Summary: What does it mean to live a life worthy of the calling to walk with Christ?
EPHESIANS # 8
Every Christian should know Paul’s letter to the Ephesians well for basics of the Christian life are all right here in these 6 chapters.
The letter opens with amazing statements about who we are because Jesus Christ.
“I am blessed... with every spiritual blessing!”
“I am included in God’s family by His design and will.”
“I am valued because He invests His grace in me.”
“I am at rest because I am included in Christ.”
The second half of the letter applies the truth to real life. There are ethical standards to which Christians are called. Because we are‘in Christ,’ we have a responsibility to ‘live a life worthy’ of that calling. “Walk worthy,” another translation teaches us, helps us to understand that we don’t just fall into holiness; we work out what it means in our daily choices.
Last time I spoke to you from chapter 4, we learned that we put off the old ways and put on the new. We are to live our baptism, entering into new life because we buried the old nature and are raised to new life. The Christian life, as I have said repeatedly, it not just knowing a set of facts, or even adding our agreement to some dogma. It is about becoming new, letting the Spirit transform our moral choices.
Yes, “Walk worthy of the calling you have received in Christ!”
Today’s text is not a difficult one to understand. It has clear demands of us, applicable to everyday decisions. Basic to this passage is the idea of integrity. When Jesus confronted the religious leaders who controlled Judaism, the point of the spear was shaped around hypocrisy. They claimed truth that they would not live! Nothing discredits Christ’s church like those who talk a better game than they play!
What does the Lord expect to see in us?
TEXT - Ephesians 4: 25- 5:2
Signs of the NEW Life
A friend posted this on Facebook this week:
“May your life someday as awesome as you pretend it is on Facebook.”
Isn’t that a hoot? There are many ways to lie without using words. If we limit our obedience to truthfulness only to the words we actually say, there will be huge amounts of us that are still open to dishonesty,
The Spirit tells us to ‘put off falsehood.’ We need to face up to the facts, deal with reality, admit to our sins and failures, and be authentic. That’s a high calling, to be sure.
Truth is the foundation of relationship - with God, with others.
Ever tried to love a ‘wanna-be’? People who are pretenders, who try on a new identity every month, who hide behind movie lines or Bible verses are like slippery eels; you just can’t connect with them. So, the Spirit says that when we come to Christ we must make a commitment to being no more and no less than we are - truthfully!
We have no need to hide from the truth. God invites us - “Come now, let’s settle this,” says the Lord. “Though your sins are like scarlet, I will make them as white as snow. Though they are red like crimson, I will make them as white as wool." (Isaiah 1:18, NLT)
Be careful about tossing about words cheaply. Words have power. Jesus urges us to “let your yes be yes and your no be no.” A sign of a heart changed by the Spirit are the words that flow out it.
Don’t be hostile! Re-read v. 26-27
There is an enduring myth that the best Christians are those who lack strong feelings, who cannot or will not be stirred by the pain and problems in the world. How sad.
The Bible is NOT forbidding anger in our lives! Anger serves a useful purpose. It is a powerful motivator for change - in ourselves, in our world.
∙ When I read about cruel men who take young, poor girls and through abuse turn them into slaves in the sex industry, I burn with anger and I know I share the emotion of my Heavenly Father!
∙ When I think about the abuse of black persons and native Americans by those in authority in past, I feel anger rising. My strong revulsion to those injustices makes me more conscious of justice today.
But, anger is like gasoline. It is explosive, dangerous, and hard to control. In the right place it is extremely useful. In the wrong place it is horribly destructive. Some people slip from righteous anger into open hostility. They are full of rage at everything and everyone. In that kind of emotion, the devil finds a place to turn a good motivator into a source of all kinds of terrible destruction.
∙ Angry with your spouse about the way he treats you or the kids? Fine. Deal with it, but don’t turn it into a war, or the Devil will use it to destroy you.