Summary: There is supposed to be no room in the Church for what Paul covers with the Ephesians in this passage.
No room at church Ephesians 4:17-32
Ill. I asked a Methodist preacher one time if he was having mice problems like we were in the Baptist Church. He said, “No, our attendance is so good now, we don’t have room for mice so they moved out.”
Eph 4:17 Now this I say and testify in the Lord, that you must no longer walk as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their minds.
Eph 4:18 They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart.
Eph 4:19 They have become callous and have given themselves up to sensuality, greedy to practice every kind of impurity.
We covered these verses before summer. The call is for Christians to stop responding to issues like lost people do. Their solutions are futile, destructive, from darkened minds. There is no presence of God in their responses because they reject God. Treating others without love seems natural to the callous. Living for what satisfies self is all they understand.
But when you are saved, something is supposed to change. Some of that change is immediate. Some of it is gradual as you grow in Christ.
The problem becomes when Christians do not know the scripture, or do not apply it to their lives, they resemble lost people. This is not a popular message. I know why many Christians or professed Christians do not want to hear it. This hits us all on a bad day, and we’ve too many bad days lately.
Eph 4:20 But that is not the way you learned Christ!—
Eph 4:21 assuming that you have heard about him and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus,
Paul makes a startling assertion. He said, if you have Christ, that (the worldly natural) is not where Christ is taking you….And then he adds, “if indeed you truly have been saved.”
Wow, that took nerve. Everybody knows the Christian bully. The Christian bully; if he/she likes you, you are flowered with kindness. But if they don’t like you, you pay. They control other Christians out of fear.
I have been told there are members in every Church you don’t want to cross. If you do, they will make your life miserable. If you are a pastor, they seek to ruin your ministry and reputation. They start picking at everything you do and put it in the worse possible light, with the worse possible motive. Exaggeration, and downright lying is not out of the questions.
I believe Paul saw some of these in his ministry. As a matter of fact, I know he did.
1Ti 1:17 To the King of the ages, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.
1Ti 1:18 This charge I entrust to you, Timothy, my child, in accordance with the prophecies previously made about you, that by them you may wage the good warfare,
1Ti 1:19 holding faith and a good conscience. By rejecting this, some have made shipwreck of their faith,
1Ti 1:20 among whom are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I have handed over to Satan that they may learn not to blaspheme.
In one part of his ministry, Paul said Alexander was a good helper. But near the end, he said he turned him over to Satan to teach him not to blaspheme. What did he do?
2Ti 4:14 Alexander the coppersmith did me great harm; the Lord will repay him according to his deeds.
This one did not just oppose Paul to his face. He went behind the scenes and spread rumors. He did more than hurt Paul. He hurt the work.
There is a theological study about “turning one’s flesh over to Satan to teach not to blaspheme. The word, “blaspheme” means to vilify, to speak evil of, to defame. One quick reference and we will move off this without further comment.
1Co 5:4 When you are assembled in the name of the Lord Jesus and my spirit is present, with the power of our Lord Jesus,
1Co 5:5 you are to deliver this man to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, so that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord.
When one hurts the work of the Church, either through creating division or promoting division, by repeating rumors, or simply not seeking resolution to an offense, the Church, the Bride of Christ, are called to obey the Head of the Church, Jesus Christ.
We hate Church discipline. And Church discipline, when it gets out of control, is ugly. And it easily gets out of Control, as seen in 1 and 2 Corinthians.
But when a Church does not discipline those who hurt the fellowship and unity, we offend Christ. He died to purify His bride, not to give us a playground to see how much division we can create.