July 9, 2017 – Ephesians 5:1-14

Lesson Date: July 9, 2017

Focal Scripture Passage: Ephesians 5:1-14

AIM: To lead students to contrast things Christians should and should not do, and to commit themselves to living as a Christian should.


Before class: Read the notes on Ephesians 5:1-14 found in the Sunday School Teacher Book.  Get enough copies of the “Live Like a Christian!” study guide for your anticipated attendance.  Have some pens or pencils on hand for any students who might need one.


INTRODUCTION (Create Learning Readiness): Read the following statements to the class, one at a time.  Ask the students for their reactions to each one.

The sexual standards in the Bible were written for a different time, so they are no longer relevant today.

It’s all right for Christians to watch people do sinful things in movies and TV shows, as long as the Christians know those things are wrong and don’t do them themselves.

It really doesn’t matter how a Christian behaves, as long as he or she goes to church regularly.

Christians should get involved in worldly activities so they can reach out to lost people.

Christianity is not a list of “do’s” and “don’ts” – it is a relationship to Jesus Christ.

Allow a few moments for responses to the statements.  They should produce some varied responses.  Tell the class today’s lesson will teach us about the proper lifestyle and behavior of Christians by contrasting that to behaviors practiced by unsaved people.  Through the course of this lesson, God may speak to each of us personally about our own lifestyle and behavior.



  1. Review.
    • Remind the class that we are studying the New Testament book of Ephesians. Locate Ephesus on the map.
    • Remind them that chapters 1, 2, and 3 are primarily doctrinal, while chapters 4, 5, and 6 contain very practical instructions for living the Christian life.
    • Read Ephesians 4:25-32.
    • Ask: “What was last week’s lesson about?” (grieving the Holy Spirit).
    • Ask: “What are some things we can do that grieve the Holy Spirit, hindering His work in our lives?”
    • Ask if any volunteer is willing to recite last week’s memory verse (Eph. 4:32).
  2. How Christians SHOULD Walk.
    • Give everyone present a copy of the “Live Like a Christian!” study guide, and a pen or pencil if needed.
    • Ask a volunteer to read Ephesians 5:1-2.
    • Ask: “Who are we supposed to follow?” (God).
    • Tell the class this verse reminds us of a little child trying to walk in his or her father’s footsteps. We, as Christians, are supposed to imitate God.
    • Ask everyone to write “Followers of God” in the box for verse 1 on their study guide.
    • Ask: “According to verse 2, how are Christians supposed to walk?” (in love).
    • Ask: “Why are we supposed to walk in love?” (because Jesus Christ has loved us).
    • Ask: “What did Jesus Christ do for us?” (He gave Himself as an offering).
    • Explain that Old Testament offerings that pleased the Lord were often described as a having a sweet smell to God.
    • Ask everyone to write “Walk in Love” in the box for verse 2 on their study guide.
  3. Things Christians Should NOT Do.
    • Tell the class the next verse names three things Christians should NOT
    • Read Ephesians 5:3.
    • Ask the students to identify the three things named in verse 3 (fornication, uncleanness, and covetousness).
    • Explain the meaning of those three words:
      • Fornication refers to all types of sexual sins: harlotry, adultery, incest, fornication, homosexuality, pornography, etc.
      • Uncleanness refers to physical, mental, and emotional impurity or wickedness.
      • Covetousness refers to desiring what someone else possesses.
    • Ask everyone to write “Fornication,” “Uncleanness,” and “Covetousness” in the three boxes for verse 3 on their study guide.
    • Read Ephesians 5:4.
    • Ask the students to identify the three more things Christians should NOT do, found in verse 4 (filthiness, foolish talking, and coarse jesting).
    • Explain the meaning of those three words:
      • Filthiness is shameful and obscene talk.
      • Foolish talking refers to stupid words that would be better left unsaid.
      • Jesting means to speak about vulgar and ugly things.
    • Ask everyone to write “Filthiness,” “Foolish Talking,” and “Coarse Jesting” in the three boxes for verse 4 on their study guide.
    • Tell the class the next two verses tell what ultimately happens to people who behave in the ways described in verses 3-4.
    • Read Ephesians 5:5-6.
    • Ask: “What will happen to those who live the way verses 3 and 4 describe?” (they will not have any part in the kingdom of God, and they are under God’s wrath).
    • These very behaviors are the ones that bring God’s wrath upon lost people (verse 6).
    • Ask a volunteer to read Ephesians 5:7.
    • Ask: “Are Christians supposed to participate in the sins that lost people commit?” (no).
    • Tell the class that since these behaviors are characteristic of lost people, a person who claims to be saved but practices them as a continual lifestyle is actually a counterfeit who has never truly experienced redeeming grace.
    • A person who is genuinely saved will not practice these sins as a lifestyle.
  4. More Instructions and Warnings.
    • Read Ephesians 5:8-10.
    • Ask: “According to verse 8, what were we?” (darkness).
    • Ask: “If we’ve been saved, what are we now?” (light).
    • Ask: “According to verse 8, how are Christians supposed to walk?” (as children of light).
    • Ask everyone to write “Darkness” in the right-hand box for verse 8 on their study guide, and “Walk as Children of Light” in the left-hand box for verse 8.
    • Ask: “According to verse 9, what should Christians do?” (be fruitful).
    • Ask everyone to write “Be Fruitful” in the box for verse 9 on their study guide
    • Tell the class in verse 10 we are told that Christians should “prove” or live out that which is acceptable to God.
    • Ask everyone to write “Live in a Way that is Acceptable to God” in the box for verse 10 on their study guide
    • Ask a volunteer to read Ephesians 5:11-12.
    • Those verses tell how Christians should relate to people who practice wickedness.
    • Ask: “What instructions do we find in verse 11?” (we shouldn’t fellowship with those who practice wickedness, but we should reprove them).
    • Ask everyone to write “Don’t Participate in Sin, but Reprove It” in the left-hand box for verse 11 on their study guide, and “Unfruitful Works of Darkness” in the right-hand box.
    • Ask: “What warning do you see in verse 12?” (don’t even talk about wicked behavior).
    • Ask everyone to write “Don’t Talk About Wicked Behavior” in the box for verse 12 on their study guide
    • Read Ephesians 5:13-14.
    • Tell the class the light of Jesus Christ exposes sin for what it is.
    • Explain that when we are saved Christ gives us new life, but He also gives us light so we can recognize and avoid sin.


