Share This Episode
The Truth Pulpit Don Green Logo

Are You a Copycat? #1

The Truth Pulpit / Don Green
The Truth Network Radio
March 20, 2023 12:00 am

Are You a Copycat? #1

The Truth Pulpit / Don Green

On-Demand Podcasts NEW!

This broadcaster has 527 podcast archives available on-demand.

Broadcaster's Links

Keep up-to-date with this broadcaster on social media and their website.

March 20, 2023 12:00 am

thetruthpulpit.comClick the icon below to listen.

        Related Stories


Amy Lawrence Show
Amy Lawrence
Zach Gleb Show
Zach Gleb
Amy Lawrence Show
Amy Lawrence
JR Sport Brief

Paul here gives us this broad command, be imitators of God, and it's so broad, you know, and there's so many attributes of God that you consider that it would almost blow your brain and explode your understanding to say, well, where do I even start being like God?

Ephesians 5 details for the believer what it means to be imitators of God. And we'll turn there today as Pastor Don Green continues teaching God's people God's Word. Don is beginning a series titled, As You Walk with Christ.

And hello, I'm Bill Wright. Don, what can we expect as we delve into this study? Well, you know, my friend, I think you're going to find today's study and what follows in the coming several days to be immensely practical for your Christian life. You know, Ephesians chapter 4 verse 32 tells us to be a forgiving person, just as God in Christ has also forgiven you. And then it goes on to say, Therefore, be imitators of God.

Be like God in the way that He has dealt with you. That is comprehensive, and it's what informs our life. It's what we're going to look at in the coming days here on The Truth Pulpit. Thank you, Don. And friend, turn now in your Bible to Ephesians 5.

Let's join Don Green for part one of a message titled, Are You a Copycat? You cannot imitate the infinite attributes of God. God is omniscient. He is omnipotent. He is omnipresent.

You cannot imitate that. Theologians call those and other like attributes His incommunicable attributes. They do not transfer from God to men because they are the unique possession of God alone. You are a creature. You can never be uncreated. You are finite.

God is infinite. We can't be like God. We can't imitate Him in that way. There is a gulf between Him and us that cannot be bridged in those kinds of considerations.

Even redeemed men cannot share in those characteristics. But what we can imitate are what theologians call His communicable attributes. Those moral qualities in the character of God that are personal and relational and holy that we can model after. God is kind. God is loving.

God is just. And we are able, and especially as redeemed people, to be kind and to be loving and to be just in our dealings with others. And it is in that sense that we are called to imitate God here in this text from the Apostle Paul. You as a redeemed man, you as a redeemed Christian woman, you can reflect the character of God in these ways. In fact, you are commanded to do so. And so it is your duty and it is your privilege to be separated from your former life of sin and to continually become like this, as the command indicates. Therefore be imitators of God. It could be translated, be becoming like this. Aim it, make it your pattern, your habit, to persistently pursue this.

Even when you fall short, you renew the zeal to be like the God who saved you. Now, why? Why can't you just be your own man, be your own woman?

Why can't you just be any old way that you want to? Well, look at the text with us. That would be completely inappropriate. To live in rebellion against God, to live in defiance to God, to live in indifference to God?

No, that's totally inappropriate. Why? Look at verse 5. It's because we are beloved children. You have been the object of God's redeeming love. You have been born again by the Spirit of God, who worked repentance and faith in your heart so that you willingly came to Christ for salvation. And God placed His Spirit in you. And as we saw in Ephesians chapter 1, adopted you into His family.

Well, isn't it appropriate, those of you that are parents, don't you have a sense that it's appropriate for your children to respond to you? You want them to respond in love and to give you their affection and devotion because you gave life to them? Well, multiply that by infinity and you see the obligation and the responsibility and the privilege that is ours. We've been born again by the living God, who has been gracious to us in our sins and reached into our sinful lives and adopted us into His family. Made us His child.

