Friday, March 18, 2011

The three “A’s” of Ephesians 4: 17 - 32

1. Admonition
Paul begins with an earnest rebuke: “ 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, and they are full of greed.” Ephesians 4: 17-19. Paul warns the believers to live not as the Gentiles live nor are they to think as the Gentiles think. As new creatures in Christ (2 Cor. 5:17), we are to have a different walk and mindset. Christians are not to imitate unsaved people for we are now “dead in trespasses and sins” (Eph. 2:1).

2. Argument
Paul thus begins to put forth the reason in support of his rebuke: “20 That, however, is not the way of life you learned 21 when you heard about Christ 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.” Ephesians 4:20-24. The emphasis is on the mind and outlook of the believer. The early church made better disciples out of new converts than churches do today. Many churches today lack in discipleship growth and do not stir the inner man to be more Christ- like and to learn more God and His ways. Churches today have settled for mediocrity so they can please the masses instead of pleasing the Lord. Paul argues that since we have been born again we should put off our old self. We are reminded here, once again, that we are created to be like God (not to be God but to be like him). We are to grow in righteousness and holiness. We have believed the truth and received life; therefore, we should walk in a way pleasing to our Lord.

3. Application
Paul finally brings us to how we as Christians should carry ourselves in order to bring glory and honor to Him: “ 25 Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to your neighbor, for we are all members of one body. 26 “In your anger do not sin”[a]: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, 27 and do not give the devil a foothold. 28 Anyone who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with their own hands, that they may have something to share with those in need. 29 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. 30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31 Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. 32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” Ephesians 4: 25-32.

Tomorrow I will focus more on the application part of this portion of Scripture. But today, my prayer is that we put off our old self, repent of our trespasses against God and others and prepare our hearts and minds for the change God wants to do in our lives!

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