Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Sermon Notes Ephesians 4:22-32

Ephesians 4:22-32
Put Off and Put On
November 23, 2014
Lynchburg, Virginia

         Last week we talked about your walk. How are you walking? The apostle continues this extended metaphor in chapter 5. He talks about walking in love, v. 2, walking in the light, v. 8, walking in wisdom, v. 15. It is clear from this, that he is contrasting how you used to walk to how you are to walk now, being in Christ.
         In order to walk differently, you have to be a different person. You have to acquire a new way of walking and the new way must be practiced until it becomes so much a part of you that you don’t even notice that you have changed. In fact, the new walk is not habitual into you can walk this way without even thinking about it.
         An athlete realizes this. He is not an expert until he can do his sport more by nature than be thinking about the moves. He wants to act and react not think about how to act or react. When one finally acts out of his new habit, he is now consistent with his new nature. He may slide back to his old ways but he can resist that way and stick with his new way which is more successful.
         Anyone who has learned something totally naturally and then schooled in the proper way to do something, knows how difficult it is to perform the new task. Archery, golf, shooting.
         You really have to put off the old way and put on the new way. And you have to keep putting off the old way and keep putting on the new way until the new way sticks.
         Now, there is a sense in which putting on Christ is supernatural. We really are filled with His Spirit and enabled to walk in a new way. But the new way is automatic. The new way must be practiced and repeated until it becomes the default. Every time the old way creeps in, it must be put off and replaced by the new way.
         Essentially, this new way is Christ. If so you have heard Him. You put off Adam the first and take on Adam the second. Since the Apostle warns the Ephesians to walk in this newness of life, we realize that this is something that we have to practice to become proficient at it.
22 That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; 
Former conversation- old way of life in the old Adam. That way is corrupt and cannot be rehabilitated. That old man has to die. This is what happened on the cross. Adam died and was born again. He was resurrected and will never die again.
The old humanity passed away that day and the new humanity began in the Resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Thus, we must repudiate the old man and embrace the new. If we insist on wearing the old man, we are clothed in zombie clothes. We insist of living among the tombs.
Corrupt- depraved. It is sown in corruption it is raised in incorruption.
Deceitful Lusts- lusts that deceive. We have desire. That is fine. God put desire in us. But because of corruption, moral depravity, we long for that which is unlawful. The unbeliever is given over to this. He longs for that which is unlawful and when he partakes of it, he is self-deceived believing that which is evil is good.

23 And be renewed in the spirit of your mind;  24 And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.
Renewing of mind is what happens when you put on the new humanity.
New man is Jesus Christ.
This new man is created in righteousness and true holiness. This is contrary to the corruption according to deceitful lusts. The new humanity seeks that which God has given. This is doing right with holiness. It is not characterized by uncleanness.
Qualification- This does not mean that we become sinless. Saved saints are still sinners. They commit sins. The difference is that they are not given over to depravity. They do not continue to spiral down the path of uncleanness from bad to worse.
Instead, God sets them on a new path with a new end goal. There trajectory is now sanctification in Jesus Christ. Instead of going from bad to worse, new men in Jesus Christ recognize their own fallen nature and continually put on Jesus Christ for repentance and forgiveness. They agree with Jesus and disagree with worldliness.
So, what is happening with your progression. How are you walking? Is your walk in Jesus improving? Are you gladly taking His hand? Or, are you biting at the lead?
Will you heal to the Lord Jesus? Or, will you resist Him, pulling off the path?
A new man in Jesus Christ is content to figure out where Christ is going and tread along side cheerfully.

He gives us a list of sins that enable us to check out whether we really have been birthed into the new humanity. This new humanity is in Christ, marked by baptism and lived out in the life of the church.
But we know that we do not partake of the life of the new humanity automatically by being born into a Christian family or by being baptized into a Christian Church.
It must be the case that the Holy Spirit makes each one alive through regeneration unto life. But this ought not cause us to doubt as to whether or not we really have the Holy Spirit and are secure in our salvation. We can know.
It has been said that life in Christ is not about where you are but where you are compared to where you were when you entered the new humanity.
What is happening to you? Are you growing more Christlike or not? If you are in Jesus, you will become more like Him. If you are not in Jesus, but still in the Old Humanity, the first fallen and unregenerated Adam, that, too, will become apparent over time.
Some of this has to do with fit. Do you fit in with Jesus? Can you walk the way, the speed, the places that Jesus walks? If so, you are with Him and learning to conform to Him.
Are you satisfied with God’s people? Do you fit with them? If not, are they the problem? Or, are you?
What is the answer? Is it to change them? Or, to comply with Jesus?
What are some other tests of whether we are really in Jesus, really walking with the Lord?
See verses 25-32.  Don’t lie. Don’t get sin angry. Don’t steal. Don’t speak in a trashy way. These things grieve the Spirit.
What does it mean to grieve the Spirit? This means that God is not pleased with those who do such things. In spite of all His efforts to discipline you to His ways, there is still resistance and He wonders what it will take to get compliance.