Gave us a full inheritance that belongs to the children of God and included us in that despite our unworthiness to receive such a gift. Well, what can you do in response to that kind of abundant love and mercy than to say, I want to be like Him. I want to be like my father. You know, the little boy that goes out with the ball and bat and tries to mimic his father's instruction in it. You know, it's just motivated by that, by the simplicity of love and devotion of that little heart toward one that he looks up to.

Well, mature that and make it spiritual and make it that which is responding to Christ and you see what it is for us. I want to be like Him. That's deep in the heart of every true believer.

I want to be like that. And so it's our privilege to aim our character after our father. Well, what is he talking about specifically here? Paul here gives us this broad command, be imitators of God, and it's so broad, you know, there's so many attributes of God that you consider that it would almost blow your brain and explode your understanding to say, well, where do I even start being like God? Well, Paul here goes on and he specifies exactly what he's talking about.

He doesn't and he doesn't blast it with a shotgun that goes in a lot of different directions. He uses a silver red bullet and says and he targets it and he hits his bullseye and says, here's what I'm talking about, verse 2, and walk in love. Be imitators of God and walk in love. Present tense command. Ongoing pattern of life.

Make this your habit. Make it your repeated manifestation of character to be marked by this kind of love. Walk in love. What does that mean?

Do you know what that means? Walk in love. Pattern of life conduct, we get that, but what's this love of which he speaks?

A word so abused in modern language. Let's be sure that we're thinking biblically about it because biblical thinking will result in biblical clarity, which will bring into your life biblical obedience, which is appropriate in response to God's Word. What does it mean to walk in love?

Well, let's say this for starters. It is not, he is not talking about a sentimental feeling. He's not talking about having these emotional sugary feelings that toward God or toward other people and that it's just a matter of how you feel subjectively inside. I love him. I love that.

That's not it. When you're thinking in terms of if you're only thinking about it in something that is sentimental, that's not what he's talking about at all as the text will go on and make clear to us. You know something else, beloved?

When he says to walk in love, understand that he's calling you to more than occasional impulses of goodwill. This is a walk. This is a progress. This is an ongoing pattern and character of life.

It's a walk. It's a development. It's a growth. It is ever the object of what we would want our character to become and what we aim and give our effort toward. And so it's not simply a brief passing impulse and then you get on with the rest of your life.

That's not it. And as we're also going to see, it's not something that selfishly minimizes the inconvenience to yourself. There is a self-giving that's involved in what we're talking about here. And I just think that it's really important for us to understand these things, that when Scripture calls us to a life of love, to a walk of love, for us to understand that we're not talking about the way that you feel about any particular thing, and we're also not talking about something that, watch this, this is so really, really important. We're not talking about something that you wedge into an otherwise selfish life that says we'll all accommodate this while I'm doing my own thing and pursuing what I want and, you know, and I'm out doing whatever I want and along the way I'll work in a little bit of love along the way.

That's not it. That's not it because, as we're going to see, the pattern that he sets forth is not something that is convenient. It's a matter of complete self-sacrifice. It's a matter of the way that you structure your entire life in response to the salvation which Christ purchased for you and in response to the people of God for whom Christ gave himself for. This is a total ordering of your character around the priorities of Christ that we are seeing manifested.

Another thing that we should say about it. This is distinct from a slavish external obedience to a moral code. When Paul says walk in love, he's not saying make sure that you keep the rules and that you keep up external appearances. You grind that out and you do what's expected and, you know, you keep up appearances before your family or before the people in the church or the people in the world and you just kind of grind it out because that's what you're supposed to do without any hard engagement or any affections that are directed toward it. No, it's not a legal external cold obedience to a list of rules.

