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Riches of walking in holiness

Sufficiency of Christ: Book of Ephesians  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  35:56
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(insert picture of Sequoia; already saved)
We as the body of Christ are meant to grow in community with one another. To grow in unity with one another. Our passage today looks at the body that walks in unity is to walk in holiness too.
California is known for the Sequoias, and Redwood National Forest. These massive trees that are hundreds of feet tall and some hundreds of years old that are big enough to drive a car through.
An interesting fact about them, is their root system. The roots are not deep, the trees grow in groves (in community with one another) and the roots spread out and intertwine with one another. By doing such they are able to weather the toughest storms because they work together and hold each other up.
The church, we need to be like the sequoias and grow in groves (in community with one another). When the Christian is alone and when the storms of life come, they can take us out. But, collectively, when we are intertwined with one another the storms cannot break us.
The sequoias reach up into the sky toward the sun, we as Christians reach up toward the Son!
Our passage today is looking at the call to holiness, to walk in holiness personally and how it helps us to grow together in our walk of unity.
Our walk of unity
God’s call to unity through the gospel
God’s call to unity by revealed mystery
God’s call to protect the unity
Now today, God’s call for us to be holy

I. A call to walk in Holiness

From being called to walk in unity we were told how to maintain our unity (Eph4:2-3); then the basis of our unity (Eph4:4-6) and the gifts given to help build up our unity (Eph4:7-16) now today our riches, our unity is the unity of walking in holiness.
Ephesians 4:17–18 NASB95
17 So this I say, and affirm together with the Lord, that you walk no longer just as the Gentiles also walk, in the futility of their mind, 18 being darkened in their understanding, excluded from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the hardness of their heart;
Ephesians 4:19–20 NASB95
19 and they, having become callous, have given themselves over to sensuality for the practice of every kind of impurity with greediness. 20 But you did not learn Christ in this way,
Ephesians 4:21–22 NASB95
21 if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught in Him, just as truth is in Jesus, 22 that, in reference to your former manner of life, you lay aside the old self, which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit,
Ephesians 4:23–24 NASB95
23 and that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind, 24 and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth.
To live and walk in holiness, you need to no longer walk like the world (Eph4:17-19; Eph4:13)
Walking in unity, working in unity, working/living with a purpose means we need to walk away from vanity and the things that detour us from walking in the fulness of Christ (Eph4:13)
Ephesians 4:13 NASB95
13 until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ.
They walk in the futility of their mind (Eph4:17; Heb11:6; Psm51:10)
We cannot walk in holiness when we are caught up in the world and the world’s ways, and we cannot obtain holiness on our own. For it is impossible without faith. For it is impossible to please God without faith (Heb11:6)
That is why David in Psm51:10 asks God:
Psalm 51:10 NASB95
10 Create in me a clean heart, O God, And renew a steadfast spirit within me.
Because of the hardness of their heart (Eph4:18)
Hardening of the heart leads to a refusal of hearing the truth, it even can bring the ignorance that is mentioned in Rom1:18-32; in which they are desensitized to sin, and they trade the truth
They walk in ignorance; excluded from the life of God (Eph4:18; Mt13:14-15)
Ignorance is having their understanding darkened; Jesus speaks of this process (Mt13:14-15)
Matthew 13:14–15 NASB95
14 “In their case the prophecy of Isaiah is being fulfilled, which says, You will keep on hearing, but will not understand; You will keep on seeing, but will not perceive; 15 For the heart of this people has become dull, With their ears they scarcely hear, And they have closed their eyes, Otherwise they would see with their eyes, Hear with their ears, And understand with their heart and return, And I would heal them.’
The holiness that Paul is calling for the church, that starts with the individual who knows the riches they have in Christ Jesus, can only happen by the power of Christ Jesus that works in us as the Holy Spirit. Our part is to allow God to change our heart, but that starts with us changing our mind (repent). Paul wants them to understand the riches of walking in holiness so to do that we need to continue to put off these things.
Our list is not complete yet in looking at this portion of the scripture.
They were callous, given over to sensuality (licentiousness; unbridled lust) (Ehp4:19; Again look at Rom1:18-32)
Ephesus was a very gentile culture where the temple of Diana was located and temple prostitution was considered an act of worship. Crime, immorality, idolatry were all common there. This is what the people that are in the church now that Paul is writing to were, who they once were. Paul is calling them to holiness not go back, walk back, slip back into the old ways where sin was desensitized, for that was was futile
