Summary: Paul asks us to do the seemingly impossible: to mimic Jesus! Luckily we are given four substantial aids to accomplish this feat. All Christians need to hear this message!
BE IMITATORS OF GOD
1. A man in a limousine saw a family on the side of the road eating grass. He told his chauffer to turn around and pull over next to them.
2. He rolled down his window and said, “What are you doing? Are you people eating grass?” The man answered, “Yes, we’re starving. I lost my job and we’re down on our luck.”
3. The rich man said, “Get into my car. I’ll take you to my house and take care of you.” While the family got their stuff together the chauffer said, “Boss, I would never have believed you would have done something like this!”
4. “Well,” said the rich man, “my house is the right place for them. My grass is a foot tall!”
“Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children 2 and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God” Eph. 5:1-2, NIV 1984.
1. IMITATE (Definition) --
a. to follow or endeavor to follow as a model or example,
b. to mimic; impersonate,
c. to make a copy of; reproduce closely.
2. It’s interesting that the Greek word rendered “imitators” here is the Greek word “mimetai” from which we get our word “mimic.”
3. Paul in Ephesians 5 commands his followers to do something that, knowing the perfections of God, seems completely out of their reach; he commands us to mimic God!
4. As we study this, we see that everybody mimics somebody, that it should be natural for Christians to be like God, and that God has given us at least 4 aids to being like Him.
5. The title of this message is “Be Imitators of God.”
I. EVERYBODY IS MIMICKING SOMEONE
A. IN THE WORLD OF FASHION
1. In the world of fashion, there are a few who originate the styles and everyone else follows them. These “new” styles have been seen before; they’re just reworked from generations before.
2. A sports star cuts his hair or beard a certain way, and all the trendy crowd mimic him.
3. An actress wears a certain style of clothes, and social media lights up – all the ladies start wearing her color, or her hair style, or her clothes.
4. All modern society is mimicking someone.
B. COOL BUSINESS LEADERS
In our day many young people look to cool business leaders such as Jeff Bezos (Amazon), Elon Musk (SpaceX), Bill Gates (Microsoft), or Larry Page (Google).
C. SCIENTISTS & PHILOSOPHERS
1. Scientists mimic the work of Francis Collins (Human Genome Project), Steve Jobs (Apple), Albert Einstein’s work (physics) or Nikola Tesla.
2. Philosophers still study the thinking of Homer and Aristotle.
D. THE BEST PERSON TO MIMIC = JESUS!
1. But the greatest influence in the history of planet Earth and the most original – is the Lord Jesus Christ. If you want to copy someone, the best choice is Jesus!
2. When the Lord Jesus exhibited the character of God, His life struck people as being the most singular thing they had ever seen.
E. ARE WE MIMICKING JESUS?
1. Wikipedia describes the history of the phrase “What Would Jesus Do?” as arising from Charles Sheldon's 1896 book, In His Steps. In this popular novel (translated into 21 languages by 1935), Rev. Henry Maxwell encounters a homeless man who challenges the pastor to take seriously the imitation of Christ.
3. The homeless man explains his difficulty understanding why so many Christians ignore the poor: "I heard some people singing at a church…the other night and I kept wondering… what they meant by it. It seems to me there's an awful lot of trouble in the world that somehow wouldn't exist if all the people who sing such songs went and lived them out."
4. This leads to many of the novel's characters asking, "What would Jesus do?" when faced with decisions of some importance. The effect was that the characters took more seriously the teachings and example of Jesus. That would help us too! (Michael Mccartney)
II. GOD’S CHILDREN SHOULD BE LIKE HIM
A. BY NATURE
1. Most of the time, children are like their parents. That’s why there’s many quotes like “He’s just a chip off the old block;” or “The nut doesn’t fall far from the tree;” or “Like father, like son.”
2. The genetic disposition of the parent (quiet, easy-going, scrapping, intense, loving, focused, inquisitive, etc.) is usually reproduced in their offspring.
3. Not only do children normally look like their parents, but they usually act like them too.
B. BECAUSE OF LOVE
1. If we love God, love will compel us to imitate Him; if love won’t, then no other force will induce us to be like Him.