Calvary Road Baptist Church


Ephesians 5.3-6 

There are two views of the Christian life. The one view, the overwhelmingly popular view of the Christian, is found on Christian radio and television. In the vast majority of Churches, people see Christians as sinners who are just forgiven. Little difference between Christians and non-Christians. Oh, Christians go to Church and have other peculiarities, but there is no essential difference between the typical Christian and the typical heathen.

But notice what the Apostle Paul writes in Ephesians 5.1-6: 

1  Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children;

2  And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour.

3  But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints;

4  Neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient: but rather giving of thanks.

5  For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.

6  Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience. 

Do you think there is essentially no difference between Christians and unsaved people, other than being forgiven and having some few behavioral peculiarities? If so, then consider this: What we will examine in this passage is a discussion, not of the self-sacrificing expressions of love for Christ that the Apostle Paul referred to in verses 1 and 2, but of love’s perversion into adultery and sexual abuse.

Take a look at verses 3 and 4. Paul lists three wicked sins, admonishes us not to commit such sins, lists three more horrible sins, and recommends alternative and acceptable behavior. A quick look at what Paul says before looking at verses 5 and 6.

Paul starts with the word “but.” Interesting little word. Frequently overlooked as we are reading along in the Bible, looking for the big words. However, this is an essential word in that it is a word of contrast, the way Paul uses it. In other words, Paul is using this word to point out the significant differences in behavior that he expects to see between those who are saved and those who are not saved.

Next, we find listed three words: fornication, uncleanness, and covetousness. Fornication, of course, refers to any kind of sexual sin. Whether it be cheating on your spouse or petting with your girlfriend or boyfriend, sexual activity with anyone you are not married to is fornication. Uncleanness refers to anything dirty.

If you have a dirty mouth, if you have a dirty mind, if you have a dirty expression on your face, or if you wear clothes that give the impression that you are morally dirty, you are committing this sin. And there is covetousness. Usually, this refers to wanting something you have no business having. But in this context, it may refer specifically to wanting to do something with someone you have no business doing.

About these sins, Paul writes, “let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints.” In other words, these sins are so uncharacteristic of the behavior that Christians are to practice that you and I shouldn’t lower ourselves to discuss these kinds of sins in everyday conversation. Why not? Because if you are saved, you are a saint of God. If you are saved, you are holy unto the Lord God. And to traffic in such subjects as these as if they were not lethal, as if they were not disgusting, as if they were not horrible, is to dull our sensibilities and cloud our thinking. We’ve been called to better things. Certain things are too base for Christians to spend our valuable time talking about. And fornication, all uncleanness, and covetousness are just such subjects.

The subsequent three sins are found in verse 4. They are filthiness, foolish talking, and jesting. Filthiness has to do with talking dirty and even acting dirty. This word covers not just using vulgar and obscene words but talking about vulgar and obscene subjects. Foolish talking is the talk of fools. This is the way fools talk. It’s silly talk. You know people that the main portion of their conversation is foolish. It’s when the whole object of your conversation is to produce a laugh without any wit or genuine humor. Just to get people to chuckle. It’s mindless talk. Some people spend their entire minds in mindless talk. And jesting refers to talking in such a way to mean something more than you say. It’s the kind of talking that allows the talker to say, “What did I say?” or to deny that they meant what they were understood to mean.

What should the child of God engage in if not inane and nonsensical and off-color conversation? My friends, we are called to that which is more substantial, more weighty, more significant, more important. What we should do is give thanks. You see, to give thanks, you have to have your mind and heart in a different place than unsaved people have their minds, which is usually in the gutter. And if you’re saved, that’s not a great difficulty.

What should motivate the child of God to guard his conversation carefully and to give thanks? Considering the destiny of those who do not guard their conversation would be a place to start. Whoremongers are men who consort with whores, sluts, with prostitutes, with women who will trade sexual favors for money or dinner or a ride in a nice car, or nice-sounding words spoken softly into her ear. Proverbs has an awful lot to say about such strange women.

Uncleanness, again, refers to that which is dirty, morally and spiritually defiled. And a covetous man, which we know desires what he should not have, is here identified as an idolater. And this is no great surprise. Anytime you elevate the importance of someone, or you elevate the importance of some thing, to a point where obtaining what you want is more important than the will of God for your life, you are an idolater. Plain and simple.

