Summary: God has not only called us to be holy, He has given us everything we need to be holy.
February 7, 2010
Text: Ephesians 5:1-21
Subject: A Life in Christ
Title: The Pursuit of Holiness
I’ve been riding the high of what happened here last Sunday morning. That sweet presence of the Holy Spirit was so compelling that many of you didn’t want to leave the building. It is those types of experiences that we as Christians long for. But don’t you know that there is a downside to experiencing God that way – at least it seems so to me. Anything less than that becomes mediocre or humdrum. We get a little spoiled and we want it all the time. Good for you. I believe that God wants you to want that all the time. That is the beginning of revival.
One of the things that happen when the Holy Spirit moves in that way is that He will begin to purge sin from the lives of believers. I would venture to say that there are areas in each of our lives where God would like to see change. When the Spirit of God moves that way He will begin to reveal those areas to us and begin to move us forward in the pursuit of holiness.
Going back to last Sunday Morning – It was a real blessing for me to see everyone linger at the altars and to see people step up and minister to others all over the church. But I have to tell you that when I woke up Monday morning I was physically and emotionally drained and the enemy immediately began his attacks on my weakened state. “That was nothing… You’ll never see that again… it was all in the flesh…you’re a loser-God won’t use you anymore.” The whole experience kind of reminds me of going on vacation. You plan, you long for it, you go and enjoy, but then you come home tired and fighting to get back into your routine and nothing has changed.
I want to talk to you today about all of these things today.
1. God has called you to live a holy life.
2. God has called you to live for Him.
3. God has given you all the power you will ever need to accomplish the first two things.
Lord, open my eyes to see and my ears to hear what the Spirit is saying to the church.
I. IMITATORS OF CHRIST. 1Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children… As we look at verse 1 there is a word there that we have to pay attention to – the word “therefore”. Whenever you see it you know that it is a connecting word. Here it connects the idea of being an imitator of God with what Paul had written in the previous section, beginning with chapter 4 where it talks about unity in the body of Christ. Unity is brought about by proper relationships with other people and proper relationships are carried out by imitating God. Here Paul is attempting to elicit a response from his readers to be like their Father. Children who have that kind of relationship with their father want to grow up to be just like him. So it should be with Christians. If you go back up to 4:26 we can get an idea of how human relationships are supposed to be…. In your anger do not sin… don’t let the sun go down on your anger… don’t give the devil a foothold…don’t steal but do honest work…share with those in need…watch what comes out of your mouth… don’t beat people down but build them up… Verse 31, 31Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. 32Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. Be imitators of God therefore… as dearly loved children. In case you were following along in your bibles and noticed that I left out something in chapter 4… right in the middle of all those instructions about human relationship Paul wrote, 30And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Paul’s assertion here is that if you are a Christian, then you must live in unity with one another. To do anything less grieves the Spirit. In Romans 12:3, as Paul is leading up to his description of the gifts given by God for the day-to-day operation of the church, he writes this, 3For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you. You are called to live that kind of life… Grieving the Holy Spirit involves anything that is contrary to His prompting and leading in your life – whether it is unholy relationships with other believers or being used in the gifts of the Spirit or hindering the flow of the Spirit in a corporate church setting. You just need to listen to His voice and respond accordingly. Verse 2 tells us how to do that, 2and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. Jesus said this about our responsibility to others, John 15, 13Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. OK Pastor Mike, are you saying that we are supposed to be willing to die for others in the church? No, what I am saying is that you should be willing to put others before self. John 13:12-17, 12When he had finished washing their feet, he put on his clothes and returned to his place. “Do you understand what I have done for you?” he asked them. 13“You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and rightly so, for that is what I am. 14Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. 15I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. 16I tell you the truth, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. 17Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them. If you want to imitate God look at the life of Christ.