Summary: 26th in the Ephesians Series dealing with living differently as a new creature.
Ephesians Series #26
“Living the New Life”
I. Our Wealth and Worth In Christ 1-3
II. Our Worthy Walk in Christ 4-6
A. Walk in Unity 4:1-16
B. Walk in Newness of life 4:17-24
Paul emphatically and authoritatively issued a prohibition to this newly created community.
Therefore, I say this and testify in the Lord: That you should no longer live as the Gentiles live
He is talking about non-Christians. This has a definite link to the truth previously presented by Paul. On the basis of your high calling as children of God, stop living like the pagans around you.
Live different because you ARE different.
Because God has made you alive, enlightened and empowered you, you should live differently.
Something has changed. They were to “no longer” live like they used to before committing their life to Christ. They were different. They were to be done with the past and embrace their new life in Christ. A change of the core brings about a change in conduct. To make his point, Paul contrasts the core of the old life and the reality of the new life.
1. The old life 4:17-19
17 Therefore, I say this and testify in the Lord: You should no longer live as the Gentiles live, in the futility of their thoughts having become darkened in their understanding, having become excluded from the life of God, because of the ignorance that is in them and because of the hardness of their hearts. 19 having become became callous, they gave themselves over to promiscuity for the practice of every kind of impurity with a desire for more and more.
If we work backwards from the end to the beginning, it might look something like this.
There was an intentional hardening of the heart toward God.
A refusal to embrace His ways
A repudiation of God’s work in their lives and authority over their lives
An intentional resistance to God’s voice
7 Therefore, just as the Holy Spirit says, "TODAY IF YOU HEAR HIS VOICE, 8 DO NOT HARDEN YOUR HEARTS AS WHEN THEY PROVOKED ME, AS IN THE DAY OF TRIAL IN THE WILDERNESS, 9 WHERE YOUR FATHERS TRIED Me BY TESTING Me, AND SAW MY WORKS FOR FORTY YEARS. 10 "THEREFORE I WAS ANGRY WITH THIS GENERATION, AND SAID, 'THEY ALWAYS GO ASTRAY IN THEIR HEART, AND THEY DID NOT KNOW MY WAYS'; 11 AS I SWORE IN MY WRATH, 'THEY SHALL NOT ENTER MY REST.' " 12 Take care, brethren, that there not be in any one of you an evil, unbelieving heart that falls away from the living God. 13 But encourage one another day after day, as long as it is still called "Today," so that none of you will be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. 14 For we have become partakers of Christ, if we hold fast the beginning of our assurance firm until the end, 15 while it is said, "TODAY IF YOU HEAR HIS VOICE, DO NOT HARDEN YOUR HEARTS, AS WHEN THEY PROVOKED ME." Hebrews 3:7-15
The hardening of the heart to God’s truth results in a spiritual ignorance. It doesn’t mean you are stupid or can’t learn. An inability to see life from God’s eternal perspective. A lack of spiritual insight to God’s person and purposes.
That ignorance blocks connection to the true source of life. You’re breathing but there is something missing. There is life apart from mere physical life.
The word of God is life – if you ignore the truth you don’t have the life.
The Holy Spirit is life – if you refuse the Holy Spirit you don’t have life.
Jesus is life – if you reject Jesus you don’t have life.
4 In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men. 5 The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it. John 1:4-5
9 There was the true Light which, coming into the world, enlightens every man. John 1:9
20 "Everyone who does evil hates the Light, and does not come to the Light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. 21 "But he who practices the truth comes to the Light, so that his deeds may be manifested as having been wrought in God." John 3:20-21
4 "Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me. 5 "I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing. John 15:4-5
Without connection to the light, there is a darkened understanding. An inability to consider the spiritual side of life. Incapacity to reason spiritual truth. The ultimate result of this hard heart is thinking that feels futile, empty, hopeless, or pointless. There is no lasting purpose to life. Life feels like it has no real meaningful direction or point. Without a vital connection to the source of true life, the only option is the flesh life. One can only pursue meaning in this life from life experiences and sensuality.