Summary: Describes the reason why unbelievers are the way they are -- because of the way their mind works.
THE WAR IS ON!
INTRO.: The battle lines have been drawn in the sand.
1. The forces have taken their positions, and are prepared for the worst.
2. The leaders have exhausted every resource, and have resigned themselves to the inevitable.
3. Weapons are readied, now aimed toward the enemy.
4. A new war on this troubled planet? More war in Iraq or Israel? The beginning of a new fiction book?
5. No! It is a very real battle, one that is not just beginning, but has been waged for many long years.
6. However, it has intensified in the last few centuries, and fighting is as fierce as it has ever been.
7. It is the battle for your mind!
BKGD.: Since the beginning of time, God and Satan have been locked in battle for the minds of the human race.
1. It started in the Garden of Eden, and has not been completed as of yet.
2. At Calvary, God won a decisive battle through Jesus’ death and resurrection.
3. Another fatal blow was dealt on the Day of Pentecost, when God the Holy Spirit became personally involved in the lives of believers.
4. But in recent years, Satan has begun to gain precious ground through the sadistic lies he continues to spread.
5. The Apostle Paul describes this battleground extensively throughout his epistles, but none so clear as in the letter to the church at Ephesus.
6. He describes in vivid detail the hold that Satan has on the minds of men, and how we as Christians are to be different.
READ THE TEXT.
7. Paul’s command here is literally, "Stop living as the Gentiles do."
8. Stop living as everyone else in your culture; even though wicked Ephesus is your home, stop living like the Ephesians.
9. This command implies that the Ephesian Christians were still battling with the old life, as we are today.
10. So why is it so hard to stop living like the world? It is all in the mind!
I. The Condition of the Mind – Vanity
A. The mind is the beginning point for us to understand our predicament.
1. Paul does not begin with our behavior.
a. It is not a problem with our environment.
b. It is not a problem of our biological structure.
c. It is not problem of nature or nurture.
2. The problem begins in our mind.
a. "Mind" encompasses the reason, the understanding, the conscience, and the affections.
b. What we believe affects the way we behave.
c. When our reason is awry, our understanding is without light, our conscience is limited, and our affections turned inward, our behavior will be displeasing to God.
B. Paul describes it as "futility of thinking (better "mind")."
1. "Vanity" carries the idea of emptiness as to its results, bankrupt.
a. The secular mind’s thinking results in an emptiness, an aimlessness, a uselessness.
b. It is the waste of the rational powers on worthless objects.
2. The mind’s departure is from the knowledge of the true God.
a. Though man knew God, he departed from him.
Romans 1:21 – "For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile."
b. This departure resulted in futile thinking, which ends in wrong behavior.