The vicar decided to do something a little different one Sunday morning. He said, “Today, I am going to say a single word and you are going to help me preach. Whatever single word I say, I want you to sing whatever hymn that comes to your mind.”
So he shouted out CROSS. Immediately, the congregation started singing in unison THE OLD RUGGED CROSS.
He shouted out GRACE. The congregation began to sing AMAZING GRACE.
He said POWER. The congregation sang THERE IS POWER ,POWER WONDER WORKING POWER.
The vicar finally said SEX. The congregation fell in total silence. Everyone was in shock. They all nervously began to look around at each other afraid to say anything.
Then all of a sudden, from way back in the church, a little 88 year old grandmother stood up and began to sing MEMORIES LIKE THE CORNERS OF MY MIND.
Maybe you think it is too early to think about such a topic and why is this Apostle suddenly now talking about sexual immorality when he is in prison. Is he running out of ideas?
He uses the word porneia.
The original meaning of the Greek word porneia is “to prostitute” or “to sell.” But it came to mean a whole list of sexual activity that broke social or cultural norms.
The Church throughout its history has created new lists in every generation of what this word porneia refers to. It is definitely connected to activity and not what is looked at. However if the Church just focuses on the activity it only pushes porneia further into the recesses of the heart. For porneia is definitely an issue of the heart.
But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, Ephesians 5 v 3
The Message has it like this, “Don’t allow love to turn into lust …”
Having just spoken of the love of Christ as the fragrance of God and how we should copy Him by loving each other, the Apostle clearly tells us that this love is not a love that takes for self-gratification.
Self-less, sacrificial, pure love is unconditional. “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonour others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. “Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” If you have found such love then don’t let go of it. If you had such love then be thankful for it. If you have an opportunity to give this love then do it.
Porneia is not that. Porneia grabs and takes and goes for what it can receive from that other person not what it can give. It has an agenda which is to gain for its own pleasure. It will pay for it or manipulate or deceive the other or themselves to ultimately get what it wants. It will appear as activity but it commences in the heart and that is why the Apostle says “not even a hint”.
There is more to say and that will come in the next word Paul uses ….