Let me, I'm open a little bit differently this morning than I normally do. And then we will go directly to our text for the morning as we continue our look and the book of Ephesians, a letter of revisions. I really this morning, want to, um, ask for your prayers. And I say that, and I'll explain to you why I hope. And I'm confident. Then when I ask for your prayers, I'm not asking for something that I don't already receive. I know that we pray for one another. I know that you're prayed for, I know that you pray for one another. I know that you pray for me and the other leaders of the church, but I want to specifically solicit your prayers for something. Um, again, very specific in the next week or so I cannot give you an exact time, but, um, I plan to address some matters pertaining to what is going on. And Chris alluded to it just a moment ago in the world, especially as it has to do with the church. I mean, it's been a lot of, of humor and a lot of, uh, Comical things, as well as the law, just a lot of disconcerting things that have been said about 2020, um, you know, all kinds of light things have been made about all the things that have transpired this year. But we would not be honest if we'd do not admit that some of the things that we have seen in some of the things that we are even now seeing and witnessing a little bit disconcerting to us and, and it should be. And needless to say, there is such, and I'm gonna kind of stick to the notes I wrote out for you here this morning is such unrest in the world, and we would only be in a way to saving ourselves. If for a moment, we believed that the unrest has no effect on or no consequence to the church. There has been a major shift, a major shift. And the mindset of the culture that we are in at this moment, I've said this to you before, but the cultural props of the past that in a sense supported the Christian faith have as a result of the erosion of the foundations virtually collapsed and are nonexistent. This sets the church. That is the true church of Jesus Christ at odds. With the culture and I believe it is safe to say, even as an enemy of the current culture, I will just reflect for a moment on something that Chris shared with you just a minute ago is that while we give, have given a lot of attention to what is going on in sun Valley at dr. McArthur's church, where, uh, literally now they're meeting in spite of an injunction for them not to meet, but they are by no means. The only church in California that is experiencing that that's very wide spread throughout California. Some churches have even already been issued fines that would literally blow your mind. If you knew. In fact, one church in particular is being fined. Something like $50,000 per meeting. If they continue to meet, and yet they are continuing to meet. It started at like 5,000 to 10,000, 20,000 is climbing. And I read just this week, as I followed this very closely that now some of the authorities in some of those localities are actually threatening to stand outside the church and arrest people as they try to attend. Yeah. So I hope I'm pausing for a moment because I want. That to kind of settle in to our thinking, as I say this, that again, I believe it is safe to say that we are not only at odds with our culture, but we are being seen more and more as an enemy of the current culture. However, not all threats facing the church and the biblical gospel are external. Not every threat is a government official out there. Not every threat is a municipality, a city state, or County, whatever it might be while it may be true that external powers may exert influence on some who are seen by the church as its leaders. The threat is most pressing from within the threat is most pressing. From within are reflected back just this weekend to my first pastor in a little place outside of Athens, Georgia, rural community, small church, only about 15 or 20 families, or less than that. Actually, when I first Cain there in my little office in the back was it, which was about the size, maybe one of our restrooms here, the back window in my office, literally backed right up. To a wire fence. And on Sunday mornings, I could look out my window and watch the cows graze 15 feet from where I was sitting at a desk and the joy that's 35 years ago. Now the joy of thinking, what I was about to be able to do is to just simply go out, stand before God's people open the Bible and preach the gospel to them. There was no thought of some of the things that we are seeing today that we are experiencing today. But again, I go back and say that though, external powers are nothing to be ignored. The threats that we are experiencing, one within the church are even more pressing. This is, and some have wanted to debate this. This is a gospel issue. I say this because unbiblical. An anti-God philosophies are being embraced by many of those who are deemed leaders in evangelicalism. And they are disastrous for the souls of people in that they seek to remove the gospel in the life of the church and replace it with manmade philosophies and doctrines. And that's exactly what we're seeing. In my estimation, there has never been a greater threat, at least in the history of this country. 