That's not it at all. What is it then? To walk in love. To walk in love is to set your life pattern, to establish your life priorities, to express a sacrificial seeking of good for others, particularly for the people of God. The whole context of this Ephesians letter is written to the people of God. It's written to the church at Ephesus, probably a circular letter to other people of God. This is giving a general statement and if you look back just to remind you, chapter 4 verse 3 if you would, to be diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace, chapter 4 verse 12, that the saints are devoted to the building up of the body of Christ to become a mature man, to measure the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ, or to grow up in all aspects, verse 15, and to him who is the head, even Christ from whom the whole body, what body? The body of Christ. His context here is especially oriented at the people of God, at the church, at the redeemed. And oh sure, there's a spillover effect in the way that we interact with people in the world, but there is to be this element of self-sacrifice in our thinking, in our disposition toward the people of God, the people within the church that defines the way that we set our priorities and the way that we spend our time and the way that we give of ourselves and our resources. We walk in this self-sacrificial manner that is designed to set before us the seeking of the good of the people of God for the glory of God.

That's the call. You see, to walk in this kind of love, this self-sacrificial way, it's generous, not stingy. I'm not talking simply generous financially, generous with time, generous with love, generous with patience, generous with forgiveness within the body of Christ, within your family life.

You know another thing that you can say about it? It's sincere, not cynical. It's earnest, not sarcastic. It's humble, not self-promoting. Nothing more inconsistent than to be a Christian that just talks about yourself, because that's not the nature of love.

To be self-focused, self-promoting, self-adulating. And so what we see here is something that is completely comprehensive in the way that we orient and the way that we think about life. It's incredible how much Paul says in just such a short sentence. Where do we get the spiritual power to live that way?

How is it? I mean, look, I promise you that what we're talking about here is absolutely impossible for an unregenerate person to do, particularly in the world in which we live. It is impossible for someone to live in this kind of self-sacrificial way that is designed for the glory of God. Where do we get the power then as Christians to live this way? Well, the Holy Spirit indwells us and helps us and shapes our affections in this way.

We rely on the Spirit of God to help us. But Paul here in this passage gives us one of the primary ways to define your affections, and that is that he points us to the love of Christ. He points us to the love of Christ, and in a particular way, a particular manifestation of the love of Christ that defines everything else. And when you understand what he is saying about the love of Christ in what follows, you find something that shapes your affections. You find something that defines your priorities as a redeemed person. It makes you want to copy Christ. It makes you want to imitate him, because you see the great loveliness, the great worth, the great value, how laudable and how commendable Christ is.

And then you realize that Christ exercised that on your behalf, and your heart of stone is just melted before it in a way that says, I just want to respond to that. I want to give my life over to imitating that love which has been given to me. Maybe I don't become a missionary, maybe I don't go into ministry, but whatever I do, I want my life to be oriented toward becoming like that. And it's not just a matter of what I do in my life, and what kind of hours can I get at work, and what kind of house can I have, and what kind of car I drive.

All of a sudden that stuff looks really cheap and cheesy by comparison. And you realize what matters to me, what you should be saying as you go through this, is to say, what's most important, what my first priority of life is, is that I want to seek the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and let these other things come or go in the providence of God as they may. But what matters is that my character, who I am, has to become like that, because that's so supremely important. That's why I say, this redefines life.

This redefines the reason that you exist. And for you young people, you young guys that are there on my right, some of you over on my left, look, this matters to you. You're on the front end of life, and you have the opportunity, you have the opportunity set before you to set your affections on Christ, and while you're still a teenager, to set your affections in a way that I am going to give my life over to Christ to somehow resemble the way that he gave himself over to me. That should be your priority if you're a Christian young man. And if you sit there with a cold heart and say, I don't care about this, just realize what you're saying when you say, I don't care about it, is you're saying, I'm not a Christian.

And there's a whole other realm of things that need to be dealt with. No, this is a moral compulsion, and not against the will of a true Christian. This is what we desire. What could be a higher motivation for life than to say, I'm going to become like him?

