Imitating God – Ephesians 5:1-21
In Ephesians 5, Paul commands us to imitate God: to imitate Christ in his love, to be holy in the way we speak and to sing to one another.
Heavenly Father, we thank you for your word. And we thank you for the book of Ephesians and the sermon series we’ve had in the book of Ephesians. Â Lord, you have spoken to us through your word in an amazing way. I know I’ve been encouraged and challenged in many, many ways, just preparing these sermons and preaching through this book. And so Lord, I pray, you’d be with us by your Holy Spirit during this time, and you would once again lift our eyes to see the magnificence and glory of Jesus Christ, but also, turn our eyes to examine ourselves and see if there are any areas where we’re not living in a Christ like way. And, Lord, by your Holy Spirit, would you change us? Would you help us to live in a Christ like way to love like Christ loved, to walk like Christ walked? Because we want to honour you and glorify You in everything we do. And so I pray this will be a time of change by the power of your Holy Spirit, a time of repentance, and a time of worship in our hearts as we listen to your word. I pray this in Jesus name, amen.
Introduction â€“ Children imitating their parents
We are blessed in this church with some amazing children. Two of our families away this morning. So it’s maybe ironic that I’m saying that to start my sermon. But, the Lyons have three wonderful kids. And Danielle brings two lovely girls along with her. And we’ve also got Dayo and Funmi and the fantastic David and Lois. Lois keeps taking the mick out of me before services. But we have some fantastic children in this church and I’m so grateful to the children’s workers who give up time and energy in preparing and leading the children in the room next door, they do a wonderful job.
I’m especially grateful to Gemma, who leads that team and does a wonderful, wonderful job. And there’s little things that the children do on Sunday morning throughout the week when I see them, but especially on Sunday morning, that just make me smile. They fill me with joy. One of those things happened maybe a couple of months ago, Dayo had been leading the service and obviously standing at the front and holding a microphone and looking very professional and doing a wonderful job of it. And afterwards, after the session, David comes up and basically does exactly what his Dad had been doing. Â So, he stood behind the music stand and he was looking for a microphone. Â You could see that he really wanted to be just like his Dad. He wanted to lead the church service. He wanted to speak into the microphone. And I just thought that was a wonderful, wonderful moment there was a boy, he wants to be just like his dad.
David was imitating his Dad.
And this morning, as we read Ephesians chapter 5, we’ll see that very same idea in what we should be like, as children of God.Â Paul calls us in Ephesians 5 to be imitators of God as beloved children. So just as David was imitating his dad, so we too, should be like God in many, many different ways in the way we act as Christians.
5Â Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children.Â 2Â AndÂ walk in love,Â as Christ loved us andÂ gave himself up for us, aÂ fragrantÂ offering and sacrifice to God.
3Â ButÂ sexual immorality and all impurity or covetousnessÂ must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints.Â 4Â Let there beÂ no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking,Â which are out of place, but insteadÂ let there be thanksgiving.Â 5Â For you may be sure of this, thatÂ 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.Â 6Â Let no oneÂ deceive you with empty words, for because of these thingsÂ the wrath of God comes uponÂ the sons of disobedience.Â 7Â ThereforeÂ do not become partners with them;Â 8Â forÂ at one time you wereÂ darkness, but now you are light in the Lord.Â Walk as children of lightÂ 9Â (forÂ the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true),Â 10Â andÂ try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord.Â 11Â Take no part in theÂ unfruitfulÂ works of darkness, but insteadÂ expose them.Â 12Â ForÂ it is shameful even to speak of the things that they do in secret.Â 13Â But whenÂ anything is exposed by the light, it becomes visible,Â 14Â for anything that becomes visible is light. Therefore it says,
â€œAwake, O sleeper,
andÂ arise from the dead,
andÂ Christ will shine on you.â€
15Â Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise,16Â making the best use of the time, becauseÂ the days are evil.17Â Therefore do not be foolish, but understand whatÂ the will of the Lord is.Â 18Â AndÂ do not get drunk with wine, for that isÂ debauchery, butÂ be filled with the Spirit,Â 19Â addressing one another inÂ psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart,20Â giving thanks always and for everything to God the FatherÂ in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ,Â 21Â submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ.
