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Ephesians 5:1-5:21 (web)

Walking in the Light, Imitating God


5:1 Be therefore imitators of God, as beloved children.
5:2 Walk in love,
even as Christ also loved you, and gave himself up for us,
an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling fragrance.
5:3 But sexual immorality, and all uncleanness, or covetousness,
let it not even be mentioned among you, as becomes saints;
5:4 nor filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting,
which are not appropriate; but rather giving of thanks.
5:5 Know this for sure, that no sexually immoral person, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, has any inheritance in the Kingdom of Christ and God.
5:6 Let no one deceive you with empty words.
For because of these things, the wrath of God comes on the children of disobedience.
5:7 Therefore don't be partakers with them.


5:8 For you were once darkness, but are now light in the Lord.
Walk as children of light,
5:9 for the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth,
5:10 proving what is well-pleasing to the Lord.
5:11 Have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather even reprove them.
5:12 For the things which are done by them in secret, it is a shame even to speak of.
5:13 But all things, when they are reproved, are revealed by the light,
for everything that is revealed is light.
5:14 Therefore he says, "Awake, you who sleep,
and arise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you."


5:15 Therefore watch carefully how you walk,
not as unwise, but as wise;
5:16 redeeming the time, because the days are evil.
5:17 Therefore don't be foolish,
but understand what the will of the Lord is.

5:18 Don't be drunken with wine, in which is dissipation,
but be filled with the Spirit,

Ephesians 5:1-21

Living as children of God 1-7 (with all your HEART)

Living as children of Light 8-14 (with all your CONSCIENCE)

Living wisely 15-21 (with all your UNDERSTANDING)


  • vs 1-3 command that we live a life of love and holiness. Have you ever found conflicts between these two concepts when you apply them?
  • vs 3,4 Who should define for us what is proper? God or the culture?
  • vs 5 seems to indicate that salvation is performance dependent. Doesn't this contradict Eph 2:8,9 and Rom 4:1-5?
  • vs 10 What have you discovered are some things that "please God"? (Heb 11:6)
  • vs 11-14 What is it that this section is telling us to do? What are appropriate and inappropriate ways of doing it?
  • vs 15-16 What are some foundational principles of living "wisely" that you have derived from the Bible? How does this differ from the world's "wisdom"?

  • Pr 1:5 "A wise man will hear, and will increase learning; and a man of understanding shall attain unto wise counsels:"
  • Pr 3:7 "Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the LORD, and depart from evil."
  • Pr 6:6 "Go to the ant, thou sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise:"
  • Pr 8:33 "Hear instruction, and be wise, and refuse it not."
  • Pr 9:9 "Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be yet wiser: teach a just man, and he will increase in learning."
  • Pr 10:5 "He that gathereth in summer is a wise son: but he that sleepeth in harvest is a son that causeth shame."
  • Pr 10:8 "The wise in heart will receive commandments: but a prating fool shall fall."
  • Pr 10:14 "Wise men lay up knowledge: but the mouth of the foolish is near destruction."
  • Pr 10:19 "In the multitude of words there wanteth not sin: but he that refraineth his lips is wise."
  • Pr 11:30 "The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life; and he that winneth souls is wise."
  • Pr 13:1 "A wise son heareth his father's instruction: but a scorner heareth not rebuke."
  • Pr 13:20 "He that walketh with wise men shall be wise: but a companion of fools shall be destroyed."
  • Pr 14:1 "Every wise woman buildeth her house: but the foolish plucketh it down with her hands."
  • Pr 14:16 "A wise man feareth, and departeth from evil: but the fool rageth, and is confident."
  • Pr 15:7 "The lips of the wise disperse knowledge: but the heart of the foolish doeth not so."
  • Pr 15:31 "The ear that heareth the reproof of life abideth among the wise."
  • Pr 17:28 "Even a fool, when he holdeth his peace, is counted wise: and he that shutteth his lips is esteemed a man of understanding."
  • Pr 18:15 "The heart of the prudent getteth knowledge; and the ear of the wise seeketh knowledge."
  • Pr 20:1 "Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging: and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise."
  • Pr 20:26 "A wise king scattereth the wicked, and bringeth the wheel over them."
  • Pr 21:20 "There is treasure to be desired and oil in the dwelling of the wise; but a foolish man spendeth it up."
  • Pr 21:22 "A wise man scaleth the city of the mighty, and casteth down the strength of the confidence thereof."
  • Pr 24:5 "A wise man is strong; yea, a man of knowledge increaseth strength."
  • Pr 24:23 "These things also belong to the wise. It is not good to have respect of persons in judgment."
  • Pr 26:12 "Seest thou a man wise in his own conceit? there is more hope of a fool than of him."
  • Pr 29:11 "A fool uttereth all his mind: but a wise man keepeth it in till afterwards."
  • More Discussion Questions

