Ephesians 5:3

The sins here described were common among the heathen, and received no adequate check from their moral guides. Indeed, the old pagan world regarded them as things indifferent. They are, for the most part, sins against ourselves, as the sins condemned in the previous verses are sins against our neighbors. They are to be condemned on many grounds.


II. THEY ARE DISHONOURING TO GOD AND HIS HOLINESS. The corruption that is in the world through lust is inconsistent with the Divine nature (2 Peter 1:4).

III. THEY THWART THE DESIGN OF THE GOSPEL OF CHRIST, which is "to purify a people to himself" (Titus 2:14); "to cleanse us from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit" (2 Corinthians 7:1). Jesus suffered in the flesh that we should die to the flesh (1 Peter 4:1).

IV. THEY GRIEVE THE HOLY SPIRIT, whose office is to sanctify us (Ephesians 4:29, 30). "That pure and holy dove will not dwell in a cage of unclean and filthy birds."

V. THEY DISHONOUR THE BODY, which is the temple of the Holy Ghost (1 Corinthians 6:18). They waste it as well as dishonor it (Proverbs 5:11).

VI. THEY WAR AGAINST THE SOUL in every sense of the term - against its life, its aspirations, its happiness (1 Peter 2:11). They even darken the judgment and the understanding (Hosea 4:11). No sort of sin so hardens the heart.

VII. THEY PROVOKE GOD'S AUGER. (Colossians 3:5, 6; Jeremiah 5:7; Ephesians 5:6.) "For the wrath of God cometh upon the children of disobedience." They subject transgressors to God's judgment, for "whoremongers and adulterers God wilt judge "(Hebrews 13:4). And they keep them out of heaven (1 Corinthians 6:9; ver. 5). These sins of impurity are not even to be named among saints, who are to be pure in thought, pure in heart, pure in speech, pure in life. "Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof" (Romans 6:12). To this end we must:

1. Avoid all the occasions that prompt to impurity:

(1) idleness (Ezekiel 16:49);

(2) evil company (Proverbs 7:25); and

(3) all other sins (Proverbs 1:25).

2. Make a covenant with our eyes (Job 31:1).

3. Watch over our thoughts (Malachi 2:16).

4. Delight in God's Word (Proverbs 2:10, 16).

5. Continue in prayer (Psalm 119:37). - T.C.

But fornication, and all uncleanness or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints.
Consider the hatefulness of this sin.


1. This sin, however loathsome in the sight of God and of human nature transformed by His grace, is nevertheless most seductive to the lower fallen nature of man. As a check to it, God has implanted in us the noble sense of shame, so that the Christian, who has not returned like a dog to his vomit, abhors whatever is unchaste.(1) Thoughts. How deeply ashamed you would be if your fellow men could perceive your impure thoughts and desires, though they be involuntary! Happy is he who, when merely thoughts cross his mind, listens to the warning voice of nature.(2) Words. St. Stanislaus fainted at hearing, by chance, an expression of ambiguous meaning. Even ordinary virtue will blush in confusion at the gibes of immodesty; only habitual shamelessness will laugh at them.(3) Deeds. Is not the whole nature set in an uproar? Who is so base as to commit impure actions before witnesses? Yet, when you are alone, the All-knowing God, and the holy angels, witness your deeds.

2. It is repugnant to the higher nature of man. Man — the image and likeness of the Triune God — by his impurity reviles

(1)God the Father, who created our limbs in honour;

(2)God the Son, whose members we are;

(3)God the Holy Ghost, of whom our body is the temple.

3. It is an abomination before God.


1. Ruin of earthly happiness. Lewdness works destruction

(1)on the body;

(2)on temporal welfare.

2. Ruin of the soul.

(1)The reasoning faculty is weakened.

(2)The will becomes perverted.

(3)Conversion becomes almost impossible.

3. Eternal damnation.

(1)Reflect on the loss of everlasting joys, where nothing defiled can enter.

(2)Reflect on the torments of hell. Sodom and Gomorrah are set for a warning example. The unchaste are threatened with "their portion in the lake burning with fire and brimstone."

(Le Jeune.)

I. To fix the sense. First: The manner and degree of forbidding — "Let it not be once named among you." You will think this over-strict; and how can it be reproved if it be not named? But let us consider the sense.

1. The apostle speaketh thus to express the height of detestation; for things that we utterly detest we will not name. "Never let these foul practices get the least admission among you."

