Ephesians 5:1-2 NIV
“Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.”
As believers in Jesus Christ we are to be followers of Jesus, living our lives after his example and according to his instructions to us, too. We are to do the kinds of things he did, and to say the kinds of things he said, and for the same reasons, and with the same attitude.
For, through faith in Jesus Christ, we were created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. And as followers of Jesus we are being conformed to his likeness. For, he is our example for how we are to live our lives.
Just as he loved us, so we are also to love him and others. And this love is not based on feelings or our circumstances or on other people being loveable, in our assessment as humans. But we are even to love our enemies and to pray for them, to do good to them, and to say to them what will benefit them.
And we are to walk in the way of love, which means that loving God and others is to be what we practice. And this love chooses God’s choices and obeys them. And it is based in moral preference, so it does no intentional harm to others, but only what is for their good, as God defines good.
This kind of love is self-sacrificial, and it willingly lays down its life for the good of others. And just as Jesus gave his life up for us on that cross so that we could be delivered from our slavery to sin and now walk in his holiness, we need to lay our lives down by sharing the gospel with others so that they can be set free from their slavery to sin and walk in holiness, too.
Ephesians 5:3-6 NIV
“But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people. Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving. For of this you can be sure: No immoral, impure or greedy person—such a person is an idolater—has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of such things God’s wrath comes on those who are disobedient.”
When the evangelical church, at least here in America, made the decision to incorporate under the government, she unequally yoked together with unbelievers in direct disobedience to God. She turned the church into a marketplace (business), which was also in direct disobedience to the Lord. And she put another head in place of Christ, which is the government.
Now the church was a state church, which was separate from the body of Christ, although many within the body of Christ participated with this state church as though it was the true church. So, the true church was mostly no longer under the headship of Christ and the leading and guidance of the Holy Spirit, but she was mostly now submitting herself to marketing goals and business plans for how to “build” the “church.”
Since she was now following business models, instead of emulating Christ/God, and instead of listening to the Holy Spirit, and thus she was trying to grow the church by human means, she began to change the way the church operated so that the church gatherings would appeal to the world.
Thus, she cheapened God’s grace to turn it into free license to continue living in sin, only now without guilt or the fear of punishment. And she diluted the gospel message and she altered it to make it more acceptable to human flesh. And then she entirely removed God’s requirements for repentance, obedience, and submission to Christ as Lord.
The result of this is a large number of “followers” who are not following Jesus Christ at all, who are not listening to the Holy Spirit, who have not left their lifestyles of sin behind them, and who are not walking in obedience to the Lord, for they believe they don’t have to.
So, now we have many “churches” filled with people who have no true relationship with Jesus Christ at all, who have never been born again of the Spirit of God, because they never died with Christ to sin that they might live to Christ and to his righteousness.
Thus, we also have a massive number of so-called churches where sexual immorality, all kinds of impurity, wickedness, deception, course joking, greed, foolish talk, and idolatry are running rampant, for they are being given permission to continue, all under the guise of God’s grace. But this is a perversion of and a betrayal of God’s true grace.
So, we need to not be those who have fallen for this deception, for God does not give us permission to continue making sin our practice once we “believe” in Jesus Christ.
It isn’t that we will never sin, but that true faith in Jesus Christ dies with Christ to sin, is reborn of the Spirit of God, and now walks (in practice) according to the Spirit and no longer according to the flesh (Lu 9:23-26; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-17; Eph 4:17-24; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6).
And we need to not be deceived into thinking that we can “believe” in Jesus, have our sins forgiven, be bound for heaven, and that we can continue to live like we did before we “believed” in Jesus, as a matter of life course. And we need to not fall for the deception that God won’t judge us, too.
For, if we make a practice of sin, we do not have any inheritance in the kingdom of God. We will face the wrath of God. He will judge us. And we will die in our sins, not have eternal life with God, because we refused to die with Christ to sin and to walk according to his Spirit, in his power.
Ephesians 5:7-11 NIV
“Therefore do not be partners with them. For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) and find out what pleases the Lord. Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them.”
So, the warning here is that we are not to be those who partner with the ungodly in unholy (unequally yoked) unions, for there is no fellowship between light and darkness. And if we are in Christ by genuine faith in him, we were once (past) darkness. We should no longer be darkness, but now we should be light in the Lord.
Not only should we not participate with the ungodly in their ungodly deeds, but we are to come out of “Babylon” so that we don’t share in her sins and in her punishment. And we are not to partake with these “churches” which are businesses of men under the authority of men, and which are not under the headship of Christ and the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
We are to live our lives under Christ’s authority with the Holy Spirit as our teacher, and we are to follow Christ in the ways of the Spirit and not in the ways of the flesh or after the pattern of this world.
We are to find out what pleases the Lord, and to do it, and the Scriptures have much to teach us on what pleases God, too. And we are to walk according to the Spirit and in Christ’s righteousness and holiness, and in obedience to our Lord, and in submission to his will for our lives. And we are to expose the evil that is going on in the name of “church,” too.
Oh, to Be Like Thee, Blessed Redeemer
Lyrics by Thomas O. Chisholm, 1897
Music by W. J. Kirkpatrick, 1897
Oh, to be like Thee! blessèd Redeemer,
This is my constant longing and prayer;
Gladly I’ll forfeit all of earth’s treasures,
Jesus, Thy perfect likeness to wear.
O to be like Thee! while I am pleading,
Pour out Thy Spirit, fill with Thy love;
Make me a temple meet for Thy dwelling,
Fit me for life and Heaven above.
Oh, to be like Thee! Oh, to be like Thee,
Blessèd Redeemer, pure as Thou art;
Come in Thy sweetness, come in Thy fullness;
Stamp Thine own image deep on my heart.
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