Empty Words, Empty Lives

Ephesians 5:1-2 ESV

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

To be imitators of God means that we need to surrender our lives to Jesus Christ. We must forsake all sinful practices, and we must follow the Lord in obedience to his commands (New Covenant). All that is of this sinful world should be put out of our lives. We should not be compromising with the world in order to be acceptable to the people of the world. But we are to live holy lives separate (unlike, different) from the world because we are now being conformed to the likeness of Jesus Christ in character and action.

And to walk in love means we love like God loves. It means that we care about people and their needs and that we care about their spiritual needs and their relationships with Jesus Christ. Yes, we do kind deeds for others, but that can’t be the totality of what we call love. We must also speak the truth of the gospel to others to let them know that Jesus died on that cross that they might die with him to sin and live to him and to his righteousness. And we do not deliberately and habitually sin against others, too.

Ephesians 5:3-5 ESV

“But sexual immorality and all impurity or covetousness must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints. Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving. 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.”

In the New Testament there are at least 41 references to sexual immorality, most all of which are teaching us that we must abstain from such as this and that we should not walk (in conduct, in practice) in sexual immorality. And then many of these Scriptures teach us that if sexual immorality is what we practice that we will not inherit the kingdom of God. We will die in our sins just like an unbeliever. Heaven will not be our eternal destiny.

[Matt 15:19; Mk 7:21; Ac 15:20,29; Ac 21:25; Rom 13:13; 1 Co 5:1-11; 1 Co 6:9-18; 1 Co 7:2; 1 Co 10:8; 2 Co 12:21; Gal 5:16-21; Eph 5:3-6; Col 3:5-6; 1 Thess 4:3; 1 Tim 1:10; Heb 12:16; Heb 13:4; Jude 1:7; Rev 2:14-21; Rev 9:21; Rev 14:8; Rev 17:2-4; Rev 18:3-9; Rev 21:8; Rev 22:15]

“In the New Testament, the word most often translated ‘sexual immorality’ is porneia. This word is also translated as ‘whoredom,’ ‘fornication,’ and ‘idolatry.’ It means ‘a surrendering of sexual purity,’ and it is primarily used of premarital sexual relations. From this Greek word we get the English word pornography, stemming from the concept of ‘selling off.’ Sexual immorality is the ‘selling off’ of sexual purity and involves any type of sexual expression outside the boundaries of a biblically defined marriage relationship (Matthew 19:4–5).” (1).

Sexual immorality includes lusting in one’s mind after another to whom one is not married. So it doesn’t have to be physical at all. It also includes the viewing of sexually suggestive and sexually explicit material, including what is called pornography. So, if one is viewing R-rated movies with sexual situations it is no less pornographic than what is called “pornography.” If an image stirs you sexually turn away from it, cut it out, block it!

Sexual immorality can include listening to or reading books with sexually suggestive or sexually explicit material, or it can include listening to music with sexually suggestive or sexually explicit lyrics. For these are all a “surrendering of sexual purity.” And it includes self-gratification, i.e. masturbation, which is sex with oneself, being one flesh with oneself instead of with one’s spouse. And it is adultery against one’s spouse, too.

Many people like to excuse away sexual immorality as just entertainment, but it isn’t. Or they will find what they consider milder versions of it and so they will convince themselves that they are not sinning if it is all in their minds or if it is just in what they are viewing or if they are just stimulating themselves and thus they are not in physical contact with another human being to whom they are not married. But those are all cop-outs.

For us to be morally pure we must guard our eyes, our minds, and our hearts against all sexual stimulants outside of the confines of the marital relationship. So we have to be very stern in how we go about this, for sexual images are everywhere, even on some Christian websites. They are on news sites and on many different websites, usually over to the side or at the bottom. They are in advertisements and even in photos our friends may post on social media. And they are in check-out lines at the grocery store, too.

