Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Lesson 9 “Put Off the Old Self, Put on the New” Ephesians 4:17-32

The first three chapters in Ephesians explain our position in Christ. Now in verses 17-32 of Chapter 4 Peter tells the Ephesians about some changes that they must make in their lives.  These exhortations are repeated in most of Paul’s letters: to the Romans, the Corinthians, the Thessalonians ,and the Colossians. Listen for various scriptures as he encourages life changes to become more like Jesus.

Billy Graham in his book, Hope for Each Day tells “There is an old story that tells about a pig. . . . The farmer brought the pig into the house. He gave him a bath, polished his hooves, put some cologne on him, put a bandana around his neck, and a hat on his head and put him in the living room. The pig looked fine. He made a nice and well behaved companion for a few minutes.

 But as soon as the door was opened, click - pig fly away the pig left the living room and click -other pig drops jumped into the first mud puddle that he could find. Why? Because he was still a pig at heart. His nature had not been changed. He had changed outwardly but not inwardly. . . . (I researched why mud, it cools and protects from bugs.)

You can take a man—dress him up, put him in the front row in church, and he almost looks like a saint. He may fool even his best friends for a while, but then put him on his job, or with his buddies on Saturday night, and you will see his true nature come out again. Why does he act that way? Because his nature has not been changed. He has not been born again.”

Billy Graham “Almighty God, there are times when I debase my Christian walk and slip again into the mire. Cleanse and strengthen me, for Jesus’ sake. “
    Psalm 19:14 KJV Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart
    be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my strength and my redeemer.
In Jesus’ Holy name we pray. Amen

 “Put Off the Old Self, Put on the New” Ephesians 4:17-32
·        Throw off your Grave clothes 17-24
·        Put on you Grace clothes 25-32

Put off your old self, be renewed
Paul writes in Ephesians verse 4:17 Now this I say and testify in the Lord, that you must no longer walk as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their minds. (Futile means useless, fruitless)

He describes their old lives as darkened in the understanding, alienated from God by their own ignorance due to their hard hearts.

19 They have become callous and have given themselves up to sensuality, greedy to practice every kind of impurity.

Remember the way you lived for yourself before you turned your life over to Christ. We were selfish, living for our own desires and pleasure. Thinking about ourselves above the needs of others, starting out each morning with our own agendas, our “to do” lists. Never asking God what He wanted us to do for Him.
When we are filled with the Holy Spirit we are reborn, alive to Christ. As God's covenant people we are called to value holiness and separate ourselves from the sensual pleasures of the world around us. The transforming power of the Holy Spirit works in us to attain the holy lives God desires for His children. We are no longer slaves to our old carnal self.
"If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new" (2 Corinthians 5:17).

 Put on the new man. Be renewed.
In v. 20 Paul continues “that is not the way you learned Christ! “  
He did not say they learned about Christ. He said they learned CHRIST. As much as I would study about Abraham Lincoln, read his letters and speeches, and explore his childhood, I could never know him, because he is dead and buried.
How can we learn Christ? Sit in His presence, study His Word, and talk to Him throughout the day, give your burdens to Him and rest in His peace. Join a Bible Study. We can learn Him because He is alive!

Warren Wiersbe: Fellowship with Christ is based on the Word of God. “The truth” is in Jesus Christ. The better we understand the Word of God, the better we know the Son of God. The unsaved man is spiritually ignorant. But believers can grow in personal knowledge of Christ day by day. Talk to Him! Study the Bible!
As Christians therefore we will walk in Grace. The experience of salvation has resulted in a whole new position before God. We do not simply change our minds or our appearance; we change our Nature. The old man is put away; we can walk in the newness of life. We should no longer allow the ideas and desires of the old self to control our lives.

Be renewed day by day! You’ve been changed.
Illustrate: A man from way back in the mountains of Tennessee found himself one day in a large city, for the first time standing outside an elevator. He watched as an old, haggard woman hobbled on, and the doors closed. A few minutes later the doors opened and a young, attractive woman marched off. The father marveled at the sudden change in the woman. He hollered to his youngest son, "Billy, go get Mother!"

Truly this man did not understand how an elevator works and the story is quite humorous.
 But ignorance of God’s expectations of our new life is not a laughing matter. Especially if our loved ones and neighbors are unsaved.  They are watching YOU!

Holiness begins when we are spiritually transformed. Our new hearts and new minds; our changed nature becomes evident in our actions. They best way to witness your new life is to live it in front of our family and friends.

A family member called last week, so excited that changes in his life were evident to others. A former coworker came by his work to complain about the misery in his own life. After a time of conversation, the coworker looked at him and said, “You’ve changed.” What a blessing to realize that others can see a difference in your life!

