This activity relates to being imitators of God (Eph. 5:1). As a group, vote on how you feel these items rate on the imitation level. Are they just as good as the real thing, or do they fall short? Vote if the item is a “Winner” or a “Loser” compared to the genuine product!
1. Margarine vs. Butter
2. Imitation Crab Meat vs. Real Crab Meat
3. Veggie Burgers vs. Beef Burgers
4. Vegan Bacon Bits vs. Real Bacon Bits
5. Knock-off Nike shoes vs. Nike brand
6. Breakfast Syrup vs. Real Maple Syrup
7. Harbor Freight Tools vs. Milwaukee brand
8. Carob vs. Chocolate
9. Splenda vs. Sugar
10. Synthetic Fabric vs. Cotton Fabric
Lights (Preparation required before group time)
Ask the members of your group to bring one item from their home that produces light. The more unique, the better! Some examples: glow stick, solar light, headlamp, penlight, flashlight, torch, candle, lighter, lightbulb, lava lamp, plasma lamp, oil lamp.
Have each member share their item and discuss how much light it produces, what it needs to make light, etc. Turn the item on or light it if this can be done safely.
God has changed us from darkness to light. Ephesians 5:8a, “For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord.” Discuss how we are light in this dark world. Eph. 5:9, “For the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness, and truth.”
Turn off all lights in the room and then have each member turn their light on, one by one until the room is illuminated. Light dispels the darkness.
Virtual groups: Have individuals turn off their house lights. One by one, turn on the light that each one brought to share.
Optional: Take this time to give thanks! As each person turns on their light, have them share something that they are thankful for. Eph. 5:4, “Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving.”
1. Read Ephesians 5:1-2 and refer to Matthew 22:36-40 and 1 John 4:8-11, 17. Why is it that love summarizes the entire Law of God?
(Intent: Consider the many commands of God. The motivation behind them is love for the Lord or people. We are to be imitators of God, Eph. 5:1. God is love; it is His very nature, 1 Jn. 4:8.)
2. Take a look at Ephesians 5:3-5. Many in the American Church have become confused about what is and is not sin, specifically when it comes to sexual sin. What are some types of sexual immorality?
(Intent: Included are adultery, fornication—Mk. 7:20-23 KJV, I Cor. 6:18 KJV, practicing homosexuality—I Tim. 1:10, Rom. 1:26-27, and Jude 1:6-7.)
3. Ephesians 5:3-5 names specific sins of the heart/mind—sexual immorality, impurity, covetousness; and sins of the tongue—filthiness, foolish talk, crude joking. A. Why do you think these sins can be found in the church today? B. What is their consequence?
(Intent: A. Some answers might be that we are walking out our lives more influenced by the culture than our Lord. Or, we are like the proverbial frog in the pot of water, at first cool, now boiling over. B) They will not inherit the kingdom of God, i.e., they will miss out on the blessings that are coupled with obedience and will share in the wrath that is coupled with disobedience.)
4. Read v 6-7. A. In light of verses 3-5, what sort of deceptions/empty words does our culture entice us with? Who and what are the proponents of this deceit? B. If we buy into words promoted by darkness, what effect do you think it has on us?
(Intent: A. Our arts, entertainment, politics, media, and schools inundate us with messages that “sin is no big deal.” Our culture glosses over or even celebrates the very sins that Paul is calling out. B. Often, we buy into them because we have already lost our focus on Christ. If we abide in Him, we will be found in Him. Conversely, if our hope is in the world, that is where our thoughts and actions will be found.)
5. Read vv. 8-14. A. What is the significance of Paul saying we “were” darkness and “are” now light, as opposed to saying “in” darkness and light? B. When and how do we expose the deeds of darkness? C. From our earlier discussion, what are some ways that we might be “asleep” or dead? What ought we to do?
(Intent: A. In Christ, we have a new identity. We were once not only in darkness, but we were dark by nature. God has given us a new nature; we are now light. B. Some thoughts: We can expose darkness by being light. We need to know Christ and His Word intimately, be attuned to the Holy Spirit, walk in Christ’s love, and be aware when the Spirit prompts us to speak out against evil deeds—individually or corporately. C. Possible answers might be: If we are sleeping, we are unaware. If we are following the culture’s lead, looking for political “salvation,” or going along with the social media crowd, we are in darkness and sleeping out our mission to the unsaved around us. Instead, we need to be awakened to every opportunity to be light in the world around us, walking out our faith.)
6. Considering we are to walk in the light, verses 15-17 say to “make the most of every opportunity” NIV. What are some opportunities that you encounter? How do you plan to make the most of them?
Make a list of things you long for and/or things you spend your time on. Assess if these things are drawing you into the light or into darkness. Examine what your heart looks to for acceptance, entertainment, and what motivates your actions.
Ask God to reveal areas that you are holding back from Him. Pray for a willing and obedient heart. Also thank the Lord for where you are walking in the light.