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Ephesians 4:17-32

Putting on the New

  • Rich Jones
  • Weekend Messages
  • March 5, 2016

In Ephesians 4, Paul teaches that when God pours spiritual blessings on us, it should have a direct impact on how we live our lives. Jesus said, “The good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth what is good.” God puts His unfathomable riches spiritually into your heart and ignites your soul and then He talks about bringing forth what is good in your life. The way you live, the way you make a difference in the world and the things you say all come back to what fills your heart.

  • Sermon Notes
  • Scripture

Putting on the New

Ephesians 4:17-32 

We are now in the second major section of the book of Ephesians. In the first three chapters Paul wrote about the unfathomable riches of Christ. He wrote that he was praying for them; that God would open the eyes of their heart so they might know the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, that they be strengthened with power in the inner man and that they might comprehend the breadth the length, the height and depth and to experience the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge and be filled up to all the fullness of God.

After writing about the unfathomable riches of Christ for three chapters, he then changes direction completely and tells us how to live our lives according to the riches we have in Christ.

In other words, when God pours spiritual blessings on us, it should have a direct impact on how we live our lives. Jesus said, “The good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth what is good.” God puts His unfathomable riches spiritually into your heart and ignites your soul and then He talks about bringing forth what is good in your life.

It has everything to do with what fills your heart. “Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of Christ,” Paul wrote. “The mouth speaks from that which fills the heart,” Jesus said.

The problem is that we live in a world that is darkened in their understanding and excluded from the life of God because of the hardness of their heart. And it’s in that world that He wants us to make a difference. In the verses we read last week Paul wrote that the church is to built up and equipped for the work of service. Jesus sends us into the world to be salt and light, “That they might see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.”

Living the victorious life and making a difference in this world has everything to do with what fills our heart. It reminds me of an illustration. A boy got hold of some sparrows and wanted them to sing like a canary, so he got a canary and put it in with the sparrows. But to his great disappointment, not only did the sparrows not learn to sing like a canary, the canary started to squawk like a sparrow. The way you live and the things you say has everything to do with what fills your heart.

I.      Put on the New Self

  • Verse 22 - in reference to your former matter of life, lay aside the old self; and then later he says to put on the new self. It’s a process of transformation; putting off the old and putting on the new.
  • But notice that it is a process; you have to keep putting off the old and continually put on the new.

Illus - There is a scene in the new Star Wars movie where a storm trooper named Finn leaves the dark Empire and escapes, only to crash on a nearby planet. He leaves the crash site and as he’s walking through the desert he removes the old Stormtrooper armor piece by piece, leaving a trail behind him. Put off the old.

  • Verse 23 - be renewed in the spirit of your mind, Paul wrote. That’s the key to putting on the new self.
  • When you came to Christ you came out of the world and you brought a lot of the world with you. Be renewed in the spirit of your mind; you can’t be transformed and at the same time keep thinking the same old thoughts and living in the same old ways; put off the old thoughts and old ways.
  • Putting on the new self means that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind- but how? 

Romans 12:2, Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.

A.     The new self was created of truth

  • Verse 24 - the new self was created of the truth in the image of God. That’s a remarkable statement.
  • When you opened your heart to receive Christ, God created the new man; the eternal, forgiven soul that has already inherited the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus. God created it; now live your life according to it.

Ephesians 2:10, For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. 

2 Corinthians 5:17, If any man is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.

  • When we read these verses it’s easy to get the sense that you should go to God’s closet, take out truth and put it on. No, the new man, created in Christ Jesus, was created in the truth; it’s in the fabric of what God made.
  • Now, therefore, because the new man was created in the righteousness and holiness of the truth, lay aside falsehood and speak the truth.
  • Truth is not just a way to speak, it’s a way to live. You speak the truth because you have a personal relationship with Him who is the truth.

B.     Be angry, but do not sin

  • There are several things we can discern from these verses. First, there is anger that is not a sin and there is anger which is sin. Perhaps we could say that there is righteous anger and there is also man’s anger.

James 1:19-20, This you know, my beloved brethren; everyone must be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger; for the anger of man does not achieve the righteousness of God.

  • There were times when Jesus Himself became angry, but it was righteous indignation. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the seats of those who were selling doves because they were hindering those who had come to worship at the temple.

Matthew 21:13, And He said to them, “It is written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer’; but you are making it a robber’s den.”

Illus - Pastor Chuck Smith arrived at church early one Sunday morning and someone had placed a sign, “No Shoes, No Service.” He removed the sign and called for a meeting of the church leaders…

  • How do we know if anger is sin? If it’s about you, it’s probably sin; someone hurt your feelings, someone was insensitive, someone said an unkind word and you got angry, that’s not righteous indignation that’s selfish indignation.
  • Anger is something we feel first before we act on it. It’s an emotion, but God gave emotions to serve us, not to master us.

