Imitating Christ – Ephesians 4:1- Free Online Sermon Notes
Here at Grace, we’ve been preaching through the book of Ephesians. The book can be conveniently divided right down the middle into two parts. The first three chapters speak extensively about our position in Christ. The next three chapters of Ephesians spell out exactly how He wants us to live in the world.Just look at how he begins chapter 4.
Therefore I, the prisoner of the Lord, implore you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called Ephesians 4:1
A.What is the “therefore” there for? What does the “therefore”refer back to?
a) Blessed 1:3
b) Chosen 1:4
c) Predestined 1:5
d) Redeemed 1:7
e) Sealed 1:13
f) Made alive 2:5
g) Raised up 2:6
h) Saved 2:8
i) Created 2:10
j) Prepared works 2:10
k) Brought near 2:13
l) Made into one 2:15
m) Reconciled 2:16
n) Given access 2:18
o) Made fellow citizens 2:19
p) God’s household 2:20
q) Being built 2:22
r) Fellow heirs 3:6
s) Fellow members of body 3:6
t) Fellow partakers of promise 3:6
u) Emboldened 3:12
v) Made confident 3:12
w) Strengthened 3:16
x) Indwelt by Christ 3:17
y) Made to know His love 3:19
z) Filled up to all the fullness of God! 3:20
Fellow Christian, you are incredibly, amazingly blessed in your
relationship with your Savior. In Christ, you have far greater riches than this world could ever offer you. The first three chapters of Ephesians tell us how God (in Christ) just keeps piling blessing after blessing after blessing on you, but He doesn’t give you all these blessings so you can keep them all to yourself. No!Of course not! God hasn’t lavished all these resources on you to be hoarded. He wants you to be useful and productive. He wants you to bear good fruit for Him.He has equipped you awesomely for a very good purpose. Chapters 1-3 convey the tremendous riches that you have in Christ. Paul pleads with every Christian not to waste all these blessings. He begins with…
Imitate God Walk in Love! 1-2
1 Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children;Ephesians 5:1
A. Once again, the“therefore” refers back to the infinite resources and blessings that are ours in Christ.
B. Since God has so richly blessed us, how should we use these resources? How does He want us to live?
C. He wants us to imitate Him, to be like Him. Imitators is from the Greek word mimetes (mi me tay) from which we get the word “mime”.
D. The primary reason God sent Jesus into the world was clearly to save us from our sins. But in addition to that, Jesus was sent to demonstrate to us in flesh and blood exactly what God is like so we can follow His example.
No one has seen God at any time; the only begotten God who is in the bosom of the Father, He has explained Him. John 1:18
For I gave you an example that you also should do as I did to you. John 13:15
E. Several years ago it was very popular for Christians to wear wrist bands that had WWJD printed on them.WWJD stood for “What would Jesus do” Since we have the gospel accounts of Jesus’ life, we know how He responded to many situations in daily life. The wristband was a reminder to stop and think before speaking or acting and ask yourself, “What would Jesus do?” in that situation and then to mimic what you thought He would do. The concept was actually very good. That’s the samethought that we have here. Because we are so beloved of God and blessed by Him,we are called to imitate (mimic) God in our daily living.
2 and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma.
A.The Bible has much to say about the believer’s walk, that is the way that a believer lives his life.
B. walk in newness of life Rom 6:4
C. do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit Rom 8:4
As believers, we are no longer slaves to sin but brand new creatures. We see things as they really are, and God has blessed us with all the resources we just looked at to live a life pleasing to Him which previously was impossible.
D. not walking like mere men 1 Cor 3:3 Often when someone makes a mistake or is asked to accomplish a very difficult task, they will protest, “I’m only human”! The truth is we are no longer mere (natural) men. We have been adopted into God’s family and are forever His spiritual sons and daughters having all the accompanying rights and privileges.
E. for we walk by faith, not by sight 2 Cor 5:7 Christian, you have the promises of God which never fail, to depend upon. You are not at the mercy of circumstances. It is the almighty sovereign God Who controls every circumstance that comes into your life. In fact, He promises all who truly love Him that He will cause every circumstance to ultimately benefit them.
