Imitate God

nathan-lemon-482951-unsplash-e1533906820468.jpg

Photo by Nathan Lemon on Unsplash

Twelfth Sunday after Pentecost | August 12, 2018

2 Samuel 18:5-9, 15, 31-33  •  Psalm 130  •  Ephesians 4:25-5:2  •  John 6:35, 41-51

25 So stop telling lies. Let us tell our neighbors the truth, for we are all parts of the same body. 26 And “don’t sin by letting anger control you.”Don’t let the sun go down while you are still angry, 27 for anger gives a foothold to the devil.

28 If you are a thief, quit stealing. Instead, use your hands for good hard work, and then give generously to others in need. 29 Don’t use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them.

30 And do not bring sorrow to God’s Holy Spirit by the way you live. Remember, he has identified you as his own, guaranteeing that you will be saved on the day of redemption.

31 Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior. 32 Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.

Imitate God, therefore, in everything you do, because you are his dear children. Live a life filled with love, following the example of Christ. He loved us and offered himself as a sacrifice for us, a pleasing aroma to God.

Ephesians 4:25-5:2 New Living Translation (NLT)


The heading for this scripture in my Bible says, “Living as Children of Light.” Paul has told the Ephesian church that they should throw off the old way of life and as we begin the passage above, we are given the negatives of the old life…lying, anger, stealing, foul and abusive language, unholy living in general…and then this quick hitting list: bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, slander, and all kinds of evil behavior.  Throughout both list though, Paul gives the antidote to the action – instead of lying, tell the truth – instead of anger – get rid of it – instead of stealing, be generous…work hard – instead of foul and abusive language, let everything you say be good and helpful or be an encouragement.

For that last quick-hitting list, he offers this – instead be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another…

Why?  Because we are to be imitators of Christ.  We forgive because Christ forgave us – Christ was kind to us – Christ was tenderhearted to us.

Paul goes on to say, “Imitate God, therefore in everything you do, because you are his dear children. Live a life filled with love, following the example of Christ. He loved us and offered himself as a sacrifice for us, a pleasing aroma to God.”

Wow! this really echoes the words that I have been teaching over the last 12 weeks as we have looked at 1 John.

We often think of an imitation as being a bad thing.  As being a poor representation of the original…but imitate means: to follow as a pattern, model, or example.  We are to be exactly like Christ.  He has not called us to be a poor copy.  Ever get one of those forms that has been re-copied a million times?  The lines are all fuzzy and you can tell its been reproduced over and over again.  That’s not the kind of copy of God that Paul is talking about.  Even though we live many centuries beyond Christ – even now we are being called to be an exact copy of Christ – in the exact image of Christ in the way we act – the way we speak – the way we love.

I picked the picture above because it says, “What good shall I do today?”  Today go out and be an imitation (not a copy of a copy of a copy) but really be Jesus….and imitate God!

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