Thursday, July 14, 2016

With Hearts Overflowing (Ephesians 5:19-21)

“speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord; always giving thanks for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God, even the Father; and be subject to one another in the fear of Christ.” (Ephesians 5:19–21, NASB95)

In verse 18 Paul instructed us to be filled with the Spirit. What we have here are some of the markers of how being filled with the Spirit works in our lives. Because of the fruit of the Spirit being evident in us, we respond to others in ways reflective of that fruit. In Galatians 5:22-23 we read, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.” (Galatians 5:22–23, NASB95) These are the things that the Spirit works in us as we walk in step with the Spirit. So, knowing the love of God we walk in His joy before others leading to us singing His praises. In our hearts there is life and this life springs forth in joyful song. These joy-filled words may be passages from His Word, lyrics written by others, or the things which we have learned of Him. Much has been said about what might be meant by the three various forms of speaking given here, but in a nutshell what we really see is that in all areas of our lives and from everything we know of Him and His goodness we let it flow out to others. It pictures excitement in knowing God and confidence in trusting Him in all things. This is even true when things get tough as we are enabled to take our eyes off of the size of our situation and focus on the size and faithfulness of our God.

Our hearts overflow from our having been united with God in Christ who gave Himself for us and sits as our intercessor and the head of His body—the church. Our praise springs from the joy in our hearts and out thankfulness to God. Our hearts are filled as we turn aside the worries over situations of all sizes and giving thanks to God for His firm hand holding us and those we love in every single one of those situations. Nothing catches Him by surprise or is outside of His powerful hands. Nothing if beyond His concern, and He knows the small things just as fully as the big. He has promised to be faithful and He has proven Himself immensely faithful. Because we are in Christ and His Spirit is in us we can rejoice and sing His praises with thankful hearts and heartfelt words.

By speaking and singing His praises and giving thanks before others we encourage them as well. We encourage them to take their own burdens and lay them on Him. We encourage them to set aside their hurts and trust Him to heal and protect. We encourage them to walk closely with the same Spirit and know the same joy even in the greatest trial. I find it amazing to think of a number of the great hymns of the church that are in reality songs of hope and praise in the midst or aftermath of great trouble. These are things I can easily connect with because, while I may not have experienced things exactly as the author, I have experienced things that have hurt. Praise heals hurt as we turn these things over to our infinitely good and loving Father and realize the comfort of His Spirit in us.

God loves us so much that the Father sent the Son to bring us into an eternal relationship with Him and to seal us with His Spirit as our Helper until that time that we enter His presence forever. This is what unites us with God, and it is what unites us with one another. We share a common bond in our singular Savior as we worship our God who is One—Father, Son, and Spirit.

Our passage for today ends with verse 21, “and be subject to one another in the fear of Christ.” When we take our eyes off of the priority of ourselves and turn our eyes on Christ and join with one another in that praise we begin to recognize others and their needs. Other people become a priority, and when they become a priority our agendas lessen in the face of the Spirit’s leading and the reality of their needs.

Submitting or being subject to one another reflects a voluntary attitude of coming under. This can be done in a variety of ways. One of them, of course, is submitting to our employers and their directives for the hours that we are on their clocks. It is seen in the wife, who is a joint heir with her husband in Christ, coming under his headship in the home as we will see in the next verses. Neither of these relationships of submission indicates anything lesser or greater in the character or value of either person.

Our Lord, Jesus Christ, is and always has been fully God. Yet, we read that He humbled Himself by taking on the form of man to obey the Father and give Himself as a sacrifice for our sins. This is how God in His fullness determined it should be, and Jesus, as part of that fullness as the Son, submitted Himself in full agreement with the Father to do the Father’s will. This is the example we are given, and it is in light of this example that we are called even to submit ourselves to others who are fallible as we trust our God who is infallible. We are to live our lives with attitudes and actions of mutual submission recognizing Who brought us together as one and Who is working in us to accomplish His will.

“There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” (Galatians 3:28, NASB95) John MacArthur in his study Bible on this wrote, “…every spirit-filled Christian is to be a humble, submissive Christian. This is foundational to all the relationships….” 

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Living the Spirit-Filled Life (Ephesians 5:18)

“And do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit,” (Ephesians 5:18, NASB95)

Being filled with the Spirit is not like taking an empty glass and pouring something into it as someone might a pour drink of alcohol which he would in turn pour into himself. It is not a case of drinking one glass after another as some might do to get drunk. This is the wasteful and even destructive way that some choose to handle life’s issues, as they bury themselves in a bottle or some other vice.