  • vs 17 Are there any places in the Bible where God actually says what His will is? (1Thess 4:3, 1Thess 5:18, 1Pet 2:15)
  • vs 18 What other things besides wine do will fill ourselves with which are inappropriate?
  • vs 19 What is the purpose of music?
  • vs 20 How can giving thanks to God benefit us and not doing so be detrimental? (Rom 1:21)
  • vs 21 This verse is a key verse to understanding the next two sections and its various interpretations I will consider in the next prestudy guide.

  • Comments

    Imitating God

    Eph 5:1,2  Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.

    How would you imitate anyone if not by first getting to know that person, how they react to circumstances, what are their goals and desires, their attributes and virtues, what are their attitudes and their disposition. This is one of the functions of Bible study - to discover what God is like so that we may imitate Him.

    One of God's attributes is his love reflected in the person of his Son, Jesus Christ, whom he gave up to be sacrificed to reconcile sinners to himself. How does God demonstrate his love for us? "God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us." Rom 5:8 Notice that in doing so he did not compromise his holiness nor judicial nature. Likewise with our love we are not to compromise our moral character. God's love is largely unappreciated by the world obsessed with material things and who care little for holiness and judical matters with regards to their sin. Likewise it should not be surprising that Christian love is treated much the same. In response to sharing the gospel Christians will receive hostility. In fact the sacrifices Christians make are often at the hands of the very sinners they seek to saved, much as Christ also was murdered by those he would die for.

    Also Paul writes, "Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God— this is your spiritual act of worship." Rom 12:1 Worshipping God is more than words. It's a life lived in service to him.

    Proper Behavior

    Eph 5:3,4 But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people. Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving.

    Notice the motivation that Paul alludes to here. That is to behave properly because is it the appropriate and right thing to do. This is in line with the previous verses talking about imitating God. If asked as to why you are not involved with sexual immorality or greed or obscenity, you may say, "Because it is not proper for a Christian to do so; it is not appropriate; it is not right because it's not the way God behaves." This is righteous living - to do what is right because it is the right thing to do in the sight of God.

    Don't be Deceived

    Eph 5:5-7 For of this you can be sure: No immoral, impure or greedy person— such a man is an idolater— has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of such things God’s wrath comes on those who are disobedient. Therefore do not be partners with them.

    Likewise Paul says, "Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God." 1Cor 6:9,10 And John writes, "Little children, let no one lead you astray. He who does righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous.  He who sins is of the devil, for the devil has been sinning from the beginning."1John 3:7,8

    Those who characteristically live in sin such that they earn these labels are those who have clearly not been born of God, and as such do not inherit the kingdom of God. There are those today in the Christian community of a Free Grace Theology who are deceived on this point, and some among them who lead others astray. There are categories of people who do not inherit the kingdom of God regardless of whether they call themselves Christians or not. Thus Paul writes to the Corintians in view of their behavior, "Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you— unless, of course, you fail the test?" 2Cor 13:5

    Children of Light

    Eph 5:8-10 For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) and find out what pleases the Lord.

    Consider these three aspects of living as children of light.
    1. Seeking to do what is good
    2. Seeking to do the right thing
    3. Seeking and exposing the truth.

    Are these characteristic of your life? Are these the kind of things of which others would describe of you? The Christian life is not simply one of status. These should be attitudes and behaviors characteristic of Christians. What kind of life pleases the Lord may be elusive at times concerning particular matters, but the believer should make an effort to seek the Lord's will. And do not rely upon mere denominational indoctrination which eliminates reasoning, but seek the truth regardless of the implications. Truths which cannot be questioned are not worth believing.

