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Paul tells the Ephesian church that they must change. There is a warning and description of a mind of the person who lacks God. It lacks purpose and understanding because it willingly blocks because of an aversion to learning. This gives birth to the ability to feel shame for sinful actions and thus creates a desire to engage in more. He reminds them that their current position of being in Christ was not gained by having a heart that was not opened to God. He reminds them that in Jesus is all truth. They must take off the former way of life and hunger for sin by renewing their minds. Their minds have to do things that are not normal to their old ways of thinking. This new self can be had and put on by engaging in righteousness and holiness.

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Intro

Something that speaks to learning, maturation, stubbornness in learning
Brief description of this epistle and the occasion of it’s writing.
eph 4
Ephesians 4:17–24 CSB
17 Therefore, I say this and testify in the Lord: You should no longer live as the Gentiles live, in the futility of their thoughts. 18 They are darkened in their understanding, excluded from the life of God, because of the ignorance that is in them and because of the hardness of their hearts. 19 They became callous and gave themselves over to promiscuity for the practice of every kind of impurity with a desire for more and more. 20 But that is not how you came to know Christ, 21 assuming you heard about him and were taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus, 22 to take off your former way of life, the old self that is corrupted by deceitful desires, 23 to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, 24 and to put on the new self, the one created according to God’s likeness in righteousness and purity of the truth.

