Summary: When a person believes and confesses Jesus as savior and Lord, they are born again, and a transformation takes place in their basic nature. The change is more radical that the change that takes place at death.
WHAT TO PUT ON!
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. 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. 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.
You, however, did not come to know Christ that way. Surely you heard of him and were taught in him in accordance with the truth that is in Jesus. 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; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.
Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to his neighbor, for we are all members of one body. ‘In your anger do not sin’ Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold. He who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with his own hands, that he may have something to share with those in need.
Do 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. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. Ephesians 4:17-32
When a person believes and confesses Jesus as savior and Lord, they are born again, and a transformation takes place in their basic nature. The change is more radical that the change that takes place at death. When a believer dies, they have already been made a citizen of heaven, a child of God. At death they experience the divine nature that has been present since their new birth, but now set free from the flesh.
We live in a world obsessed with fashion. It’s everywhere we go. The promise from the fashion world is sartorial regeneration, that is, new birth through clothing. And it sells, sells, sells! We’ve heard, clothes don’t make the man/woman, but they sure help! The problem is, clothing doesn’t make you, it covers you up. It may polish your image, but no help for your soul.
In our text tonight Paul talks about a godly wardrobe that truly changes ones life. He tells us what we need to get rid of, and more importantly, what to put on!
I need to tell you that I’ve had a couple of struggles preparing this message, some personal reactions as I studied this passage.
The first reaction I had is an attitude of self-righteousness. I’ve never been a Gentile so I don’t really know what Paul is talking about experientially. I’ve never been ignorant of God. My parents are missionaries, and I’m so grateful that I haven’t known anything else. I have no sense of having hardened my heart toward God at any time in my life. Although there have been a few calluses periodically.
I’ve not given myself over to, as Paul puts it, every kind of sensuality so that I’ve lost all sensitivity. As I look at Paul’s list of things, I don’t practice lying. I think my anger is fairly well controlled. And when I do express my anger, it’s righteous anger I express! I don’t make a practice of stealing. I don’t think of myself as engaging in unwholesome talk. So what’s this about being a Gentile? For that matter, what’s a Gentile?
The Jews used this term two ways, first to distinguish all other people from Jews. You were either a Jew or a Gentile. Second, to distinguish all other religions from Judaism. So, Gentiles referred ethnically to all non-Jews and religiously to all pagans.
Paul uses the term in it’s pagan meaning, so Gentiles here represent all ungodly, unregenerate, pagan persons.
Let me remind you of our setting. The church at Ephesus was surrounded by paganism and the immorality it bred. The city of Ephesus was a leading commercial and cultural city of the Roman empire. It boasted the great pagan temple of Artemis, or Diana, one of the seven wonders of the ancient world. It was also a leading city in debauchery and sexual immorality. i.e. Amsterdam & Las Vegas