The Way You Walk
Scripture Text: Ephesians 5
Introduction: -- Plato once said: “We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark: the real tragedy of life is when men are afraid of the light.”
Instead of trusting Christ, modern-day thinkers insist on using human wisdom alone for answers to eternal questions.
The tragedy of this situation was graphically illustrated in a humorous skit performed by Karl Vallentin, a Munich comedian. Walking on a stage where everything was dark except for a small area under a street lamp, he began to look for something on the ground. He told the policeman who came on the scene that he was trying to find a key, whereupon the two continued the search. Finally the officer asked, "Are you sure you lost it here?" "Oh, no," said Vallentin as he pointed to a corner, "It was over there, but here is where the light is!"One way that Paul described salvation is by being an “imitator of God.” The word imitator comes from the Greek word meaning to ‘mimic’. Peter O’Brien, in the Pillar New Testament Commentary calls this Paul’s language of imitation. In several passages in the New Testament, he speaks of others imitating him and other Christians. In Philippians 1:6 he says, “You also became imitators of us and of the Lord,” Beyond this are hardly no other references in the rest of Scripture to imitating the Lord; but the Old Testament is full of passages related to wholeheartedly following God. The Scripture says, ‘Be holy because the Lord is Holy’….. “Jesus taught his disciples that if they love their enemies and do good to them, they will be ‘sons of the Most High’. He urged them: ‘Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful’ (Luke 6:35–36; cf. Matt. 5:44–48). God’s kindness and mercy are to be the model of their conduct.”
Propositional Statement: Being an imitator of God means that we must live a life of love and light.
I.Live a Life of Love (v. 2) Ephesians 5:1-2 are a summary or consolidation of the previous passages. Some of your versions say “Therefore, Be imitators of God….”
-The previous passage in Ephesians 4:32 calls us to forgive each other…..WHY? or HOW?.... because Christ forgave us. In the passage at hand, Ephesians 5:1-2, we have a similar given reason to not only forgive; but be imitators of God. It says, live “just as Christ loved us and gave Himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.” The idea here is not that we are grateful and therefore we will assent to imitate God. Not that God did something for me, so I will do Him a favor. “Christ’s offering of Himself for fallen mankind pleased and glorified His heavenly Father because it demonstrated in the most complete and perfect way, God’s sovereign, perfect, unconditional, and divine kind of love (MacArthur, Bible Commentary, 1698).” Jesus’ sacrifice pleased God completely and sufficiently pays the debt for our salvation. We could never provide God a favor for our salvation; but because (and if we do) belong to Him, our minds, attitudes, and actions should be reflective of and identify with Jesus. Being a dearly loved child of God as in verse 1 does not mean simply receiving the gifts that are given to children; but is also the basis upon which we should be obedient to Our Loving Savior and Lord.
1 John 3:16-18
Video: Josh McDowell-Loving Father
A. Living a Life of Love Means That There is Not Even A Hint of Sin– (v. 3). MacArthur wrote in his Commentary on the Bible, “Such sins are so godless that the world should never have reason even to suspect their presence in Christians.” There are two major areas of sin mentioned here: Sexual Immorality and Greed. Obscenity or foolish talk, and course joking; are also included in the list of items that are out of place. (What should replace all of this?)
-In one of his booklets, Adrian Rogers tells of some gold prospectors who discovered an exceptionally rich mine. One of them said, "Hey, we’ve got it made as long as we don’t tell anybody else before we stake our claims." So they each vowed to keep the secret. Because they had to have more tools and provisions, they headed for town. After buying all the supplies they needed, they hurried back to the mine site. But they weren’t alone. A crowd of people followed them because their discovery was written all over their faces. What happens on the inside shows on the outside. Joyful Christians with the light of God on their faces are needed in the darkness of this world.
-The reason there should not be a hint is because these are improper for God’s set apart people. We are called to be holy!
