Verse of the Day – Ephesians 5:6-7
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.
Let no one deceive you with empty words. The key here of course is that there are those who are trying to deceive us. It is basic to fallen human nature that we deceive. We lie. We do not “practice the truth.” We bear false witness. Even as it was in the garden with Adam and Eve after the fall, we hide. We hide the truth. We hide from the truth. That is why we understand that the Bible tells us that the heart of man is deceitfully wicked. Deceitfully – full of and overflowing with dishonesty.
Today I want to take a brief moment and look at what this verse tells us about the deceit at hand. There are two things to examine. First there is the matter of what it is we are being deceived about. Secondly there are the tools used to deceive.
We are told, “Let no one deceive you.” What is it that these deceivers are trying to cover up? What is the truth that they want to keep hidden? What are they lying about?
“Let no one deceive you….because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience.”
Because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. Because of what things? The things we have been studying. The things that Paul has told us to avoid and to shun. Because of immorality, unholiness, greed, obscenity, foolish talk, and crude joking God’s wrath is coming. These things are not just things we avoid for our health. We avoid them for our LIFE!
These are sins. Terrible sins. Sins that proceed from the heart and corrupt our mouths and our lives. They infiltrate our thoughts. They destroy trust. These things are an evidence of idolatry and as such they are targeted by God’s justice. He is a jealous God. He alone is to be worshipped. And idolatry in one’s life truly does make one a target for judgment.
Because of the very nature of these sins God’s wrath is coming upon the “sons of disobedience”. We will examine that phrase more tomorrow, but for now we need to see that people who live corrupt, unholy, selfish lives are people who have made it clear by their thinking, speaking, and living that they are not part of the kingdom of God.
Those who live like this are described in 2 Timothy 3, where we are told that they will be made manifest. It will be made obvious what they are and who they serve, in due time.
But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away! For of this sort are those who creep into households and make captives of gullible women loaded down with sins, led away by various lusts, always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. Now as Jannes and Jambres resisted Moses, so do these also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, disapproved concerning the faith; but they will progress no further, for their folly will be manifest to all, as theirs also was.
The truth that these sons of disobedience are trying to cover, twist, and hide is the truth that they cannot and will not get away with their sin. And they know it. We must not be deceived. We must never fall for the lie that we will get away with sin. There will always be consequences. There will always be discipline if we are followers of Christ and there will always be judgment if we are lost. No one can sin and get away with it. No one. Not ever.
This means that the deception is serious for the lie that is being spread is that it is possible to get away with sin. To embrace sin and Christ at the same time. To love Jesus and love sin. To be a homosexual Christian or a born again serial killer. But this is deception. It is a lie! Those who practice such things will not inherit eternal life.
In this day of television psychologists and talk show divas we must see through the deception for it is coming at us from all sides. Tolerance and Acceptance are the highest virtues while Conviction and Assurance are anathema. According to the world we are all basically good and will all live forever in the love of God. But to buy the lie is to be deceived and to fall once again for that old fable that men without God are good and God without men is incomplete.
The truth that we must not lose is the truth that sin has a consequence – the wrath of God.
The Tools of the Trade
So for those who gain a popular platform and work overtime to seduce us with lies and deceive us regarding the truth, what tools do they use? How do they perpetrate this deception?
They use empty words. “Let no one deceive you with empty words…” There are words that are devoid of truth. They are indeed empty, meaningless, and futile. Words that say, “It is okay to sin from time to time. We all fail. Just confess it and move on.” These are dangerous words, words devoid of truth. God does not tolerate sin. We cannot excuse it! We must deal with it as He does. The wages of sin is death – anything that causes death is to be held in proper perspective.
These are words that tell us that we can have our sin and Christ, we can repent and remain unchanged, we can be saved and live like the lost. These are lies! They are empty words – words that lead to destruction, swift and sure.
These are the words that say that it is easier to get forgiveness than permission. These are the words and the thoughts our flesh uses to try and lure us into sin and talk us into disobedience. These are the same old lies that have been around since the garden.
Just as with the serpent and Eve, these are words that assure us that what we want to do is okay and what we have reservations about is nothing to worry about or give a second thought. They are words used to frame temptation. Words that deny the penalty for sin. Words that deny that sin is even sin. They are words that call evil good and good evil.
These empty words are full of false doctrine. They replace God with man, shame with success, and joy with happiness. When our conscience tells us that we have sinned and we are ashamed and we are guilty these empty words tell us that everybody does it, it isn’t that bad, and that our guilt is misplaced. After all, if we want to succeed and be happy we have to “play the game”, right?
Beside that now a world full of people who do not find the consequences and guilt for their sin acceptable simply get a prescription and pop a pill and they feel all better. But they are EMPTY! The promises of guilt free, consequence free sin never delivers. The warranty is voided before you even go for the test drive.
Biblically these empty words are used to deny the truth that we reap what we sow.
Isn’t it interesting that the text presents us with an overview of sin that includes 6 areas of sinfulness? There is fornication, uncleanness, covetousness, filthiness, foolish talking, and coarse jesting. And look – speaking of empty words, half of those involve talking. Filthiness is obscene and disgraceful speech. Foolish talking is speaking as if there was no God. And coarse jesting is turning the innocent into the vulgar through innuendo. Here are the empty words! Words that tell us that we can sin, we can say whatever we want without consequence. We can sin and get away with it – after all our favorite emerging and relevant preachers can talk any way they want in order to shock, I mean “reach” their audience.
But let us not apply this to others. Let us apply it to self. How often do we deceive ourselves? How often do we tell ourselves that sin is a private matter that will not hurt anyone else? How often do we believe the lie and think that we can sin and get away with it?
Another way to learn the truth of this verse is found in Numbers 32:23:
“…be sure your sin will find you out.”
Links for Further Study
(links to study each daily topic in more detail if you have the desire and the time)
Bible Reading For Further Study
Isaiah 59:4; 1 Cor 15:54; Col 2:8
1 Cor 15:33; Gal 6:7; James 1:26; 1 John 1:8-9; 3:7