Christians Live Differently (Eph 4)

Sunday, September 23rd, 2007
Sermon Series: Ephesians

Christians Live Differently

You have seen this yourself–two cars are waiting at a stoplight . . . the light turns green, but the man in front doesn’t notice it.  A woman in the car behind him is watching traffic pass around them.  The woman begins pounding on her steering wheel and yelling at the man to move.  The man doesn’t move.  The woman is going ballistic inside her car, ranting and raving at the man, pounding on her steering wheel and dash.  The light turns yellow.  The woman begins to blow the car horn, flips him off, and screams curses at the man.  The man, hearing the commotion, looks up, sees the yellow light and accelerates through the intersection just as the light turns red.

The woman is beside herself, screaming in frustration as she misses her chance to get through the intersection.  As she is still in mid-rant, she hears a tap on her window and looks up into the barrel of a gun held by a very serious looking policeman.  The policeman tells her to shut off her car while keeping both hands in sight.  She complies, speechless at what is happening.  After she shuts off the engine, the policeman orders her to exit her car with her hands up.

She gets out of the car and he orders her to turn and place her hands on her car.  She turns, places her hands on the car roof and quickly is cuffed and hustled into the patrol car.  She is too bewildered by the chain of events to ask any questions and is driven to the police station where she is fingerprinted, photographed, searched, booked and placed in a cell.  After a couple of hours, a policeman approaches the cell and opens the door for her.

She is escorted back to the booking desk where the original officer is waiting with her personal effects.  He hands her the bag containing her things, and says, “I’m really sorry for this mistake, but you see, I pulled up behind your car while you were blowing your horn, flipping that guy off, and cussing a blue streak at the car in front of you.  Then I noticed the ‘Choose Life’ license plate holder, the ‘What Would Jesus Do?’ and ‘Follow Me to Sunday School’ bumper stickers, and the chrome plated Christian fish emblem on the trunk, so naturally I assumed you had stolen the car.”

Christians are supposed to live different, and brothers and sisters, genuine Christians DO live different.  James 2:26b says, “Faith without works is dead.”  Then in Matthew 7:21 we read, “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven; but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven.”  Jesus said in John 3:36, “He who believes in the Son has eternal life; but he who does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.”  And then in Luke 6:46 He said, “And why do you call Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say?”

If you’re a real believer, you will live differently than those without Christ.  If you are a genuine Christian, you’ll live differently than religious people.  In fact, if you have been truly born again, your lifestyle is described by God as a worthy walk, you will walk worthy.  Open your Bibles to Ephesians 4 and see what God has to say about your new born again lifestyle–your everyday behavior.

We are reviewing our study of Ephesians so we can be up-to-speed once we start chapter 5 next week. We’ve been looking at large passages from each chapter, learning from chapters 1 to 3 what God has done for us–giving us so many spiritual blessings that whenever you’re discouraged, all you have to do is read these early chapters and you’ll immediately be encouraged by what Christ has done for you.  But as we fall in love with these truths, let me warn you to avoid three common mistakes.

#1  This letter is written to me individually.  No, God is writing to a local church, and we are to live this letter together as His Body.  Every chapter of this letter either uses the word Church or some synonym for the Church because this letter is about the Church body.  God is saying, you can never be what He redeemed you to be without your collective, active participation in a local church.  The Christian life is not a solo event but a team sport–you are on God’s team and have a position to play.

#2  Knowing the truth is enough.  Knowing this letter does nothing–only living these truths in the power of the Spirit changes you and accomplishes God’s plan.  We are to be doers, not merely hearers–our goal is not to be truth junkies, but transformed into Jesus.

#3  I can live the Christian life on my own.  Nothing you do today or this week is going to matter unless you are trusting in Christ alone to make you right with God, and unless you are moment-by-moment depending on Christ to live through you.  Religion is living your faith on your own.  Jesus hates religion, and religious people make him vomit.  You need Christ to be saved, and you need Christ to get through today.

So if you think you can avoid those traps, and now that we understand our position from Ephesians 1 to 3, what’s our practice?  Look at Ephesians 4 and take the outline to follow along.  Make sure you fill in your outline and put it on your bathroom mirror.  What kind of behavior will a genuine Christian live tomorrow at work, Tuesday night at home, Wednesday with friends, Thursday with your spouse, Friday out for some fun and Saturday with the family?  If you truly have the blessings of Ephesians 1 to 3 then . . .

