Loving Steps (Ephesians #13)

Text: Ephesians 5:1-7

This chapter explains what following God looks like in practice.  When Jesus Christ began his ministry, he invited men to follow him.  In Matthew 4 he invites Simon and Andrew to follow And they straightway left their nets, and followed him (Matthew 4:20).  Then in Matthew 8 a scribe says he will follow Jesus anywhere he goes to which Jesus says, And Jesus saith unto him, The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head (Matthew 8:19).  On the heels of that another fellow said he wanted to follow Jesus, but he needed to wait until his father died.  Jesus said, Follow me; and let the dead bury their dead.  Jesus invites Matthew in Matthew 9 to follow him and he leaves his career and follows Jesus.

Following means you’re taking steps.  So in verses 2, 8, and 15 he talks about a walk.  Walk in love, walk in light, and walk circumspectly.  Walk in love deals with the direction you’re walking.  Walk in the light means walking where you can see.  Walk circumspectly means you’re paying attention while you’re walking.

The Lord is going to show you the steps to take because we all think we are fine and following the Lord until that job opportunity comes up, or that relationship comes up, or that conversation comes up and then we misstep, and stumble.

Be followers of God.  So much written on how to be a leader.  Everyone thinks they’re a chief is the problem.  People don’t know how to follow.  So the Lord is going to map out his steps in a family relationship, in a job, in a church, in the world, so you’ll know.  Walking in love deals with the direction you’re walking.

Steps to take (vss 1-2)

  • of the savior
    • Jesus Christ says Christianity is following me and I carried my cross.  You don’t get to call what you do following Jesus Christ unless you’re walking in the same steps he walked.
    • Walk in Jesus Christ footsteps.
      • He doesn’t ask you to go anywhere He hasn’t gone.
      • He doesn’t drive you like the devil does.  He’s a shepherd who leads.
    • The problem with following is we don’t want to walk where he walked.
      • No servant is greater than his master.  Jesus Christ isn’t going to walk one path while you walk another and still claim to follow him.
      • The Lord is my shepherdhe leadeth me.  But he’s really not your shepherd and he really doesn’t lead you because you’re not following.
    • Self denial.  It means your motivation doesn’t come from what’s happening to you now, your motivation comes from what going to happen in the future.
    • You can be saved and not love God.
    • Love measured by its sacrifice
    • Blueprints for love
      • Fruit after its kind.  Lemon tree reproduces lemons and that’s all it has ever or will ever produce.
      • Fruit has within itself the seed containing the blueprints to reproduce that fruit.
      • Source of love is the Lord 1 John 4:7-11
      • Jesus Christ modeled God’s love and then commanded us to do what he showed us how to do.  1 John 3:16 Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.
      • God doesn’t just say love, He tells you how so you don’t go away with the same delusions about love that you came with.
  • of sacrifice
    • Vain or imitation love
    • 1 John 2:15-16 Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.  For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.
    • This leads us to the worldly imitations of love that sidetrack you.

Sidetracked off course (vss 3-4)

  • in fornication
    • But fornication… so sexual relationships, outside of husband and wife, will mean you’re off course
    • “But we love each other.”  Walk in love …but fornication… meaning fornication and love are not the same thing.  It is a lust.  You think it’s love because lust is deceitful (Ephesians 4:22).
    • Uncleanness is dirty living.  They used to be called “dirty” movies.
    • God will define uncleanness just like he defined love.
    • Numbers 5:12-13, 19 – So what the world calls a “good time” God says is dirty.
    • 2 Corinthians 12:21
    • Romans 1:24 Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves:
  • in finances
    • People love money.  Judas loved money.
    • False doctrine that God promises you wealth right now and wealth is a badge of God’s blessing.
    • Or people who think their money buys the power of God.
  • in filth
    • We have liberty.  Or we say, This is how real people talk.
    • Rig conversations with preacher present and without.  Elevated when God is in it, but slides down in the pit when God is removed.
    • “Christian” cussing.  Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh.  Abundance of the heart, so this is what your heart is overflowing with.  It’s filthy.

Standing that is sure (vs 5)

  • There is firm ground and there are things that have no place with God.
  • There is no whorehouse in heaven.  No place for that.  That’s the hogpen, not God’s kingdom.
  • Furthermore, the earth was never meant to be filled with filth.  Zechariah 13:2 And it shall come to pass in that day, saith the LORD of hosts, that I will cut off the names of the idols out of the land, and they shall no more be remembered: and also I will cause the prophets and the unclean spirit to pass out of the land.
  • Following an unclean spirit.  How do you clean up?  You take a bath.  
  • Ephesians 5:26 That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word,..  So if you let God define love, you’ll be able to stay clean.  If you let the world define love, you’ll be dirty.

Strangers to avoid (vss 6-7)

  • The voices of this world following an unclean spirit will tell you that a “good time” and having “fun” will keep you from being bound up as a prude.
  • According to the world if you’re a virgin before you get married it’s because you’re ignorant and lifeless and dull and boring.
  • Some idiot is going to take a microphone and rap with women acting out fornication all around him.  Or he’s going to sing about being drunk, sleeping around, partying, and then these idiots are going to pretend to be the moral voice.  And give lectures about who is contaminating our society.
  • #MeToo – some of these women have taken their clothes off in front of a camera and allowed millions of men to commit fornication with them with their eyes.  As long as they’re making money, that’s OK.
  • …be not partakers with them…  You’re following the Lord and you say to your friend, Let’s go.  They say, Hang on, I’ll be right there.  Why?  Something got a hold of their heart.  If Hollywood, news media or government social indoctrination get a hold of your heart it is impossible to be a Biblical Christian.  If you think that God was too hard on the Sodomites by raining fire and brimstone down on their towns, that’s not an idea you got from God.  That’s an idea you got from your social engineering, news media, or Hollywood.