Parkland First Baptist Church
September 19, 2021
      • 2 Kings 14CSB

      • 2 Chronicles 25CSB

      • Jonah 1–4CSB

      • 2 Kings 15CSB

      • 2 Chronicles 26CSB

      • Isaiah 1–4CSB

      • Isaiah 5–8CSB

  • Introduction

    Continue in the series on God’s Grace In The Church going through the book of Ephesians.
    The Bible is to be obeyed and not just studied.
    Paul uses the term “therefore” often in chapters 4 and 5 of Ephesians, at least 8 times.
    Usually therefore is saying “because of this, then live this way...”
    We are to be doers of the Word, and not hearers only (James 1:22).
    The fact that we have been called in Christ (Eph. 1:18) ought to motivate us to walk in unity (Eph. 4:1–16).
    And the fact that we have been raised from the dead (Eph. 2:1–10) should motivate us to walk in purity (Eph. 4:17–5:17).
    We are alive in Christ, not dead in sins; therefore “put off the old man … and put on the new man (Eph. 4:22, 24)
    In chapter 2, Paul reminded us that we were once lost in our sin and trespasses, but now we are forgiven and called in Christ.
    In today’s passage he tells us what used to mark our lives.
    Then he will remind us of our new status as he teaches this to the Ephesians.
    Ephesians 4:17–24 CSB
    17 Therefore, I say this and testify in the Lord: You should no longer walk as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thoughts. 18 They are darkened in their understanding, excluded from the life of God, because of the ignorance that is in them and because of the hardness of their hearts. 19 They became callous and gave themselves over to promiscuity for the practice of every kind of impurity with a desire for more and more. 20 But that is not how you came to know Christ, 21 assuming you heard about him and were taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus, 22 to take off your former way of life, the old self that is corrupted by deceitful desires, 23 to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, 24 and to put on the new self, the one created according to God’s likeness in righteousness and purity of the truth.

    Do Not Live Like A Pagan Verses 17-19

    Here’s that word “therefore” what is it there for?
    Paul has been discussing the church and it’s unity while being diverse.
    How each of us in Christ has all the heavenly blessings within our reach.
    Therefore.....
    He opens this section on purity like he did the one on unity by asserting his authority as an Apostle of Jesus Christ.
    This is from Christ and not just Paul’s ideas
    In fact, some translations say “insist” rather than testify.
    In other words, pay attention.
    He’s telling them simply “Don’t live like the Gentiles do”
    What he is doing is comparing them, though they are Gentiles, to their former life.
    Prior to becoming believers in Christ they live a lifestyle that totally opposite of God’s ideals.
    He trying to get them to remember who they were and realize they are no longer like that.
    They once were pagans and lived like pagans.
    Now they are Christians and must live like Christians.
    He does this in two parts
    First, he teaches the doctrinal basis for this type of lifestyle
    Then, he gives some practical suggestion, which we’ll look at next week.
    In verse 17, Paul is stressing that the Ephesians must abandon what had been their former way of living.
    Not living like the other non-believers around them.
    He shows them that the Gentiles are different in the “Futility of their thinking.”
    He’s referring to the natural tendency of human beings to employ intellectual pride, rationalizations, and excuses.
    Their thinking was futile because it was wasted on idols, untrue teachings, and immoral behavior.
    This type of thinking was darkened in understanding.
    They have no light; or were blacked out.
    Sin produces a malfunction of the mind.
    Believers have found the light of Christ and are given His wisdom.
    The malfunctioning mind has been repaired, but must be maintained.
    Not only are unbelievers living in ignorance, they refuse to believe after hardening their hearts.
    A fully harden heart is unable to respond to Christ.
    The problem is not only intellectual; it is willful, too.
    That’s why it’s almost impossible to argue someone into the kingdom of heaven.
    People don’t often reject Christ on intellectual grounds; they reject him (or ignore him) because they don’t want to surrender their wills to his.
    If you are presenting Christ and you receive an objection to every statement or truth claim, step back and ask: Is this really an intellectual problem?
    Or is it just that this person does not want to submit to Christ?
    If it’s truly intellectual, try to answer the objection.
    If it’s more willful, recognize that and deal with it on the heart level.
    Pray that God will turn on the lights and illumine the darkened, hardened heart.
    The result of this darkness and hardening is for the unbelievers to become callus.
    They have lost all sensitivity to their condition.
    The next step is for them to give themselves over to sensuality, indulge in every kind of impurity, and lust for more.
    They lack moral restraint.
    Left to ourselves, we are vile!
    But the good news of this passage is that God can transform anyone by His grace!
    Salvation is the key.
    Accepting Jesus as your savior leads a believer to live a life that is completely different to those unbelievers.
    As new creations in Christ we are to think differently, respond tot he truth differently, and act differently from pagan culture.

