Ephesians 4:31-5:2

31-32Make a clean break with all cutting, backbiting, profane talk. Be gentle with one another, sensitive. Forgive one another as quickly and thoroughly as God in Christ forgave you.

Ephesians 5

1-2Watch what God does, and then you do it, like children who learn proper behavior from their parents. Mostly what God does is love you. Keep company with him and learn a life of love. Observe how Christ loved us. His love was not cautious but extravagant. He didn’t love in order to get something from us but to give everything of himself to us. Love like that. (The Message)

Our behavior and spiritual disciplines are the most observable indicators of our relationship with God. How often do we pray, meditate, worship, tithe, share our time, talent, financial resources, encouragement and our engagement with the marginalized, the poor and the downtrodden are all outward expressions of our fiath maturity and relationship with God. When we forgive others, share unconditional, love extravagantly and show grace to people who are difficult to deal with we are following the model of Christ.

Human beings that have not fully embraced the awesome unconditional love, unlimited grace and unmerited favor of God can not live out of the paradigm of sharing what God has given them. If you are bitter you pass on bitterness. If you are frustrated you pass on frustration. If you are disillusioned with life you pass on disillusionment. But, for those of us who believe in Jesus and have experienced the love, grace and forgiveness of God it should be a natural everyday occurrence that you share what God has given to you. As the people of God we are the most powerful force for personal, community and global transformation.

One of the challenges that the church faces is that believers have abdicated their personal responsibility to mature and be more like Christ. We are in church building a lot doing church work but are we maturing in our faith, are we trusting God for every moment of our existence? In the process we have outsourced the care, compassion and justice components of our faith to professional clergy, social service agencies, and para-church organizations. Some of them are doing a fantastic job but my challenge is that we accept Paul’s words as a challenge to our daily living.

Peter Gomes wrote a book, “The Scandalous Gospel of Jesus: What’s So Good About the Good News?” One of his critiques is was of the phrase “What would Jesus do?” He argues that there are no circumstances that we will encounter when we can do what Jesus would do. We are not divine, we are blemished with sin and we are not in the 1st Century. He suggests a better question which is also my challenge to each person in our congregation. “What would Jesus have me do with the resources and relationships that I have for the Gospel of Jesus Christ.?” What are you willing to do as a member of the Body of Christ to impact somebody’s life for the Kingdom of God?

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