To the Church of Ephesus - Part Nine

Part 9 - The Book of Ephesians series
By: John Herbert | Mar 22, 2009
2009-03-22-TOTHECHURCHOFEPHESUS_PT9.flv
Ephesians 4:20 But you have not so learned Christ, 21 if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught by Him, as the truth is in Jesus: 22 that you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, 23 and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, 24 and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness.

We had seen last week how we ere admonished not to walk as the rest of the Gentiles and therefore, as a result, should put off our old man and put on the new. Today we will continue to study exactly what that looks like for us in practical terms.

Message Notes

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Sunday March 22nd 2009

To the Church of Ephesus ? Part Nine

1). Eph 4:20 But you have not so learned Christ, 21 if indeed you have heard Him

and have been taught by Him, as the truth is in Jesus: 22 that you put off,

concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to

the deceitful lusts, 23 and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, 24 and that you

put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness

and holiness. 25 Therefore, putting away lying, "Let each one of you speak truth

with his neighbor," for we are members of one another. 26 "Be angry, and do not

sin": do not let the sun go down on your wrath, 27 nor give place to the devil.

a). We had seen last week, within the context of all God has done for us and

all that God has made possible for us, that we are admonished not to walk like ?the

rest of the Gentiles? ? that because of the reality of what we know we will make

the choice to walk in the spirit and not in the flesh even though this may be the last

thing we want to do.

b). We had seen how ?the rest of the Gentiles? walk ?in the futility of their

mind, 18 having their understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of

God, because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their

heart; 19 who, being past feeling, have given themselves over to lewdness, to work

all uncleanness with greediness.? And we had seen through scriptural examples

what it would look like for redeemed individuals, even those who are grounded in

the word of the Kingdom, to follow their pattern of behavior.

c). And then how, because of our innate ability to make wrong choices, the

Holy Spirit reminds us of a particularly pertinent fact, a fact that we find in v20 of

our opening scripture- ?But you have not so learned Christ? ? walking like ?the rest

of the Gentiles? is not what we have learned from Christ.

d). Then in v21of our scripture the Holy Spirit draws attention to an

uncomfortable truth ? despite being eternally redeemed and despite the truth that is

in Christ, we can only access this truth, and be taught by Him, ?IF indeed you have

heard Him??

e). And what we would realize from this is that it is not just a case of

listening to the scriptures or reading the scriptures, or being physically present in

service every week but having ears to hear the spiritual truth which is taught and

then allowing this truth to change our way of living.

f). What do we find over and over in the letters to the churches in

Revelation? - Re 2:7 "He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the

churches. To him who overcomes??.

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g). We may not have put the two together, but being an overcomer is

absolutely dependent on our ability to hear what the Spirit says. Just as we have

seen before in - Ro 10:17 So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word

of God.

h). And in order for faith, believing what we have heard, to be brought to its

goal it must translate from comprehension into action. The first generation of Israel

is of course our example here of what not to do - Heb 4:2 For indeed the gospel

was preached to us as well as to them; but the word which they heard did not profit

them, not being mixed with faith in those who heard it.

i). Then if we go back into Hebrews Chapter 3 we find this warning for

ourselves based on Israel?s example - Heb 3:12 Beware, brethren, lest there be in

any of you an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God; 13 but exhort

one another daily, while it is called "Today," lest any of you be hardened through

the deceitfulness of sin. 14 For we have become partakers of Christ if we hold the

beginning of our confidence steadfast to the end, 15 while it is said: "Today, if you

will hear His voice, Do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion." 16 For who,

having heard, rebelled? Indeed, was it not all who came out of Egypt, led by

Moses? 17 Now with whom was He angry forty years? Was it not with those who

sinned, whose corpses fell in the wilderness? 18 And to whom did He swear that

they would not enter His rest, but to those who did not obey? 19 So we see that

they could not enter in because of unbelief.

j). Now please notice from our scripture here that our hearts can become

hardened against His voice, even though the sound goes in our ear, through the

deceitfulness of sin.

