Summary: The highest priority of the Christian is to become an imitator of Christ - a replica of our Lord. In Ephesians 5, Paul addresses how to be such an imitation.
Live Out Loud – Our IMITATION
Video: Scriptural Imitation – www.sermonspice.com
Insert: Play a quick game of Simon-Sez – what are you doing? You have just imitated everything I modeled and asked you do.
Trans: As we continue our study in Ephesians today we’re going to reach the summit of this letter and see the heart of the Christian life – that is, as Christians, we’re called to KNOW Christ – GROW in Christ – and to SHOW Christ.
Text: 1 Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children…
Word: imitators (mimatai) we’re to mimic or become like Jesus. It refers to someone who copies the characteristics of another person to SHOW them.
Note: As Christians, we’re called to replicate the character of Jesus. Our lives are to be about reproducing the godliness Jesus taught and modeled.
Story: When Alexander the Great discovered a coward in his army was named Alexander, he told the soldier, “Either renounce your cowardice or renounce your name.”
Note: As Christians we carry God’s name and we’re a direct reflection of His character – thus, how we live and act declares to reality of His grace. So if we’re not going to act like Him, then we shouldn’t tell people that we know and believe in Him, b/c Christians are to strive to act like Jesus.
Trans: When you break down the Christian life to its basic form, it is nothing more than a spiritual game of God-Sez. In Eph. 5, Paul tells us the four elements we must apply if our spiritual walks are going to imitate Jesus. He suggests we walk in love, in liberty, in light, and in Lordship.
I Walk in LOVE
Trans: The starting point of imitating Jesus begins w/ loving others as He loved us – and He loved us to death. He literally loved us so much that He laid down His life to give us life. Thus, if we’re going to successfully imitate Christ to others, the first thing we must do is learn to walk in His LOVE.
Text: 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.
Trans: Paul says that to imitate Jesus we have to live or walk a life of love.
Word: live (peripateo) pre. act. imp. – a command to conduct one’s life by establishing God-honoring habits.
Word: love (agapasev) aor. act. ind. – start loving others as God loves us; love people w/out strings attached as unconditionally Jesus loves us.
Insert: How did Jesus love us? He loved us to the point that He surrendered His position and glory sitting at the right hand of the Father and He emptied Himself becoming nothing – taking the form of a servant to die on the cross in our place for the forgiveness of sin.
Verse: Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in nature God, did not consider equality w/ God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being made in human likeness. Being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death—even death on a cross! Ph. 2:5f
Trans: Jesus was God’s special offering for our forgiveness and redemption.
Word: fragrant offering and sacrifice – an acceptable and pleasing offering sacrifice of God’s best. In giving us Jesus, God gave us His first and best. In return, God expects us to give our first and best to Him.
Note: We’re to make it our life habit to love others as Jesus loved us. He is our example. As we imitate how He loved us our lives become the fragrance of God’s love to others. Paul speaks of this in 2 Cr. 2.
Verse: But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumphal procession in Christ and through us spreads everywhere the fragrance of the knowledge of him; for we are to God the aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing. 2 Cr. 2:14f
II Walk in LIBERTY
Text: 3 But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, b/c 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 w/ empty words, for b/c of such things God’s wrath comes on those who are disobedient. 7 Therefore do not be partners w/ them.