Summary: This is sermon 3 in a series of 4 from Chapter 4 of Ephesians.
Wearing the Family Name
One of my favorite football stories is credited to Vince Lombardi of the Green Bay Packers. It’s probably an urban or sports legend but I still like it...
It seems that there was a rookie running back (Paul Horning?) who celebrated wildly in the end zone when he made his first professional league touchdown .
Now this was way before the present time. Players didn’t do fancy little dance numbers or jump into the stands like they do in Green Bay games today. This was back when coaches wore fedoras along with a suit and tie.
When the running back arrived at the sideline the coach grabbed his face mask and yanked it close to his face and said, "When you make a touchdown act like you belong there."
The coach was trying to communicate that it was time to stop acting the way he did in High School and start acting like a professional football player.
In the passage we are going to look at this Sunday morning (Eph 4:17-5:5) Paul talks about how we are supposed to change.
When you are a follower of Jesus you are called to do more than just wear the uniform - you wear the name of Christ and carry the responsibility of acting like a part of God’s team. That means changing from the old ways of living and putting on new ways of living.
And the best news is that Paul tells us how to really change.
Wearing the Name of Jesus has a certain amount of responsibility!
We belong to the best of the best… It truly amazes me
that I am called and as a result I am challenged to live up to the highest of standards.
Wearing the Family Name. You see we are told to not live like the world lives…
"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
Five Critical Reasons are given by Paul in the verse here and following.
People don’t always think and reason correctly. I watched a story on a woman who weighed 511 lbs and had major surgery to lose weight – that’s not bad, in fact for health reasons it was perhaps wise. But she thought that losing the weight would make her happy.
Today she’s an unhappy 170 lbs woman. That’s called futile thinking.
She looked to her husband who beat her for love. Her mother abandoned her in her time of need and she laid in the projects for days without help. She lived in a world without love and acceptance and thought it was normal. That’s called "darkened understanding"
This same woman made friends with a Pastor’s wife who reached out to her to build a friendship when no one else was there for her. But later she abandoned her Pastor wife friend and gave herself to a corrupt lifestyle. That’s a "hardened heart".
In that same story we see a woman caught up in drinking and partying - looking for love and happiness in all the wrong places. That is "being given over to sensuality".
The program closed with an update about her own daughter that is today overweight and hungering for love… When the reporter/narator asked about what she was going to do about her daughter she said she would change - but she didn’t. That is "without restraint".
You see the world’s way of living is focused on the self-centered and ego-centric life of personal pleasure.
That story can be repeated over and over with a thousand different variations. I had breakfast with two friends this past week who shared their experiences with me about the way it was
Perfect hangover cure – get another bottle
He said "That’s the way I used to live. Before I met Christ…" And that is the point. We have a different standard now that we have a different name.
We are to be made new in the attitude of our minds!
Eph 4:22 Regarding your former way of life, you were taught to strip off your old man, which is being ruined by its deceptive desires,
Eph 4:23 to be renewed in the spirit of your minds,
Eph 4:24 and to clothe yourselves with the new man, which was created according to the likeness of God in righteousness and true holiness.
Clothes do make the Man. I remember a story my dad (he’s a preacher) told about a couple of robber who came up with the perfect plan. One would sneak in the house while the other dressed like a cop. The problem was that when the thief climbed out the window the one dressed like a police officer had so gotten into the role that he arrested his friend!