2. Some sins are more catching than others; the very mention of them may revive and stir the motions of them in an unmortified heart. And uncleanness and fornication are of this nature, because they tend immediately to please the flesh; other sins more remotely.

3. There is a naming of these things which is very sinful, and that two ways.(1) When it is done in such a brood and coarse way, or nasty language, as doth invite rather than rebuke sin.(2) When we seek to palliate foul deeds with handsome and plausible names, and so speak of these things with allowance and extenuation, and not with extreme detestation.Secondly, the reason — "As it becometh saints"; that is, Christians or believers; all of them are saints, or should be saints.

1. Some are so only by external dedication and profession; as by baptism they are set apart for God as a clean and holy people.

2. Others are saints by internal regeneration, as sanctified and renewed by the Holy Ghost (Titus 3:5). Now these things are contrary to the disposition and spirit of saints, or to the holy, new, and Divine nature which is put into them.

II. What purity and cleanness of heart belongeth to Christians. In the Scripture they are everywhere described by it, "With the pure thou wilt show thyself pure '" (Psalm 18:18); "Ye are clean through the word which I have spoken to you" (John 15:3); "Surely God is good to Israel, even to such as are of a clean heart" (Psalm 73:1); "Separate yourselves from the unclean thing, and I will receive you" (2 Corinthians 6:17); and in other places. Let us see what obligations lie upon us to be clean and pure.

1. We are consecrated to the service of a holy God.

2. We profess the most holy faith; this obligeth us also, whether we took to the laws of God, which are the rule of our duty, or the promises of God, which are the charter of our hopes.

3. Because of our present communion with God and service of God.

III. The special impurity that is in such sins, so that holiness must be forsaken, or else these vices so opposite to holiness. What special impurity is there in those sins?

1. They defile the body, and are contrary to the dignity of the body, as it is a member of Christ, a temple of the Holy Ghost, or an instrument to be used for the glory of God (1 Corinthians 6:18).

2. Uncleanness corrupts and defileth the mind; for it turneth it from the true pleasure to the false, and that procured on the basest terms of downright sin against God.What need we have to work in Christians a greater abhorrence of fornication and uncleanness, because it is a common sin and a grievous sin.

1. It is a common sin; and then it is time to cry aloud and spare not, when persons, both single and married, make so little conscience of this duty.

2. It is a grievous sin. We will endeavour to touch them in the tenderest part that is left, viz., fear. "Whoremongers and adulterers God will judge" (Hebrews 13:4). Men think it a small matter to satisfy nature, but God will find them out both here and hereafter. There fell in one day twenty-three thousand for this sin (1 Corinthians 10:8). It unfitteth for every holy duty. Holy and sacred things never can be seriously received by sensual minds and hearts. Caution to young men that are not yet taken in the snare. Keep yourselves at a great distance from and great abhorrence of this sin. Therefore, first, avoid occasions (Proverbs 5:8). Advice to all Christians. Upon all occasions, think what will become saints. Let the consciousness of your dedication to God be ever upon your heart.

(T. Manton, D. D.)

When Venice was in the hands of the Austrians, those alien tyrants swarmed in every quarter; but the Venetians hated them to the last degree, and showed their enmity upon all occasions. When the Austrian officers sat down at any of the tables in the square of St. Mark, where the Venetians delight on summer evenings to eat their ices and drink their coffee, the company would immediately rise and retire, showing by their withdrawal that they abhorred their oppressors. After this fashion will every true Christian treat his inbred sins; he will not be happy under their power, nor tolerate their dominion, nor show them favour. If he cannot expel them, he will not indulge them.

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

Beware of growing covetousness; for, of all sins, this is one of the most insidious. It is like the silting up of a river. As the stream comes down from the land, it brings with it sand and earth, and deposits all these at its mouth; so that by degrees, unless the conservators watch it carefully, it will block itself up, and leave no channel for ships of great burden. By daily deposit, it imperceptibly creates a bar which is dangerous to navigation. Many a man when he begins to accumulate wealth, commences at the same moment to ruin his soul; and the more he acquires, the more closely he blocks up his liberality, which is, so to speak, the very mouth of spiritual life. Instead of doing more for God he does less; the more he saves, the more he wants; and the more he wants of this world, the less he cares for the world to come.

