After laying out the riches of God’s grace and glory in Ephesians 1–3, Paul turns to the way in which Christians are to walk in their new life. Five times in Ephesians 4–5 he uses the word “walk:— in light of Christ’s work of salvation, Paul calls us to walk worthy of our calling (4:1), to walk unlike Gentiles (4:17), to walk in love (5:1), to walk in light (5:8), and to walk in wisdom (5:15).
In this week’s sermon, I consider the third of these instructions, to walk in love. Based on a close reading of Ephesians, we learn that walking in love depends on knowing, delighting, and experiencing God’s love. Only as we walk in his love, can we express love to others—especially love to those who are unlovely.
Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. But sexual immorality and all impurity or covetousness must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints. Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving. For you may be sure of this, that everyone who is sexually immoral or impure, or who is covetous (that is, an idolater), has no inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God.
- What are the five ‘walk’ commands? How does these help us understand the Christian life? Are these instructions given to individuals or the church? What difference does that make?
- Look at the structure of Paul’s argument (see picture above). How does the structure help us understand Paul’s argument?
- How does Paul motivate obedience — see Ephesians 4:25–5:5.
- How does Paul situate commands with new life in Christ — see Ephesians 4:17–24 and Ephesians 5:6–14.
- What does this teach us about walking with Christ?
- How do we walk in love? If someone struggles to love, what would be Paul’s encouragement to them? (Hint: re-read Ephesians 2:1–10).
- How can we ruin our walk? Meditate on and consider Ephesians 5:3–5. What areas do you need to adjust?
- How does thanksgiving help us our walk with God? How can we cultivate thanksgiving? How does thanksgiving help us walk in purity?
- Ephesians 5:5 says that those who presently and actively know sexual immorality and impurity, or who are covetous have no inheritance in the kingdom. What does this mean? How would you encourage someone struggling with sexual sin to walk in purity? (Look carefully at Paul’s words).
On Ephesians 4–6
- Speaking the Truth in Love (Ephesians 4:15): Life in the New Covenant Community by Peter Gentry — This is an important article on the structure of Ephesians 4–6.
- What Does Unity in the Church Look Like? Ten Truths from Ephesians 4
- All the One Anothers: Streams of Light from the Prism of Christ’s Love
On the love of God
- Communion with God by John Owen
- All Loves Excelling by John Bunyan
- God Is Love: Communion Addresses by J. W. Alexander
- Amazing Love: The Parable of the Prodigal Son by John R DeWitt
- Wayward but Loved: A Commentary and Mediations on Hosea by Ray Beeley
Soli Deo Gloria, ds