(Insert slide: Weight of sin; already saved on computer)
(illustration): Dr Donald Barnhouse shared a message about the repercussions of sin and a youngman came up after the service saying that sin did not effect him, he felt no guilt, no shame about it at all, eventhough he knew it was wrong. Dr. Barhouse asked the youngman if he dropped a heavy weight on a dead man would he feel it? The youngman said “no, he’s dead.” Dr. Barnhouse replied that’s the point, if sin doesn to impact you, if you don’t feel the it’s weight you must be spiritually dead.
Don’t let there be a hardness of heart!
When the weight of sin loses its fear of the consequences of sin in our lives, then, well, then we are slowing spiritually dying. Sin is grievous and we to remember that always and not allow the hardness of heart make us callous. For these actions do not promote unity within the body of Christ do they?
These verses point out some dangerous things:
Petrified hearts no longer feel the weight and grievousness of sin.
One who is desensitized of sin, no longer feel it’s shamefulness, and they no longer even try to hide their sin, they don’t care who see’s anymore
Giving into lustful desires, they do not care about who their sin impacts, they just give into their own selfish desires.
This is not what you learned from Christ (Eph4:20-24; Mt28:19-20)
Ephesians 4:20–21 NASB95
20 But you did not learn Christ in this way, 21 if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught in Him, just as truth is in Jesus,
You have heard the truth of the Gospel through the words of the Apostles who recorded the words of Christ for us
John 8:31 NASB95
31 So Jesus was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, “If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine;
and then there is
John 14:6 NASB95
6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.
We have not seen, have not met Jesus but we can know Jesus through the word and be filled with Jesus by His Spirit when we obey the Word. It comes with the next part
(Insert slide put off- put on, already saved on computer)
(expand on putting off and putting on; briefly) then give the scripture
We are to put off the old; put on the new (Eph4:22-23; Col3:5-9; Col3:10; Col3:12-17)
Ephesians 4:22–23 NASB95
22 that, in reference to your former manner of life, you lay aside the old self, which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit, 23 and that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind,
Ephesians 4:24 NASB95
24 and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth.
Get rid of those old graveclothes and put on the robe of righteousness (holiness); you know Paul’s call for walk of unity in Holiness.
Old old way is gone
Colossians 3:5–6 NASB95
5 Therefore consider the members of your earthly body as dead to immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and greed, which amounts to idolatry. 6 For it is because of these things that the wrath of God will come upon the sons of disobedience,
Colossians 3:7–8 NASB95
7 and in them you also once walked, when you were living in them. 8 But now you also, put them all aside: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and abusive speech from your mouth.
Colossians 3:9 NASB95
9 Do not lie to one another, since you laid aside the old self with its evil practices,
We must put off the lust of deceit, for that is a body killer! This is not just a sexual thing, its a desire thing, lust for anything that the flesh desires, demands that we indulge ourselves in. (for me it can be food at times)
To put off and put on starts with a decision and it takes effort. After being baptized we cannot just sit there in the pew and think we are going to be transformed. We need to get up, get involved. We need to learn to replace our old lifestyle with a new lifestyle, a lifestyle in Christ Jesus. Remember you change your mind, God will change you heart, and give you what you need that will help your change of lifestyle that will happen through knowledge of Him. Applicable knowledge!
I said it takes work, it takes effort, it takes cultivation.
but before getting there, just a couple of reminders about the put on, about the new man (Col3:10; Col3:12-17)
The new man
Colossians 3:10 NASB95
10 and have put on the new self who is being renewed to a true knowledge according to the image of the One who created him—
The new man that is being renewed to “true” knowledge; true knowledge that comes with the challenge to put on
Colossians 3:12–13 NASB95
12 So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience; 13 bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you.
Colossians 3:14–15 NASB95
14 Beyond all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity. 15 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body; and be thankful.
Colossians 3:16–17 NASB95
16 Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God. 17 Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father.
I’m not going to expand on those, jut let them sink in, look them up, study them out when you are on your own. Or even go back and listen to previous sermon done on our faithlife page.
Our next section of scripture parallels with the Colossian passage about the cultivation of holiness

