Ephesians 5:1-2: Imitators of God

Motivation is something we have wrestled with all our lives. You will remember when your parents gave what appeared to you to be unreasonable rules and when you asked why you had to do them, and they responded, ‘Because I said so,’ you know how you felt. You might have been willing to obey but you needed to know why, you needed the proper motivation, especially when what was required went against your desires. Paul is the master teacher who tells us what to do and then motivates us to do it as well. The pattern of Paul’s method of teaching is to root the imperative in the indicative, in other words, Paul gives us a long delve into the wonderful truths of what God has done for us in Christ, and then in light of what God has done calls us to what we ought to do. Although it would be appropriate for God to say, ‘Because I said so,’ and we should obey for He is God, and who tells us is enough. God is kind to us in our weakness, He also provides the rationale, the motivation and the enabling power along with the command.

The book of Ephesians follows this pattern. The first three chapters are an exploration of our riches in Christ and chapters 4-6 our responsibilities in Christ. The end of chapter 4 the immediate context has given us a number of exhortations with regards to holiness. Don’t lie, v25; don’t lose your temper, v26-27; don’t steal, v28; don’t destroy with your tongue, v29-30; and don’t bear or act out your grudges, v31. Paul ends the chapter with a call to kindness and forgiveness and adds the motivation because God forgave us. This brings us to chapter 5:1-21, the chapter we are beginning today. It is a large section of exhortation with Paul calling us to holy living. What we will see is that Paul will call us to live a certain way and then add a motivating reason why. We will be dividing this section up into five headings. V1-2, walk in imitation of God’s love because God has loved you; v3-7, walk in purity sexually and verbally because there is a judgement; v8-14, walk in light because of your identity as children of the light; v15-17, walk in wisdom because of the times we are living in; and finally walk in the Spirit. But did you see the basic pattern, a call to live a certain way followed by a motivation.

Today we are looking at verses 1-2, and we will be dividing them into 3 parts. Firstly, the command to imitate God; then the motivation to do so, because we are beloved children, and thirdly, the pattern of how we should do it, as Christ has loved us.