(Ephesians 4:17 - 5:2)
1. We saw the importance of being what God wants us to be in bringing heaven to earth: holiness of thought. Socrates, the father of classical Greek philosophy, expounded great and high ideals that are still basic even in today's modern philosophy. For such a man of noble thought, he was a filthy, slovenly man. He knew better, but didn't do better!
2. Does that describe our walk with Christ: knowing better but not doing better?
3. Paul has something to say about that (Ephesians 4:17-24).
5. In this section of scripture Paul like a modern how-to book author tells the brethren at Ephesus and consequently Christians of every age what it means to be holy: God's recreation, living the new life!
I. You Are Different! verses 17-24
A. Not like the Gentiles - verses 17-19
1. Affirm: the word is actually stronger in intent here - "implore."
2. What? Your life needs to be different!
3. Why? Hardness of heart that causes: Futile mind (lit. wanton, rash); Minds darkened (see Rom. 1:24-32); Alienated or estranged from the life of God; A sensual, impure life - greedy to do anything impure
B. Learning Christ leads to change - verses 21-24
1. Heard and taught Jesus. The interesting concept is that teaching to the Greeks and the Jews was not the mere importation of facts, but the training of a life to do something - ideal of apprenticeship.
2. Old man laid aside, corrupted: Lust - desire gone astray; Deceit - something that is nothing: "It can't hurt me, we won't get in trouble" attitude.
3. New man put on: Present passive infinitive: constant renewal from God; Created according to God - God wants us to be like Him in righteousness and holiness of truth.
II. So Live Different! 4:25-5:2
A. Speak truth! (verse 25). You have to lay aside falsehood: putting off/putting on. See Zechariah 8:16-17 - the key idea that the Jews needed to restore.
B. Deal with anger! (verses 26-27) Get angry without sinning. How? Attack problems and not people, express emotion without blowing up! Don't wait!
C. Work! (verse 27) Put off stealing, work! Reason: to share with him who has need!
D. Edify! (verse 28) Put off rotten talk, say what is needed, not what is deserved. How merciful are with our tongues?
E. Forgive! (verses 30-32) Put off grieving the Spirit by putting away malice, wrath, slander, etc. by forgiving. Model: as Christ has forgiven you.
F. Imitate God; walk in love! 5:1-2
Application: So What?
1. We need to "squeeze our hearts": see if we are still sensitive.
A. What were you thinking about when you last took the Lord's Supper, when is the last time went out of your way to show love to someone who didn't deserve it, how long has it been since you were excited about something you learned from scripture, when was the last time a sermon, lesson, or devotional cut you to the heart?
B. Did we really "put off' the old man, or did we buy into the "I'm really not that bad a person" syndrome?
2. People that think they don't need to change, don't change! Are we trying to be renewed in mind and direction by God, or do we think that we are good enough as we are??