Oct 15 8:31 AM
Oct 15 8:31 AM
Oct 15 8:31 AM
Friday, October 15, 2021
Today we're going to continue we're going to take a look at what God's love does inside of us, and specifically how it inspires us to imitate God. I want to read Ephesians 4:32-5:2, in which Paul writes this, "Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God." You know, leading up to this, this section of Scripture, Paul is telling us that because of God's love for us, we are no longer to live the way that we used to live. He goes and talks about the old self. He tells us to put the old self away and put on the new self, almost like you would put on a new shirt or blouse in the morning. He gives us a list of things that we should stop doing. Then, he tells us, "I want you to focus on this one thing, be an imitator of God."
A few years back, I used to be one of the worship leaders here at Lakeshore. My kids grew up seeing me playing guitar, leading the band, and singing. My youngest daughter, Mazie, when she was probably about four years old, one day I had a friend over and we were in in our dining room, sitting at the dining room table. Mazie was playing, and she used to have this toy guitar and a toy microphone. As I'm talking to my friend, I hear her kind of singing a song to herself. All of a sudden she stopped, I heard her praying, and then she looks up and says, "Okay, everybody can sit down now." She was imitating me as a worship leader. She grew up seeing me leading worship, praying, and telling everybody they can sit down now, and she was just imitating her dad, which kids do all the time. We, therefore should be imitators of our Heavenly Father, being kind and compassionate to one another. Why? Because God has been kind and compassionate to us. We should forgive one another. Why? Because we were forgiven of so much by God. We should live a life of love. Why? Because you are a dearly love child of God, and you've been adopted into his family. God's love for us is the model of how we should treat others. If we do not understand God's characteristics, then guess what? We cannot imitate him. How do you learn God's characteristics? Read your Bible, study your Bible, become a student of your Bible. That's how we get to know God.
"But Frank," you're saying, "you don't know what so-and-so did to me years ago." Or, "you don't know what this person said about my family. You don't know how they treated me." You're probably right, I probably don't know. But here's what I do know, I do know that God expects us to be kind and compassionate, forgiving those who sin against us, and living a life of love. Now what that looks like in your life, that's between you and God, but I do know that God through the Apostle Paul is encouraging us to be an imitator of God, to strive to be like him. "That's impossible," you say. Yes, it is an impossible task, but we have already been made perfect by God. Whether we act perfect or not is another story. But we should try our darndest to be an imitator of God because when we experience God's love in our life, it changes our heart. It gives us a new perspective. It allows us to do things that we thought were impossible, including forgiving that person, including loving that person that hurt you. We can do this. Jesus Christ, when we experience his love, changes us from the inside out, helping us to be that imitator of God, that dearly loved child of God that Paul talks about.
Let's pray. Father, thank you that you gave us your son Jesus, and because of the sacrifice that he made for us, we have a model to follow. You have given us a model to follow, Father, to be forgiving, compassionate, and loving. Help us to live a life of love. While that may seem like a daunting task, I pray that you change us from the inside out. Give us a new perspective. Help us to see. Help us to see what we can become when we allow your love to work in our lives. Thank you Father. We ask this in Jesus' name. Amen.