Monday, January 26, 2009

Like Father, Like Son

Please read Ephesians 5:1-17. The word "Followers" in verse one is the word "Mimics," so that verse can be translated "Be Imitators of God as beloved children." This sets the theme for this section. Paul is simply arguing that children are like their parents, a fact that can be both encouraging and embarrassing to those of us who have children. Children probably learn more by watching and imitating than any other way. Since we are the children of God then we ought to imitate our Father. Note three ways in which we are to mimic our heavenly Father. First, we imitate our Father by walking in love. Paul gave several reasons why Christians ought to walk in love. One reasons is because we are God's child. "God is love" and it is logical that God's children will walk in love. I have seen malice and bitterness at both funerals and weddings. The old nature is basically selfish, and for this reason it builds walls and declares war. But the new nature is loving and therefore it builds bridges and proclaims peace. Another reason we because we are God's beloved child. God speaks of us the same way He spoke of Jesus Christ. We are born into a loving relationship with the Father that ought to result in our showing love to Him by the way we live. We were purchased with a great price. The idea behind "Sweet savor" is simply that the sacrifice is well pleasing to God. This does not suggest that God is pleased that sin demanded death, or that His Son had to die to save lost sinners. Rather, it indicates that the death of Christ satisfies the holy law of God and therefore is acceptable and pleasing to the Father. Second, we imitate the Father by walking as children of light. Paul gives three descriptions of believers that prove his point. We are saints. It is beneath the dignity of a saint to indulge in the sins that belong to the world of darkness. Verse three refers to "The lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes." In verse four he warned against sins of the tongue. Two indications of a person's character are what makes him laugh and what makes him cry. We are kings. Paul makes it clear that people who persistently live in sin will not share in God's kingdom. In Paul's day, there were false Christians who argued that believers could live in sin and get away with it. God judges sin no matter where He finds it, and He does not want to find it in the life of one of His own children. A Christian is not sinless, but as he grows in the Lord he does sin less and less. We are light. To "Walk as children of light" means to live before the eyes of God, not hiding anything. It also means revealing God's light in our daily lives. By our character and conduct, we bring God's light into a dark world. Third, We imitate the father by walking in wisdom. Paul presented several reasons why we should be accurate and careful in our walk. The word "Circumspect" comes from two Latin words which mean "Looking around. The Greek word carries the idea of precision and accuracy. "See that you walk carefully with exactness" is the meaning. Doing so is a mark of wisdom. Only a fool drifts with the wind and tide. Someone said, "When the pilot does not know what port he is heading for, no wind is the right wind." Also life is short. Our English word opportunity comes from the Latin and means "Toward the port." It suggests a ship taking advantage of the wind and tide to arrive safely in the harbor. The brevity of life is a strong argument for making the best use of the opportunities God gives us. The days are evil. In Paul's time, this meant that Roman persecution was on the way. How foolish to waste opportunities to win the lost when soon those opportunities might be taken away by the advances of sin in society. If the days were evil when Paul wrote this letter, what must their condition be today? God has given us a mind. "Understanding" suggests using our minds to discover and do the will of God. Discovering God's will is not a mystical experience that rules out clear thinking. Learning His will involves gathering facts, examining them, weighing them, and praying for His wisdom. God does not want us simply to know His will, He wants us to understand and obey His will. God has a plan for our lives. The Christian can walk carefully and accurately because he knows what God wants Him to do. We imitate our Father by walking in love, light, and wisdom. Dr. Ken Copley is available for counseling, conferences, and local church meetings.

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