Summary: 38th in a series from Ephesians exploring the change in behavior that comes from embracing Jesus.
“Changing Wardrobe” Part Two
I. Our Wealth and Worth In Christ 1-3
II. Our Worthy Walk in Christ 4-6
A. Live in Unity 4:1-16
B. Live in Newness of life 4:17-24
C. Live in Love 4:17-24
1. Speak truth not falsehood 4:25
2. Be angry without sinning 4:26-27
3. Stop stealing but work with your hands to give 4:28
4. Speak with your mouth to encourage and energize not demoralize 4:29
5. Stop grieving the Holy Spirit 4:30
As dearly loved children of God’s family we must purge all hostility
and continually practice harmony by continual renewing of the heart.
6. Let God purge the hostility within us 4:31
a. Purge all manner of Bitterness
b. Purge all manner of Wrath
c. Purge all manner of Anger
d. Purge all manner of Clamor
e. Purge all manner of Slander
f. Purge all manner of Malice
There is a difference between disagreement and hostility. There is a difference between a heated discussion and a hostile discussion. The difference comes from the condition of the heart; self-centered or selfless. The flip side is to practice the behavior that promotes harmony. Purge hostility; promote harmony.
7. Practice harmony and love for one another 4:32-5:2
Whereas the common thread in the old clothes was hostility. The dominating theme of the new clothes is love and harmony. Before we look at the specifics offered in 4:32, let’s jump ahead to the summary in 5:1-2. Paul called for relationships with people to be characterized by love.
Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children; and live in love, just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma. Ephesians 5:1-2
The “therefore” refers to his discussion of specific hostile behaviors that need to be purged and specific harmonious behavior that need to be practiced. It concludes with a summary of what has just been just previously proposed. God’s chief character feature is love and it should also be the primary attribute of His kids. We are called to “continually be imitators of God”. (Present tense command)
We are to mimic His love. The Greek word here is “mimetes” from which we get our English word mimic. Like Father, like child.
Do people recognize in us the family resemblance to God in the area of loving?
Oh what a loving person! Look how he really loves people!
When we love like He loves, we are imitating Him. Paul offered a motivation to make love the dominating factor in our relationships. We are instructed to love others on the basis of God’s great love for us. “As dearly love children.”
This is not an isolated occurrence of such motivation to love others. There are many passages that urge us to love others on the basis of God’s deep love for us. So many fail to fully grasp the amazing depth of love the Father has for us. Paul prayed earlier (3:19) that they would come to fully know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge which is the foundation of being filled with His nature (love). We could cite numerous earthly examples of extreme love.
But none compare to the love our Heavenly Father has for His children or the length He went to demonstrate that love.
For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die— but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Rom 5:6-8
Earlier, Paul strung together a whole list of examples of God’s love for rebellious sinners.
But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. Ephesians 2:4-7
Paul was clear about how powerful God’s love for us really is in Romans 8 where he affirms that absolutely nothing can separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus. Paul also included here in this passage a model by which we are to measure true love. We are to love others just as, or in the same way, Jesus loves us and sacrificed His life for us. He died FOR us.
He suffered death that we might enjoy life. He came to earth that we might inherit heaven.
What was His motivation? It was an offering and sacrifice of love to His Father. Jesus died for us because of the love He had for the Father. His sacrifice was an act of love for the Father.