sin not with my tongue: I will keep my mouth with a bridle, while the wicked is before me.” Psalms 39:1. “Set a watch, O LORD, before my mouth; keep the door of my lips.” Psalms 141:3.
3. It is a mark of detestation when a thing is not spoken of. Television has been the chief means of making vileness acceptable, even amongst Christians.
4. How catching is sin when even the speaking of it can prove contagious. As a desire for food may be engendered by a mention of it, so it is with sin.

The Unsearchable Riches of Christ, Pt 62

Retreating from sin, Pt 2.

Ephesians 5:3-20.

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4. Filthiness. Col 3:8. It refers to shameful things being spoken of.
5. Foolish talking. Again we are faced with the fact that there is more wrong than we imagined in matters thought innocent by the most of us. That which is not positively good, is positively evil. God tells us the evil that a foolish tongue may become guilty of, James 1:26; 3:5-8. The tongue, ordained of God as the chief means of praising Him, was the devil’s means of corrupting mankind.]

The unsearchable riches of Christ, Pt 61

Retreating from sin

Scripture: Ephesians 5:3-20

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In the first two verses of this chapter we were called upon to seek to resemble God as much as in us lay. In the verses 3 to 20, we are called upon to retreat from impurity and uncleanness. There is always the negative as well as the positive aspects of holiness.
We will divide these verses up into a number of sections. We will commence with verses 3-4 and consider
Behaviour that becometh chastity.
How contrary to the ways and will of the world ought the Christian to be. That being so we must find ourselves ever battling against the ways of the world. The Christian life is a battle fought out in an alien environment. A sense of peace and well-being can only be enjoyed as we withdraw from the company and influence of this world. As a farmer would leave his labours in the field and seek the shelter of his home in a time of storm so it is with the child of God amidst the storms of sin that rage all around us. “And a man shall be as an hiding place from the wind, and a covert from the tempest; as rivers of water in a dry place, as the shadow of a great rock in a weary land.” Isaiah 32:2.  “For thou hast been a shelter for me, and a strong tower from the enemy.” Psalms 61:3.
Paul specifically deals with that which must be abhorred.

I. NOTE THE SPECIFICS OF SIN DETAILED.
He names seven sins. “Fornication, uncleanness, covetousness, filthiness, foolish talking, jesting.” Six is the number of the world in Holy Scripture and there is a comprehending of the desires of the world this list. It encompasses the full gamut of wickedness, 1 John 2:16.
1. Fornication. This sin headed the list. This is refers to unchaste behaviour between two unmarried persons. This was common amongst the heathen nations and in Corinth in particular and counted no sin. It is a common thing today and shows us to what we have been reduced in this land. There was a danger to those just delivered from heathendom that they might not hold the right view of this wickedness.
2. Uncleanness. This refers to immorality generally. It may be committed by evil thoughts, Matt 5:28, 2 Peter 2:14. By evil speech. “But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth.” Colossians 3:8.
3. Covetousness. Some may find it strange that such a sin is listed here. We view this as a minor matter. But as a flickering match is to a forest fire so is covetousness to raging greed and immorality.  2 Tim 3:3; Titus 1:7; 1 Pet 5:2; Eph 4:19. David — 2 Sam 11:1-2.
Having condemned gross practices, Paul now turns the sins of speech. It is not just sinful deeds but sinful words that are forbidden.
 

 

The Unsearchable Riches of Christ, Pt 60

Imitating God, Pt4

Ephesians 5:1-2. 

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III. SUCH HOLINESS IS A SWEET-SMELLING SAVOUR TO GOD
Our life takes on the fragrance of the cross when we walk in love.  What a contrast to the stench that sin emits! “For mine iniquities are gone over mine head: as an heavy burden they are too heavy for me. My wounds stink and are corrupt because of my foolishness,” Psa 38:4-5. “From the sole of the foot even unto the head there is no soundness in it; but wounds, and bruises, and putrifying sores: they have not been closed, neither bound up, neither mollified with ointment.” Isa 1:6. Such is man by nature. He is unwashed and foul in his sins. But grace changes him. He is washed and anointed with the grace of the Lord Jesus and takes on the perfume of the Saviour, Psalm 45:6-8. It is pictured in the following incident, John 12:3. This was the fragrance of love. How wonderfully that fragrance spreads.

1. It filled the house. Family, friends, neighbours should detect it.

2. It has filled the world. “Verily I say unto you, Wheresoever this gospel shall be preached throughout the whole world, this also that she hath done shall be spoken of for a memorial of her,” Mark 14:9.

3. It has reached heaven. The actions of love are pleasing to God. “But I have all, and abound: I am full, having received of Epaphroditus the things which were sent from you, an odour of a sweet smell, a sacrifice acceptable, wellpleasing to God,” Philippians 4:18.

Bright and shining lights in the Bible #27

Scripture: Hebrews 11:24. “By faith Moses, when he was come to years, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter,”

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1. For a time Moses was prepared to be considered the son of Pharaoh’s daughter. Such a position carried many privileges and pleasures! But the pleasures of this world cannot satisfy the soul of man – verse 25!
Man is a discontented creature because he was made to be God’s companion but sin drove him out of God’s presence. Consequently, though he knows it not, that is the source of man’s misery.
S. Cat answer 17. “The fall brought mankind into an estate of sin and misery.
S. Cat answer 19. “All mankind by their fall lost communion with God, are under his wrath and curse, and so made liable to all miseries in this life, to death itself, and to the pains of hell for ever.