And Paul’s point in this verse? Simple. These people have no inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. We are on the inside, and they are on the outside. These people are simply not saved. Think about this for a moment. Look again at the sins mentioned in verses 3, 4, and 5. And contemplate what is expected of saved people compared to those sins the Apostle Paul listed.

Can it be maintained any longer that there is no fundamental distinction between saved and lost people? Can it rightly be alleged that Christians are the same as lost people, except that they are forgiven? No. Saved people are radically different than lost people and are challenged to and expected to behave radically differently. So, let me ask you, professing Christian, is your behavior radically different than the behavior of a lost man?

Verse 6 begins, “Let no man deceive you with vain words.” Vain words are empty words, words that are devoid of truth. Paul is referring to the tendency that sinners have to minimize the offensiveness of their sins, try and convince you that what they are doing isn’t really that bad, or suggest that God is too good to punish people for things like this.

Paul counters this by stating, “for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience.” Don’t try to minimize the sinfulness of these sins. How dare you suggest that since God is love, He wouldn’t think of severely punishing those who commit these sins. 

“The wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness,” 

Romans 1.18. Don’t let any liar suggest otherwise.

It’s a Bible truth that is declared. It’s a Bible truth under attack in some so-called Christian circles. But it’s a Bible doctrine that we tenaciously cling to because it reflects our understanding the nature of God, the justice of God, and the person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ. Paul mentioned it in Ephesians 5.6, 

“the wrath of God that cometh upon the children of disobedience.” 

I will bring this message on the subject of “The Wrath Of God.” The wrath of God is a doctrine most definitely taught in God’s Word.

Let me outline for you three considerations related to the wrath of God: 


Let me begin with the declaration of God’s wrath in the Bible. Almost 30 references to the wrath of God are found in the Psalms alone. In Exodus 22.24 we read that God warns the children of Israel that His “wrath shall wax hot, and I will kill you with the sword,” if they afflict the widows or the fatherless children among them. In Numbers 11.33 we are told by Moses that “the wrath of the Lord was kindled against” the children of Israel, “and the Lord smote the people with a very great plague.”

And then there’s the New Testament. The word “wrath” appears approximately 50 times in the New Testament. About half the time, the word “wrath” is used to describe sinful human emotion. But the other 25 or so references to “wrath” are in connection to the wrath of God. The specific phrase “the wrath of God” can be found no less than four times, and the phrase “wrath of Almighty God” is also used in Revelation 19.15, associated with the Second Coming of the Lord Jesus Christ in power and great glory.

So, the Bible clearly declares the reality of God’s wrath. Whether in the Old Testament or in the New, God shows Himself to be a wrathful God. Deny this reality and you call God, Who cannot lie, a liar.

Next, let’s briefly review the description of God’s wrath in the Bible. When “wrath” is used in connection to human emotions it is sinful, and it is wrong. The Bible declares that “the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God,” James 1.20. Have you ever done anything right when you were mad? I haven’t. But when the term is applied to God, since God is good and holy and righteous always, it must be understood to be a virtuous response to the wickedness of men. And this is how God’s wrath is always seen to be in Scripture. A careful study of God’s “wrath” will reveal His “wrath” to be poured out in two time frames. God’s “wrath” is poured out immediately, and God’s “wrath” is poured out eventually.

Those are the two time frames, now and later. For example, when Noah’s generation was overcome with sin, God judged them by pouring out His “wrath” in the form of a worldwide flood. I would classify that as God’s “wrath” being poured out immediately. That is, it was poured out during someone’s lifetime, and in that case, anyway, caused their lives to end. Many people died when God did that. Romans chapter 1 is another example of the immediate outpouring of God’s “wrath.” In response to the sins mentioned in that chapter, we see God variously giving sinners up to uncleanness, giving them up unto vile affections, and giving them over to a reprobate mind. Those are things that God has done, and things that God still does, to people who commit sin against Him and refuse to repent and trust Christ.

