Now it came to pass, as He sat at the table with them, that He took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them.    Luke 24:30


The table has been for centuries a place to gather, a place for nourishment, a place for fellowship, to talk through difficulties, and for family and friends to come together to relax and enjoy time in each other's company.  All too often today, the table is relegated to a gathering place for mail, car keys, unfinished projects, etc., and has in many ways lost its importance.  I would like this webpage to be a "table" of sorts- a place to gather together, to relax and reflect, and I pray, perhaps, to be challenged...


This week for Morning Worship, we are examining Ephesians 5:1-6, and being "Imitators of God".  What I would like us to consider is the following...


Imitating God - what does it entail?


In this passage, believers are called upon to be "Imitators of God as dear children", to "walk in love", as Jesus has loved us through His sacrificial offering (Ephesians 5:1-2).  From this come prohibitions of a life that is not to "even be named among you", which are: fornication, uncleanness, covetousness, as well as filthiness, foolish talking, and course jesting (Ephesians 5:3-4).  Does this mean that imitating God involves merely a list of "do's and don'ts" that make us compliant to God's demands?  Or, is it more about the heart of the believer, and the desire to be person God has called us to be?  I believe the answer is seen here and in another passage of the New Testament...


1 John 2:15-16  Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.  For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world.


Two words we should really take note of in the above passage are "love" and "world". 


The word "love" in the above verses is agape'.  This word is referred to as "The highest, most perfect kind of love" (International Standard Bible Encyclopedia).  This word is used both in reference to loving the world and the love of the Father.  Here we see the imperative that believers are not to love the world in this way.  In fact, we are told by John that if anyone does love the world in this way, the Father's love is not in that person.  Does that mean he or she is not a believer?  I believe that is exactly what it is saying- a person who loves the world in the "highest, most perfect kind of love" has indeed placed the things of the world- lust and pride, upon the throne of his/her life.  This is not speaking merely of the people of this world, but the sinfulness of this world, through mankind's rebellion of what God designed us for... communion and fellowship with Him. 


The word "world" (kosmos) is the used of this physical world at times, such as Matthew 13:35, but also of the world of people, such as John 3:16, where clearly the "kosmos" spoken of that God so loves is a reference to people.  So, what about in the above passage in I John 2?  What is the "world" and the "things of the world" speaking of?   Here, I believe, it is clearly referring to the sinful nature of people themselves, those who are living in a world where there is no higher deity in their lives than themselves and their sinful desires.  This state of being is the unbeliever's "world", where godlessness reigns supreme, and is the fulfillment of their sin nature.  Apart from a change of "heart", their inner being, there is no hope. 


Oswald Chambers, speaking of atonement and the heart, said this...


"There is only one right at-one-ment, and that is in Jesus Christ; only one right unity, and that is when body, soul, and spirit are united to God by the Holy Spirit through the marvelous atonement of the Lord Jesus Christ.  The origin of salvation is a daring way back to God."  Oswald Chambers- Biblical Psychology 


This is where the "world" is lost, and why God's great "love" for the world is found in passages such as John 3:16.  Without an understanding of just how deep a person is lost, there is no hope of redemption.  A person must come to grips with this- the "things of the world" that are diametrically opposed to the "things of God"...


Matthew 16:23  But He turned and said to Peter, "Get behind Me, Satan! You are an offense to Me, for you are not mindful of the things of God, but the things of men."


What does imitating God entail?  Is it merely a spiritual "honey do list", or is it a matter of the heart?  Does it mean we follow God's word because it is the right thing to do, or because we have a relationship with Him that we want to grow in through His Holy Spirit?  Do we desire more the things of God?  Do we reject the sinfulness of what the world offers, things which lead to death rather than life?   We see evidence of what is happening to the "world" around us- we see where lust and pride take people, even in what John says under God's inspiration in the very next verse...


1 John 2:17  And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever.


By God's grace...

Pastor Scott


Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.