    Live As A New Creation Verses 20-24

    In verse 20 we the little word “but”, that should be one of your favorite words in the Bible because it often shows how we can overcome the sin and evil we face.
    Here we see a great contrast in the way believers are live compared to the pagans.
    The Ephesians and us have been taught and have learned about Christ from Paul, God’s word and other teachers.
    To know Christ is the greatest knowledge anyone can have.
    That knowledge is truth and it opposes what the evil world teaches and applauds.
    Look at verse 21, the phrase translated “heard of him” is literally “heard him”.
    This refers to our hearing the call to salvation and responding.
    Weirsbe puts it this way, “Therefore, I can “learn Christ” through a personal fellowship with Him.”
    This fellowship is based on the Word of God.
    I can be taught “the truth” as it is in Jesus Christ.
    The better I understand the Word of God, the better I know the Son of God, for the whole Bible is a revelation of the Lord Jesus Christ.
    It’s interesting to note this the only mention of just the name of Jesus.
    Paul is talking about the historical person, Jesus.
    He lived, died, and rose from the dead in human history.
    Find Him and you find the truth.
    Find Him and you find life.
    In verses 22-24, Paul uses the metaphor of clothing to illustrate how we are to be different now that we have the truth of Jesus.
    This experience of salvation goes much deeper than this, for it has resulted in a whole new position before God.
    The old former way of life has been put away, and we can now walk in newness of life through Christ.
    Ephesians 4:22–24 is a summary of Romans 5–8, where Paul explained the believer’s identification with Christ in death, burial, and resurrection.
    As Christians, we have not simply changed our minds.
    We have totally changed our citizenship.
    We belong to God’s “new creation” in Christ (2 Cor. 5:17), and therefore, the ideas and desires of the old creation no longer should control our lives.
    Again Weirsbe shares a great illustration of this,
    The simplest illustration of this great truth is given in John 11, the resurrection of Lazarus.
    Our Lord’s friend, Lazarus, had been in the grave four days when Jesus and His disciples arrived at Bethany, and even Martha admitted that, by now, the decaying body would smell (John 11:39).
    But Jesus spoke the word and Lazarus came forth alive, an illustration of John 5:24.
    The Lord’s next words, “Loose him, and let him go” (John 11:44).
    Take off the graveclothes!
    Lazarus no longer belonged to the old dominion of death, for he was now alive.
    Why go about wearing graveclothes?
    Take off the old and put on the new!
    That’s a great picture of being a new self with new clothes.
    Paul is telling us that we are no long living in the old corrupt way of sin, but we are now a new creation in Christ and that requires new clothes.
    What are they?
    First, we are being renewed in knowledge according to God’s likeness.
    “Being renewed” is in the present tense, like “being corrupted” (Eph 4:22).
    The present tense indicates that this renewal is an ongoing process God performs in us.
    We need a continual renewal of our minds.
    We need to be reminded constantly of our new identity.
    God created us but sin separated us from Him.
    Through Jesus we can be new creations, reflecting the glory of God by living holy righteous lives as His redeemed image bearers.
    The primary means of this ongoing transformation in our lives is the Word and the Spirit.
    God does this work in us, but we also have the responsibility of setting our minds on what is above.
    Paul tells the Romans, “Be transformed by the renewing of your mind” (Rom 12:2).
    We must give attention to our minds for growth in godliness.
    We must renew them, wash them, clean them with the Word of God, and meditate on that which is good, right, and true in order to live the new life.

    What’s the Bottom Line?

    We have come to know Christ.
    We are new creations.
    We have minds that are being renewed.
    Because of this change, we are empowered to live out this identity in everyday life.
    Verses 17–24 are absolutely essential because they tell us from where the power for change comes!
    It comes from God.
    We need new hearts.
    We need new desires.
    We need new minds and new power.
    That is what you have when you come to Jesus.
    So take off those old clothes and put on new ones.
    And don’t keep getting them out of the trash to put on later.
    Let’s pray
      • Ephesians 4:17–24CSB

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