Wednesday, December 23, 2020

2020.12.23 Hopewell @Home ▫ Ephesians 4:31–5:2

Read Ephesians 4:31–5:2

Questions from the Scripture text: What six things does Ephesians 4:31 command us to put away from us? How are we to be toward one another (Ephesians 4:32)? Out of what kind of heart? What will we need to do to one another if this is to be the case? Who has done it to us first and how? So, when we forgive one another, Whom are we imitating (Ephesians 5:1)? What are we enjoying and showing about ourselves as we imitate Him? In what are we to walk (Ephesians 5:2)? Whom are we imitating in that? What did Christ do in that love? How did His giving Himself for us function toward God? 

The walking that is worthy of our calling (Ephesians 4:1) is a walking in love toward God and men (Ephesians 5:2). So, the Spirit of adoption from the Father, Who is the Spirit of the Son, occupies our hearts (Ephesians 4:30), and we are not to grieve Him by allowing bitterness/wrath/anger to be roommates with Him in our hearts, or to overflow through our mouths (cf. Luke 6:45) in quarreling or gossiping (Ephesians 4:31b), all of which evidence hatred and ill will (Ephesians 4:31c). 

He is in us as a seal unto the day of redemption, and He is a seal “of authenticity,” because He is making us authentically like our Father and the only-begotten Son. By the Spirit, we put to death the deeds of the body (who we were in Adam, cf. Romans 8:13). Instead, He leads us to live like children of God (cf. Romans 8:14)—showing that we are truly God’s children (cf. Romans 8:15–16).

Here we have another “putting off the old man” (cf. Ephesians 4:22) and “putting on the new man which was created according to God” (cf. Ephesians 4:24). That last part—the “according to God”—is very clear in these four verses. In Ephesians 4:32, the forgiving is “even as God in Christ” has done. In Ephesians 5:1, the apostles says, “be imitators of God.” In Ephesians 5:2, walking in love is “as Christ also has loved.” 

If we are dear children of God, we are to bear the family resemblance to Father. And we know what this looks like, especially by observing the Son in His own humanity. What would Jesus do? He loved God (as “an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma”) and men (as He “has loved us and given Himself for us”), Ephesians 5:2.

Specifically, God has forgiven us; we are to forgive others. And it is an especially challenging definition of forgiveness: being kind and tenderhearted toward that “one another” who have sinned against us. Praise God that it is His almighty Spirit Who is doing the work in us, and that He began this work by creating us anew in Christ Jesus!

Who has sinned against you in the church? How does this make him or her an especially good candidate with whom to obey 4:32? How can you do this?

Suggested songs: ARP197 “Christian Unity” or TPH400 “Gracious Spirit, Dwell with Me”

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