Every believer receives the Holy Spirit of God as a permanent resident at the moment of his or her salvation. There can never be any more or less of the Spirit in a believer, just as God who is perfectly infinite can never divide Himself and become less infinite. Consider just a few of these verses….

Earlier in Ephesians Paul wrote, “In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation—having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise,” (Ephesians 1:13, NASB95) … “Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.” (Ephesians 4:30, NASB95) In these two verses we read that at the moment of our salvation we were sealed, and this sealing is enduring to take us into the presence of God.

In 1 and 2 Corinthians we read, “Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own?” (1 Corinthians 6:19, NASB95) And, “[God] also sealed us and gave us the Spirit in our hearts as a pledge.” (2 Corinthians 1:22, NASB95)

The instruction of verse 18 has nothing to do with the presence of the Spirit in the believer, but, rather, with the believer’s relationship with the Spirit. Before we trusted Christ for our salvation, Christ was not in our lives and our direction did not come from God. (See Crusade circle #1: Self-Directed Life, Christ outside).

But there are many believers who know that they know that they know that they are saved because of the free gift of Jesus Christ on the cross, but in their daily lives they find that they do not, either regularly or at times, submit their lives to His Word nor wait on His leading. They might think they are doing a lot for God, but in their doing they really are working it out in their own wisdom and seeking to do it in their own strength. In living this way signs start to appear in us such as are listed in the next circle (See Crusade circle #2: Self-Directed Life). This is the kind of life that Paul is exhorting the Ephesian believers NOT to live; one that is directed by the desires of the flesh and not living in the Light which is Christ.

The objective of our walk is be walking as Spirit-filled believers. This is what Crusade’s third circle represents. It is not that we have more of the Spirit, but that are lives are centered in Christ, that we hide His Word in our hearts, spend time in prayer, and seek His leading in what we do. It is walking in a close relationship with Christ.

Realistically, we all have times where we resemble picture 2 than picture 3 in some part of our life. But the great gift of God is found in the power of God to easily move us back to picture 3 simply by our recognizing what is going on, admitting it to God, and turning our eyes back to Him and by faith walking trusting Him to direct our steps.

The reason that these pictures have stuck with me, and so many others for so long, is that they address the simple question, “Who is on the throne of your life?” Sure, Christ might be in your life, but who is on the throne? When we start to lose our joy, anger increases, patience goes away, and our thoughts turn to that which is not good it is a sure sign that self is sitting where Christ ought.

For those who might read this post and who are still at circle #1 with Christ on the outside, God has told us that all we have to do is ask. Jesus was sent by the Father to die for our sins and give us life. Ask God for that forgiveness and believe that He will keep His promise. Having believed and asked we are told that Christ moves in and that He will not leave. Then tell a Christian friend or pastor and begin the process of growing in Him as He does the amazing work of growing us.

“But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh. For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the Law. Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.” (Galatians 5:16–23, NASB95)

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Walking Wisely (Ephesians 5:15-20)

"Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, making the most of your time, because the days are evil. So then do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. And do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord; always giving thanks for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God, even the Father;” (Ephesians 5:15–20, NASB95)

Verses 15 and 16 should be a very obvious instruction as we look around. But it is one that we also need to pay very careful and close attention to as well. The big things may be easy to see, but how often do we enter something by doing a radical turn and rushing right in? I imagine that this is not the case for most. What happens with most of us is that we cut a corner or ignore a stop sign on some “smaller” things. Then, when we don’t deal with it or we don’t feel any immediate consequence or maybe even some initial gratification, we do it again or maybe even do something a bit further out. And with this the cycle begins and continues to grow.
We are told to be careful how we walk as wise men. In James 1:13-15 we read, “Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, and He Himself does not tempt anyone. But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust. Then when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when sin is accomplished, it brings forth death.” (James 1:13–15, NASB95) What we see here is that these thoughts do not come from God. He does not tempt anyone to evil. We become tempted when we hold onto desires apart from God and nurse them in our hearts and minds. We desire something and then we do it, and then having done it we continue to do it. But this is not how we are supposed to live. It is not how we are supposed to handle or respond to our thoughts.

We are to take these thoughts firmly in hand and expose them to the light which is God, which is what we read in 2 Corinthians 10:5-6. “We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ, and we are ready to punish all disobedience, whenever your obedience is complete.” (2 Corinthians 10:5–6, NASB95) I love verse 7 which follows, “You are looking at things as they are outwardly. If anyone is confident in himself that he is Christ’s, let him consider this again within himself, that just as he is Christ’s, so also are we.” (2 Corinthians 10:7, NASB95) From this verse we see affirmed in Scripture that circumstance is not to shape our views or response, but rather we are to view these same circumstances from hearts that have looked inward to who we are in Christ and then responded appropriately to the directives of His Word. The light the world shines is never to replace the Light of Christ. The wise man is the one who stops to listen to God and who then responds according to who he (or she) is in Christ.