Salvation by Grace through faith, not by obedience to these commands
As you can see, there is absolutely loads in that passage to talk about lots of things that I could pick out to you, I want to remind you before I get into the content Ephesians 5, that these are instructions given to children of God. These are instructions given to those people who have already believed and trusted in the name of Jesus Christ, who are already saved not because of their own works, but because of God’s love, and mercy and grace.
You don’t follow these instructions in order to make yourself right with God. That’s not how these instructions work. These instructions are given to people who’ve already been made right with God, by Jesus Christ death on the cross. We’re not saved by works. We’re saved by grace.
And yet, when we’re saved by grace, the Holy Spirit comes into our life and changes us, the way we live should change. If you think back, if you are a Christian here this morning, you think back to what you were like before you were a Christian, your life should have changed.Â And so the instructions in the second half of Ephesians are there to guide us to help us to understand how our lives should have changed after we’ve given our lives to Christ.Â As I preach through this passage, I want you to remember that, that if you’re a Christian here this morning, you don’t get saved by obeying these commands. And yet they are very important, because of the way our life should have changed when we put our trust in Jesus.
I want to preach four different things this morning.
1) Imitate God (verses 1-2)
2) Speaking for Christ (verses 3-13)
3) Wake up! (verse 14)
4) Singing for Christ (verses 18-19)
1. Imitate God (verses 1-2)
So, let’s start with verses 1 in chapter five. Let’s start by talking about imitating God.
You might remember last week we read chapter four. And in chapter four, Paul taught us that a born-again Christian has been truly created in the likeness of God. And so we who were once enemies of God, have now been brought near and adopted as children of God and being made new being created afresh in the likeness of God. And that means just as God is loving, so we also ought to be loving as Christians. Â Just as God is righteous, so we as Christians ought to live righteous lives. Just as God is kind, so we ought to live kind lives. Just as God is good, so we also ought to be good. Just as God is generous, we also ought to be generous. Just as God is a God of truth, we should also be Christians who speak truth.
Essentially, as God is holy, so Christians also should be holy. That’s the calling upon our lives. That’s what it is to be a Christian to be made new after the likeness of God.
Paul continues this theme in chapter five in the first two verses when he says this:
â€œtherefore be imitators of God, as beloved children, and walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.â€
This is God’s commandment to you. If you’re a Christian here this morning, this is God’s calling on your life, to walk in love, to walk in the love of Christ. And you know the love of Christ is absolutely humongous. The love of Christ said this, â€œI love my friends so much. I will lay down my life for them. I will endure pain, I will endure shame. I will endure utter humiliation and utter agony on the cross, in order to win their forgiveness to make them right with God.â€ That’s the love of Christ that Paul’s talking about, love that went to the cross, love that died on our behalf. And so Christian, this is God’s commandment to you – imitate that love in your life
Itâ€™s a big commandment, isn’t it? Â Walk in love, the same love that Christ showed.Â There’s a reason why when we gather Sunday mornings, we pray to be filled with the Holy Spirit, we pray to receive the help of God. Â Itâ€™s because we have a calling of huge magnitude. We have we have a massive undertaking as Christians to walk in the love of Christ, to show the same love that Christ showed when he walked the earth.
When the Bible talks about love, it’s not talking primarily about a warm fuzzy feeling on the inside.Â When the Bible talks about love itâ€™s speaking about love in action.Â Itâ€™s talking about making huge sacrifices in order to care for and serve and lift up others, because that’s what Jesus did. That’s, the greatest example of love in all of history. Jesus death on the cross is the greatest example of what it means to love. And so when the Bible talks about love, and when we talk about love as a church, we’re talking about making sacrifices for others.
Let me invite you this morning, to examine yourself and to look back on your past week, and to think about what sacrifices you have made to love others in your life.Â For some of us, that might be quite a sobering and challenging exercise. What sacrifices have you made in the week just gone to love others like Christ has loved you?
