Friday, August 22, 2014

Ephesians 5A: Be Imitators of God


Eph 5:1-21 Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. 2 And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. 3 But sexual immorality and all impurity or covetousness must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints. 4 Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving. 5 For you may be sure of this, that everyone who is sexually immoral or impure, or who is covetous ( that is, an idolater), has no inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. 6 gi Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. 7 Therefore do not associate with them; 8 for at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light 9 (for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true), 10 and try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord. 11  Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them. 12 For it is shameful even to speak of the things that they do in secret. 13 But when anything is exposed by the light, it becomes visible, 14 for anything that becomes visible is light. Therefore it says, "Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you." 15 Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, 16  making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. 17 Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. 18 And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit, 19 addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with all your heart, 20  giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, 21  submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ.

After his theological discussion about the Church as the Body of Christ, Paul begins to draw out practical applications from these theological truths. As the Church comprises God's children, so we must be "be imitators of God." But what does it mean to be imitators of God--to be God like, i.e. godly? Essentially, it means becoming like Jesus as God revealed in the Gospels.
  • Walk in love (v.1-2): Make love the motivation for all our thinking, talking and doing. If God is love, then we have to walk in love. Jesus is our Role-Model: "By this we may be sure that we are in him: whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked" (1 John 2:5-6). The Apostle John goes even further to declare that "anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love" (1 John 4:8). 
  • Avoid deeds of darkness (v.3-7): Avoid behavior that defile us: sexual immorality (sex outside marriage, pornography, greed, filthy and foolish talking and crude jokes. Don't even associate with people who are still doing these deeds of darkness. If possible, stay away from such company. While we want to reach them, we must not become like them: "Do not associate with them."
  • Walk in the light (v.8-14): Light is "all that is good and right and true." If we focus our thoughts, words and deeds on what is good, right and true, we are walking in the light. We are called to expose deeds of darkness by bringing it into the light: "when anything is exposed by the light, it becomes visible." In other words, we should not be apologetic about stating unequivocally what is good and what is evil, what is right and what is wrong and what is true and what is false. However, we don't have to become offensive in doing so, but "with gentleness and respect" (1 Peter 3:16).
  • Be wise (v.15-21): We are to be wise, not unwise. In this postmodern generation, it is very easy to become confused and deceived if our lives are not anchored in the Scripture which alone reveals God's will: "Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is" (Eph 5:17). True wisdom is derived from knowing the whole counsel of God. But more importantly, we need to be filled with the Spirit, for the Spirit grants us wisdom and revelation of God's will. When we are filled with the Spirit, we are filled with songs of worship (psalms, hymns and spiritual songs), with a thankful heart (not a griping one), and always willing to submit to one another: "be filled with the Spirit, addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with all your heart, giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ" (v.18-21).
When we keep these do's and don'ts as listed by Paul, we will become more like Jesus, and less like the world in our thinking, our speaking and our doing.

Father, keep us walking in love and in light by the power of Your Spirit. Help us reject works of darkness and expose them when we do see them, but with gentleness and respect. Amen.

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