Such judgments of God are instances of the immediate “wrath” of God being poured upon wicked men. Sometimes we ignore the fact that God deals with men and women here and now when they commit sin. No doubt you know people who stubbornly refuse to stop their wicked ways and will not turn to the Savior. What happens to them? Most of them are not ever saved. Most of them do not moderate their sin. Most of them suffer the “wrath” of God in the form of being given up to uncleanness, being given up to vile affections, and then, finally, to being given over to a reprobate mind.

After the Rapture of Church age believers, God’s “wrath” will be poured out upon the human race in a fashion unprecedented since the Flood. Revelation 6.16-17 clearly reveals that the entire period of time, seven long years, between the Rapture of all genuinely saved Christians and the return of the Lord Jesus Christ to this earth will be a time of great “wrath.”

As if that’s not bad enough, there is also the wrath of God poured out eventually. It isn’t the worst of God’s “wrath” that the wicked suffer and endure during their normal life span. For the wicked the worst is that “wrath” of God that will be suffered eventually, after they die, for all eternity. And that “wrath” will be meted out by God in two distinct phases.

First, comes Hell. After that comes the lake of fire. Hell is the temporary abode of the unsaved dead. Luke 16.19-23 gives us enough information about Hell to know that it’s a real place and that it’s a place of constant and conscious torment. But people who go to Hell don’t go there forever. Revelation 20.14-15 is set in a context that clearly reveals that if a man died before the Rapture he would suffer no less than 1007 years of God’s “wrath” in Hell. But then, after the millennial reign of Christ comes to an end, he will enter an eternity of punishment and torment, suffering God’s unspeakably horrible “wrath” in the lake of fire: 

14 And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.

15 And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire. 

My unsaved friend, God’s “wrath” is real. And it awaits you. 


The wrath of God is the reasonable requirement of God. God is reasonable. God is rational. God is logical. But God is also holy and righteous and good. God is also the sum of all perfection and beauty. Besides this, God is also the Creator of all things. Therefore, it is reasonable and rational and right for God to insist upon and for God to demand of those He has created to worship and praise and serve Him, to do that which they were created to do. Listen to Revelation 4.11: 

“Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.” 

Now listen to Matthew 22.37-38: 

37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.

38 This is the first and great commandment. 

There is nothing wrong with God demanding that you do what He created you to do. His demands are reasonable.

But consider the unreasonable response of man. Adam’s response to his loving and kind Creator was the act of a traitor. Disobeying God’s command, Adam ate the forbidden fruit and was plunged, by his ungrateful act of rebellion, into sin. That single act of sin tarnished and defiled Adam's eternal and undying soul. But the matter didn’t end with Adam. Adam’s offspring inherited his sin. His progeny was conceived defiled. The entire human race, which has all sprung from Adam, has been contaminated by his single act of rebellion. Listen to Paul’s description of the consequences of Adam’s single act of sin in Romans 5.12: 

“Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned.” 

Ever since Adam’s sin, Adam’s children have constantly and continuously sinned against, rebelled against, offended greatly, and raised the fist against, the good God Who created us all. And the result of your attitude toward and actions against God has been to make God your enemy, Romans 5.10. Considering that God created you, that God sustains you with sunshine and rain and air and food, with intellect and physical health and opportunity, and with all the other blessings you have enjoyed in life to this point, is it reasonable to raise the clenched fist against Him? Is it reasonable to throw adultery and fornication and uncleanness and filthiness and foolish talking and jesting in the face of the thrice-holy God? It is obviously unreasonable. My friend, what wickedness it is to treat God as no account and not even feel guilty about it.

What is the reasonable reaction of God to your unreasonable sin against Him? There are two reasonable reactions by God:

First, God will pour “wrath” upon you during the course of your natural lifetime. This is a surprise to many people. Oh, you may not detect that it’s God’s “wrath,” since it will blend in so well with the “wrath” poured out on everyone else. But it will be “wrath” just the same, in the form of being given up to uncleanness and vile affections, and being turned over to a reprobate mind. And it will finally evidence itself in you dying an unsaved sinner.