Bright and shining lights in the Bible #26

Scripture: Hebrews 11:24

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Here is what I said to you back in March 20th, some 24 weeks ago as we started our study that day!

“We continue where we left off last Friday, in what may well be the last assembly for quite some time. We are living in strange times, boys and girls! The hand of God has brought the nations to this state of confusion, fear and weakness!”

Here is our text for today as we continue our study.

“By faith Moses, when he was come to years, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter,” Hebrews 11:24.

1. In his early life Moses was under two influences. His mother and then Pharaoh’s daughter, Exodus 2:8-10. One spoke of the heritage of Israel and the other of the glories of Egypt! It was a ‘heavenly’ and an ‘earthly’ influence.

The Unsearchable Riches of Christ, Pt 59

Imitating God, Pt3

Ephesians 5:1-2. 

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2. Such holiness will result in “giving”. Matt 20:25-28; John 15:12-13; Acts 2:45; 1 Cor 10:24, 33; 13:5; Gal 6:2; Philippians 2:2-8; 1 John 3:16.

3. Such actions prove our adoption. Brotherly love proves our regeneration. John 13:34-35; 1 John 3:17; 4:8; 20-21; 5:2.

The Unsearchable Riches of Christ, Pt 58

Imitating God, Pt2
Ephesians 5:1-2.

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II. THE LOVE OF CHRIST DISPLAYED UPON THE CROSS IS PARTICULARLY OUR PATTERN TO FOLLOW
It was on the cross that the love of God was most clearly displayed. Rom 5:8, 1 John 4:10.

1. Holiness is essentially walking in love. 4:32. Love ought to be the motive for every action. “Ye that love the LORD, hate evil: he preserveth the souls of his saints; he delivereth them out of the hand of the wicked,” Psalm 97:10. “The fear of the LORD is to hate evil: pride, and arrogancy, and the evil way, and the froward mouth, do I hate,” Proverbs 8:13. “And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth (our abiding state) in love dwelleth in God, and God in him,” 1 John 4:16. “Thou shalt not avenge, nor bear any grudge against the children of thy people, but thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself: I am the LORD,” Leviticus 19:18. Foundation of obedience—John 14:15.

The unsearchable riches of Christ, Pt57

Imitating God.

Ephesians 5:1-2.

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* These words are closely linked to the verses that have preceded.
* We must never let chapter divisions lead us to think that an entirely new matter is being considered now that we have moved to a new chapter.
* In the last verse of chapter 4, we have a call for us to exercise tenderness to other believers in imitation of God’s mercy toward us. That thought is continued and enlarged upon here. The word “therefore” inverse 1 confirms this.

I. THE CHRISTIAN IS AN IMITATOR OF GOD
The word “follower” is a translation of a word (mim-ay-tace) from which we get mimic. We are to mimic or imitate God.

1. We cannot imitate Him in His works of creation and providence but in holiness, compassion and mercy. “For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High,” Isaiah 14:13-14. This is the devil’s ambition. The actions of Christ as revealed in His word are our guide as we seek to obey the duties required of us.  Luke 6:35, Col 3:13.

2. We are to seek to imitate Him in motives also. It is heart conformity that is required. “And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us,” verse 2. It is not enough to produce words but the heart must be conformed, 1 John 3:18.

3. We need no other pattern. Even when good men call upon us to imitate them let it be limited to their conformity to Christ. “Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ,” 1 Cors 11:1. Here is where many make a mistake and become followers of men.

4. This is the whole purpose of God for us. “For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren,” Roms 8:29. “Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself,” Philippians 3:21.

5. What a motive is here presented to us for holiness of life. Imitation of our Heavenly Father is surely a natural instinct springing from our new birth. Such actions is characteristic of a son. It is the action expected of “dear children.” Knowing the favour that has been shown toward us, we will wish to act accordingly toward of God, the fountain of mercy and love.

The Unsearchable Riches of Christ, Pt 56

New Life in Christ, Pt3.

Ephesians 4:20-32. 

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III. HOW BENEFICIAL ARE THE CHANGES WROUGHT

What practical benefits accrue from sanctification, 25-32.

Paul here acts as the Christian’s valet. He seeks to assist in dressing the Christian in his new garments. We must not only learn the truth but we must practice it. “If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them,” John 13:17. We have not rightly laid hold on truth if it has not laid hold on us and compelled us to apply it in our lives. We have to STOP sin and START being holy.

How far-ranging is the impact of God’s Word upon the lives of God’s people. It touches upon every compartment.

1. Personal. There is an escape from the slavery of sin.
[1]. Alienation from God, cp 18, 30.
[2]. Decetion, cp 17, 25. Pagan life was endlessly deceitful and dishonest.
[3]. Devil, cp 18, 27.

2. Social. It has an impact upon our neighbours, Christian and non-Christian.
[1]. Honesty with our neighbours, 25.
[2]. Industry with our hands, cp 19, 28.
[3]. Witness to all, cp 17-19, 29.
[4]Gentleness, cp  26, 32. There is an anger that is not sinful, 2 Cor 7:10-11; Ps 97:10; Mark 3:5; John 2:15. And what of the wrath of God? There is an anger that is a reaction to sin. It is the opposite of the pagan who had no sense of outrage against siun, V 19. But we must control anger lest the devil exploit it, verse 27.

3. Spiritual. It impacts upon our relationship with God, verse 30. Here is the ultimate consideration that should drive us to holiness. How many grieve the Lord every day. The mouth is the chief source of grief when it ought to be the chief source of praise.