Ephesians 4 - August 20, 2006
Good morning. Join me in turning to the book of Ephesians, chapter 4. We have been going through this letter of Paul the Apostle, written to Christians in the town of Ephesus, the capital city of Turkey or Asia Minor as it was known back them. We mentioned that chapters 1-3 deal with doctrine, and chapters 4-6 deal with duty. 1-3 deal with who we are, and 4-6 with how we live. We look at 1:3 and we see the key idea: we are blessed with every spiritual blessing in Christ in the heavenly realms. In the OT in the book of Joshua, the Jews have already been given the promised land, but they still need to go in and claim it. Here in Ephesians, we see that we have already been given every spiritual blessing, but we need to live them out in our lives. In chapters 1-3 Paul talks about what these blessings are. Now in chapters 4-6 he talks about how we live them out in our lives.
We saw last week in verse 1, Paul says Live a life worthy of the calling you have received. In our terminology today, Paul would be saying, Wherever you are, whatever you are doing, make sure your life “measures up”! Make sure that your life lives up to the standard of Christ. Paul goes on in chapter 4 to give us keys for building UNITY within the body of Christ. He reminds us that as Christians we have UNITY. And he explains what that means. He writes that we are UNITED in IDENTITY (that’s WHO we ARE) but UNIQUE in MINISTRY (that’s WHAT we DO). We have UNIFORMITY in the FOUNDATION of the GOSPEL, but we have INDIVIDUALITY in our FUNCTION, using our GIFTS.
So that brings us today to the second half of chapter 4, as we look today beginning with verse 17. The first 16 verses talk about UNITY, but now Paul goes on to talk about PURITY. Unity has a focus on the community as a whole. Purity has a focus on the individual Christian. Here in chapter 4 we see the MODEL. In chapter 5 we will see the MOTIVE. Let’s look today and see what God has to say to us about Purity.
Read 4:17-5:7, Pray.
Let me tell you where we’re headed today. In talking about purity, we’re going to talk about the OLD lifestyle, and then we’ll talk about our NEW lifestyle. And the key thought we want to come away with is this:
Right Thinking Brings Right Actions. It’s a principle that plays out in everything we do in life. Right thinking brings right actions. If you think rightly about your money, if you view it as being God’s, you then take right action and seek to honor God with all you have. If you think wrongly, you will view it all as belonging to you, and you will use your money foolishly. If you think rightly about your job, and realize that you are to do everything you do as unto the Lord, you will be a model employee. If you think wrongly, you will look at your job only as a means to a paycheck, and your work will be sloppy and unenthusiastic. Right Thinking Brings Right Actions.
Paul wants us to think rightly about our lives, so that purity will be seen in everything we do. All aspects of purity involve relationships with people. We live out holiness in a world of real people. And Paul calls us to a different way of thinking which will lead to a different way of acting. We are called to a different standard than the rest of the world lives by. Let’s see what Paul says. Look in verse 17.
Think about when you were growing up - the things your mother or father “insisted” on you doing - brushing your teeth before bed, washing behind the ears, calling home if you were going to be late. Those are the things that became ingrained in us, the things we do without even thinking about, part of our character. Paul insists here that as Christians we no longer live like the Gentiles. By the name “Gentiles” Paul is really referring to all those who are not Jews, and in our day today, the better expression would be that we should no longer live like the unsaved. There is a totally different lifestyle that the unsaved have. Or, it SHOULD be totally different. The truth is that we USED to live like that. But now that we are Christians, we should not live like that any more. There is to be a very different way of thinking and living.
Let’s look at what the OLD lifestyle was like. The lifestyle of the unsaved: they are . . .