A God Copier!
While I was still in High school, the Theatre Arts department took a group of students to New
York City. A friend of mine, named Jason Carr, was one of the lucky theatre people who got to go. While
in NYC, he encountered a man selling watches on the street. Jason paid $20 for a watch the man described
as a “genuine Rolex watch.” Jason bought the watch, not because he believed it to be real, but because it
was obviously a fake.
When the group returned to New Brunswick, Jason was proudly displaying his “genuine FAKE
Rolex” watch. If you have ever seen a Rolex, you would know that, first off, you couldn’t buy one for $20.
But upon closer inspection, the signature crown on every Rolex was crooked. Known for their quality
workmanship, the watch that Jason had could barely keep time. The “gold” had even begun to chip... He
had only had the watch TWO days... Needless to say, it was not the best copy of a Rolex.
In 1820, Charles Caleb Colton coined the phrase that states: “Imitation is the sincerest form of
flattery.” The phrase is often used, ironically, when someone tries to gain attention by copying someone
else’s original ideas. If I owned the Rolex company, I would not find the watch that Jason bought as a very
flattering piece. But that rule does apply, especially when you think of children.
James Baldwin, an American writer, once said, “Children have never been good at listening to
their elders, but they have never failed to imitate them.” Melissa and I cannot help but chuckle as Caleb
dons his guitar, and stands in the middle of the living room and begins his “service.” While we were in
Lower Hainesville, Caleb would be quick to hit the platform before Sunday School began and, like his
Daddy, begin to say ,“Well good morning everybody.” Everybody would laugh because they knew that
Caleb was just trying to do what his father does.
Caleb has since told me that once he turns 30, he’s going to play the piano in church. He just
wants to be like his Dad. I’m sure that will quickly change in the next few years, but for now I’ll take what
I can get.
In the heart of today’s Scripture, Paul uses the same child/Father imagery: “Be imitators of God,
therefore, as dearly loved children...” (Ephesians 5:1). If you have accepted Christ as your personal Lord
and Saviour, then you are a child of God. Just like my child imitates me, so we must become imitators of
our Heavenly Father. We must copy His walk, His actions and His voice. We must be willing to do the
things that He does, and act the way that He would act.
It was in Charles Sheldon’s 1896, In His Steps, where the now famous “What Would Jesus Do?”
question was first posed. Sheldon saw Jesus a more of a moral example than a Saviour symbol. But
variations of this phrase have been used by Christians for centuries as a form of imitatio dei, the imitation of
God. It was during the late 1980s, several youth ministers at churches in Holland, Michigan began putting
the "W.W.J.D." inscription on buttons and bracelets, and the theme was picked up by locally-based
If we are called to be “God copiers,” then what does a God copier look like? What needs to be
Paul goes on to say in his letter to the Ephesians that if you want to imitate God, you must LOVE
like God: “Be imitators of God…live a life of love” (Ephesians 5:1) To be followers of God, we must live
a life, or walk in a manner, that demonstrates His love. This type of love is a pure self-giving, that asks for
nothing in return type of love. This is God’s love, and He gives it to us in the gift of the Holy Spirit.
Last time we talked about putting off the old corruptible self, and to put on the new man. That
illustration pours into being an imitator of God. The new man is one who lives and loves like God. With
that in mind, Paul qualifies what an imitator God looks like.
1. Love spoken through the truth (4:25)
“Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to his neighbour, for we are all
members of one body.”
Our Daily Bread published an article on lying in the August 28, 1992 edition. In that devotional
reading, it stated that lying seems to be a way of life for many people:
“We lie at the drop of a hat. The book The Day American Told the Truth says that 91 percent of
those surveyed lie routinely about matters they consider trivial, and 36 percent lie about important
matters; 86 percent lie regularly to parents, 75 percent to friends, 73 percent to siblings, and 69 percent to
An imitator of God, however, is called to put off ALL types of deception and to speak truthfully. I
know a man who constantly cries “Hard times!”, yet he and his wife had well paying jobs. They did not
live extravagant lifestyles, and all they had owned was paid for.
God has never deceived or duped us, has He? Paul says that we are “all members of One body”
why should we dupe others?
2. Avoiding Sinning in our Anger (4:26-27)
"In your anger do not sin": Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the
devil a foothold.”
Paul is basically saying here, “If you are angry, do not sin.” Righteous anger is consistent with a
Christ-like life, as we see in Christ’s example as He cleansed the temple (Mark 3:5; John 2:13-17). Anger
becomes sin whenever it desires, or is willing, to harm someone. However, righteous anger does have
danger as well. That’s why Paul counsels the Ephesians : “Do not let the sun go down while you are still
angry”. In essence, Paul was saying “Keep you anger on a short leash.” It’s just best to let it go!