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

About the time that the Apostle Paul was denouncing the sin (of covetousness) in his Epistle to Timothy, Seneca was decrying the same evil, and composed his Ethics; but, as if to show the impotence of his own precepts, "he was accused of having amassed the most ample riches" — a circumstance which, though not the ostensible, was no doubt the real, cause of his finally falling a victim to the jealousy of Nero.


Christians, Ephesians, Paul
Acts, Becomes, Becometh, Covetousness, Desire, Evil, Fitting, Flesh, Fornication, God's, Greed, Holy, Immorality, Improper, Impurity, Kind, Lewdness, Lust, Mentioned, Named, Ought, Proper, Property, Saints, Sexual, Unbridled, Unclean, Uncleanness, Whoredom
1. After general exhortations to love;
3. to flee sexual immorality;
4. and all uncleanness;
7. not to converse with the wicked;
15. to walk carefully;
18. and to be filled with the Spirit;
22. he descends to the particular duties, how wives ought to obey their husbands;
25. and husbands ought to love their wives,
32. even as Christ does his church.

Dictionary of Bible Themes
Ephesians 5:3

     1065   God, holiness of
     5735   sexuality
     5866   gluttony
     5871   greed, response to
     6135   coveting, and sin
     6188   immorality, sexual
     6237   sexual sin, nature of
     7028   church, life of
     7142   people of God, NT
     8204   chastity
     8299   love, in relationships
     8737   evil, responses to
     8786   opposition, to sin and evil

Ephesians 5:1-3

     8444   honouring God

Ephesians 5:3-4

     5201   accusation
     7155   saints

Ephesians 5:3-5

     5907   miserliness

Ephesians 5:3-7

     8273   holiness, ethical aspects

January 1. "Redeeming the Time" (Eph. v. 16).
"Redeeming the time" (Eph. v. 16). Two little words are found in the Greek version here. They are translated "ton kairon" in the revised version, "Buying up for yourselves the opportunity." The two words ton kairon mean, literally, the opportunity. They do not refer to time in general, but to a special point of time, a juncture, a crisis, a moment full of possibilities and quickly passing by, which we must seize and make the best of before it has passed away. It is intimated that there are not
Rev. A. B. Simpson—Days of Heaven Upon Earth

June 27. "Be Filled with the Spirit" (Eph. v. 18).
"Be filled with the Spirit" (Eph. v. 18). Some of the effects of being filled with the Spirit are: 1. Holiness of heart and life. This is not the perfection of the human nature, but the holiness of the divine nature dwelling within. 2. Fulness of joy so that the heart is constantly radiant. This does not depend on circumstances, but fills the spirit with holy laughter in the midst of the most trying surroundings. 3. Fulness of wisdom, light and knowledge, causing us to see things as He sees them.
Rev. A. B. Simpson—Days of Heaven Upon Earth

April 22. "Christ is the Head" (Eph. v. 23).
"Christ is the head" (Eph. v. 23). Often we want people to pray for us and help us, but always defeat our object when we look too much to them and lean upon them. The true secret of union is for both to look upon God, and in the act of looking past themselves to Him they are unconsciously united. The sailor was right when he saw the little boy fall overboard and waited a minute before he plunged to his rescue. When the distracted mother asked him in agony why he had waited so long, he sensibly replied:
Rev. A. B. Simpson—Days of Heaven Upon Earth

Third Sunday in Lent
Text: Ephesians 5, 1-9. 1 Be ye therefore imitators of God, as beloved children; 2 and walk in love, even as Christ also loved you, and gave himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for an odor of a sweet smell. 3 But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not even be named among you, as becometh saints; 4 nor filthiness, nor foolish talking, or jesting, which are not befitting: but rather giving of thanks. 5 For this ye know of a surety, that no fornicator, nor unclean
Martin Luther—Epistle Sermons, Vol. II

Twentieth Sunday after Trinity the Careful Walk of the Christian.
Text: Ephesians 5, 15-21. 15 Look therefore carefully how ye walk [See then that ye walk circumspectly], not as unwise, but as wise; 16 redeeming the time, because the days are evil. 17 Wherefore be ye not foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. 18 And be not drunken with wine, wherein is riot, but be filled with the Spirit; 19 speaking one to another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord; 20 giving thanks always for all things
Martin Luther—Epistle Sermons, Vol. III

