It is everywhere we turn. Every prime time show is peppered with it. Modern humorists exploit it. The music industry wallows in it. It is in our books, magazines, commercials, billboards, and school curriculum. We can't get away from it. If we speak out against its exploitation we are prudish, intolerant, or Elizabethan. That's right I am talking about sex.
Yet, as blatant as our culture is in regard to it they demean it and make it dirty. So much so that even Christians only speak of it in hushed tones and never in polite society. Christians are often accused of repressing its expression, yet, it is the world's licentiousness that creates the pornography and sex slave industries. We are living in a sexually charged world that has perverted the good things of God.
When Paul told the Ephesians that they were to imitate God, he said it was an expression of self-sacrifice and service to God and toward others. But the gods of the Ephesian culture were hyper sexual creatures, employing temple prostitutes and encouraging immoral expressions. Paul wanted to make clear the distinction between imitating the gods of their culture and the one true God in Christ.
Therefore, he said, all sexual immorality and impurity and covetousness should not be named among you. DON'T imitate this!
Sexual immorality. The Greek word is pornea. It is where we get the word pornography. It can be translated concubine, incest, adultery, whore, and immoral behavior. It takes the good act of sex and turns into a behavior that is marked with conquest.
Impurity. The Greek word is akatharsia. It means lewd and crude behavior. It break downs the barriers of moral propriety to display sexuality publicly and to entice and arouse.
Covetousness is an advantage that one holds over another, a desire for excessive wealth. In the context it relates to sexual exploitation for the purpose of monetary gain using the power one has over an individual for insidious purposes. In Paul's day it would have been women who were poor, destitute, and had no other way of making a living. Not much different then our day when girls are lured into the sex trades with the promise of wealth and power, or stolen off the streets where they had run in hope of a better future. In the end they are used by others and the streets are littered with ruined lives.
Why would Paul even need to tell the Ephesian Christians that they should not be involved in this kind of enterprise? Because society was telling them there was nothing wrong with it. A friend of mine once told an off color joke. He said lighten up, we are free in Christ, there is nothing wrong with a little humor.
But Paul continued and said that filthy talk didn't even have a place among believers. What's the big deal? Jesus said out of the heart springs the fruit of the soul. What we say and do is a reflection of what we think and believe. Course jokes demean the pure nature of God's gift of sex and doesn't lead to a grateful heart. We need to let words of encouragement pass through our lips, so that we become thankful for the pleasure that God gives us and not for the lie the devil tempts us with.
Paul is so serious about this that he said that those who exhibit and participate in such behavior have no inheritance in the kingdom of God. That should give us pause. Instead of excusing our behavior we need to allow God to transform it into the image of his son.
When we teach our sons about their sexuality they need to understand that real men don't exploit women, that real men treat women with respect, honor, and purity. They are not objects to be used, but sisters created in the image of God.
When we teach our daughters about their sexuality they need to understand that true beauty comes from within and that outward adornment doesn't last forever. Their bodies are to be taken care of but are not objects to be flaunted. They need to be taught that modesty is an expression of worth not a hiding place of worldly treasure.
We need to teach our sons and daughters that sexual expression is good and God given within the context of God's law and plan. This is best taught through the example we set before them, in how I treat my wife and other women. Imitate God's example of love and sacrifice, not the world's illusion. What do we have to lose? When we have a right mind we can relax and enjoy the good expression of God's gift in the framework of his law. In the end everyone has reason the be grateful. I'm just saying...
Ephesians 5:3-5, "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."