SGA Ephesians Lesson 9

Lesson 9
Ephesians 4:17-32

(Vs. 17.) Before conversion, believers walk as others (Eph. 2:2,3). But when we are brought to a knowledge of Christ, our walk, conduct and conversation are not (or ought not be) like the unconverted. "The vanity of the mind" is vain philosophy, foolish thoughts of self and God, the pursuit of worldly riches, honour and acclaim, and the continued effort to find pleasure and happiness in the world (Ps. 39:5).

(Vs. 18, 19.) The unbelieving Gentiles are intelligent and wise enough in evil things, but in spiritual things their understanding is darkened (2 Cor. 4:3,4; 1 Cor. 2:7-9).

They are alienated from the life of God because of sin. They have natural life and knowledge, but have no spiritual life nor proper knowledge of God (John 8:19, 42-44).

They are ignorant and their hearts are hardened against God. Every natural man is ignorant of spiritual things and his heart is hardened daily by sin (Rom. 8:7).

In their ignorance, deadness and carnality, they have given themselves to sensuality, eager to indulge in every form of evil and dishonesty. They are given to whatever sin their corrupt natures may suggest or desire.

(Vs. 20.) Believers cannot live in this manner, for a life of sin and indulgence in fleshly carnality is certainly not the life of Christ as we have been taught by his Spirit.

(Vs. 21, 22.) "Assuming that the Lord has spoken to you through his Word and by his Spirit and that you have been taught the truth as it is in Christ Jesus (John 6:44,45), you will put off and discard your old way of life. You will deny the old man (the old nature) the right to rule over you. The old nature has its lusts and desires, but they are deceitful. They promise pleasure and profit but yield neither! Put down this old nature with strong denials" (1 Tim. 6: 11; Titus 2:11, 12).

(Vs. 25.) By prayer, worship, reading the Word and continued feeding upon Christ, our spiritual man is refreshed, revived and renewed (Ps. 51:10)

(Vs. 24.) To "put on" the new nature is not to make ourselves new creatures in Christ, for this is God's work and not man's. It is God who regenerates and creates a new man in true righteousness and holiness. But to "put on the new man" is to walk daily according to the principles of grace and holiness formed in us. Walk in the spirit of Christ and avoid not only the works of evil but the very appearance of evil (1 Thess. 5:22).

(Vs. 25.) Reject and denounce lying, exaggeration and any effort to deceive. Speak tactfully and kindly words of truth to one another; for we are of the same body and a man is foolish to lie to himself.

(Vs. 26, 27.) There is an anger which is not sinful, for anger is found in God and in Christ! It arises from a true zeal for God and for holiness and it is not against persons but against sins. But do not allow even this anger to continue: let it be over when the day is over. All anger and indignation should quickly be forgotten (James 1:19,20). Do not give Satan any room, foothold, or opportunity to use you for evil purposes or to hinder the kingdom of God by your anger and bad attitude.

(Vs. 28.) Stealing takes many directions – actual theft, obtaining possessions by false representation, failing to pay debts and receiving wages while not putting forth our best efforts. Make an honest living and be able and willing to share with others.

(Vs. 29.) Let your conversation be seasoned with grace and language which is spiritually beneficial to others. Avoid unwholesome words, worthless talk, gossip and excessive levity (Col. 3:8,9; 4:6).

(Vs. 30.) The things mentioned above grieve, vex and offend the Holy Spirit of God, who dwells in us and by whom we are sealed unto the day of final redemption.

(Vs. 31.) Let all bitterness and wrath (bad temper, resentment and rage) be put away. Let all contention, strife and quarrelling, along with all slander and ill will, be put away! (Col. 3:19.)

(Vs. 32.) Become useful, helpful, kind and tender-hearted with one another; and forgive one another readily and freely as God in Christ forgave you (Matt. 6:14,15).

Henry Mahan
Ashland, Ky.