Summary: As the Church we should always strive to be a strong imitation of God.
In Senior High you really imitate each other. What becomes trendy for one eventually becomes trendy for everyone else? When I was in H.S. the thing to do was to role up your jeans at the bottom, there was even a certain fold you had to follow, and everybody did it. Everybody’s hair was feathered in one form or another, guys and girls. Even as adults we still get a kick out of trying to imitate celebrities.
We tune into SNL and laugh as actors imitate Sean Connery and Keannu Reeves on Jeopardy, Bill Clinton in a McDonalds, and Al Gore andGeorge W Bush eating at a Chi Chi’s. That’s funny stuff and we all laugh.
They say that imitation is the highest form of flattery and I’m inclined to believe that’s true.
I think that’s why Ephesians 5 starts out with a very simple statement “Be imitators of God.”
There are so many things we can imitate.
We can imitate pop culture.
We can imitate our parents (and should if they set a good example).
We can imitate the leaders of the country.
It should be the goal of every Christian to have their life look as much like God as possible.
The goal is to imitate God, and the next 14 verses of chapter 5 outline exactly what it means to be an imitator of God.
1 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. 3 But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people. 4 Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving. 5 For of this you can be sure: No immoral, impure or greedy person--such a man is an idolater--has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. 6 Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of such things God’s wrath comes on those who are disobedient. 7 Therefore do not be partners with them. 8 For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light 9 (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) 10 and find out what pleases the Lord. 11 Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them. 12 For it is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret. 13 But everything exposed by the light becomes visible, 14 for it is light that makes everything visible. This is why it is said: "Wake up, O sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you."
Here Paul keeps up with his idea of our “walk.” We are to keep on the move.
John 1:14 “The word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.”
The same word for tabernacles, Christ came to continue to move among us.
Verse 1 is one of the most startling verses in the Bible. William Barclay says this is “the highest standard in the world.”
Martyn Lloyd Jones “Paul’s supreme argument…the highest level of all in doctrine and in practice…the ultimate ideal.”
This is a breathtaking idea but it is very biblical idea. This is the most explicit text but the bible assumes that God’s people will take their character from Him.
Leviticus 19 is very striking as the Israelites are called to be Holy because God is Holy. I do it and I expect it from you. At least 14 times a command is followed by “I am the Lord.” That shows us that our ethics is determined by God’s Character. In Matthew 5:43-48 Jesus commands us to love our enemies so that we can be perfect like God is perfect.
Why is this so breathtaking? Because of the Nature of God (James Boice). It is because of the attributes of God that we can never share.
God is self-existent- God has no origins and is accountable to no one. We are accountable to people (Parents, boss).
God is also Self-sufficient- God depends on no one. We need oxygen, food, clothing, homes.
God is Eternal- God has always existed and will always exist. There was a point for us where we did not exist.
God is Omnipotent- he is all-powerful. We will never be.
God is Omnipresent- God is everywhere at once. We will never possess this ability.
God is Omniscient- He knows all things. We will never stop learning.