k). Sin, simply, is refusing to believe God ? now this is not refusing to

believe that there is a God, or refusing to believe in the coming Kingdom, or

refusing to believe in the events of the Judgment Seat, but rather, refusing to align

our hearts and minds with that which scripture requires of us in order that we may

receive our inheritance, particularly with respect to the way we are to relate to one

another within the body. In other words being disobedient to the commands of

Christ. Unbelief and disobedience are two sides of the same coin. Remember what

God said to Israel - Ex 19:4 'You have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I

bore you on eagles' wings and brought you to Myself. 5 'Now therefore, if you will

indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, then you shall be a special treasure

to Me above all people; for all the earth is Mine. 6 'And you shall be to Me a

kingdom of priests and a holy nation.'

l). And sin is deceptive because it will always want to convince us through

providing a plausible justification that it?s more important to be right in our own

eyes, or that we are the exception, or that God didn?t really mean what He said,

rather than humbling ourselves. It is possible for us to be deceived into believing

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that we can gain the Kingdom without the pain that?s involved in crucifying the

flesh.

m). In the Book of Revelation there is only One found worthy to redeem the

inheritance - Re 5:6 ? And I looked, and behold, in the midst of the throne and of

the four living creatures, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as though it

had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of

God sent out into all the earth.

n). It is the ?Lamb as though it had been slain? with the scars in His hands

and His feet and His side ? the One whose wounds prove His sacrifice and

therefore His worthiness to redeem the inheritance.

o). In that Day it will be those of us with the scars not visible to the naked

eye from the crucifying of our flesh, scars that will be identified as works of gold,

silver and precious stones, who will find ourselves counted worthy to be a joint

heir of that same inheritance - Ro 8:17 ? and if children, then heirs--heirs of God

and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be

glorified together.

p). 1Pe 2:21 For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us,

leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps:

2). We had seen that if we have heard Him and been taught by Him then we would

choose to put off the old man who grows corrupt through the deceitful lusts and

instead put on the new man who resembles God in true righteousness and holiness.

And what then follows are examples of what this would look like in practical terms

25 Therefore, putting away lying, "Let each one of you speak truth with his

neighbor," for we are members of one another. 26 "Be angry, and do not sin": do

not let the sun go down on your wrath, 27 nor give place to the devil.

a). And if we think about what we saw last week as we studied these verses

we will conclude that lying, anger and wrath are not only all works of the flesh that

are never excusable, but they are all inherently selfish coming from a heart of

selfish ambition and conceit rather than lowliness of mind and humility.

3). And it is with a view to the practicalities of putting off the old man and putting

on the new that Chapter 4 of Ephesians continues like this - Eph 4:28 Let him who

stole steal no longer, but rather let him labor, working with his hands what is

good, that he may have something to give him who has need. 29 Let no corrupt

word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it

may impart grace to the hearers. 30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by

whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31 Let all bitterness, wrath,

anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. 32 And be

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kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God in Christ

forgave you.

a). Our next example is the one who is a thief ? stealing would be an act of

the flesh and part of the makeup of the old man. And inevitably the focus of theft is

self ? ?I want what you have without working for it therefore I take it?. Putting on

the new man would require the one who was formally a thief making a choice to

?steal no longer?, but rather to labor within his own ability, so that from what he

earns through his work ?he may have something to give him who has need? ? the

focus here of course is entirely unselfish ? self sufficiency apart from covetousness

with a view to blessing the less fortunate. And these two ways of living are set side

by side to demonstrate the contrast between the two ? the old man and the new

b). V29 then makes another contrast this time referencing that which comes

out of our mouth ? ?Let no corrupt word??

c). Corrupt = Greek ? ?sapros? = from 4595; rotten, i.e. worthless (literally or

morally):--bad, corrupt.

d). We might remember this from - Pr 18:21 ? Death and life are in the

power of the tongue, And those who love it will eat its fruit.

e). And this in - Jas 3:8 But no man can tame the tongue. It is an unruly evil,

full of deadly poison. 9 With it we bless our God and Father, and with it we curse

men, who have been made in the similitude of God. 10 Out of the same mouth

proceed blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be so.

f). And then within the context of the Judgment Seat the Lord says this in -

Mt 12:37 "For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be

condemned."

g). This is a somewhat sobering thought ? so how is this possible? Well the

answer can be found in what Jesus says to the Pharisees some 3 verses earlier ?