Put away the old man. You’ve been changed, you have a new nature.
Easter morning we had a glorious day celebrating the resurrection of Jesus Christ, Son of God and Son of Man. Praise God after His death on the cross, Christ did not stay in the tomb.
He Is Alive! Sitting at the right hand of the Father and interceding for us.As we heard the familiar retelling of Mary Magdalene finding an empty tomb and Peter and John running to find the grave clothes left behind. The napkin covering His head was set apart seeming to say, “It is finished.”
Another example of resurrection is in John chapter 11. Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead. When Jesus heard of the death of his friend, He return to the home of Mary and 

Martha to find them weeping.
He replied, “Did I not tell you that if you believed you would see the glory of God?”  As they removed the stone, Jesus prayed aloud, Father, I thank you that you have heard me. 42 I knew that you always hear me, but I said this on account of the people standing around, that they may believe that you sent me.”
43 When he had said these things, he cried out with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out.” 44 The man who had died came out, his hands and feet bound with linen strips, and his face wrapped with a cloth. Jesus said to them, “Unbind him, and let him go.”
Lazarus left his grave clothes behind and lived his life following Jesus.

Ephesians 2:But GOD even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— 
If we are alive why would we want to wear those dirty stinky grave clothes?
Throw off those Grave Clothes. Live life to the full. (John 10:10)

Unfortunately, we unlike the Risen LORD, are not finished. Until we enter glory we will be continually dying to self each day!

Paul tells us v. 22-24 to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true 
righteousness and holiness.

Isaiah 61:10 He has clothed me with the garments of salvation;
                        He has covered me with the robe of righteousness,
 Paul lists the worst aspects of our former life; Lying, Stealing, Corrupt Speech, Bitterness and Anger. Paul urges us to put on the Character of Christ by speaking the truth, settling our differences with other without sinning, labor doing honest work with your own hand, not just to support yourself and your needs, but that you may have enough to share with others.  

Put Off the Old Self, Put on the New
Paul exhort the Ephesians 26 Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, 27 and give no opportunity to the devil.

This photo caught my attention a wolf in sheep's clothing. As Shepherds of CBS women, our Leadership Council must be vigilant in our watch over the flock.
Satan is not fighting churches anymore; he is joining them. He does more harm by sowing dissension in our midst. He accomplishes more by imitation that by outright opposition. All he need is a toehold, a crack in the unity of our churches.
Corrupt talk includes clamor, slander and malice. It is probably our most difficult habit to shed. Corrupt talk can be something other than cursing, off color jokes, and crude remarks. It can be any talk that is not beneficial in a Christian’s life; gossip, whispering, misinformation, snide remarks, sarcasm, keeping a record of wrongs, petty quarreling over something insignificant.

30 Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.
You body is the temple of the Holy Spirit. It grieves Him when we sin.

Throw off those Grave clothes. Put on your Grace clothes.
Let your speech be always with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man" (Colossians 4:6)
We should be Jesus to the world.
Paul teaches 29 “Let no corrupting talk come out of our mouth.”  We should build up the church; encouraging each other, giving grace to all who hear. Though we no longer live under the law but under grace, we must remember that God's grace does not give excuse to sin. Remember we must DIE to our old self every day.

God spoke the earth into creation. Psalm 33:9 “He spoke, and it was done; he commanded, and it stood fast”. There is power in the tongue.

What a challenge it is to use the power of speech in a manner that is helpful to others and glorifying to God. We must live in Christ and reflect His Spirit.
 “Dear LORD, Keep my words soft and sweet because tomorrow I may have to eat them.”

Proverbs 16:24 Pleasant words are as a honeycomb, sweet to the soul, and health to the bones.

 Psalm 141:3 is my prayer: Set a guard, O Lord, over my mouth;
                                                keep watch over the door of my lips!

Proverbs 25:11 Indeed, a word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in a network of silver.
Proverbs 18:21a The tongue has the power of life and death,
Power to bless our sisters. Here are a few examples of life giving scriptures.
2 Corinthians 1:4 power “so we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.”
1 Thessalonians 4:18 Therefore encourage one another with these words.

Sometimes the best thing to say is nothing.

What is love?
It is silence—when your words would hurt.
It is patience—when your neighbor’s curt.
It is deafness—when a scandal flows.
It is thoughtfulness—for other’s woes.
It is promptness—when stern duty calls.
It is courage—when misfortune falls.

Ephesians 4: 32 Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.
God has not changed. He is still the awesome, powerful, holy God He has always been. His grace and mercy expressed through his son Jesus Christ allows us to come into His presence with our worship and praise. We should always come with the expectation that we will meet the Holy God.
Are you willing to throw off your old life and be renewed?