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Motherís Day - Imitating Your Father

Pastor Gary Buchman
Emmitsburg Community Bible Church

(5/8) "Momma told me there would be days like thisÖmomma said." "When I was just a baby, my momma told me sonÖ" What did momma say that has stuck with you.? Or, One thing I will never forget about my mother.

Like Father, like Son. Have you ever heard that? Or, heís a chip off the old block. Or, the apple doesnít fall far from the tree? Those are all, what my dad would call, old sayings. They all refer to a child who takes on the character of his father. Some of us remember Harry Chapinís song, Catís in the Cradle, about a son who wants to be like his dad; in fact, does, grow up to be just like his dad. Sadly, the song was about a dad who was too busy to be with his son.

Imitate Your Father (v. 1)

I donít know what your biological or adoptive father was like. You may or may not have become like him, but we know what our adoptive Father in Heaven is like and we know that He wants us to be like Him. In the Sermon on the Mount, our Lord Jesus tells us to model our character after our Father. Look at Matt. 5:43-48.

When God was giving Israel the Law through Moses, He told them in Leviticus 11:44-45, that He is the LORD their God, the great I AM, the invisible God, that brought them out of Egypt, and by implication has protected them and provided for them, and loved them, "You shall therefore be Holy, for I the Lord your God am Holy." Peter repeats those words in 1 Peter 1:13-16, "Therefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and rest your hope fully upon the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; 14 as obedient children, not conforming yourselves to the former lusts, as in your ignorance; 15 but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, 16 because it is written, "Be holy, for I am holy."

While Paul doesnít use the word Holy, he begins the section we call chapter 5, with the word, "Therefore," since we donít want to grieve Him and because we were given great grace, kindness, and forgiveness, from God. Stop! Remember from Chapter 1, that our relationship with God was from beginning to end all His doing. He chose us before the foundation of the world, He predetermined in His love for us to adopt as His own, He accepted us into His family, He redeemed us and forgave us, because Jesus was substituted for us and shed His blood and died in our place, then He gave us wisdom and insight into His plans, and gave us an inheritance in His kingdom and sealed the deal by living in us by His Holy Spirit and in Chapter 2 He tells us that it was all because He is rich in mercy, for His great love with which He loved us, and he gave us great grace. Inexhaustible mercy, inexhaustible love, inexhaustible grace, is how God has brought us into His family, and Paul says, "Be like that!" "As dear children, Godís adoptive Child, be like that." Be imitators of God. The word imitators, means, to mimic. What did God do in your life? How did God respond to you in your sin? How did God demonstrate His love and grace to you? How about when you offended God and sinned after you received His grace? Be like that, be like your Father.

Walk in Love (v. 2)

Do want a demonstration? Look at Jesus! Verse 2 says, "And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma." To walk is to live your life the same way Jesus did. I believe that both verses look back to chapter 4 and getting rid of all bitterness and anger and being kind, tenderhearted, and forgiving as God in Christ has forgiven us. To be a Christ Follower is to commit to walking or living your life as Jesus did. Look over 1 John 2:6, "He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked." 1 John 3-4 is pretty clear. To be a follower of Jesus means to love like He loved. Paul will give a pretty clear picture of what that looks like in 1 Cor. 13. How did Jesus love us? We know that His love is unconditional, sacrificial, substitutional, faithful, and committed.

Our Lord Jesus Himself said to us, "A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. 35 By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another." (John 13:34-35) The late Christian Philosopher Francis Schaeffer said this. "Jesus is giving a right to the world. Upon His authority He gives the world the right to judge whether you and I are born again Christians on the basis of our observable loveÖ.Jesus is not here saying that our failure to love all Christians proves that we are not ChristiansÖ.What Jesus is saying, however, is that if I do not have the love I should have toward all other Christians, the world has the right to make the judgment that I am not a ChristianÖ.There is a mark, which, if the world does not see, allows them to conclude, "This man is not a Christian."

Okay, so what does it mean then to walk in love? That means, in essence, to seek the highest good for others; to think more about the needs of others than you do your own. Thatís what Jesus did and that is how He modeled love for us. That is the essence of John 3:16; and 1 John 3:1 and 4:9, and Romans 5:6-8. For our Lord, it was not, "What do I get out of this," or, "How does this benefit me?" It was about the need we had, not the costs. We were lost, condemned to die unless He did the only thing possible to rescue us. He modeled how to treat people, how to teach people, how to serve people, and how to give for the benefit of others. He gave His life not only for His friends as He states in John 15:13 says, but He sought the best for His enemies and His love was for them as well (Romans 5:8).

