12/28/14 Let's Follow the Leader!

Posted by Pastor Steve Siegrist on Monday, January 5, 2015 Under: Sermon
Worthy Walk Series - Week 19 (Ephesians 5:1-7)

Intro: Most of us can remember playing the game follow the leader or Simon Says when we were growing up. That was a fun game and that is all it was, Paul wants the Church of Ephesus to KNOW following God is not a game where you can change the rules to please yourself. Following God has eternal rewards and eternal consequences. Following the leader has its requirements:

Text: Ephesians 5:1-7 (NKJV)

“Therefore be imitators of God as dear children. 2 And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma. 3 But fornication and all uncleanness or covetousness, let it not even be named among you, as is fitting for saints; 4 neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks. 5 For this you know, that no fornicator, unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. 6 Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. 7 Therefore do not be partakers with them.”

The worthy walk and the understanding of this role that the believer is to follow repeats the urgency of love. This is the third time Paul used the term for “walk” This is therefore the third section in his discussion on the conduct of believers. God’s children are to walk (live) in unity, in holiness, and in love. Ephesians 5:1 (KJV) “Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children.” There should be an understanding that the desires and practices of the old life are ended. In today’s text in the new way of life the redeemed learn to walk in Love, later before the end of this chapter in the new way of life, the redeemed learn to walk in the light and learn to walk in wisdom. The challenge of this passage is one of the greatest challenges in all the Word of God. Just imagine—the great Pattern for the believer is God Himself. The believer is to follow the Person of God. The believer is to walk through life following God.

Application: Following the leader requires complete focus on the Love of God!

Following the leader has its requirements:

1. Following the Leader requires Following God:

“Therefore be imitators of God as dear children. 2 And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma.”

The believers duty is simple, first become a follower. After the “therefore” in vs.1 the word “BE” presents the idea of commitment, attachment, devotion, allegiance, attention. Before a person can be a follower of God, you must commit and attach yourself to God. You must surrender and devote your life to God and then begin to follow after God. The word "followers" means imitators. Some prefer the translation that we are to become imitators of God. Imitators of God; "as dear children." Just as children learn by imitating their parents, so we are to learn by imitating God. The very idea that we are to be followers and imitators of God is a bold idea. “Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect.” Matthew 5:48 Peter charged: “But as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, 16 because it is written, "Be holy, for I am holy." 1 Peter 1:15-16

The believer follows God, second, by loving as Christ loved. Christ died in our place, in our stead, as our substitute. The idea of sacrifice to the Jewish and pagan mind of that day was the idea of a life given in another's place. It was a substitutionary sacrifice: “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep.” John 10:11. The burnt offering was given to God not merely because of sin, but because a person wished to glorify and honor God. A person wished to show his love and adoration to God. This is an aspect of Christ's death that is often overlooked—an aspect that rises far above the mere meeting of our need. In giving Himself as an "offering to God," Christ was looking beyond our need to the majestic responsibility of glorifying God. “By this all people will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” John 13:35 (HCSB)

Following the leader has its requirements:

2. Following the Leader requires Being Morally Pure:

“But fornication and all uncleanness or covetousness, let it not even be named among you, as is fitting for saints; 4 neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks.”

The believer follows God, third, by being clean-bodied, that is, morally pure. If a believer is to follow and imitate God, they have to be morally pure; they have to keep their body clean. Free of fornication, free of uncleanness and free of covetousness. As hard as it might seem for some, they must reject these sins. They are not to be named, talked about, or mentioned in our conversation. Immorality and indecent conversation and jokes are to be the farthest thing from the mind of the believer who follows God. God has nothing to do with such dirt and filth. “Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God."

The believer follows God, fourth, by being clean-mouthed. If a believer is to follow and imitate God, they must be pure in speech and conversation; they must keep their mouth or tongue clean. No "foolish talking" no empty, unthoughtful, senseless, wasted, idle, aimless, or purposeless talk; talk that just fritters away and wastes time that has absolutely no purpose to it. It also means sinful, foolish, silly and corrupt talk. Jesting means to joke, talk foolishly, poke fun, act or speak without thought; to be suggestive in conversation; to make wisecracks. It also has the idea of being cunning and clever. “The words from the mouth of a wise man are gracious, but the lips of a fool consume him.” Ecclesiastes 10:12 (HCSB)

Following the leader has its requirements:

3. Following the Leader requires Separation:

“For this you know, that no fornicator, unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. 6 Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. 7 Therefore do not be partakers with them.”

The believer follows God, fifth, by knowing God's serious warning. Uncleanness has no part with God, no part whatsoever. There were those who felt that they could say and do anything and still be acceptable to God. This argument came primarily from those outside the church, although there were some within the church who held the same argument. This idea finds its roots in the philosophy of Gnosticism. Gnosticism said that man is both body and spirit. They felt that the spirit is the only important part of man—the only part that really matters. It is the only part that really concerns God. What a man does with his body does not matter; the body is not important. It makes no difference whatsoever if a man abuses his body: gorges, dirties, and fouls it. Christianity says never, both body and soul are important. “Because God’s children are human beings—made of flesh and blood—the Son also became flesh and blood. For only as a human being could he die, and only by dying could he break the power of the devil, who had the power of death.” Hebrews 2:14 (NLT)

God's love and grace are not only a gift and a privilege, but a responsibility and an obligation. The believer follows God, sixth, by separating themselves from the unclean. No believer is to take part in the sins discussed in these verses. They are to separate themselves from all who do take part in such sins. "And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God."

“Therefore, come out from among unbelievers, and separate yourselves from them, says the LORD. Don’t touch their filthy things, and I will welcome you. 18 And I will be your Father, and you will be my sons and daughters, says the LORD Almighty.” 2 Corinthians 6:17-18 (NLT)

Conclusion: Can you follow the Leader? Are you following the leader? Setting goals seem to be something a lot of us have with good intentions at the beginning of a new year. If we do have good intentions why not Love the Lord our God with all…!

“Do not love this world nor the things it offers you, for when you love the world, you do not have the love of the Father in you. 16 For the world offers only a craving for physical pleasure, a craving for everything we see, and pride in our achievements and possessions. These are not from the Father, but are from this world.” 1 John 2:15-16 (NLT)

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Tags: "worthy walk series" "book of ephesians" 
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