240, some years of the United States to the Christian faith and the gospel and the church. My heart's desire is to stand before you at every opportunity I'm afforded and preach Christ. And to preach the gospel. That's why oftentimes I leave a lot of things alone. However, there are times we are called to contend for the gospel. Listen, once again, just remind for sake of reminder, listen, once again, to the words of Jude in his brief, a pistol of only 25 verses before we get to the book of revelation in our English translation. In verse three in verse three, listen, very carefully to what Jude says. He said beloved. Although I was very eager to write to you about our common salvation, I found it necessary to write a piece healing to you to continue. And for the faith that was once delivered to the saints. Now you notice what his desire was. In other words, likely when Jude sat down with his pen and hand, before his parchment to write his intention was to write concerning the mutual salvation that all of them shared and the joy and the richness and the blessings of that salvation that they shared. However, he's not writing merely his own one says he. He's riding under the inspiration of the spirit. And so I picture in my mind's eye that at the moment his pen touches the Parchman, the spirit of God is moving on him to write and suddenly the theme of a shorter pistol changes from simply sharing the blessings of a mutual salvation to a, an exhortation, a command. An imperative to contend for the faith that was once delivered to the saints. What would have been the motivation behind that? Well, in verse four, Jew tells us here is what had stirred Jude. We know the Holy spirit moving upon him, but he writes in verse four. These words for certain people have crept in unnoticed. Who long ago were designated for this condemnation, ungodly people who pervert the grace of our God into sensuality and deny our only Lord Jesus Christ. I'm thinking about that last phrase there and just, um, a poll that was released. You may have read it because amazingly not only did it make it into. Christian publications and websites, which report Christian news, but even in some secular places, it was mentioned that a recent survey just within the last few months has been done on evangelicals, primarily young evangelicals. And the results of the survey in many areas are startling. But one in particular was this, that of those surveyed 66%. No longer could unequivocally say they accepted the deity of Jesus Christ. 66% could no longer unequivocally say they accept the deity of Jesus Christ for which I believe it is necessary at this time to address the threats. That are facing and we are facing as believers in this world and in, so doing contend for the faith, that is the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. So with this said, I want to let you know, I I'm preparing to bring what I might would call. An expos a of sorts on what these threats are, the most pressing threats and in, so doing counter them with the biblical gospel, not just to lay out to you, what are the threats? But here is the answer to the threats. You know, we're told there's nothing new under the sun. What we're experiencing today. It may be new for us, but it's not new for humanity. And there are answers to these things. If we would remind ourselves of them to bring us an expert, say of sorts on the threats. And so doing, bring with them, the biblical gospel, this is no small task, as you can imagine, which is exactly the reason why I employ your prayers because this weighs heavily on my heart. I've sat for months. Now I've read for months now I've studied for months and have watched. Videos for months now of, of leaders from around the nation address these issues. And I've given myself to careful thought concerning them, wondering, okay, when is the time? And where's the place to address these things. Because as I said to you, mama ago, that was burns most heavily in me is just simply standing before you and open our Bibles and preaching the gospel. But this is part and parcel part and parcel with contending for the faith. So again, in closing, I employ, I employ your prayers. May many will be challenged by some of the things that they hear. No doubt about it. Others will likely be shocked, but I pray that we all will be more keenly aware of the threats we are facing. I was reminded of first Chronicles, 1232, one small verse given to us there. And it addresses this issue. It addresses the issue of the sin sons of his, the car. And I might would pray that we would be like the men of us a car, because the scripture says they had an understanding of the times and that they might know what Israel ought to do. Might we be like that? That we would gain an understanding of the times that we might know during these challenging times what we, as the church of the Lord, Jesus Christ must do one last thing. I was also reminiscing. I pulled out a textbook that I used now 18, 19 years ago. Um, and it was when I was teaching high schoolers critical thinking and it was called or understanding the times. And dr. David Noble was the author of that book. And so some of the things that he addressed are the very things. Now, almost two decades later that we are seeing come to fruition. I remember having. Endless conversations with high school seniors, 17, 18 years old about some of the issues. And, uh, we had some pretty significant conversations and discussions. In fact, many of them thought as though perhaps we were overplaying things, we were overemphasizing things that maybe we were making more out of something that needed to be made out of it. And now all of a sudden I asked myself looking back, I'm wondering now, thinking to them now, 20 years older, 1819 years older. I wonder how differently they might see things in regards to