The reason being it gives Satan a way in to cause havoc. It gives him a small crack to work into a
huge canyon. A follower of God’s example cannot let that happen. James 4:7 states “Submit yourselves,
then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.”
3. Do Not Steal (4:28)
“He who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with his own
hands, that he may have something to share with those in need.”
A follower of God does not come by things dishonestly, but in an honourable fashion. We are
called to work hard, and to share what we earn.
Somebody may be here today thinking, “Well I do work hard. I never stole a thing before in my
life.” That’s great, but do you give a full 10% of your income back to God? You may not rob others, but
you’ve been robbing God. The Israelites in Malachi’s day had that problem, and this is what God had to
say to them:
“Will a man rob God? Yet you rob me. But you ask, ’How do we rob you?’ "In tithes and offerings.
You are under a curse—the whole nation of you—because you are robbing me. Bring the whole tithe
into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this," says the LORD Almighty,
"and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it.” (Malachi 3:8-10)
Imitators of God are to be honest people in the dealing with people, and with God Himself.
4. Impure Speech (4:29)
“Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others
up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.”
Somebody once said, “Then pen is mightier than the sword.” In lieu of verse 29, a modern
proverb would state “Your tongue is better than a wrecking ball!” It does not take many words to strip of
person of self-esteem.
But this unwholesome talk goes beyond emotional abuse. Foul language, the use of the phrase “Oh
my God!” and the like have no place in a Christians mouth. I’ve heard some say that foul language is
offensive, that they have a hard time, as Christians working in such an environment. While it may be a
struggle, I cringe every time I hear a child of God use it even more.
If it doesn’t add to the kingdom, then you better believe offensive language and quickly take a
piece out of it.
5. Negative vs. Positive traits (4:31-32)
“Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be
kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.”
The cluster of sinful characteristics given in verse 31 are descriptive of the old nature, and those
listed in verse 32 depict the new nature. There is a natural progression found in verse 31. Bitterness, a
highly irritated state of mind, can lead into rage, or wrath. This feeling can quickly turning into anger,
which gives Satan the foothold. Evil feelings deepen to the extent that the carnally captive individual must
explode into arguing and slandering, which then goes out of control.
A follower of God must surrender those desires and adopt the attributes of God. Above all, we
must be willing to forgive those who may do such horrible offences to us because Christ has forgiven us.
A special note must be added right here. We need to remember that Paul is here speaking
primarily of the relationships within the Christian community. Love and forgiveness MUST prevail in the
household if those apart from our Lord are to see the possibilities of grace for themselves.
Any action opposite to the ways of God are a grievance. Paul specifically states in verse 30 “And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.” God’s
people are the temple of God because the Holy Spirit dwells within us. To pollute the body of Christ by
partaking in any actions after the Lord has graciously saved you from Hell is profane and offensive to the
One by which we are sealed!
We must seriously take to heart the words of the Ray Boltz song “Does He still feel the Nails?”
whenever we feel like keeping back our tithe, tearing a strip off of someone, or fabricating some story. We
are called to be imitators of God, and the last time I checked, He never used any of the under-handed
methods, so why should we?
If Ephesians 5:1-2 is the key for opening us up to becoming imitators of God, the power to turn
that key is found in the later part of verse 2: “Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children 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.” As we live out our lives patterned after the ways and the Will of God, we see the true example of
that life in Christ Jesus. It is His example that drives the remainder of this chapter. Families can be made
stronger if they follower the principles of Christ(Ephesians 5:22-6:4). Working environments can become
healthier if His example was followed (Ephesians 6:5-9) The church becomes stronger when we imitate
Paul would tell the church in Corinth they should follow his example because he followed Jesus’:
“And you should imitate me, just as I imitate Christ.” (1 Corinthians 11:1, NLT) We have been called
to be imitators of God, and in such, we should be honoured when people look at our lives because ours are a
reflection of His.
Just as the watch I told you about, there are often some bad imitations. You can spot them a mile
away. My question for you today is what type of imitation are you this morning? What would others say
about your walk with God? Are you following His example, or does the “old man” continue to arise? Are
you more “miss” than “hit?” There is an altar here, and He is waiting to work with you.
Perhaps you have never accepted Him as your Saviour. The Lord wants to work in your life as
well. He wants to begin a new work in your life. He wants to form you to be a person after His own heart.
Will you come today?