Ephesians 5:1-13

Walk in Christ’s Love and Light (Ephesians 5:1-13)

1. Walk in Christ’s love (5:1-2)

Ephesians 5:1 (NASB), “Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children; 2 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.

• How do we imitate God? • First of all, we must know God as our Heavenly Father and we must know we are His beloved children. • Once we have assurance we have been reborn/adopted into God’s forever family, by faith, through Christ, the imitation begins. • As beloved children, we must learn to walk in love, just as Jesus loves. •“Walk” refers to how we conduct ourselves – how we live our lives. • Walking in love means loving others willingly/sacrificially, as Christ does. • God is love, so a true child of God walks in love. God is holy, so His children should walk in holiness. God is just/merciful, so treat people right. • The highest Christian ethic is to imitate God’s goodness, not his godness. • The desire to be our own god is the original sin in the garden.

Warning: Walk away from lust (5:3-6)

Ephesians 5:3 (NASB), ”But sexual immorality or any impurity or greed (the older trans., coveting) must not even be mentioned among you, as is proper among saints; 4 and there must be no filthiness or foolish talk, or vulgar joking, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks. 5 For this you know with certainty, that no sexually immoral or impure or greedy person, which amounts to an idolater, has an inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. 6 See that no one deceives you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience."

• Whoever does not heed this warning, is in great spiritual danger – danger of exclusion from the kingdom of Christ and facing the wrath of God. • The Ephesian culture (like ours), was saturated with sexual immorality, impurity, and greed (Lust, self-gratification, and desire for more decadence). • Goddess worship in Ephesus included every manner of immoral practices and ritual prostitution as an acceptable act of worship.
• Now these Ephesians are new Christians in the church. Paul says don’t bring these things into the church. • V4, instead of telling dirty jokes, our mouths should be giving thanks!

• John Stott, “All God’s gifts, including sex, are subjects for thanksgiving, rather than for joking. To joke about them is to degrade them; to thank God for them is the way to preserve their worth as the blessings of a loving Creator.”

• Exodus 20:17 “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his male slave, or his female slave, or his ox, or his donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.”

• Coveting, “the consuming desire to possess more and more… but that is idolatry.” • Coveting, makes it impossible to love God and to love your neighbor.
• “When we are coveting, we are not loving. When we are loving, we are not coveting.”

Francis Schaeffer, “When I do not love the Lord as I should, I am coveting against the Lord. And when I do not love my neighbor as I should, I am coveting against him… there are two practical tests as to when we are coveting… first, I am to love God enough to be contented; second, I am to love people enough not to envy… Thus, giving thanks is in contrast to the whole black list [Eph. 5:3-4].”

• Giving thanks to God is a powerful antidote against sexual immorality, impurity, greed, filthy, foolish, and vulgar talk.

Francis Schaeffer, “The beginning of men’s rebellion against God was, and is, the lack of a thankful heart.”

• If your thankful you are not rebelling. If you are rebelling, you are not thankful.

2. Walk in Christ’s light (5:7-13)

Ephesians 4:7 (NASB), “Therefore do not become partners with them; (sons of disobedience) 8 for you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord; walk as children of light 9 (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness, and truth), 10 as you try to learn what is pleasing to the Lord. 11 Do not participate in the useless deeds of darkness, but instead even expose them; 12 for it is disgraceful even to speak of the things which are done by them in secret. 13 But all things become visible when they are exposed by the light, for everything that becomes visible is light.” • Walk in Christ’s light as children of light. That’s the command. • Wherever the light of Christ is NOT shining, there is spiritual confusion, moral corruption and disgrace. • Wherever the light of Christ IS shining, there is transforming grace. • John Newton, the pastor who wrote Amazing Grace, encouraged William Wilberforce to serve God as a politician. Wilberforce was elected to parliament at the age of 21. He said, “God almighty has set before me two great objects: the suppression of the slave trade and the reformation of manners.” Wilberforce wanted to bring light to bear on the slave trade and the sexual immorality in England. • John Newton wrote a letter to Wilberforce, “You are not only a Representative for Yorkshire. You have the far greater honour of being a Representative for the Lord, in a place where many know him not, and an opportunity of showing them what are the genuine fruits of that religion which you are known to profess.” • Wilberforce was a light in parliament. England was reformed. The slave trade ended after a 20-year battle. • Eric Metaxas said before Wilberforce, few people thought slavery was wrong. After Wilberforce, most of the world came to see slavery as a great moral evil.
• Reginald Coupland, professor of history at Oxford, “What Wilberforce and his friends achieved was nothing less, indeed, than a moral revolution.” • Walking in light means exposing the darkness and starting a moral revolution.

• Matthew 5:14, “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; 15 nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. 16 Your light must shine before people in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven."

Warning: Wake up (5:14)

Ephesians 4:14 (NASB),”For this reason it says,

“Awake, sleeper, And arise from the dead, And Christ will shine on you.”

• This is believed to be an ancient hymn borrowed from the OT. • It is a song for sleepy Christians to wake up and heed these commands to walk in love and light.

William Wilberforce, “To live our lives and miss that great purpose we were designed to accomplish is truly a sin. It is inconceivable that we could be bored in a world with so much wrong to tackle, so much ignorance to reach and so much misery we could alleviate.”

• Millions of steps of love and light by millions of Christians will bring a moral revolution to our nation.

• Wake up. Take a step today.