Green Valley Sermons

Always Giving Thanks

Sunday, November 20, 2016         

Ephesians 5:1-20


5:1 Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children 2 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.


3 But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God's holy people. 4 Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving. 5 For of this you can be sure: No immoral, impure or greedy person — such a man is an idolater — has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. 6 Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of such things God's wrath comes on those who are disobedient. 7 Therefore do not be partners with them.


8 For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light 9 (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) 10 and find out what pleases the Lord. 11 Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them. 12 For it is shameful even to mention what the disobedient [they] do in secret. 13 But

everything exposed by the light becomes visible, 14 for it is light that makes everything visible. This is why it is said:


"Wake up, O sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you."


15 Be very careful, then, how you live — not as unwise but as wise, 16 making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. 17 Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord's will is. 18 Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit. 19 Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord, 20 always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

NIV


This chapter starts off telling us to be imitators of God. Look at the last verse of the previous chapter to see what God is doing, to see what we are to imitate God in doing. Eph 4:32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. NIV We are to imitate God in loving and forgiving.


There are those whose lives are all about what God has done for them. Then there are those who live like the world and tack church and God on at the end of the week and hope God accepts that as enough of a living sacrifice to make us worthy of heaven. If that is you, you are trusting in your own works, not in God for your salvation.


Our lives are to be centered in God. When we realize... when we really understand what God has done for us, and what He wants to do in us and through us we are amazed and awed at such fantastic truth. These truths are greater than any science fiction that has ever been written. And there are some pretty fantastic stories out there. As a fan of science fiction, I can testify to this.


We can not be anything but grateful and thankful if we are believers in the truth that is expressed by the life, death, and resurrection of our Lord, Jesus Christ.


3 But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God's holy people. 4 Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving. NIV

As Paul continues to teach about what the life of a Christian is to be like, he continues with the idea of putting off and putting on.


Inappropriate sex and greed and impurity are improper for God's holy people. Speech that is foolish, or coarse, or obscene is out of place for us. These things are part of the world's way of living. Our focus in life has changed. Putting these things off is not how we get saved or how we stay saved. Putting these things off is what we do because we have put our trust in the truth that God loves us and it is a good thing that He is Lord of our lives. We are now living in a relationship with God. Those things that the world gets satisfaction from are no longer needed. Our significance comes from the fact of God's love for us.


We are forgiven and have submitted ourselves to God's Lordship over our lives. The greed of the world grows from the fact that we were relying on things to meet our needs. Now we rely on God to meet our needs for material things. Our gratitude grows from the fact that we now understand that all good things come from God. He is our source of life, health, and any thing else we need.


We are to put off having our needs met by the things we thought we needed before we put our trust in God. We are to put on this attitude of thankfulness. When the world sees us, we should be reflecting the character of God, who loves and forgives people.


When someone's speech is inappropriate, how do we respond? Do we condemn them? Or do we forgive them and pray for them? What do you think God's attitude is? Do you believe He condemns them? Or do you believe He is grieved because they do not understand what we have come to understand. We are to be witnesses of God's love and forgiveness. We are to be examples of how God loves and forgives. We are not to stand in judgment, but to offer the love, peace and joy of God.


We can turn the other cheek when someone slaps us because we have received the forgiveness of God when we were living lives that were a slap in God's face.


When someone is acting in an immoral, impure, or greedy manner, they are putting themselves in God's place. Paul says they are idolaters. They worship at the altar of selfishness. Or should I say, when we are acting in these ways, we are not worshiping God, but ourselves. We are to put off these attitudes. We are to put God first and foremost in our lives. God is to be the center of all we think, say, and do.


We, those who have accepted the love and grace of God, are not to be partners with them. Partners? We are not to promote the kingdom of this world with them. We are to be different from the world. Our values are to change when we put our faith in God.


The word at the end of verse six that is translated disobedient is a form of the word translated, in the NIV, as 'rejects' in John 3:36 and other places. It has the idea of a refusal to believe. We are not to have the same values as those who have rejected God's offer of a restored relationship with Him.


We are not to be partners with those who reject God. When you get down to it, those who are unbelievers are they who reject God. They leave Him out of their daily lives. Believers, on the other hand, have a relationship with God.


Those without faith are those who refuse to believe that God exists. They refuse to believe that God loves them. They refuse to believe that it makes a difference to them that He exists.


We who have come to know God, to believe Him, to trust Him, we live lives that express thankfulness and gratitude to God for everything. We become imitators of God and put off the ways of the world. We trust God to meet the needs in our life that He knows we need.


We are not to be partners with the disobedient who have not accepted God's love and mercy. We are not to have the same goals and values they have. We do not live for our country, or our jobs, or our houses and lands. We no longer live for the pleasure of sexual fulfillment. We know longer try to impress people by our coarse language.


We live for the Kingdom of God. Our lives are centered in the truths of God's revelation to us. He has loved us so much that He gave His Only Begotten Son to be a living sacrifice for us. He purchased for us our restored relationship with the Father. He calls us out of the world to live differently than those who do not believe, those who have rejected God's offer of a relationship with Him.


8 For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light 9 (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) 10 and find out what pleases the Lord. NIV


Before we accepted God's offer of salvation, we were in the dark about what life was all about. We did not have the Spirit of God to lead us. We were rejecting Him. We lived to please ourselves and other people instead of living to please God. Paul said we were once darkness, but now we are light in the Lord. Live as children of light. The implication is, we now have a choice we did not have before. We can choose to live as children of light. We have seen the light as they used to say. We have come to understand and to accept the truth that God has revealed.


The fruit of the light, what the light produces, consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth. Live as children of light and find out what pleases the Lord. Do you want to know God's will? Are you trying to live as God wants you to live? Live as children of light and you will learn what pleases the Lord.


How do you live as children of light? First, listen to what God says in the Bible. Read it. Study it. Make it a part of your every day life. God speaks to us through His revealed Word. He is the Word made flesh. Spend time with God by spending time in His Word.


Pray. Talk to God. Listen to God. Get alone and allow God to speak to you as you get apart from the world. Turn off the TV. Allow what you have learned from God's Word to work in you. Spend time listening to God.


Live as children of the light. Trust God to speak, to illuminate the truth. Trust Him to lead you each day. Trust Him to speak through you as you have conversations with others.


Live as children of the light. Put off what you know is leading you away from God, put on what you know God says is good for you.


Idolatry is putting other things before God. Its root is in the selfish desires of the old nature. The Spirit of God will lead you to put God ahead of yourself. The Spirit of God will lead you to love other people, to forgive. The Spirit of God will lead you to be thankful what God has given you and away from greed and coveting what others have.


Many of Christians take pride in putting off getting drunk with wine, but have we put on being filled with the Spirit? Do we speak to one another in psalms, and hymns and spiritual songs? Are the scriptures and hymns part of our everyday conversations?


It is good to put off the old ways, but we also need to put on the ways of the Spirit. We are to imitate God in loving, caring for, and forgiving other people.


As followers of Jesus Christ our lives should be characterized by thanksgiving.


Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord, 20 always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. NIV


Always giving thanks. When people think of you do you suppose they see someone who is always thankful?


I think I may need some improvement in this area. What about you? Are you committed to imitating God? If He is your Savior and Lord, are you working at putting off the old nature and putting on the nature of Christ? Perhaps you have grown complacent in this endeavor. Do you need to revive your commitment to finding what pleases God?


Always giving thanks.