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Sin - Detox or Die

"But sexual immorality or any impurity or greed must not even be mentioned among you, as is proper among saints; and there must be no filthiness or foolish talk, or vulgar joking, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks. For this you know with certainty, that no sexually immoral or impure or greedy person, which amounts to an idolater, has an inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God.See that no one deceives you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. Therefore do not become partners with them;"
Good Morning Beloved,
Welcome to worship this Lord's Day!
We're so glad you're here with us
Have you ever wondered if there is any intelligent life left on the planet? Or if there ever was? 
We are living in an age when fornication, adultery, every form of sexual immorality and sin is running rampant. 

Every part our culture seems to be obsessed with sex and dominated by sex – our music, our TV programs, our movies, our magazines and the internet are literally filled with it. I could bore you with endless statistics to support that, but I really don’t think it is necessary. However, since we live in the midst of all of this focus on sex, there is a tendency for us to think that things are far worse that they have ever been. 
We are inundated, drowned, preoccupied, and our senses have been dulled to the potency of the attack that comes against us. As your pastor, I can tell you, it's tragic. It's a tragic thing. And as much as it saddens me to say, it has even made it's way into the church. How can this happen? We are called the children of God; we are called to imitate Him. These are not characteristics of children of God! These are not characteristics of children of God, these are characteristics of disobedience. Defiled, disobedient children.
As we continue our study of Paul’s letter to the Ephesians today, I believe that we’ll discover that it is really as Ecclesiastes 1:9 says, "What has been, it is what will be, And what has been done, it is what will be done. So there is nothing new under the sun."
Let's bow our heads in prayer.
Heavenly Father,
Father, Thank You for Your Word, for such clear truth. O Lord, we pray that through Your Word You will prepare our hearts, open our eyes, that we may be changed, that we will become more faithful and obedient, drawing us closer to You. Help us to see the areas within our lives that need to be changed, through Your Holy Spirit, lead us to walk worthy, to walk in love. Thank You for Your mercy and grace, when we fall short. Help us not to leap into sin, and bring us to repent when we lapse. That we would lead lives that are pleasing to You, that glorify You.
In Jesus' name
Today's Message: Sin - Detox or Die
This is a tremendously powerful and potent passage. In the society in which we live, I believe this portion of Scripture is incredibly important, especially for the church of Jesus Christ. Because we are not immune. We know this because we have all heard the headlines, or read the news of a church leader who fell into adultery, fornication and of those within the Catholic church, who would commit sinful acts with young boys. Satan is having a hay day my beloved brothers and sisters. 
Open with me your Bibles to the fifth book of Ephesians, today in our study, we will be looking at verses 3 through 7. I would like to encourage you to follow along with me as I read to get this set in our minds. Ephesians 5:3-7.
"But sexual immorality or any impurity or greed must not even be mentioned among you, as is proper among saints; and there must be no filthiness or foolish talk, or vulgar joking, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks. For this you know with certainty, that no sexually immoral or impure or greedy person, which amounts to an idolater, has an inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. See that no one deceives you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. Therefore do not become partners with them;"

Paul has been writing about how followers of Jesus Christ need to take off their old way of life and to put on clothing that is consistent with who they are in Jesus Christ. He has repeatedly made it clear, over and over again, that we cannot continue to live the life that we once lived once we become Christians. This is true not just for us as individual believers, it is also true for us as the body of Christ, the church.

When we last looked at Ephesians , I'm sure you’ll remember that we found that as followers of Jesus Christ we are to imitate God by loving others in the same way that Christ loved us – with a giving, sacrificial love that loves even the unlovable. However, Paul lived in a culture that was not altogether different from ours. It seems that the people of Ephesus had totally blurred the distinction between love and sex.

But, the problem was much more extensive than that. In this very city of Ephesus, to which Paul’s letter is addressed, there was a temple to a pagan goddess, Artemis, who was also known as Diana to the Romans. The worship of Artemis was made possible by a multitude of young priests and priestesses who gave their bodies to whoever could pay the price, as an act of worship. The whole city accepted this sexual immorality as an act of worship and regarded it as normal and proper, and even religious.

