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Text: Ephesians 4:17-29                  


How many here today have made a spiritual decision at some point in your life and just a short while latter are no longer living out that decision?  Have you ever been the James 1 guy who hears what his is supposed to do but them forgot all about it and doesn’t change?  Who here has heard a message preached and then said, "Yes, I see what I am doing is wrong, but preacher, how do I change from doing what I am doing?"  How many of you have had a habit in your life that you know is wrong and your made a decision to change but just days later you were back to doing what you said you would no longer do?

We can say we are going to change and we can even do some things that make it look to others that we are changing, but that is not true change.  II Timothy 3:16-17 says… These verses tell us that true change can only come when we are confronted with the truth of God's Word, convicted by the Holy Spirit, corrected in our direction and trained in daily living out that proper direction.  That is how we can have true change.

Today, I would like to look into the passage we read earlier because it shares with us how that we can have true and lasting change in our lives, how we can have victory over that sinful habit that is part of our life. 

As we look at the book of Ephesians, it is divided into two sections. The first three chapters deal with our position in Christ.  The next three chapters then share, based on what we have in Christ – our possessions in Christ - how we should then live. 

So, how are we to live as Christians?

Paul begins in verses 17-20 and compares the believer to the unbeliever.  Verses 17-20 say. . .  He tells us not to do the same things that worldly people are doing.  But he didn't end there.  That is the most wonderful thing.  Often we are told don't do this, don't do that. Don't! Don't! Don't!  But then what are we supposed to do?  Well, I'm glad you asked because Paul tells us exactly what to not do and then what to do. 

Notice that Paul tells us today that we are to

I. Put Off Sinful Habits, Actions and Thoughts  

Verse 22 says. . . Romans 8:13 says . . .

Paul is telling us that we are to put off, set aside the manner by which we once lived prior to our salvation.  The language in the passage is personal, that means that putting off is something that we must personally do.  It is not something that can be done for us.  You say, but I've tried to stop doing this or that and I can't do it.  The wonderful thing is that it must be something you personally do, but under the power of the Holy Spirit.  It is the Holy Spirit that gives us power to obey.  Philippians 2:12-13 is a great illustration of how it must be something that we do personally, but at the same time we cannot do it without the power of the Holy Spirit.  Philippians 2:12-13 say . . .Verse 12 tells us we are to obey and verse 13 tells us that we can obey because it is God who work in us so that we have the power to obey.  God will give us the desire and ability to obey, so then it is up to us to actually obey.

So, we are to get rid of sinful habits, thoughts and actions.  But what are we supposed to do now?  Well, I'm glad you asked because Paul tells us exactly what we are to do next.

Notice that Paul tells us today that we are to

II. Renew Our Minds

Verse 23 says. . .

Romans 12:2 says. . .

We cannot truly change unless we allow our minds to be renewed.

When I say this, I am not talking about some weird emptying on the mind or something like that.  Renewal of our mind is the process by which the Holy Spirit uses the Word of God to show us where and how we must grow.

Renewing of the mind is not just memorizing Scripture.  It is a meditation the Word of God.

Psalm 1:2 says. . David says that the blessed man meditate day and night on the Word of God.  Continual meditation.

Psalm 19:7-14 say. . .Look at all the times God's Word is mentioned.  Verses 12 and 13 share with us what the renewing of the mind by the Holy Spirit by the Word of God can and will do in our lives.  They say. . .It is a constant renewal of our minds with the Word of God, through the Holy Spirit hat will give us the power to put off our sinful habits, actions and thoughts.  It is the same thing that will also allow us to do the next thing that Paul commands us to do. 

Notice that Paul tells us today that we are to

III. Put On Righteous Habits, Actions and Thoughts

Verse 24 says. . . 

Paul is telling us that our changed life must be one that reveals Christ to others through proper, Christ-like actions.  Paul is simply telling us that we are to act like Chirstians.

Let's take a minute and look specifically at several examples  that Paul gives us of what to put off and what to put one. 

So, how do we make lasting change in our lives?  We must first put off sinful habits, actions and thoughts.  Then we must renew our mind with God's Word.  Lastly, we must put on righteous habits, actions and thoughts.  This is all something that we must personally and actively do and that can only be done through the power of the Holy Spirit. 

Today you may say, "Pastor Joel, I understand what you are saying, but I can do it.  I've tried before and I can't do it."  You may say, "The sinful habit I am wrapped up in is too hard to get out of." 

I am here today to tell you that you can stop those sinful habits, actions or thoughts.  Let's look at I Corinthians 6:9-11.  That passage says. . .  There is hope.  Look at what the Corinthian believer used to be and used to be involved in.  All of that evil and yet Paul says that they used to do those things but no longer do because they are justified and sanctified.  To be justified simply means that you have accepted Christ as your personal Savior.  To be sanctified is a continual process that a Christian is involved in, bringing them to live more like Christ.  That is exactly what we have been talking about today. 

The entire process is of change which we've discussed today is just like changing your clothes.  When something becomes to dirty to wear, we no longer wear it and we put new clothes on.

Today we have seen how were can change.  My question for you is what needs to be changed in your life today?  Think about that for a minute. 

If there is something the Lord has shown you that needs to be changed in your life, I would challenge you to consider how specifically those changes can take place in your life.  What exactly do you need to put off, what Scripture do you need to meditate on concerning those changes and what exactly do you need to put on?


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