Mt 12:34 "Brood of vipers! How can you, being evil, speak good things? For out of

the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.

h). This is an issue of the heart isn?t it? Whatever fa?ade we present to the

world is one thing, but the true condition of our heart is shown by what comes out

of our mouth. And in that Day the thoughts and intents of our heart will be laid

bare. And we cannot separate these from the works of gold, silver and precious

stones or the scars of worthiness which we carry. In our Proverbs 18 scripture

death and life are in relation to the Kingdom Age, and either of these is in the

power of our own tongue for ourselves. If we love to speak the ?corrupt? word, we

shall in that day eat its fruit and experience death, but if we love to speak ?what is

good? then we shall eat its fruit in that Day instead and receive life.

i). And according to James we cannot condemn or revile our brother one

moment and bless God the next ? this just does not work. No matter how

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passionately we bless God or praise God, if we have a knife stabbed into our

brother our blessing and praising of God is a lie.

j). Again here is the deceitfulness of sin. We can be deceived into thinking

that because we have the outward signs of a holy life through prayer, praise, ?good

works? that God will overlook the wickedness of our heart ? this is not a horse

trade. It?s all or nothing. Paul describes to Timothy the Christian who operates like

this - 2Ti 3:5 having a form of godliness but denying its power

k). 1Jo 4:20 If someone says, "I love God," and hates his brother, he is a

liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God

whom he has not seen?

l). And to remind ourselves once again, loving our brother is choosing to

relate to one another according to the description of love in 1 Corinthians 13. And

our choice to love one another in this way must be made in the midst of the fact

that we are imperfect people struggling with our own sin nature ? and loving one

another in this way will constantly require us to crucify our flesh. We cannot love

apart from that.

m). Our scripture in Ephesians then continues - 30 And do not grieve the

Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption

n). The word grieve here means to make sorrowful. We must not let our

actions or that which comes out of our mouth cause the Holy Spirit to be

sorrowful.

o). And why would He be sorrowful? Well not just because we would be in

sin, but most specifically because He has sealed us for the day of redemption. The

Holy Spirit if you will has placed a mark on us that shows that we have been

separated from the world in order to receive an inheritance in the world to come.

The Holy Spirit also resides in each one of us in order to guide us into all truth and

lead us to the land that God has promised ? can you imagine then His sorrow when

we deliberately choose to act in a way that can ultimately result in us losing the

very thing for which we have been sealed? The admonition to us, as we see is ?do

not grieve the Holy Spirit? ? church, this is not a suggestion.

p). Then with grieving the Holy Spirit and speaking no corrupt word still in

view we are given examples of works of the flesh, characteristics of our old man,

that if allowed to go unchecked would grieve the Holy Spirit and would result in

our speaking corrupt words - 31 Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil

speaking be put away from you, with all malice

q). How much of these things are to be put away from us?

r). How much then are we allowed to retain?

s). Bitterness = Greek ? ?pikros? = perhaps from 4078 (through the idea of

piercing); sharp (pungent), i.e. acrid (literally or figuratively):--bitter.

