Ephesians 5

Ephesians 5 is jam packed with truth that matters.  Paul begins by telling us how we should live – “be imitators of God….beloved children….walk in love…..as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us”.  We are to become like God.  That is what an imitator does.  He becomes like the object of his imitation.  And for us as Christ Followers – that object we are to imitate is God Himself.  It isn’t our pastor, or some TV evangelist, or some other great figure in the history of the church.  As a believer we are to imitate God.  How are you doing with that?  When people see you do they see God?  That is what true imitation will yield – they won’t be able to tell the difference.  There is no doubt that none of us have it quite down that well, but that has to be our goal.

Paul then gives us a list of things that we need to avoid doing – in fact he says it strongly – he who does these things “has no inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God”.  Does that mean that our salvation is lost if we fall to these temptations?  I don’t think that is what Paul is saying.  I do believe he is telling us that these things are not godly actions and if we are truly Christ Followers we will not participate in them.  This is serious stuff.  So what made the list?

–       “sexual immorality

–       Impurity

–       Covetousness

–       Filthiness

–       Foolish talk

–       Crude joking

Not the worst sins you can think of – are they?  In fact many of them we just blow by as no big deal – even in the church.  Basically sin is sin and has no place in the life of a Christ Follower.  Paul goes on to say “do not associate with them” who do these things.  In other words, don’t hang out with sinners.  They will pull you in the wrong direction.  Scripture tells us over and over just how important it is that we live lives of obedience.  It really is clear that life matters.  In fact, Paul’s words here say exactly that:  “Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil”.  I love this verse – it reminds us of the very important value of time.  We have to choose wisely how to use our time.  It matters!

Paul does go on to tell us how we ought then to live.  “Be filled with the Spirit, addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with all your heart, giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ,  submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ”.  He calls out four things here that we need to do as we are filled with the Spirit:

  1. Address one another with God’s wisdom
  2. Sing and glorify God with all your heart
  3. Give thanks always and for everything
  4. Submit to one another

It all starts with being filled with the Spirit.  We need to allow God to control our lives – He has sent the Holy Spirit to live in us and through us as part of His gift of grace when Christ went to the cross.  When we are filled with the spirit – great things happen in our life.  Mostly we lose self and focus on God and others.  Two of those things relate to God – two relate to others – none focus on self.

Paul concludes by once again giving God’s order and plan for the family.  Some strong words about what we are to do in our role as husband and wife.  Here are his very direct words: “Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord……Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her…..let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband”.  It really is a pretty simple formula on paper.  Men – we need to love our wives like Jesus loved us – willing to sacrifice self and all for her.  There is no room for selfishness in that command.  We give it all to love her.  Wives – you need to submit completely to your husbands as if you were submitting to the Lord.  It is God’s plan.  It doesn’t sound fair, or equal or right for many – but it is absolutely God’s plan.  Submission means you respect and fall under the authority of – not that you are a doormat that is of lesser value – but as one who is protected by the authority of a loving husband.  If we could get these simple commands right – our society and marriage would look so very different.  The divorce rate would be drastically reduced.  There is little doubt that failing to follow God’s plan isn’t working – so maybe – just maybe – we should go back to doing it His way – the way He created it to work.  It happens one couple at a time.  Men – are you loving your wife like Jesus loved us?  Wives – are you respecting and submitting to your husband as unto the Lord?  That is how we begin to win the battle with the enemy regarding marriage – one home at a time.  Let’s be the ones that start the wave!

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