God's Imitators
Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children'--Eph. v. 1. The Revised Version gives a more literal and more energetic rendering of this verse by reading, 'Be ye, therefore, imitators of God, as beloved children.' It is the only place in the Bible where that bold word 'imitate' is applied to the Christian relation to God. But, though the expression is unique, the idea underlies the whole teaching of the New Testament on the subject of Christian character and conduct. To be like God, and
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture Ephesians, Peter,John

Pleasing Christ
'Proving what is acceptable unto the Lord.'--Eph. v. 10. These words are closely connected with those which precede them in the 8th verse--'Walk as children of light.' They further explain the mode by which that commandment is to be fulfilled. They who, as children of light, mindful of their obligations and penetrated by its brightness, seek to conform their active life to the light to which they belong, are to do so by making experiment of, or investigating and determining, what is 'acceptable
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture Ephesians, Peter,John

Unfruitful Works of Darkness
'And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.'--Eph. v. 11. We have seen in a former sermon that 'the fruit,' or outcome, 'of the Light' is a comprehensive perfection, consisting in all sorts and degrees of goodness and righteousness and truth. Therefore, the commandment, 'Walk as children of the light,' sums up all Christian morality. Is there need, then, for any additional precept? Yes; for Christian people do not live in an empty world. If there were
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture Ephesians, Peter,John

Sleepers at Noonday
'Wherefore He saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light,'--Eph. v. 14. This is the close of a short digression about 'light.' The 'wherefore' at the beginning of my text seems to refer to the whole of the verses that deal with that subject. It is as if the Apostle had said, 'I have been telling you about light and its blessed effects. Now I tell you how you may win it for yours. The condition on which it is to be received by men is that they awake
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture Ephesians, Peter,John

What Children of Light Should Be
'Walk as children of light.'--Eph. v. 8. It was our Lord who coined this great name for His disciples. Paul's use of it is probably a reminiscence of the Master's, and so is a hint of the existence of the same teachings as we now find in the existing Gospels, long before their day. Jesus Christ said, 'Believe in the light, that ye may be the children of light'; and Paul gives substantially the same account of the way by which a man becomes a Son of the Light when he says, in the words preceding
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture Ephesians, Peter,John

The Fruit of the Light
'The fruit of the light is in all goodness and righteousness and truth.'--Eph. v. 9 (R.V.). This is one of the cases in which the Revised Version has done service by giving currency to an unmistakably accurate and improved reading. That which stands in our Authorised Version, 'the fruit of the Spirit' seems to have been a correction made by some one who took offence at the violent metaphor, as he conceived it, that 'light' should bear 'fruit' and desired to tinker the text so as to bring it into
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture Ephesians, Peter,John

Paul's Reasons for Temperance
'And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them. 12. For it is a shame even to speak of those things which are done of them in secret. 13. But all things that are reproved are made manifest by the light: for whatsoever doth make manifest is light. 14. Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light. 15. See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, 16. Redeeming the time, because the days
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture Ephesians, Peter,John

Redeeming the Time
'See, then, that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil.'--Eph. v. 15, 16. Some of us have, in all probability, very little more 'time' to 'redeem.' Some of us have, in all probability, the prospect of many years yet to live. For both classes my text presents the best motto for another year. The most frivolous among us, I suppose, have some thoughts when we step across the conventional boundary that seems to separate the unbroken sequence
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture Ephesians, Peter,John

On Marriage.
TEXT: EPH. v. 22-31. IN completing lately the annual round of our Christian holy-days, I expressed to you the wish that the holy emotions which our hearts experience at such seasons might not pass away with them; but that the impressions then made might accompany us during the other half of the year, so that without any extraordinary festival incitement we might constantly retain a more lively sense of communion with the Redeemer, and a fuller enjoyment of what the eternal Father has done through
Friedrich Schleiermacher—Selected Sermons of Schleiermacher

The Light of God
Preached for the Chelsea National Schools.] Ephesians v. 13. All things which are reproved are made manifest by the light: for whatsoever is made manifest is light. This is a noble text, a royal text; one of those texts which forbid us to clip and cramp Scripture to suit any narrow notions of our own; which open before us boundless vistas of God's love, of human knowledge, of the future of mankind. There are many such texts, many more than we fancy; but this is one which is especially valuable
Charles Kingsley—Sermons for the Times

