“That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in [his] kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.”
The Grace Of Imitation (5:1-14)
“Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children; And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour.
But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints; Neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient: but rather giving of thanks. For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience.
Be not ye therefore partakers with them. For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light: (For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth;) Proving what is acceptable unto the Lord.
And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them. For it is a shame even to speak of those things which are done of them in secret. But all things that are reproved are made manifest by the light: for whatsoever doth make manifest is light. Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light.”
This devotional, continues to look at the second main division of the book of Ephesians. Previously, we have looked at “Reflections Of His Grace Revealed” (chaps 1-3). It that section, Paul revealed to us the gracious works of the Lord in the lives of His chosen people.
In this new section “Reflections Of His Grace Applied” (chaps 4-6) Paul will be explaining to us the practical effects of God’s grace in the lives of His people.
- The Grace Of Unity (4:1-6)
- The Grace Of Maturity (4:7-16)
- The Grace Of Renewal (4:17-32)
- The Grace Of Imitation (5:1-14)
- The Grace Of Wisdom (5:15-21)
- The Grace Of Relationships (5:22-33)
- The Grace Of Authority/Submission (6:1-9)
- The Grace Of Preparedness (6:10-21)
The next effect of God’s grace we will be looking at is the grace of IMITATION (5:1-14). The word translated “followers” is a Greek word that carries with it the idea of “to mimic” or “to imitate”. It is from this word that I got the title for this section of our study.
Keeping all this in mind, lets turn our attention to this is a very basic outline of this section of Scripture:
I. Imitate Christ (vs 1-2)
II. Do Not Imitate The Children of Disobedience (3-7)
III. Imitate Children Of Light (vs 8-10)
IV. Wake Up and Forsake Darkness (vs 11-14)
In today’s devotional we continue looking at the need for every Christian to walk as children of light…
(Ephesians 5:11-12) And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them. For it is a shame even to speak of those things which are done of them in secret.
Paul now gives us two instructions to further our efforts to walk as children of light and forsake the ways of darkness (sinfulness of this world)…
And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness,
First, Paul emphasizes the need to separate ourselves from the sinful activities of the world. Why? These sinful works do not bear spiritual fruit for the cause of Christ.
The idea of “fellowship” carries with it the ideas of:
1. Being a co-participant in an activity
2. To share with another person
Our relationship with the works of darkness should not include participating in sinful acts with other men, or giving of ourselves to assist or encourage others in sinful pursuits.
“Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in [them]; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.
Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean [thing]; and I will receive you, And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.” (2 Corinthians 6:14-18)
but rather reprove them.
Instead of performing sinful acts with others, or supporting others in their pursuit of wickedness, we are to reprove those who commit sin.
To “reprove” is a process that includes:
1. confronting them,
2. revealing to them their error,
3. and convincing them of the results of their actions.
We must always keep in mind that our reproof MUST BE DONE IN A SPIRIT OF HUMILITY.
“And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all [men], apt to teach, patient, in meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth; And [that] they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will.” (2 Timothy 2:24-26)
Although we are to reprove these works of darkness by warning and admonishing others, we are to be sure that we do not speak of them in ways that bring shame upon us…
For it is a shame even to speak of those things which are done of them in secret.
The lost recognize the shame involved in these sinful works and vainly attempt to hide them from the face of the Lord by committing them in secret…
“[Am] I a God at hand, saith the LORD, and not a God afar off? Can any hide himself in secret places that I shall not see him? saith the LORD. Do not I fill heaven and earth? saith the LORD.” (Jeremiah 23:23-24)
If these things are so shameful that even the lost are ashamed of them (thereby committing these things in secret), how much more should these things be subjects of shame for a Christian’s speech?
These works of darkness are so disgraceful that they should not be spoken of in any context that makes them appealing (Romans 16:17-18), or a subject of gossip (Matthew 11:18-19), mockery or ridicule (Proverbs 14:9). For Christians to speak of them in these ways will only discredit the Christian’s testimony and bring dishonor upon them.
The only proper mentioning of the works of darkness by the Christian is in the context of Biblical instruction, warnings and admonitions. We can see this based upon the previous verse “but rather reprove them” as well as by the other writings of the Bible including the writings of Paul himself.
If “for it is a shame even to speak of those things which are done of them in secret” is an unconditional restriction then the Apostle Paul has broken these principles by mentioning a vast array of wicked works of darkness throughout his writings and giving clear instructions to warn others of partaking of the sinful acts of the world.
A perfect example of this is found in the book of 1 Corinthians where Paul listed MANY detailed sins that were present in the assembly in an effort to correct them ….
“I write not these things to shame you, but as my beloved sons I warn [you]. For though ye have ten thousand instructors in Christ, yet [have ye] not many fathers: for in Christ Jesus I have begotten you through the gospel.
Wherefore I beseech you, be ye followers of me.“ (1 Corinthians 4:14-16)
Paul tells us that we are held responsible to warn others of their sinful acts so that they may follow “that which is good”…
“Now we exhort you, brethren, warn them that are unruly, comfort the feebleminded, support the weak, be patient toward all [men]. See that none render evil for evil unto any [man]; but ever follow that which is good, both among yourselves, and to all [men].” (1 Thessalonians 5:14-15)
These examples are numerous throughout God’s Word and clearly indicate the instructions in this verse must be conditional based upon the intent of the speaker.
For us to properly imitate “the children of light” we must separate ourselves from the works of the darkness of this world. This includes:
1. not participating in sinful acts with other men
2. not giving of ourselves to assist or encourage others in sinful pursuits.
3. reproving those who commit these works of darkness
4. not mentioning these sins except in an effort to warn and correct wrongdoing.
May we all come to understand the wonderful act of grace that removed us from the power of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of our Lord. Then may we act accordingly by separating ourselves from the sinful actions of the world…
May we all get a clearer picture of our Lord and Savior, and the great grace He has shown to us. Let us be always watchful to keep His great acts of grace on our behalf in the center of our attention… In doing so, may we be motivated to LOVE Him more, APPRECIATE Him more and SERVE Him more!
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