Summary: A study on Ephesians 4:17-32, this is the third in a series on how to clean up our lives by stopping what’s wrong, changing our thinking, and starting to do what’s right.
We’ve been dealing with the subject of spring cleaning, and today, Lord willing, we will finish it—mostly because we have now officially entered Summer.
We saw that God is inviting us to our own personal show of trading spaces. You see, he wants inside of our lives—he wants to help us clean up and get rid of all the old junk. Verse 22 of Ephesians 4 tells us to put of the old self. The message puts it this way—“22Since, then, we do not have the excuse of ignorance, everything--and I do mean everything--connected with that old way of life has to go. It’s rotten through and through. Get rid of it!” He wants to change your thinking about how you approach your life. And finally, he wants to give you a makeover, and give you the fullness of his abundant life—“created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.” But he doesn’t just want to do it with one aspect of our lives. He wants access to all of your life. It won’t do to just do part of your life, he wants it all.
The old junk has to go! The new way of living has to come in! And we do this by changing our thinking—transforming our minds with the help of the Holy Spirit!
You see, the great thing we don’t have to get rid of things by ourselves—we have the Holy Spirit—our own personal interior designer to help us.
He’s the one who comes to us and says, “Hey James. You know that little white lie that you told? That lying has to go. That has no business being here in the blueprints for your new life.” And you know what—it is by His power that we can do it.
2 Peter 1:3—“His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. 4 Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.”
You see, Jesus isn’t letting us go into the process by ourselves, giving us a limited budget, a limited timetable, and limited manpower. We have God’s resources, God’s timetable and God’s power, all at work for us. So when the apostle Paul tells us to get rid of the old junk, it’s possible because God is the one working in us to do it! We can put on the new self, because it is God’s power at work in us. “I can do everything through him who gives me strength.” “Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 10That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”
Last time, we saw how this affected the area of stealing in our lives, and how much that really does affect us—more so than we think. Today, we will continue in Ephesians 4. But before we do, let me tell you this story.
A guy phones a law firm and says, "I want to speak to my lawyer." The receptionist says, "I’m sorry, but your lawyer died last week." The next day the same guy phones the law firm and says, "I want to speak to my lawyer." Once again the receptionist replies, "I’m sorry, but your lawyer died last week." The next day the guy makes his regular call to the law firm and say, "I want to speak to my lawyer." "Excuse me sir," the receptionist says, "but this is third time I’ve had to tell you that your lawyer died last week. Why do you keep calling?" The guy replies, "Because I love hearing it!"
We are going to start today with the subject of unwholesome talk. We’ve already dealt with lying, but this is another subject.
29Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.
The word unwholesome means rotten, referring to rotten fruit or meat. How many of you are familiar with the television show “Fear Factor”? One of the challenges that they’ve had to do on that show was to eat rotten, infested cheese. Now, let me ask you a question. How many of you here this morning, would love to have that opportunity?
I didn’t think so. Yet we let that kind of stuff fly out of our mouth all of the time. James 3 tells us, “9With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in God’s likeness. 10Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers, this should not be.” We let unwholesome, rotten talk come out of our mouths all the time.