#1  You will live worthy of your calling,  Verses 1 to 16

Look at verse 1, “I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, entreat you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called.”  You have got to get this, so let me pick it apart for a moment.

ONE–Whenever you see the word “therefore”, you must ask yourself, wherefore is that “therefore” there for?  It is looking back to what has just been said.  Plus the phrase “worthy of the calling with which you have been called” tells us Paul is looking back on chapters 1 to 3.  Christian, LIVE . . .

Worthy of all that God has done for you described in–chapters 1 to 3

Worthy of all the spiritual blessings God has bestowed on you—chapter 1

Worthy of how God saved you, even though you were dead in your sins—chapter 2

Worthy of all the power, intimacy and filling you have in Christ–chapter 3

TWO–Notice to walk “in a manner worthy” refers to lifestyle.  Walk is used several times in chapters 4 to 6.  Your walk is your lifestyle, your behavior from morning until night, everything you do that is not at church . . . what you do at work, home, school and around town–everything.  Chapter 4 is your normal lifestyle.

In a sense, if the Christian life were a sport, right now we would be in the huddle.  We are commanded to huddle as God’s team–every Sunday every believer is commanded to gather for corporate worship.  I like huddling–huddling is good, we need to encourage each other and hear what the coach is telling us and love the owner of the team.  But the huddle is not what Paul is talking about here.  The huddle is not what wins the game in this team sport.  Paul is talking about after we say, “Ready, break!”  After we leave here and go out into the world, our walk is what we do when we are not in the huddle, but when we are running the plays out in the world God has for us to run.  And here is a shocker–you need to really tune in and focus hard.

THREE–notice the prisoner of the Lord, entreat you, literally urge.  Paul is in prison, writing the Ephesians and urging them to walk worthy.  Paul is not commanding the Ephesians or us here.  In fact, he gives no commands in this chapter until verse 25.  He is stating facts, articulating certainties, telling us this is what Christians do.  Get this:  walking worthy is what a true Christian will do.

Most Christians don’t clearly understand chapter 4–I don’t think I had fully either.  Most see chapter 4 as a command to practice what Paul has been talking about in Ephesians 1 to 3.  Most think Paul is telling the Ephesians to start walking so that they can become worthy.  That is not what Paul is saying.  By the use of the Greek indicative mood, Paul is stating, because of Christ in chapters 1 to 3, walking worthy is what real Christians will do.

God through Paul is not telling the Church what to do in the first 24 verses.  God is describing what a church full of genuine Christians will do.  This is how they will live.  Paul’s point here is powerful–he is saying, if you are a genuine Christian you will verse 1, “walk worthy,” and later from verse 17-24, Paul is affirming that you “will walk uniquely.”

This is a certainty, Paul declares–if you are a real believer and not a make-believer, you will live a worthy and unique lifestyle.  So Paul urges you to live what all true Christians will live.  Just as Paul described what God did for us in Ephesians 1 to 3, he continues describing now how genuine Christians will live.  Every authentic born again believer will live this way–what way?

Verses 1 to 16 is “Walk Worthy” and verses 17 to 24 is “Walk Uniquely”.  Paul is literally encouraging you to live the way all real believers will live.  Now that you are in Christ, for you not to live this way is to actually fight against the indwelling Holy Spirit and our new nature because everything that happened to us in salvation in chapters 1 to 3 is going to produce a worthy and unique walk.

Again in verses 1 to 24, though it may appear differently in the English, in Paul’s common Koine Greek, there is not a single command to obey, only factual descriptions that are true of every genuine Christian and every true church.  So what does living worthy look like?  I am glad you asked.

First  The sacrificial putting up with each other

Read verse 2, “With all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing forbearance to one another in love.”  Most Christians think walking worthy is having a quiet time and talking about Jesus at church.  But verse 2 says a worthy walk is seen first in how you treat others.  You walk worthy when you treat others in a verse 2 manner.  A worthy walk is shown by your treatment of other Christians in this room.

The main focus of verse 2 is actually the participle “showing forbearance”, which literally means to put up with each other.  It’s overlooking things we don’t like; it’s failing to notice insults and it’s putting up with annoyances that come from Christians.  If you, as a rebellious, heartless, worldly sinner under God’s wrath have been transformed by God’s grace, you will put up with each other in a big way.  You will treat Christians better than anyone outside your immediate family.

