Text: Ephesians 5.1-17
CIT: A call to imitate God in love and life.
CIS: I will attempt to give an adequate overview of the Faith Path initiative.
Introduction: Faith Overview: to 2:12
We asked Wendy and Phil to coordinate our Family Life ministries 4 years ago. Since that time we watched as the ministry in their area has flourished. Their goal when they came was to help us build strong families. We’ve had marriage conferences, schools begun; Speech and Debate tournaments and what I’ve been most excited about is a focused initiative that we call Calvary Cornerstone. Cornerstone is located at the back of the worship center and is an attractive center designed with you in mind. We’ve attempted to provide resources to equip you for just about every major struggle we face: for those with a concern for aging parents to becoming new parents.
Today, I’m excited to tell you about new initiative to equip our families for life: Faith Path.
Play video: from 2:12 to 6:18
Open your Bibles to Ephesians 5.
I had a professor in Seminary who told us as students a story about walking with his daughter Amy. They were out in the woods, walking along when he turned and didn’t see Amy anywhere. He called out and heard her nearby. He went to her and brought her back to the path. He scolded her sharply because his heart skipped a beat at the thought of losing his daughter out there in the woods.
Amy, stay on the path.
They walked along a little further when he realized he had lost her again. It only took a second to find her, and bring her back to the path. He gave her a good swat and told her to stay on the path.
Do you understand?
Daddy, what’s a path?
App.: I think it’s one thing for us to encourage you with our sermons and programs to keep your children on the path, but it’s another thing for you to teach them to stay on the path. Deut 5.32-33 says: 32 You shall be careful therefore to do as the Lord your God has commanded you. You shall not turn aside to the right hand or to the left. 33 You shall walk in all the way that the Lord your God has commanded you, that you may live, and that it may go well with you, and that you may live long in the land that you shall possess.
Imperfect parents often make mistakes like that: assuming our children know and understand when they don’t. I guess that’s why Paul told the Ephesians to: rd 5.1; rd 5.1a; be imitators of God; He’s the perfect parent – the exact opposite of: 4.17-32; and concludes with 5.1 – as beloved children; then he gives a list. A simple list really. I’ve identified them in this way:
- Walk in Love
- Teach in Love
- Redeem the Time
Transition: let’s begin with
1. Walk in Love (1-2)
exp.: rd v 2a; I think it’s interesting that Paul says to imitate God, mimic God as beloved Children. God has given us a paradigm, a pattern to be followed: Him. How many times does he call us to be like him? Be Holy as I am holy; God made man in his image, in the image of God he created him. He is our Father. We are his children and he loves us perfectly. BTW: the words be imitators of God is an imperative – it’s a command. So then, we are commanded to be like Him when we love, when we parent, when we teach. Then, Paul gives us an example: Christ. Rd the rest of v2;
- As Christ
- A fragrant offering
- A Sacrifice
app.: I was thinking that sometimes it feels like a sacrifice; however, when it’s all said and done – we don’t really feel like we’ve sacrificed at all. We’ve only loved.
t.s.: So be the example to your kids: walk in love – as God is an example to us, 2nd,
2. Teach in Love (6)
exp.: rd v 6; Let no one deceive you; you could leave this task to someone else, but do you really want to? I’m not saying you have to homeschool your kids. That’s not the message. But you still have the responsibility to protect them from those that would deceive them.
I saw this in the news on Friday and it pertains to the Public School System (Thank God for Christian Teachers who work with our children in the Public and Private Schools):
From: Todd Starnes, Fox News: The Fairfax County Public Schools School Board voted Thursday night to add “gender identity” to its nondiscrimination policy in spite of massive opposition from parents and the area’s religious community.
Police were summoned to control a standing-room-only crowd as board members approved the controversial measure.
Critics argued it would allow boys who identify as girls to use the bathrooms and locker rooms of their choice — and vice versa. Parents also had concerns about the possibility of transgender teachers.
School Board Chair Tamara Derenak Kaufax issued a statement calling the measure a way to “provide an environment which promotes equality where every student and employee is treated with dignity and respect.”
“The School Board has taken this proactive step to protect our students and staff from discrimination,” she wrote.
The district said they were mandated by the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights to add “gender identity” to the policy — or else risk losing federal funding.
Here’s the point: If you choose to let someone else chart their path, your kids might be deceived; you teach your children, first by example in love and 2ndly, with words;
Here’s how we’re committed to help you accomplish this: There are 13 steps on this Faith Path…
Parent Dedication (Birth-2)
Family Time (4+)
Prepare to Lead your Child to Christ (5+)
Giving & Serving (9+)
Preparing for Adolescence (11+)
Rite of Passage (16+)
There is one more: Salvation and Baptism. This decision isn’t really attached to a certain age. It happens when it happens. So there is no age assigned to this stepping-stone.
ill.: here’s more of an explanation: play the video from 6.18 – 8.57;
t.s.: In the video you saw a dvd and audio cd in the packet? Well, we’ve posted them on line, so that you can access them through our website. So, model the model of love you’ve learned from Christ and teach Biblical principles that come from Christ. And 3rd,
3. Redeem the Time (15-17)
exp.: rd v 15-17; As a parent of three adult children I can say with authority: you don’t have much time. It feels like it when you’re in it, that you’ve got plenty of time. But, you don’t. You will be amazed at how the time passes so quickly.
CALL: I’m wondering this morning if you’re willing to surrender that to the Lord this morning. Would you pray a simple prayer: Lord, help me live the life you’ve called me to live – a life that demonstrates your love, that teaches your love, that doesn’t waste today. Lord, help me live a life that calls for followers – that I would live my life in such a way that I can say – follow me, do as I do.
Pause… Lord, bless our prayers with your structure for our lives. Give us a passion to know you more and to be more like you in every way. Conform us to the image of your son, carving and chiseling away the parts that you don’t want, until all that is left is a beautiful reflection of you. In Jesus name, Amen.
ill.: play the video from 12:08 and stop at 14:07
t.s.: Regrets you’ll never have.
Conclusion: Paul says elsewhere:
1 Corinthians 4.16: 14 I do not write these things to make you ashamed, but to admonish you as my beloved children. 15 For though you have countless guides in Christ, you do not have many fathers. For I became your father in Christ Jesus through the gospel. 16 I urge you, then, be imitators of me. 17 That is why I sent you Timothy, my beloved and faithful child in the Lord, to remind you of my ways in Christ, as I teach them everywhere in every church.
He repeats it in 11.1: Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ.
And in Philippians 3.12 and following he writes:
12 Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. 13 Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. 15 Let those of us who are mature think this way, and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal that also to you. 16 Only let us hold true to what we have attained.
17 Brothers, join in imitating me, and keep your eyes on those who walk according to the example you have in us. 18 For many, of whom I have often told you and now tell you even with tears, walk as enemies of the cross of Christ. 19 Their end is destruction, their god is their belly, and they glory in their shame, with minds set on earthly things. 20 But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, 21 who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself.
4 Therefore, my brothers, whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, stand firm thus in the Lord, my beloved.
Application: Parent, Grandparent, Disciple-maker, teacher, Uncle, Aunt, Christian Leader
We have an overview packet for you today – with that overview packet, we have a video accessible on our website.
Wendy, KK, Phil, Tracy, will you guys come forward and be available to hand these out?
Play video as these people get in place from 14.07 to the end.
So, here’s the call: Mimic God, for the benefit of those who follow you – mimic God.