Walk in Love Ephesians 5:1-2 NASB Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children; and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma. When we believe in Jesus Christ, to be Lord and Savior of our lives, we are crucified with Christ in death to sin, and we are resurrected with him to newness of life in him. Thus, we put off our former way of life, i.e. our old self, which is being corrupted by its evil desires, and we are made new in the attitude of our minds, of the Spirit of God. And, we put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness (See: Eph. 4:17-24). All this is the working of God’s grace in our lives. It is the working of God’s Holy Spirit in our lives in persuading us as to God’s will for our lives, and in moving our hearts to respond to God’s call on our lives with “Yes!” God, in his love and grace, through our faith in Christ, which is God-given faith, puts sin to death in our lives, and he gives us new life in him, which is to be lived to his righteousness. In our new birth, in Christ, we are thus created by God to be like him. And, he continues this process throughout our lives of conforming us to his likeness in all purity, righteousness and holiness. But, when we believe in Jesus, we don’t become puppets on a string and we no longer have any control over our own lives. We must daily submit to Christ and to his will for our lives, cooperate with his work of grace and purification, surrender to his will, and follow him in obedience. We become like Christ only in the power and working of God’s Holy Spirit in our lives, but also only as we do what he says in his power and strength within us. Thus, in the power and strength of the Lord, we emulate our Lord, we follow his example, we do what he says, and we do what he did, in the manner in which he did it. So, we walk in love in the way in which he walked in love, and gave himself up for us so that we might also walk in His love, purity, righteousness and holiness. This love, thus, prefers what God prefers, which is what is holy, pure, just, righteousness, honest, faithful, moral and godly. So, we will not willfully sin against others, to do them harm, if we are walking in His love. But, we will do and say what is for the good of others, for what they truly need. Not Exist Among Us Ephesians 5:3-5 NASB But immorality or any impurity or greed must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints; and there must be no filthiness and silly talk, or coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks. For this you know with certainty, that no immoral or impure person or covetous man, who is an idolater, has an inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. As followers of Jesus Christ, his saints, his body, his church, such things as immorality, impurity, greed and the like should not exist among us. They should have no part in our lives, for Jesus Christ set us free from slavery (addiction) to sin. He died that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. Thus, what is wicked, hateful, spiteful, of the flesh, immoral and impure should not be what we practice. For, if we practice such things; if we live and walk in these sins, in darkness, and not in the Light, we do NOT have eternal life with God or the promise of heaven as our eternal home. Deceived by Empty Words Ephesians 5:6-14 NASB Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. Therefore do not be partakers with them; for you were formerly darkness, but now you are Light in the Lord; walk as children of Light (for the fruit of the Light consists in all goodness and righteousness and truth), trying to learn what is pleasing to the Lord. Do not participate in the unfruitful deeds of darkness, but instead even expose them; for it is disgraceful even to speak of the things which are done by them in secret. But all things become visible when they are exposed by the light, for everything that becomes visible is light. For this reason it says, “Awake, sleeper, And arise from the dead, And Christ will shine on you.” There are so many preachers today, though, who are teaching that we can live and walk in immorality, impurity, greed and the like and still have the hope of heaven when we die. They, thus, mouth empty words, for what they are teaching is a LIE. They are teaching that we can be saved from our sins and have the guarantee of heaven when we leave this earth by a mere profession of Christ as Savior and Lord, absent of lifestyles that prove our faith to be genuine. For, they say that God requires no repentance, no submission to him and no obedience. Thus, those who fall for this lie are still dead in their sins without salvation from their sins or the hope of heaven. Therefore, we should not participate (join in) with them in their sins and in their lies and deceptions, but rather we should expose the lies and the liars for what they are, and we must give the Light (the truth) to people, instead, so that they are not led astray, and so they can be delivered from the darkness, so that they have the hope of eternal life with God. So, wake up! See the truth! Reject the lies! If you walk in sin, if you make it your practice, you will die in your sins, even if you have professed faith in Jesus Christ. God does require that you turn from your sins, and that you turn to walk in obedience to him, in his power at work within you. He does require that you find out what pleases him and to do it. Thus, he is not pleased with you no matter what you do. Please know this! Be Careful How You Walk Ephesians 5:15-21 NASB Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, making the most of your time, because the days are evil. So then do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. And do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord; always giving thanks for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God, even the Father; and be subject to one another in the fear of Christ. How we live our lives does matter to God, a whole lot! He does not forgive us our sins and then ignore them from that point on. Otherwise scripture would not teach that we must walk according to the Spirit, to not fulfill the cravings of our flesh, if we want to have eternal life with God. Our inheritance in the Lord is not guaranteed on a one-time experience. We must live and walk in holiness, and according to the Spirit, and by the Spirit be putting to death the deeds of the flesh, for eternal life to be guaranteed us. The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience… self-control, which is under God’s control. We must understand what the will of the Lord is and then do it, in his power and strength within us. Daily we must die to sin and self and live to righteousness, empowered by God’s Holy Spirit. We must, by the Spirit, be putting to death the deeds of the flesh, and be being filled with the Spirit, giving him control, yielding to the Lordship of Christ in our lives. For, this filling with the Holy Spirit is present tense, not past tense. The more we put sin out of our lives, and the more we yield control of our lives over to the Lord, the more the Spirit is given full rein in our lives (See: Eph. 4-5). Not only must we be careful how we live, but we must speak to (edify) one another via psalms, hymns and spiritual songs; to speak truth to one another for the benefit of one another in the love of Christ. To edify means to instruct, teach, educate, inform and improve one another in mind and character; to build up and strengthen one another in our walks of faith. Col. 3:16: “Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God.” And, these are not all songs of “Praise and Worship” as we might sing in a worship service, either, but they are scripture put to music, teaching us to walk in holiness, in godliness, in truth, in purity and in righteousness, and to forsake our lifestyles of sin. They are messages from the Lord which we are to share with one another for the building up of the body of Christ in faith and in spiritual maturity, so that none of us is hardened by sin’s deceitfulness. And, all of this is to the glory of God, to his praise, because we are serving one another in love, in helping our brothers and sisters in Christ to walk in purity, to follow our Lord in obedience, and to forsake their sins and idols. We are, thus, helping our fellow believers to desire our Lord above all else and to truly make him Lord of their lives, to the glory and praise of God. As the Deer / Martin J. Nystrom Based off Psalm 42:1 As the deer panteth for the water So my soul longeth after You You alone are my strength, my shield To You alone may my spirit yield You alone are my heart's desire… Monday, April 16, 2018, 6:18 a.m. – Thank you, Jesus, for this teaching from Your Word. May you make it real to our hearts today, I pray. Amen!