some of the things, some of the things that we talk about then. So again, church pray and we're going to be, I don't know exactly where, what setting some like will be on our Lord's day gatherings. Some will likely be on our evening during rings on Wednesday, which most of you live streaming if you're not able to be here. So you will not be missing it, but it is no small task. I do not take it lightly, but I will tell you that we're not alone. Our sister church in Jupiter, J rag has been doing a series of teachings on Wednesday evening on critical thinking where he is addressing these very issues. And other churches around the nation are doing the very same thing. So may God help us as we prepare ourselves to do, as we are told to do, be able to contend for the faith. Amen. You got your Bibles open turn with me to Ephesians chapter five, and we're going to look just at two verses. In fact, at the close. Of last week's message. We looked at these two verses at the beginning of chapter five, read, follow with me as I read it to you. Therefore be imitators of God as beloved children and walk in love as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us. As a fragrant offering and a sacrifice to God, even though these verses serve as the opening to a new chapter in our English translations, they are so fitting with what Paul writes in verse 32. Of chapter four and verse in fact, verse 32 provides us with three beautiful positive imperative. Just for a moment before getting there, you'll recall that beginning in chapter four. We saw the first imperative, following three chapters of indicatives. That is the gospel truths that Paul has communicated to us. And then chapter four, being that transitional chapter to now how we might live those things we have been told are true out. And he begins with those infamous words that we began with several weeks ago. And chapter four, I therefore a prisoner of the Lord urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called. So there is a way that we as Christians, haven't been called to salvation in Christ, there is a way that we are to walk. And that Greek word that Paul uses, there's a word which can mean live. It has a references. One's conduct how they conduct themselves, how they are to live. Let us walk, let us live in a manner that is fitting. Paul is saying to the salvation, to which we, as people I have been called to. Now he lists some very significant imperatives throughout chapter four. And then in verse 32, closing that chapter, he gives us three imperatives. He says the kind to one, another tender hearted forgiving one another as God in Christ. Four gave you the sweetness and there's really no other word to describe it. But the sweetness of Paul's sentence is enhanced. When we see what has preceded it, if you were to look back and I don't want you to just kind of follow with me here, but he pits kindness against bitterness, wrath, and anger. How sweet does kindness taste when you compare it to bitterness, wrath, and anger? Think of being tenderhearted versus malice. Think about forgiving versing versus clamor and slander kindness versus bitterness tenderhearted versus versus malice forgiving versus clamor and slander. If ever there were virtues. If ever church there were virtues. That Mark the life of the believer. Verse 32 gives us a clear summation. These virtues we see in verse 32 are intricately and inseparably tied to the one Paul ones. Paul opened this chapter with and in verse four, two and three, he writes in chapter four, verses two and three walk with all his melody. Think about that humility. We talked about that and gentleness. With patience bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the spirit in the bond of peace. So verses one and two of chapter five are transitional in nature. From what we read in verse 32. In fact, I almost myself see it as paranthetically not unassociated. Or non non-applicable, but it's almost as if you could say, okay, here's verse 32 ending. And then the first two verses a verse for a verse of chapter five, standing out as bringing us to a new train of thought in verses one and two, he says again, therefore be imitators of God as beloved children. And walk in love, love as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. You've heard me say many times, and we've seen this over and over again. Now the word, therefore in verse one is there to tie what has just been said to what is about to be said. Especially, I believe verse 32, as I mentioned to you a moment ago, and I say this because of the nature of what is said and the likely tone in which Paul communicates it without a doubt, kindness tenderheartedness heartedness and forgiveness are attributes. First belonging to God. Kindness can be understood as benevolence. We know that God is benevolent. He possesses, what has benevolent mean and is to possess the disposition to do good in regards to someone else. So when we say, for example, that God is benevolent, that God is kind, we say that God has the disposition to do good to those who are his to do good in regards to mankind because of the love that he has for them. I think God has also tend to hearted, which implies the disposition of compassion. And most certainly God is one who forgives. In fact, John tells us in his first epistle chapter one, verse nine, this, he says, if we confess our sins, he is faithful. And just to do what to forgive us, our sins. In other words, in his forgiveness, God is faithful. And just so that we know that when we come to him