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t). Wrath = Greek ? ?thumos? = from 2380; passion (as if breathing hard):--

fierceness, indignation, wrath. Compare 5590. [This has its origin in a word

meaning to slay]

u). Anger = Greek ? ?orge? = from 3713; properly, desire (as a reaching forth

or excitement of the mind), i.e. (by analogy), violent passion (ire, or (justifiable)

abhorrence); by implication punishment:--anger, indignation, vengeance, wrath.

v). Clamor = Greek ? ?krauge? ? from ?krazo? = a primary verb; properly, to

"croak" (as a raven) or scream, i.e. (genitive case) to call aloud (shriek, exclaim,

intreat):--cry (out).

w). Evil speaking = Greek ? ?blasphemia? ? from ?blasphemos? = from a

derivative of 984 and 5345; scurrilious, i.e. calumnious (against men), or

(specially) impious (against God):--blasphemer(-mous), railing.

x). Malice = Greek ? ?kakia? = from 2556; badness, i.e. (subjectively)

depravity, or (actively) malignity, or (passively) trouble:--evil, malice(-iousness),

naughtiness, wickedness.

y). All that we see in these words are relational, they are all describing heart

attitudes that are a part of our old man and all involve allowing ourselves to be

worked up into a physical and emotional state of rage coming dangerously close to

hatred. In this condition we would sit in judgment upon our brother and condemn

him, probably with a view to punishing him also. But please note what the

scripture says is the consequence for allowing ourselves to walk down this path ?

1Jo 3:15 Whoever hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer

has age lasting life abiding in him.

z). This is then a serious business.

4). Then in contrast to the actions of the old man we are told how we should

conduct ourselves having put on the new man instead - And be kind to one another,

tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God in Christ forgave you.

a). In contrast then we are to be kind to one another in a demonstrable way,

both in our actions and in our words ? even if our brother or sister doesn?t, in our

opinion, deserve kindness.

b). We are also to be tenderhearted towards one another ? we are to have

compassion for each other and have sympathy for each other. If we will only

realize that we are all in the same process and all at different stages in that process

and that God is at work in each of us, then we might have compassion rather than

being aggravated because someone doesn?t fit our picture of what they ought to be.

c). And we are commanded to forgive one another, just as God in Christ

forgave us.

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d). Mt 6:14 "For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father

will also forgive you. 15 "But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither

will your Father forgive your trespasses.

e). Forgiveness here is paramount - Mt 18:21 ? Then Peter came to Him and

said, "Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Up to

seven times?" 22 Jesus said to him, "I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up

to seventy times seven. 23 "Therefore the kingdom of heaven is like a certain king

who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. 24 "And when he had begun to

settle accounts, one was brought to him who owed him ten thousand talents. 25

"But as he was not able to pay, his master commanded that he be sold, with his

wife and children and all that he had, and that payment be made. 26 "The servant

therefore fell down before him, saying, 'Master, have patience with me, and I will

pay you all.' 27 "Then the master of that servant was moved with compassion,

released him, and forgave him the debt. 28 "But that servant went out and found

one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii; and he laid hands on

him and took him by the throat, saying, 'Pay me what you owe!' 29 "So his fellow

servant fell down at his feet and begged him, saying, 'Have patience with me, and I

will pay you all.' 30 "And he would not, but went and threw him into prison till he

should pay the debt. 31 "So when his fellow servants saw what had been done, they

were very grieved, and came and told their master all that had been done.

32 "Then his master, after he had called him, said to him, 'You wicked servant! I

forgave you all that debt because you begged me. 33 'Should you not also have had

compassion on your fellow servant, just as I had pity on you?' 34 "And his master

was angry, and delivered him to the torturers until he should pay all that was due

to him. 35 "So My heavenly Father also will do to you if each of you, from his

heart, does not forgive his brother his trespasses."

f). So exactly what does it mean for us to forgive each other in exactly the

same way that God in Christ forgave us?

g). Well let?s just think about this for a moment - Ro 5:8 But God

demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ

died for us.

h). Our sins were forgiven at the point of our eternal salvation through Christ

having taken the penalty for our sins upon Himself. His death and shed blood

satisfied the wrath of God directed towards us because of the sin we committed

towards Him. And then beyond this point of eternal salvation the continued

forgiveness of our sins as redeemed people is still contingent upon Christ?s

sacrifice - Col 1:12 ? giving thanks to the Father who has qualified us to be

partakers of the inheritance of the saints in the light. 13 He has delivered us from

the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love, 14

in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins.

