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Leadership in Context Episode 71 Show Notes

Be Imitators, pt3

Leadership in Context with Keith Tucci

Episode 071

The past two weeks we have been focusing on Paul’s ministry where he calls people to imitate him. We’ve looked at 1 Corinthians 4:16 and 1 Corinthians 11:1. In each of those cases, he gave particular illustrations of life challenges and ministry dilemmas that he was in and then said, “Be imitators of me.” Clearly, the Apostle Paul did not mind holding himself up to the microscope.

Ephesians 5:1-2 Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children; and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma.

Rather than admonishing people to be an imitator of him, he says to be an imitator of God.

Again, we see the “therefore” so we have to go back to Ephesians 4 to see what he is referring to. In chapter 4, Paul talks about the ministry gifts, the Church being equipped to do the work of service, as well as the character and behavior of the Church.

Let’s pick up later in the chapter where Paul is talking about his behavior expectations on the Church.

Ephesians 4:27-28 And do not give the devil an opportunity. He who steals must steal no longer; but rather he must labor, performing with his own hands what is good, so that he will have something to share with one who has need.

Paul doesn’t just talk about working to meet your needs, but working so that you are able to have something to share with the one who has a need. That is the definition of prosperity—having enough left over to bless someone else.

Ephesians 4:29 Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear.

Great admonishment!

Ephesians 4:30 Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.

He is reminding them of the purpose. That seal is a tag, an ownership, from the King.

Ephesians 4:31 Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice.

Here he is talking about how we relate to each other, how the Church looks.

Ephesians 4:32 Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.

You can probably sum up verse 17-31 with verse 32. Be kind to one another. Be tender-hearted. Forgive each other. Do this just as God in Christ has forgiven you. God in Christ becomes the standard.

Ephesians 5:1-2 Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children; and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma.

THEREFORE, be imitators of God…

Don’t be God, the Creator God. But be like God who came to earth in the form of Christ.

As beloved children…

Remember what our relationship is.

Walk in love…

Walk this thing out.

Just as Christ also loved you…

“Just as” in the New Testament means “to the same degree, measurement, standard, effect, commitment.”

Gave Himself up for us, an offering…

Jesus’ life was not taken. He surrendered His life. A surrendered life to Christ is ultimately tested as to whether we are able to surrender our lives to the people we are walking in covenant with. Can we really defer, love, act kindly towards them? Do we have a brotherly affection towards them? One of the reasons God puts us in covenant relationships is so He can be the Lord of those relationships and work those tender things out in our lives. When we are disconnected from the body of Christ, we do not represent the head, Jesus.

As a fragrant aroma…

This is the pouring out of our self that often we don’t see a great purpose in or great effect. Think about Jesus’ feet being washed by the perfume. There are times in our service to the Lord where it seems like we are wasting our love and kindness as we look parallel to the people around us, but it is a sweet aroma to God. God is trusting you to love someone without effect, without reciprocal blessing—like He loves us. Yes, this is a high standard. I think this is why Paul does not say to imitate him, but to imitate God.

Let’s be good stewards and not substitute the human standard for the godly standard.

Join us next week as Keith Tucci continues to put leadership truth in the context of the local church. And as always, please like, share, rate/review, and invite others to listen. See you next week!

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