for forgiveness, we are confident that we will in fact receive that forgiveness. So in fact, verse 32 tells us that God in Christ for gave us since all of these things are true since God is indeed kind. Since God is indeed tenderhearted. And that God is also very forgiving since all those things are true. Paul gives the imperative in five in verse one of chapter five for us to be imitators of God. Now I want you to pause for a moment and think about that imitators of God. At first, at least he was with me and still is with me as I. Read it and say it out loud to you. It is a staggering thought to be commanded, to be an imitator, to imitate God. How could such a thing even be remotely possible for us when we consider the end comprehensible chasm. That separates the human from divine from man and God yet as William Hendriksen comments again and again. And he's so true again and again, Jesus and the apostles emphasized that believers should strive to be imitators. Of God, Jesus himself said, even as your father in heaven is perfect. You be perfect there, you see a command by our Lord himself on us to be imitators of God. This imperative though is not to be taken lightly or it's certainly not to be approached in a cavalier manner. Rather, our approach should be really one that is in the spirit of awe and really of humble reference. Then, and only then, and we even begin to understand and appreciate exactly what it is that we are being called to Paul would have never said such a thing y'all would have never given such an imperative if it were not only expected of us, but if it were not possible for us, He would never lay a burden of expectation on his readers that he knew was beyond the realm of reality. Clearly, this is something Paul expects his readers and us by extension to do the Greek word from which we get the word. Imitators is also the word. We get our word mimic from. It means one who mimics our copies specific characteristics of another person. Now while imitating God never is meant to in any, in any way to imply, attempting to aspire to the same level of deity, sadly, that's how some attempt to interpret it. They somehow believe that that implies everything that God is and everything that Christ is. We aspire to be all we can claim for ourselves. In fact, one well known. Motivational speaker hiding behind the title of a pastor even has written a book called I am. And in that book, all the, I am claims that Christ made for himself. We are to claim for ourselves. Do you not understand the heresy behind such a thing? This is never implied that we are to become gods. Nor are we are to be light God in the sense of his essential attributes that belongs solely and only to him, his deity. However, there are those other attributes. That defined God's character, his nature, which we call the communicable attributes, which are those that he gladly shares with us. God shares truth with us. God shares holiness with us. God shares a lot of things with us and calls us to those very things. We are called to truth. We are called to holiness and when we live our lives accordingly, we are in a real sense, imitating God, making ourselves followers. Of God, we are never to aspire to some level of deity. In fact, I heard one, one famous word of faith teacher actually say in one of his messages, this very phrase where every time I read in the Bible where Jesus says I am, I looked up and I say, I am too. Oh my goodness. You have no earthly idea. Of the theological implications of the Greek. Echo-y me and I am given to us in the scripture. Those were in fact, seven of them given to us for the sole purpose of Jesus Christ, declaring unequivocally, his deity, who he was. So while it does not mean that we are to aspire to some level of deity, it does mean that Christians are to imitate the characteristics that God has given us, that he communicates to us in the study of the attributes of God alluded to this just a moment ago, there are some attributes called incommunicable meaning aspects of God's character that he doesn't share with us. And then there are communical attributes, meaning aspects of God's character. He does communicate or share with us when our Lord himself. And as apostles tells us to be imitators of God, and we're also called to be imitators of Christ. The intended meaning listen very closely is to call us to a life of godliness, such as we see in God's self revelation in his word, and especially in the person of his son, Jesus Christ, our Lord. So as we look back at the imperatives of chapter four, and there are more imperatives that are given to us in chapter five, that we're not even gonna look at this morning. We see the negative aspects of those things, which are not to Mark our lives as believers, and then beautifully. He ends each of those with what we are to look like, what our lives are to look like as, as believers imitating God. Might be better understood this way as they're being conformed to Christ likeness, Romans eight 29 tells us this and listen very clearly to what Paul writes. He says for those whom he for knew that word, meaning for new is not merely just simply looking down the portals of time and became familiar with it. It means those who God, in eternity past put his divine love on those who God, for knew. He also predestined to be conformed to the image of his son. We have been predestined for this very purpose for what to be conformed into the image of Christ. As believers we've been predestined. To become like Christ. That's what our sanctification