Which way is that?  Verse 2 again–with humility, gentleness, patience and love.  Humility was considered a weakness in the first century, and sadly today not much has changed in 2,000 years.  Today, humility is not considered a virtue but a vice–pride, self-confidence, and standing up for your rights is a virtue today.  Most people consider the humble wimps, sissies and not real men.  But God says in James 4:6 and 1 Peter 5:5 that God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble.  God transforms the proud into humble.

Do you want to cooperate and develop humility?  Here is the secret.  Stop comparing yourself to others and start comparing yourself to the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will become humble.  Hey I can find ten others to compare myself to and feel pretty good about myself.  In fact, I can point you out today.  But when I compare myself to Jesus Christ and remember what He had to do in order to save a wretch like me, then I grow humble.

Listen, Jesus not only showed us who God is, but He also showed us what a real man is, and Jesus was a real man–an outdoor man, a carpenter man, a man who could clean out the temple with a whip.  He was a man who could take the worst torture men can dish out, but still be the most humble man who ever lived.

It’s better to humble yourself than to have God do it.  So live with your eyes focused on Christ, dependent on Christ, desiring His Spirit to live through you and you will become more humble.  If you are a genuine Christian, you are going to put up with others’ faults, grow in humility, and desire to live out the rest of verse 2.  Notice the words gentleness and patience–those are the opposite of criticism and faultfinding.  You stop looking at others’ sins and weaknesses and only see your own.

Is God patient with you?  Do you cling to Him when things are bad and ignore Him with things are good?  Are you dedicated one day and indifferent the next?  When you remember how patient God is with you, you will be patient with others.

Plus at the end of verse 2, increasingly, you real believers will grow in your love.  You will show a willingness to sacrifice your preferences, desires and needs for the betterment of others.  How will you know?  You’ll stop trashing your moneygrubbing boss.  You won’t get hurt when someone ignores you.  You won’t expect better treatment, or compare your kids to other kids.  You’ll not be critical of the drummer or say anything rude to the sound guy.  You won’t presume the worst of another, you won’t speculate on what others may think, you won’t tear down someone who is struggling or feel superior because you don’t have their particular weakness.

You act towards each other according to verse 2 with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing forbearance to one another in love–treating others in this manner is a worthy walk.  And all true Christians will walk worthy–do you?  A worthy walk also manifests . . .

Second  The diligent desire for unity

The heart of a Christian is to want unity–we are partakers of the divine nature.  Our God is three persons in one perfect unity, therefore our very new nature desires unity.  So look at what Paul says in verse 3 to 6, “Being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. 4 There is one body and one Spirit, just as also you were called in one hope of your calling; 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6 one God and Father of all who is over all and through all and in all.”

Paul uses the word one in verses 3 to 6, a total of seven times.  Unity in a marriage, in a family and especially in a church is how we show off our three-person-yet-one God.  Only unity glorifies the triune God.  Paul says true Christians will function together in unity.

Right now lift your right foot slightly off the floor–go ahead.  Now use your right foot to stomp on your left foot as hard as you can.  That is how dumb it is for the body of Christ to not be unified.  And this is why hell is bent on destroying our unity.  Satan understands something Christians don’t–when you break unity, you inhibit the Spirit of God from having impact.  When there is disunity, we create for Satan a door of opportunity to thwart the program of God.  Just as a dis-unified team can’t win, so a dis-unified church cannot impact the world for Jesus Christ.

The greatest crisis we face today in the Church is not humanism.  The greatest problem facing the Church isn’t the homosexual movement or the feminazis or the abortion agenda, or the weak Republicans or liberal Democrats or any other social or moral ill.  The greatest crisis facing the Church today is disunity, because if Satan can divide us, we will never see what God can do with us when we are one, and we will never glorify the one true God.  Satan is forever seeking to promote disunity.  And beware, he usually promotes disunity in and through a crisis.

It reminds me of the story of the Lone Ranger who was riding the trail with his trusted friend, Tonto.  They were going to the north, and all of a sudden Indians stretched across the north on the war path and Tonto looked and said, “Which way we go, Quimo sabe?”  The Lone Ranger looked and said, “They’re on the north, so we have to go south.”

They went south and ran into another group of Indians on the war path and he said, “Which way we go, Quimo sabe?”  The Lone Ranger looked and said, “We’ve got to go east,” and so they went east.

Then on the ridge another group of warring Indians showed up and he said, “Which way we go, Quimo sabe?”  The Lone Ranger looked and said, “We’ve got to go west–that’s the only place left.”

