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Imitate God and Avoid this Sin…

Hundreds of young people visit a place in town because of this sin

Ephesians 5.1–7

Don Ruhl • Savage Street, Grants Pass, Oregon • October 2, In the year of our Lord, 2016

Song Leader and Song Suggestions: Kevin Michael – Songs on holiness


  1. Since the Book of Genesis
    1. this sin has been going on, and
    2. there have been times when it
      1. consumed a whole culture, or
      2. consumed a particular time in that culture’s history.
  2. America has entered an period in its history 
    1. when fornication has consumed the culture.
    2. How much has it consumed our culture?
      1. Rather than tell you of how the world shows it constantly,
      2. I want to show you some statistics for Josephine County.
  3. These numbers come from the Pregnancy Care Center here in Grants Pass. 
    1. Two of their staff workers to came my office, and later
    2. Rebekah Noveske and I toured their facility.
      1. When they came to my office,
      2. I asked them how many unmarried pregnant girls visit their facility.
        1. The numbers they provided do not include
        2. girls who go elsewhere, such as
          1. keeping it within their families,
          2. getting an abortion.
    3. If they had said they get 25 or as high as 50 in a year,
      1. I would have responded,
      2. “25? in Josephine County?”
        1. Was I in for a surprise.
        2. What would the figures be for a metropolitan area, or even Medford?
  4. In 2013, 
    1. 466 patients received free services,
    2. 457 took pregnancy tests, and
    3. 307 had ultrasounds.
  5. In 2014, 
    1. 377 patients received free services,
    2. 369 took pregnancy tests, and
    3. 344 had ultrasounds.
  6. In 2015, 
    1. (The numbers were lower because they had staffing problems due to the nurse shortage in Josephine County),
    2. 332 patients received free services,
    3. 288 took pregnancy tests, and
    4. 186 had ultrasounds.
  7. Brethren, we have a great deal of work to do in our county and town. 
    1. The beginning of Ephesians 5
    2. lays down what we need for basic thinking on this topic.


  1. Ephesians 5.1–2 | Imitate God

    1 Therefore be imitators of God as dear children. 2 And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma.

    1. You are children of God and
      1. children imitate their fathers.
        1. My mother has a picture of me with a plastic lawn mower
        2. following my dad as he mowed the yard.
      2. It frightened me often
        1. when I saw or heard my own children imitating me, because
        2. it made me realize how much children imitate their parents, and
          1. the parents might not even be aware of it.
          2. I was not aware of it until I saw it.
      3. When Traci was still in a high chair,
        1. the three of us had lunch, and
        2. my wife and I talked without realizing that little ears were listening.
          1. Whenever we said, “But um,” or “and um,”
          2. she would say the same thing, and
            1. we would turn to look at her and
            2. see this huge grin.
      4. So then should it not be the case
        1. that people can watch us and listen to us, and
        2. notice that we are imitating our Heavenly Father?
          1. What then do they see and hear of the Father?
          2. What opinion do they have of God as a result of knowing us?
      5. If they think of Him as a God who endorses fornication,
        1. because of the way we live,
        2. we have made a serious mistake.
    2. Imitate God primarily by walking in love.
      1. Right away Paul specifies a way for us to imitate the Father.
      2. Think of a child walking in his father’s footsteps.
        1. What do those footsteps look like?
        2. Where do those footsteps lead?
          1. They are footsteps of love,
          2. leading to acts of love.
            1. However, that love is
              1. not according to the world,
              2. not according to the lusts of the flesh,
              3. not according to Hollywood, but
                1. with his very next words,
                2. Paul identified the kind of love we should imitate,

                  2 …walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma (Eph 5.2).
    3. Jesus set the example of love for us.
      1. He loved us by giving Himself for us.
      2. He made Himself an offering and a sacrifice to God.
      3. He became a sweet-smelling aroma to God.
        1. Did Jesus harm anyone?
        2. Or did He seek everyone’s welfare?
    4. He sought the welfare of humanity, and
      1. Romans 13 gives an explanation of biblical love,
      2. which fits the life of Jesus perfectly, and
      3. let it picture our lives also,