process is all about. The moment of our salvation. I've talked about this at length before at the moment of our salvation, that wonderful, beautiful process of sanctification begins oftentimes a painful process, but a necessary process. It is a process which God takes the new creature. He is created at regeneration and sanctifies it that is conforms it more and more into the likeness and the image of Christ. Ultimately leading to the end of our sanctification, which is our glorification. When we stand before God, the father stand before Christ his son in absolute perfection. Yeah. As believers we've been predestined for that, this is our calling. This is our calling as beloved children. Children are great imitators aren't they. They're great. Just watch kids. I mean, they are, they are the professional imitators. They carefully observe and watch those. They are closest to, especially parents, adults, and even their older siblings. In fact, I often tell people when I communicate with them, watch what's what we do because we're being watched by these little faces. And they're watching this very carefully to see, and they they'll do a lot of things. They see us do that old ad is that we used to hear years ago, son just do what I say and not what you see me do that doesn't work. They'll do. They'll do nothing that you tell them, but they'll gladly do everything that you model for them. The children are great imitators, much of what they do. They see others do perhaps. Paul's use of the word children is to communicate the ideas, not using the drug Tory manner in any way to somehow speak down to it was readers. However, Paul adds a modifier to the word children. He refers to them as beloved children. In other words, they are children. Of God's love is a term of endearment. They are children of God. God's love those who God loves as his own. So because we are the beloved children, the recipients of the love of God, we should desire. We should desire in our hearts to be like God, to be like Christ in every way possible. How many times over the years, have you heard me say that when people will often say, well, pastor, what does it mean to be Holy? What does it mean to live godly? And it is almost when they ask that question, they're there, they're waiting for you to, to reach in your pocket and pull out a list of things and say, well, if you do all these things and don't do all these things and you can check off each, each of the items on that list, well then maybe you've accomplished that. And I try to make it a lot simpler than that I say to live godly is simply to live in a way that is pleasing to God. How do we know how to live in a way that is pleasing to him? He's given it to us, the imperatives. That are given to us in the scripture are not meant to be an excessive weight upon us, but are rather to be those things that God has given us as instructions on how we are to walk how we are to live, how we are to conduct ourselves in a way that is pleasing to him. It's not that we are earning listen, you're not earning your righteousness. You're not adding to your salvation by living the imperatives. You are actually exemplifying the genuine salvation by living the imperatives, you and are earning a righteous standing before God by what you do, but your works will, will verify the reality and genuineness of the salvation that you profess to have taken place in your life. The particular way in which we are to be imitators of God. Paul mentions in verse two has to do with love. Look at what he writes in verse two. He says, and walk in love as Christ loved us. Pause for a moment in Paul's estimation, but not in his alone. Love is the Quint essential. Characteristic of the Christian. I want to say that again, love is the Quint essential characteristic of the Christian Love is to be the very tenor, the stamp of the true Christian life in John's gospel beginning in verse 13, you know, the history of the writing of that gospel in John chapter 13. John has finished his, our Jesus has finished his ministry to the, to the moat, to, to the people and beginning in John chapter 13, he turns all of his attention to his disciples, leading all the way through to his passion and his death and resurrection. So beginning in chapter 13, having turned his attention solely to his disciples in verse 34 of John 13, Jesus tells them this. He says a new commandment. I give you. A new commandment I give to you, listen to this commandment that you love one another. Now their mind should be thinking what. Does that love look like? What should that love look like? Well, he tells him in reality, what that love should look like, because look what he says next. He says, not only are you to love that you love one another. He tells him here, it is just as I have loved you, you are to love one another. What is he saying? What is he saying? I want you to you to remember the love that I've shown you and imitate that love towards one another show that same love, you know, for three and a half years, I've walked with you. I've loved you. I've taught you. I've exemplified what this love looks like. I have personified. What is love? Looks like you've seen it now. That is the way you are to love one another. We don't, we don't have the privilege of having walked three and a half years with Jesus and be privy to many of those conver conversations that are not recorded for us on the pages of scripture. But we do have enough recorded on the pages of scripture for us to know how Jesus loved. We see how he loved. We