Summary: Start of a new sermon series entitled "Putting on the New Man." What should our life in Christ look like compared to the rest of the world?

We have been called to grow in our faith. When we became a Christian, our growth in our life in Christ did not become complete when we walked the aisle, when we prayed a prayer of repentance and acceptance of Christ, or even when we were baptized. our growth in christ has only just begun. The writer of Hebrews was scolding his readers by saying:

Hebrews 5:12 (NKJV) For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the first principles of the oracles of God; and you have come to need milk and not solid food.

We need to be active in our growth as Christians. Just showing up to church and warming a pew each Sunday, if that is all you do, that is not growth.

Let me illustrate. If I decide I wanted to get healthier and physically fit, then the most logical thing for me to do is to join a health club and start eating healthier. But if for the next six months I went to the gym every day and just sat on the equipment reading magazines and books about healthy foods and lifestyles, I may have learned more about getting healthy, but I didn’t grow one ounce healthier; maybe a few pounds heavier, but not healthier. [1]

Being a Christian doesn’t guarantee automatic growth or change. I’ve known Christians who have known the Lord for some time, but haven’t grown much in their faith. Yet, I’ve also known others who have only known Jesus for a short time, and they have surpassed these others in their maturity and knowledge of God. We are living in a fast growing society, but one with very little inward growth. We’re a society that’s struggling with addictions and people who have been hurt and unable to get beyond their past. And all that is within the church, not just in the culture around us. This new Sermon series, we will be considering what it means to grow in Christ, to be what God is calling us to be so to have an impact on the culture, rather than the culture having an impact on us.

Ephesians 4:17–24

Today we are reading about putting on the new man. The Bible uses several terms for this. Jesus said, in terms of one’s conversion:

John 3:7 (NKJV) Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’

Once an individual has been born again, and belonging to Christ, Paul goes on to say to the Corinthians:

2 Corinthians 5:17 (NKJV) Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.

Paul, in writing to the Ephesians from his imprisonment in Rome, He is reminding them of things of how they should live as Christians. The term Paul uses here and other places is:

Ephesians 4:22a and 24a (NKJV) "that you put off, … the old man," and "and that you put on the new man"

Talking to believers, Paul is saying that we take off the old man, like we are taking off old ratty and smelly clothes. And put on the new man, like putting on fresh clean cloths. We get that, we understand the analogy. But herein is the problem. We like our old clothes. They’re broken in, they are comfortable and we move around well in them.

When I pick up my son after football practice, on the way home I have to roll down the windows of my truck because I can hardly stand the aroma of two hours of a hard work out in the hot sun. When we get home I tell him the first things he needs to do is hit the showers and put on clean clothes. And he will ask me "Why?" Duh???

There is a commercial for a well know air freshener. The question they ask is “Have you gone nose blind?” Have we gone nose blind to our old man? Maybe we have taken off some of the old man clothes, but we left on some of our favorite parts because we are so use to them we don’t notice that they stink. In this letter to the Ephesians, Paul takes his time explaining the work of Christ in our lives. Paul tells us about our calling in Christ:

Ephesians 1:18 (NKJV) the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints,

That we have made alive in Christ, from our dead state in sin:

Ephesians 2:1 (NKJV) And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins,

And that we were created for good works

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