PERSONAL APPLICATION: Read Ephesians 5:1.  Tell the class that everyone imitates someone.  Read the following:

Plutarch says that among the Persians those persons were considered most beautiful who were hawk-nosed, for no other reason than that Cyrus had such a nose.  In Richard the Third’s court hunchbacks were the height of fashion.  According as the various potentates who have condescended to rule mankind have lisped, or stuttered, or limped, or squinted, or spoken through their noses, these infirmities have been elevated into graces and commanded the admiration of silly mortals.

We may follow holy people so far as they follow Christ.  By all means imitate the great heroes of the faith, but not indiscriminately.  One is your Master, to copy Him in every jot and tittle will be safe enough.[1]

Ask everyone to look over the lists they have created on their study guides.  Briefly review the things Christian SHOULD do and the things Christians SHOULD NOT do.

Ask: “In what areas does your lifestyle and behavior fall short of the pattern presented here in the Bible?”

Ask everyone to bow their head and close their eyes.  Ask the students to examine their own lives.  Ask them to confess their sin and make a commitment to God to live according to His standards.  Lead a closing prayer of commitment.


CONCLUSION: Encourage everyone to walk the way they should this week, as imitators of God.  In the words of our pastor, “Don’t live your life in such a way that others will wonder who you belong to.”[2]


[1] The Quotable Spurgeon, Charles Haddon Spurgeon, (Wheaton: Harold Shaw Publishers, Inc., 1990)

[2] Wayne Robertson – sermon on Luke 10:1-24 preached at Morningside Baptist Church March 24, 2002

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