Introduction: Do you know people who seem to live a life
that is much better than yours? Would you like to live
better and smarter? The answer is in the Bible. Living as
Christians requires us not only to embrace a new identity in
Christ, but also to walk in ways that reflect that identity.
The benefit is that our life improves! Paul uses strong word
pictures, like walking in love and light, to guide us in our
daily behavior. Let’s dive into this week’s study of the
Bible and learn how to apply these concepts to live better!

I. Imitating God

A. Read Ephesians 5:1-2. What does Paul mean by
asking us to be “imitators” of God? How could we
imitate the great God of Heaven? (As we learn more
about God, we need to pattern our behavior,
attitudes, and values after His character.)

1. Is that possible? (In our studies the last two
weeks we learned that the Holy Spirit makes
possible things that would otherwise be

2. Look again at verse 1 for an important clue.
It refers to us as children of God. Assuming
you had great parents, did you imitate them?

B. Look again at Ephesians 5:2. We grew up with our
parents so we knew how they acted. Who is our role
model for imitating God? (Jesus.)

1. What did He model for us? (Self-sacrifice,
forgiveness, teaching, healing, among other

II. Right Living

A. Read Ephesians 5:3-5. If you were to summarize
these three verses, how would you do it? (Paul
condemns sexual immorality and greed. He commends

1. Are immorality and greed the major sins of the
world? How about the sins of the church? How
about your sins?

2. Are these sins (greed and immorality)related?
(As I got older I noticed a pattern among
successful male business associates. As their
wealth increased, they would first buy a great
car, then a great house, and then find a
younger wife. It was like a roadmap for
successful men.)

a. Paul calls this idolatry. Can you explain
that? I never saw any of these business
associates bowing down to idols. (Idol
worship is the stupid practice of bowing
down to something you made with your own
hands. If these men realized that God is
the author of success, and not
themselves, they would have been more
attuned to God’s goals.)

(1) Is buying what you want a sin

3. Why does Paul place such a heavy emphasis on
sexual immorality and greed? (These sins
deeply affect our relationships and our

4. What is the terrible warning that Paul gives
us? (We have no inheritance with God if we
walk in immorality and greed.)

5. Paul has an unusual phrase in Ephesians 5:3.
He says immorality and greed “must not even be
named among you.” What do you think this
means? (In the typical ethical code for
lawyers we find an admonition not only to
avoid unethical behavior, but also the
appearance of unethical behavior. I think that
is what Paul means here.)

B. Read Ephesians 5:6. This verse speaks of the
“wrath of God.” Does God smite those who are
immoral and greedy? (I noticed another pattern in
life. When these men obtained a younger wife, they
lost their great house and a chunk of their money.
Likely the relationship with their children
suffered. Just like the first wife aged, so did
the second wife after a while. Perhaps they found
themselves later in life raising children again.
Perhaps as they aged their young wife found a new,
younger husband. I think the “wrath of God” is
mainly self-enforcing. Making bad choices brings
bad results.)

1. Why does Paul write “let no one deceive you”
about the wrath of God?

2. Are some claims about righteousness by faith
alone part of the deception? (John MacArthur’s
commentary notes “it is dangerously deceptive
for Christians to offer assurance of salvation
to a professing believer whose life is
characterized by persistent sin and who shows
no shame for that sin.”)

C. Read Ephesians 5:7-9. We have this warning not to
become “partners with them.” Who is them? Greed
and immorality? Or, “the sons of disobedience.”

1. What kind of partnership do you think Paul
intends? (I think he is talking about people
rather than attitudes. Part of walking in
light is choosing proper friends.)

2. I’ve heard people jokingly say to someone who
has said something terrible, “I’m moving away
from you because I don’t want to be near when
lightning strikes you.” Is the general idea
behind that joke correct? (Yes. Paul’s point
is that bad things are in store for the sons
of disobedience. Don’t be too near when the
bad things happen.)

D. Read Ephesians 5:10. How would you go about doing
this? (Paul is asking us to think about this. To
study the issue.)

E. Read Ephesians 5:11-14. There is great evil being
promoted in the United States today by the
government, media, education, and even big
business. Most people put their head down and try
to avoid getting into a dispute. What does this
say that we should do? (Expose sin.)

1. If we apply this to our workplace, how would
you suggest it should be done? (A famous legal
case involved Hewlett Packard (HP) and an
employee named Peterson. HP posted a banner
promoting gay rights by Peterson’s desk and
Peterson posted Bible texts about
homosexuality. Peterson refused to take down
his posting unless HP took down its banner.
Peterson was fired.)

a. Was Peterson following Ephesians 5:11?

F. Read Matthew 10:14. How does Jesus’ instruction
apply to Peterson’s situation? (There is a
difference between speaking up and getting into a
fight. Peterson did not have the right to dictate
policy to his company. Jesus instructed his
disciples that when a town rejected them to merely
move on. Ephesians 5:13 suggests that merely
exposing the issue is enough. Light contains its
own cure.)

III. Smart Living

A. Read Ephesians 5:15-17. Do these verses apply to
our obligation to expose evil to the light?

1. If so, what do they tell us to do? (They tell
us to think things through. They tell us to be
emotionally intelligent. They tell us to be
efficient. I teach a law school course in
which we study cases involving religious
employees who get in trouble with their
employer or union over matters of faith. Many
of these cases could have been avoided by the
employee being wise.)

B. Read Ephesians 5:18. Are wine and the Holy Spirit
mutually exclusive? (My grandmother remarried when
she was in her sixties after she had been a widow
for decades. Her new husband was on fire for God,
but in his past he had been a drunk. He told me
that he regretted all the years lost to alcohol. I
think that illustrates what Paul says to us.)

C. Read Ephesians 5:19-20. I’m a lousy singer. What
do us poor singers do? Or, is this not about
singing? (Notice the text says “singing” with
“your heart.” It tells us to be thankful. What
Paul suggests is having the right attitude. I love
to sing (even if poorly) and I love to give

D. Read Ephesians 5:21. We just reviewed all of the
stupid things that we should avoid. Why would I
“submit” to others when there are so many that
make poor decisions? (The controlling phrase is
“out of reverence for Christ.” We should put away
pride, but we should not put away a Biblically
informed judgment.)

E. Friend, the Bible marks out a path to better
living. Will you make that path the roadmap for
your life?

IV. Next week: Husbands and Wives: Together at the Cross.

Copr. 2023, Bruce N. Cameron, J.D. Scripture quotations are
from the ESV Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard
Version ), copyright 2001 by Crossway, a publishing
ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All
rights reserved. Suggested answers are found within
parentheses. If you normally receive this lesson by e-mail,
but it is lost one week, you can find it by clicking on this
link: Pray for the guidance of the
Holy Spirit as you study