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Monday
June 17th, 2019

gary damronMY PERSPECTIVE, Gary Damron

 

Our dad served as a Marine in World War II, then came home and married our mother. As they together raised eight children, Dad gave up his ambition to be a farmer. Instead, he drove a truck, worked as a carpenter and millwright, and there’s no doubt in our minds that he would have given his life for any of us. In the same way, Christ backed up all he promised by dying on a cross. As we look at this pattern of sacrifice, we are to take the hand of Jesus and follow in his steps. 

Last week we talked of adoption, how God’s beloved children who respond become part of a huge family, and strive to imitate Jesus. John the Baptist declared, “‘Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God’” (John 1:12). There’s a pattern found in the life of Christ, who gave himself for us, as an offering and sacrifice, which became a sweet-smelling savor to God. Today we continue through a study of Ephesians chapter 5, as Paul urged readers to “walk in love” (verse 2). 

Reading through Ephesians, it may seem that Paul deviates from the subject, but his point was that living a life of imitation means behaving appropriately. Jesus could have taken a shortcut, as when Satan tempted him (Matthew 4, Mark 1, Luke 4). But in the big picture, God has a plan and it may be different than expected. Paul warned that there’s a strong probability of temptation when we try to imitate the life of Christ. In fact, there are six perversions of love to be aware of. 

“But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people. Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving” (Ephesians 5:3-4). 

Going back to the King James Version, let’s review the six warnings. Fornication is not just a reference to sex outside marriage, but involves any immorality or promiscuity – Christians should guard against pornography “and all uncleanness”. Sensual indulgence can extend far beyond what anyone imagines once a person starts down the path. 

Covetousness refers to wanting what our neighbor has, but can also involve desiring all kinds of possessions. Diamond Rio did a song in 2000 called “Stuff”: “Delivery truck coming up ‘round the bend – beep beep beep just backing in. Sign here and here and here again – ‘cause it’s no money down, no payments till, your whole place is cram packed filled…”. 

The last three corruptions involve what comes out of our mouth. Filthy talk, foolish talk, even jesting which involves coarse language and put-downs, should all be avoided. Profanity may be used to shock, impress, confront or bully, or it may be just a lack of vocabulary. Conversation is a gift meant to be uplifting for any who hear us talk. 

The implications of perverting the “love walk”, wrote Paul, are serious: we lose our inheritance in the kingdom if we indulge in them, and we become liable to the wrath of God. “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. Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience” (Ephesians 5:5-6). 

All the perversions in Paul’s list can trap and cause us to be separated from our Heavenly Father who loves and sacrifices for us. Next week, we’ll continue with the chapter, as Paul urged Christians to walk in light. 

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