Olsen Park Church of Christ

“Followers of God”
(Ephesians 5:1-2)

Introduction. Near the end of Paul’s epistle to the Ephesians he offers the brethren some instructions regarding the kind of people that Christians should be. He will tell them about the kind of things that should not even “be named” among Christians. Things like: “fornication and all uncleanness or covetousness” (Ephesians 5:3), “neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor coarse jesting, which are not fitting” (Ephesians 5:4). Then he will tell them to have: “the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness, righteousness, and truth” (Ephesians 5:9). They must be the kind of people who want to find out “what is acceptable to the Lord” (Ephesians 5:10). To begin this section of the epistle he gives them a short admonition that I would like for us to think about this morning from verses one and two of chapter five. We will notice seven things about this text.

I. “Be followers of God” (vs. 1a).

A.      Being a disciple of Jesus means that we follow Him.

1.      First four disciples (Matthew 4:17-20).

2.      Matthew (Matthew 9:9).

3.      Philip (John 1:43).

B.         Following Jesus demands we follow certain rules. 
Illustration. Have you ever been following someone driving to somewhere you have never been before? There are certain rules you have to follow or you won’t make it to your destination. 
1. Keep them in your sights. 
2. Don’t fall behind. 
3. Don’t let anyone get between you. 
Note: The Lord doesn’t race ahead of us we can keep up if we will pay attention. 
Following Jesus means we follow some rules as well:

1.      We don’t set the terms (Matthew 8:19-22).

2.      We give up control of our life (Mark 8:34-37). Word translated “followers” some NKJV - “imitators.” Greek words from which we get our word “mimic.” Here not in a mocking way but inrespectful imitation.
Illustration. It is an adorable thing to see a little child trying to imitate their mom or dad. Little girl in the kitchen trying to cook like mom. A little boy with a hammer and tape measure trying to fix something like dad. It is a mark of respect. It is a mark of love. It is how children model the behavior that will follow them into adulthood.

3.      We imitate Christ’s example (John 10:1-5). The ultimate example of denial of self (John 12:24-26).

II. “As dear children” (vs. 1b).

In one sense all children are “beloved” or dear. But the Bible addresses different behavior that children possess. Their are rebellious children (Isaiah 30:1); there are children of wrath (Ephesians 2:3). If we are to be followers of God we must strive to be “beloved children.” This addresses our behavior towards God not what God does towards us.

A.    The follower of Christ is a Child of God (John 1:11-13).

B.     We must live as obedient children (1 Peter 1:13-16).

III. “Walk in love” (vs. 2a).

A.    Love is the nature of God and His children (I John 4:15-16).

IV. “As Christ also has loved us” (vs. 2b).

I believe that one of the greatest challenges of being a child of God is not faithful attendance in worship. That is important and necessary, but when our heart is right it just comes natural. It is not refraining from certain sins. Again, we can’t please God and remain in sin. I think one of the greatest challenges is to love “as Christ loved.”

A.    We love as Jesus loved (John 15:9-14). This just doesn’t feel right. We don’t want to love those who hate us. We don’t want to love those who are different from us or have hurt us. But that is what Christ did towards us.

V. “And given Himself for us” (vs. 2c).

Illustration. At home the other day, we were talking about “yucky stuff.” Not things that are morally “yucky” but things that are messy. For example, cleaning dishes, the bathroom, after a sick child, a sore on a child’s arm that is enflamed, or a bed that has been messed in. The kids were talking about how gross these things seemed and said that they weren’t sure they could ever have kids because of having to deal with these things. Those who are parents know that when the love we feel for our children comes into play as we grow to adulthood thing we never would have thought we could do come easy to us. This is true because the love we feel overpowers our disgust at the “yucky stuff” because we have given ourselves to our children.

A.    “Consider Him who endured...” (Hebrews 12:1-3).

VI. “An offering and a sacrifice to God” (vs. 2d).

We resently studied Exodus through Deuteronomy in Lenexa where I preach and learned about the different sacrifices that they were required to make. In one sense we are asked to only offer one sacrifice ourselves.

A.    We are a living sacrifice (Romans 12:1-2). Having offered that, other elements of our service become regular spiritual sacrifices but they all come from our initial living sacrifice of ourselves.

VII. “For a sweet-smelling aroma” (vs. 2e).

We seldom speak of people as “sweet-smelling” unless we are playfully speaking of a child who needs their diaper changed, or an adult who has been working hard and needs to clean up. This language is associated with sacrifices as a way of communicating God’s pleasure with man’s offerings. I don’t know if the idea is that God literally enjoyed the smell of the burnt offerings of the Old Testament. Perhaps He did. When this language is used of deeds, the idea is that God is pleased with our faithfulness and obedience to Him.

A.    We must strive to be well pleasing to God. (2 Corinthians 5:6-9).

Kyle Pope 2005

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