Let me encourage you not just to look back, though, but also to look forward and think about this. What sacrifices can I make in the week ahead to love others as Christ has loved me? What can I do to love others as Christ loved me?
We’re talking internally in the church as well as externally as well. How can you love the people in this room? How can you make sacrifices to care for one another?Â And how can we make sacrifices to love the people who are not in the church?Â I think that’s so important. The times Iâ€™ve had the most impact on other people’s lives and the times when I’ve loved people in a way that was sacrificial.Â Because that opens up doors people asking, â€œWhat? Why are you loving me like this? Why are you caring about me?â€Â When we make sacrifices for people, it’s meaningful to that person. And I guarantee if you start to make sacrifices to love people around you, you’ll start to have conversations about Jesus Christ.
If you’re sitting there feeling guilty and thinking, â€œOh, I haven’t loved that way in the pastâ€, know the forgiveness of Jesus Christ. He died on the cross for you that you might be forgiven for the times when you don’t love as Christ as loved you. And yet, let’s take this to heart. Let’s pray for the help of God. Let’s pray for the help of the Holy Spirit that we might leave this room today and go and love in an amazing, sacrificial way just as Christ has loved us. This is your calling in the light of the love that Christ has shown to you – walk in love, imitate Christ by laying down your life to love others.
2. Speaking for Christ (verses 3-13)
And one way we love others is by using our words, the way we speak, the things we do speak about, and the things we don’t speak about. And verses 3 to 13 all about the things we should speak about as Christians and the things we shouldn’t speak about as Christians.
So, verse three says this:
â€œbut sexual immorality, impurity, covetousness, must not even being named among you.â€
To covet is to have an unhealthy, immoral desire for something that somebody else owns. So you can covet your neighbour’s wife clearly that’s a wrong, immoral coveting, desiring for something. Â Or you can covet your neighbour’s house or possessions. In verse five, covetousness is described as idolatry. So to covet something is to idolise that thing so much that you desire it even more than God.
And Paul writes about these things. He writes about covetousness. He writes about impurity, he writes about sexual immorality, but it is not just saying don’t do those things. Â He’s saying, don’t just not do them, don’t even speak of them or say them in the congregation of Christians.
Let those things not even be named among you. That’s how far they are from the way you’re living, that you wouldn’t even speak about those things in your life.
In verse four, Paul says, â€œLet there be no foolish talk or filthy talk or crude jokingâ€.
Jokes are often very rude and often in a sexual way. Jokes are good, God is the one who created laughter, He created jokes.Â And yet, crude jokes are not in keeping with God’s commandments in the Bible. And in fact, what crude jokes do is they direct people’s attention away from what is good, and onto things that are unhealthy and helpful. Matthew Henry says this, to make crude jokes to talk about sexual immorality, immorality, impurity, and consciousness is â€œto pollute and poison the hearerâ€. So when you make those jokes, and when you speak about those things, what you’re doing is polluting and poisoning the person you’re speaking to, because you’re directing their attention on to things that are not God and are not helpful and not good.
And so instead of speaking about sinful things in this church, let us speak about Thanksgiving. Let us be full of Thanksgiving.Â Whenever we think about something that we might want to speak about which is unhelpful, I pray we would return our attention and instead speak out praise to God for all that he has done. Â Because that’s the opposite, isn’t it? If crude jokes pollute the hearer, thanksgiving benefits and edifies the hearer, directing their attention towards the God who created all things.
So, we need to be careful what we say, but also be careful how you hear.
Verse six says, â€œLet no one deceive you with empty wordsâ€.
And I think what Paul is saying in verse six is, those comments like â€œItâ€™s just a harmless jokeâ€ or â€œIt’s okay to speak about sin as long as we don’t actually commit the sinâ€. Those kind of comments are empty, meaningless words, unhelpful. They’re not true.Â Those words are deceptive.
If God, our righteous God, is going to pour out wrath and judgement upon people who are sexually immoral, impure and covetous.Â For all who do not believe in Jesus Christ, this is what the Bible says, there is wrath that is coming upon sin. If God is going to be the one who pours out wrath, is it appropriate for Christians to joke about or even talk about those things? Â It is absolutely not appropriate for us to talk about those sinful things in a light hearted way.Â As Christians, we should be an imitator of God in hating sin, and not making light of it.
