Ephesians 4:17-32 Message 21
The church is to grow up into the fulness of the stature of Christ. We represent Him to the World.
Ephesians 4:13 Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:
Paul is instructing us how we are to show the world outwardly what is going on inwardly –
IX . Personal Growth. Ephesians 4:17-32
The beginning of the new life. New creatures with old habits!
“…that ye henceforth….” The second ‘henceforth’ in three verses – from right now, stop being children and begin growing up to maturity!
A. The insistence that we must change Ephesians 4:17
“…This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord…”
Paul is calling on the Lord to bear witness to the truth that the believer not only is a child of God, but should live like it!
A difference must be known by the believer, and be known by those observing the believer. A beginning point (henceforth), a new beginning must be known by the believer and from that moment, the moment of the new birth, the birth from above, the birth by the Spirit of God, must present evidence to all who will ask or see, that a change has taken place –
Ephesians 4:17 This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind,
The believer, you, are no longer what you were, and you must now live like what you are – a child of God.
You are like one of those blocks of marble that is seen while traveling north up the North-South Highway. Looking over to the right, the marble can be seen embedded in the hillside. On the left side of the highway the individual blocks sit on the ground. These blocks have been removed, cut out, from their natural place and have been positioned where they will be changed into something useful, something beautiful, something inspiring.
Now those blocks of stone do not participate in the ‘putting off of the old and the putting on of the new, we as believers do have a responsibility to act upon what we learn!
B. The incentive to change –
1. Consider carefully the life of the unbeliever
Ephesians 4:18,19 Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart:Who being past feeling have given themselves over unto lasciviousness, to work all uncleanness with greediness.
The believer is now able to change!
Again I say ‘Why would you want to be like this’?
1 Corinthians 2:9-14 But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God. For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual. But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.
2. Consider now the truth of God, that you are no longer blinded to the truth and able to know and do the will of God according to the Word of God.
Ephesians 4:20 But ye have not so learned Christ;
3. Consider the decision that you will make today –
Ephesians 4:21 If so be that ye have heard him, and have been taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus:
Will you follow these instructions to guide you to a life that will result in a life that glorifies God and fills you with the joy of the Lord? The Lord set forth the pattern of the work through the Word in –
2 Timothy 3:16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:
You need to know the TRUTH! The Holy Spirit must work in all of this!
You are going in the wrong direction!
You need to go in the right direction – knowing you are wrong is not enough!
You need walk in the way of God through His Word!
C. The instructions for change. Ephesians 4:22-32
1. My participation is required –
Ephesians 4:22-24 That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.
2. My practice must be conformed to the will of God.
a. Tell the truth –
Ephesians 4:25 Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbour: for we are members one of another.
b. Trust the Lord. “…Vengeance is mine saith the Lord…”
Ephesians 4:26,27 Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath: Neither give place to the devil.
Remember the danger of pent up anger is that it quickly turns to hatred –
Hosea 7:6 For they have made ready their heart like an oven, whiles they lie in wait: their baker sleepeth all the night; in the morning it burneth as a flaming fire.
c. Turn from serving only self to serving others –
Ephesians 4:28 Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth.
d. Teach others those things that you have learned that they may be blessed and be a blessing.
Ephesians 4:29 Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.
Be confident in God’s will for your life. (Barnabas and Saul)
e. Turn away from sin –
Ephesians 4:30 And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.
John 16:8 And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment:
Do not continue in that which you have already been reproved of!
f. Treat others as God has treated you for the sake of His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.
Ephesians 4:31,32 Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice:And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.
We reply to this that God is asking a lot! This is true, but He is not asking more than He is able to accomplish in us and through us. We cannot do it on our own, but He expects us to be conformed to His will and He will help us in the doing of it.
Romans 12:1-2 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
He is willing – are you willing to do your part? “Henceforth”
Have you heard Him?
Have you responded to Him and turned to Him for salvation?
Have you recognized that God has changed you and you are growing up in Him?