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Summary: Walk in love

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Ephesians 5:1-6

John Shearhart

June 13, 2010

Introduction

This morning we begin chapter five of Ephesians, and we’ll cover the first six verses.

A recurring word in Ephesians is “walk” which is used to describe a manner of life. We’re to walk in the good works God has prepared in advance for us to do (2:10); we’re to walk in a manner worthy of our calling (4:1); we’re to walk in repentance and righteousness (4:17).

Later we’re going to see that the believer is also to walk as a child of Light (5:8), and he’s to walk in wisdom (5:15).

Today we’re going to study the believer’s walk in love.

Ephesians 5:1-6

Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children; 2and walk in love,

1. Forgiveness and sonship motivate us to imitate God in love (:1-2)

“Therefore” points back to the previous verse: Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.

The basis and motivation of kindness, tender-heartedness, and forgiveness is love. The standard for love is set forth by God. We’re to be as kind, and tender-hearted, and forgiving as God has been to us.

The LORD is gracious and merciful; slow to anger and great in lovingkindness. 9The LORD is good to all, and His mercies are over all His works. (Psalm 145:8-9)

The LORD is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in lovingkindness. 9He will not always strive with us, nor will He keep His anger forever. 10He has not dealt with us according to our sins, nor rewarded us according to our iniquities. 11For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is His lovingkindness toward those who fear Him. 12As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us. 13Just as a father has compassion on his children, so the LORD has compassion on those who fear Him. 14For He Himself knows our frame; He is mindful that we are but dust. (Psalm 103:8-14)

We’re motivated to mimic this love because we are “beloved children.”

We love, because He first loved us. (I John 4:19)

Can you think of any better reason to be full of love?

And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, […] 4But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, 5even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), 6and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. (Ephesians 2:1, 4-7)

What’s a bad day after that? How can a Christian be full of hate after that?

And so we “imitate” God. The KJV says, “Be ye therefore followers of God.”

In First Corinthians 11:1 Paul uses the same Greek word when he says, “Be imitators of me, just as I also am of Christ.”

The idea is that because we’re the forgiven and beloved children of God, we’re to mimic Him by walking in His kind of love.

2. Christ’s sacrifice demonstrates the standard of God’s love (:2)

We’re to walk 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.

How did He love us?

He gave Himself up as an offering and a sacrifice on our behalf. In the Old Testament the Jews offered both offerings and sacrifices as a reminder of sins—this was a shadow of the things to come (Heb. 10:1-3). But Jesus came and fulfilled the Law, and about Him Scripture says,

He takes away the first in order to establish the second. 10By this will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. (Hebrews 10:9-10)

Jesus gave His body as an offering and a sacrifice to God in order to “once for all” pay our sin debt. In love, He gave His life to those who did not love Him so that they could love Him.

If we’re going to imitate God through our love, then it has to be sacrificial love; this is the standard.

Think of the Good Samaritan: he loved his mortal enemy enough to risk his own life and pay from his own pocket.

God’s kind of love takes the initiative and loves first.

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. 11Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. (I John 4:10-11).

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