Against Foolish Talking and Jesting.
"Nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient."-- Ephes. v.4. Moral and political aphorisms are seldom couched in such terms that they should be taken as they sound precisely, or according to the widest extent of signification; but do commonly need exposition, and admit exception: otherwise frequently they would not only clash with reason and experience, but interfere, thwart, and supplant one another. The best masters of such wisdom are wont to interdict things, apt by unseasonable
Isaac Barrow—Sermons on Evil-Speaking, by Isaac Barrow

Sensual and Spiritual Excitement.
Preached August 4, 1850. SENSUAL AND SPIRITUAL EXCITEMENT. "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."--Ephesians v. 17, 18. There is evidently a connection between the different branches of this sentence--for ideas cannot be properly contrasted which have not some connection--but what that connection is, is not at first sight clear. It almost appears like a profane and irreverent juxtaposition
Frederick W. Robertson—Sermons Preached at Brighton

Members of Christ
"For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones."--Ephesians 5:30. YESTERDAY, when I had the painful task of speaking at the funeral of our dear friend, Mr. William Olney, I took the text which I am going to take again now. I am using it again because I did not then really preach from it at all, but simply reminded you of a favorite expression of his, which I heard from his lips many times in prayer. He very frequently spoke of our being one with Christ in "living, loving, lasting
Charles Haddon Spurgeon—Spurgeon's Sermons Volume 38: 1892

Living, Loving, Lasting Union
With new portraits of Pastor C. H. Spurgeon and Mr. William Olney "For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones--Ephesians 5:30. BEFORE the funeral, at Norwood Cemetery, of the late Mr. William Olney, senior deacon of the church at the metropolitan Tabernacle, a service was held in the Tabernacle. The building was crowded with sympathizing friends, who came to testify the affection they bore to the beloved deacon who had been so suddenly called from their midst. The senior Pastor
Charles Haddon Spurgeon—Spurgeon's Sermons Volume 38: 1892

Wary Walking.
(Twentieth Sunday after Trinity.) EPHESIANS v. 15. "See then that ye walk circumspectly." Some people tell us that salvation is the easiest thing in the world. We have only to feel that we believe in Jesus Christ, and all is done. Now neither Jesus Christ Himself, nor the Apostles whom He sent to teach, tell us anything of the kind. On the contrary, our Saviour, whilst He dwells on the fulness and freedom of salvation, offered to all without money, and without price, tells us that many are called,
H. J. Wilmot-Buxton—The Life of Duty, a Year's Plain Sermons, v. 2

Tenth Day. Love to the Brethren.
"And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us."--Eph. v. 2. "Jesus," says a writer, "came from heaven on the wings of love." It was the element in which he moved and walked. He sought to baptize the world afresh with it. When we find Him teaching us by love to vanquish an enemy, we need not wonder at the tenderness of His appeals to the brethren to "love one another." Like a fond father impressing his children, how the Divine Teacher lingers over the lesson, "This is My commandment!" If
John R. Macduff—The Mind of Jesus

"For to be Carnally Minded is Death; but to be Spiritually Minded is Life and Peace. "
Rom. viii. 6.--"For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace." It is true, this time is short, and so short that scarce can similitudes or comparisons be had to shadow it out unto us. It is a dream, a moment, a vapour, a flood, a flower, and whatsoever can be more fading or perishing; and therefore it is not in itself very considerable, yet in another respect it is of all things the most precious, and worthy of the deepest attention and most serious consideration;
Hugh Binning—The Works of the Rev. Hugh Binning

"If So be that the Spirit of God Dwell in You. Now if any Man have not the Spirit of Christ, He is None of His. "
Rom. viii. 9.--"If so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his." There is a great marriage spoken of, Eph. v. that hath a great mystery in it, which the apostle propoundeth as the sample and archetype of all marriages or rather as the substance, of which all conjunctions and relations among the creatures are but the shadows. It is that marriage between Christ and his church, for which, it would appear, this world was builded, to be
Hugh Binning—The Works of the Rev. Hugh Binning

"The Truth. " Some Generals Proposed.
That what we are to speak to for the clearing and improving this noble piece of truth, that Christ is the Truth, may be the more clearly understood and edifying, we shall first take notice of some generals, and then show particularly how or in what respects Christ is called the Truth; and finally speak to some cases wherein we are to make use of Christ as the Truth. As to the first. There are four general things here to be noticed. 1. This supposeth what our case by nature is, and what we are all
John Brown (of Wamphray)—Christ The Way, The Truth, and The Life

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