6 Outlines





R. Kent Hughes - “A little boy's mother had just baked a fresh batch of cookies and placed them in the cookie jar, giving instructions that no one touch them until after dinner. But it was not long until she heard the lid of the jar move, and she called out, ‘My son, what are you doing?’ To which a meek voice called back, ‘My hand is in the cookie jar resisting temptation!’ The fact is, no one can resist temptation with his or her hand in the cookie jar.

“There are open cookie jars all around us. The ubiquitous cookie jar of our culture is the television, dwelling in the heart of nearly every home in America. Turn it off, and the goodies are present in an open magazine or a billboard. There are living cookie jars everywhere, inviting passersby to taste their wares. It would be so easy ...  But when these wares are removed from the jar, their sweetness soon turns to rot, and the decay is shared by the hand that plucked them, resulting in gangrene of the soul.” R. Kent Hughes, Preaching the Word, Ephesians, The Mystery of the Body of Christ, (Wheaton, Illinois, Crossway Books, 1990), pp. 155-156


Resisting the temptation to be tempted is “Keeping our hands out of the cookie jar.”  It is something that each Christian keeps to learn how to do.  The Bible gives us many pointers on how to resist all temptations.  Some of these tips for “Keeping our hands out of the cookie jar are found in Ephesians 5:1-7. The tips found here are:


Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children;

The word “followers” means “imitators”.  We are to be the imitators of God!  That, of course, is quite a challenge and is also mentioned in other parts of the Scriptures. Matthew 5:48, 1 Peter 1:15-16

And notice that we are to follow our Heavenly Father as “dear children”.

If we really appreciate our Heavenly Father we will strive to imitate Him.

There is a word is this verse that we did not talk about yet. It is the word, “therefore”.  When we see the word “therefore” in Scripture we are to look and see what it is there for.

We only need to go back to the last verse of the last chapter. Ephesians 4:32

Although we should imitate God in every thing we do, we are especially to imitate God in the way He forgives.

How does God forgive?

For Christ’s sake, God has forgiven you totally!  If you are truly saved, there is no sin that will keep you out of Heaven. Psalm 103:2

What about forgiveness now after we have been saved?

When we confess our sins as Christians God forgives us. 1 John 1:9

We are tempted to “put our hand in the cookie jar” by not readily forgiving those who have offended us.  This will lead to us holding a grudge.  Jesus is very clear that we should be quick to forgive others. Mark 11:24-26

So, to help keep your hand out of the cookie jar, make sure that you imitate your Heavenly Father as a loving child, especially in the area of forgiveness.


Ephesians 5:2 - 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.

You will be able to keep that hand out of the cookie jar as your life is one that “walks” in, or follows the pattern of love.

We are not talking romantic love here, but the highest form of love, called agape love.

Christ is the example we are to follow. Again, we are imitating. Christ loved us. We are to love Him because he first loved us.

The sacrificial love that Christ showed was …an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour.

In other words, it was a sacrifice that gave off a sweet aroma because of what was accomplished in redemption. In a figurative sense, God liked the smell of Christ’s sacrifice.

BE CLEAN – Vss. 3-4

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

It seems that this verse is talking specifically about sexual sin.

Fornication would include sex before marriage and adultery.

Fornication would include homosexuality. Leviticus 18:22, Romans 1:25-27

I believe that the word, “uncleanness” which refers to filth in a more general way, would enlarge the scope to include pornography. Psalm 101:3, Philippians 4:8

What part does covetousness have to do with sexual sin? Another word for covetousness is greed. 

We should not be greedy for what does not belong to us, and that includes another woman that is not my wife, or, for the ladies, another man that is not your husband. Exodus 20:17

These sins should not be named among us. They shouldn’t be found in our midst and other than to call sin “sin”, we should not discuss them among ourselves.  All that detailed discussion of sin can do is tempt us to have sexual fantasies, or to try it ourselves.

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

Filthiness is obscenity. We would all agree that to have a filthy, suggestive tongue is an abomination. To use vulgar, suggestive language is just not right.

So, to stay out of the cookie jar we must watch how we joke, and what jokes we tolerate. Some of you would not tell such jokes but do you listen to them and laugh at them?

God is not saying that all humor is bad.


In Ecclesiastes 3:4 He says that “there is a time to weep and a time to laugh.”

In Proverbs 17:22 He says that “a merry heart doeth good like a medicine.”

Our daily prayer should be, Psalms 141:3 - Set a watch, O LORD, before my mouth; keep the door of my lips.

BE WISE – Vss. 5-6

Vs. 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.

We should in no way glorify sin!

Paul is talking about habitual sin here.  The person who habitually does these things has no inheritance in God’s Kingdom. Revelation 21:8

We don’t want to do the same things that impure people are doing because they are not going to Heaven. 

Instead of joining in with their sins, we need to keep our hands out of the cookie jar, and having nothing to do with their filth. Ephesians 5:6

We need to be wise enough not to be deceived.

The wrath of God is coming on these people.