As Paul addresses this issue with the Ephesians, you will notice that he draws two very distinct contrasts in this passage, each of them introduced by the three letter word "but."You may want to circle or underline both occurrences of that word, in order to help you recognize those contrasts now, as we look at the passage and in the future, should you need them.
"But sexual immorality or any impurity or greed must not even be mentioned among you, as is proper among saints; and there must be no filthiness or foolish talk, or vulgar joking, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks."
We see in verse 3, Paul contrasts the love of Christ with the self-centered obsession with sex in the Ephesian culture. And then, at the end of verse 4, he contrasts that self-centered focus of the culture with the attitude of thanksgiving that was to be present among the followers of Jesus Christ.
Paul is using these two contrasts to exhort his readers to be different from the culture around them. Even though the rest of the world may have made sex their God, just as they have done in our day, that is not acceptable for those who are followers of Jesus Christ. So just as he has done previously, Paul instructs us to remove or put off the old and put on the new.
The point that Paul is making here, is that if God’s love and the love of God’s children is self-sacrificing, forgiving, and unconditional, then be assured that Satan will pervert that, and the love of the world will be selfish, self-centered, unforgiving, and conditioned on what it gains, not what it gives. Now I'm not denying that there aren't times when love, worldly love, human love, does reach a higher level than at other times. However, the basic commodity is self-serving, self-pleasure, self-gaining, and selfish, in other words, it is a conditional thing.
It never ceases to amaze me, the number of people who get divorced, because the other person no longer meets "their needs." Uh hello! Whoever said love was about meeting your needs? That's the problem with worldly love. It says "I love you, so what can you do for me?" 
Godly love says "I love you! What can I do for you?" See the difference? And you spend all you time searching for physical pleasure, self-gratification, chasing that illusive bubble, and if you want to chase your whole life longing to find the ultimate fantasy, you’ll wind up desperate, destitute, and alone never having realized it. I've seen it too many times. It is shallow, selfish, and sexual. That's why Satan sells it to the world and they buy into it. What amazes me, however, is the number of so called Christians, who fall into that trap.
And I can sum up the reasons for it in one statement: Christians today will not walk in love as God defines it. They just won't do it. That's why Paul says "But sexual immorality or any impurity or greed must not even be mentioned among you, as is proper among saints." As Christians, these things shouldn't even be mentioned among you! It's improper. In other words, we are not to allow it to infiltrate the body in any form – there should not even be a hint of it in our midst. Yet, you're forcing me to talk about.
As a footnote, the word "fornication" in its noun form is mentioned an astonishing 35 times in the New Testament. 35 times! Beloved, that's a huge problem. The word porneia means sex sin, and it means any kind, any kind of sexual sin. And it the root word from which get the English word "pornography." 
There is a term in the Greek, which means self-discipline, self-control, it's the word "egkrateia." Which by the way, is used 10 times in the New Testament, it is sometimes translated as temperance, but it always means self-discipline. What I'd like you to pay attention to, is the significance. The ancient Greeks used it to refer to sexual self-control, sexual self-control. They said it is the ability to transcend one’s passions, to transcend one’s own sexual desires. 
We see it in Acts 24:25, when Paul spoke to Felix. Let me just read that to you. "But as he was discussing righteousness, self-control,— enkrateias or egkráteia and the judgment to come, Felix became frightened and responded, “Go away for now, and when I have an opportunity, I will summon you." This was not a generalized message Paul was delivering here, he was nailing Felix to the wall about his relationship to his wife, Drusilla.
In our passage, Paul has arranged his instruction into two groups of three words. The first three deal with our actions and the second three deal with our words, or speech. And in both of these areas he makes it clear that we are to reject the world’s view of sex.

First, in our actions. Paul uses three words here to describe actions that had become totally acceptable in the Ephesian culture when it came to sex: Sexual immorality or porneia.

Jesus teaches in Matthew 5:32, "but I say to you that everyone who divorces his wife, except for the reason of sexual immorality, makes her commit adultery; and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery."

