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Exploring Ephesians #11 - How to Avoid Grieving the Holy Spirit

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Text: Ephesians 4:25-32

Thesis: To stress that the Spirit is at work within us to make us more like Jesus; however,

             we must provide an environment within which He is able to accomplish this work


(1)   Paul has just stressed the necessity of putting on the new man and now he will illustrate what the new man is to be like.

(2)   He will also point out (v. 30) that the failure to put on the new man is equivalent to “grieving” (Gr. lupeo) the Holy Spirit.

(a)    ‘Grieve’ means “to cause severe mental or emotional distress, vex, irritate, offend, insult” (BDAG).

(b)   Basically, it is making someone ‘sad.’

(3)   Let us then ask: “How can I avoid making the Holy Spirit sad?”


I.                   First, we must be people of truth (v. 25).

A.    What is a lie?

1.      It is “a statement that is contrary to the fact, spoken with the intent to deceive” (Wiersbe 6:40).

2.      It is a sin (cf. Rev. 21:8).

B.     Paul quotes Zechariah 8:16 in order to stress that Christians are to speak the truth to one another.

1.      Consider: “Our physical bodies cannot function properly if each member does not correctly communicate to the others” (MacArthur 184).

2.      We must “speak the truth in love” (v. 15).

II.                Second, we must be people of controlled emotions (vv. 26-27).

A.    Specifically, we must learn how to control ‘anger.’

1.      ‘Anger’ (Gr. orgizesthe) is “an emotional arousal caused by something that displeases us” (Wiersbe 6:41).

2.      In and of itself, anger is not necessarily a sin.

a.       At times, God was angry.

b.      However, this refers to a righteous indignation.

c.       F. F. Bruce correctly observed that there is a “subtle temptation to regard my anger as righteous indignation and other people’s anger as sheer bad temper (361).

3.      Basically, the main potential for sin is based upon what we do with our anger.

B.     Paul’s advice is to resolve it before the day closes.

1.      In Matthew 5:22, Jesus discussed how anger is, at times, merely a step away from murder.

2.      It is not o.k. to “go to bed angry.”

C.     Otherwise, we run the risk of giving the devil a foothold (i.e., “when emotions are out of control, the devil steps in to exploit the situation” [Boles 291]).

III.             Third, we must be people of hard work and benevolence (v. 28).

A.    Obviously, the people in the first century struggled with theft just like people today in the twenty-first century.

B.     Paul states that Christians are instead to be people “working with his hands.”

1.      The rabbis taught: “He who does not teach his son a craft teaches him to be a robber.”

2.      In 1 Thess. 3, Paul taught that if one is unwilling to work, then he/she should not eat and even taught the church there to withdraw from such people.

C.     In addition to providing for self and family, one is to work so that he/she may have means to help those who stand in need.

IV.             Fourth, we must be people of wholesome speech (v. 29).

A.    As Christians, we are not to speak corrupt (Gr. sapros; “rotten … unfit for use” [Thayer’s]) words.

B.     Instead, we are to speak words that:

1.      Build up others

2.      Impart grace to the hearers

V.                Fifth, we must be people of forgiveness (vv. 31-32).

A.    In verse 31, Paul lists six qualities that are found in people who cannot learn to forgive:

1.      Bitterness (Gr. pikria) – “the temper which cherishes resentful feelings” (Abbott 144)

2.      Wrath (Gr. thymos) – “passion, angry heat … outburst of anger” (Thayer’s)

3.      Anger (Gr. orge) – “a state of relatively strong displeasure” (BDAG)

4.      Clamor (Gr. krauge) – “a loud cry of call” (BDAG)

5.      Evil speaking (Gr. blasphemia) – “speech that denigrates or defames, reviling, disrespect, slander” (BDAG)

6.      Malice (Gr. kakia) – “a mean-spirited or vicious attitude” (BDAG)

B.     Instead, Christians are to be kind (Gr. chrestoi), tenderhearted (Gr. eusplangchnoi), and forgiving (Gr. charizomenoi).

C.     The reasoning behind this is that God in Christ has forgiven us; therefore, we must forgive others!


(1)   Are you living a life that makes the Holy Spirit happy?

(2)   If not, would you change it today so that you may bring pleasure to God?

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