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And He Himself gave some to be....evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ...
- Ephesians 4:11-12

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Location: The Hill Country of Texas

Pastor - Providence Reformed Baptist Church
Director - TIME in the Word Ministries

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Fitting for Saints

TIME in the Word - Daily Devotional
Together for Inspiration, Motivation, and Encouragement

Verse of the Day - Ephesians 5:3-4
But fornication and all uncleanness or covetousness, let it not even be named among you, as is fitting for saints; neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks.

Daily Scripture Reading - Romans 16

Puritan Catechism
Question #42 - Which is the first commandment?

Answer - The first commandment is, "You shall have no other gods before Me." (Exodus 20:3).

Devotional Thoughts
Yesterday we saw that there were things that we as Christians are supposed to avoid, to shun, and to flee. We must not participate in or think about fornication, uncleanness, or greed. Immorality leads to impurity and this lust is motivated by greed. As our flesh craves sin, and to be gratified, we are led into temptation (James 1:14), and when temptation is fulfilled we find ourselves mired in the works of the flesh. We forget sometimes that the wages of sin is still death - in other words, sin will kill us if we do not kill it!

Even as these things are not to be named or tolerated among us within the Body of Christ we learn in today's verse that there are more things we need to avoid! These things we are told are not fitting for saints. This means that the things we are studying this week that we are to avoid, those things that are not even to be named among us, they are literally "not proper for holy ones."

The word fitting refers to that which is proper. It is right. It is very much like clothing. When you try on a shirt it either fits or it doesn't. It is either proper attire, or it isn't. Even so, certain behavior is fitting for believers and other behavior just does not fit. It is improper.

Can you imagine the Queen of England or the President of the United States in frumpy, wrinkled, torn, dirty clothes at a State Dinner? It would not be fitting. This is what Paul is saying. For a Christian, for "saints" some behavior does not fit.

The term "saints" by the way means "holy ones." These are not a special class of beatified dead Roman Catholics. These are not famous dead religious people. These are not even Christians who have died and gone to heaven. The term is used for every believer! We are all saints. Because of the saving work of Christ we are holy before God - we are His saints. And there are some things listed here that clearly are not fitting or proper for followers of Jesus Christ.

What are these things that are not fitting?

Today we learn that there are three things not fitting for saints. They serve to illustrate what a life of immorality, uncleanness, and greed looks and sounds like.

Filthiness

We learn that filthiness is not fitting for saints. This is a general term for obscenity, or disgraceful speech. This is saying things that are profane, vulgar, shocking, or inappropriate. A clear violation of Eph 4:29 and an offense that reveals that the sins of the heart flow out of the mouth in what we say and how we say it. Dirty talk is not proper for Christians. We should not talk like the world. People should notice!

I remember seeing a movie years ago - one that I should not have seen - and throughout this action flick there was profanity and cursing all throughout every scene. I rather naively reacted and said that surely people do not really talk like this. A few years later I remember thinking about my reaction to that movie while at work one day. I was in a job where I was surrounded by people who made the movie seem tame! Boy had I been wrong about how some people talk. Even today I remember that and am amazed at how foul speech has become. Every other word vulgar, every thought profane, every figure of speech offensive. This kind of talk is common place. But as common as it is, it is not fitting for Christians.

If what comes out the mouth originates in the heart, and we sound just like the world when we talk, what does that say about our hearts?

Foolish Talking

Next we see that foolish talking is not proper or fitting for believers. This is silly talk, moronic speech, stupidity, or low (as in the gutter) speech. This does not refer to humor. It refers to foolishness. And there is a difference. One can have a great sense of humor and tell funny jokes and stories without resorting to foolish talking.

What motivates a fool? Remember that the fool has said in his heart that there is no God! This is talking about things as if there were no God and no consequence to the choice of words we use. We will give an account for every word to God! So let us be careful not to speak foolishly.

Words, some say, are a-moral. That is words are neither right nor wrong, it just depends on how you use them. I would say that this is not correct. There are words that can be good. There are words that can be bad. There are words that can be good or bad depending on usage. But to be sure, there are words that are never appropriate.

So not only are we to avoid filthiness and foolish talking, but these are not ever proper for "holy ones." Let us not forget that we should live like what we are - followers of Jesus Christ!

Coarse Jesting

Lastly today there is coarse jesting. This refers to innuendo, turning something said or done into the obscene where even the innocent is perverted and misused. Further this is not telling a joke, it is laughing at or about sin.

People who engage in coarse jesting can take any story or any event and make it dirty, or sexual in nature. They twist words and use innuendo to try and get a laugh. Don't laugh when you hear these things. I was going to say don't laugh even if it is funny, but then we must never forget that sin is never truly funny!

Some of the best of what we think of as humor is just pure sin and depravity. We need to guard our minds. We have been misinformed. And if we laugh at sin, we need to repent and realize what an affront to our Heavenly Father sin truly is.

Imagine if the weapon used to kill your child was thought of as a laughing matter by your friends and family! It is not that sin was used to kill God's Son - but it was the reason He had to die. And an all Holy God cannot be mocked! Sin is no laughing matter, it is deadly serious.

Here in these things now that are not fitting we find three things that involve our speech. Let us remember that the things we studied yesterday (immorality, uncleanness, and greed) are progressive. Greed when fulfilled produces immoral behavior thus making us unclean. Today we see then these things that are not fitting for saints are things that reveal the true nature of our heart. They are not proper because if we engage in them we prove or reveal that our hearts are sinful. Obscene speech, moronic talk, and innuendo prove the presence of sin. These things prove the condition of the heart. They reveal self-centeredness. They expose the corruption of the inward man. They prove that we are sinners.

Is that anything to laugh at?

Links for Further Study
(links to study each daily topic in more detail if you have the desire and the time)

Treasury of David - Psalm 14 by Charles Spurgeon
Are You Holy? (Tract) by J.C. Ryle

Bible Reading For Further Study

Recommended Songs for Worship

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