Live With A Purpose - To Follow God
Note the believer is to walk following God:
1. BY BECOMING A FOLLOWER OF GOD - vs. 1.
"Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children." The preceding chapter ended on the note that God for Christ’s sake has forgiven us. With that setting in mind, we are enjoined to therefore be “followers of God.” The word "followers" has the sense of a ‘mimicker’ or ‘imitator.’ The greater thought is that even as God has so forgiven us, we likewise ought to follow in His example. He adds, “as dear children.” The literal thought is ‘as beloved children.’ We are the objects of God’s love and now are His children. It is thus incumbent upon us to allow that love which results in the forgiveness of others to flow through us.
2. BY LOVING AS CHRIST LOVED - vs. 2.
"And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour." The section beginning in Ephesians 4:30 thus culminates with the injunction to “walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us.” This is the third ‘walk’ (mentioned in Ephesians) and certainly consonant with what our Lord so frequently taught (see John 13:34, 15:12, 17). We are directed to not only love, but to walk in love. The implication is that love ought to permeate every aspect of our daily living. Even as we walk about our daily tasks, we ought to do so with that kind, considerate, thoughtful, helpful, merciful, patient spirit which emanates from agape-love. Even as Christ loved us, so ought that love to direct our attitude towards others. Moreover, the Apostle adds a succinct, illustrative definition of agape-love. Its ultimate expression is how that “Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us.” The essential definition of agape-love is ‘a giving of oneself for another.’ That Jesus did on Calvary. (See also Galatians 2:20 and II Corinthians 12:15.) He then used an Old Testament illustration familiar to the Jewish mind. The mention of “an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour” likely hearkens back to the sweet-savor offerings defined in Leviticus 1-2. The basic thought is that the several sweet-savor offerings (offered at the Tabernacle/Temple) were pleasing to God. What Jesus did at Calvary was the ultimate sweet-savor offering of which God was well pleased. It also was the ultimate expression of love. If He could so manifest agape-love, it ought to be presented by us as well.
3. BY BEING MORALLY PURE - vs. 3.
"But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints." The next walk is noted in verse 8—“walk as children of light.” However, the Apostle now begins leading up thereto. The antithesis of light is, of course, darkness. He thus begins addressing the moral darkness which then and now permeates the world around us. He notes a broad description of sexual sin which ought not be “once named among us.” These includes (1) fornication. The word so translated (porneia) in its more narrow sense refers to sexual intercourse between unmarried people. In its broader scope, it refers to sexual immorality of any kind be it adultery, homosexuality, lesbianism, bestiality, or whatever. (2) Uncleanness is more abstract than the former word. Whereas fornication refers to immoral sexual acts, uncleanness refers to the more or less abstract matters of impure thinking, discussion, jokes, and perhaps pornography. As the word implies, it refers to that which is morally ‘dirty.’ (3) Covetousness in this context likely refers to the lust of the above-mentioned impurity. The greater truth is that these ought not once be named among God’s people “as becometh saints.” The idea is, as saints, we are holy ones and thus it is only becoming to not have such impurity charged to us.
4. BY BEING CLEAN-MOUTHED - vs. 4.
"Neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient: but rather giving of thanks." The inspired writer continues in the same vein. Likewise, there ought not be (4) filthiness named among us. The word so translated has the sense of ‘obscenity’ or ‘vulgarity.’ To these he adds, (5) “nor foolish talking, (6) nor jesting.” The phrase foolish talking literally means ‘moron words.’ In the context, it is clear he speaks of dirty words and their expression. Such ought not be heard from God’s people. Finally, his reference to jesting is not an injunction against humor in general. Rather, the context makes clear the thought is of dirty jokes. In fact, the word so translated "jesting" has the sense of lewd humor. These ought not be uttered by God’s people. Rather, we are enjoined unto the giving of thanks. Thanksgiving is on an entirely different channel than the preceding and that is the point.
5. BY KNOWING GOD'S SOLEMN WARNING - vs. 5-6.
"For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. 6 Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience."
Note two significant points:
A. Uncleanness has no part with God. The profession of a person does not matter: if he practices these things, he will not share in the kingdom of Christ and of God. And, note, the doom pronounced is not future, it is present. It does not say, "he shall not have," but rather, "he does not have an inheritance with God."
B. There are deceivers walking all around us. There are people who will tell us... that sex is the normal and natural thing for man—that a one-time affair will not hurt—that it is acceptable and will not harm us.
6. BY SEPARATING ONESELF FROM THAT WHICH IS UNCLEAN - vs. 7.
"Be not ye therefore partakers with them." No believer is to take part in the sins discussed in these verses. In fact, he is to separate himself from all who do take part in such sins.
QUESTIONS TO PONDER
1. What is the ultimate goal of becoming a follower of God?
2. When do you feel most loved by the body of Christ? Why is this true?
3. What thoughts come to your mind when you hear the word "sacrifice?"
4. Give an example of a time recently when you experienced sacrificial love? Were you the recipient or did you give this love to someone else?
5. What can you do to keep from becoming morally impure?
6. How can you guard your thoughts?
7. How can you help others who have fallen into a sinful lifestyle?
8. What are some natural results of sin that becomes public knowledge?
9. Are there areas of your speech and conversation that are less than desirable? How can you go about changing those areas?
10. How can the Christian abuse the grace of God?
11. How can the Christian identify a deceiver?
12. When we "tune out God," the only signal left to be heard belongs to the world. What practical things can you do in order to tune out the world's signal?
Your Friend and HIS,