watched him love. We saw the greatest and we'll be at this at the end of our service today, we saw the greatest demonstration of that love by him being willing to do what, to lay his life down. So he showed us what love looks like. He showed us what it is still up. And he says, imitate that love in verse 35. He says by this, all people will know that you are my disciples. That you, what if you love one another? In fact, I can tell you reading historically about the early church. If you study. Not only the book of acts, which gives us the history of the early church. But if you read some of the writings from some of the people following the years of the early church, one of the things that they will repeatedly say that was commonplace in the early church, which identified those members of the early church, was this very thing that they loved. One another. In fact it is recorded and I'm not sure exactly where I have read it. It may simply be tradition because we are certainly not given that implication in the scriptures anywhere, but it has been recorded traditionally in church history. That in fact, the very last words that were to have come from the mouth of the apostle John, which would not surprise me in the slide is where these words, brothers love. One another love. One another in his first epistle. In fact, the apostle John, who we often referred to as the apostle of love, refers to what the Lord has spoken to them in first, John, his first epistle chapter three, verse 23, we read these words and this is his speaking of Jesus. And this is his commandment that we should believe on the name of his son. Jesus Christ and love one another as he gave us commandment. And then in chapter four, verse seven, John continues beloved. Let us love one another for love is of God and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. So what is it that speaks the loudest? What is it that speaks for the greatest volume? What is it that speaks with the greatest clarity of our relationship with Jesus Christ? Our love for God, only one thing, our love for one another. In first Corinthians 14 one, Paul tells us this, he says, pursue love, pursue. What does that word conjure in your mind when you hear it? It means to do what. To go after something to, to run after something, to long for something to go after it. So in other words, he says pursue love. What are we to be giving ourselves to consistently? And incessantly is going after what? Pursuing love, finding ways, finding ways. To express our love for one another, our love for the church. And not that that love is to be limited merely within four walls of this building, but even to love others outside of the church, first Corinthians six, 14, 16, 14, Paul continues. He said, let all that you do do or be done in love. Let everything you do be done. In love in first Peter four eight, the apostle Paul wrote possible. Peter writes these words above all, no words above everything else. Keep loving one another earnestly since love covers. As Peter says, a multitude of sins, let me just interject something. As we, which is very likely, we'll continue as we continue to suffer the ire of the world around us and the culture around us. Um, I think it's going to become even more significant and more important to us that we hold tenaciously to one another. And part of that is being able to truly love one another. Church. When we love, when we love sincerely and genuinely love, we are imitating Christ. The love of father and Christ have for us. We have only to look at what Christ did for us. Paul continues and Ephesians five, two by saying this and Christ loved us and did what. Gave him self up for us. The love Christ exemplified was a love that was willing to give even at a great expense. One of the characteristics of a God love is, is it compels us to look for the greatest needs in those around us. I think about living our lives that way. That we are looking at one another, not in the mindset of what we can get, but rather what, what we can give looking at our brothers and looking at our sisters in Christ with a God pay love that is compelling us to look for the greatest needs in the ones around us and seeing how we might meet them. What greater need could we have than to have been saved? That's the great need we had Christ God, the father saw the greatest need that we have and through Christ and the love of God and the love of Christ provided for our greatest need. That is our salvation. Consider our previous condition before trusting Christ for our salvation. Yet we're told. In Romans five eight, listen to these words, but God shows his love for us. How you probably have met her right memorize this scripture. How has God shown his love for us that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us? Here's the sacrificial nature of true love. In his immeasurable love for his own Christ gave himself up for us. The language Paul employees here conveys the truth of Christ substitutionary death at Calvary. His death was for us by giving himself Christ took upon himself. The sin of all those gods saves as well as the penalty for that sin took upon himself, our sin, and then took her upon himself. The penalty for that sin, his giving himself was the Supreme act of love. Think about this. We're told in the scriptures that for the love set before him, he endured the cross. For the love set before him, he endured the cross. What is that love? That was set before him. Well, first undoubtedly, it was a great love. He held for the father and