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Ephesians 5:3-14

But immorality or any impurity or greed must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints; 4 and there must be no filthiness and silly talk, or coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks. 5 For this you know with certainty, that no immoral or impure person or covetous man, who is an idolater, has an 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 be partakers with them; 8 for you were formerly darkness, but now you are Light in the Lord; walk as children of Light 9 (for the fruit of the Light consists in all goodness and righteousness and truth), 10 trying to learn what is pleasing to the Lord. 11 Do not participate in the unfruitful deeds of darkness, but instead even expose them; 12 for it is disgraceful even to speak of the things which are done by them in secret. 13 But all things become visible when they are exposed by the light, for everything that becomes visible is light. 14 For this reason it says, “Awake, sleeper, And arise from the dead, And Christ will shine on you.—Ephesians 5:3-14

Last week’s lesson from Ephesians 4 emphasized our need to “put off” our old way of life and “put on” our new life in Christ. As we move on to Ephesians 5, Paul shifts the metaphor to the contrast of darkness and light, which essentially addresses the living of life in the culture around us. We have been saved from sin and its consequences, and someday, we will live in a fully redeemed age of purity, but for now, our new life in a broken world is a battle. If we are going to be victorious, we must live in the light according to God’s standards.

There are many ways our culture is different than that of the first century, but the perversion of sexual morality is not one of them. The Bible defines moral sexuality as that between a husband and a wife within the boundaries of their marriage. It leaves no opening for another person or the self-serving focus of one spouse to exclude the other. Today’s verses are filled with plain language about how we should live – specifically as it relates to our sexuality.

Discussion Questions

  1. Sexual Immorality: Verse 3 mentions “sexual immorality” and its unacceptability. Discuss the impact of sexual immorality on individuals and communities.
  2. Covetousness and Idolatry: Verse 5 links immoral and impure people with the “covetous.” What does “covetous” mean, and why did Paul introduce that word here? How is it related to idolatry
  3. Identifying Hidden Sins: Verse 12 talks about “things which are done by them in secret.” How can we identify and overcome hidden sins in our own lives?
  4. Discerning Good from Evil: Verse 10 discusses “what is pleasing to the Lord.” How can we develop spiritual discernment to differentiate between good and evil daily? How does discernment fail us if it doesn’t lead to actions?
  5. Renewing Your Mind: Verse 10 says, “Try to learn what is pleasing to the Lord.” How does Ephesians 4:18 help us understand this verse? How does a “hardened heart” keep us from learning? Read Romans 12:1-2. How do these verses help us know what to do?
  6. Stewards of Light: Verse 8 describes believers as “Light in the Lord.” How can we actively live out this identity and influence the world?
  7. Awakening from Spiritual Sleep: Verse 14 quotes Isaiah, urging us to “Awake, sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.” What can this verse teach us about spiritual transformation and awakening?
  8. Personal Experiences: Share experiences of overcoming temptation and growing closer to God’s light. How did these experiences impact your life?
  9. Accountability and Support: Discuss the importance of accountability and support within the Christian community to stay on the path of purity and integrity.
  10. Taking Action: What practical steps can we take individually and as a group to live according to the principles outlined in Ephesians 5:3-14?
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