How do we know? Well, are you given over? Are you past hearing God in the preacher? Are you unwilling to turn from certain sins? Are you doing your best to tune me out right now because you really don’t want to start hearing God?
Let me ask more plainly.
Are you a liar? Do you stretch the truth? Is it sometimes so stretched that it is hardly recognizable? We have a word for that. A lie.
Are you given to anger? Not just do you get angry. But do you get angry regularly and justify your anger? Do you get angry when someone confronts you about your anger? Do you get angry and are still angry the next day and the next? Do you nurse it and rehearse it?
You see, God’s people do not do that. They get angry but they get over it quickly. They get angry but when confronted, they come clean and repent.
Do you steal things?
Do you speak in a filthy way? What about when you are in a rough group? What about when you are in a private chat room?

25 Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbour: for we are members one of another. 
26 Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath:  27 Neither give place to the devil. 
Anger gives place to the devil. We should remember that one. The devil is an angry accuser. Those who practice anger are acting like the devil. But Jesus’s way is through forgiveness. Even on the cross, Jesus did not let the sun go down on His anger. Father forgive them, for they know not what they do.

28 Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth. 
The antidote to want is work and generosity.

29 Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.  30 And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.
Do not be an old man in your speech. An old man in this sense is Adam the first. We might even take Cain as the paradigm of the first Adam. He was corrupt and fallen and full of blame. He learned this from his parents and took it to its logical conclusion, the murder of his brother.
How goes your speech? Do you accuse God of unfairness that your brothers and sisters are more blessed than you? That God’s favor is better with them than with you? How about your brothers and sisters in the church? This way of thinking, this kind of bitterness and wrath is devlish and leads to murder.
The seal of redemption is baptism. Those who are baptized into Christ ought not to speak like Cain.

31 Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: 

32 And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.
Kindness, tenderness, forgiveness because God, for Christ’s sake has forgiven you.
Are you forgiven? Then it should be pretty easy to forgive others.

Is it super hard for you to forgive others? Then you should wonder if you are walking in forgiveness. This is an easy test.

Give Thanks

Col. 2:6-7 As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him:  7 Rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving.
         The Christian life is not all that complicated. It is sometimes hard. We do suffer in the flesh. We are even at war in the flesh, learning to live by the Spirit. But it is not that complicated. God is our God. He is in control. Walk in faith and obedience by His grace. The key is to learn to rest in the Lord Jesus, desiring to please Him and do what He calls us to do.
         The source of most of our troubles is a failure to really honor God as God, submitting to His will in our lives in everything.
How do we learn to do this? The primary way is through Thanksgiving. Things are never so bad that they cannot get worse. Failure to see this, to honor God as God, and to learn thankfulness in all circumstances is the key to Christian contentment.
We do not give thanks in the abstract. We are thankful to God for specific blessings. It would be good for us to practice thankfulness, regularly, starting right now.

         We thank God for Jesus, for His willingness to die on the cross to forgive our sins. We thank God for the abundance of blessings in our homes, at our tables, in our church and at this Table. He certainly has supplied all our needs in Christ Jesus. Let us be a thankful people.

Bitter Memories

How is your memory? What do you remember? No doubt, we all remember difficult circumstances that we have gone through and have made it out on the other side. I hope your overwhelming reaction in those situations is thanksgiving that God delivered you from such circumstances.
         But how are your memories related to being wronged? What do you think of those who have mentally or physically harmed you in some way? What do you think of those who have spoken ill of you or are still saying things about you that are harmful to you? What do you think about those who have hurt you financially? What do you think about those who were not as kind to you as you thought they should have been? What do you think about those who fell short of your expectations as a parent? A brother? A sister? A child? A teacher? A coach? A pastor? An elder? A fellow church member?
         How do you remember them? Is to retell their failings to rehearse your bitterness? Is it to practice your bitterness against them to keep those self-justifiable bitter memories alive and strong?
         Or, are you being godly and allowing those bitter memories to fade by refusing to rehearse them? Do you pray for the blessing of those who have cursed you? Do you bless and curse not? Prayer for those who have hurt you is a great way to replace bitter memories with godly ones.

         Forgive as you have been forgiven. Bless and curse not.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Renewed Mind

Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice:  And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.
         Are you characterized by vengeance, anger, clamor, evil speaking and malice? Or, are you characterized by kindness, tenderness and forgiveness?
         All true Christians are marked by kindness, tenderness and forgiveness. This is because they know that they have been forgiven much, therefore they are ready to forgive much.
         We remember this and give thanks at this Table. Jesus Christ died on the cross to forgive you your sins. Because of this, you are to retain no one’s sins against them. All who seek forgiveness from you, should be quickly and fully forgiven. And for any that have wronged you that are still holding that wrong against you, that is, they are not seeking your forgiveness, you should set yourself free by forgiving them. Stop speaking ill of them. Show love towards them in your speech about them. This is the way forward for you in Christ. And this also is a way forward for them to be set free by Jesus.

         Thank God for Jesus. Thank God for the cross. Thank God for forgiving us. Thank God for a renewed mind. Thank God for the Spirit filled ability to forgive others.