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Follow God's Example

Back to School  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  35:29
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Ephesians 4:25–5:2 NIV
Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to your neighbor, for we are all members of one body. “In your anger do not sin”: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold. Anyone who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with their own hands, that they may have something to share with those in need. Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.
Zechariah 8:16–17 NIV
These are the things you are to do: Speak the truth to each other, and render true and sound judgment in your courts; do not plot evil against each other, and do not love to swear falsely. I hate all this,” declares the Lord.
Not new ideas… But a new context… The Body of Christ as a more intimate local community that can truly live this out...
Colossians 3:9–10 NIV
Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator.
James 1:19–21 NIV
My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires. Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you.
Love in community is not easy. But it’s always worth the effort.
Ephesians 5:1–2 NIV
Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.
As a kid I used to love to do impressions. “Well, I tell ya, pilgrim” (it sounded better when I was 7, lol)
Here Paul is not joking around. But he’s saying do your best God impression. Now there’s two ways to do this. One is right and leads to holiness. One is wrong and leads pretty much to hell. You can pretend to BE God. You can try to fix everyone around you and manipulate things and be bossy. It will suck all the fun out of life for most people around you. It may even destroy lives, depending on how good you are at it. But see that’s not a very good impression of God. I suppose God could do whatever God wants. But even God doesn’t choose to act like that.
The other way is the right way. “Walk in the way of love” Jesus showed us what God is like.

Walk in the Way of Love

Let’s say that together. “Walk in the way of love...”
“...just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.”
Love speaks the truth. Love lets anger go. Love works hard. Love speaks life and blessing.

29 Let no evil talk come out of your mouths, but only what is useful for building up,b as there is need, so that your words may give grace to those who hear.

Here the NRSV is actually better. “That it may give grace to those who hear”. That’s literally what it says in the Greek. It reaches back to Ephesians 4, grace has been given to each one of us and we let that grace flow through us to others. One important way is how we speak.
Love surrenders as the Spirit leads. Love doesn’t give place to bitterness or rage or malice. Communion gives us a regular time to deal with these things and give them to God. Nothing need be building up in our lives over time. As Jesus called us to live a life of forgiveness we are extending grace...
The bottom line: love looks like Jesus.
The world hasn’t seen very many good examples lately of the church loving. Let us love one another as God has loved us. We have to begin with how we love each other. But then we are to love even our enemies.
Ephesians 5:1 NIV
Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children
We love because God first loved us. It changes us. It shows us how. It makes it possible by grace...
We always leave an impression on others. What’s your impression? How good is your holy loving God impression? Spend time with your heavenly Father and his dear children so you can act like Him in public....
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