So again, I would invite you to examine yourselves. Are you telling crude jokes? Are you speaking about things that are inappropriate?
When I was writing this sermon, I had the radio on and itâ€™s worth examining the songs that we sing as well. Are we singing lyrics that are unhelpful. Â Paul tells us not to talk about them, and yet we’re singing about them.
That’s what it is to imitate God. That’s what it is to love as Christ as loved – not to speak about those sinful things.
Exposing Sin Inside & outside the Church
So, on the one hand, Paul is saying â€œHave nothing to do with these sinful things. Don’t even name them when you’re when you’re talking to one another.â€ But verse 11, calls us to go one step further, where Paul says, â€œTake no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead, instead expose them.â€ Â Silent abstinence from these sinful things is not enough, says Paul.Â We must also expose sin in the church and outside of the church. You must be bold to speak the truth to people, in love, in a wise way, in a gentle way. Â We must expose sin in this church and in the world.
Now, let’s be honest failure to expose sin in the church has done huge damage to churches in the past. And if I have a conversation with any of my non Christian friends about the church, one of the things that they will bring up is the sin that has been in the church for many, many years throughout history. So in this church in Christ Church Fareham, let’s expose sin.
In the book of Matthew, it says the best way to expose sin is firstly, go to the Christian who has sinned on your own and say â€œHey, I noticed that you did this. Can I just say, That’s not biblical. This is what it says in Scriptureâ€.Â If they don’t listen. Go again to them with one or two witnesses and say, â€œHey, this is what the Bible says. And it’s not just me saying it. It’s also my teammates here.â€ And if they don’t listen again, take it to the church, and the church will come and speak to that person and teach them what is true. So that’s how we expose sin.
In this church, it would be a good thing, if people exposed my sin â€œHey, Duncan, you did thisâ€. Â I know that I sin in many different ways. And so I would find it an edifying if someone would come to me and say, â€œDuncan, you did thisâ€. Â We are operating as a church and should in boldness expose sin in our midst. And as your Pastor, on some occasions, I will sit down with you and say, â€œHey, look, you did this. You said this, you didn’t do this. You didn’t say this. This is what the Bible says on that issue. That’s what the Bible says about that sinâ€. Because that’s love in action.
So we need to expose sin within the church, but also outside the church. In particular, we must defend those people who cannot defend themselves.Â I think that’s this is the reason why churches make such a big issue about abortion.Â I appreciate this is a controversial topic, but churches need to speak on abortion. We need to speak on abortion as Christians.
We don’t speak about abortion, because we’re unloving or uncaring towards pregnant ladies who are put in very difficult situations, who are in difficult circumstances, but rather we speak about abortion because abortion is a terrible thing. If life begins at conception, which we believe, then abortion is murder, so it’s a terrible crime.
And also it’s a crime committed against a group of humans who cannot defend themselves, unborn babies, and so this is an example where, where the Church must expose sin. I’m not saying we’re going to stand outside abortion clinics and hound those people walking in, but we must find a way to sensibly and wisely expose the sin of abortion. I recommend that you write to your MP on the issue. And that’s what I’ve done. That’s certainly one action you can take. They’re probably many other actions you can take.
But these kind of issues, where people cannot defend themselves, we as Christians should be active in exposing those sins and speaking boldly upon them. Â There’s a charity called International Justice Mission, IJM. And if you want to know more about some of these issues, where Christians need to be more vocal, and exposing sin to the world, then go up, look up their website, see what you can find, and they’ll give some really practical and helpful advice and also some ways you can be involved in exposing sin in the world. We shouldn’t just sit silently and not participate, but we need to be we need to be vocally exposing sending a wise and gentle and helpful way.
3. Wake up!
And then in verse 14, Paul throws in this quote, â€œAwake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.â€ God’s message this morning to you is to wake up, sleepers awake, rise from the dead!