the love the father held for him. But I think on honestly, genuinely net part and parcel with that inseparable with that reality is not only the love set before him being the love he had for the father. But the great love that he had for those who the father had given him. And because of that love set before him, he endured the cross. It wasn't the Roman soldiers prodding him that made him make it, made him make his way up to Golgotha it wasn't they had to drag him hand and foot to the, to the cross. He went willingly. Voluntarily motivated by one thing by love, loved us and gave himself for us church. Think about that as believers, we are the recipients of that kind of love. That measure of love. You may have never truly in your life, in any other relationship, experience love, but as a believer, you have experienced the epitome of love and the person of Jesus Christ. Look at verse how verse two closes Ephesians five. It says gave himself for us. We just talked about that, but notice this. A fragrant offering and sacrifice to God, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. Two things to note here, number one, a fragrant offering. And secondly, sacrifice to God. Number one, the idea behind offering. And I just alluded to it a moment ago. The idea behind offering is that, which is willingly given. We know this one thing the scripture makes abundantly clear is that Jesus willingly gave himself his offering of himself was not forced upon him. Twice twice in John's gospel, chapter 10, verses 11 and 15. Jesus makes it clear. He is the one who lays his life down that very day in pilot's court. When he had already suffered the flogging and was brought back before pilot. At that moment, he could have said this is enough and walked right out. And it's not a thing in the world they could have done to stop him. Nothing. He willingly voluntarily gave himself when pilot boasted of his own power, Jesus rebuked him and said, you don't understand, and I'm paraphrasing. You don't have any power over me. My life is mine to lay down as it will be mine to take up again. He went willingly. He is the one who laid his life down. In the Levitical offerings, we see five distinct offerings listed the burn offering. Number one, the grain offering. Number two, the peace offering. Number three, the sin offering number four and number five, the trespass offering the sin offering, which we see in Leviticus for a little bit through Leviticus five, as well as the vicar six. Shadowed Christ substitutionary death pointing to the truth that his offering that his death is his atony sacrifice, satisfied the wrath of God that in his offering, he satisfied the wrath of God. We refer to that theologically as perpetuation. Christ offering of himself was to bear God's wrath and his so doing, listen to this, turn that wrath toward us into divine favor. Wow. As he bore the wrath of God on our sin in his body, he was in effect turning that wrath to our favor. Wow. Secondly, sacrifice. Next we see sacrifice, which I've addressed briefly. A few moments ago, the Greek word sacrificed Lucia describes the offering of animals from the flock, which are killed at the Holy place in portions of which were burned upon the altar. In the case of Jesus Christ, he offered as a sacrifice, his whole self first Peter two 24. He himself bore. Our sins, how in his body, on the tree that we might die to sin and live to righteousness, the offering and the sacrifice Christ made. We're both done willingly. I love the way Calvin comments on this. He says, quote, this statement leads us to admire the grace of Christ. How true is that? He goes on to say no language, indeed can fully represent the efficacy of Christ death. End of quote, how do we describe that? If we exhausted our English vocabulary, if we took a thesaurus this morning and exhausted every possible word we could employ to describe it, it would fall miserably short. Of adequately, adequately finding and describing the efficacy efficacy. That is the effectual nature of the death of Christ and bringing our salvation to fruition. I've often said this to you in light of other things, as well. I've said in light of reconciliation, which is the escaping of wrath and being made a peace with something. But I don't know that we will even all use it in reference to this too. That I don't know that in this life we will ever fully understand the significance of the efficacy of Christ death until that moment we stand before him. And in that moment when we know fully, and we understand at least at that moment in a fuller way than we've ever been able to understand when we see all that Christ did for us. I wonder what our response will be. It won't be high five in and all the things I've heard. I can't wait to get in there and give Jesus a high five. No, it's going to be face first. Holy Holy Holy. To the lamb who purchased my salvation. By giving his life as an offering and a sacrifice from me. He's in these two things we see in verse two and after hurry, let us miss how Paul describes him in regards to God, not only was Christ giving himself both an offering and a sacrifice to God, but describes them as fragrant Yoda in the Greek and interesting word. It's also interpreted in a phrase of sweet odor is a form of worship when Paul describes them as fragrant, he intends to convey the idea that, of that, which is both pleasing and acceptable to God, which is a hard concept for us to understand Nevin Christ went to Calvary, giving himself as an offering and a sacrifice to God. That