Summary: Everyone Imitates Someone

Who Do You Imitate?

Ephesians 5: 1-14

OPEN: Today we want to continue with our study through the book of Ephesians. Today we want to talk about the issue of imitation.

Context: we’ve been new garments to wear – Eph. 4:22

- Part of the worthy walk – a balancing of the scales

Paul says become imitators of God.

Everyone Imitates Someone Else. “Be imitators of God, therefore as dearly loved children” (5:1) KJV says “be followers of God” - not nec. the best translation. The NKJV catches it and changes it to imitators. Webster’s Dictionary: “to follow as a pattern, model or example.” IMATATING =  = we get our word mimic. Children mimic their parents. It’s just as natural as it comes. Children develop their parent’s nature and they instinctively imitate their parent’s actions and behaviors. Do you remember when you were a little kid, and starting out in school one of your teachers wanted to teach you how to draw, so she passed out papers of pictures and the pictures were in great big bold ink, and then she passed out what she called tracing paper. And all the little kids would take the paper and stick it on the bold page and the picture would come through and you would take your little pencils and you would draw, tracing. That’s exactly what he’s saying here, take Jesus Christ and put your life on top of it and trace your life out just as His is. He is the pattern.

Where is this most prevalent? It’s with our children isn’t it? Most of us can probably picture in our minds images of our children - the little girl copying mom as she puts on her makeup or the little boy following dad around in the yard with the little plastic lawn mower. How many are glad that your children copy you? It depends doesn’t it? It depends upon what part of your life they are copying. We love it when our kids copy the good aspects of our life but we get upset with our kids when they imitate the bad behaviors that we model for them. God is like that. He sets a good example and enjoys it when his children emulate him. Our whole Christian life could be summed up in that one statement, be imitators of God.

Now here’s part of my thesis today – Everyone Is Imitating Someone. Let me show you this from the Bible. Scripture draws a line right down the middle of humanity and places all people in one of two camps. Children of the devil – “Abraham is our father,” they answered. “If you were Abraham’s children,” said Jesus, “then you would do the things Abraham did. As it is, you are determined to kill me, a man who has told you the truth that I heard from God. Abraham did not do such things. You are doing the things your own father does.” (John 8:42-47) Satan’s purpose in your life is to get you to mimic him. But mimicking him- he believes he is being glorified. How many people have heard the old cliché, “Imitation is the highest form of flattery.”? It makes you feel good when your children model their lives after you, doesn’t it? Satan loves it when his children model their decisions and their lives after his. He glories in it. It feeds his pride.

Children God – “But if anyone obeys his word, God’s love is truly made complete in him. This is how we know we are in him: Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did.” (1 John 2:5-6)

“I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you.” (John 13:15)

To bring this right into present-day reality in this sanctuary, Who Are You More Like? Who are you emulating? What do your decisions reveal about you are imitating? When you experience powerful urges and powerful passions, powerful feelings when they sweep over you, not just sexual feelings? How do you handle strong feelings of wanting to take revenge when you’ve been wronged? How do you handle that? How do you handle wanting to win at all costs, even if you have to stomp on some people to do it? How do you handle strong feelings of envy when they sweep over you, or jealousy or hatred or the urge to do violence? Who do you emulate?

If you’re like me, you contend with these strong, disruptive, tormenting feelings and passions from time to time and you kind of blow it off – you don’t pay much attention to it. You might do a little bit of self-talk, “God would certainly understand why I acted that way – why I said those kinds of things – in fact I think my Heavenly Father would probably see things my way.”

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