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Summary: Something Old, Something New – Ephesians chapter 4 verses 17-32 – sermon by Gordon Curley (PowerPoint slides to accompany this talk are available on request – email:


(1). The Command (vs 17-19)

(2). The Explanation (vs 20-24)

(3). The Application (vs 25-32)



• A friend of mine (Les Hardwick) once saw a tramp and decided to help him;

• He noticed he was wearing a dirty old coat;

• It was ripped and dirty and fit only for the bin.

• So my friend Les offered the tramp his newer coat;

• The tramp took it but to my friends surprise;

• Instead of taking off the old coat and putting on the new;

• He just put the new coat straight on top of his old coat

• TRANSITION: Sadly like that tramp too many Christians behave the same way:

• They want the new things of Christ;

• But they do not want to let go of the old things of self & sin.

• Yet, when a person becomes a Christian there is a putting on and a putting off.

• When a person becomes a Christian, there is a change of lifestyle required.

• God has not just patched us up;

• But he has given us a brand new life in Christ!

• Verse 17 is very telling:

• “So I tell you this, and insist on it in the Lord, that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do,”

Question: How different are our lives from our non-Christian neighbours?

• Notice I did not say what do we BELIVE that makes us different;

• But rather how different is our lives, our lifestyle?

• Do we have a different attitude to money?

• Do we have a different attitude to material possessions (things)?

• Do we have a different attitude to sexual morality?

• What about our attitude to the poor, to refuges, to prejudice and discrimination?

• I suppose the point I am making is this:

• Do we behave & think differently in these areas of our lives to non-Christians?

• Because verse 17 is telling us that we should be different:

• The reason we are different is because we have Christ in our lives!

• And we live to please him!

(1). The Command (vs 17-19)

“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”.

These verses contain a warning, a caution, an instruction to follow;

• The Christian is not to imitate the life of the non-Christians around him or her.

• The Christian is called to be different!

• Elsewhere the New Testament puts it this way:

• “We are in the world but we are not of the world”.

• In other words, we all as people live in and interact with this world,

• But our Source, our motivation, our values are not from this world system,

• The Bible describes us as ‘aliens, foreigners, strangers & pilgrims’,

• “We are in the world but we are not of the world”.


• A boat in water is pleasurable, constructive and fulfils its purpose;

• We enjoyed some canoeing while on holiday recently.

• But…

• Too much water in the boat and you got big problems!

• The Christian in the world is there to make a difference!

• But too much of the world in the Christian and you got big problems!

Christians are meant to be different!

• Notice in this warning there is a emphasises on the mind;

• Christians are to think differently from the world in which they live.

• There is a contrast between the believer and the non-believer.

• Verse 17: tells us that we ‘think’ differently.

• They just live for this world because it’s all they have!

• Verse 18: tells us that we have a different ‘understanding’.

• They are in spiritual darkness but we are people of the light.

• Verse 18: tells us that we are no longer ‘ignorant’.

• We do not harden our hearts to the things of God.

• Verse 20-22: tells us that we have ‘learned’ & ‘been taught’ a better way of living.

• In Christ we have exchanged the old lifestyle for the new lifestyle!


• A person who is born blind;

• Could not describe to you a beautiful sunset because they were born blind.

• Due to their disability, they are therefore limited in their understanding.

• TRANSITION: when it comes to the God of the Bible;

• The reason people cannot see him or his ways, is because they are spiritually blind!

• It takes the Holy Spirit of God to bring light and life!

• You cannot receive these things any other way!

In verse 19 the contrast continues:

“Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, and they are full of greed.”

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