The Book of EPHESIANS
James J. Barker
FOLLOWERS OF GOD
- In life we see that most
people are followers and very few are
- Men like Alexander the
Great, Julius Caesar, Napoleon, George Washington, and Abraham Lincoln stand out
because they were great leaders.
- Hundreds of biographies have
been written about their lives, their military campaigns, their speeches and
interesting sayings, and so on.
- As Christians, we are to
follow our great leader – a man who stands much taller than Caesar and Napoleon
- Our great leader is King of
kings and Lord of lords. He is the
image of the invisible God, God manifest in the flesh. He died on the cross for our sins.
- So rather than follow a
mortal man, we are to be “followers of God” (5:1). The only time it is acceptable to follow
a man is when that man has been appointed by God over us.
- As long as that man is
following God, then we can safely follow him. That is why Paul said in I Corinthians
11:1, “Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of
- In tonight’s text, we see
that Paul instructs the Ephesians to be “followers of God” (5:1).
WE FOLLOW GOD WHEN WE WALK IN LOVE (5:1,
- “God is love” (I John
4:8). Therefore, His followers are
to “walk in love” (Eph. 5:2).
- “Walk” is a key word in this
epistle (cf. 2:2, 10; 4:1, 17; 5:2, 8, 15). God is more interested in our
walk than in our talk.
- This is not to suggest that
our talk is unimportant (cf. 5:4, 12). It is just that people pay more attention
to our walk than to our talk (cf. 5:13).
Sometimes, Christians’ walk does not line up with his
- In natural life, children
bear the family likeness and should seek to uphold the family name. In spiritual life, we should manifest
our Father to the unsaved world, and seek to walk worthy of our calling as His
“dear children” (5:1).
- We should resemble the Lord
by “walking in love” (5:2). We are
to do this by giving ourselves for others as Christ did (5:2). Amazing love! How can it be that Thou my God shouldst
die for me?
- Because Christ died for us
on the cross, we should live for others.
One poet put it this way:
“Others, Lord, yes,
Let this my motto
me to live for others
That I may live like Thee” – Charles D.
WE FOLLOW GOD WHEN WE WALK
IN PURITY (5:3-6)
- “Fornication” (5:3) usually
means illicit sex among unmarried persons.
Adultery usually refers to illicit sex between married
- Here Paul adds “and
all uncleanness” (5:3), which would include adultery, homosexuality,
pornography, and all immorality.
- “Covetousness” in this
context refers to lusting after immoral sex. Exodus 20:17 says: “Thou shalt not covet
thy neighbor’s wife.”
- H.A. Ironside wrote: “The
word rendered ‘covetousness’ does not refer here to greed for money. It is, rather, sensual
greed. It is that vile,
disgusting greed for sensual gratification, the vilest thing of which the human
heart is capable.”
- Paul says in verse 3, “Let
it not be once named among you, as becometh saints.” What a terrible testimony to the world
when a professed Christian gets involved in immorality. And yet it happens all
- Not only must we be careful
to avoid immoral behaviour, we must also be careful to avoid immoral talk
(5:4). Many Americans were shocked
and disgusted when they heard that President Clinton used to get on a telephone
and talk dirty to one of his interns.
- And it amazes me that people
spend a lot of money dialing these dirty phone sex numbers. How degrading! How disgusting!
- “Filthiness” (5:4) includes
filthy talk, dirty stories and jokes, obscenity, and indecency. It is all over the television and in the
movies and popular music, etc.
- “Foolish talking” and
“jesting” (5:4) refers to empty chatter, which often leads to gutter talk, and
crude jokes with double meanings.
- When some politician gets
caught in a sex scandal, the comedians on television have a field day. The Bible says, “Fools make a mock at
sin” (Pro. 14:9).
- One of these silly fools was
recently exposed himself. But he is
still on TV laughing away. Rather
than joke about sin, we ought to be giving thanks to God for all He has done for
us (5:4b). This is pleasing to God
and a blessing to others.
- The Bible makes it very
clear that people whose lives are characterized by these sins are lost and on
their way to hell (5:5; cf. I Cor. 6:9, 10; Gal. 5:19-21; Rev. 21:8;
- “Idolater” (5:5) in this
context refers to the “covetous man” who is coveting after illicit sex. He worships the human body. God created the human bodies and God
created sex. But when men and women
go beyond the parameters God has set up, there is trouble (cf. Rom. 1:24,
- Unsaved people are always
trying to deceive us into thinking that sin is now acceptable (5:6). They use “vain words” to defend and
excuse extra-marital sex, pre-marital sex, perverted sex, etc. But the Bible says “the wrath of God”
will come down “upon the children of
- We see this proven true
every day: people die of AIDS, and suffer from other STDs. I read that 20% of Americans now have
herpes. One of the reasons so many
people are having nervous breakdowns and going to psychiatrists, and taking
psychotic drugs is because of guilt. Most of these mental, nervous, and
emotional disorders result from guilt.
WE FOLLOW GOD WHEN WE WALK
IN THE LIGHT (5:7, 8).
- Way back in Genesis 1:18 we
read that God divided the light from the
- All through the Bible we see
the contrast between darkness and light.
- In John 8:12, Jesus said, “I
am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of
- Not only do unsaved people
walk in darkness, they are darkness
- Walking in the light will
yield “the fruit of the Spirit” (5:9). Those who walk in the light produce the
fruit of the Spirit:
- “goodness” – moral
excellence, in contrast to the moral depravity and immorality of those who walk
in darkness (cf. 5:3-7).
- “righteousness” – integrity
in our dealings with God and men.
- “truth” – “Honesty is the
best policy.” Jesus is “the way,
the truth, and the life” (John 14:6). If we are His followers (cf. 5:1), then
we must always be truthful (cf. 4:25).
- The Bible teaches that once
a person gets saved, he or she has to make a clean break with the
- Paul says, “For ye
were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as
children of light” (Eph. 5:8).
- This means separating from
worldly friends – “Be not ye therefore partakers with them” (Eph. 5:7).