        8 Owe no one anything except to love one another, for he who loves another has fulfilled the law. 9 For the commandments, “You shall not commit adultery,” “You shall not murder,” “You shall not steal,” “You shall not bear false witness,” “You shall not covet,” and if there is any other commandment, are all summed up in this saying, namely, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” 10 Love does no harm to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law (Rom 13.8–10).
      4. Jesus did not engage in fornication, nor should we.
      5. Love does not engage in sexual immorality.
        1. Love does not seek the flesh first, but
        2. love seeks the spirit first.
      6. Immorality hurts people, but
        1. love does not hurt people.
        2. Premarital sex hurts self and others,

          13 Foods for the stomach and the stomach for foods, but God will destroy both it and them. Now the body is not for sexual immorality but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body.

          18 Flee sexual immorality. Every sin that a man does is outside the body, but he who commits sexual immorality sins against his own body. 19 Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? 20 For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s (1Co 6.13, 18–20).

    5. Having considered those things,
      1. what Paul said next does not surprise me.
      2. Do you think such living should be found among us?
  2. Ephesians 5.3–4 | Do Not Let this Sin Be Named Among You

    3 But fornication and all uncleanness or covetousness, let it not even be named among you, as is fitting for saints; 4 neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks.

    1. We do not want any sin to be named among us.
      1. However, Paul mentioned fornication twice.
      2. It is not fitting for saints.
        1. What is a Christian?
          1. A Christian follows Jesus Christ.
          2. Jesus was a spiritual man.
          3. Therefore, a Christian is a spiritual person.
        2. What is the antonym of spirit or spiritual?
          1. Flesh or fleshly stands as the opposite of spirit.
          2. What says a person has the mind of the flesh more than fornication?
        3. What then fights against the spirit more than the flesh?

          16 I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. 17 For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish (Gal 5.16–17).
        4. Then when Paul lists the works of the flesh, see what tops the list,

          19 Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are:
          [adultery, NKJV & KJV only], fornication, uncleanness, lewdness… (Gal 5.19).
    2. Therefore, committing fornication denies your Christianity.
      1. You need to realize that such action has the greatest consequences.
      2. What could possibly be the two worse things you could ever experience?
  3. Ephesians 5.5–6 | Cut Off from the Kingdom

    5 For this you know, that no fornicator, unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, has any 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.

    1. Do we not know
      1. that fornicators cannot inherit the kingdom of Christ and God?
      2. What is heaven and for whom did God make it?
        1. Also it is not just that you miss the kingdom, but
        2. the wrath of God comes upon you for fornication.
    2. What could be worse than
      1. not going to heaven and
      2. going to hell?
    3. Now tell me that premarital or extramarital sex is not harmful.
      1. It hurts you and
      2. it hurts the one you claim to love.
    4. Yet, Paul warned that we cannot let anyone deceive us with empty words.
      1. He wrote that warning, because
      2. there shall come people into our lives,
        1. into national life,
        2. who will persuade many that the words spoken in this text
          1. are of a Bronze Age morality and
          2. not written for our generation.
  4. Ephesians 5.7 | Do Not Partake in It

    7 Therefore do not be partakers with them.

    1. We are sons and daughters of obedience.
      1. We do what our Father says.
      2. That is why Paul began this section by reminding us to imitate God.
    2. How then can we partake with the sons and daughters of disobedience?
      1. Doing such contradicts everything we claim.
      2. As Paul said of some Christians,

        16 They profess to know God, but in works they deny Him, being abominable, disobedient, and disqualified for every good work (Tts 1.16)


  1. Paul said something earlier in his letter to the Ephesians 
    1. that resembles our text today, and
    2. it set the tone for what we have seen in Ephesians 5.
      1. In chapter 2, Paul reminded the Ephesian Christians
        1. of their salvation and
        2. of what they had been,

          1 And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, 2 in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, 3 among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others (Eph 2.1–3).
  2. Likewise, may we remember what we used to be, 
    1. whether it was as fornicators, or something else, and
    2. now let us keep in mind what we are today,
      1. children of God,
      2. disciples of Jesus Christ, and
      3. servants of the Spirit.