Monday, January 26, 2009
Take off the Old Put on the New
Please read Ephesians 4:17-32. The Bible was written to be obeyed, not simply studied. This is the reason the words "Therefore" and "Wherefore" are repeated so often in the second half of the book of Ephesians. Paul was saying, "Here is what Christ has done for you, now, in the light of this, here is what we ought to do for Him. We are to be doers of the Word, and not hearers only.The fact that we have been called in Christ ought to motivate us to walk in unity with one another. And the fact that we have been raised from the dead should motivate us to walk in purity, or, as Paul wrote to the Romans "Walk in newness of life". We are alive in Christ, not dead in sins, therefore "Put off the old man, and put on the new man". We are, as believers, to take off the grave clothes and put on the grace clothes. Please note three aspects concerning this process. First, we are given an admonition. The Christian is not to imitate the life of the unsaved people around him. True Christians think differently from unsaved people. The whole outlook of a person changes when he trusts Christ, including his values, goals, and interpretation of life. The Christian cannot pattern himself after the unsaved person, because the Christian has experienced a miracle of being raised from the dead. His life is no longer futile, but rather purposeful. His mind is filled with the light of God's Word, and his heart with the fullness of God's life. In every way, the believer is different from the unbeliever. Second, the argument. Paul reinforced his admonition with an argument from the spiritual experience of his readers. "But you have not so learned Christ." To learn means to have a personal relationship with Christ so that you get to know Him better each day. I can learn about Charles Haddon Spurgeon because I have several books about his life. However I can never learn him, because he is dead. This fellowship is based on the Word of God. I can be taught the truth as it is in Jesus Christ. The better I understand the Word of God, the better I know the Son of God. The old man has been put away, and we can now walk in newness of life through Christ. Remember the resurrection of Lazarus, Jesus said "Unbind him and let him go." We are to take off the grave clothes, we are no longer identified with the old corruption of sin, we are now identified with the new creation in Christ. Because of this we are to take off the grave clothes by being renewed in the spirit of our mind. The Word of God renews the mind as we surrender our all to Him. Physically you are what you eat, spiritually you are what you think. Third, the application. Five different sins are named in this passage and Paul told us to avoid them and he explained why. 1. Lying, a lie is a statement that is contrary to fact, spoken with the intent to deceive. 2. Anger, in itself, anger is not as sin, because even God can be angry. Aristotle wrote "Anyone can become angry, but to be angry with the right person, to the right degree, at the right time, for the right purpose, and in the right way, this is not easy." 3. Stealing, even honest labor could become a selfish thing, and this Paul seeks to avoid. 4. Corrupt speech, the mouth and heart are connected. "Out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks." We expect a change in speech when a person becomes a Christian. The word "Corrupt" means "That which is worthless, bad, or rotten." 5. Bitterness, refers to a settled hostility that poisons the whole inner man. Somebody does something we do not like, so we harbor ill will against them. Bitterness over trivial things, makes havoc of homes, churches, and friendships. An unforgiving spirit is the devil's playground, and before long it becomes the Christians' battleground. We have been raise from the dead so why wear grave clothes. Jesus says of us as He said of Lazarus: "Unbind him, and let him go." Dr. Ken Copley is available for counseling, conferences, and local church meetings.