So they went west and along the western ridge was a new group of Indians on the war path.  The Lone Ranger, noting these were all Indians and brothers of Tonto said, “Tonto, what do we do now?”  Tonto looked at the Lone Ranger and said, “What do you mean ‘WE’, paleface?”

It’s amazing how easy it is to divide up when we face a crisis.  But that’s what we face at FBC.  Brothers and sisters, we are fighting a major war, and when you’re in a war you don’t care about the color, race, or economic status of those you are fighting alongside of, you just care that the bullets are headed toward the enemy and not at you.

So in verse 4 Paul gets specific–there is only one body of Christ, and there is one Spirit who brings us into that one body.  And there us one calling which is to become like Christ, and one hope–our confidence in Christ’s return when He completes our salvation.

There is one Lord who is in charge–He is the master.  Just one boss–we don’t serve pastor, president or priest, we serve one Lord.  There is only one faith, and that faith is total dependence in the Lord Jesus Christ and His work on the cross as described in the written Word of God.  To be unified, we depend upon the Word, not tradition, not preference, not programs, not our past, not what another church does, but the Bible alone.

Just like the football team must know the playbook and the contractor must know the plans, the Church must know the Word of God.  And there is one baptism, where the Spirit of God immerses us into Christ’s body and where we demonstrate our unity with Christ and His Church by being immersed in water–not in the name of a church, a pastor or apostle, but in the name of Christ who accomplished it all.  This is what we are doing today–identification and celebration.

Verse 6 wraps up with, “one God and Father of all who is over all and through all and in all.”  Paul says, don’t miss the point–true Christians will want unity because real believers know the God of unity.  We are God-created, God-loved, God-saved, God-Fathered, God-controlled, God-sustained, God-filled, and God-blessed.  We are one people under one sovereign (over all), omnipotent (through all), and omnipresent (in all) God.

A worthy walk is a walk of unity.  If you are a true believer, whenever you divide, criticize, tear down, presume, or accuse you are working against God and against your very nature.  Many times, those who divide–the factious are actually showing who their real father is.  And get this–preserving unity is a worthy walk, and all genuine Christians will walk worthy.  Do you?

Along with the oneness of God, to be like Him we will also be unique or varied, as each person in the trinity is unique.  Therefore, a worthy walk will enjoy . . .

Third  The appreciation of diversity

Notice verse 7, “But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ’s gift.”  Each one is unique.  Unity does not mean sameness, it doesn’t mean cookie cutter Christianity.  Unity doesn’t mean we all walk alike, talk alike, think alike, move alike and look alike–that’s not unity, that’s boring.  I have seen churches where everyone looks alike, and it’s scary.  Just look at your body, it is one body, but it is made up of many parts.

The wonder of God’s creation is the glory of His variety, whether it’s in the variety of the species of animals or the beauty of the different flowers He’s made, or the fantastic variety of gifts God has given us.  First Corinthians 12:4 to 7 says, “There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit, there are different kinds of service, but the same Lord.  There are different kinds of working, but the same God works all of them in all men.  Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good.”

God created a glorious tapestry in His church, made up of the differing colors of gifts, talents and abilities all given to FBC.  Just like a husband and wife are different to complement each other–just like a knife and fork are different in order to work together, so God made all of us different in the body in order to accomplish the purposes of the church family.  God created each of us uniquely to produce harmony and yet maintain differences.

Paul goes into these distinctions–look again at verse 7 and following, “But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ’s gift. 8 Therefore it says, ‘When He ascended on high, He led captive a host of captives, and He gave gifts to men.’ 9 (Now this expression, ‘He ascended,’ what does it mean except that He descended into the lower parts of the earth? 10 He who descended is Himself also He who ascended far above all the heavens, that He might fill all things).”

This is a rather difficult portion of Scripture to explain.  Without getting lost in the details, the point of the passage is that Jesus, through the work of the cross, His death, burial, resurrection, ascension and all accompanying works earned the right to give differing gifts to His children.  Jesus fought and won a great battle.  As the victor, He now shares the spoils of His battle with those He freed from sin’s slavery.  He gives us gifts.

One pastor explains it this way–Paul is writing as a part of the Roman Empire.  When the Roman Empire wanted to expand its kingdom, it would pounce on some small nation to bring it under its control.  When it did, it would take the gifts, spoils, resources and talented skills of the conquered nation and make those resources the assets of the Roman Empire.  So if you were a lawyer, you were no longer a lawyer for the country you used to belong to–once Rome conquered you, you now became a Roman lawyer.  If you were a doctor, you were no longer a doctor for the country you used to belong to–once Rome conquered you, you now became a Roman doctor.