-Paul says that we are not to take part in evil. We do that by the way we live our daily lives. Matthew 5:16 says, “Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works and glority your father in heaven.” But we also need to sometimes speak up and courageously say, “I don’t think is right. We sometimes don’t take sin seriously enough. Sometimes we participate in the same filth as the world. Instead of influencing others, we are sometimes corruptly influenced.
- Patrick Morley in his book, I Surrender writes that “The church’s biggest problem is a misconception that we can add Christ to our lives, but not subtract sin. It is a change in belief without a change in behavior…it is revival without reformation and repentance.” – How is it possible that we be transformed but our behavior not follow? Lately, we have been called practical atheists…. We claim to be saved of God; but live like the devil! Our behavior should follow our confession.
-Everyone that calls upon the name of the Lord will be saved. There has to be action in the calling. The heart must yearn and be contrite to call upon His name.
-When the Bible says that we confess with our mouths, it also includes believing in our hearts… That implies transformation! Believing is very active!
-Character is what you are in private when there is no one around to impress.
You might say that it is the real you. Will Rogers once said, "So live that you would not mind selling your pet parrot to the town gossip."
ILLUS: A good looking society woman was invited to an expensive fund-raising dinner in New York City. She was seated next to a wealthy lawyer. During the meal, they had a chance to get to know each other and were having a good time. When the meal was finished, the lawyer leaned over and asked the woman if she would go to bed with him for $10,000. The woman blushed but she said that she would. Then the man asked her if she would go to bed with him for $10. The woman was shocked and said, “What kind of woman do you think I am?” The man responded, “My dear, we have already established that. Now we are merely deciding on the price.” What is your conviction today? Do you have a price?
B. Living a Life of Love Means Not Being Deceived – (v.6). If someone should claim to be a Christian, yet live like the devil; the Scripture warns us in Ephesians 5:6, “Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of such things God’s wrath comes on those who are disobedient.”
Illustration: Lean In Video-This video allows us to understand how subtle the deception can be, even in the church.
Transition: Verse 5 tells us that none of the above sinful behaviors that are practiced will lead to eternal life. In fact, it says, “No immoral, impure or greedy person…. Has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God.” So do our actions matter when it comes to salvation? Darn straight they do! James says, ‘Faith without works is dead.’
II.Live as Children of Light (v.8)
Opening story: Benjamin Franklin wanted to convince the citizens of Philadelphia to light the streets at night as a protecting against crime and as a convenience for evening travel. When he failed to influence them by words, he bought an attractive lantern and placed it on a long bracket in front of his house. Each evening he lit the wick and his neighbors noticed the warm glow in front of his house. Passersby appreciated the light and soon others began placing lanterns in front of their homes too. Eventually the city recognized the need for well-lit streets. (source unknown)
Found on many law enforcement tests in recent years and a well-known truth to law enforcement officers is where a safe or valuables should be placed at closing time. The most safe place would be in a front window with plenty of light. The light exposes the darkness.
A. Living As Children of Light Means Having Nothing to Do with Deeds of Darkness – (v. 11). There should be a huge contrast in what Christianity looks like and what the world at large looks like. Verse 11; explains how the two ways of living are not only different; but are “unalterably opposed to each other and mutually exclusive (MacArthur, Bible Commentary, 1699).”
- Illustration: What do Christians have to do with darkness? A rule of logic says that one thing can be true and another can be false; but the two opposing things cannot be both true at the same time. Many want to say that all roads lead to heaven, or that we all worship the same God; but how could that possibly be true if we all have opposing viewpoints about who God is, or how to please Him. ---
Two little old ladies were walking around an over-crowded English country churchyard and came upon a tombstone that was inscribed, “Here lies John Smith, a politician and an honest man.” “Good heavens!” said one lady to the other. “Isn’t it awful that they had to put two people in the same grave!” (source unknown)
B. Living As Children of Light Means Being Transparent – (v. 13). The Scripture says it like this in verse 14, (…… “for it is the light that makes everything visible….”) Not only does living in the light mean lives of transparency; but it also means specifically in opposition to the darkness. (I will address this more in a minute.)