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i). It is Christ?s own blood, the blood of God Himself, that is responsible for

our present cleansing - 1Jo 1:7 But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we

have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses

us from all sin.

j). In other words then forgiveness requires sacrifice, it requires the death of

the flesh. If our brother or sister has sinned against us there will inevitably be a

wound, a point of pain that will come as a result of the sin. And it may be that we

will carry the wound, and the pain that comes from that sin for the rest of our lives.

Let?s please be clear that the old adage, ?forgive and forget? is not scriptural. It

would be more correct for us to realize that we have to forgive even though we

can?t forget. And we may have the burden of having to carry the emotional and

perhaps even the physical scars all the way to the Judgment Seat. Have you ever

thought that when we stand before Christ in all His glory, that underneath the glory

are the same nail pierced hands and feet that He received at the crucifixion? The

very scars that He carries because of the sin we committed against Him? Yet in

that Day He will not remind us of one thing for which we have been forgiven. Not

that He has forgotten it, but He has forgiven us.

k). And in our present situation as we go to the throne of grace to find help

in time of need He doesn?t begin by reviewing the catalog of our previous sins. He

deals with us as if this is the first time - La 3:21 ? This I recall to my mind,

Therefore I have hope. 22 Through the LORD'S mercies we are not consumed,

Because His compassions fail not. 23 They are new every morning; Great is Your

faithfulness.

l). His motivation is not revenge, but restoration; not condemnation, but

compassion. And here is our model. Just as God in Christ forgave us, in the same

way we are to forgive one another. This is not a point of negotiation, it is a

command and therefore something that can be done and something that we must do

- Col 3:12 ? Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender

mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; 13 bearing with one another,

and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as

Christ forgave you, so you also must do.

m). If our brother sins against us 70 times 7 we are commanded to forgive

on every occasion, and if we have made the choice to forgive then neither our

actions nor our words will draw from the pain we have received in the past, but

rather we shall choose to die to our flesh and choose to love our brother according

to the scriptures. Anything apart from this comes entirely from our old man, who

we are admonished to put off.

n). 2Jo 1:5 ? And now I plead with you, lady, not as though I wrote a new

commandment to you, but that which we have had from the beginning: that we love

one another. 6 This is love, that we walk according to His commandments. This is

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the commandment, that as you have heard from the beginning, you should walk in

it.

o). 1Jo 5:3 For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And

His commandments are not burdensome.

p). I fully appreciate that on many occasions this is the most difficult thing

we have to do, but difficulty does not absolve us from responsibility. And as

always our motivation and determination come from the Kingdom which is to

come - Re 22:14 Blessed are those who do His commandments, that they may have

the right to the tree of life, and may enter through the gates into the city.

q). If we don?t get it, or we don?t see it ? then we won?t do it and our

inheritance will be lost. Do not be deceived.

5). And here we find ourselves at the beginning of Ephesians Chapter 5 ?

Eph 5:1 ? Therefore be imitators of God as dear children. 2 And walk in love, as

Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to

God for a sweet-smelling aroma.
Other messages from this series Audio Video PDF Study Notes
Part 1 - To the Church of Ephesus
Part 2 - To the Church of Ephesus - Part Two
Part 3 - To the Church of Ephesus - Part Three
Part 4 - To the Church of Ephesus - Part Four
Part 5 - To the Church of Ephesus - Part Five
Part 6 - To the Church of Ephesus - Part Six
Part 7 - To the Church of Ephesus - Part Seven
Part 8 - To the Church of Ephesus - Part Eight
Part 9 - To the Church of Ephesus - Part Nine
Part 10 - To the Church of Ephesus - Part Ten
Part 11 - To the Church of Ephesus - Part Eleven
Part 12 - To the Church of Ephesus - Part Twelve
Part 13 - To the Church of Ephesus - Part Thirteen
Part 14 - To the Church of Ephesus - Part Fourteen
Part 15 - To the Church of Ephesus - Part Fifteen
Part 16 - To the Church of Ephesus - Part Sixteen