Welcome to Delight in Grace, the teaching ministry of Rich Powell, Pastor of Grace Bible Church in Winston-Salem. Christ has given us a beautiful picture of sacrificial love. Today's message titled, Walk in Love, highlights the clear contrast between pure true love modeled after Christ, and sin, which is disordered love. Let's dig into Ephesians 5, 1-7 with Pastor Rich. Now you have your copy of the Scriptures open to Ephesians chapter 5. We begin chapter 5 today as we exposit Paul's letter to the church at Ephesus, read also by surrounding churches of that day. First seven verses are our focus for today, and in Ephesians the theme is the riches of His grace, and so that's how we're approaching this. Yes, we're talking about a lot of imperatives, commands in the Scriptures, but we are able to follow those commands in the riches of His grace. We have to know the riches of His grace. The first three chapters are the riches of His grace, so I encourage you to know those by reordering your heart and mind. According to those truths, you are then able to walk in the grace that God has lavished upon us, and today our focus is walking in love. As we walk in grace, we walk in love. Now this, unfortunately, is a word that in English needs to be very carefully defined, because love means a lot of different things to a lot of different people today, and for most people, when you say the word love, they think of a particular emotion, right? I actually heard at a pastor's conference, this pastor was talking about, oh, you know, people need to be following the commands, follow the commands of the word of God, and I says, but they need to know the love of God. He says, yeah, there's that emotion too.
I'm like, what? So not even all pastors have it right. There's a flow of thought here as we enter into chapter five.
It's not a whole new thought. If you look back at chapter four, verses 31, let all bitterness, wrath, and anger, and clamor, and slander be put away from you along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.
Therefore, be imitators of God. You see, it's a flowing thought. He says, and walk in love as Christ loved us and gave himself for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. So I want to focus on love today. There are a lot of examples in here of what is not love. And so today is going to be kind of a contrast, but I want to talk about four things about love today. Number one, the foundation of love.
The foundation of love. The witness says in verse one, therefore be imitators of God as beloved children. So the foundation of love begins with us being imitators of God. An imitator is one who does what another does. One who does what you see what another is doing and you copy what they are doing. Who is the one we are to imitate? Well, God is. We are to be imitators of God. And you say, well, Rich, that's an impossibility.
Is it really? Do you know the riches of his grace? Is it truly an impossibility for us? When I teach theology proper to the Haitian students, for example, I just came back in October from teaching them, we teach about the attributes of God. There are incommunicable attributes of God, meaning there are ways that God is, we cannot be like him, such as infinite, omnipotent, omniscient. We can't be that because we're not God. We are not infinite like he is. But there are communicable attributes of God, ways that we can be like him and he calls us to be like him. Now, here's the point of grace. God equips us so that we can be like him, which is why this command is given to us to walk in love, because God is love. And so we can be like him because of the newness that God has given us in his grace.
We can be kind and tenderhearted and forgiving as imitators of God. And it is inappropriate. Listen to me, please. It is wholly inappropriate for any Christian to say, I can't do that. It's just not the way I am. You can't use that excuse as a believer and as a committed follower of Jesus Christ, because in God's grace, you have been granted newness. And for you to say, that's just the way I am, is as much as saying, yeah, I'm a follower of Jesus, but I'm still lost in my sin.
No, you're not, if indeed you are a true follower of Jesus, right? The truth of the matter is children copy their parents. Did you know that, parents?
You're wondering why your kids act the way they do, right? Children copy their parents. You, as a child of God, copy your parent.
Why? Because you have become a partaker of the divine nature, as Peter says. So be imitators of God as dear children. Now that takes us to understand something. When he says, first of all, imitators of God, well, who is God and what is he like, right?
We need to know that. And then he says, as dear children, what does he mean by that? You have been adopted, you've been born into the family of God, you are now part of God's family. And he loves you and accepts you as his own. You are his dear child and nothing changes that.
He's not your judge anymore. Do you see what all this is? The foundations of walking in love. First of all, it's imitating God. Secondly, it's the indicative of scripture.
