Bible Study from Calvary Chapel Newberg

with Tom Fuller

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Bible study from Calvary Chapel Newberg

Ephesians 4

I. Introduction

Worldly Sayings:
o Live and let live
o How could a loving God send anyone to hell?
o We're all God's children
o You can do anything you want but don't tell me what I can and can't do
o ?

Just after telling us that we are all a part of a living body, Paul brings warnings to the individual parts of the body that their beliefs, attitudes and actions should also conform to this new being, not the old man.
II. Out With The Old - In With The New

Reviewing Ephesians:
Chapter 1: How wonderful it is to know Him, His salvation, His promised riches and our place in Him.
Chapter 2: God shows us how far He's brought us from the old ways
Chapter 3: The new ways include trials, but we can know God intimately despite difficulties, even thrive because of them.
Chapter 4:1-16 We are a body - one - joined together, growing together, supplying new life to the body.

But there's a problem - the possibility that a cancer could infect the parts of this body, threatening the integrity of the whole. It's like mixing cement with dirt - it might last for a while but has weakness over the long haul (the fence).

That's what we find in the last half of Chapter 4.

Paul encourages us to:
1. Identify the foreign parts - the worldly parts of us
2. Put off the worldly and adopt a new attitude
3. Put those attitudes into practice in our lives

It's broken up into three sections:
1. The Old Man's Worldly Logic and Lust
2. The new Man in Theory
3. The new Man in Practice

A. The Old Man's Worldly Logic and Lust

Eph 4:17-19
17 So I tell you this, and insist on it in the Lord, that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking.
18 They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts.
19 Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, with a continual lust for more.
(NIV)

:17 Futility: Transientness, from a word that means "empty" vanity.
:18 Darkened: To obscure
:18 hardening: callousness
:19 sensuality: shameless conduct
:19 impurity: uncleanness (akatharsis)
:19 Continual Lust: root "to hold

1. The World (Gentiles=ethnos, pagan) has a thinking
2. It changes with the times (transient)
3. It gives people a perception of reality that is obscured
4. Hardening of heart causes this darkening through ignorance
5. Hardening also leads to callousness, so you don't feel guilt
6. To satisfy a longing inside they lust for impurity, ignorant that it is a trap of Satan
7. A hard person can't feel so they do more and more to feel, to hold on to something real not knowing that real life is found only in a new man, not an old one.


B. The New Person in Theory

Eph 4:20-24
20 You, however, did not come to know Christ that way.
21 Surely you heard of him and were taught in him in accordance with the truth that is in Jesus.
22 You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires;
23 to be made new in the attitude of your minds;
24 and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.
(NIV)

:20 KJV better: But you have not so learned Christ
:22 Corrupt - to spoil, wither, shrivel
:22 desires: from a longing, "to set the heart upon"
:22 deceitful: delusion, to cheat
:23 Renew: to renovate
:23 attitude: spirit
:24 Put on: "sink into a garment" NOT the sense of bearing
:24 New: new - but not with respect to age (NOT youthfullness) but condition
:24 Righteousness: Innocence, equity
:24 Holiness: Right. NOT in a justice sense, NOT in a consecrated sense, NOT free from defilement. This has to do with a type of character.
:24 True: The reality lying at the basis of an appearance

1. We did not come to know and understand Christ through the world's view - nor do we grow in Him through this way of thinking.
2. We learned of Christ not through the truth in the world or our own ideas, but the truth in Jesus - a separate truth apart from us.
3. 1st we hear of Him, then we are taught.
4. The same thing we used to walk in - this false logic that causes us to want more and more, is a delusion --the enemy is trying to cheat us, like a card shark, making us believe that by our own thinking we have a good hand when he holds all the aces.
5. To "Put off" the old self literally means to "put it away." Like all the junk that I need to "put away" in my attic - that black hole of my house from which nothing will ever emerge again.
6. Instead we begin a renovation project. Like our remodeling, you gut the old and put in new fixtures and walls and plumbing.
7. It is a new attitude - a new spirit
8. We do not create this new attitude, or come up with it, we "sink into it" like someone helping you on with your coat.
9. It is new not in young again, like we start over, but new in that we have a new character
10. This new character has three characteristics
1- Righteousness: Innocent
2- Holiness: Right character
3- Truth: The reality lying at the basis of appearance.
Not undefiled, but never defiled

C. The New Person in Practice

Eph 4:25-32
25 Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to his neighbor, for we are all members of one body.
26 "In your anger do not sin": Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry,
27 and do not give the devil a foothold.
28 He who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with his own hands, that he may have something to share with those in need.
29 Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.
30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.
31 Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice.
32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.
(NIV)

:30 Grieve: to distress or make sad

Paul applies the idea of the new attitude in three practical areas of life - first by telling us what not to do.
1 - Negatives
1. How we act (28)
2. How we speak (25, 26, 29)
3. How we think (31)

1. Act: It is the Devil's nature to steal, but we must work in order to share
2. Speak: Put off falsehood and speak truth; work out your difficulties, don't bury them; build up with your speech, don't break down.
3. Think: Stop thinking ill or bad towards others, but how you may benefit them.

Verse :30 - if we don't do these things we can make the Holy Spirit distressed or sad, but He will never leave us (we've been sealed)

Then Paul fills the void of behavior with how we should act in thought, word, and deed.
2 - Positives

:32 Kindness - to be employed, or useful
:32 Compassion: Good in the bowels
:32 Forgiveness: to grant a favor or pardon (from "grace")

1. Kindness - do good
2. Compassion - think good
3. Forgiveness - extend grace

God knows our sin, just as we know the things other have done to us, but yet He chooses to forgive by Christ's blood. It is sin, but it has been paid for.

Footnote: vs 27. We may have put off the old attitudes, but if we continue to practice them, we give Satan the opportunity to revive them in us - a foothold that he will use to draw us further into sin.

So it's a two-step process - first we catch the negative, stop it in it's tracks, then we substitute the positive.

At it's core it's really taking on the character of God.

III. Summary

o Recognize the world's philosophy
o Reject it consciously
o Renovate your inner attitudes
o Re-think your thoughts and actions
o Reveal God's love to others


IV. Questions

1. What are ways that the world's wisdom and Satan's sin of "I" has influenced our lives?
2. How easy is it to "put off" those attitudes?
3. What are the "new attitudes", How does Jesus want us to act based on how He lived His life?
4. What ways that we act, thinking we are doing good, are really contrary to God's character?
5. How can we "build up" our brothers and sisters?
6. How does it hurt the body of Christ as a whole if parts are weak in their putting off of the old man?

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