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Summary: This sermon series asks the question - Do we really look like Jesus? Are we disciples or are we just tagging along? Are we becoming imitators of God?

The Next Best Thing

Eight Secrets to Imitating Christ Pt 6

Ephesians 5

A couple of weeks ago we began this series looking at Paul’s challenge to the church to be Imitators of Christ. The question that we posed last week and will continue to pose during this series is “Are you the next best thing to Jesus in the lives of those around you?” Paul shares eight secrets to imitating Christ in this passage - practical stuff to help us look like Him.

 V.15 - Be careful how you walk

 V.16 - Redeem your time

 V.17 - Make it your purpose to understand the will of God

 V.18 - Be careful what touches your heart

 V.19 - Let worship become your lifestyle

 V.20 - Develop a habit of thankfulness

 V.21 - Find Humility in Life

Today I want to continue with verse 22 - 6:9

1) Secret #8 - Our Imitation Starts at Home - (v.22-69) - In this passage Paul spends three times as much time talking about this secret as he does on all the others combined. Why do you suppose Paul spends 21 verses in a discussion on how we imitate Christ in our homes and only 7 verses on how we do so outside the home? I think there are several reasons but here are just a few.

• Home is where life gets real - you see when you’re here and even when you’re at work it’s easy to put on the act. John Eldridge calls this posing. The reality is that most of what you see in people is a disguise. It’s an elaborate charade developed to hide who we really are and what we are really feeling. We wear the masks of contentment, happy faces, and confident self-assurance when inside we often really don’t know what to do next. Eldridge describes the church masks - Pg 55 Wild at Heart. - While we can be posers at church and at work - life gets real when we get home. It amazes me how many Christians live double lives - they are super Christian within church circles but at home they live lives that are abusive, broken, and destructive. You see posers are one thing when people are watching - another when they are in the relative seclusion of home.

• Home is where life gets real hard - Relationships are the hardest thing we do as human beings. It’s been like this from the beginning. From the moment sin entered the world relationships have been hard. Adam gets caught in his sin - and what’s the first thing he does? He blames Eve. “The woman that you gave to be with me, she gave me from the tree and I ate.” Men and women have been blaming each other for their problems ever since. Adam and Eve had children - wonderful children yet Cain killed Able because he was jealous of His relationship with God. Chapter after chapter of history is written in the conflict and blood of those who simply could not get along. Home is where life gets really hard - we are together everyday all the time. We try to blend different views, desires, needs, and visions into a unified whole - while each still has the desire to bend the other to his own will. Home is where life gets raw - no holds barred, no acting, no posing, no charades - home is where we become who we really are. For some of you that may be scary - for others reassuring but folks who you are when you go home today is really who you are.

So what does Paul tell us to help us be imitators of God in our homes? Well let’s look at it together.

 It starts where we left off last week - Mutual submission - You see you cannot disconnect this idea from verse 21. What Paul teaches here is not male domination of the home - but a home built on mutual submission. Look husband, wife, and child all have their roles. Wives be subject to your husbands, husbands love your wives just as Christ love the church and sacrificed himself up for her, children obey your parents, fathers don’t provoke your children. This is not a message of dominion - it’s a message of teamwork. Teams are not built on dominion and assertion of rights - they are built on cooperation and teamwork. Each person in a home looking out for the best interest of the others not themselves. It requires sacrifice and service not rights and demands. It amazes me to look at how some families operate - fear, intimidation, childish silence, cold shoulders, foolish prodding, threats, yelling, on and on it goes and then they wonder why the relationships grow cold, dead, and eventually end.

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