Upon further study of these words used, we find that it describes any kind of sexual activity that occurs outside the covenant of marriage. That very clearly includes the sexual immorality we see today: any kind of premarital sex, adultery, open marriages, it falls outside God's definition of marriage, pedophilia, prostitution and pornography. However, in the Ephesian culture of Paul’s day, those practices had become widely acceptable and were openly practiced, and without shame. Does this sound at all familiar?

The word impurity, comes from a medical term that described an oozing wound or something that was decaying, like a dead body. Paul often uses this word in combination with sexual immorality to describe the unrestrained sexual behavior that stems from a filthy decaying mind. 

In Romans 1:24, Paul says "Therefore God gave them up to vile impurity in the lusts of their hearts, so that their bodies would be dishonored among them." 

The phrase "sexual impurity" in this verse is the very same word Paul uses in Ephesians to describe the state of mind that leads to sexual immorality.

Then, there's greed. Greed. Although it is certainly proper to translate this word as "greed," the KJV translation of "covetousness" seems to be better given the context of this passage. Paul does not appear to be referring so much to greed in terms of material possessions as much as he is writing about the idea of coveting another person in a sexual sense.

I'd like to draw your attention to the three words that Paul uses here to characterize the way that the world views sex all have something in common. They all reflect the "If it feels good, do it" mentality that pervades our culture today. Sexual immorality, impurity and covetousness are all the natural result of a culture that focuses on "what’s in it for me." As we’ve already seen, that is in complete contrast to the kind of love that we are to exhibit when we imitate God, which is a love that is giving, selfless and focused on the needs of others and not on our own desires.

The reason that the kind of sex that Paul describes in this verse has become the God of our culture is because self has become the God of our culture. And unfortunately, even in the church, we have bought hook, line and sinker the lie that the reason that God has established the kinds of boundaries that Paul writes about here is because God wants to rob us of joy in our lives. Nothing could be further from the truth.

The boundaries that God has established are actually intended to protect us and to make sure that we receive all the blessings that God intends for us to enjoy in our sex lives. And, although I don’t need statistics from our own human experiences to prove that, there is certainly an abundance of evidence to confirm that God’s principles do work.

I’m not going to spend much time at all discussing the physical consequences that come from ignoring God’s boundaries when it comes to sex. We are all aware of the epidemic of sexually transmitted diseases in our world. And the fact is that if everyone refused to engage in sexual relations outside the covenant of marriage, we would halt the spread of those diseases and eliminate them in a generation. But sex is much more than just a physical act. There’s more to sex than mere skin on skin. Sex is as much spiritual mystery as physical fact. There are powerful emotional and psychological bonds that are created as well.

"Or do you not know that the one who joins himself to a prostitute is one body with her? For He says, “The two shall become one flesh.” But the one who joins himself to the Lord is one spirit with Him. Flee sexual immorality. Every other sin that a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body." 
God’s standards for sex are given for our benefit. God understands the powerful bonds that are created when two people engage in a physical relationship and how that such a relationship outside the covenant of marriage can hurt us deeply. 

Couples who engage in sex before marriage are far more likely to divorce. According to a study by the National Survey of Family Growth, engaging in premarital sex increases the odds of divorce by about 60 percent. The more promiscuous you are before marriage, the more likely you are to commit adultery after marriage.

Couples who live together before marriage are unlikely to marry. A Columbia University study found that "only 26 percent of women surveyed and a scant 19 percent of men" married the person they were living with. Another study showed that even if they do marry, couples who begin their marriages through cohabitation are almost twice as likely to divorce within 10 years compared to all first marriages.

People who have premarital sex run the chance of marrying someone who’s not right for them. Why? Because sexual intimacy can be emotionally blinding: it makes couples feel closer than they really are. The sexually active lose objectivity."

But Paul doesn’t just stop with our actions; he also deals with how we need to reject the world’s view of sex... In our speech. Again Paul uses three words to describe the kind of sexual talk that had become acceptable in the culture of Ephesus:

Obscenity. This word is rendered "filthiness" in the KJV and NASB. It refers to any kind of disgraceful speech. Today we would call it a "potty mouth or "trash mouth." It may be the kind of language that’s acceptable at the job site or in the locker room, but Paul makes it clear that it is not acceptable for those who are followers of Jesus Christ.

