Ephesians 4 ended with: Don’t grieve God. Don’t break his heart. His Holy Spirit, moving and breathing in you, is the most intimate part of your life, making you fit for himself…Make a clean break… (Ephesians 4:30-32, MSG)
Live in the Light
Ephesians 4:32-5:2 tell us to follow Jesus Christ’s example, to live our lives in the way Jesus did when he sacrificed to become human, and then suffered and died as a human to pay for our sins. Note: only Christians proclaimed that someone who, although divine, sacrificed himself for humanity.
Read through Ephesians 5:1-20, preferably aloud, in The Message.
1-2 Watch what God does, and then you do it, like children who learn proper behavior from their parents. Mostly what God does is love you. Keep company with him and learn a life of love. Observe how Christ loved us. His love was not cautious but extravagant. He didn’t love in order to get something from us but to give everything of himself to us. Love like that. 3-4 Don’t allow love to turn into lust, setting off a downhill slide into sexual promiscuity, filthy practices, or bullying greed. Though some tongues just love the taste of gossip, those who follow Jesus have better uses for language than that. Don’t talk dirty or silly. That kind of talk doesn’t fit our style. Thanksgiving is our dialect. 5 You can be sure that using people or religion or things just for what you can get out of them—the usual variations on idolatry—will get you nowhere, and certainly nowhere near the kingdom of Christ, the kingdom of God. 6-7 Don’t let yourselves get taken in by religious smooth talk. God gets furious with people who are full of religious sales talk but want nothing to do with him. Don’t even hang around people like that. 8-10 You groped your way through that murk once, but no longer. You’re out in the open now. The bright light of Christ makes your way plain. So no more stumbling around. Get on with it! The good, the right, the true—these are the actions appropriate for daylight hours. Figure out what will please Christ, and then do it. 11-16 Don’t waste your time on useless work, mere busywork, the barren pursuits of darkness. Expose these things for the sham they are. It’s a scandal when people waste their lives on things they must do in the darkness where no one will see. Rip the cover off those frauds and see how attractive they look in the light of Christ. Wake up from your sleep, Climb out of your coffins; Christ will show you the light! So watch your step. Use your head. Make the most of every chance you get. These are desperate times! 17 Don’t live carelessly, unthinkingly. Make sure you understand what the Master wants. 18-20 Don’t drink too much wine. That cheapens your life. Drink the Spirit of God, huge drafts of him. Sing hymns instead of drinking songs! Sing songs from your heart to Christ. Sing praises over everything, any excuse for a song to God the Father in the name of our Master, Jesus Christ. Ephesians 5:1-20, MSG
Signs of the Times
- Ancient writers often made lists of vices, emphasizing the importance of avoiding them using repetition. As Paul does here, the lists often clustered around a particular topic. (See: Romans 1:29-31, 1 Corinthians 6:9-10, Galatians 5:19-21, and Revelation 21:8.)
- All ancient peoples agreed that adultery was immoral, but there were different legal descriptions and option, and the practice was widespread in Greek and Roman cultures. Roman law, for example, defined adultery as sex with a married woman who was not a prostitute. However, they did not punish married men’s affairs with unmarried women. Paul rejected this double standard in 1 Corinthians 7:2-5.
- Most prostitutes were slaves, many rescued from trash heaps where parents abandoned excess children. They often worked as barmaids in taverns, and provided different services upstairs. Sometimes they were advertised by pictures on the walls, listing their prices, which varied according to their beauty.
- Pornography covered many Greek vase paintings, the outside walls of inns, such as one found in Pompeii. Joking about sexual matters was prominent in general entertainment, often acted out in mime. The Greek word mimetes, used in verse 1, frequently depicts an actor playing a role. Instead, God wants us to mimic Him.
Read through today’s verses for a second time, in the New Living Translation.