The Empty Mind

Ephesians 4:17 CSB
17 Therefore, I say this and testify in the Lord: You should no longer live as the Gentiles live, in the futility of their thoughts.
Eph
Verse 17 is understood in light of what Paul talked about in chapters 2-4.
Jesus the Christ brought redemption and forgiveness.
What Paul is saying comes from God, it is STRONGER than him just saying it.
“You should no longer live as the Gentiles live...”
Don’t live like the rest of the ethnicities live anymore.
You are now a citizen of the heavenly family!
Ephesians 2:19–20 CSB
19 So then you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with the saints, and members of God’s household, 20 built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the cornerstone.
Do NOT go back to being who you used to be!
Why?
eph 2 19-
Ephesians 4:17 CSB
17 Therefore, I say this and testify in the Lord: You should no longer live as the Gentiles live, in the futility of their thoughts.
eph 4 17
Because their minds are futile...
Futile- serving no useful purpose: completely ineffective.
Merriam-Webster, I. (2003). Merriam-Webster’s collegiate dictionary. (Eleventh ed.). Springfield, MA: Merriam-Webster, Inc.
3 slides of useless things.
As useless as these things are, before we had Christ our minds were just as futile. We had no real purpose. Our focus was on things that are finite.
We want the biggest house and most money even though we cannot enjoy either because we have to work so much to keep it.
We are unhappy because we are single so we become someone we are not to get and keep someone. And in the long run we still end up being unhappy because we cannot be ourselves.
We change our eating habits to live healthier lifestyles and then have cheat days! FUTILE THINGS!
What is it that you are focused on obtaining?
What is your ultimate goal in life?
Is the thing that you desire worth much in God’s eyes?
If you are a Christian, saved through baptism. Why go back to what was not working before?
Paul goes on to describe what happens to the mind of those who have not God.
Ephesians 4:18 CSB
18 They are darkened in their understanding, excluded from the life of God, because of the ignorance that is in them and because of the hardness of their hearts.
When you have a futile mind your ability to understand God is gone.
Romans 1:18–23 CSB
18 For God’s wrath is revealed from heaven against all godlessness and unrighteousness of people who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth, 19 since what can be known about God is evident among them, because God has shown it to them. 20 For his invisible attributes, that is, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen since the creation of the world, being understood through what he has made. As a result, people are without excuse. 21 For though they knew God, they did not glorify him as God or show gratitude. Instead, their thinking became worthless, and their senseless hearts were darkened. 22 Claiming to be wise, they became fools 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man, birds, four-footed animals, and reptiles.
God has made himself clear to all mankind but because of futile minds
People cannot understand that African people are not the chosen tribe of Israel.
People cannot overcome their strong feeling that they were created to be something other than what they are born as.
People will hold on to fancy sayings that agree with their ideologies instead of God and His word!
FUTILE MINDS ARE RUINING MANKIND!
How do our minds become futile? How do we lose the ability to understand/see/know God?
Ephesians 4:18 CSB
18 They are darkened in their understanding, excluded from the life of God, because of the ignorance that is in them and because of the hardness of their hearts.
“…because of the ignorance that is in them and because of the hardness of their hearts.”
If you wonder why you cannot underst
Ignorant- destitute of knowledge or education also: lacking knowledge or comprehension of the thing specified
Being ignorant is something that all of us will at one time experience. Remaining ignorant is a choice!
We will LEARN how to get more money on our tax returns
We will LEARN who has the cheapest gas!
We will LEARN about who is at a get-together before we walk in the door…
BUT when it comes to learning about GOD! we remain ignorant!
Ignorance and hardness of heart
This hardness of heart as is an interesting piece here because it means that you willingly choose not to learn! You make a choice to block out what is available to you.
If someone offers you clean drinking when you’re stranded in a desert you would be a fool to turn it down...
If you had kidney failure and someone found a match and you turned it down folks would say you are crazy!
Why is it that when the Word of God is offered, the one thing that can help you in this life and eternity is presented… we willingly refuse it!
Why is it that when the Word of God is offered, the one thing that can help you in this life and eternity is presented… we willingly refuse it!
You coming to worship?…NOPE
You coming to devo?…NOPE
You coming to Bible class?…NOPE
HARD HEARTS! And it’s not just the fact that your understanding of God is darkened because of this ignorance and hard hearts! More things are coming to those who choose not to LEARN of God!!
Ephesians 4:19 CSB
19 They became callous and gave themselves over to promiscuity for the practice of every kind of impurity with a desire for more and more.
“They became callous...”
Frankenstein old movie picture VS Evil Dead girl coming out of the ground
Why is one scary and the other not? To look upon the face of Frankenstein when the movie came out would have been terrifying! I have been told by people who saw the movie in its time! But something increasingly scary, a stronger effect has come and now it is the new normal for what scary is. The idea of someone being pieced together by a mad scientist is no longer scary because we have become desensitized to it by something GREATER! Having a futile mind will cause you to become calloused or desensitized to sin!
It used to scare you when you got high, until you became calloused to it.
Merriam-Webster, I. (2003). Merriam-Webster’s collegiate dictionary. (Eleventh ed.). Springfield, MA: Merriam-Webster, Inc.
End result, you don’t just get high you pass out!
It used to terrify you to be caught looking at pornography, until you became calloused to it
You don’t just watch it, you make it and upload it for others to see
It used to make you feel bad when you lied to your parents, until you became calloused to it.
You graduate to teaching other folks how to lie to their parents!
Ephesians 4:19 CSB
19 They became callous and gave themselves over to promiscuity for the practice of every kind of impurity with a desire for more and more.
They started off with just lacking sexual moral restraint and then moved on to being involved with several different kinds of sexually immoral actions.
BUT THAT WAS NOT ALL
“…with a desire for more and more.”
Because they could not understand God due to their willingness to not LEARN about God they began to have a desire for things that were not only futile but immoral!
Every sex addict that has hit rock bottom will ask themselves “How did I get here?”!
Every person in their right mind sitting in a prison cell will ask themselves “Where did I go wrong?”
A person cheating on or getting cheating in their marriage will ask themselves “What happened?”
Things We Desire That We Should Not
Sexual impurity
Anger/Hate against people
Patriotism
Fear/Worry
Pride
Gluttony/Covetedness
Gossip
Judgment of others
This life is terrifying in that it makes you feel two ways for sin. It numbs you to feeling sorry for it and creates a hunger in you to indulge in sinful actions more and more!!
Examples
Sexual impurity
Anger/Hate against people
Patriotism (Being American and being Christian are NOT the same thing AMEN!)
Fear/Worry
Pride
We don’t realize that every time we refuse someone forgiveness we are acting in pride. Every time you argue with a friend, family member, or spouse and insist that you will not be the one to apologize first then you act out of pride. Remember the grace that Christ extends to you and try to extend that same grace and forgiveness to others. 
Gluttony/Covet
You need to look inside yourself and search your heart. If your nice things were taken away, would you still be satisfied and able to find joy in Christ? Why are you really in debt? Who are you trying to impress, God or men?
Gossip
This is something “churchy” people are constantly accused of, and is often the result of a judgmental attitude (covered below). Why won’t the woman who had an abortion come to your church? Because she’s afraid of the looks you’ll give her and the distance at which you will keep her. The same could be said for the pregnant 16 year old or the man who cheated on his wife. Sure, it’s nice to escape our own issues by talking about someone else’s for a while, but let’s try to remember to speak with grace and that our sin is just as sinful as anyone else’s.
Judgment
And the answer will more than likely equate to this...
You lost control because HE was not in control.
A futile mind is something that should be dreaded and will lead to your destruction, prompting you to desire more and more spiritual poison. But a futile mind is a choice that you make to have!

