Roseavenue.org

 



Sunday, July 24, 2016 pm                                                    Ephesians Index

 

STUDIES IN EPHESIANS (30)
Imitators of God
Ephesians 5:1-2

 

Tonight, we are continuing our study of the book of Ephesians.   The past few lessons addressed our pursuit of unity (4:1-16) and a call of the walk of new man who has put off his former conduct and put on the new man and how that affects the way we treat each other.  4:17-32 gives us some very practical insight into this.  In Ephesians 5:1-21, Paul continues to describe what our walk by noting that it is a walk of love, light and wisdom.  Tonight we begin to examine this text.

 I.                     Be imitators of God

a.       What does it mean to imitate?
Therefore ties this to our previous section where Paul described how we seek kindness, tenderheartedness and forgiveness.  He also mentioned how our forgiveness is related to the example our Lord gave as He forgave us.  More on this as we develop this point.
The word Imitate is a word that means to emulate another in whatever way you can.  
The actual Greek word (μιμητής, mimētēs) is the word from which we get our English word mimic.   As the term is used here it is not about mocking, but seeking to follow the example of the one we are imitating. 
We are called upon to imitate God and Christ

b.       How do we imitate God?

                                                               i.      Matthew 5:48 as Jesus concludes a discussion of loving our enemies, He calls for us to be perfect even as He is perfect.

                                                             ii.      Luke 6:36 – Be merciful as your Father in heaven is merciful

                                                            iii.      1 Peter 1:15 – as He who called you is holy, you also be holy.

                                                            iv.      Ephesians 4:32 – we forgive even as God in Christ forgave us.

                                                              v.      In all these passages we learn that to imitate God means we learn from His character and seek to emulate that character in dealing with others.  This is further demonstrated in 1 John 4:10-11 – we learn about love from the example He set for us. 

                                                            vi.      It does NOT mean that we become gods.  For we do not possess the qualities of deity. 

c.        Imitating God is also imitating Christ –

                                                               i.      1 Corinthians 11:1 – imitate me as I also imitate Christ

                                                             ii.      We learn from John 1:1 that Jesus is God.  Being called Immanuel bears this out (Matthew 1:23).  He taught about His deity throughout His ministry as well.  Our hope rests upon this fact.   Therefore, we learn more about imitating God where we are called upon to imitate Christ.  To His disciples He said after washing their feet, “For I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you.” (John 13:15)

                                                            iii.      John 13:34 – Jesus calls for us to learn about love by following His example

                                                            iv.      Romans 15:7 – we are to receive one another even as Christ received us.

                                                              v.      Philippians 2:5-7 – speaking of humility we seek the mind of Christ to be in us.

                                                            vi.      Colossians 3:13 – even as Christ forgave us so we must do

                                                          vii.      1 Peter 2:21-24 – we follow in His steps in suffering and how we respond when we are reviled

                                                         viii.      1 John 2:6, “He who says he abides in Him ought to walk just as He walked.”

                                                            ix.      As we can see, there are plenty of passages that describe what it means to imitate Christ and God. 

d.       As His dear children- we have recently addressed how we are children of God.
Here I want to remind us that not only are we dear children of God, but how children follow their parents. 
Parents have an awesome responsibility in raising their children.  Proverbs 22:6 tells us that we train them up in the way they should go.  Israel’s failure after the conquest included a failure of parents to instill their values in them. 

 II.                   Walk in love

a.       We need to walk love – this is a given that has been emphasized continually.  
Brethren must love each other and others!   John 13:34-35, Romans 13:8, Galatians 5:13, 1 Peter 1:22, 1 John 3:11, etc.
And we need to walk in this – continually (present tense) and as a manner of life which is associated with the word walk. 

b.       AND what is this walk?  Consider how Paul ties this to being imitators of God. 
We learn about love through God – John 3:16 – God so loved the world…
Romans 5:6-8 – God demonstrates His love for us by letting Christ die for us
1 John 4:9-11, John later emphasizes the love of God saying, “In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.
Furthermore, if you want to consider what it means to walk in love by imitating God be reminded of what we previously discussed in 4:24-32 –