    Expose the Darkness

    Eph 5:11-14 Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them.  For it is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret.  But everything exposed by the light becomes visible,  for it is light that makes everything visible. This is why it is said: "Wake up, O sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you."

    That is to expose the fruitless deeds of darkness for what they are. They're fruitless in that nothing good comes of them. Those who embrace the practice of evil don't want sin exposed for what it is. Thus Jesus said, "Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil.  Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed <1651>." John 3:19,20 Not everyone wants Christ to shine on thema and bring to light their deeds.

    "expose" <1651> means to rebuke with sufficient cause, and also effectually, so as to bring the one rebuked to a confession or at least a conviction of sin.  In other words, it means to convince, also translated "rebuke". For example Paul commanded, "Those who sin are to be rebuked <1651> publicly, so that the others may take warning." 1Tim 5:20

    Look for Opportunities

    Eph 5:15,16  Be very careful, then, how you live— not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.

    We only have so much time, energy, and resources, so "as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers." Gal 6:10 and "be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity." Col 4:5

    So look for opportunities to put your faith into action. Don't be overly distracted by the difficulties of life else you'll not be fruitful. Jesus spoke of this is his parable of the sower, "Now the ones that fell among thorns are those who, when they have heard, go out and are choked with cares, riches, and pleasures of life, and bring no fruit to maturity." Luke 8:14

    Understand the Lord's Will

    Eph 5:17 Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is.

    For example, "this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you should abstain from sexual immorality" 1Th 4:3

    Yes, the Lord's will is understandable. And while "A fool finds pleasure in evil conduct, but a man of understanding delights in wisdom." Pr 10:23  and "The wise in heart accept commands, but a chattering fool comes to ruin."Pr 10:8

    And if you're looking for God's will for your life, consider firstly what he said both explicitly and implicitly in the Bible as to what is his will and desire concerning the purpose of your life. Consider the implications of what has been written.

    Be Filled with the Spirit

    Eph 5:18  And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit

    The word for "dissipation" <810> means reckless and extravagant expenditure, chiefly for the gratification of one’s sensual desires. Drunkardness is unfruitful, wasteful work of darkness. In fact today we speak of getting drunk as getting wasted. Those who are characteristically alcoholics do not inherit the kingdom of God. "...  nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God." 1Cor 6:10

    Being filled with the Spirit is quite the contrary to being drunk with wine. First of all it is contrary to the desires of the flesh. "For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other, so that you do not do what you want." Gal 5:17 Secondly the outcome is productive rather than wasteful. For example on Pentecost the apostles were filled with the Spirit resulting in thousands of people becoming Christians. In fact the most effect associated with being filled with the Spirit is that the Word of God is proclaimed boldly. "After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly." Acts 4:31

    Singing Praise

    Eph 5:19,20  Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

    These go hand in hand with being filled with the Spirit. "For out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks." Mt 12:34 Therefore "let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God." Col 3:16 Singing to one another is generally practiced in the weekly church service, which is one of reasons to gather together with fellow Christianns on a regular basis. "I will declare your name to my brothers; in the presence of the congregation I will sing your praises." Heb 2:12

    And "give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God‘s will for you in Christ Jesus." 1Th 5:18

    Take time now to give thanks to God.


    Eph 5:21 Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.

    I include this verse here because of the the way the section is normally broken. But actually this verse is the main verse which will be expanded upon in the rest of the chapter and in chapter 6. "Submit to one another" does not mean for everyone to submit to everyone else. For submission cannot be applied unless it is done with respect to a legitimate recognized authority figure. And in this case it is referring to human authorities within the Christian community.

    The KJV has it "Submitting yourselves one to another."  He then goes on in the follow sections to define who the "one" is and who "another" is. For the term "one to another" is a single greek word, which is also used in Matthew 25:32

    Mt 25:32  And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats:
    Here you can see it being applied to mean separation into two categories. So also here in this verse.

    The Berean Christian Bible Study Resources

    Jan 28,2022