Summary: We continue to explore what "Putting on the New Man" entails. We, as children and imitators of God, should walk in love. But that gets complicated as we encounter sin in our lives.
Over the Last few weeks and through the next couple of weeks, we have been looking at our lives in Christ. What does it look like? How are we support to act? Much of the new Testament, especially the writings of Paul, John and Peter, deal with the process of sanctification – the process of becoming holy. As we become more sanctified, we are becoming more like Jesus.
2 Corinthians 3:18 (NKJV) But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.
Paul, in his letter to the Ephesians, he describe this process as;
Ephesians 4:22a and 24a (NKJV) that you put off, … the old man, - and that you put on the new man ...
We are in the process of taking off the old man, as we are putting on the new man. Like wearing dirty clothes we must take off so we do not get the clean clothes that we put on dirty.
Today’s sermon was titled “Walking in Love,” in light of the first two verses of Chapter 5, but there is so much more there in those verses. We get it, God is Love (1 John 4:8) and we must love like Him, but what holds us back? It is those dirty clothes, the old man that we keep putting back on.
In his autobiography, Benjamin Franklin tells of the time he wanted to convince the citizens of Philadelphia to light the streets at night as a protection against crime and as a convenience for evening activities. Failing to convince them by his words, he decided to show his neighbors how compelling a single light could be. He bought an attractive lantern, polished the glass, and placed it on a long bracket that extended from the front of his house. Each evening as darkness descended, he lit the wick.
His neighbors soon noticed the warm glow in front of his house. Passersby found that the light helped them to avoid tripping over protruding stones in the roadway. Soon others placed lanterns in front of their homes, and eventually the city recognized the need for having well-lighted streets.
That is the power of example. Samuel Johnson once wrote, “Example is always more effective than teaching.” Albert Schweitzer said, “Example is not the main thing in influencing others. It is the only thing.” Children become like parents; churches become like pastors; students become like teachers—all because of the power of example. There may be no greater power on earth to change the behavior of others. 
Ephesians 5:1 (NKJV) Therefore be imitators of God as dear children.
As the children of God, as we do call ourselves, we should been seen as imitating the very traits of God. Children, as they grow, will imitate their parents. How many time do I catch myself spouting out of my mouth my father very words? How many times have I heard my words come out of my children’s mouths?
Children will often grow up liking what their parents like, and disliking the things their parents dislike. We are to imitate God, Last week we touched on this. We were told to forgive others just like God forgave us.
Ephesians 4:32 (NKJV) And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.
We are to imitate mercy, Just as God showed mercy to us.
Luke 6:36 (NKJV) Therefore be merciful, just as your Father also is merciful.
And we are to holy, because God is holy:
1 Peter 1:15–16 (NKJV) but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, 16 because it is written, “Be holy, for I am holy.”
We were created in His Image and that image has been marred by sin. By our salvation and through our sanctification, the true image of God is being restored. We are not like the world, nor should we seek to imitate the world. We see what the world imitates, they imitate their father the devil, according to Jesus. (we touched on this last week.)
John 8:44 (NKJV) You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it.
So how do we imitate God?
Ephesians 5:2 (NKJV) And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma.