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John Brown :: Ephesians 4:17-32

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One man gets nothing but discord out of a piano; another gets harmony. No one claims the piano is at fault. Life is about the same. The discord is there, and the harmony is there. Study to play correctly, and it will give forth the beauty; play it falsely, and it will give forth the ugliness. --Anonymous

I. INTRODUCTION

A. Last week our study of Ephesians Chapter 4, was about "Christian Behavior".

1. Paul told the Ephesians that they should endeavor to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. Ephe 4:3 (NKJV)

2. And we concluded that the work of the ministry was too important to get sidetracked with unimportant issues.

a) It is unrealistic to think that people will agree on every single issue, so we must "agree to disagree - agreeably."

3. Paul went on to say that the Lord had given us Apostles, prophets, evangelists, and pastor teachers, for the purpose of equipping the saints to do the work of the ministry.

a) And that if we will let the Word of God mature us and do our part in the work of the ministry with love, the church will grow.

B. This evening, we are going to take a look at a "list" of things that Christians should and should not do in order to keep the unity of the Spirit and the bond of peace.

1. Things that we should either overcome and let the Lord remove from our lives, or things that we should allow the Holy Spirit to build "into" our lives.

II. TEXT

A. Ephe 4:17-19 (NKJV) This I say, therefore, and testify in the Lord, that you should no longer walk as the rest of the Gentiles walk, in the futility of their mind, 18 having their understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God, because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart; 19 who, being past feeling, have given themselves over to lewdness, to work all uncleanness with greediness.

1. The "therefore" in verse 17 means = based upon what Paul has already told us about preserving the unity and peace!

2. If we want to maintain that, Christians must not walk, talk, nor act, like unsaved (Gentiles), people!!!

3. Unsaved people are alienated from the life of God, because of the blindness of their heart!

a) You won't find "blindness of the heart" in any medical journal, because it is a spiritual disease!

b) Because of this alienation, and blindness to the things of the Lord, the unsaved are usually engulfed in life dominating sins!

c) Is that God's will for their lives, no it is their own choice!

(1) Rom 1:20-22 probably says it best: For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, [even] his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: 21 Because that, when they knew God, they glorified [him] not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. 22 Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools,

4. Now they are past feeling, have given themselves over to lewdness, to work all uncleanness with greediness.

a) When a person refuses to accept salvation, there is a "hardness" that sets in and they eventually cease to feel the guilt of their sins.

(1) And that just leads to deeper and greater "unbridled" lusts of the flesh, and bondage to those lusts.

B. Ephe 4:20-23 (NKJV) But you have not so learned Christ, 21 if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught by Him, as the truth is in Jesus: 22 that you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, 23 and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, 24 and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness.

1. Christians, in contrast to the unsaved, have the truth in Jesus!

a) And that truth is that we put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, 23 and be renewed in the spirit of your mind.

(1) Roma 12:1-2 (NKJV) I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, [which] [is] your reasonable service. 2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what [is] that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.

2. Unlike the person without Christ, we have an alternative! We have a new person at our disposal.

a) 2Cor 5:17 (NKJV) Therefore, if anyone [is] in Christ, [he] [is] a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.

b) Paul now lists 7 things that we, as this "new creation" should either do, or not do in order to glorify the Lord and preserve unity and peace.

C. Ephe 4:25 (NKJV) Therefore, putting away lying, "Let each one [of] [you] speak truth with his neighbor," for we are members of one another.

1. So, #1 is STOP LYING!

a) As part of the same body and work (Ephe 4:4-6), we hurt each other by lying.

b) A Christian's word should be his/her bond.

(1) John 8:44 (NKJV) "You are of [your] father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and [does] [not] stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own [resources], for he is a liar and the father of it.

(2) Matt 5:37 (NKJV) "But let your `Yes' be `Yes,' and your `No,' `No.' For whatever is more than these is from the evil one.

(3) Prov 19:22.... a poor man [is] better than a liar.

D. Ephe 4:26 (NKJV) "Be angry, and do not sin":

1. #2 IF YOU MUST BE ANGRY, DON'T SIN IN THE PROCESS!

a) Psal 37:8 (NKJV) Cease from anger, and forsake wrath; Do not fret-- [it] only [causes] harm.

b) Prov 16:32 (NKJV) [He] [who] [is] slow to anger [is] better than the mighty, And he who rules his spirit than he who takes a city.

c) The second half of this verse, and verse 27 are "guidelines" for the first part.

(1)... do not let the sun go down on your wrath,

(a) In other words, "deal with it" and get it over with!

(b) Don't let that "root of bitterness" set in.

(2) Ephe 4:27 (NKJV) nor give place to the devil.

(a) Irritation in the heart of a believer is always an invitation to the devil to stand by. - Anonymous

E. Ephe 4:28 (NKJV) Let him who stole steal no longer, but rather let him labor, working with [his] hands what is good, that he may have something to give him who has need.

1. #3 = QUIT BEING A TAKER AND START BEING A GIVER.

a) Scriptures say much about "carrying our own weight."

b) A Christian should be known for his/her unselfish attitude, as was Jesus.

F. Ephe 4:29 (NKJV) Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers.

1. # 4 = WATCH WHAT COMES OUT OF YOUR MOUTH.

a) The things that do flow from a Christian's mouth should build people up, not put them down.

(1) And those who hear what we say, should sense in our words that people are getting what they don't deserve (grace), not being condemned for maybe even what they do deserve!

G. Ephe 4:30 (NKJV) And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.

1. #5 = DON'T HURT THE LORD BY YOUR WORDS OR ACTIONS.

a) The Holy Spirit is a person.He can be hurt just like any other person.

b) The Holy Spirit is hurt when we sin against each other by condemning, judging, or gossiping.

H. Ephe 4:31 (NKJV) Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice.

1. #6 = BITTERNESS, VIOLENT OUTBURSTS OF ANGER, AND BAD TALKING WITH EVIL INTENT SHOULDN'T EVEN BE A PART OF A CHRISTIAN'S LIFE!

a) These actions and attitudes might be "natural" and easy, but we should endeavor to keep them under the control of the Holy Spirit.

I. Ephe 4:32 (NKJV) And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God in Christ forgave you.

1. #7 = BE KIND, TENDERHEARTED, AND FORGIVING.

a) Roma 2:1-6 (NKJV) Therefore you are inexcusable, O man, whoever you are who judge, for in whatever you judge another you condemn yourself; for you who judge practice the same things. 2 But we know that the judgment of God is according to truth against those who practice such things. 3 And do you think this, O man, you who judge those practicing such things, and doing the same, that you will escape the judgment of God? 4 Or do you despise the riches of His goodness, forbearance, and longsuffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance? 5 But in accordance with your hardness and your impenitent heart you are treasuring up for yourself wrath in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God, 6 who "will render to each one according to his deeds":

III. CONCLUSION

A. I want the Lord to be kind, tenderhearted, and forgiving to me.Therefore knowing that the same measuring cup I use to judge other will be used to judge me, I must be also be kind, tenderhearted, and forgiving to others.

1. Through presenting my body as a living sacrifice (Rom 12), the Lord will re-train me.

a) And instead of acting and behaving like I did when I didn't know Jesus, I will be able to "put on the new man" that I have become in Christ!!

CONTENT DISCLAIMER:

The Blue Letter Bible ministry and the BLB Institute hold to the historical, conservative Christian faith, which includes a firm belief in the inerrancy of Scripture. Since the text and audio content provided by BLB represent a range of evangelical traditions, all of the ideas and principles conveyed in the resource materials are not necessarily affirmed, in total, by this ministry.

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