Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. 2 And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.
3 But sexual immorality and all impurity or covetousness must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints. 4 Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving.5 For you may be sure of this, that everyone who is sexually immoral or impure, or who is covetous (that is, an idolater), has no inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. 6 Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. 7 Therefore do not become partners with them; 8 for at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light 9 (for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true), 10 and try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord. 11 Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them. 12 For it is shameful even to speak of the things that they do in secret. 13 But when anything is exposed by the light, it becomes visible, 14 for anything that becomes visible is light. Therefore it says,
“Awake, O sleeper,
and arise from the dead,
and Christ will shine on you.”
15 Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, 16 making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. 17 Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. 18 And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit, 19 addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, 20 giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, 21 submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ. – Ephesians 5:1-21
As we read these sections of Scripture that speak to our conduct we must remember that Paul is writing to the same folks he addressed with the words, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him.”
Paul hits hard in three areas, sexual immorality, impurity, and covetousness. All three speak directly into our culture and unfortunately into the church in many cases. It is because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. I take the phrase “sons of disobedience” to refer to those who are not Christ followers, those who are in rebellion against God and his gospel. It is of note that Paul admonishes the Ephesians, and us, to not let anyone deceive us with empty words, the empty words that attempt to refute the wrath of God and say it doesn’t matter. This conduct should not even be named among Christ followers. Sadly, we fall short and are in great need of the grace of God.
Studies indicate that many in the church, both men, and women, are addicted to pornography. Covetousness, which is idolatry (one translation reads “worshipping wealth”) also holds many in its grip and seems to be the goal of many when the sign of great faith is great wealth. We, the church, have much from which to repent.
How do we deal with this?
“Do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit, addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ.”
Alcohol filled debauchery feeds these sins, so we are not to be foolish and participate in that. Instead, be filled with the Spirit, fellowship, worship and rejoice with fellow believers. Sing and make melody in your heart to the Lord with thanksgiving. The affirmative action to take in order to either be delivered from or avoid these sins is to intentionally, actively, regularly participate in the fellowship of the local church.
John wrote, “that which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ. And we are writing these things so that our joy may be complete.” (1 John 1:3-4) To have fellowship with believers is to have fellowship with the Father and his Son Jesus Christ. There is no substitute for the church; I need it, you need it, everyone needs it. Let the joy rise!