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How many of the things you have learned in life were “taught” to you and how many were “caught” by watching others?  No doubt all of us have a number of things in each of these categories.  The fact is, different kinds of truths are more easily taught while others are better caught.

Things that are more easily taught are a number of “book facts” like you learn in school.  Without someone teaching you what 2 + 2 is, you might never learn that the correct answer is 4.  Without someone teaching you the correct spelling of the word “gnat,” you would never just figure it out by watching people live.

There are also things that are better caught than taught.  Things that are more easily caught would include all relational things.  For instance, someone can talk to you about how to love others well, but it is even easier to learn how to love by imitating kind/loving people in your life.  The concept of forgiveness could be taught from the pulpit or the lectern, but to really know what forgiveness looks like, you need to see someone you know be deeply hurt and still forgive.  Relational things are sometimes better caught than taught.

God knew this.  That is why He did not just send us the New Testament, He sent His Son Jesus Christ into the world to love the lost, heal the brokenhearted, and forgive those who wronged Him.  When it comes to Christians living out a life of love, submission, and respect for their fellow humans, Paul does not simply provide a laundry list of “to dos” and “to don’ts.”  Instead, he organizes what is taught around what He hopes they have caught by living in relationship with Jesus Christ.

To put it simply, Paul challenges us to imitate (or mimic) Jesus Christ.  Paul breaks down Ephesians 5:1-21 in four movements, three of which call Christians to imitate a specific aspect of God’s character.  In other words, since God is __________, we should imitate Him and do ____________.  The passage breaks down like this:

  • Since God is love (1 John 4:8), we should love one another as we have seen God love us.  Not in a selfish way (using others for our own gratification), but sacrificing our desires for others. (Ephesians 5:1-6)
  • Since God is light (1 John 1:5), we should live according to the light and not practice the deeds of darkness.  Our lives should be a contrast in this world exposing wickedness, not blending in with it.  (Ephesians 5:7-14)
  • Since God is truth (1 John 5:6), we should live according to His wisdom, not wasting time pursuing our own half-baked ideas.  (Ephesians 5:15-17)
  • We can see these traits of our Heavenly Father manifest in our lives as we are controlled by the Holy Spirit of God who dwells inside us.  We do not merely act the part, when dependent on God’s Spirit inside us, we are compelled to BE the part, showing our family resemblance to our Heavenly Father in the process.  (Ephesians 5:18-21)

Therefore, as you study God’s Word, do not merely be taught by the words on the page (as important and infallible as they are.)  Also allow yourself to be caught up into a real relationship with Jesus Christ.  Get to know Him and imitate Him in obedience, and see the Spirit inside us control and compel us to be all He has recreated us to be.

This Sunday, July 20 at Wildwood Community Church, I will be preaching a sermon based out of Ephesians 5:1-21 in our 9:30 and 10:50 worship services.  This message will be part 9 in our 12 week summer series on the book of Ephesians.  If you are in the OKC area, and are looking fora  place to worship this weekend, we would love to have you join us as we worship together and study this great passage of Scripture.  Hope to see you Sunday!

For more resources related to this study of Ephesians click on the following links:


Packed Schedule.001


20 thoughts on “Taught and Caught

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