death taking place. There was in fact to God, a sweet smelling, savor a fragrant aroma pleasing to him as strange as it may sound Christ. Death is offering a sacrifice of himself is an act of total surrender, motivated by a perfect love and that perfect love to the father was a sweet smelling savor. How do we tie all of these imperatives, all the imperatives to be imitators of Christ, because we are recipients of all Christ accomplished in his death, recognizing the immeasurable depth of his love as his beloved children. We are to desire to love the way he loved. Well, Christ's love was perfect. And because of the presence of sin with us, ours is not, I wish our love was perfect, but it's not, but because it's not doesn't mean we dismiss it. We're still called to it when we love our willful intentional. So doing rises to God. As a pleasing fragrance, how might I most please God, how might I most live in a way that imitates him most profoundly and in a way that is sweet to him, loving one, another loving one another. We become, as Paul wrote. And we do that when we love one another. Think about it this way. The next time you look at it, your brother and sister in Christ, and you tell them that you love them and maybe they won't even be in the words that you say will be Mo best demonstrated in the actions and disposition that you take toward them. Think of it this way. When Paul writes the second Corinthians two 15, when we love one another, that other, that way we become, as Paul says, the aroma of Christ to God. You smell like Christ and the nostrils of God. I can't think of anything. And you're sweeter than that. That we're not love you when you love me. When we love one another. And our love is genuine without hypocrisy, sincere heart love. Suddenly we bear the aroma of Christ. Many of us I have I do in my life. Anyway, my dad was a career law enforcement officer and my dad always in the front pocket of his uniform. His state patrol uniform kept a pack of Wrigley's spearmint, chewing gum. And I remember when he'd come home and I'd go hug him. My face would bury right on that pocket. And ever since then, every time I've opened a pack of spearmint, chewing gum, what has come to my mind, my father and the love that I had for him and the love that he had for me, that we might bear the odor of Christ, the aroma of Christ. Calvin put it this way. And he said it better than I could ever say it. He said, quote, a Holy perfume is spread all over us. Think of this church, our love, our genuine and sincere love for one another brings such pleasure to God, a born again as born again, believers, we've received a new nature. Haven't we. Created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness. We see that in verse 23 of chapter four, it is our new nature to love. Lovelessness is contrary to the new nature we have. There is no such thing as they love less Christian. You understand that? If love our love for one another is a pleasing fragrance to God. I can hardly imagine that what lovelessness must smell like to him. Loveless is not merely a shortcoming. It's a sin and ms. Call it what it is to fail to love. Is to willingly live in disobedience to the commands. God has given to us in scripture, but you don't understand, pastor. I have loved and I have been hurt and I just don't want to love anymore. Then, then live in your sin and live in your disobedience. You are commanded to love. He didn't say love only if this and this and this. He said merely to do what to love. Let me close with this thought. In first, John three, after telling his readers. And again, us by extension that we know we passed out of death into life because we love the brothers in verse 14 of John first, John three and verse 16. Jesus can tell John continues by this. We know love. That he Christ laid down his life for us and listened to this and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers. This love will cost you something, but you're called to pay the price to lay down. Even if necessary your lives. You see love is not simply mouthing the words. It is words put into action. Isn't it? John finishes his thought in verse 18 and first John three with this very thing in mind, he writes little children, listen to this little children. Let us love, not in word only, but in deed and in truth. In other words, don't merely say you love. Let your love be shown. Indeed love and word is merely a sentimental love. And as we all know, sentiments are what sentiments or feelings which are subject to change. Aren't they? Where are we seeing that? How many couples start off? I love you. Years later, they're in a divorce court and they can't always stand to look at each other that says something's changed that law. This love is not a sentiment. Love in word may be pretentious attention. When we merely we are not merely to profess that we love, but prove it by our actions. This is the way love is truly known as shown the words we speak must correspond to our actions and they both must agree with God's word. That is how we love and truth. So my final words this morning a much like the words of Jesus and the words of John words of Paul and all the other preachers of the gospel. And it is this dear ones. Let us imitate our Lord by following his example. Let us therefore love one another. Let's power heads. You may stand with me father that we truly might love one another. Even as you have loved us and given yourself for us, may it be so for your glory and for the splendor of your great name, we pray. Amen.