So, if we are going to live morally pure lives, which includes keeping our minds pure, we have to get very serious about what we are viewing and listening to so that we don’t give the devil a foothold in our lives via any of these doors (openings) into our minds which may lead us to think or to behave in any manner which is not morally pure. And if you are living in sexual immorality please STOP! And love others with God’s love.

Ephesians 5:6-11 ESV

“Let no one deceive 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; for at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true) and try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord. Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them.”

What empty words?

I was just reading an article by Anne Graham Lotz, the daughter of Billy Graham. In it she was describing the gospel message. The first half of what she shared was basically correct, but it was the second half of what she shared that sold the gospel short. For she made no mention of repentance or of obedience to our Lord. Nothing about surrendering our lives to him or of walking no longer according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.

Anne said, “When we confess that we are sinners, ask God to apply the death of Jesus to our sin and forgive us, He will.” “When we respond and receive Jesus by faith into our hearts, He comes into us in the person of His Spirit, so that we are born again as children of God, forgiven of our sins, and receive eternal life.” “When we claim Jesus Christ by faith as our Savior and Lord, we pass from darkness to light, from the power of Satan to God, from death to life.” (2)

But Jesus said, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it. For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses or forfeits himself?” (Luke 9:23-25 ESV)

And Jesus said, “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’” (Matthew 7:21-23 ESV)

You see, it is not enough to just acknowledge that we are sinners. And we aren’t forgiven our sins just because we ask God to apply the death of Jesus to our sin. We have to be crucified with Christ in death to sin and be raised with Christ to walk in newness of life in him, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. Our old self has to be put to death with Christ in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin but now be slaves to God and to his righteousness.

And receiving Jesus means accepting all of who he is and what he did for us and his divine will for our lives and what he taught us into our lives and applying those truths to our lives, by his grace, in his power. It means repenting of our sins and submitting to Christ as Lord and following Jesus in obedience. And the faith to believe in Jesus comes from God and thus it aligns with God’s will and purpose for our lives, so faith is repentance and it is submission to Christ and it is obedience.

And we are forgiven our sins when we repent of them and when we walk in the light as God is in the light. For if we continue living in deliberate and habitual sin our sins are not forgiven and we do not have eternal life with God. Empty words are words that remove repentance, obedience, and submission to Christ as Lord from the gospel message and they make the gospel out to be some easy and one-time thing we do that assures us forgiveness of sins and heaven as our eternal home.

[Lu 9:23-26; Jn 6:35-58; Jn 15:1-11; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-17; Eph 4:17-24; 1 Pet 2:24; 1 Co 6:9-10,19-20; 2 Co 5:10,15,21; Tit 2:11-14; Jas 1:21-25; Rom 12:1-2; Eph 2:8-10; Php 2:12-13; Col 1:21-23; Col 3:5-10; Gal 5:16-21; Eph 5:3-6; Gal 6:7-8; Rom 2:6-8; Heb 10:26-27; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6; 1 Jn 3:4-10; Matt 7:21-23; Ac 26:18; Rev 21:8,27; Rev 22:14-15]

A Believer’s Prayer

An Original Work / July 31, 2012

With my whole heart, Lord, I pray
To be Yours, and Yours always.
Lead me in Your truth today.
May I love You and obey.
Lead me in Your righteousness.
When I sin, may I confess;
Bow before You when I pray;
Live for You and You always.

Love You, Jesus, You’re my friend.
Life with You will never end.
You are with me through each day,
Giving love and peace always.
You will ne’er abandon me.
From my sin You set me free.
You died on that cruel tree,
So I’d live eternally.

Soon You’re coming back for me;
From this world to set me free;
Live with You eternally.
Oh, what joy that brings to me.
I will walk with You in white;
A pure bride, I’ve been made right
By the blood of Jesus Christ;
Pardoned by His sacrifice.

(1) https://www.gotquestions.org/sexual-immorality.html

(2) https://www.annegrahamlotz.org/2022/05/31/spring-2022/

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