In Philippians chapter 2, Paul wrote, “Do all things without grumbling or disputing; so that you will prove yourselves to be blameless and innocent, children of God above reproach in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you appear as lights in the world, holding fast the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I will have reason to glory because I did not run in vain nor toil in vain.” (Philippians 2:14–16, NASB95) Clearly we live in dark day, just as the days of Paul. This world is immersed in darkness and evil. We are to live with this as an ever present reality, and not become overwhelmed or succumb ourselves. Rather, we are to think with the mind of Christ living as the light that we are in Him.

Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians, “Become sober-minded as you ought, and stop sinning; for some have no knowledge of God. I speak this to your shame.” (1 Corinthians 15:34, NASB95) We are not to be foolish (thought-less, slack or lazy) in our thinking. We are to hide God’s Word in our hearts and to keep our minds and bodies clear and clean, fully submitted to His Spirit in us. This past Sunday, at church, the pastor wrapped up his message by discussing some circles developed by Dr. Bill Bright and used for many years to demonstrate the difference between a Christian living a self-directed (carnal) life and living a Spirit-directed life.

These circles have been widely used and distributed, and can be found not only in publications for purchase, but in various locations at the Campus Crusade for Christ website ( I will discuss these circles and verse 18 more in the next post. For more see:

Consistent with the put off and put on as our minds are renewed principle given by Paul in chapter 4, we find here also that we are to stop thinking and acting like the world. We are to look intently to God’s Word for our direction, hide ourselves in Him and rely on His Spirit to direct our steps, and then we are to actively put on things which bring glory to God and build up others. We read, speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord; (20) always giving thanks for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God, even the Father;” He has saved us from this yuk, and given us an eternal promise with present help immersed in love. Our response is to take these truths captive and to encourage each other in them.

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Exposed by the Light (Ephesians 5:11-14)

“Do not participate in the unfruitful deeds of darkness, but instead even expose them; for it is disgraceful even to speak of the things which are done by them in secret. But all things become visible when they are exposed by the light, for everything that becomes visible is light. For this reason it says, “Awake, sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.”” (Ephesians 5:11–14, NASB95)

Sin thrives in darkness where it is hidden from view of those who might speak against its wrong. But it is not that simple. Not all sin happens in the dark, but in full view of others who keep their mouths shut and ignore the sin in the name of tolerance or indifference. This generalized acceptance then creates an environment for continued and even growing sin. In the world we expect this because those apart from Christ are shrouded in spiritual darkness. But in the church this is not to be the case. As believers in Christ, Paul repeatedly pleaded and even commanded us not to live as if we were still in that same darkness. We have been made children of Light and we are now the Light in the Lord. This is what we read in the verses just before these, and here we are again told not to participate in any way, shape or fashion in those “unfruitful deeds of darkness.” That is the directive given to each of us.

Not only are we not to participate in them, but we are also told to do something which many are reluctant to do. Paul tells us that we are even to expose them. This word “expose” has the meaning of reproving, rebuking, convincing, calling to account and exposing in the light. In 2 Timothy 3:16 we read, “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness,” (2 Timothy 3:16, ESV) The word “reproof” here originates from the same word that is used in Ephesians 5:11. The word of God, which has been breathed out by God’s Spirit, is profitable (beneficial and useful) not just for teaching, but teaching for change. We read that the Word is given for reproof and correction or for exposing the deeds of darkness and giving a new direction according to the Light.

As brothers and sisters in Christ we are to engage with one another by exhorting and encouraging one another in our walk according to who we are in Christ. This is the instruction in Philippians 4 when the church is encouraged to help two women who once had served side-by-side but had somehow gotten sideways with each other. This instruction comes always with the primary consideration that we are to look introspectively at ourselves first as opposed to looking judgmentally to others. This is what we read in Matthew 7:1-5 where Jesus enjoined His hearers to be responsive to the sin in their own life and then as a result see clear enough to help others also. This would have been in stark contrast to the Pharisees who were so openly self-righteous and judgmental. There is a huge difference between finger-wagging and encouraging one another in corrective growth.

From the things that Paul encouraged his readers not to participate in, I can imagine, based upon the cults around them and from the mention of what they were not to do, that there was some legitimate indication that those very things might have been happening to some degree among the Ephesian believers. Paul told them to stop it. Those sorts of things aren’t even to be talked about let alone accepted and even practiced. Some might say that just because something isn’t specifically condemned or re-condemned in the New Testament that is has been somehow now acceptable. Consider for a moment that maybe included in what Paul said is that some of these things have not been expressed in detail because they are so obviously detestable that they needed no further discussion.