                                                               i.      We put on the new man created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness (both qualities of God)

                                                             ii.      We speak the truth in love – God cannot lie

                                                            iii.      When in anger, we do not sin – God is wrathful, but He is righteous

                                                            iv.      We give no place for the devil – God cast Him out

                                                              v.      We work so that we can give to those in need – God did (and does) this

                                                            vi.      We speak words of edification and grace – God’s word builds us up

                                                          vii.      We avoid bitterness, clamor, evil speaking, malice etc. – again we do not see this in a study of God

                                                         viii.      We are kind to one another &, tenderhearted – God is kind toward us

                                                            ix.      We are forgiving – this is what it is about!

c.        Christ gave Himself for us as an example – Jesus is the ultimate example of love. 
John 15:12-13 as Jesus emphasized us following His example I love, He notes that He will demonstrate His love by laying down His life for His friends.
Ephesians 5:25 – husbands learn love by looking at how Jesus loved the church and gave Himself for her.

1 John 3:16 – we know love by the example of Jesus dying for us. 

Furthermore, we are reminded in other passages that that Jesus did this for us:
Matthew 20:28, Jesus declared that he came to serve and give His life a ransom for many.
Galatians 2:20 – He gave Himself for me, Paul said.
Romans 5:6-8 even tells us that He died for the ungodly – basically for all mankind. 
Considering the greatness of His love – how does that relate to our love for one another?  The way that we treat each other? 
Paul has spent considerable time in this letter encouraging the proper type of attitude toward each other.  And it is best manifested in the example of our Lord Jesus Christ. 

d.       The offering and sacrifice of Jesus – Paul description of Jesus doesn’t end with saying He gave himself.   Paul describes the quality of this gift!

                                                               i.      IT was an offering – the idea of an offering is something that is presented and given.  Typically, it was voluntary.  While there were offerings that were commanded by law, there were also many that were freely given above and beyond.   Gifts given out of gratitude.  
Jesus presented Himself to die for us.  We must be reminded that His sacrifice was voluntary – Philippians 2:6-7 tells us He made Himself of no reputation.  The language of a volunteer! 
John 10:17-18, Jesus in describing Himself as the True Shepherd He noted that His sacrifice was freely given by Himself.
It was demonstrated by His silence at His trial and all He did freely for us. 

                                                             ii.      It was a sacrifice  Many passages link offerings and sacrifice together.   They are both terms used in the process of offering sacrifices to God.  If there is a difference perhaps the offering is the presentation of the “gift” and the sacrifice is the execution of it – the burning of the animal as commanded. 
When I think of sacrifice I think of giving up something of value for a cause, or for God (in this case), whereas the offering is presenting yourself for use.  We know under the Old Law, sin required the shedding of blood for remission (Hebrews 9:22).    Yet, Hebrews 10:4 tells us that those sacrifices could not completely remove sin.  Therefore, Jesus presented Himself and died for our sins once and for all (Heb. 10:10, 7:26-27)
Jesus WENT THROUGH with the necessary offering for our sins.  Remember His prayer in the Garden, “if it be Your will, let this cup pass from Me, nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will.” (Matthew 26:39)

                                                            iii.      It was a sweet-smelling aroma to God – God was pleased with His sacrifice.   Philippians 2:9-11 reminds us of this fact. 

e.       AGAIN, consider this description in light of our love toward one another as brethren.  If we were called upon to sacrifice for our brethren, would we.    Consider again 1 John 3:16, “By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us. And we also ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.
 HOW deep is our love? Let’s make a practical application?  Our society is bitterly divided?  There’s a lot of prejudice and hateful conduct toward others.   May we never be a part of that.  HOWEVER, when it comes to our brethren, how deep is our love for them?  Would we give ourselves for one who is different than ourselves?   Remember, Paul is writing to Jews and Gentiles and has reminded them that Christ has brought them together.  IT is with this in mind that we find all of these applications on how to treat each other as brethren. 

 

We all profess to love God.  But do we really know Him?   Based upon what we have addressed in this lesson tonight, are we demonstrating that we know Him by seeking to imitate Him?  Think about it.