What Jesus is saying through the apostle Paul is God has distributed a variety of gifts, skills, talents and resources to each of us in His body so we will now use those gifts no longer for the world but for the Church.  The gifts God gives His people are now to be used to promote the interest of the kingdom of God rather than the kingdom of darkness.

The great tragedy we face in the body of Christ is we will use the gifts and skills God has given us for the kingdom of darkness and won’t use them to promote the kingdom of Light.  A teacher will teach in a Murrieta school and use her skills for students in the classroom, but be too tired to use those same skills on Sunday morning so children can learn about the kingdom of God.  It’s amazing how a businessman will use his skills for his work-a-day world, but have little time or interest to use those skills for the kingdom of God.  Some ladies will only use their skills for their own children, but never for God’s children in the church.

Another reason why the Church is ineffective today is because we define the Church as a group of professionals we pay to do the ministry rather than a team of leaders who equip all the saints to do the work of the ministry.  So Paul calls us to recognize our differences and use those gifts in ministry to one another.  Appreciating the uniqueness of others is a worthy walk, and all real Christians will walk worthy–do you?  A fourth attribute of a worthy walk is . . .

Fourth  The proper functioning in the body

As I read these familiar verses, see if you can determine the two main verbs found in verses 11-16, “And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, 12 for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ; 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 fulness of Christ. 14 As a result, we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves, and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming; 15 but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him, who is the head, even Christ, 16 from whom the whole body, being fitted and held together by that which every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love.”

Any thoughts as to what the main verbs in the Greek language here are?  This came as a shocker to me as well.  In verse 11, underline the verb “gave”, and in verse 16 underline the verb “causes”–those are the main verbs.  I always thought the main point here was the equipping of the saints, and the work of ministry–it is not.  The highlight here is that God is sovereign–He is going to take care of His Church.  He does that by giving the Church the leaders she needs, and by causing the growth of the Body in love.

Under His headship, God gives key leaders to equip the Body, and using the members, Christ will cause the growth of the Church in love.  Under his sovereignty, leaders will equip so everyone can minister and mature.  And verse 16 says every true Christian will play their position on the team so the entire body grows.  But Paul says–never forget, God will take care of His Church.

Now are you getting what Paul is saying?  If I was hip I’d ask, “Are you picking up what I am putting down?”  What Paul says is radical and a little bit scary.  Genuine Christians will walk worthy.  Part of that worthy walk is to minister to the body–every genuine Christian will want to minister their spiritual gift in the Church.  Every true Christian recognizes they have a position to play on God’s team.  And being on God’s team means we will care for each other, be unified and play our different position.  We realize Christ has given us different gifts that are to be used to make the team stronger for the glory of God.

And the opposite is true–if you’re a visitor from another church but you have no ministry in that local church where you came from, you are living outside of the will of God and in perpetual sin because you are not obeying the commands to minister your gift, and you are not even complying with how God re-made you, because all true Christians will function properly in the body.

A lot of contemporary church attenders are like cancer.  Cancer is basically cells that don’t want to cooperate.  You have this cell and it wants to break off and do its own thing.  That would be okay, but it’s not satisfied with that.  It begins to replicate itself.  It begins to get all the other cells around it to follow its agenda until it becomes a lump.  That wouldn’t be too bad but then it shoots off to investigate other parts of the body called metastasizing  and it reproduces after its own kind in other places until after a while cancel cells will shut down the whole body.

The church today is suffering from a spiritual cancer because there are attenders who will not serve in any way.  They come, do their own agenda rather than God’s agenda, so the one body with its many different members can accomplish the will of God.  You say, “That’s not me.  I’m no cancer.  I’m not infecting anyone.  No one knows I’m even here, in fact, I don’t even know anyone here.”  Then, that makes you a wart.  In the body of Christ, you’re just along for the ride.  You’re making absolutely no contribution to the functioning of the body–you’re just attached.

On the other hand, we say sick folks are welcome here at FBC.  If your life is beaten, broken and battered than we are glad you are here–we mean it, because we want this church to be a hospital of grace.  But I don’t know any hospital in the world that will let you come in with your illness and make you comfortable being sick.  Every hospital I know goes into motion when you are sick to make you well.  You can’t go into a hospital and say, “Don’t mess with me–I just want a bed, three meals a day and cable TV.”