1 Corinthians 6:12, … I will not be mastered by anything

  • Control of self is a fruit of the Holy Spirit; it comes from being strengthened in the inner man. Everyone feels the emotion of anger, but if we do not master it, it will defeat us.
  • Verse 26 - Do not let the sun go down on your anger. In other words, don’t hold on to it, don’t hold a grudge, don’t let it fester into a root of bitterness.

Hebrews 12:15, See to it that no one comes short of the grace of God; that no root of bitterness springing up causes trouble, and by it many be defiled.

  • Verse 27 - do not give the devil an opportunity; don’t to give him a foothold, a place from which to attack. He will surely use it against you.
  • Can you imagine if a pastor was a hothead? How long do you think he would last in ministry?
  • Can I add another caution? Beware the righteous high hill. Many feel their anger is justified when they find a righteous high hill to stand on. Be careful, the anger of man does not bring about the righteousness of God.

Illus - At the north end of Lincoln City the lanes merge together, but the person next to me rudely cut me off. I was surprised by how upset it made me. But haven’t I done the same things?

  • Verse 2 … Show forbearance in love.

C.      Steal no longer

  • Stealing is based on selfishness; it favors self at someone else’s expense. It shows complete disregard for the other person.
  • Instead, work for honest gain in order to have something to share with him who has need. It shows great regard for others; put that on instead.

II.      Do not Grieve the Holy Spirit

  • God gave the Holy Spirit as a pledge of your inheritance and you are sealed by Him for the day of redemption. God’s promises to you are sure because He has given you a pledge – the Holy Spirit.
  • The Holy Spirit is also given to strengthen you in the inner man and cause you to experience the love of Christ. It’s the Holy Spirit that brings control over self and transforms the soul.
  • But many people resist the Holy Spirit as He desires to draw them toward Christ and teach them about the unfathomable riches they have in Him.
  • When people resist the Holy Spirit it grieves Him, it pains Him; “O what peace we often forfeit, O what needless pain we bear…” All because we won’t let the Holy Spirit lead us into better things. In other words, He is grieving for our sakes, He knows what we could have if we would only trust Him.

Illus - One of the things we say to young parents is to do all you can to raise up a child in the way he should go, because, otherwise, it will cause much grief to you later.

A.     Speak no unwholesome word

  • Verse 29 - the word ‘unwholesome’ means rotten, or putrid; let no such word, the key word there is “no” - none, nada - let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, Paul wrote.

James 3:9-10, With the tongue we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in the likeness of God; from the same mouth come both blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be this way.

James 1:26, If anyone thinks himself to be religious, and yet does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this man’s religion is worthless.

Luke 6:45, “The mouth speaks from that which fills the heart.”

  • That’s the key here. Live your life worthy of the spiritual riches you now have and letting hurtful words come out of your mouth is inconsistent with who you are in Christ.

Romans 14:19, Let us pursue the things which make for peace and the building up of one another.

  • Speak only such a word as is good for edification, according to the need of the moment, that it may give grace to those who hear.
  • Give grace; treat people better than they deserve.
  • Grace is the most powerful thing I know in responding to difficult people and difficult words.
  • Verse 23 - be renewed in the spirit of your mind. In order to speak gracious words, you have to think gracious thoughts.

B.      Be kind to one another

  • Verse 32 - be kind to one another, tenderhearted.
  • Notice the contrast with verse 31? The heart that is tender is the heart that has an active relationship to God through the Holy Spirit. But bitterness and wrath and anger are in the heart of the one who needs to be filled with love and healed of many wounds.
  • Be tenderhearted – forgiving each other, just as God in Christ has forgiven you. Forgive, not because God will forgive you, but because God has already forgiven you, and He has forgiven much.
  • Peter asked of Jesus, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me and I forgive him? Up to seven times?”

Matthew 18:22, Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.”

  • Forgive because you have been forgiven, be kind because God has been kind to you; give grace to others because God has given so much grace to you.

Ephesians 4:17-32    NASB

17 So this I say, and affirm together with the Lord, that you walk no longer just as the Gentiles also walk, in the futility of their mind, 18 being darkened in their understanding, excluded from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the hardness of their heart; 19 and they, having become callous, have given themselves over to sensuality for the practice of every kind of impurity with greediness. 20 But you did not learn Christ in this way, 21 if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught in Him, just as truth is in Jesus, 22 that, in reference to your former manner of life, you lay aside the old self, which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit, 23 and that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind, 24 and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth.

25 Therefore, laying aside falsehood, speak truth each oneof youwith his neighbor, for we are members of one another. 26 Be angry, andyetdo not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, 27 and do not give the devil an opportunity. 28 He who steals must steal no longer; but rather he must labor, performing with his own hands what is good, so that he will have something to share with one who has need. 29 Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear. 30 Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31 Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. 32 Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.

 

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