Friday, September 29, 2017, 5:33 a.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song “The Peace of Christ.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read Ephesians 5:1-21 (NASB).
Imitators of God (v. 1-2)
Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children; 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.
Who is an imitator? He or she is a follower, sheep, look-alike; someone who emulates and models another, who is another’s representative, but not here in the sense of a fake copy, but in the sense of us genuinely patterning our lives after the life of another, which in this case is God/Jesus Christ. We are to be like him in all that we do and say and think and are. But, this is a lifetime process. We won’t be like him fully in character, attitudes and actions until we reach heaven. Yet, this should be what we strive toward, not in our own strength and wisdom, but in the power and might of God’s Holy Spirit now living within those of us who have been crucified with Christ to sin and born again of the Spirit of God in newness of life, to be lived to Christ.
So, Christ Jesus is our model for how we are to live our lives, and for how to walk (in lifestyle) in love (agape). This love is not like human love, though, for it prefers what God prefers, which is what is holy, righteous, godly, moral and upright. It will do no harm to others, but good. This love is also not dependent on others loving us, or on their personalities, positions in life, social status, skin color, or material wealth, etc. For, we love like Jesus Christ loved and still loves us. It is unselfish, thinking of others above ourselves, and considers what is in the best interest of others. It is honest, though, and it doesn’t tell people lies just to make them feel better about themselves, especially in their sin. It will speak the truth in love, when necessary, because it cares more about others than it does about itself.
Not Partakers (vv. 3-14)
But immorality or any impurity or greed must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints; and there must be no filthiness and silly talk, or coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks. 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.
Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. Therefore do not be partakers with them; for you were formerly darkness, but now you are Light in the Lord; walk as children of Light (for the fruit of the Light consists in all goodness and righteousness and truth), trying to learn what is pleasing to the Lord. Do not participate in the unfruitful deeds of darkness, but instead even expose them; for it is disgraceful even to speak of the things which are done by them in secret. But all things become visible when they are exposed by the light, for everything that becomes visible is light. For this reason it says,
And arise from the dead,
And Christ will shine on you.”
Because we have been born again of the Spirit of God, and we are imitators (followers) of Jesus Christ, and we are walking (in lifestyle) in love (agape), and we are considering others above ourselves, and we are doing them no harm, but good, then we won’t participate in adultery, perjury, immorality, coarse jesting and the like, because we love others as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us. Idolatry and immorality should have no place at all in the life of a believer in Jesus Christ. We should have reputations which are above reproach. This is not to say we will never sin (1 Jn. 2:1-2), but it is saying that sin should not be our practice, for if we make sin our practice, we have no eternal life with God in heaven (1 Jn. 1:6; Gal. 5:19-21).
Let no one deceive you with empty words. Wow! That packs a punch these days, for many liars and deceivers have infiltrated the church and are teaching a do-nothing entitlement gospel which says God does everything and nothing is required of us – no obedience, submission or repentance. But, that is not what the Bible teaches. It teaches that faith in Jesus Christ means we die with Christ to sin, and we are resurrected with Christ to newness of life, created to be like God (in his likeness) in true righteousness and holiness. It teaches us that Jesus died that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. And, it says that God’s grace instructs us to say “NO!” to ungodliness and worldly passions and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives while we await Christ’s return (Ro. 6:1-23; Eph. 4:17-24; 1 Pet. 2:24; Tit. 2:11-14).
How We Walk (vv. 15-21)
Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, making the most of your time, because the days are evil. So then do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. And do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord; always giving thanks for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God, even the Father; and be subject to one another in the fear of Christ.
Our salvation in Jesus Christ is not just so we can escape hell and have the promise of heaven when we die. There is a whole life in between that is to be lived for Christ and for his righteousness, and not for ourselves, or for our own entertainment. We are to grow in the grace of Jesus Christ, and put on the full armor of God daily with which to fight off Satan’s evil attacks and his schemes against us (Eph. 6:10-20). We are to walk according to the Spirit, and to no longer fulfill the lusts of the flesh. We are to spend time daily in His Word, drinking in His Spirit, listening to what God says to our hearts, and then doing what he teaches us. And, we are to go where he leads us, and walk in his ways, and be the light of the world and the salt of the earth so that others will come to know our Savior, too.
And, we are to encourage one another (fellow believers) in our faith and practice, warn against falling away, calling for repentance and renewed faith, where needed, and to help one another to grow and to mature in our Christian walks. We are NOT to be living to sin and self, for our own pleasure and entertainment, while ignoring the needs all around us and the sharing of the gospel of our salvation with others so they can come to know him, too. Our lives should be sold out to Jesus Christ, with him truly as our Lord (owner-master) in practice, and not just in title (in words only). And, then we should be sharing with the body of Christ what our Lord is doing in our lives as a way of encouraging them to live godly and holy lives, too.
The Peace of Christ / An Original Work / October 31, 2011
Based off of Col. 3:1-17; Eph. 5:19-20
Let the word of Christ dwell in you,
As you teach with all wisdom,
Teaching one another to not
Think on earthly things;
Think instead on things above,
Where Christ sits with God, in love,
Saving us from all of our sins,
Cleansing us; made new within.
Let the peace of Christ rule your hearts,
As you sing songs unto Him;
Speak to one another with psalms,
Hymns, and spir’tual songs;
Always giving thanks to God,
In the name of Christ, His Son,
Who gave His life up for us all,
And gave us eternal life.
Let the love of Christ within you
Rule in your hearts; grace within,
Purifying you from your sin,
Make you whole within.
Forgive as the Lord forgave.
Show His kindness ev’ry day.
In word or deed, whate’er you do,
Glory give to Jesus Christ.