Summary: Message on Ephesians 5:1-8 about how we are to be imitators of God.
This morning I would like to talk about being an imitation or being an imitator.
When I think about imitations I tend to think of cheap replicas things with inferior quality and while it might be a good deal, it will not last as long or work as well as the original. A couple of things that come to mind are Rolex watches, various electronic devices and even Cuban cigars.
Many years ago I used to enjoy a good cigar now and again. Well about 10 years ago my wife and I took a day trip down to Tijuana Mexico. For those of you not familiar with Tijuana there are several blocks of Revolution Ave that is similar to a giant swap meet, with different booths selling all types of things. There were leather jackets, jewelry, watches, and much much more. Some were obvious fakes and you could tell they were not worth even looking at. Other items looked real, but you really had no way of knowing. I walked up to one booth that said they sold Authentic Hand Rolled Cuban cigars. I thought, hey that might be good you can’t buy them in the United States. Now if you know anything about cigars, Cuban’s are supposed to be some of the best cigars made. Well I put my professional skills to use and negotiated the price down from $5 each to two for $5. I suspected that they were fake, but I figured why not, they can’t be that bad. Well when I finally had one, I found out I was wrong, they were bad, I had bought cheap cigars from the local party store that tasted better. These things looked like the real thing, but they were far from it, they were cheap imitations.
Now when I think of the word imitator, I tend to think of Elvis impersonators. Celebrity impersonators are not trying to be cheap imitations that are obvious fakes. They tend to go out of their way to be as convincing as possible. They spend a lot of time learning the behaviors and mannerisms of the person they are trying to impersonate. While they never can really be the same as the original, they give it their best effort to emulate them. So there is a big difference between being an imitation and being an imitator.
Now let’s go to Ephesians Chapter 5 where we can hear what Paul has to say about this.
Read Ephesians 5:1-8 (PRAY)
In verse 1 we have Paul talking to us about imitating God. He is not asking us to be cheap imitations that are obviously fake, he is asking us to be imitators in its truest form.
Also in verse 1 we see that Paul tells us we are to be “Imitators of God as dear children”. What do children imitate? Children watch the people around them and learn from them. For the most part children learn their behaviors from their parents. So what is the scripture telling us to do here? Imitate God like a child imitates his or her parents. In other words we are to learn about Jesus attitudes and behaviors and imitate them. We need to be passionate about what Jesus was passionate about and do what Jesus did.
Being Imitators of Jesus is a message we find throughout the New Testament.
John 14:12 ‘I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing’ NIV
Here it is pretty clear if we have faith in Jesus, we will do what He has been doing. To me this is telling us that imitating Christ is not an option, if we have faith we will do it.
John 13:34-35 ‘A (I)new commandment I give to you, (J)that you love one another, (K)even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. 35"(L)By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another."’ NASB
Here Jesus is telling us to Love as He has loved, in other words imitate His behavior. Imitating Jesus is how the world will know that we are different, that we belong to Him.
Ephesians 4:32 tells us ‘And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even
as God in Christ forgave you.’ NKJV
Again we are to imitate Jesus behavior, He forgave us, so what are we supposed to do? We are supposed to forgive others.
These are but a few of the many examples that can be found in scripture in which we are told to be like Jesus, were we are told to do what He did, were we are told to be imitators of Jesus. I have heard it said many, many times that if you find a theme in scripture, if something is repeated, it is something that you need to pay close attention to. This is something that we need to learn and make a part of our lives.