1 Imitate God, therefore, in everything you do, because you are his dear children. 2 Live a life filled with love, following the example of Christ. He loved us and offered himself as a sacrifice for us, a pleasing aroma to God. 3 Let there be no sexual immorality, impurity, or greed among you. Such sins have no place among God’s people. 4 Obscene stories, foolish talk, and coarse jokes—these are not for you. Instead, let there be thankfulness to God. 5 You can be sure that no immoral, impure, or greedy person will inherit the Kingdom of Christ and of God. For a greedy person is an idolater, worshiping the things of this world. 6 Don’t be fooled by those who try to excuse these sins, for the anger of God will fall on all who disobey him. 7 Don’t participate in the things these people do. 8 For once you were full of darkness, but now you have light from the Lord. So live as people of light! 9 For this light within you produces only what is good and right and true. 10 Carefully determine what pleases the Lord. 11 Take no part in the worthless deeds of evil and darkness; instead, expose them. 12 It is shameful even to talk about the things that ungodly people do in secret. 13 But their evil intentions will be exposed when the light shines on them, 14 for the light makes everything visible. This is why it is said, “Awake, O sleeper, rise up from the dead, and Christ will give you light.” 15 So be careful how you live. Don’t live like fools, but like those who are wise. 16 Make the most of every opportunity in these evil days. 17 Don’t act thoughtlessly, but understand what the Lord wants you to do. 18 Don’t be drunk with wine, because that will ruin your life. Instead, be filled with the Holy Spirit, 19 singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs among yourselves, and making music to the Lord in your hearts. 20 And give thanks for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Ephesians 5:1-20, NLT
This week’s chart is similar to the one we made last week. Let’s use this repetition to cement these thoughts into our hearts and minds–which was Paul’s intention.
|Living in the Dark||Living in the Light|
As you read through our Scripture verses for the third time, in The Passage Translation, ask God to lift something off of the page for you. What is His special message right now, today, that He wants you to hear?
Be imitators of God in everything you do, for then you will represent your Father as his beloved sons and daughters. 2 And continue to walk surrendered to the extravagant love of Christ, for he surrendered his life as a sacrifice for us. His great love for us was pleasing to God, like an aroma of adoration—a sweet healing fragrance. 3 And have nothing to do with sexual immorality, lust, or greed—for you are his holy ones and let no one be able to accuse you of them in any form. 4 Guard your speech. Forsake obscenities and worthless insults; these are nonsensical words that bring disgrace and are unnecessary. Instead, let worship fill your heart and spill out in your words. 5 For it has been made clear to you already that the kingdom of God cannot be accessed by anyone who is guilty of sexual sin, or who is impure or greedy—for greed is the essence of idolatry. How could they expect to have an inheritance in Christ’s kingdom while doing those things? 6 Don’t be fooled by those who speak their empty words and deceptive teachings telling you otherwise. This is what brings God’s anger upon the rebellious! 7 Don’t listen to them or live like them at all. 8 Once your life was full of sin’s darkness, but now you have the very light of our Lord shining through you because of your union with him. Your mission is to live as children flooded with his revelation-light! 9 And the supernatural fruits of his light will be seen in you—goodness, righteousness, and truth. 10 Then you will learn to choose what is beautiful to our Lord. 11 And don’t even associate with the servants of darkness because they have no fruit in them; instead, reveal truth to them. 12 The very things they do in secret are too vile and filthy to even mention. 13 Whatever the revelation-light exposes, it will also correct, and everything that reveals truth is light to the soul. 14 This is why the Scripture says, “Arise, you sleeper! Rise up from your coffin and the Anointed One will shine his light into you!” 15–16 So be very careful how you live, not being like those with no understanding, but live honorably with true wisdom, for we are living in evil times. Take full advantage of every day as you spend your life for his purposes. 17 And don’t live foolishly for then you will have discernment to fully understand God’s will. 18 And don’t get drunk with wine, which is rebellion; instead be filled continually with the Holy Spirit. 19 And your hearts will overflow with a joyful song to the Lord. Keep speaking to each other with words of Scripture, singing the Psalms with praises and spontaneous songs given by the Spirit! 20 Always give thanks to Father God for every person he brings into your life in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Ephesians 5:1-20, TPT
Words, doodling, painting, photos–It’s your choice. How will you express what you’ve heard in God’s word today?
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Thank you for studying the Bible with me.