Everything will be brought to light someday. Hebrews 4:12 says, the word of God, “judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” Even the very intent in our heart is judged by the Word of His mouth. When the light of His Glory is shown, nothing will be hidden. Let me ask you this question: “Who here want Christ to shine on your life?” Within these passages in Ephesians 5, verse 14, lie a fragment of a hymn that reflects the current truth of the unsaved: “Wake up, O Sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.”
(The frequent references of death and sleep being similar are memorable here.) Wake Up, You Dead Men; You Can Only Be raised from the dead by Jesus; the firstborn of the resurrection! “Oh Christian!” Are these words not helpful for you too! Wake Up! Your life depends on Christ’s salvation. Don’t rest on the intellectual knowledge that you “are once saved, always saved” or that you prayed the magic prayer. Salvation is real; it is secured by the Holy Spirit!.... Be filled with the Spirit is a command!...not a suggestion….
-If you claim to be a Christian, yet manifest behaviors of darkness; then you should begin to question your salvation. You’ve probably heard of the ‘carnal Christian’? There is no such thing friends…. The KJV says in Romans 8:7; “the carnal mind is at enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.” MacArthur writes, “It is deceptive for Christians to offer assurance of salvation to a professing believer whose life is characterized by persistent sin and who shows no shame for that sin or hunger for the holy and pure things of God.” Ephesians 5:6 clearly says that they are headed for God’s wrath.
Illustration: A couple took their young son with them on a trip to Europe where they visited many cathedrals. When they returned home the little boy’s Sunday school teacher asked him, “Did you learn what a saint is?” He remembered the many stained glass windows which depicted the Christian saints and he said, “A saint is a person who the light shines through.”(source unknown) Let us be people of God who the light shines in and through.
An Australian native preacher went to a little church in the bush to preach.
It was dusk when he arrived, the place was without light, and he wondered what to do about it. Presently, he saw twinkling lights moving about through the bush. His congregation was arriving. Each person carried a hurricane lamp, and as they came in they placed their lamps upon a shelf around the chapel wall. Soon the whole place was flooded with light. Each had contributed light that had dispelled the darkness. Your share is needed in a world which desperately needs the illumination of the gospel.
Transition: There is a predominant theme of light and life here: You may be wondering why I entitled the sermon, “The Way You Walk?” Haven’t most of the passages that we have dealt with talk about how we live, not how we walk? Galatians 5:25 tells us, “If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit.” Last week I mentioned that we had nothing to do with our salvation because only God has taken the initiative to save that which was not worth saving. But that we simply accept or receive his grace-full offer of salvation. If Christ has claimed your heart, then you live by the Spirit of God. Corinthians says, “Now it is God who has made us for this very purpose and has given us the Spirit as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come (5:5). When he saves you, the Holy Spirit of God indwells you… another reason why I believe we don’t control salvation. (Sidenote: men have paid to control God’s power; but none have ever been successful). So if you have the Spirit indwelling you; you are one of His children and you live by the Spirit as the letter to the Galatians states. Therefore, being in this condition, “Why would the way you walk betray the Indwelling of the Holy Spirit of God in your life?” Paul says it like this, “I, the prisoner of the Lord, implore you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called,” Calling is another sermon some other day; but sufficed to say today, the point here is the manner in which you walk. Ephesians 5:15; is another of these warnings…. “Be careful how you walk….”
Conclusion: When you go through these passages and ignore negative actions and highlight what you should affirmatively put into your life; here it is: love, thankfulness, goodness, righteousness, and truth. Essentially, these are things that are pleasing to the Lord. It amazes me that people put down Jesus when he stands for things such as these. If you are not standing for these, you are standing in opposition to them. Does your walk betray the manner in which you were called by the Lord Jesus? Or is your walk a daily struggle to take up your cross daily? Jesus took a walk all the way from inside the city to outside the camp. Heaven forbid someone as pitiful and shameful to be crucified on a Roman cross die inside the city. He took that walk for you! The Bible says, “Christ loved us and gave Himself up for us!” Yes, He took a walk for you; Will you walk for Him?