If you’re not a Christian here this morning, you’re so welcome. We love having non Christian visitors. But let me tell you, you’ve been sleeping in darkness, but the morning has come. The light of Christ has shone. Jesus came into the world and lived a righteous life. He died on the cross for the sins of the world. He rose again in glory. Â The light of Christ has shone into the world, into your life. Â Like curtains being spread open in the morning, the light of Christ has shone!
Through his life, death and resurrection, Christâ€™s light has defeated the darkness. And so if you are a non Christian, I would invite you to wake up this morning, to believe on Christ, to put your trust in Him. May this morning, not just be an ordinary morning, but might it be a morning of salvation for you. Wake up and believe in Jesus Christ.
And if you’re a Christian here today, God’s message to you is to wake up, rise up, you have been sleepwalking in sinful ways. You’ve been unconsciously doing things that are inappropriate and not right for God’s children to do. You’ve been sleep talking in corrupting ways. God says â€œWake up, arise and the light of Christ will shine on you and lead you in walking in the light of Christ.â€
You know, when Paul quotes this in Ephesians 5, no one truly knows where he’s quoting from. It’s not an Old Testament quote, it’s not an apocryphal quote. The best guess is that is from a hymn that was written in in the early church.
But the metaphor of sleep and death and darkness is a really, really helpful one. Especially when contrasted with waking up, and light, and life. The temptation is to listen to a sermon like this and to feel awake and emboldened. â€œYeah, I’m going to leave here and I’m going to love others like Christ has loved me. I’m going to make sacrifices to care for others. I’m going to show kindness like God, I’m going to show the goodness of God.â€
But the temptation as we leave here this morning is to press the snooze button. You know what you say, â€œOkay, that was a great service. Fantastic. I’m leaving here and forgetting all about it.â€ And the go back to sleep for the next week until Sunday again. My challenge to each and every one of you is don’t hit the snooze button. Let’s wake up this morning. Let’s wake up and stay awake in living in the light of Jesus Christ. Now the question that I asked, don’t forget it, what can you do in the week ahead to sacrificially love the people around you. Let’s not press the snooze button on that challenge. Let’s wake up and stay awake to live and walk in the light of Christ this morning.
4. Singing for Christ (verses 18-19)
And finally, let me finish by talking about verses 18 to 19. Let’s talk about singing. Paul has taught us how we shouldn’t use our mouth to speak about sinful things. Now it tells us something we should be doing with our mouths, which is singing. He writes this, â€œdo not get drunk with wine for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit and addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart.â€
There’s a reminder, here, that getting drunk is contrary to God’s instructions. Having that one glass of wine is absolutely fine, but when you start to lose control (self control is the fruit of the Spirit). So when you start to lose control, you’re disobeying the commands of God in Scripture and Ephesians 5.
Instead of getting drunk, be filled with the Holy Spirit.Â Don’t be filled with the spirit of wine, but be filled with the Holy Spirit! So that we can sing to one another, we can address one another in psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs.
Now I want to, I want to tell you a story about singing songs in this church. You know what, this week and most weeks for the past few months, finding someone to come and lead us in seeing worship has been a complete nightmare. Â We love to sing in this church, but we don’t have many musicians. We have Simon who plays guitar. But he works a shift job, so sometimes he’s not here on a Sunday.
And so I’m so grateful to those who joined us at short notice to lead worship this. It was really, really wonderful. But every week, pretty much for the last few months, I’ve sent so many texts to anyone I know who’s ever picked up a guitar in their life. I’ve been texting them going, â€œdo you want to come in and play for us?â€ And then more or less most weeks I then text Joystern â€œAny chance you’ll find someone to lead for usâ€ and then heâ€™ll find someone and sort something out.
Weâ€™ve been blessed by so many different people coming and visiting us and playing for us. And the question is why? Why do I bother? Why do I bother sending out all those texts? Why am I ringing people? Why am I messaging and emailing other churches. The reason is because of this passage in Ephesians. Because this is God’s instruction to us. This is God’s instruction to us in the book of Ephesians, as well as in Colossians. And we’ve got the whole book of songs in the middle of the Bible in the Old Testament, which is a book of songs.
