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From the big framework to the everyday life!
The letter to the church in Ephesus is meant to bring clarity to what the gospel is and isn’t. chapters 1-3
Paul challenges us to understand that if you accept these truths then we must approach relationships with those that believe--- (differently)!
Remember that this letter like all the epistles were written to help the church,( to edify, encourage and also admonish and correct)
1. Understanding who God is---
2. Who we are apart from His grace
3. Who we are because of His grace!
Last week we started chapter 4 where Paul urges people to walk in a manner worthy of the calling!
He stresses us to walk in 3 graces:
1. Humility
2. Gentleness
3. Patience
bearing with or making allowance for each persons faults in love as we are eager to maintain unity!
As he reminds them and us that God's gift of grace includes gifts to both men and women!
These gifts are to be used for the building up of the church so that we would grow up into maturity!
These core truths when walked out in our everyday actions and decisions help us not to be tossed to and fro by human cunning (remember the world is always tying to deconstruct our faith)
We ended last week with being called to speak truth in love so that we grow up into him who is the head, into Christ!
And when we do that--- when we grow up into Christ and each of us are working properly --- the body grows in its capacity to love!


Now Paul moves from urging to instructing!
Instructing on the basic difference between the state of a person who does not know or refuses to respond to the Grace of God.
And what the basics look like in the life of those that have responded to the Grace of God!
To use a sports perspective: Those in the bleaches watching the game are like those outside the body of Christ who have not responded to the Grace of God.
Those in the stands are present but yet the game from the bleaches looks totally different than it looks from the field.
In the bleachers it is easy to pick out the faults and second guess what is happening on the field.
The players on the sidelines are commited but yet while on the sidelines or only experiencing the action during practice it is hard to understand the cost or the commitment it takes to walk out God's design!
Like many who accept Christ but keep their faith a personal thing and don't engage life through the truth of God's design!
But the players on the field they are not just committed they are experiencing what they have been taught in a whole different realm!
The victories are sweeter but the pain of the defeats is greater and the toll it takes to just play is beyond imagination or words.
My nephew was a major league closer for a number of years and did really well but he would be first to tell you the perks do not out weigh the cost!
But for those that chose to stick to the game plan and even die for the cause, there is nothing like it!

Paul starts by describing what is the condition or state of being for the person who does not know or refuses to respond to the Grace of God.
(Those in the stands)
Paul starts by addressing the state of their minds!
He uses some really strong language that I believe is important for us to explore.
Paul says the minds of those who does not know or refuses to respond to the Grace of God is a mind marked by futility!
The Greek word that we translate futility or as the NLT translated hopelessly confused-- suggests being void of useful aim or goal! Remember what the Greek word for sin meant?
It meant to miss the mark of its designed purpose
What does this really mean?
I think its important to look at who this was written to!
Paul's audience just like the Bible as a whole was written for people who are seeking to see outside themselves!
So they are without excuse. 21 For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened.
This is important to remember as we continue to unpack this first part.
Paul goes on to talk about what this futility produces
18 They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart!
This is again where I am careful to not lead you one doctrinal way or the other.
I do not assume to know completely how the sovereignty of God and the gift of free will works--- but it appears that until man either chooses to respond or until God chooses to reveal
Our minds are unable to receive God's revelation and because of being in that state --- a process takes place in the unbeliever:
Futility causes a hardness of heart - that creates a feeling of alienation or a void that leads to a deepening darkness of understanding toward the things of God.
If a person continues in this state of being
19 They have become callous and have given themselves up to sensuality, greedy to practice every kind of impurity.
This is Paul's description of the process that willful rebellion in the life of a person apart from God's grace.
Those in the stands!

Then Paul shifts from those in the stands to those on the sidelines!
They have made a commitment to Christ, but yet they still need a pep talk--- because they are still struggling with accepting and walking in the renewal of their minds!
On game day it is hard for them to put on the new self that is created after the likeness of God!
For those on the sidelines it isn't about being on the team because they are!
But yet their ability to walk out their lives in true righteousness and holiness is difficult!
Putting off the old self isn't something that happens just because you are on a new team!
It takes intentionality and focus and wiliness to allow the big truths define and shape the way you see yourself and the life you were designed to live by God!

Then Paul turns his attention to what happens on the field of life and to those who are willing to practice walking out what the big truths look like in everyday life!
In football a coach draws up the plays and every player has their assignments!
If it is a run play everyone knows what to do if it is a pass play everyone knows what to do!
In life as followers of Jesus we know that God has plans for us and that we were created to walk out those plans for the Glory of God!
So through Paul's instructions to those on the playing field of life he gives specific instructions about what to do!
25 Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another.
26 Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, 27 and give no opportunity to the devil.
Note also that Paul reminds those on the playing field of life that there are certain situations that if we respond wrongly we are giving our adversary the upper hand.
Its like we give the other team an advantage or power!
26 Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, 27 and give no opportunity to the devil.
In football if the quarterback does not look off the defenders with his eyes its only a matter of time before the defensive player will read what the quarterback is going to do and make an interception!
The same applies to our spiritual life! In our relationships the enemy is just waiting for us to get lazy in our pryer life so he can cut in and kill, steal and destroy!
Anger not dealt with turns into a prime opportunity for the enemy!
And praying is the offensive weapon against anger turning to sin!
Couples praying together is the best way to guard against the enemy cutting in!

Paul gives two more practical ways to put off the old self and to put on the new self!
28 Let the thief no longer steal, but rather let him labor, doing honest work with his own hands, so that he may have something to share with anyone in need.
What may have been obtained previously with little effort is now to be achieved through diligent effort.
Without going to deep I believe it is fair to say that regardless of the type of theft Paul is talking about, the command do not steal is universal but the process of going from a taker to a giver is far more intentional!
The is why we talk about creating a culture of generosity, because God has called those on the playing field, those who claim Christ to be givers and not just consumers.
Then Paul says
29 Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear
I could preach awhile on this but I will just say this!
I know that there is a strong argument that words really do not matter. What is bad in one culture has no power in another!
But in this part Paul goes beyond culture and sets the new standard for those who are living out of eternal design not cultural design!
The key is in not looking at what I should not say but in what promotes my identity in Christ!
29 Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear!
The question is are my words giving grace to those that hear?
36 I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak, 37 for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.”

30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.
30 And do not bring sorrow to God’s Holy Spirit by the way you live. Remember, he has identified you as his own, guaranteeing that you will be saved on the day of redemption.
The and connects the above to verse 30, so both the actions and the words are able to bring sorrow or grieve!
But the focus is not about the letter of the Law or a dread but the value of having a relationship with the Living God!
We are to value, our redemption and the God who has made a way through the completed work of Jesus and the ongoing work of the Holy Spirit!

31 Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice.
32 Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.
Paul concludes with one more clear difference of behavior that those who are walking out a relationship with God need to identify,address and replace!
It is the putting off the old self and the putting on the new self in clear common sense ways!
But in all of these instructions are a few big truths that hold it all together!
God is aware of the choices we face!
God's desire is that all come to know His grace through His son Jesus!
God promises to equip those who make the decision to step onto the playing field
But unlike the rewards of the world we are designed for eternity and our lives both in word and deed have a ripple affect in both the natural and supernatural!
Lastly, this live we live for God, In Christ, through the power of The Holy Spirit by the Grace that was given freely is to be a live marked by us freely giving away what we have been given!
Paul's instructions give us common sense practical ways to live that truth out!
Lets Pray
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