Use one or both of these questions to introduce the lesson:
1. Recall a time when someone you know acted in an unwise or foolish way. Without dishonoring anyone involved, what happened as a result of those actions? What was the collateral damage to others?
2. Name someone you know (or knew) whose character you would like to emulate. Why do you feel this way about that person?
Read Ephesians 5:1-2
1. How can we live as imitators of God? Describe what you think an imitator of God looks like.
2. Sacrifice is always thinking less about yourself and more about the interests of others. In Romans 12:1, Paul talks about offering our bodies as living sacrifices. Discuss what living a life of sacrifice looks like. Why does God’s Word says it is an act of spiritual worship? Do you find this sacrificial life to be difficult or simple? Why?
3. Romans 12:1-21 lists a variety of practical ways for us to be imitators of God and live a life of love (i.e. renewing your mind; being sincere in your love).Skim each paragraph and talk about the ways we can imitate Jesus. If it helps, make a list on a whiteboard or in your Bible. What difficulties do you or others face in walking out these specific examples in your everyday life?
4. Challenge yourself in the upcoming week to work on at least one of these examples. Midweek, report on your progress to your group leader or another participant.
Read Ephesians 5:3-10
5. What lies in deep darkness eventually manifests itself. Hidden desires often lead to shameful disobedience. Immorality, impurity, and greed start as dark, tiny seeds and can eventually grow into the giant weeds of obscenity, sexual misconduct, coarse joking, and foolish talk. Discuss why “there must not be even a hint” (Ephesians 5:3) of these in the lives of believers, especially Christian leaders.
6. As a dearly loved child of God, what do verses 6-8 mean to you?Share your perspective with the members of your group.
7. This section of Scripture contains some positive things believers are supposed to do as children of light. List them and discuss: What is the key to being childlike and finding what pleases the Lord? How does childlikeness correlate to being an imitator of God?
Read Ephesians 5:11-15
8. Paul talks about light and darkness, about fruitfulness and fruitlessness. Discuss the spiritual implications and parallels of these contrasting images. Think about your personal relationship with Jesus and share with your group an example of when you received direction or prompting from the Holy Spirit that produced spiritual fruit.
9. In verse 15, Paul exhorts us to be very careful about the way we live since the days are evil. We’re to be wise (discerning, sound, and insightful) rather than unwise (thoughtless, insensitive, and ignorant). Revisit Romans 12:21. Consider together what it means to make the most of every opportunity. How does being wise help us overcome evil?
Close in prayer using the following as a guide: “Lord, though we live a dark and fallen world, show us how to live as children of light, seeking to know your good, pleasing, and perfect will.”