This is not who they were, and as such it is not how they were supposed to live. Even today in our world when Christians ignore practices among themselves in the name of “not judging” we see that the church in a general sense loses the priority of Light living. Just as Paul was writing to the Ephesians, so are we today to engage in Light living because as believers in Jesus Christ, who is the Light of the World, our identity has been changed such that we are children of Light. As such, no binders or winking is allowed.

Paul went on to write that these things become obvious when they are exposed to the light, and then everything that is seen is viewed in the full brightness of light. This means that sin can be seen as sin, and righteous living can be seen as righteous living. There is no ignoring or hiding any more.

Adding that not everyone who heard this letter read was necessarily a believer, there likely many among them who were attracted for one reason or another and were checking things out, but who had made no decision. Paul gives these people an exhortation and an invitation to respond, saying, “Awake, sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.” These words are reflective of the words of Isiah where he pleads with Jerusalem to awaken from its awaken from its drunken stupor and to look to the light which has come (Isaiah 51:17; 52:1; 60:1). "Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you.” (Isaiah 60:1, ESV) Those unbelievers hearing this had been told of the Light who is Christ, and Paul told them to wake up to the truth. Even today as we speak to others in our churches not everyone will be a believer in Christ. For those who are we are to encourage them to walk according to who they are, and for those who aren’t we are to encourage them to respond to the truth which they have heard and the light which is being shined on their heart.

Beyond the church walls, we also are the salt of the world. Our Christianity is not a uniform to be put on and off. We are to be continually putting on our new identity and putting off that which is of old. This is the instruction in the previous chapter (Ephesians 4:22-24), and where appropriate we are to wake up to this truth and respond to it accordingly in the entirety of our lives and in our interactions with others in the body of Christ.

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Made as Light – Walk as Light (Ephesians 5:6-10)

“Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. Therefore do not be partakers with them; for you were formerly darkness, but now you are Light in the Lord; walk as children of Light (for the fruit of the Light consists in all goodness and righteousness and truth), trying to learn what is pleasing to the Lord.” (Ephesians 5:6–10, NASB95)

As I read these verses I thought of Psalm 1 where we read in verse 1 of this progression from walking amongst those who scoff, put down, minimize, and reject the word of God for their own beliefs and desires. From there the psalm progresses to demonstrate how after walking along their path, the person then stands and contemplates what he had just seen and heard. He starts to play with it in his mind and justify it in some way as being enticingly valid. The next thing we read is that he is sitting right among them engaged in those same activities. This person has been deceived by their empty words, turning away from the full and right Word of God. Having been saved from sin, the person returns to sin. Having been freed from the judgment of God because of sin, this person returns to the activities from which he was saved. Surely they will be judged for those actions and their unrepentance, and we are not to follow in their path, listen to their counsel, nor participate in their actions. This is not who we are.

Psalm 1 continues to say in verse 2 that this man who is blessed is the one who delights in the law of the Lord and who meditates on it day and night. This is what Paul tells us here in these verses. Don’t be deceived by the ways of sin. Hide God’s Word in your heart, and walk according to who we truly are—people who have come to know the Light of the World—Jesus Christ. It is according to His ways that we are to walk, and accordingly not to participate in the things we once did in darkness. Instead, we are to do that which consists of goodness, righteousness and truth as we seek to please our Lord.

“How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked, nor stand in the path of sinners, nor sit in the seat of scoffers! But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and in His law he meditates day and night. He will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in its season and its leaf does not wither; and in whatever he does, he prospers. The wicked are not so, but they are like chaff which the wind drives away. Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the assembly of the righteous. For the Lord knows the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish.” (Psalm 1:1–6, NASB95) 

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Made Clean – Live Clean (Ephesians 5:3-5)

“But immorality or any impurity or greed must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints; and there must be no filthiness and silly talk, or coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks. 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.” (Ephesians 5:3–5, NASB95)

Moral standards in our society have changed dramatically and are on a path for continuing change far beyond what many of us would have imagined. The reason for this is not due to some dramatic realization that what once was believed wrong really isn’t wrong any longer, but rather due to people living as if there is no standard other than what they feel is right in their own eyes. The standard hasn’t changed or moved, but our culture has chosen, in a significant degree, to deny that standard as valid for themselves or those they oversee.

