Summary: How can you tell if a person is genuinely saved? Paul addresses this issue in his letter to the Ephesians.
Live Out Loud – Our PURITY
Recap: For several weeks we’ve been studying Paul’s letter to the Ephesians. I believe this epistle might be the most important book in the N.T. b/c it encapsulates the Christian life in a nutshell. You could say that Ephesians is the Christian’s Cliff Notes b/c in this letter Paul addresses salvation, Jesus, God, morality, church, marriage, family, work, and spiritual warfare.
Recap: Two weeks ago we talked about God’s gifts of leadership to the church and how we’re to treat our pastors. Today, we’re going to talk about how to discern a lost man from a saved man and how we’re to act as Christians.
Intro: Question: How can you tell if something is clean or unclean? Let’s say you ask your child to clean his room, how will you evaluate if he has succeeded? The bed will be made. His clothes will be neatly placed inside his dresser. His toys will be in the toy chest. His books will be neatly organized on the bookshelf, and the floor will be vacuumed. It’s not difficult to tell if your child has cleaned his room b/c you have an idea of what a clean looks like and a standard you expect him to meet.
Insert: Let me ask another question. How can you tell good from evil? Or right from wrong? Or saved and unsaved? In Ephesians 4:17-32, Paul gives us a standard to help us to determine the difference. Read Eph. 4:17-32
I The VICES of the OLD Life
Text: 17 So I tell you this, and insist on it in the Lord, that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking. 18 They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God b/c of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts. 19 Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, w/ a continual lust for more.
Trans: Paul begins by telling us that we’re no longer to live as the Gentiles. In referring to the Gentiles, he is talking about people who aren’t believers. Now he isn’t saying that Jewish people are the only saved people either. Remember, God’s chosen people have always been a spiritual people and not a nationality as some would have you believe.
Word: In calling us to live (peripateiv) Paul is concerned w/ how we conduct our lives – that the pattern of our life and behavior is distinctively godly.
Note: God wants us to live a life that’s absolutely distinct from the world. In fact, the instant we place our faith in Christ alone for salvation our spiritual citizenship is transferred from this earth to heaven. While our citizenship now resides in heaven, we still live in this world. Thus, living for Jesus can be tough b/c even though the H.S. lives in us, our flesh still longs for the pride, prestige, power, and pleasure of this world.
Insert: The Greek philosopher, Heraclitus wrote that the Romans often practiced an unusual way of preventing prisoners from escaping. When a Roman army went into battle, while they would often win and capture many of the enemy, they would also lose soldiers to the battle. So after the battle, the Romans would take the corpses of their fallen soldiers and tie them on the backs of a POW. This served two purposes: First, the prisoners would transport the bodies to a place where they could give it a proper burial; and second, they did it so that the prisoner wouldn’t be able to escape.
Note: This is the picture Paul offers in talking about our sinful nature. He says that while as Christians we have a new nature w/in us, until Christ’s return, we’re still carrying around this old sinful nature like a corpse on our back. We have to learn to deal w/ it w/out it impeding our ability to live for God.
Note: We’re all fellow pilgrims striving to live for Christ in a Christ-less world; yet greater is He w/in us than he who is in the world. Thus, we’re not to retreat into a holy huddle and live the life of a hermit, we’re to engage our culture w/out becoming our culture and indulging in the sin around us.
Verse: Don’t love the world and what it offers. Those who love the world don’t have the Father’s love in them. Not everything the world offers – physical gratification, greed, and extravagant lifestyles – comes from the Father. It comes from the world, and the world and its evil desires are passing away. But the person who does what God wants lives forever. 1 Jn. 2:15-17