Sunday, March 13, 2016

Ephesians 5:1-14

Therefore, just as children mimic the actions, speech, and attitudes of their parents, be like the much-loved children of God and imitate him. Your imitation should look like the acts of Christ. Live a love-filled life. Remember how much he loved us and sacrificed himself for us. To use Old Testament language, his self-sacrifice was sweet-smelling -- very pleasing to God.

Since you are thus dedicated to the service of God, don’t ruin things and disqualify yourself from sacrificial service. For example, engaging in sexual relations outside of marriage will do that. That’s dirty -- as is the greedy desire to fill your life with more power or wealth. Greed will have the same shameful and disqualifying effect on your right to serve God.

The people who are dedicated to the service of God don’t even talk about such things. And they certainly avoid obscene language, titillating stories, and vulgar jokes. Instead of engaging in such questionable talk, let gracious and thankful words smoothly flow from your mouth each time you open it. That’s the sign that you’re a member of God’s family of light.

You can be certain that people engaged in sexually immoral behavior, dirty living, and greed, aren’t really serving God. That’s because the objects of their desire become cheap second-rate God-substitutes. And if such people are serving other gods then they aren’t serving God’s kingdom -- the kingdom that Jesus inaugurated -- and they can have no part in it.

So, don’t buy into stupid ideas about living for pleasure or simply to advance yourself. The only thing you’ll reap from such disobedience is an angry response from God. Don’t partner with people who think and act this way. Remember, you once belonged to the dark realm but now you are a part of the Lord’s light force. So, live life as children of light. Light has its own unique fruit -- goodness in all its varied forms, justice, and truth.

Therefore, you need to put everything to the light test to figure out what is honoring to the Lord. Pleasing him is what it’s all about. And then, have nothing to do with things associated with darkness. They are worthless, anyway. Instead, by your actions expose the darkness for what it is. Frankly, it’s embarrassing to even talk about the dark things that people do in secret. But once the light shines on the situation all things are clearly seen for what they are. The light clears up everything. As the prophet Isaiah counsels us -- Wake up you sleepy heads! Climb out of your dark graves and the light of Christ will shine on you.