This Preaching in Shorts sermon series is called “Living is Christ”.
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We are winding down this series call Living is Christ. I want to look at the first 2 verses in Chapter 5 which are a continuation of what we have been talking about in Chapter 4. They could easily have been verses 33 and 34.
Ephesians 5:1-2 (NIV)
1 Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children 2 and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.
Today we are going to look at the first verse in this passage and talk about being imitators of God and what it means to be His dearly loved children. Next week we will end this series by talking about living a life of love.
1. Be imitators of God
Children who love their parents imitate them. What child hasn’t tried on their parent’s shoes, or wore their jewelry, or put on their clothes, watched their Dad shave.
It is the example set for us by Jesus Himself:
John 5:19 (NIV)
19 Jesus gave them this answer: “I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does.
So we put on the new self which is created by God to be like him in true righteousness and holiness.
2. Dearly loved children of God
John 1:9-13 (NIV)
9 The true light that gives light to every man was coming into the world. 10 He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. 11 He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. 12 Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God– 13 children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.
a. He came to His own
The true light, that sheds a revealing light on everyone, came into the world—the world that he had made. So when he came to the world, he came to “his own.” He came to what belongs to him by right of creation. He came to his own possession, his own domain, the house of humanity that he had built for a dwelling place.
b. but his own did not receive him
He came to his own but his own did not receive him.
John 3:19-20 (NIV)
19 This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. 20 Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed.
The light came to his own and his own were in love with the dark. And so they did not receive the light.
This means that those who reject the light are not the children of God. God is not everybody’s Father. He is everybody’s creator, but not everyone’s father.
John 8:42 (NIV)
42 Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love me, for I came from God and now am here. I have not come on my own; but he sent me.
God is not everyone’s Father. And the test is whether you love his Son.
c. Receive and believe
John 1:12 (NIV)
12 Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God–
Receiving Jesus means that when Jesus offers himself to you, you welcome him into your life for who he is.
It does not mean a kind of peaceful co-existence with a Christ who makes no claims—as though he can stay in the house as long as he doesn’t play his music so loud.
Believing in the name of Jesus is the same as believing in Jesus.
John 3:18 (NIV)
18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.
So we believe in Jesus, that He came in a miraculous way and lived a perfect sinless life among us, that He willingly went to the cross on our behalf, defeated death and rose again, and we receive Jesus as He is, Lord, Savior, Master, Redeemer and we become the children of God.
Romans 8:16-17 (NIV)
16 The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. 17 Now if we are children, then we are heirs–heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.
In other words, if you become a child of God, you become an heir of all that God owns. All that belongs to God is your inheritance. In the resurrection everything that exists will be yours. Life, now and forever, full and abundant. And as a child we are reminded of our mission to share this good news with everyone.