To the Father, our Father in heaven, the love and sacrifice of Jesus was like a sweet perfume, or fragrance. Do you have a favorite smell? A flower, a perfume, or cologne? How about potpourri, or incense, or a particular food cooking? Man, that smells good! I like lilacs, and Easter Lilies, and a ham baking in the oven or Debís pumpkin pie.

Thatís what it is like when you imitate the Love of Jesus and you take off the old self and put on the New self that was created after Christ. Our Father loves it and it smells good, just as Jesusí love for us and His self-sacrifice for us pleased the Father. However, there is a life that stinks to Him.

The Life that Stinks (vv. 3-6)

3 But fornication and all uncleanness or covetousness, let it not even be named among you, as is fitting for saints; 4 neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks. 5 For this you know, that no fornicator, unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. 6 Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience.

Remember that Ephesus was sin city of Asia Minor. The temple of Dianna was one of the seven wonders of the ancient world. Again, I remind you of what John MacArthur wrote, "The goddess of Ephesus, Diana, was worshiped as a sex goddess. The place was packed with eunuchs, who were made eunuchs in order to accommodate that kind of activity, and there were thousands of priestesses and temple prostitutes, singers, dancers, and a whole great big orgy occurred. One writer says the worship was a kind of hysteria, where the people with shouts and music worked themselves into frenzies of shameless sexual activity, including mutilation, self-mutilation. Heraclitus said the temple was, quote, "The darkness of vileness. The morals were lower than animals, and the inhabitants of Ephesus were fit only to be drowned," end quote. The little church in Ephesus was an island in a cesspool."

Everything in verses 3-6 is about self-gratification and the old self which was self-centered and not about love.

ē Fornication is from Pornea, and includes any sexual activity outside of the gift of marriage. From internet and magazine and TV and pornography and the self-gratification that comes from that to sleeping with your boyfriend or girlfriend or with a prostitute, it is all the same. Itís about lust and not about love. Lust is usually a personal desire for personal benefit. And that is what sex outside of the gift of marriage is.

ē Uncleanness can be any unholy thought, word or action.

ē Course jesting is about making every thought and conversation, about sex. Some of you remember, and some have no idea, but in the first half of the 20th century, comedians made their living creating comedy about life. Acts like, the Bowery Boys, the 3 Stooges, Laurel and Hardy, Abbott and Costello, Lucille Ball, Dick Van Dyke and even Bill Cosby made us laugh about life. But from the second half of the 20th century to today, comedy is all about sex. How many TV shows for adults donít have sex scenes in them? How many comedians do comedy without sex talk? How many people outside of the church can carry on a conversation without dropping F bombs throughout the conversation?

ē What is covetousness? Yes, it is idolatry, but it is wanting what someone else has or owns, including their husband or wife.

Verses 3-6 characterize the old life, the dead life, the lives of those who will be separated from God forever in Hell, and will experience the full blown anger of God for the unholy. Paul says, "Donít let anyone tell you that you are only human, and these are just biological needs that you were wired with and therefore it is okay. Sex is okay if you are not married and you feel hormonal goosebumps, and call it love. That is baloney, and it stinks and it characterizes those who do not know Jesus and will be in hell.

Paul says, "What smells good is when you are thankful for what God has blessed you with, instead of always thinking I will feel better if I could have that person or that thing that someone else has, of if I can draw attention to myself by my off color speech or jokes." Sometimes, someone will say to me, "This one isnít too bad." If you have to preface a joke with, "Itís not too bad," it is too bad.

Walk as Children of Light

7 Therefore do not be partakers with them. Walk in Light 8 For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light 9 (for the fruit of the Spirit (Light), is in all goodness, righteousness, and truth), 10 finding out what is acceptable to the Lord. 11 And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them. 12 For it is shameful even to speak of those things which are done by them in secret. 13 But all things that are exposed are made manifest by the light, for whatever makes manifest is light. 14 Therefore He says: "Awake, you who sleep, Arise from the dead, And Christ will give you light."

The life described in verses 3-6 are the characteristics of those who are living in darkness. Darkness, in scripture, speaks of either intellectual ignorance, or of moral evil. Think of scriptures like these:

ē John 3:18, Why are people condemned? They love darkness more than light.

ē Isaiah 5:20, "Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil;

Who put darkness for light, and light for darkness;

ē Ephesians 4:18, The Unsaved have their hearts or understanding-darkened.

ē John 8:12, "I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life."

ē Luke 22:53, Jesus says this is your hour and the power of darkness. A reference to satanic activity.

By Contrast, Light is knowledge, and light is moral purity and holiness.