We need to be wise enough to understand that their sins should not be talked about, joked about, and acted upon those of us who call ourselves the children of God.

Keep your hands out of the cookie jar!


Ephesians 5:7 - Be not ye therefore partakers with them.

If I were going to rob a bank, would you rob one with me?

If I were going to go on a drinking binge, would you go with me?

If I were planning a murder, would you plan one with me?

I would hope that you would be wise enough not to participate with me if I were going to do such foolish things.

Perhaps it would be good to end this message by reading 2 Corinthians 6:14-7:1 BE SEPARATE

Ephesians 5:7 - Be not ye therefore partakers with them.

Beloved, let’s keep our hands out of the cookie jar.



BE CLEAN – Vss. 3-4

BE WISE – Vss. 5-6





Ephesians 5:8-14




For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light:


(For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth;)

BE SELECTIVE – Vss. 10-13

Proving what is acceptable unto the Lord. And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them. For it is a shame even to speak of those things which are done of them in secret. But all things that are reproved are made manifest by the light: for whatsoever doth make manifest is light.

BE AWAKE – Vs. 14

Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light.



Ephesians 5:15-17



THE WALK OF TIME MANAGEMENT - Vs. 15 - See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise,


THE WATCH OF TIME MANAGEMENT - Vs. 16 - Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.


THE WISDOM OF TIME MANAGEMENT - Vs. 17 - Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is.




Ephesians 5:18-21



When a person is saved, he or she is baptized with the Holy Spirit. (1 Corinthians 12:13.)  If the Holy Spirit is not present in the life, a person is not born again (John 3:5-8, Romans 8:9).


Although there is only one baptism of the Spirit, there is to be many "fillings" of the Spirit.  The filling of the Spirit is the control of the Spirit of God in the life.


THE FILLING OF THE SPIRIT IS NOT ARTIFICIAL - Vs. 18 - "And be not drunk with wine..."

Satan is a deceiver. He tries to substitute God's work with his own.

Alcohol is the substitute for the filling of the Spirit mentioned here.

When alcohol controls it is not only devastating, but temporary.

We must also beware of a "filling" of the Spirit that has no Biblical basis.


THE FILLING OF THE SPIRIT IS NOT ACCIDENTAL - Vs. 18 - "...but be filled with the spirit."


Spirit filling does not just happen, it is commanded.  The original text conveys the idea of being constantly filled, or controlled by the Spirit.

To be filled with the Spirit, one must confess sin, and be a "clean" container for the Spirit to fill. 2 Timothy 2:19-21, 1 John 1:9. Then, ask God to fill you with His Spirit. 1 John 5:14-15.




The results of Spirit filling include


1. Supernatural Praise Vs. 19

2. Supernatural Thanksgiving Vs. 20

3. Supernatural Submission Vs. 21

4. Supernatural Fruit Galatians 5:22-23




Ephesians 5:21-33



I begin this message by reading the marriage vows.

The couple that keeps their marriage vows will be the couple that will experience a great marriage. They know what it is like to experience Heaven in the home. One of the Scriptures which shows us how to keep our marriage vows is Ephesians 5:21-33. Here are four ingredients for a happy marriage.


LORDSHIP Vss. 21-23

Christians are to be submissive to each other. This is a quality that comes from being filled with the Spirit. (Ephesians 5:18-21)

As husbands and wives submit to the Lord, and then to each other, there will be harmony in the home. The husband is the leader of the family, but that does not make him a dictator. He must still submit himself to the needs and desires of his wife.  That will mean doing things around the house, doing things she likes to do, and purchasing things (when feasible) which she wants.  The wife needs to be submissive to the leadership of her husband.


LOVE Vs. 25 (Colossians 3:19)

The primary lover in the family is the husband.

Most Christian husbands who love their wives as Christ loved the church will not need to worry about having a submissive wife.



The husband is the "head".

This makes him a leader.

The husband is responsible for the Spiritual well being of the home.

A good leader is not a dictator, but a thoughtful, considerate person.

A good leader makes the final decisions, but consults those he's leading before making decisions.

See Ephesians 6:4


LOYALTY Vss. 22 & 24

In order for husbands to be great leaders, they need great followers.

A loyal wife, who is loyal first to her Lord, and then to her husband, will enhance the husband's service for the Lord. Proverbs 31:10-12




Ephesians 5 etc.



Mother's Day comes once a year. Here are ways husband and children can show Mom Tender Loving Care (T.L.C.) every day of the year.


1. LOVE HER (Ephesians 5:25-27


2. LEAD HER (Ephesians 5:22-24)

    The husband is not a dictator, but a loving leader, whose leadership

    will usually be accepted by the wife when she is treated correctly.

    A wise leader will include those he's leading in the decision making                                                                                                                                                                                          



3. LEARN FROM HER (Proverbs 3:11-12, 26)


4. LOOK UP TO HER (1 Peter 3:7, Ephesians 6:1-3)


5. LOOK AFTER HER (1 Timothy 5:8)