Singing is something we are called to do as Christians. And it’s a wonderful thing that we’re called to do as Christians, isn’t it? Â I love singing. I love being on here on Sunday morning and, and singing together with my church.Â Itâ€™s something God commands us to do. And that’s not to say, you know what, there may come a Sunday in the future where we cannot find someone to lead us in singing worship. And then we might have a Sunday where we don’t sing.
So, I’m not saying we have to do it every week. But we’re going to try our very, very best to have singing every Sunday. And I know God’s going to bring us worship leaders. And slowly we’re going to put together a wonderful team. And it’s going to be something we excel at, as a church. And the reason we want to excel at that is because it’s a biblical command to sing to one another, to address one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs. Â And also to make melody in our hearts to the Lord.
So, I want to point two things out from that those verses, verses 18 and 19. The first thing I want to point out is that there are three types of things we should be singing to one mother, there are three different ways we should be addressing one another. And the first is the Psalms. We read a Psalm every single week, here at Christ Church Fareham. I don’t know if you’ve noticed that. It is a deliberate decision and obedience to this verse in the Bible. And you know what my ultimate hope is that we would find a way of bringing the Psalms into our singing every week. We would sing the Psalms, modern versions of the Psalms, because some of the really old ones are an absolute dirge. So, our long term goal as a church is to sing the Psalms as church. Maybe we’ll write music and go to the Psalms in the Bible, because Paul says sing Psalms to one another. You know what, there are Psalms of mourning as well. And, and there are Psalms, singing against your enemies. So we need to bring these things into our worship is not just about happy, clappy Sunday mornings, it’s actually about singing through all different emotions.Â Yet, bringing those emotions back to praising God, the Psalms are so helpful in teaching us how to pray, and how to sing to the Lord. And that’s why we make it an important part of our Sunday mornings. So we need to address one another in psalms.
If you want to be addressed in a Psalm, Dayo is a great person to speak to. Â He knows parts of the Psalms off by heart, and he loves to quote them. It’s great. So, let’s be like that as well! Not just singing together, also speaking Psalms to one another.
Secondly, Paul wants us to address one another with hymns. And when we think of hymns, we think of anything written before, I don’t know, 1980. Maybe that’s what we think the word hymn means. But here in Ephesians, hymn just means a song that is written in praise to God. So, in Ephesians 5, the latest songs are hymns as well. And so we sing songs, we sing hymns, written by gifted lyricists and music writers.
Thirdly, Paul speaks about spiritual songs. And I think this is an area where we need to grow as a church. Because I think when Paul speaks about spiritual songs, he’s talking about people spontaneously getting songs in their mind, in their heart and singing them out in the congregation of the people. I’ve been in church settings where someone comes forward taking the microphone, and singing some amazing songs in the Spirit, praising God. I’ve also been in services where someone’s taken the microphone and sung really badly into the microphone, but the truth about God and what they’re sharing is amazing. So, I wouldn’t discourage them from doing that.
And so I would encourage you, if you like singing, if you’re a singer in this congregation, please feel free to tap me on the shoulder and say â€œI have a song from the Lord that I want to bringâ€. I love the boldness in the room this morning to pray, different people sharing. Â Singing a song is pretty nerve wracking thing to do, but if you are a singer, if you if you get things from God do feel comfortable to come to the front and sing those things to the church. That’s what Paul speaking about in spiritual songs.
Now, the second thing I want us to see in those verses is where our songs are directed. Paul says â€œaddress one anotherâ€, with your songs. When we sing, we are singing to one another. We’re singing to one another, and encouraging one another to direct our praise to God. So there’s that Chris Tomlin song â€œForeverâ€ that we sang today. And there’s a bit in the middle that goes â€œsing praise, sing praiseâ€. Â You’re not singing to God saying â€œCome on God, you singâ€. Â You’re singing that to everyone else in the room – â€œSing praise to God! He is worthy of our praise, sing praise!â€ So when you sing, think about that. Think about the fact that you’re saying to the person next to you, you’re saying to the person in front of you, they’re listening to you. Â We’re singing to each other when we sing.