F. walk by the Spirit Gal 5:15 When we trust our own insights and our own strength, we frequently make mistakes and fail. Would you like to have a personal counselor who never made a mistake? Every Christian is indwelt by God’s very own Spirit Who guides into all truth! To walk by the Spirit is to walk by His power following His perfect advice.
Paul instructs the Ephesians in four specific ways in which they should “walk” (live the Christian life). The first one is Ephesians 4:1 which is a general command to live up to God’s calling
A.walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called Ephesians 4:1
Three of the four are all found in today’s passage. We’ll look at each one in depth when we come to it.
B.and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma. Ephesians 5:2
C. for you were formerly darkness, but now you are Light in the Lord; walk as children of Light Ephesians 5:8
D. Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise,Ephesians 5:15
Be “Saintly” No More Worldly Walk! 3-7
3 But immorality or any impurity or greed must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints;
1. What exactly is a saint anyway? Because of erroneous Catholic doctrine, many people today have a misconception of what a saint is. The Catholic church, by a process called canonization, mistakenly bestows sainthood on a few select deceased Christians whom it asserts performed miracles and led an exemplary life. The Catholic Church further urges that prayers be made to these“saints”. This concept of sainthood is pure nonsense and totally unbiblical.
2. The term saint or saints is used 61 times in the NT and is always a title given to any true believer. The Greek word is…
Hagios – holy, sacred, pure or blameless
Every true believer is a saint. For example Paul refers to all the Corinthian believers as saints.
To the church of God which is at Corinth, to those who have been sanctified in Christ Jesus, saints by calling, with all who in every place call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, their Lord and ours: 1 Corinthians 1:2
So if you have truly trusted Jesus Christ to be your Savior and Lord,then you are a saint of God and as such have been set apart by Him and for Him.Our position in Christ is what the first three chapters of Ephesians is devoted to. Based on all the blessings that believers have in Christ, Paul is telling the Ephesians and us, as His saints, how we should therefore live.
4 and there must be no filthiness and silly talk, or coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks.
A.The world will assuredly engage in those kinds of behavior,but Christian, you should not!
B.Let’s be honest. Have you ever eagerly anticipated the punchline of a dirty joke or even told one yourself? That should never be! We are a chosen people called out of the scum and muck of the world to be ambassadors for Christ, never again to sink back down into its vileness and filthiness!
For those who refuse to separate from the world’s filth, there is this sober warning.
5 For this you know with certainty, that no immoral or impure person or covetous man, who is an idolater,has an inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. 6 Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience.7 Therefore do not be partakers with them;
A.It’s not open for debate. It is a certainty! Paul doesn’t say that a few of them will somehow manage to get into heaven. No, 0% will make it. Everyone who continues a lifestyle of worldliness is still in his sins.God’s Word is clear. His destination is not heaven but hell.
B.Idolatry is breaking the second commandment.
Exodus 20:4 “You shall not make for yourself an idol, or any likeness of what is in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the water under the earth.
You and I, of course, would never worship idols. That’s something that the pagans do. Well, this verse says that an idolater is exactly what we are when we covet anything in our heart. We have set up a false god and fallen down in our heart to worship it.
C. The word “covetous”means “a strong desire after the possession of worldly things” What motivates you. Are you driven by a desire to have “more” and “better” stuff. If you are,the Bible says you are an idolater and will have no place in God’s kingdom.
D. Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God?Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God.1 Cor 6:9, 10
Friends we are all sinners, Christians and non-christians alike The difference is that only Christians have placed their faith in Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection and on that basis have been forgiven. Every one else remains in their sins.
11 Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God.
· Washed – Christians sin shave been washed away by the precious blood of Christ
· Sanctified – Christians have been set apart from the world for service to the Lord
· Justified – God declares Christians “Not Guilty” because Jesus paid the penalty for our sins on the cross
Verses4 through 7 have warned that Christians should no longer live according to the world. Now in verses 8-14, we’ll see how Christians are supposed to live.