The New Mind

Ephesians 4:20 CSB
20 But that is not how you came to know Christ,
Paul after telling them the danger of going back to who they used to be by not LEARNING, points them to who they are now. He says you did not LEARN or come to know the savior by having a stubborn heart or ignoring opportunities to learn.
Ephesians 4:21 CSB
21 assuming you heard about him and were taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus,
Paul says that if you want to know about something that is worthwhile, LEARN TRUTH!
John 14:6 CSB
6 Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
Truth will outlast a lie, Truth will set you free, TRUTH will lead to the Father AND ETERNAL SALVATION!
Ephesians 4:22 CSB
22 to take off your former way of life, the old self that is corrupted by deceitful desires,
Paul speaks of the futile mind and the lifestyle that came with it as if it were clothing.
This is promising because all clothing can be removed. That means
THAT WHATEVER YOU ARE DESIRING THAT YOU SHOULD NOT BE DESIRING! IT CAN BE TAKEN OFF!
If you are a liar… TAKE IT OFF!
If you are gay, lesbian or fall under anything under the LGBTQ umbrellas... TAKE IT OFF!
If you are addicted to fornication… TAKE IT OFF!
If you are cheater… TAKE IT OFF!
If you have anger issues… TAKE IT OFF!
If you can’t respect your spouse… TAKE IT OFF!
If you have every excuse not to be at the church building… TAKE IT OFF!
TAKE IT OFF! Because as Paul says that old you corrupted! That old clothing you used to wear has holes in it! Take that old mess off and get yourself an upgrade!
Ephesians 4:23 CSB
23 to be renewed in the spirit of your minds,
It is not enough to take off the old you! You need a mental makeover!
Jenny Craig Makeover image!
It’s not enough to have a new you! You need some new clothing! You have to get a new mind!
Romans 12:2 CSB
2 Do not be conformed to this age, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may discern what is the good, pleasing, and perfect will of God.
Don’t be good enough with being like everybody else!
Transformed is in the present tense. DO IT NOW!
You are transformed by the renewing of your mind!
It is a continual process
The word renewing means to make yourself superior to what you used to be!
LEARN MORE so that you can BE MORE than you used to be!
MATURITY!
PURPOSE: So that you can discern or UNDERSTAND what is
Good- Righteous
Pleasing- To God
Perfect will of God- Understanding God
The only way to renew your mind is to LEARN something more than you already knew!
Ephesians 4:24 CSB
24 and to put on the new self, the one created according to God’s likeness in righteousness and purity of the truth.
Once you renewed your mind through
LEARNING in worship
LEARNING in Bible Class
LEARNING in personal study
THEN you can put on that new clothing God has for you.
There’s something special about the clothing that God provides.
Deuteronomy 8:3–5 CSB
3 He humbled you by letting you go hungry; then he gave you manna to eat, which you and your fathers had not known, so that you might learn that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord. 4 Your clothing did not wear out, and your feet did not swell these forty years. 5 Keep in mind that the Lord your God has been disciplining you just as a man disciplines his son.
When God provides, it lasts. God is going to give you new clothing that will never wear out! IT WILL BE GOOD IN THIS TIME ON THIS EARTH AND IT WILL STILL BE NEW WHEN YOU ARE IN HEAVEN!
Ephesians 4:24 NRSV
24 and to clothe yourselves with the new self, created according to the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.
The new self is created in the likeness of God...
righteousness and holiness
John 17:17 NRSV
17 Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth.
The word of God when implanted in our hearts through LEARNING will change us! and allow us to be not only holy but righteous! Doing Right things!

Conclusion

Forget what you thought you knew. Learn of God then LEARN some MORE!
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