II. Cultivation of Holiness

To cultivate is to prepare to use, to acquire or to develop. If we want to cultivate holiness, which is Paul’s call is about the riches of walking in holiness, then it will take effort, and he lays out the things to not do and do in this section.
Ephesians 4:28–29 NASB95
28 He who steals must steal no longer; but rather he must labor, performing with his own hands what is good, so that he will have something to share with one who has need. 29 Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear.
Ephesians 4:30–31 NASB95
30 Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31 Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice.
Ephesians 4:32 NASB95
32 Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.
This new lifestyle we are to have, the one we are putting on in righteousness (holiness) is for application so as to protect the unity of the faith and the unity of the church. So here comes the application section
Stop lying (Eph4:25; Eph4:21; 1Pt3:15)
The old man did not care about lying, thought nothing of it, even today we are familiar with the term “little white lie.” That is still a lie isn’t it?
The new man puts away lying, in its place is puts is speaking the truth, being ready to speak it, share it with others.
Ephesians 4:21 NASB95
21 if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught in Him, just as truth is in Jesus,
The truth that is found in Jesus, who is your hope, and that hope is to be shared.
1 Peter 3:15 NIV
15 But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect,
Don’t let anger get the best of you (Eph4:26-27; Heb12:15)
The old man gets angry and may let it linger or get out of control
The new man may get angry but does not let the sun go down on it, it does not allow it to become sinful behaviour.
Jesus got angry, but did not let anger get the best of Him, For anger was not His best. His best was to worship and o the things the Father told Him to do. When he turned over the tables in the temple it was because it was keeping others from worshipping the Father.
Don’t let anger take the best of you, or get the best of you, deal with it, for anger does not promote unity of the body does it? But dealing with it does.
Hebrews 12:15 NASB95
15 See to it that no one comes short of the grace of God; that no root of bitterness springing up causes trouble, and by it many be defiled;
Don’t let anger, bitterness grow roots! For when it does it springs up trouble!
Stop stealing (Eph4:28; Php2:3-4)
The old man is willing to steal for own selfish purposes. May not even be something big, what about a pen, paper, or something small and insignificant, is it still stealing if we take it? That is the old man not the new.
The new man not only does not steal but works, works so can help others.
Philippians 2:3–4 NASB95
3 Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; 4 do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.
Watch your mouth (Eph4:29)
The old man does not worry about or care about what comes out of his mouth. Either words or attitude with the words.
The New man not only avoids corrupt communication, but seeks to speak that which is uplifting to those who hear it!
Are we using words to build up, to encourage, to edify one another. When we do it is giving grace to those who hear. Kingdom people have a different way of talking. As the world murmurs and complains, curses and has corrupt communication the Christian is to speak truth, speak good words that give grace! So, let me ask a question.
Can people tell you are a Christian by the way you talk?
The words we use matter, let them make a difference in peoples lives for the cause of Christ!
When we don’t put off, put away lying, stealing, unwholesome talk; when we don’t use words to built up and encourage the body then we grieve the Holy Spirit.
Don’t grieve the Holy Spirit (Eph4:30)
It’s not that God deos not know all these things about us, and given us what we need to handle these things (in other words apply the new). But how we handle these things effects us and the unity of the body as well as the light of Christ we are to be to others, so remember.
Don’t be bitter (Eph4:31)
We started off today we putting off and putting on all so we can walk in the riches of holiness. so lets finish with this one.
But be kind to one another and forgiving (Eph4:32)
Ephesians 4:32 NASB95
32 Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.
(lead to invitation) - be sure to put on Jesus!
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(Insert invitation slide #2)
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