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Summary: When we imitate God we live a life overflowing with love toward others.

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Title: The Big “Do”

(A long, long time ago, I recall watching a Bill and Gloria Gaither special on television… and thinking, “Wow! Those women have big hair!” The Big “Do” has nothing to do with big hair.)

Text: Ephesians 4:25-5:2

Thesis: When we imitate God we live a life filled with love toward others.

Introduction

I see the Oreo people rolled out a new Oreo cookie in July. It is the New Oreo Thin… the Oreo you love, now thinner, a more grown-up option.

The National Biscuit Company rolled out the first batch of Oreos on March 6, 1912. Over a hundred years later we are still twisting them, dunking them and loving them. Oreos have a 71% cookie to 29% cream ratio. They are sold in more than 100 countries and more than 450 billion Oreo cookies have been sold since 1912. The Oreo people figured out how to do Oreos right for the long haul.

Our text today speaks to how to be Christians the right way…

I. Living instead of…

Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. Ephesians 4:23

Living “instead of” means to live other than or to do otherwise.For example you might say, “Instead of going to Starbucks, I’ll make coffee at home, yell my name out incorrectly, and then light a $5 bill on fire.”

Our text says throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life… instead, let the spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. Put on your new nature, created to be like God – truly righteous and holy. 4:22-24

The wrong way to be a Christian is to live a godless life.

A. Live no longer as the Gentiles do, 4:17-19

Live no longer as Gentiles do, for they are hopelessly confused. Their minds are full of darkness; they wander far from the life God gives because they have closed their minds and hardened their hearts against him. They have no sense of shame… Ephesians 4:17-19

If this were written to us today it would read like this, “Live no more as Americans do…” This was written to people who were “ethnically” Gentiles, instructing them to no longer live as Gentiles “ethically.” This is not about our changing our ethnicity and who we are, it is about changing our ethics and how we live.

The word to us is not that we no longer live as Americans, it is that we no longer live like Americans

Instead of living out of a life separated from God that is characterized by meaningless pursuits, a lack of spiritual understanding, ignorance of the truth and a petrified mind and heart…

B. Live like God, 4:24

Put on your new nature, created to be like God – truly righteous and holy. Ephesians 4:24

In her book, Acedia & Me, Kathleen Norris writes, “I have become like the child I once knew who emerged one morning from a noisy, chaotic Sunday School classroom to inform the adults who had overheard the commotion and had come to see what was going on, ‘We’re being bad and we don’t know how to stop.’” (Kathleen Norris, Acedia & Me, Riverhead Hardcover, 2008, p. 16)

A few weeks ago the Washington Post reported on an incident that occurred in Marcy’s Diner in Portland, Maine. A couple had come into the diner and sat at the counter with their 21 month old toddler. The toddler immediately began to cry… not a tiny little infant cry but the cry of a really unhappy toddler.

For 40 minutes she carried on at which point the owner of the diner, who was working the counter snapped. From behind the counter she slammed her hands down, looked right at the toddler, pointed at her and shouted, ‘This needs to stop!’” (Darlene Cunha, A kid cries in a restaurant. The owner yells at her. The Washington Post, July 21, 2015)

Here is the point. At some point we realize we are not who we should be or want to be. We are critical, mean-spirited, judgmental, racist, angry, hypocritical, out of control, impatient, we want porn, we are miserly and greedy, we are deceitful, we gossip, we create turmoil and generate unhappiness around us, we are abusive… and on it goes.

At some point we slam our hands down on the counter and pointing to ourselves we say, “This needs to stop!”

How do we go about stopping the old ways and putting on our new way or nature?

II. Practice being like God, Ephesians 4:25-32

Put on your new nature, created to be like God – truly righteous and holy. Ephesians 4:24

There is an interesting comment, almost an aside, in our text today. It is made in reference to controlling our anger. The essence of the comment is this, “Do not give the devil a foothold in your life…” Ephesians 4:27

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