“Followers of God”
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.
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).
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
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
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
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
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
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
A. Love is the nature of God and His
children (I John 4:15-16).
IV. “As Christ
also has loved us”
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
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.
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...”
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
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).