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Summary: Loving the world separates us from God – loving God separates us from the world.

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WHAT MUST I DO? YOU MUST BE HOLY

EPHESIANS 4:17-24

Big Idea: Loving the world separates us from God – loving God separates us from the world.

17 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. 18 They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts. 19 Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, with a continual lust for more. 20 You, however, did not come to know Christ that way. 21 Surely you heard of him and were taught in him in accordance with the truth that is in Jesus. 22 You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; 23 to be made new in the attitude of your minds; 24 and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.

INTRO

Does anyone know what that piece in the middle of the washer is called? You know what I am talking about right? That part in the middle of the washer that moves back and forth and shakes the clothes back and forth? What is that called? I’m going to call it an agitator.

What is the purpose of the agitator?

As far as I can tell, its sole purpose is to wreak havoc on the dirty clothes… it’s there to shake and separate the clothes from all the dirt and grime that is in or on the clothes.

The agitator is essential for the proper cleaning of the clothes.

(Illustration Source: Rev. Glenn Newton, New Hope Church of the Nazarene)

Did you know the Scriptures teach there is a “spiritual agitator” at work in the life of the Christian and the church? As soon as we are saved, the Holy Spirit moves into our hearts. But, as Ephesians and other New Testament books teach us, He doesn’t have our heart to himself. The heart still has a lot of soiling that must be removed – a lot of stains that need to be cleansed.

In reference to this, Paul talks about “the old man” or “the old self.” He refers to yet-to-be-transformed Christians in those terms in both Ephesians 4 and in Romans 6:6. In Romans he says, “For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin”

You noticed that both Ephesians and Romans place the old self in a negative – even sinful – perspective didn’t you? That is because it is an image of the old life; the old habits that we developed before our conversion; the habits that need to be removed and replaced. You see, even though we have been saved from our past sins, there still remains some of the world that we are still fond of. They have a way of attaching themselves to us like dirt on clothes … they can stain us; they seemingly won’t come out.

That old self has a motto: “me first!” It is self-seeking- self-praising and self-satisfying. The old self has developed a life-style that caters to its every whim … there is nothing “Christian” about it.


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