Summary: what does a disciple who is living worthy of his calling do?
EPHESIANS # 9
TEXT - Ephesians 5: 3-20
Signs of the NEW Life, Part 2
Sigmund Freud wrote in the introduction of his work- A General Introduction to Psychoanalysis- that each of us has areas in our lives are like nature parks of big cities. Parks are separate from the urban landscape, with trees, rocks, and wildlife, preserved so that the citizens will have a little piece of the old life to wander through to remember how it used to be. (As quoted by Ray Stedman)
We do this with parts of our lives, resisting change, going back to old patterns that we find comforting despite knowing, in some other part of our mind, that complete change is needed! Have you set aside some part of you, resisting the work of the Holy Spirit?
“Put off your old self ... put on the new self created to be like God in holiness” Ephesians tells us.
In our text for this morning, we continue to learn about the transformation the Holy Spirit desires. What does the new life look like? The words are pointed and practical, and when we embrace them, helped by the Spirit - we are become beautiful in the likeness of Jesus.
This passage is not scolding us as if we were bad children! God offers us a restoration to the dignity, beauty, and purpose for which He designed us. It’s as if He is saying, “Don’t live that way. It’s not worthy of Me and certainly more than I desire in you. Grow into my grace.”
The text is introduced by these verses which we have read in previous weeks:
Ephesians 4:1 (NIV) As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received.
Ephesians 4:17 (NIV) So I tell you this, and insist on it in the Lord, that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking.
In the first half of this message we were challenged -
Don’t be hostile!
Don’t steal, instead, be productive!
Speak to build up!
Invite God’s presence, don’t grieve Him.
Imitate God. Live lovingly!
There are 4 directives here that revolve around one core choice.
“Be Filled With The Spirit!”
Who doesn’t like to make things better, to learn a skill, to develop some ability, to perfect an art?
The Christian life of beauty does require choices but it is not a self-help project.
It begins with a birth in the Spirit, our spirit born again by the power of God.
It continues with a baptism of the Spirit, a renewal that start from the inside out.
It is ongoing, like a fountain that overflows, an artesian well that is replenished constantly.
What does this filling with the Spirit mean?
Is it an experience of high emotion? Is it some moment of ecstasy? It may include those experiences, but how it happens is best understood from a conversation that Jesus had with a thirsty woman at a well in Samaria.
Her life was broken. She had burned through many relationships looking for love. She was a social outcast, who felt unworthy. When she came to draw water from the well Jesus spoke to her, breaking the two taboos - speaking to a strange woman in public and addressing a Samaritan! "Give me to drink," (John 4:7). She is suspicious! "You're a Jew and I'm a Samaritan. How is it that you, being a Jew, ask drink of me, a woman of Samaria?" (John 4:9 RSV).
Jesus quickly stepped over the social issues and invited her to something wonderful. He said,“If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.”
“Sir,” the woman said, “you have nothing to draw with and the well is deep. Where can you get this living water?" (John 4:10-11, NIV)
Then he tells her -“Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” (John 4:13-14, NIV)
There the filling of the Spirit is described for us by none other than the Lord Himself. The beautiful life of Christ is ONLY POSSIBLE when we return - day by day - to drink from His Presence, to love Him, worship Him, inviting Him live IN US.
Romans 8:7-11 For the sinful nature is always hostile to God. It never did obey God?s laws, and it never will. That’s why those who are still under the control of their sinful nature can never please God. But you are not controlled by your sinful nature. You are controlled by the Spirit if you have the Spirit of God living in you. (And remember that those who do not have the Spirit of Christ living in them do not belong to him at all.) And Christ lives within you, so even though your body will die because of sin, the Spirit gives you life because you have been made right with God. The Spirit of God, who raised Jesus from the dead, lives in you. And just as God raised Christ Jesus from the dead, he will give life to your mortal bodies by this same Spirit living within you.