Godís word is light.

ē Proverbs 6:20-23, (Appropriate to include extended portion), My son, keep your fatherís command, And do not forsake the law of your mother. 21 Bind them continually upon your heart; Tie them around your neck. 22 When you roam, they will lead you; When you sleep, they will keep you; And when you awake, they will speak with you. 23 For the commandment is a lamp, And the law a light; Reproofs of instruction are the way of life

ē Psalm 119:105, "Your word is a lamp to my feet, And a light to my path."

ē John 8:12, Jesus is the light of the world.

ē 1 John 1:5; God is light and in Him there is no darkness at all.

The point is simple, as the children of God we are imitate our Father, follow the example of our Savior and live by the instructions in the manual of life and light.

In His Sermon on the Mount, Jesus said, "You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. 16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.í Our Fatherís plan is that your life and your reveal the truth and give knowledge and demonstrate righteousness in a dark world. But you have to be intentional in taking off the stinking clothes of the old self and put on Christ. Notice several things:

1. If you are a child of light, the natural results will be Fruit of Light. Some have the Fruit of the Spirit, same difference. Jesus said, "Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheepís clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. 16 You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles? 17 Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 Therefore by their fruits you will know them." (Matt. 7:17-20). If Christ has changed your life, if you have been born again, redeemed, saved, you are new creature and the results should reflect the light and love of Jesus Christ. Turn over to John 15 and look at that. "I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. 2 Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit. 3 You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you. 4 Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me.5 "I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. 6 If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned. 7 If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you. 8 By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples. Your life is changed and your character is changed and that is good for you and a witness to the world and your Father is honored. Why? Because you are becoming more like Him. Thatís the point of Galatians 5:19-26, "Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, 20 idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, 21 envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. 24 And those who are Christís have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. 26 Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another."

So, here is an honest question, "Does your life produce the fruit of light and love? Are you different than the world of the lost and the dead? If not, why not? If not, there is good reasons to suspect that you have not been saved. I donít care if you prayed a prayer or have been baptized. Good trees produce good fruit. Bad trees produce bad fruit. Itís that simple. You need to be saved, rescued, born again.

2. We are to not continue in partnership, with that those who practice the ways of darkness. I did not say we are not to be around them. But we are not to participate in that life anymore. You have to be around them to show and tell them the difference that Christ can make.

3. We have been commissioned, assigned the job, commanded to expose the works of darkness. How? The same two ways. Show and Tell!

a. We show them the difference by our changed life. We drink tea, or Pepsi, instead of alcohol. We donít laugh at their course jesting. WE put filters on our TVs and Computers. We dedicate one day a week to worshipping our God instead of worshipping Sports. When you do that you will find that people will change their language when you walk into a room. Ever had that happen? Why? Because your life says that language is wrong, offensive to God and His children. Like my friend Dee Flagg and his company picnic.

He didnít want to go. He had become a Christ follower and didnít want to be around the drinking. I told him to deliberately drink Coca Cola and when asked, tell them why.

Here is a quick and true story. To my knowledge, this only happened once to me, but this is true. When I became a chaplain, I introduced myself to the Sheriffís deputies in Westminster. A day or so later, I met one of the deputies in the mall and he was with a lady who was not his wife. He had left his wife. I did not nothing except to say hello to them. The next day I saw him at work. He said to me, that just seeing me, made him feel so guilty that he broke off that relationship and went back to his wife and has sought counseling for their marriage.

b. We tell them why we donít drink alcohol, and why it is wrong to preface everything with G.D. or J.C. or the F word, and why sex outside of marriage is wrong, Homosexuality is wrong, Abortion is wrong, why men and women are equal but different, and why pornography and selfishness is sin. It may cost you as it did John the Baptist and even Paul, but that is our commission.

An Invitation

This section for today includes an invitation from Isaiah 60:1 that we read when we began our time this A.M. Paul relates it to some who may be in the church but not in Christ. They are professors but not possessors of salvation. Some think this is from a first century Easter Hymn. It is an invitation to come out of the darkness and into the light and to receive Jesus and let Him change your life.

It may also be an invitation to those who had once followed Jesus closely but have drifted or as the old expression says, have slid back into the old life. Listen to Romans 13:11-14, "And do this, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep; for now our salvation is nearer than when we first believed. 12 The night is far spent, the day is at hand. therefore let us cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light. 13 Let us walk properly, as in the day, not in revelry and drunkenness, not in lewdness and lust, not in strife and envy. 14 But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts.

Letís pray.

Read other thoughtful writings by Pastor Gary Buchman