But secondly, Paul says, when we sing, â€œMake melody to the Lord in our heartsâ€. And so we’re singing horizontally, when we when we sing worship, in a place like this, we’re saying to one another, horizontally, but we’re also singing vertically from our hearts, making melody to God. And this is the beauty of singing worship together.Â Itâ€™s better than just singing a rock song or pop song.Â Itâ€™s so much better, because you’re singing horizontally and vertically up to God. Â And in your heart, making melody to the Lord. It’s a good thing. Because if you don’t have much rhythm, or much, much melody in your voice, you can make melody in your heart to the Lord. Â Itâ€™s about the attitude of your heart in worshipping God. When we sing songs, and we read the words on the screen, consider the words, from your head and from your heart. Think, read those words to the Lord, engage your mind in your heart.
And that means when we sing, sing loudly, because we’re seeing horizontally so the other people in the room can hear you, and also sing in a heartfelt way vertically to the Lord, as he looks at the heart. It doesn’t matter how good the music is at the front, it was excellent today, but it doesn’t matter how good the music is at the front. It doesn’t matter how good you are singing. All God cares about is what’s going on in your heart, and how your passions and your love is being expressed to him through the singing.
So, in Ephesians 5, Paul challenges us in a number of ways. And I know that the points this morning were disjointed and I apologise for that. But I wanted us to respond to these things. Jesus Christ loved us so much. He died on the cross for our sins, that whoever believes in Jesus can receive forgiveness for this sins and enter into eternal life. We have a relationship with God the Father, we are sons and daughters of the living God because of Jesus Christ law for us. So let us imitate God and imitate Christ
- by loving others sacrificially.
- By not speaking of sinful things, but exposing those sinful things in a wise way.
- Let’s wake up. Let’s wake up to live for the glory of God and walk in the light
- And let’s sing songs and hymns and spiritual songs to one another. Making melody in our hearts the Lord when we gather on a Sunday and throughout the week.
Let me finish by praying.
Lord Jesus Christ, we thank you so much for your love. Love that was sacrificial,l love that was deep, love that was wide, loved that was glorious. Love that said â€œI will give myself up on the cross in order to save themâ€. Lord, thank you so much for that love. In light of that love, may we Christians imitate you Lord Jesus Christ, and live that love out in our daily walk by the power of the Holy Spirit. Lord God, would you make us loving people, people who love in a totally counter-cultural way, a way that’s different from the way the world loves. Love that’s deeper and stronger and greater.
Lord, I pray as we love others, you would open up doors and opportunities to share the gospel of Jesus Christ. That, as we love others like Christ, we would also be able to speak about Jesus and the good news that we know in Jesus Christ, that others may come and believe in Jesus.
Lord, I pray you would cleanse our lips. I pray we would not speak about sinful things in an inappropriate and jovial way. Lord, remove all crude joking from our midst. And instead may we be full of Thanksgiving. May we often thank you and praise you for all the things you’ve done.
Would you help us expose sin in a wise way in the church and also outside of the church. Â And Oh God, we know you hate sin. You hate evil because you’re good God, you hate evil. And so we want to have your heart, that we will imitate you in our lives. So would you help us I pray?
I pray you keep us awake, Lord God, I don’t want to sleepwalk out of the room today. But Heavenly Father would you keep us energised and alert to live in a seamless way in a Christ-like way.
And finally, I pray you put songs on our lips. Put songs on our lips giving glory deeper spiritual songs, lips that we might sing spontaneously to you and edify those around us. Â I pray, Lord, we would be a church that excels in singing praises Lord, I pray there’ll be some songs that are written in this church that glorify you, and go out from this place all over the world where people praise your name. Now I pray maybe even spiritual songs that are brought spontaneously would then be written into songs that are shared throughout the world. We want to obey that command to sing to one another. So would you come by your Holy Spirit? May that happen for Your glory. I pray in every way we want to walk in the light. We want to follow Christ’s example we want to imitate you, our God. You are kind and loving and glorious. And so I pray you would help us in doing that heavenly Father for Your glory. I pray this in Jesus name. Amen.