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Your Liable To Get Hot Wearing Two Suits Of Clothes

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you’re liable to get hot if you try to wear more than one suit of clothes

 

INTRODUCTION:

1.     Read text:  Eph. 4:17-32.

2.     Paul’s plea in his letter to the Ephesians:

(1)         Eph. 3:21.

(2)         Walk worthy of the calling with which you were called (4:1).

A.       Live with attitudes that promote unity (4:2-3).

B.       Echo the unity existing in the godhead (4:4-6).

3.     Unity is Christ’s desire for the body He purchased with His blood.

(1)         We, if not careful, can view this as being a matter of doctrine only!

(2)         Fact of the matter = doctrine is critical, BUT so too is application of the doctrine.

A.       If I find myself engaging in legalism and perfectionism… I’m trapped (cf. Pharisees, Jews).

B.       If I find myself forgetting the vital function I have as a member of the body of Christ…

(3)         So, what is the “doctrine” to apply?

A.       That we are the fullness of Christ (1:3; 1:7; 1:20-23).

B.       That, in the church, we are reconciled to God (2:5-6; 2:13).

C.       Such an arrangement is the eternal purpose of God (3:10-11)

D.       Paul describes you a holy temple in the Lord and a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.    (2:21-22)

4.     When a person becomes a Christian, there is to be a great abyss / chasm between our past manner of living, and that of the present.

(1)         People enjoying life instead of death.

(2)         People maintaining reconciliation instead of division.

(3)         People hungering and thirsting for righteousness instead of rebellion.

5.     We were all corrupt at one time!!!  BUT, Jesus Christ picked you up out of that impurity / filth and made you to sit in the heavenly places (church)!

(1)         Your life should reflect a painful awareness of this fact!

(2)         Does it?

6.     How do you measure the fidelity of another?  Attendance to services?  Participate in leadership?  Attends and even conducts Bible class?  Participates in brother’s keepers groups?  Active with youth and young families?....

DISCUSSION: PAUL PICTURES IT THIS WAY --

I.            FAITHFUL CHRISTIANS HAVE EXPERIENCED  A GREAT CHANGE (VV. 17-24).

1.      Paul has been building up to this point, and now reminds what they were and what they now are!

(1)           Paul wants them to think about this matter.

(2)           Paul wants them to keep their mind engaged (cf. v. 18).

A.         Their understanding was darkened  (Cf. rules of grammar, algebra, etc.)

B.         Refers to being ignorant and morally insensitive to their way of life.

C.         Illustrate:  Light above vanity has several bulbs.  Go out one at time…

(3)           Indifference, ignorance, and error slowly darken / corrupt.

A.         Sin leads to insensitivity, unless YOU put on the brakes.

B.         Sin gradually darkens your view, unless YOU change the bulbs.

2.      The old man in sin

(1)           Possesses a futile mind (v. 17)

A.         KJV = vain

B.         Greek = “emptiness as to result.”  (Illustrate: empty spray can; tv products).

C.         You were living prior to becoming a Christian, but end result = empty!

a.         Life is vain, futile, and frustrating without God.

b.         What would it be like if this life is our only hope?  (cf. Hokie pokie?)

(2)           Possesses a blind heart (v. 18)  - KJV = hard.

A.         No matter how much you “enjoyed” life, without God you on downward spiral.

(3)           Possesses evil conduct (v. 19).  “Given themselves over…”

·       Here’s where a blind heart will lead you!  Into improper conduct!

A.         Given over to lewdness, an over estimation to pleasure of sensuality.

B.         Anxious to work uncleanness!  Give little thought to rightness of acts.

3.      In general, gentiles (ignorance & insensitivity) lived in gross corruption.

4.      Paul’s point = Christians have been educated out of that state! (Supposed to be!).

(1)           We put off the old man (i.e. like a dirty rotten garment).

(2)           We put on the new man (i.e. like a fresh, pure, white garment).

A.         Cf. Jn. 3; Rom. 6; 2 Cor. 5:17.

(3)           PLUSwe are renewed (v. 23)!  Daily, constantly – by an “inward” renewal of our “outlook!”

5.      A hardened sinner is ignorant / oblivious to these things, and unfortunately some Christians allow themselves to drift into the sad state (cf. Rom. 12:1,2)

6.      “Gone is all my debt of sin.  A great change is brought within…

(1)           Speaking NOT so much of something God does TO us!

(2)           Speaking of something we do FOR God (cf. 1 Jn. 4:19).

II.          Faithful christians have an obligation to maintain the change (vv. 25-32).

1.      We do not merit heaven by our works / behavior (Eph. 2:8,9), but the Bible is clear in teaching that there is an expected type of behavior/attitude.

(1)           Paul has already made the point – “You gotta change!  Need to change!”

(2)           Paul gives practical aspects of such change.

2.      THEREFORE –

(1)           V. 25 – Along with putting away lying, Christians must speak truth.

A.         Christians are to be trustworthy.

B.         Lies / misrepresentations undermine our example and our fellowship.

C.         Slippery slope.  Endless opportunity.

(2)           VV. 26-27  - Get rid of your anger before the day is done.

A.         Old man got angry and let it linger.

B.         New man gets angry, but doesn’t let it linger.

a.         “Hot heads and cold hearts never solve anything.”

b.         “He who suppresses a moments anger may prevent a day of sorrow.”

(3)           V. 28 – Earn your “keep.”

A.         Old man willing to take what didn’t belong to him!

B.         New man will not take what he didn’t earn.  Seeks to contribute (cf. google search – “charity, donations = 1,113,00 ;  + Xian = 99,300; + Atheist = 5,600

(4)           V. 29 – Stop with the corrupt communication!

A.         “A soothing tongue is a tree of life” (Prov. 15:4).

B.         Old man doesn’t care what he says.  Unconcerned about tongue!

C.         New man, not only tries to avoid corrupt; He tries to edify.

(5)           BE (vv. 31-32).

A.         Kind           instead of        Caustic.

B.         Better        instead of        Bitter.

C.         Helpful       instead of        Hurtful.

D.         Careful      instead of        Callous.

3.      Cf. Mt. 23:25-29.

CONCLUSION:

1.     There is a direct correlation between what we believe and how we behave.

        (1)     We are what we think.

        (2)     We are what we do.

2.     But, believing in a worldly sense does not necessarily equate with doing.  In a biblical sense, they are inseparable. 

        (1)     A Christian cannot separate their being, from their thoughts, or their actions.

        (2)     You are what you think.  You are what you do.

3.     To become a Christian, a person must change!  Then you must strive to maintain that change (putting off old man / clothes and putting on new man).

4.     Eph. 4:1-3.

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