You are Light! Walk as Children of Light! 8-14
8 for you were formerly darkness, but now you are Light in the Lord; walk as children of Light 9(for the fruit of the Light consists in all goodness and righteousness and truth),
A.The contrast of light and darkness is an oft used metaphor in Scripture. Darkness here represents the old worldly lifestyle just spoken of that we are to abandon. Light represents the new life we have in Christ. In these next verses, we are instructed how we should live this new life. We are to “walk as children of the light”.
B.For you gardeners out there, you know that a plant needs to get plenty of water and sunshine. It needs to be planted in good soil, get fertilized, and must be protected from pests and fungi. When the plant is raised in this type of favorable environment, it is healthy and produces good fruit. If, on the other hand the plant is not nurtured and has poor growing conditions, it is sickly and unhealthy. It produces either no fruit or if there is any fruit, it is puny and malformed. As Christians, we are the same way. We need a steady diet rich in God’s Word. If we are diligent to get this proper spiritual nourishment and guard against corruption and attack from the world,then our lives will also produce abundant good fruit.
C. Though not a comprehensive list, these three attributes of goodness,righteousness and truth are representative of the fruit that God will manifest in a healthy Christian’s life. This good fruit will be pleasing to the Lord and a blessing to others.
10 trying to learn what is pleasing to the Lord.
A.This refers back to the exhortation in verse 8 to walk as children of light. Notice that even as children of light, we do not naturally know what is pleasing to the Lord. It is something that we learn over time and we don’t automatically know it simply because we have been a Christian for a few years. We must put forth diligent effort in order to acquire this knowledge.If you sincerely want to learn what is pleasing to the Lord, there is no other way to learn it than by faithfully giving yourself to the study of this book.
B.In sharp contrast to the healthy fruit producing activity as a child of light is the warning in the next verse.
11 Do not participate in the unfruitful deeds of darkness, but instead even expose them;
A. As children of light,it is still possible for us to engage in the old worldly activities that used to characterize our lives. That’s why we’re commanded not to.
B.This verse reveals that engaging in the deeds of darkness is unfruitful. So we can conclude that the pursuit of God pleasing activities as well as avoiding sinful behavior are both necessary for the production of good fruit in a Christian’s life
C. Paul says for us to expose the deeds of darkness. How do we do that?
· Example of Jesus with the woman at the well in John 4.
a. Not judgmentally. Jesus didn’t confront her to condemn her, but to offer salvation. No one can repent of their sin if they don’t realize their sin.
b. Straightforwardly. Jesus didn’t beat around the bush, but in just a few short moments, he got right to the heart of her sin issue.
c. Lovingly. Jesus wasn’t harsh or condescending, but gracious and kind.
d. Identify (as closely as possible) with them. Probably, you’ve struggled with a similar sin, if not exactly the same one. (Of course, since Jesus was sinless, He didn’t identify with her sin).
e. Share the gospel solution with them
· Jesus seized daily opportunities to reveal to people the solution for their sin. He did it in gracious and loving way so that people often, but not always, responded with openness and turned to Him from their sin.
D. What are some of these “deeds of darkness”? At this point we could list and discuss some of these deeds, but because they are so wicked and destructive, we are warned against even speaking of them.
12 for it is disgraceful even to speak of the things which are done by them in secret.
A. Some Christians mistakenly think that they should become knowledgeable about Satan worship or homosexuality or the like in order to minister effectively to those who are enslaved by it.Many have investigated it with good intentions only to find themselves ensnared don’t delve into and study the
B.For the report of your obedience has reached to all;therefore I am rejoicing over you, but I want you to be wise in what is good and innocent in what evil. Romans 16:19
C. No Christian, we don’t combat evil by first becoming intimately knowledgeable of it. We combat it by pursuing a knowledge of God and His Word, but being “innocent in what is evil”.
D. Paul gives a clear and simple instruction to the Thessalonians to….abstain from every form of evil. 1 Thessalonians 5:22
· Hate it – abomination to God
· Stay away from it –Joseph
· Radically remove it –Jesus taught if your eye causes you to stumble tear it out and throw it away. Jesus wasn’t teaching self mutilation, but rather taking radical steps to separate from sin.