Today’s Theme: Believers are now part of God’s family and, as His children, our behavior should be impacted by His love and light and wisdom.
We are going to follow the “therefores” of the text to see how God’s nature (and our new nature as His children) impacts our behavior. We will not imitate His omnipresence, His omniscience, or His omnipotence. But we can imitate His love, His light, and His wisdom.
Walk In Your Father’s Love (1-6)
Walk in the Father’s love like Christ.
1 Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. 2 And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.
2 Walk in love, as Christ loved us: One of the strongest ways for us to imitate God is through love.
God, in Christ, has shown us what perfect love is.
- Laying down His privileges, rights, and, ultimately, life.
- He went / He lowered / He served / He embedded / He was burdened / He died
- A fragrant offering: Reminiscent of the Old Testament sacrifices, Christ’s love was sacrificial in nature (not self-serving, but others serving).
Walk in the Father’s love by acting appropriately.
3 But sexual immorality and all impurity or covetousness must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints. 4 Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving.
Sexual immorality and all impurity or covetousness: all out of bounds sexual activity (sexual immorality) and the unclean deeds, words, thoughts, desires, and passions that go along with it (all impurity), longing for that sensual pleasure in an ever increasing way (covetousness).
Hebrews 13:4 (ESV)—4 Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled, for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous.
How can we look a society in such pain in the face and say, “There is no limit, sexually. Behave however you feel you want to behave”? The hurt is just so off the charts! To love as Christ is to disengage from a sexually immoral life.
Is Paul rebuking the use of humor? No! He rebukes an extension of sexual sin.
Humor regarding sex is often a gateway drug into feeling comfortable with sexual immorality.
When we walk in our Father’s love we walk in a healthy appreciation and respect for sex. We know what it is for (and what it isn’t for).
Walk in the Father’s love, like a kingdom person.
5 For you may be sure of this, that everyone who is sexually immoral or impure, or who is covetous (that is, an idolater), has no inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. 6 Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience.
Paul’s day: sin can promote grace (Romans 6).
But Paul wanted to show us our higher identity as part of God’s kingdom. To wallow in immorality is to live lower than His kingdom. And, to stay there, is evidence that a person does not belong to Christ.
6 Empty words: One would expect this particular line of teaching to come under great attack in the last days. Bible twisters come out in droves for the topic of sexuality.
Walk In Your Father’s Light (7-16)
Walk in your Father’s light by knowing when to separate.
7 Therefore do not become partners with them; 8 for at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light 9 (for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true), 10 and try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord.
8-9 At one time you were darkness / Light in the Lord / Children of light / Fruit of light: Our identity in our Father. God is light (1 John 1:5).
Romans 13:12 (ESV)—12 The night is far gone; the day is at hand. So then let us cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light.
7 Do not become partners with them: 1 Corinthians 5:9–11 (ESV)—9 I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people— 10 not at all meaning the sexually immoral of this world, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters, since then you would need to go out of the world. 11 But now I am writing to you not to associate with anyone who bears the name of brother if he is guilty of sexual immorality or greed, or is an idolater, reviler, drunkard, or swindler—not even to eat with such a one.
Walk in your Father’s light by letting your light shine.
11 Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them. 12 For it is shameful even to speak of the things that they do in secret. 13 But when anything is exposed by the light, it becomes visible, 14 for anything that becomes visible is light.
Generally: We are to judge within the church and shine outside of it.
- 1 Corinthians 5:12–13 (ESV)—12 For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge? 13 God judges those outside. “Purge the evil person from among you.”
There are times we’re to be involved in exposing the sins of a believer.
- Matthew 18:15-20 — What to do when confronting sin against you.
- 1 Confront alone.
- 2 Confront with one or two others.
- 3 Confront with the church.
- Goal: to “gain your brother.”
But this seems to speak exposing sin within the church by living out the Father’s light.
- In the world, but also amongst the church.
- Not sin sniffers, but filled with grace.
- Example: When people watch how you…spend, parent, date, educate.
Walk in your Father’s light by being careful.
14b Therefore it says, “Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.” 15 Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, 16 making the best use of the time, because the days are evil.
14 Therefore it says: If this is from the Old Testament it is likely a mashup of passages (mostly Isaiah). Perhaps it is an early Christian hymn.
15-16 Look carefully then how you walk / best use of the time / the days are evil:
Greek: to walk with precision and accuracy.
Decide in advance:
- What a good friend looks like.
- What a good spouse does.
- What a healthy church (and healthy church involvement) looks like.
- What healthy spending habits look like.
- What a strong devotional life looks like.
- What a Christlike attitude at work looks like.
Walk In Your Father’s Wisdom (17-21)
Walk in your Father’s wisdom by learning His will.
17 Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.
17 Therefore do not be foolish: The idea here is that God is the all wise God (along with love and light).
17 Understand what the will of the Lord is: How can we cultivate the wisdom of our Father? By understanding His will.
Walk in your Father’s will by being filled with His Spirit (not intoxication).
18 And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit,
18 Do not get drunk with wine / but be filled with the Spirit: Here is an area of His will and wisdom.
He prohibits intoxication by any substance, not just wine (as if to say, “but whiskey is fine”).
- I will not become intoxicated because God forbids me from it in His word.
- I will not become intoxicated because my body and mind belong to God.
- I will not become intoxicated because I am not an escapist.
- Here: I will not become intoxicated because I have the Holy Spirit.
Temptation: to alter reality because life is difficult.
- To be satisfied with Him is my highest pursuit.
- The Spirit gives me true courage to do righteous things.
Walk in your Father’s will by joyfully and thankfully singing to Him and others.
19 addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, 20 giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, 21 submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ.
What are these?
- Psalms: a song set to music.
- Hymns: a song of honor or praise to God.
- Spiritual songs: a general term - songs of heartfelt and sincere commitment.
Sing by faith. Sing intelligently. Sing emotionally. Sing from the heart.
Walk in your Father’s wisdom by living out the new community Christ won for us.
21 Submitting to one another:
- Drunkenness promotes false love.
- The Spirit promotes true love.