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.
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.]
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.