According to Ephesians 5:15-21, God wants us to know his will! Knowing his will is how we live wisely and make the best use of our days. Reading Ephesians 5:15-21 in context reveals that God wants us to know his revealed, moral will rather than his secret, comprehensive will which extends to all that happens. God's moral will tells us what kind of people to be regardless of our circumstances. God's moral will is revealed in the Bible. As we read and study the Bible, the Spirit of God fills us with the character of God so that we mature spiritually to be like Jesus. What can we do to help this process of being filled by the Spirit with the character of God? Be committed to reading and studying the Bible. Consider how you can make Bible reading a routine part of your life. If you have an established habit, consider improving your study habits by summarizing thought units, creating a bullet point outline, asking what the passage means, and only then asking how it connects to your life.
Ephesians 5:1-2 calls us to consider the obligations of being children of God. By the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross we are made clean. Being clean, we who believe in Jesus are adopted as genuine children of God! The requirement of children is to honor the family name by right action and character. This is why children of God become imitators of God.
Specifically, we are called to imitate the love of God revealed in the sacrificial death of Jesus. Christians are to love others sacrificially and practically. Rather than a focus on our own rights, we are called to consider the good of others and to act for their good in practical ways. As you go through the week, pay attention to your focus. Do you primarily see the needs of others or your own needs? Do you focus on what is your due and right, or do you act for the good of others? Make it your goal to imitate the love of God in order to honor our heavenly Father.
Humans were made in God's image to represent his generously good rule over the earth. When humanity sinned and was corrupted, the earth was also cursed. The result is that the creation is no longer cooperative with humanity. Moreover, humans are in rebellion against God and so relate wrongly to work. Some work as if the all depends on their efforts. Some are lazy and think the world should serve them. Both are acting as if they are God and not creatures.
When we turn to Christ and are saved, we cease fighting with God. Regarding work, this means that we accept our creation design by laboring in the world as his representatives while also accepting rest as a gift from God. As we labor, we come to have the resources to help those in need. As those who represent Jesus, we work not merely to have more, but to give more.
If you would like to take a step toward helping those in need, two excellent opportunities out of many are the Immigration Coalition and Samaritan's Purse. Samaritan's Purse has a fund dedicated to helping those suffering in Afghanistan while the Immigration Coalition is providing water and shelter to asylum seekers and impoverished communities in Mexico and the United States near the border. The Lord has blessed us with great abundance in our nation. Prayerfully consider how he would have you give to meet the needs of others.
Be angry? At times, yes! However, we must not sin in our anger and are called to deal with it in a timely manner. Anger is like pain in that it alerts us that something is wrong and motivates us to act. However, anger is also dangerous and often wrongly directed and out of proportion. When you are angry ask: What object of my love is being harmed? Does this anger align with God's love? Is this anger proportionate to the harm being done?
If your anger is a selfish anger, then repent! If it is a godly anger, then respond with restraint and choose to resolve the issue with love and wisdom. Anger is a great short term motivator, but love must govern all we do. Forgive quickly in order to avoid bitterness or rage and be willing to reconcile should a person genuinely repent. At times it is right to be angry! Even when anger is right, however, we must beware of our precarious situation and respond wisely and quickly.
I Peter 2:11, 21
What Would Jesus Do - How can we model our lives after Jesus
2. Showing Compassion
3. Encourage one another
4. Respond Correctly
Sermon SummaryEphesians 4:25 commands each and every Christian to put off falsehood and to speak the truth. This corresponds to putting off the old, spiritually dead self and putting on the new, spiritually alive self. Christians are to be diligently committed to truth in all things as those who worship the one who is truth. From social media to speaking about the Bible, we must be far more diligent than the world to speak what is true as we refuse to join a post-truth society which uses "truth" as a means to an end. Where is this most challenging in your life? Prayerfully consider a step you can take to put off falsehood and to speak truth in this area.
Sermon SummaryEphesians 4:17-24 exhorts us not to live like we are not saved. It reminds us that salvation includes regeneration - the giving of new spiritual life! Those who are saved have a new self created in the image of God for righteousness and holiness. This means it is possible for Christians to overcome sin. In fact, we are called to daily put off the old self and to put on the new - to choose righteousness as people made new. On the other hand, the unsaved do not have spiritual life and are enslaved to sin. This reminds us to have realistic expectations about the world and to remember that the greatest need of every person is salvation through faith in Jesus.
Sermon SummaryEphesians 4:1-16 would be shocking to a person who had observed modern church practices but never before read the Bible. It points us away from a consumer mentality where church is all about the benefit I receive and away from casually breaking fellowship. Ephesians 4 tells us that the church ought to be one because we have one Lord and one Faith and one Father. It also tells us that unity is desirable because we need each other. God has given his gifts to the church - gifts which we benefit from by being routinely involved in the church community. As we examined Ephesians 4:1-16 we were challenged to eagerly protect the unity of the church, to be humble and gentle, to be patient, and to bear with one another. In this way we preserve unity and receive the greatest benefit from all of God's gifts.