Unfortunately this kind of obscenity seems to be more and more accepted in our culture. Foolish, as it’s used here, refers to one who is foolish because he does not understand the things of God.
"The fool has said in his heart, "There is no God." They are corrupt, they have committed detestable acts; There is no one who does good."
In the context of this passage, it appears to refer to speech that ridicules God’s standards for sex. We certainly don’t have to look too hard to find a whole lot of that in our culture.

Coarse joking. This word literally means "well-turned." It is the idea of using a "well-turned" phrase by employing wit or humor in a vulgar sense. It includes the kind of innuendo that we increasingly see on TV, not just in the programs, but also in the ads. Obviously, Paul is just as concerned with immoral speech as he is with immoral action. 

There are dangers associated with immoral speech. One being, it doesn’t take sin seriously. When we joke or make light about that which is sinful, rather than condemn it, we are disregarding the seriousness of that sin. Another thing that tends to occur, is we push the envelope. Taking things a bit further each time. Then it becomes easier and easier to see just how far we can push the envelope. It’s just like any other sin. When we try to find our pleasure in sin, it takes more and more of that sin to satisfy us. That’s often leads to action

After a while, it’s no longer just inappropriate speech about immorality, because we actually move toward engaging in the behavior that we’ve talking about. Most affairs don’t start with physical action; they begin by talking about things that two unmarried people should never discuss.

Next, it demeans God’s gift. Sex is a gift from God, and when we joke about sex, we demean that gift. As we’ve seen consistently throughout Paul’s letter, it’s not just enough to reject the world’s view of sex.

When we begin to live our Christian, meaning we walk worthy, we thank God for the gift of sex.

"...but rather giving of thanks."

Paul could have taken a number of different approaches to deal with this issue. He could have merely reminded his readers of the Old Testament commandments that dealt with things like adultery or covetousness. He could have pointed out all the benefits of following God’s principles rather than the ways of the world. But I think Paul understood that the real issue was one of the heart. His readers were faced with a choice – they could either place their own selfish desires on the throne of their hearts and be just like the rest of the world or they could put God on the throne of their hearts and follow God’s plans for their lives.

So what is it that we are to be thankful for? Certainly given the context, we need to be thankful for the selfless love of Christ that Paul described in verse 2, which provides the means for our relationship with God. But in the more immediate context of verses 3 and 4, I think there is something more here. When Paul writes that the wrath of God comes on the sons of disobedience, he is implying that there is also a present and future aspect of God’s wrath that they will experience.

Although immorality and impurity have distorted how sex is viewed in our culture, sex itself is a gift from God to man, the kind of gift that James described in his epistle James 1:17. "Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow."

The problem is, that in order to respond to the world’s distortion and perversion of sex, Christians are often perceived, in some cases rightly so, as being totally opposed to it.

Overall, Christians have a bad reputation where sex is concerned. Why? Because they are thought to be totally against it. Quite frankly, that is understandable from the Christian point of view, because sex has been so demeaned and vulgarized by pagan society, especially our own, that much of what Christians say on the subject has been negative. But sex is not something for Christians to deplore, condemning it as evil. It is only the distortions we deplore, On the contrary, sex has been given by God, in and of itself good, and therefore is something for which we should be thankful, as Paul indicates.

Verse 5 is one of the passages, you will with look upon with delight or dread. Here Paul says "For this you know with certainty, that no sexually immoral or impure or greedy person, which amounts to an idolater, has an inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God."

Paul is very clearly writing about those who live a lifestyle that is consistently characterized by those sins and not those who occasionally fall into them. I think it's fairly safe to say, that most of us have at one time or another been guilty of one of the characteristics Paul mentions either in verse 5 or the previous two verses. I dare say, that as holy as many Christians think themselves to be, we were all sinners. And to some degree, even as believers, we do sin still.

John 7:24 teaches "Do not judge by the outward appearance, but judge with righteous judgment."

