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Chuck Smith :: Sermon Notes for Ephesians 4:17

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A. In this second section of the epistle to the Ephesians which begins with chapter 4 Paul begins to discuss the walk of the believer. In 4:1 he tells them to walk worthy of the calling they had received.
B. In verse 17 he exhorts them not to walk as other Gentiles walk, He then begins to define what he means.
C. In the emptiness of their minds.
1. Mindlessly.
a. Have you ever noticed how mindless so many things of the world are?
b. Halloween night on the news, they showed some footage of the celebration in San Francisco. The adults wore such foolish and outlandish get ups, and milled around the streets. That takes an empty mind.
c. To be honest, I have great difficulty with the robes and miters worn by the pope and the cardinals. Can you imagine Jesus dressing like that?
d. So many things of the world just do not make sense.
e. If people would just stop to think, they would not do so many of the things they are doing.
f. Did you know that there is a Federal law against picking up wild bird feathers and keeping them in your home?
ISA 44:18 They have not known nor understood: for he hath shut their eyes, that they cannot see; [and] their hearts, that they cannot understand.
ISA 44:19 And none considereth in his heart, neither [is there] knowledge nor understanding to say, I have burned part of it in the fire; yea, also I have baked bread upon the coals thereof; I have roasted flesh, and eaten [it]: and shall I make the residue thereof an abomination? shall I fall down to the stock of a tree?
ISA 44:20 He feedeth on ashes: a deceived heart hath turned him aside, that he cannot deliver his soul, nor say, [Is there] not a lie in my right hand?
2. Having the understanding darkened.
a. Paul in another place speaks of their foolish hearts being darkened and professing themselves to be wise, they became fools for they began to worship and serve the creature more than the creator, who is blessed forevermore.
b. Again Paul speaks of the God of this world having blinded the minds of those that believe not.
c. Paul declares that because they did not want to retain God in their knowledge, He gave them over to reprobate or depraved minds so that they do things that ought not to be done.
d. Educated men with PHD's will travel to India to live in filth at the Ashram of an Avatar who has supposedly attained to godhood. They will consume his body wastes thinking that they are somehow becoming related to god.
3. Being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them.
a. In chapter 2 Paul speaks of being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel.
b. This is even worse, being alienated from the life of God.
c. They are living in the fallen state, a two dimensional life consisting only of body and soul, as such, living like animals. The mind occupied by the body needs and appetites.
d. God is a Spirit, and they that worship Him must worship Him in Spirit and in truth. But the spirit of the heathen is dead because of trespasses and sins.
e. This is the record, God has given to us eternal life, and this life is in the Son, he that has the Son has life, and He that has not the Son has not life i.e. the life of God.
f. It is amazing to me how ignorant man is of God. That ignorance is inexcusable, for God has revealed Himself to man, through His Word, and finally through His Son.
g. A man came up to me at the door last Sunday announced that he was an agnostic, he wondered why I always pictured the world in a negative light, why didn't I mention some of the good things in the world. I thought poor man, ignorant of the life of God, but there is no excuse for that. Paul tells us in Romans 1 that God is revealed through the things He has made so that they are without excuse.
h. The ignorance is the result of the blindness of their heart. A old proverb declares, "None so blind as those who will not see."
i. Paul speaks of the god of this world blinding their eyes so that they cannot see.
j. Jesus said of the Pharisee's
MAT 15:14 Let them alone: they be blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch.
MAT 23:16 Woe unto you, [ye] blind guides, which say, Whosoever shall swear by the temple, it is nothing; but whosoever shall swear by the gold of the temple, he is a debtor!
k. I believe that Jesus will reveal God to every man who in sincerity seeks to find God.
MAT 11:27 All things are delivered unto me of my Father: and no man knoweth the Son, but the Father; neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son, and [he] to whomsoever the Son will reveal him].
l. This word translated blindness is in the Greek porosis. The poros was a stone that was harder than marble. Something so hard that if cannot feel at all.
4. Who being past feeling. What a phrase. This is what they are telling us about this new generation, that they are past feeling. They seem to have absolutely no remorse for the horrible crimes that they have committed.
a. Paul speaks to Timothy of the latter times when men will have their conscience seared as with a hot iron.
b. I believe that we are starting to reap the whirlwind from the seeds we have sown to the wind, in allowing our children to be exposed to so much violence on T.V.
c. From the time they can first comprehend they sit glued to the T.V. as Elmer Fudd beats the rabbit flat.
d. They have seen so much violence and brutality that their feelings have become numb.
e. There is a word wanton used in the Bible which means no shame. When a person can sin without feeling or shame they have become wanton.
5. They have given themselves over to lasciviousness. The absence of restraint. No inhibitions. An insatiable desire for pleasure.
a. The Greek word here is aselgeia.
b. It means that a person does not care how shocked people might be of his actions, he is willing to insult all decency that he might gratify his own lusts.
6. To work all uncleanness with greediness, akatharsis. Katharsis is clean, the negative prefix a means unclean, usually in a moral sense.
ROM 1:24 Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves:
ROM 1:25 Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.
ROM 1:26 For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature:
ROM 1:27 And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet.
ROM 1:28 And even as they did not like to retain God in [their] knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient;
ROM 1:29 Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers,
ROM 1:30 Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents,
ROM 1:31 Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful:
ROM 1:32 Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.
B. Paul saw the heathen as men whose hearts had become so hardened that they could sin without feeling. Without any pangs of conscience.
1. They were so controlled by sin that they had no shame.
2. They were so given over to their lusts that they did not care who saw them, they did not seek to hide their shameful desires.
A. What an understatement.

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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