And after this reasonable “wrath” of God handed out during your lifetime you will then begin suffering the afterlife “wrath” of God. You will burn and burn and burn in the fiery torment of the damned. It will be Hell for you for 1007 years, the seven years of Tribulation, and then the 1000 years of Christ’s millennial kingdom. And then it will get worse. Forever and ever and ever and ever, you will suffer the unrestrained “wrath” of an omnipotent God Who is taking out vengeance upon you for refusing to do that which was the reasonable thing to do. 


God’s “wrath” is real. Deny it if you will. Claim that since God is love, He cannot be a God of “wrath” if you want. But the fact remains; God declares Himself to be, shows Himself to be “wrathful” toward His enemies, defined as those who wantonly sin against Him. Scripture indicates that most sinners will suffer the “wrath” of God. Scripture indicates that all sinners deserve the “wrath” of God. But Scripture indicates, as well, that some sinners are shown mercy. Let me tell you about that.

First, God cannot be approached by you, a sinful person. God is holy. You are unholy. God is righteous. You are sinful. Because of His nature He cannot be approached by any sinner. How do we know? The Bible says, “Our God is a consuming fire.” The Bible says that without holiness “no man shall see the Lord.” So you see, God’s Own nature prohibits Him being approached by the likes of you.

Second, you, sinful person, cannot approach God. Let’s assume for a moment that God’s nature did not prohibit you approaching Him. If that were the case, your own nature would preclude you approaching God. How so? Because of your sinfulness you will not seek after God, Romans 3.11. Because of your sinfulness you cannot even cry out to God and be heard, Isaiah 59.2. And because you are a weak and earthbound human being you have not the strength nor the might to approach God, Romans 5.6. Therefore, since God cannot be approached by you, and since you cannot approach God, there exists a vast gulf between you and God. It’s a gulf caused by sin. It’s a gulf that God will respond to with “wrath” poured upon you, both now and forever. But for the grace of God, my friend, apart from some decisive action being taken by God on your behalf, your fate is sealed.

If God takes such decisive action, it will begin with you, a sinful individual, being convicted by the Spirit of God. You will not turn away from your sins apart from God somehow working in your life. And this working of God in a sinner’s life occurs when the Holy Spirit of God convicts of sin, righteousness, and judgment to come, just as Jesus Christ said He would. Is that occurring in your life, sinner? Are you becoming aware of the awfulness of your sins against God? Are you becoming concerned about the horrible fate that awaits you? And do you recognize that what God does to those who die in their sins is rational, is reasonable, and is responsible?

Are you beginning to understand that you cannot save yourself? Does the condemnation for sin weigh heavily upon you? Then, perhaps, you’re being convicted by the Holy Spirit of God. Don’t fight that. Don’t struggle against Him. He must make you sad so He can make you glad.

If you are being so convicted you, a convicted sinner, can be saved through faith in Christ. Though God cannot be approached by sinners, though sinners cannot approach God, the Son of God, the Second Person of the Triune Godhead, can. Listen to what He did. He came from heaven, born of a virgin, and took upon His Own body the sins of the world. Taking those sins to the cross, He suffered and bled and died to satisfy God’s righteousness demands that sin be punished. In actuality, while on that cruel cross, the Lord Jesus Christ suffered the “wrath” of God, His Father.

This same Lord Jesus, Who was then buried and Who rose from the dead, and Who sits at the right hand of God the Father in heaven as I speak, acts as a go-between for sinners who trust Him. So, though you cannot approach God, and though you cannot approach God, the Lord Jesus Christ can do what you cannot do and can bring to God those who trust Him, by washing away your sins in His Own blood, and by satisfying God’s demand that your sin be punished. 

The “wrath” of God. It’s something that everyone born into this world must face. But if you trust Jesus Christ as your Savior He will face God’s “wrath” for you.

It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God. Why so? Because of the “wrath” of God. Far better to fall into the hands of Jesus Christ by faith, who has already suffered the “wrath” of God for you, and by Him be saved from the “wrath” to come. For, as Romans 5.9 declares, Christians shall be saved from God’s wrath through Jesus Christ.

He must be your Savior.

You must trust Him.

You must come to know Him Whom to know is life eternal.

Would you like to contact Dr. Waldrip about this sermon? Please contact him by clicking on the link below. Please do not change the subject within your email message. Thank you.