Do you see how, as we say this, you can't do the imperatives of scripture, unless first you have the foundation of the indicative of scripture. The indicative are, who is God? What is he like?
What is he about? Are you studying him through his self-disclosure? And do you understand all the grace that he has lavished upon you as his dear child?
Nothing can change that. The fact that we are beloved children means that we are accepted and we have his nature in us. Again, this is the gospel of Jesus Christ, that Christ came and he died for us, but he rose again to provide us reconciliation, redemption, regeneration, newness, being born again.
You see, born again isn't just a title. It is an actual reality of the child of God. Walk according to that reality, but see, you can't do that if you don't even know about it. So we have to know the end. The foundation of walking in love are the indicative of the word of God, that we find the character of God, the grace of God that he has lavished upon us.
Know those, study those, memorize those, meditate upon them. Now let's talk about the pattern of love. We've discussed the foundation of love. Here's the pattern of love and it's very clear in the text, the imitators of God is beloved children and walk in love how? As Christ loved us and gave himself up for us a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.
That's pretty clear, isn't it? Here's the pattern of love. What does it mean to walk in love?
Well, let's look at Christ. What did he do? You want to know how you ought to interact with some other, with another, regardless of whether they are friendly or they rub you the wrong way. What is the disposition of your interaction with them? I am to love them how? As Christ loved me. And how did Christ love me? He gave himself for me.
Christians, you need to preach that to yourself every day. He gave himself, he loved me by giving himself for me. The pattern of love is as Christ loved, he gave himself for us. And by when he gave himself for us, listen, that wasn't just a token, was it? He didn't just kind of show up to encourage.
It wasn't just a token. It was a complete commitment on his part that in that way he gave himself to us. But also what this does, this pattern of love, it takes it beyond theory. Here we have not just a theory, we have a person to follow. That's why we should study this person, walk in his steps. Love is defined, listen to this, love is defined by a person, one person, Jesus Christ.
That is a pattern for us to follow. So this word love here that is used is the word agape in the Greek. The basic meaning of the word agape is to regard with affection or you could say loving concern. To regard with affection. Now we could get stuck on the affection part, but it says regard with affection and loving concern.
So what is all that? And we go back and what is the pattern of love? To love one another as I have loved you, Jesus said in John 13.
So here's the definition of love that we're working with. I want you to know this because again this is how this walking in love, obeying the word of God is saturated with the gospel of grace. This is what it means to walk in love and to love others as Christ loved you.
Here it is. You ready for this? Sacrificially invest yourself in another for their Godward movement. That's what Jesus did, isn't it? He sacrificially invested himself in you and me for what? For our Godward movement so that we could be reconciled to God and justified before him and be regenerated and be sanctified and become like him in our Godward movement. So love then, biblical love, by the pattern of Jesus Christ is to sacrificially invest yourself in another for their Godward movement.
This is the picture I want you to have in mind in your interactions throughout the week with Fran, your interactions with Fran. Let them be in love in this way, sacrificially investing yourself in another for their Godward movement according to Ephesians 1, Ephesians 5, 1 and 2. Now, number three, as far as walking in love, let's look at the beauty of love in verses three and four. But sexual immorality and all impurity or covetousness must not even be named among you as is improper among saints.
Let there be no filthiness or foolish talk or crude joking which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving. The way he approaches this, the way the apostle approaches this is in contrast. The context in which the Ephesian church was, remember it was in Ephesus and what was going on in Ephesus. Ephesus domiciled the temple of Diana and she was a goddess of fertility.
So sexual orgies were associated with worship and that permeated the culture of Ephesus. We're so glad you've joined us for Delight in Grace, the teaching ministry of Rich Powell, pastor of Grace Bible Church in Winston-Salem. You can hear this message and others anytime by visiting our website, www.delightingrace.com. You can also check out Pastor Rich's book, Seven Words That Can Change Your Life, where he unpacks from God's word the very purpose for which you were designed. Seven Words That Can Change Your Life is available wherever books are sold. As always, tune in to Delight in Grace weekdays at 10 a.m.
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