Ephesians: United in Christ
Message notes by Pastor Ewings from on a sermon based on Ephesians 4:17-24
Whom do you want to be like? A former teacher, a world leader, a neighbor, your boss? There have been people in your life who have had a great impact and influence on who you are today. As adults, we tend to give little thought to the idea of having a role model, as we regard this to be a quality that children seek from the adults in their lives. But when you think about it, you’re never too young and you’re never too old to have a role model. So, who’s yours?
If you haven’t chosen someone for yourself, Paul suggests one for us today. He says, “Be imitators of God.” That’s right, Paul urges us to make the Lord our role model. In our thoughts, in our words and in our actions, we want to be like God. But how can we imitate a God Whom we can’t even fathom? How can we strive to be like someone—the Lord nonetheless—Who is completely unlike us? He’s perfect and holy, always loving, always forgiving. He’s our polar opposite!
To be sure, we cannot imitate God by creating a universe or caring for it day after day. We cannot mimic Jesus’ miracles: changing water into wine, walking on water, healing the sick or raising the dead. We cannot mime Jesus’ method of satisfying God’s demands for justice and mercy and providing the solution for the salvation of the world. But we can and must imitate Him; we must copy His love.
The Lord reminds us of many ways in this text in which He has loved us: we were sealed by the Holy Spirit, forgiven in Christ and loved by God the Father. His love for us enables us to imitate Him, that is, to love Him and to love one another.
The same kind of things come to different kinds of people. We all face difficulties and disappointments, hardships and hurt., trials and temptations. The difference is in the way that people react. For some, these events lead to bitterness, which gives birth to rage and anger, which seeks to destroy a person in any way possible. For the Christian, our thoughts, words and actions are united with those of Jesus. When we face life’s challenges, we react out of love, kindness and compassion, we are quick to forgive—yes, we are like Jesus because He enables us to live like Him and love like Him.
Lesson One: 1 Kings 19:3-8
Lesson Two: Ephesians 4:30-5:2
Gospel: John 6:41-51