Devotion 11-30-15

Eph. 5:1-20

Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children, 2and live in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.

3But fornication and impurity of any kind, or greed, must not even be mentioned among you, as is proper among saints. 4Entirely out of place is obscene, silly, and vulgar talk; but instead, let there be thanksgiving. 5Be sure of this, that no fornicator or impure person, or one who is greedy (that is, an idolater), has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. 6Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes on those who are disobedient. 7Therefore do not be associated with them. 8For once you were darkness, but now in the Lord you are light. Live as children of light— 9for the fruit of the light is found in all that is good and right and true. 10Try to find out what is pleasing to the Lord. 11Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them. 12For it is shameful even to mention what such people do secretly; 13but everything exposed by the light becomes visible, 14for everything that becomes visible is light. Therefore it says, “Sleeper, awake! Rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.” 15Be careful then how you live, not as unwise people but as wise, 16making the most of the time, because the days are evil. 17So do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. 18Do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery; but be filled with the Spirit, 19as you sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs among yourselves, singing and making melody to the Lord in your hearts, 20giving thanks to God the Father at all times and for everything in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

On our journey, Dr. Waite Willis (a professor at Florida Southern College and a long-time member of the Board of Ministry, as a lay person) explained that Paul’s letters usually contain two types of writing: karygma and paranesis. Karygma is the proclamation of the good news of Jesus Christ, the word of grace, the mystery of faith. Up to this point the letter to the Ephesians has mostly been the karygma. Now Paul turns to the paranesis, which is an ethical exhortation. Paul never begins with the paranesis – it is always a result of the karygma, “Now that you have come to know Christ, and have been accepted into his love and grace, this is how you should respond. This is how you should live.” The ethics of the Christian life follow.

Those to whom he writes should, as a matter of course, be avoiding sexual sin and greed. Many people quote Paul’s admonitions against sexual sins, but totally ignore the fact that he puts greed right up there beside them! They should not be engaging in vulgar and obscene talk – dirty jokes are out of the question.

There are those who have been deceiving people in the churches around Ephesus – they should not allow empty words to deceive them. Those people walk in darkness. As Christians, we walk, not in darkness, but in the light. And in the light, we live in a way that pleases God: sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, making melody to the Lord in your hearts; give thanks to God at all times, in everything, in the name of Jesus!

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