You may judge yourselves with favoritism, however, God does not judge so. The judgment of God rightly or literally is according to truth and will be without error and without partiality. When God's judgment is executed on those who indulge themselves in sin, it is based in truth. His judgment is not founded upon mere appearances, pretensions, or professions but upon the truth of the case. Do not expect when God judges that it will be by some other standard than the truth.

For those who are sons of God and have the Holy Spirit living in them, they will live their lives to please God. And when they do lapse into sin, they will be convicted of that sin and loathe it. They will be sincerely sorry for their sin and not just sorry that they got caught. They experience the kind of hurt and pain that David went through before he confessed his sin to God.

In contrast, those who are sons of disobedience will leap into sin because they live to please their sinful natures. They will love their sin because they love self more than they love God. That’s why Paul calls the covetous man an idolater. Someone who lives a lifestyle that is characterized by trying to please his own selfish desires has made a god out of self and is therefore an idolater.

In Closing..

There can be no doubt, based on what is in the Bible, that God has given us the gift of sex, not only for the purpose of reproduction, but also for our pleasure. If you doubt that, I invite you to do a detailed study of the Song of Solomon some time. That book is a beautiful love story that describes in explicit detail the physical relationship between a man and wife in which they both derive much pleasure from that aspect of their marriage relationship. When we’re thankful for God’s gift of sex in our lives, then we will seek to use it to please and honor Him. And in return, we will experience and abundant life full of joy and intimacy. But when we allow it to be distorted so that it escapes the boundaries of marriage, it will become an uncontrollable, destructive force in our lives.

Paul teaches us in I Corinthians 7:1-3, "Now concerning the things about which you wrote, it is good for a man not to touch a woman. But because of sexual immoralities, each man is to have his own wife, and each woman is to have her own husband. The husband must fulfill his duty to his wife, and likewise the wife also to her husband."

In other words, of you're having trouble controlling your sexual urges, get married. It's far better to marry than to burn. Many people in our society covet other people's spouses. They covet people on TV, in magazines, in movies, people they see on the streets. It's a fantasy, the illicit sin, and people become obsessed to the point they will destroy relationships, marriages anything to have what they covet. It's destructive behavior. It's damning behavior. Many times only to find what looked so good, isn't good for them. Further bringing destruction upon their lives. It becomes a David and Bathsheba. 

A person reaps the consequences of sin in his body, and it is not possible to be content with your sins and really be a Christian. Christianity and immorality are like oil and water – they just don’t mix.

When someone we know is caught up in some terrible crime or sin, we may show one of three attitudes. First, we can be indifferent, saying it's none of our business and the victim can solve his problem the best way he can. Second, we can show love and compassion, reminding ourselves that "there, but for the grace of I." Third, we can act "shocked," showing a holier-than-thou judgmental attitude toward the one caught in sin.

As followers of Jesus Christ, there are always consequences when we fall into sin. That sin hinders our relationship with God. Sometimes we hurt other people or ourselves. Sometimes, God has to discipline us in order for us to recognize that sin and to get us to confess and repent. But if we are truly children of God, we will never lose our inheritance or face the wrath of God.

However, for those who live a lifestyle that is characterized by sin, the consequences are much more severe. Because people don't receive immediate judgment from God doesn't mean that God doesn't exist, or that your sin, though it is wrong, is not going to receive judgment. God hates all sin but He is patient, and will deliver up judgment as part of His final eternal judgment. 

In verse 6, Paul says "See that no one deceives you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience." 

Paul often warns his readers not to be deceived. Here in Galatians 6:7-8 teaches us "Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a person sows, this he will also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will reap destruction from the flesh, but the one who sows to the Spirit will reap eternal life from the Spirit."

Beloved, the church is called to be a lifeboat, rescuing those who are struggling, drowning, not a luxury cruise ship, where members relax and complement themselves on their self-righteous virtues, while all around them are drowning!

May it be so..

And now may the Lord bless you and keep you;

the Lord make His face shine upon you,
And be gracious to you;

The Lord lift up His countenance upon you,
And give you peace.

Now and forever, in Jesus' name

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The Brian Monzon Ministries



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