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Summary: A sermon on sin and how it affects a person.

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Sermon for 1/11/2009

Moral Madness

Ephesians 4:17-19

Introduction:

HOWARD HENDRICKS: Popular seminary professor for many years. Many young men were taught by him over the years. Keeps a little black book with him wherever he goes.

He writes in there the names of men whom he taught in seminary classes who have fallen out of the ministry through affairs and sins. Grown to well over a hundred names

Was looking through the many names written down and was trying to determine any common thread between them. Finally he realized what each had in common. When he had them in his class and as he knew them in the years after they all had the same thing: A HAUGHTY SPIRIT (Pride and arrogance).

WBTU:

A. These verses are giving us a picture of a person who is lost, a person without Jesus Christ. Paul is telling the Christians in Ephesus not to live like the rest of the people who do not have Jesus Christ. Not to look down on other people but to give us a sober reminder of what was, or could be, or might be for us.

B. those outside of Christ are crazy. Our title is moral madness. Think about the story of the prodigal son. Tell story. Look at vs. 17 of Luke 15- When he came to his senses. This is when he went back to his father.

C. We can look back at our old lives before we came to Christ and at some of our old patterns and we can look back and say, "What was I doing." We were crazy.

D. However, Paul reminds the Christians not to go back to their old ways.

E. Reminding them of how things used to be. Some testimonies I have heard emphasize how bad they used to be in the past and they remember those things with fondness. Paul here is painting a picture of a lost person so that we are reminded of how the Lord got us out of the pig pen and how things really were before we came to our senses.

Thesis: Moral madness affects a person’s whole being in a negative way. Let’s look at some of the ways it affects a person.

For instances:

I. A Muddled Mind

Three phrases here talk about the mind:

1. Futility of their thinking (Ephesians 4:17).

a. Criminals come from all walks of life: rich, poor, black, white, educated, and uneducated. Background makes little difference. However the common link between them all is a thinking pattern. For many years people thought that the problem was the criminal’s environment. In the book, The Criminal Personality, a Bible to those in law enforcement who analyze criminal behavior, they said, "Perhaps most important is that [our studies have] demonstrated that a criminal is not a victim of circumstances. Changing the environment does not change the man". The book says that criminal behavior is the result of warped thinking processes. The thinking process of the criminal mind is out of whack. Romans 1:28 calls it "a reprobate mind." The problem is in the criminal’s mind, not his environment. However, couldn’t this be said of the entire human race?

b. PAUL SAYS THEIR THINKING IS EMPTY. The word FUTILITY lit means, ‘that which never succeeds’. In their lostness they are never going to come up with the right answer. It means vanity, emptiness, without any purpose to it. Our actions flow from our thoughts, so if our thought life is futile and pointless, then our actions will be likewise irrational.

c. The fiction book of William Golding, The Lord of the Flies, tells about several boys that are abandoned on an island. The beginning of the book is full of hope despite their circumstances. Ralph, one of the boys and the main character of the book, is elected leader. However, through time, we find the boys at the end of the book behaving like savages and even murdering two of the boys. Ralph is hunted down like an animal and they are about to kill him too. In a dramatic turn, a boat comes and rescues all of the boys. Ralph is saved. In the final scene, Ralph cries, in mourning for his friend Piggy, his own loss of innocence, and his newfound awareness of the darkness of human nature.

2. Darkened in their understanding (Ephesians 4:18) a. They are without the faculty of discernment. They are unable to clearly distinguish between right and wrong.

b. Romans 121For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools. c. Remember when our mother or father came into our room early in the morning and turned on the light. It hurt our eyes. We got underneath the covers to shield our eyes from the light. This is what a lot of people do today. Jesus is the light of the world and when that light shines upon them, it hurts their pride, so they run and hide.

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