Summary: If we are in Christ, we need to leave our old life behind us and embrace new life.
Living in Christ Part 1: Off With the Old and On With the New
Text: Eph. 4:17-24
1. Illustration: A good set of clothes make all the difference. A Methodist church tried to get a man to attend, but he never did. "Why don’t you come?" the minister asked, and the man finally admitted it was because he didn’t have proper clothes. So a member of the congregation took him to a clothing store and got him a nice suit, shirt, tie, and shoes. But on the following Sunday, he still did not show up. So the minister visited him again and asked him why he didn’t come. "When I got dressed up in my new suit," the man explained, "I looked so good I decided to go to the Episcopal church."
2. According to Paul, we need to take off our old clothes and put on new ones. He tells us to:
a. Walk differently
b. Put off our old clothes
c. Put on our new clothes
3. Read Eph. 4:17-24
Proposition: If we are in Christ, we need to leave our old life behind us and embrace new life.
Transition: Paul tells us to...
I. Walk Differently (17-19)
A. Live No Longer, As the Gentiles Do
1. Paul begins this section with "With the Lord’s authority I say this..."
a. The NIV renders it "So I tell you this, and insist on it in the Lord..."
b. Literally, it is "I testify" or "I declare." In contexts like this it has the connotation "urge."
c. "In the Lord" adds authority to his appeal and virtually suggests his teaching comes from the Lord (Snodgrass, NIV Application Commentary, New Testament: Ephesians, 229).
d. Another reason why I love the NLT, because it simplifies the text and makes it clearer.
e. What he is really saying is "I insist upon it because the Lord insists upon it.
f. It is not merely my words, but they are God’s words.
2. What Paul is getting at is this "Live no longer as the Gentiles do..."
a. 1 Peter 2:9 (NLT)
But you are not like that, for you are a chosen people. You are royal priests, a holy nation, God’s very own possession. As a result, you can show others the goodness of God, for he called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light.
b. Why would you go back to the useless way of life that you had before Christ?
c. If He has called you out of the darkness and into His marvelous light, why would you choose to go back to the darkness?
d. Don’t go back to that; leave it behind you.
3. Then he lists reasons why they shouldn’t go back. First, he says "for they are hopelessly confused. Their minds are full of darkness; they wander far from the life God gives because they have closed their minds..."
a. Paul’s primary concern is not with a list of specific sins, but with a distortion and disorientation of the mind ( Snodgrass, 229).
b. As my Dad used to say "they’re not wrapped too tight!"
c. This describes the unfortunate state of the unbelievers surrounding this core of believers in the church.
d. The unbelievers had closed minds that were full of darkness, while the believers had found the light of Christ and were given his wisdom. (Life Application New Testament Commentary).
e. Contrary to popular opinion, others do not close your mind for you. You choose to close it yourself. You do have a choice.