Children are naturally imitators. They are usually inclined to imitate their father; this is, therefore, a most comely and appropriate precept: “Be ye therefore imitators of God, as dear children.”
Eph_5:2. And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet smelling savor.
What a path to walk in! “Walk in love.” What a well-paved way it is! “As Christ also hath loved us.” What a blessed Person for us to follow in that divinely royal road! It would have been hard for us to tread this way of love, if it had not been that his blessed feet marked out the track for us. We are to love as Christ also hath loved us and the question which will often solve difficulties is this, “What would Jesus Christ do in my case? What he would have done, that we may do: “Walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us.” And if we want to know how far that love may be carried, we need not be afraid of going too far in self-denial; we may even make a sacrifice of ourselves for love of God and men, for here is our model: “As Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling savor.”
Eph_5:3. But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints;
So far from ever falling under the power of these evils, do not even name them; count them sins unmentionable to holy cars. In what a position do we find “covetousness” placed, side by side with “fornication end all uncleanness”! In the Epistle to the Colossians, covetousness is called “idolatry”, as if the Holy Spirit thought so ill of this sin that line could never put it in worse company than it deserved to be in. Yet I fear it is a very common sin even amongst some who call themselves saints. God deliver us altogether from its sway, and help us to hate the very name of it!
Eph_5:4. Neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient but rather giving of thanks.
All sorts of evil, frivolous, fruitless talk should be condemned by the Christian. He should feel that he lives at a nobler rate, he lives to purpose; he lives to bear fruit; and that which has no fruit about it, and out of which no good can come, is not for him. “But rather giving of thanks.” Oh, for more of this giving of thanks! It should perfume the labours of the day, it should sweeten the rest of the night, this giving of thanks. We are always receiving blessings; let us never cease to give God thanks for them. If we never leave off thanking until we are beyond the need of blessing, we shall go on praising the Lord as long as we live here, and continue to do so throughout eternity.
Eph_5:5. For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath, any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.
What a sweeping sentence! This is indeed a sword with two edges. Many will flinch before it; and yet, though they flinch, they will not escape, for Paul speaks neither more nor less than the truth when he declares that “no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.”
Eph_5:6. Let no man deceive you with vain words for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience.
These are the very things God hates. If, therefore, they are in you, God cannot look upon you with the love that he feels towards his children. “These things” he cannot endure, and “because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience.”
Eph_5:8. Be not ye therefore partakers with them. For ye were sometimes darkness,
Then, “these things” suited you.
Eph_5:8. But now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light;
Get clean away from these dark things; travel no more in the thick gloom of these abominations. God help you to walk in the light as he is in the light!
Eph_5:9-10. (For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth;) proving what is acceptable unto the Lord.
We ought to pray that our whole life may be “acceptable unto the Lord.” We are ourselves “accepted in the Beloved; “ and, that being the case, it should be our great desire that every thought and word and deed, ay, every breathing of our life, should be “acceptable unto the Lord.”
Eph_5:11-12. And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them. For it is a shame even to speak of those things which are done of them in secret.
It was so with the old heathen world in which Paul lived; he could not write or speak of those abominable vices, which defiled the age. But is London any better than Ephesus? Surely, old Corinth, which became a sink of sin, was not a worse Sodom than this great modern Babylon. There is great cause to say of the wicked even to this day, “It is a shame even to speak of those things which are done of them in secret.”
Eph_5:13. But all things that are reproved are made manifest by the light;
Then drag them to the light! There will be a great howling when these dogs of darkness have the light let in upon them, but it has to be done.
Eph_5:13-15. For whatsoever doth make manifest is light. Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light.
See then that ye walk circumspectly, Not carelessly, not thinking that it is of no importance how you live; but looking all round you, “walk circumspectly,” watching lest even in seeking one good thing you spoil another. Never present to God one duty stained with the blood of another duty. “See then that ye walk circumspectly,”-
Eph_5:15-16. Not as fools, but as wise, redeeming the time,
Buying up the hours; they are of such value that you cannot pay too high a price for them.
Eph_5:16-18. Because the days are evil. Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is. And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit;
If you want excitement, seek this highest, holiest, happiest form of exhilaration, the divine exhilaration which the Holy Spirit alone can give you: “Be filled with the Spirit.”
Eph_5:19. Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord;
We should have thought that Paul would have said, “singing and making melody with your voice to the Lord;” but the apostle, guided by the Holy Ghost, overlooks the sound, which is the mere body of the praise, and looks to the heart, which is the living soul of the praise: “Making melody in your heart to the Lord,” for the Lord careth not merely for sounds, though they be the sweetest that ever came from the lip of man or angel; he looks at the heart. God is a Spirit, and he looks spiritually at our spiritual praises; therefore, let us make melody in our heart to the Lord.
Eph_5:20-21. Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ; submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.
That principle of maintaining your rights, standing up for your dignity, and so on, is not according to the mind of the Spirit. It is his will that you should rather yield your rights, and, for the sake of peace, and the profit of your brethren, give up what you might naturally claim as properly belonging to you: “Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.”
Eph_5:22-30. Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ’s is the head of the church and he is the Saviour of the body. Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands, in every thing. Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; that he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, that he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish. So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself. For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church; for we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones,
What a wonderful expression! To think that we, poor creatures that we are, should be thus joined to Christ by a marriage union, nay, by a vital union,-is indeed amazing. Oh, the depths of the love of Christ, that such an expression as this should be possible!
Eph_5:31-32. For this cause shalt a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh. This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church.
There is the mystery, that he should leave his Father, and quit the home above, and become one flesh with his elect, going with them, and for their sakes, through poverty, and pain, and shame, and death. This is a marvel and a mystery indeed.
Eph_5:33. Nevertheless, let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself, and the wife see that she reverence her husband.
Thus the Spirit of God follows us to our homes, and teaches us how to live to the glory of God. May he help us so to do, for Christ’s sake! Amen.