As much as we might be surprised by this and shocked by how people have openly embraced this rebellious living, we really should not be that surprised except for when that living happens among those who call themselves Christians. The world has been lost to sin, seeking their own desires and subject to the evil one since the Fall. Man has repeatedly suppressed God’s right in their hearts in lieu of his own pleasures. The flood happened because the wickedness of man was that prevalent in the earth. We read in Genesis 6: “Then the Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great on the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. The Lord was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart. The Lord said, “I will blot out man whom I have created from the face of the land, from man to animals to creeping things and to birds of the sky; for I am sorry that I have made them.” But Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord.” (Genesis 6:5–8, NASB95) Then after the death of Joshua the people of Israel took their eyes again off of God, and we read these last words in the book of Judges: “And the people were sorry for Benjamin because the Lord had made a breach in the tribes of Israel.” (Judges 21:15, NASB95)

This country was founded on religious principles with the words of the fathers recognizing that they viewed the only way a government such as this would survive is if the people were a moral people. Well, the people, to a significant degree, have followed after other people before them who had lived apart from God for thousands of years. As a result, the “rights” that were granted in the founding documents for this country have been turned into rights to do things that are greatly disconnected from their early moral framed intent. And now, rather than the people doing what is right in their own eyes because there is no king in the land, the people today are doing what is right in their own eyes with the endorsement of much of the top leadership and the judges who were appointed by them.

No country is adequate to preserve the moral fabric of a people apart from the leadership and the people of that country holding to a standard and a standard giver far beyond themselves. As followers of Christ we have been called to live like Christ. In these verses today we are told, “But immorality or any impurity or greed must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints;” As Christians we are not to engage in the sins of the world. In the New American Standard Bible, we read that no “Immorality” is to be named among us. This word “immorality” is the Greek word porneia, and it covers all forms of sexual sin including adultery, all illicit sexual activity, and the entirety of the promoted freedoms of the LBGTQ community. In many ways the advent of the no-fault divorce may have opened wide the doors for the entrance into the acceptable no-limit relationship. If something is no longer termed wrong, then by implication no one is to then be accepted who speaks against it as right. That is what has happened as those who hold to the standard of God are being rejected in a country where the moral fabric was formed from the Word of God. We read in the Bible that God has ordained sex for the marriage between one man and one woman. We also read in passages such as here that all other forms of sexual activity that are outside the bounds for proper Christian activity are activities that Christians are not to engage in or endorse in any way.

We also read that no impurity or greed (or covetousness) is to be named amongst us either. Sexual immorality may be a most obvious form of impure action, but it is not the entirety of that which is impure nor that which we wrongly desire or strive after. Is some sense sexual immorality might reflect the extreme action that arises from impure thoughts and selfish desires working their way out in practice. But all three of them are included by Paul as that which is not to be named among us or that which we engage in as saints or saved and set apart ones by God as His holy ones. We are His holy ones, made righteous by the blood of His Son, and as such we are called to live in accordance and not entertain that which stands in stark contrast.

But Paul does not leave it with these biggies. He brings it next to our very speech saying, “there must be no filthiness and silly talk, or coarse jesting (crude joking), which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks.” Those “big” actions are one thing, but what about the talk that surrounds it? Filthiness is just that. It is talk that is based in filth including that which is deemed obscene. When we realize how we have been cleansed in Christ, to speak anything that does not reflect that cleansing is really in essence to speak filth. Some of it may be more obvious, but it is not limited to the obvious. The NAS uses the word “silly” talk. Other translations use words such as “foolish.” I can’t even pretend to number the times I’ve heard that someone spoke “without thinking.” This is what a fool does. He allows words to spew out of his mouth before he stops to consider their worth. We are called as believers to be slow to speak and to guard our words. We are not to speak carelessly as the fool. And of course, we are not to engage in coarse jesting. Included in this might be all of the things that we say that tears down another or the things we say that minimize and maybe even glorify the very actions that as believers we are to refrain from doing. There is so much that can be included in these three prohibitions, and every single one of them is countered with the instruction, “but rather giving of thanks.” Rather than speaking that which is filthy, destructive, and thoughtless we are simply to pursue speech that builds up and encourages one another and that reflects our thankfulness to our God.

The kingdom of God has closed doors to sinners. No one is permitted into His presence who is identified in any of these listed ways. But our great hope and encouragement is that not one of us, who has trusted Jesus Christ for His salvation and who has along with that received His forgiveness of all of our sins once and for all, is counted in that group. Our sins have been washed away and we have the righteousness of Christ put on us. It is because of His righteousness that we have entrance into eternity in His presence. In light of this we are to take serious who we are and how we live with each other, and purpose to not engage, endorse, or speak lightly of those things which reflect in our old identity. Instead we are to put on Christ, and live as He has called us.