Well, what was he like? That brings us to point number two here, the gospel's motivation. The gospel's motivation. And look, this is the word of God, this is Christ speaking to his people, commanding them and directing them through his word, and so we need to pay attention here. We need to give heed. We need to hear and heed what is said here. What we're about to enter into when we see this gospel motivation, what we're about to enter into is the biblical holy of holies.

This is most sacred ground that we're about to enter into. We should come reverently to this verse. We should come expectantly to this verse. We should come obediently to this verse. Because what we're about to see is the apostle Paul explaining the motivation of the Lord and what the Lord did.

The Lord who appointed him to ministry, he's now going to unfold it in a way that is designed to shape the people of God. And the holy Son of God, the eternal Son of God, and what we're going to see about his sacrifice on our behalf is something that is most holy. This is the climax of the purpose of God. This is central to the purpose of creation. This is why the world exists, is because it was designed to put Christ on display in this manner so that he could secure a people for himself who would share eternity with him in a relationship of love and honor and glorify him forever.

All the other stuff, the politics and all that, it's irrelevant by comparison. We're looking into here what the holy Son of God did and that which we benefit from. And so we come reverently and expectantly and it's appropriate, if you're under the sound of the word here, to pay attention. Paul helps us understand why we pursue this walk of love.

He explains to us why it's necessary and not just why it's necessary but why it is attractive. Look at verse 2 with me here. There are times, you come to certain texts where it's just a fearsome thing even to preach it because it's so sacred, it's so precious. And you feel a little bit like Isaiah, I'm to speak these things, a man with my unclean lips. Oh Lord, take the burning coal and touch our tongues and touch our ears that we would receive this in a worthy manner. Walk in love, it says. Look at verse 2 with me.

If you don't have a Bible with you, there's pew Bibles in front where you can get them. Ephesians chapter 5 verse 2. Just as.

Here's the parallel. Walk in love like this. Walk in love in a way that resembles what I am about to describe to you. Walk in love just as Christ. Notice this. Just as Christ also loved who?

You. If you're a Christian, look, this is direct and personal. It's not simply a vague statement of love as if Christ had sentimental feelings to the world and did something on the cross that would be an example.

It was more than that. It wasn't impersonal. Christ loved you this way. If you name the name of Christ, you're saying that what's described here and what follows was a gift to me. I was on the receiving end of this because this is central to being a Christian. And having received love, then you respond in love. You see, when Christ through his word calls you and commands you to walk in love, understand this, beloved.

They're really important. He doesn't call you this way from a remote, distant throne like the king that sends out servants or armies to do his dirty work for him while he enjoys the pleasures of royalty undisturbed. That's not how Christ did it. The holy, eternal Son of God loved us in this manner in that he laid aside the robes of deity which were his in heaven and entered into earth to do something.

He humbled himself. That's Don Green, founding pastor of Truth Community Church in Cincinnati, Ohio, kicking off our series As You Walk with Christ. Don will have more for us next time here on The Truth Pulpit, so don't miss a moment.

Right now, though, Don's back in studio with news of a great resource. Well, my friend, as we bring today's broadcast to a close, I want to offer you a very special gift, a special resource as a gift from our ministry. It's my series called Trusting God in Trying Times.

And this series over the years has proven to be the most popular set of messages that I've ever done. It helps you know how to trust God as you're going through the deep sorrows that sometimes come to us in life. It comes from the book of Habakkuk in the Old Testament, and it comes from some very deep sorrows of my own that were present early in my Christian life. It's very personal. It's very helpful. It's very biblical.

And I would love to see you have it in your hands. It's available in CD album or by download. Transcripts are available if you prefer that. My friend, Bill, is going to give you information on how to find it. Just visit our website at to get the resource Don just mentioned. That's And now for Don Green, I'm Bill Wright, inviting you back next time as our teacher teaches God's people God's Word from the truth pulpit.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-03-20 04:50:48 / 2023-03-20 04:59:37 / 9

Get The Truth Mobile App and Listen to your Favorite Station Anytime