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                     "THE EPISTLE TO THE EPHESIANS"

               Walking In Love, Light, And Wisdom (5:1-21)

INTRODUCTION

1. Though we now enter chapter five, we are still noticing how to "walk 
   worthy of the calling with which you were called" - Ep 4:1
   a. We have been "called" to be...
      1) "holy and without blame before Him in love" - Ep 1:4
      2) "sons by Jesus Christ to Himself" - Ep 1:5
      3) "fellow citizens with the saints" - Ep 2:19
      4) "members of the household of God" - Ep 2:19
      5) "a holy temple in the Lord" - Ep 2:21
      6) "fellow heirs, of the same body, and partakers of His promise 
         in Christ" - Ep 3:6
   b. What sort of "walk" is worthy of such a calling?  So far we have 
      seen that it is one in which we are...
      1) "Walking Together In Unity" - Ep 4:1-16
      2) "Walking In Truth And Holiness - Ep 4:17-32

2. As we come into the fifth chapter, we learn that our "walk" (or 
   conduct) which is worthy of our calling is one in which we...
   a. Walk In Love - Ep 5:1-7
   b. Walk As Light - Ep 5:8-14
   c. Walk As Wise - Ep 5:15-21

["Walking In Love, Light, And Wisdom":  why is this so important?  As 
indicated in Ep 5:1, we are to be "followers of God as dear children";
and just as God is "love, light, and wisdom" personified, so we should 
try to imitate our Father!

Therefore, consider how we should...]

I. WALK IN LOVE (1-7)

   A. FOLLOWING CHRIST AS OUR EXAMPLE... (1-2)
      1. Jesus certainly has loved us and given Himself for us
      2. He offered Himself to God as an offering and sacrifice in our 
         behalf
      3. Let His example teach us how to "walk in love" - cf. Jn 13:
         34-35; 1Jn 3:16-17

   B. WITH A LOVE THAT IS PURE... (3-7)
      1. Our love should be free from any hint of immorality or greed 
         - Ep 5:3
      2. Even words or jokes suggestive of immorality or greed are 
         unbecoming those who are "saints" (holy, set apart for God's 
         purpose) - Ep 5:4
      3. This is a serious concern, for immoral or greedy persons have 
         no inheritance in the kingdom of Christ, but instead will 
         experience the full wrath of God! - Ep 5:5-7

["Walk In Love", with a love that is sacrificial and free from any hint
of personal gain (either sexual or monetary)...that is the kind of 
"walk" worthy of our calling as "saints".

Our "walk" also bears the responsibility of being a positive influence 
in the world in which we live, and this Paul discusses as we now 
consider our need to...]

II. WALK AS LIGHT (8-14)

   A. WE ARE NOW "LIGHT IN THE LORD"... (8-10)
      1. Before coming to Christ, we were once "darkness" (remember Ep
         2:1-3); but now we are "light in the Lord" and should walk as
         "children of light" - Ep 5:8
      2. The "fruit" expected of those "children of light" is "goodness,
         righteousness and truth" - Ep 5:9
      3. By bearing such fruit, we fulfill our role as "light" by 
         "proving" (demonstrating) what is well-pleasing to the Lord - 
          Ep 5:10; cf. Ro 12:1-2

   B. AS "LIGHT" WE MUST NECESSARILY EXPOSE "DARKNESS"... (11-14)
      1. We are not to have fellowship with "unfruitful works of 
         darkness" - Ep 5:11; e.g., fornication, uncleanness, 
         covetousness, Ep 5:3-4
      2. Instead, our task is to "expose" them - Ep 5:11b-13
         a. Things that we must "expose" are often so disgraceful, it is
            shameful to speak of them
         b. But by "walking in the light" ourselves, we can through 
            example and word expose by contrast these "works of 
            darkness"
      3. Thus the need to be "light" ourselves, something that comes 
         only from Christ - Ep 5:14
         a. Christ gives "light" to those who were spiritually asleep 
            and dead - cf. Ep 2:4-6
         b. Some scholars think this verse (14) may have been an early
            "baptismal hymn", sung at a person's baptism

[To "Walk As Light" is an awesome responsibility, and some have allowed
the "darkness" to overshadow the "light", rather than the "light" 
exposing the "darkness".  How can we be sure to carry out our role as 
"the children of light"?

This is were "wisdom" comes in, and therefore Paul exhorts us to...]

III. WALK AS WISE (15-21)

   A. CHARACTERISTICS OF "WALKING AS WISE"... (15-17)
      1. Doing so with great care - Ep 5:15
         a. The word translated "circumspectly" means "exactly, 
            accurately, diligently"
         b. Unlike fools, who care little about where they are going or 
            what is happening
      2. Taking advantage of the time available to one - Ep 5:16
         a. To "redeem the time" is "to make wise and sacred use of 
            every opportunity for doing good, so that zeal and well 
            doing are as it were the purchase money by which we make the
            time our own" (from the "Online Bible")
         b. This is necessary, because the days are "evil" (bringing 
            toils, annoyances, perils; of a time full of peril to 
            Christian faith and steadfastness; causing pain and trouble 
            - Online Bible)
      3. Understanding the will of the Lord - Ep 5:17
         a. Only by understanding the will of the Lord can we be a "wise
            people"
         b. Just as Israel was to demonstrate their wisdom by doing the 
            will of the Lord, so we can "walk as wise" only if we 
            understand His will for us - cf. Deut 4:5-6

   B. TO WALK AS WISE REQUIRES BEING "FILLED WITH THE SPIRIT"... (18-21)
      1. While those who "walk as fools" delight in being filled with 
         wine, those who "walk as wise" will endeavor to be filled with
         the Spirit!
      2. What evidence is there that one is "filled with the Spirit"? 
         Paul describes three indications...
         a. One indication is singing praises - Ep 5:19
         b. Another indication is giving thanks - Ep 5:20
         c. A third indication is submitting to one another in the fear
           of God - Ep 5:21

CONCLUSION

1. Children of God who delight in...
   a. Singing praises and making melody in the heart
   b. Giving thanks always for all things to God
   c. Submitting to one another in the fear of God
   -- demonstrate that they are "filled with the Spirit", and as such, 
      truly are "followers of God as dear children" (Ep 5:1)

2. As children of God, and "filled with the Spirit", they are able to
   walk in a manner worthy of their calling, as they...
   a. "Walk in love"
   b. "Walk as light"
   c. "Walk as wise"

3. Brothers and sisters in Christ, we live in a world...
   a. That has perverted the meaning of "love"
   b. That takes perverse pleasure in works of darkness
   c. That stumbles around aimlessly, like drunken fools
   -- Can we not see the need for the people of God today to live up to
      their "calling", and to "prove what is acceptable in the Lord"?

4. May God fill His children with His Spirit...
   a. So that we can truly "walk in love", "walk as light", and "walk as
      wise"
   b. And thereby show to the world the "fruit of the Spirit" (i.e.,
      goodness, righteousness, and truth)!
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