Lifestyle Changes I
New attitudes in Christ. (Ephesians 4.17-24)
Pastor Don Prewitt
Paul has spent the last 3 ½ chapters of this book convincing the Ephesian church and us that the grace of God through Jesus Christ has placed us at the right hand of the Father in Christ and Gods grace has given us a new identity. Because of the cross of Christ we are Gods masterpiece, or his very best work as the artist of the entire universe. It is an identity that has nothing to do with what we have done or could do or are capable of doing. It is simply because God looked down and said “I want you to be my home on earth. I am going to redeem, set free, restore and build you up to be a living church walking around on earth showing off the love and forgiveness and glory of God.” This is what the first 3 chapters of Ephesians are all about.
The phrase “In Christ” or “in the Lord” shows up 15 times in Ephesians.
So now we start on Chapter 4:17-24
THIS I SAY, THEREFORE, AND TESTIFY IN THE LORD, THAT YOU SHOULD NO LONGER WALK AS THE REST OF THE GENTILES WALK, in the futility of their mind, having their understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God, because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart; who, being past feeling, have given themselves over to lewdness, to work all uncleanness with greediness.
But you have not so learned Christ, if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught by Him, as the truth is in Jesus: that you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness.
If I could paraphrase what Paul starts out to say its this: “Hey guys! I’m the dude that is writing a majority of what you will call the New Testament. But if that isn’t enough I’m gonna make this loud and clear, reminding you that this is coming right from Gods lips to your ears: You ARE the story of Christ!! People, He came to make a new museum installation entitled “The big guys best work”. You are center stage in the show and it is all because he loves you. So now hear me loud and clear DON’T GO BACK TO LIVING YOUR LIVES AS IF YOU ARE THE USED UP PAPER CUP THROWN TO THE SIDE OF THE ROAD. THAT MAY HAVE BEEN WHO YOU USED TO BE BUT NOW LIVE OUT YOUR NEW IDENTITY AS GODS VERY BEST PIECE OF ARTWORK IN THE ENTIRE MUSEUM!”
This I say: First Paul wants them to know that he; the apostle of Christ is declaring an important statement.
Therefore: Introducing a new statement
Testify in the Lord: Affirm as a truth from God himself
So now Paul begins to tell us in great detail how we should live as Gods Masterpiece. He first tells us that we should not live like the Gentiles.
In the FUTILITY OF THEIR MINDS
This word comes from a word that originally meant a stone that was harder than marble. It came to become a medical term to describe the callus that forms where a bone has been broken and re set, a callus which is harder than the bone itself. It describes the kind of hardening that happens to something resulting in the loss of all power of sensation; it described something which had become so hardened, so petrified that it had no power to feel at all.
Having their UNDERSTANDING DARKENED,
Paul isn’t saying that everyone that isn’t a follower of Jesus is ignorant or doesn’t have any understanding or wisdom. But he is saying that because they don’t have their new identity in Christ they don’t quite get it.
Being ALIENATED FROM THE LIFE OF GOD,
Because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart; WHO BEING PAST FEELING, have given themselves over to LEWDNESS, to work all uncleanness with greediness.
BUT YOU HAVE NOT SO LEARNED CHRIST, if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught by Him, as the truth is in Jesus: that you PUT OFF, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness.
How do we put off the old man:
Understand your “IN CHRIST” Identity
Be renewed in the spirit of your mind
Put on a new man, which is in Christ