Summary: Anger, our speech and forgiveness - all things we need to work on with God's help as we put off the old self and put on the new.
Last week when we covered Ephesians 4:17-24 we talked about our new life. That when we become Christians there ought to be change. We need to leave behind the life we once lived, the life we lived as unbelievers and we need to put off the old self
and put on the new. We spoke about the contrast of this and that the Bible uses pretty strong language to describe the difference between the old way of life and the new way of life. And we looked at whose job this is, to change. Gods or ours. And we realised that its both. Its God that makes the new self, but we are commanded to take off the old self and put on the new self.
Last week we had a look at theme generally. You could say we looked at the theory. But now we get in to the practical stuff, what it means on the ground. From now on, until almost the end of the book of Ephesians, its all about where the rubber hits the road in everyday, practical living. And today in Ephesians 4:25-5:2, we look at relationships anger and kindness, stealing and work, pure speech and worthless speech, bitterness and forgiveness. More contrasts more extremes.
But before we launch in, I need to prepare you. So far in Ephesians, Pauls talked in generalities. In the first few chapters he talked about what Christ had done for us. Yes, we talked about how we were sinners. Thats a pretty direct statement, that we are sinners. But it was in very general terms. Theres not too much room to be offended by that, when things are in general terms. Even last week we talked about the stark contrast between the old way of life and the new, and some of you may have found that challenging. But even so, it was in generalities. But now we are going to launch into specifics. Today we talk about relationships, anger, stealing, working, speaking badly, bitterness, unforgivenss. And it gets worse. Next Sunday Ill be on holidays, but the one after, well be talking about specific sins: sexual immorality, crude joking, greed, drinking. Were going to cover sins that most of us, perhaps all of us, have done and perhaps are still doing. And it is quite likely that some of you may be offended by some of the topics that come up and that could well happen today as we talk about anger, our speech, laziness, bitterness and unforgiveness. So as we do cover these verses, I want to ask you to bear with me. Firstly, if I say something that is hard hitting, a bit hard to take, remember Im not trying to offend but merely doing my best to explain the Bible and what it means to us today. And if you hear something today or the next few weeks that is challenging, remember that you are here today in church, I hope because you want to learn more about what God says to us through the Bible. And sometimes the Bible exposes things in our lives that are uncomfortable and that we need to deal with. So today and the next few weeks, if the Bible says something, if it addresses some sin in your life, I urge you to do what the Bible says and do something about it. Im here to help you too, to counsel, pray with you through it. But do do something about it.