Summary: In its past America may have been a Christian nation but now it is very obvious that America has become a pagan nation that rejects God. When the New Testament was written the world was all pagan. By pagan I mean people without Christ and living in mora
Living in a Pagan Nation
Introduction: In its past America may have been a Christian nation but now it is very obvious that America has become a pagan nation that rejects God. When the New Testament was written the world was all pagan. By pagan I mean people without Christ and living in moral decadence.
Scriptures: Ephesians 4:1, 17-24
1 Therefore I, the prisoner of the Lord, implore you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called,
17 So this I say, and affirm together with the Lord, that you walk no longer just as the Gentiles also walk, in the futility of their mind,
18 being darkened in their understanding, excluded from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the hardness of their heart;
19 and they, having become callous, have given themselves over to sensuality for the practice of every kind of impurity with greediness.
20 But you did not learn Christ in this way,
21 if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught in Him, just as truth is in Jesus,
22 that, in reference to your former manner of life, you lay aside the old self, which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit,
23 and that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind,
24 and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth.
I. The Characteristics of Fallen (Pagan) Humanity (Vs 17-19)
1. “Futility of the mind” (vs. 17)
a. “Futility” = vain, empty, useless
b. The pagan mind is set on the flesh (Romans 8:5-7)
Thoughts are continually focused on satisfying the desires of the flesh, to stimulate, to experience pleasure
2. “Darkened in their understanding” (vs. 18)
a. They are deceived by Satan’s lies Example: there are no moral absolutes, truth is relative
b. They are blinded to the truth (2 Corinthians 4:4)
4 in whose case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving so that they might not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.
3. “Excluded from the life of God”
a. They have no awareness of the true God
b. They have no spiritual life, they are spiritually dead (Ephesians 2:1)
4. “The ignorance that is in them”
a. Ignorance of the truth, of God, and His ways
b. Self-willed ignorance, they choose to reject the knowledge of God
5. “Hardness of heart”
a. Stubbornness, rebellion against God
b. Resistance to the work of the Holy Spirit, the Word of God
a. Lost all sensitivity to their conscience, Conscience is defiled
b. Lost all feeling of shame for sin, sin does not bother them anymore
7. “Given over to sensuality” (Ephesians 2:3)
3 Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest.
a. They have abandoned all restraint, social or spiritual
b. They are obsessed with seeking sexual pleasure
8. “Practice every kind of impurity with greediness”
They have insatiable desires
Illustration: living a life in pursuit pleasure is like drinking salt water
II. The Characteristics of Genuine Christians
1. “But” There is to be a complete contrast between how a person lived before Christ and what they are like after coming to know Christ.
Application: For many who prayed to receive Christ they have not seen much change
Application: A very high percentage of those who claim to be Christian do not live a life indistinguishable from unbelievers
There is to be a drastic change when a person receives Christ as their Savior and Lord
From darkness to light, from death to life, from the old to the new, from bondage to freedom, from living a life controlled by fleshly desires to a life lived controlled by the Spirit, from spiritual blindness to spiritual sight, from sons of disobedience to sons of obedience.
2. A Christian is to live in a manner much different from how the pagan lives
Barna Research discovered that only 14 percent of born-again Christian adults, about one out of seven, rely on the Bible as their moral compass and believe that moral truth is absolute.1 Gorge Barna, Think Like Jesus, Make the Right Decisions Every Time, 21
3. “If you have heard Him and have been taught by Him”
a. “if you have heard Him” speaks of a personal relationship with Christ
b. “have been taught by Him” speaks of learning God’s principles
4. We are to put aside the former way of life corrupted with the lust of deceit
5. We are to “be renewed in the spirit of your mind” (vs. 23)
6. “Put on the new self” (vs. 24)