Listen, good hospitals do surgery, they cut, mend and sew.  That’s why if you attend your home church and leave happy every Sunday, then something is wrong.  The Word of God is supposed to do surgery–it’ll cut, sometimes hurt, but always change your life.  Hebrews 4:12 is scary, “For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of the soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.”

God has not called His Church together to massage our egos, but to transform our lives.  Therefore, what God wants for you is to use your diversity of gifts to build up the Church body and make it stronger, to contribute to its cause in order to score for God’s team.  But you say, “I am tired, I have six kids, I work fourteen hours-a-day–I’m tired!”

A pastor friend of mine used to play football and he’d come home after practice and say, “Mom, I am so tired, I’m going take a nap.”  His mother would say, “Boy, you had better get your big ugly self down here and do your chores and help me in the kitchen.”  He’d say, “But mamma, you don’t understand. I am tired.”  And she’d say, “If tiredness were a criteria of function, your breakfast wouldn’t be made, your lunch wouldn’t be made, your clothes wouldn’t be washed, your room wouldn’t be clean.  If tiredness were a criteria of function then I would have gotten rid of you the day after you were born.”

Are you living out who you really are?  Christian, you’re not under guilt to be relationally humble, be unified, be diversified or function in the body–you actually have a new heart that wants to live these qualities.  Paul has yet to give a command in chapter 4–he is just stating realities, certainties, facts, showing you who you are.  So right now, ask yourself the two most important questions from this chapter thus far.

#1 If I genuinely want these things like God says I will, but I am not doing them, will I repent of whatever is keeping me from living who I really am?

#2 If I don’t genuinely want these things that God says I will want, then will I admit I’m not a Christian and turn to Christ for genuine salvation?  Now, because today is a review, let me highlight the remaining main points of the chapter to prepare us for chapter 5 in depth.  Not only will Christians, point #1 live worthy of our calling, but . . .

#2  You will live uniquely different, Verses 17 to 24

In fact, Paul says . . .

First  A Genuine Christian will not live like the unsaved

As Paul writes this, he uses no commands, just verbs indicating certainty, verse 17 to 19, “This I say therefore, 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; 19 and they, having become callous, have given themselves over to sensuality, for the practice of every kind of impurity with greediness.”

Genuine Christians do not live the way they used to.  Someone who has been born again will have a unique lifestyle–one that is really different than those who don’t have Christ.  So Paul says, if you are a prince, don’t live like a pauper.  If you’ve been washed clean, don’t go play in the mud again.  If you are a follower of Christ, then don’t follow those who hate Him.  If you have a new nature, don’t live like you have an old nature.  Remember 2 Corinthians 5:17, “Therefore if any man is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.”  Paul even makes it clearer when he says . . .

Second  A genuine Christian has been transformed

Now Paul summarizes–notice his expectation is that a Christian would not live like a non-Christian in verse 20, “But you did not learn Christ in this way,” you didn’t come to know Christ this way.

Then he even questions his readers–for if they were living like a non-Christian, Paul now questions whether they truly are believers at all in verse 21, “if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught in Him, just as truth is in Jesus.”  Hey if you have come to know the true Christ then you will live by the truth of His Word–what does that look like?  Verse 22 to 24, “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, 24 and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth.”

You will not live like the old you, you will live like the new you.  You have been transformed, therefore you will live a transformed life.  You will begin to live like God Himself, doing what’s right, living unique and following the truth.  Genuine Christians are transformed.  You look the same on the outside, but you are not the same because true Christians have a new nature.  You live a new life.

Now it’s true we are new, but we are not all new, and in this life we will battle, fall, fail, struggle–but we do have a new heart that wants to live worthy and wants to live unique.  Do you?

So finally, in order to encourage the Ephesian church with their specific issues, Paul concludes chapter four with some commands for the Christians to follow by the power of the Holy Spirit and their new heart desire.

#3  Now, live who you are, Verses 25 to 32

Starting in verse 25 through the end of the book, Paul gives a series of crucial commands directing these Christians away from some old patterns into living who they really are.  In doing so, God is telling them how to live as a Christian and a church in the midst of a sinful and difficult city.  How should they live?  How should we live?  What do we need to do, Chris?  I have to know, I’m dying to know.  I have a heart to glorify God, what can I do that will please Christ?  For the answer to that, you will have to come back next week!

Topic: .

ABOUT THIS PREACHER

Chris is the teaching pastor at Faith Bible Church - Murrieta.
Tough Stuff
Membership @ FBC
1 Peter
FBC iTunes podcast