Working in Ephesians

We are going to work in Ephesians again today. Turn with me to the fourth chapter.

Ephesians 4:17 This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that you henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind.

In their natural state people walk in the vanity of their mind, but Paul tells us that we are not to do that. We are to be different than normal people. Normal people in their fallen state are the Gentiles he is talking about.

Ephesians 4:18 Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart.

They are alienated from the life of God and don’t know it. There is such a deception that rests upon them that they not only don’t know it, they don’t care. How many Christians do you think might be alienated from the life of God? No awareness! Listen to Isaiah’s prophecy. Hear, O heavens, and give ear, O earth: for the Lord has spoken, I have nourished and brought up children, and they have rebelled against Me. The ox knows his owner, and the ass his master’s crib: but Israel does not know, My people do not consider. Isaiah 1:2-3. We don’t want to be a part of those children who rebel. Even the ox knows his owner, his master, and even the jackass knows the master’s crib. He’s a dumb animal but he still knows where to get his food. Israel, though, does not know. The majority of the Christian world is in the jackass group; they are unaware. My people do not consider. Ah sinful nation, a people laden with iniquity, a seed of evildoers, children that are corrupters. Isaiah 1:4a. God help us!

So don’t walk as other Gentiles walk in the vanity of their mind. Listen, if you follow the counsel of your self-life you will be cut off from the life of God. Your humanistic self-life does not want to walk with God. How many ways can we say this? We’ve said it many ways in the past few years, but we don’t seem to understand that the greatest enemy we have is our self-life, that self-centeredness, that selfishness wanting to do your own thing. Human nature is rebellious, does not want to submit to the Lord. The carnal mind is God’s enemy (Romans 8:7) and God says, “It cannot submit. It is impossible. It cannot!” so it has to be dealt with.

Ephesians 4:19-22 Who being past feeling have given themselves over unto lasciviousness, to work all uncleanness with greediness.
20 But you have not so learned Christ;
21 If so be that you have heard Him, and have been taught by Him, as the truth is in Jesus:
22 That you put off concerning the former conversation [manner of life; conduct] the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts.

“Well, I know the Lord will take care of my fallen nature.” That is not what it says – You put it off! There comes a time when you have to say, “No! I am not giving in to the selfishness of my self-centered self-life.” That is difficult for children to do. The children are like verse 14: That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive. Tossed to and fro – faith today, doubt tomorrow.

One brother comes to mind. Whatever somebody said, that is the way he went. Someone else could come along with the very opposite and he would go that way. He was tossed to and fro; he didn’t have a mind of his own. He could not set a course before him, set a path to walk with the Lord. He was tossed to and fro; consequently he never made any progress in the Lord because he did not know how to discipline himself, to set a course and stay there. That is what we have to do.

So you put off the former manner of life of the old man which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts. Oooh. Well, we don’t lust, do we? Turn to Proverbs 6. Now we are talking about these deceitful lusts. Look at verse 27: Can a man take fire in his bosom, and his clothes not be burned? What does it mean “the fire”? That burning desire of lust. And what does it do? It burns your garments of salvation. That is what it will do. “Well, we don’t have any of that sexual lust.” Lust goes a lot further than that. That is part of it, but there is the lust for an important name, the lust to look super-spiritual, the lust to just gather up material things to yourself, the lust to look better than anyone else, the lust to do your own thing. “Leave me alone. I want to do what I want to do.” That is a lust. Will what you want to do is further your life in the Lord? “I don’t know; I haven’t thought about it.”

Greater is he that rules his spirit than he that takes a city (Proverbs 16:32). Again in Proverbs 25:28, He that has no rule over his own spirit is like a city that is broken down, and without walls. That’s a little wisdom from Proverbs. Greater is he that rules his spirit. Youth has a difficult time with that. I’ve seen people in their 40s, 50s and 60s that are still immature. Then there are others who move into maturity earlier, even a teenager can be mature because they have learned to discipline themselves. This is a big problem. Some people never learn how to discipline themselves; they just want to do what they want to do, and that is the deceitful lusts that Paul is talking about. He says, “Put these things off. Put them off!” We have to take the authority over these things. We make the changes that are necessary. “I can’t do that.” Why? Are you too immature? People have a very difficult time realizing that their way of life is destroying them. How about those of us who spent years smoking not realizing what we were doing to our bodies? People on drugs haven’t got enough sense to know that they are ruining themselves. Alcoholics do not realize what they are doing to their bodies. Well, you can be a funaholic, too.

Ephesians 4:23-24 And be renewed in the spirit of your mind;
24 And that you put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.

Put off the old way of life; put on the new man!

Ephesians 4:25 Wherefore putting away lying…

The Greek reads a little different: Put off the lie. Do you know what “the lie” is? Put off “the lie.” In John 8:44, Jesus speaking of the devil said, “The devil is the lie and the father of lies.” He is “the lie” so whenever you see “the lie”, you know what it is talking about. It is talking about that devil-nature. Put away “the lie.”

Ephesians 4:25 Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbor; for we are members of one another.

That doesn’t mean that you are only going to say correct facts all the time. “Well, I’m going to discipline myself that everything I say is correct.” That is not necessarily the truth. We want what we speak to carry the spirit of Truth which is the Lord, His nature (John 14:6). That means we have the responsibility of making sure that our insides change and that is determined by putting off the former manner of life and putting on the new man.

Ephesians 4:26 Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath.

How can you do that? How do I keep that sun from going down? Be angry with your anger, be angry with your sins, be angry with your human nature, be angry with the thing that wants to kill you. Be angry with the thing that God gets angry at. Be angry and sin not.

Ephesians 4:27 Neither give place to the devil.

That quite simply means: do not give a place to your self-life, that anti-christ nature. I have battled this thing enough to know that all this is easily said, but not necessarily easily done. However, when you set your heart and strive against all these things you are going to find the Lord working with you. You shall be holy for I the Lord your God am holy (Leviticus 19:2). In other words, He is saying, “This is what I can make you. Because I am holy I can make you holy.” You cannot make yourself holy, but He can do it. There is a way in which the Lord responds to the one who hungers and thirsts after righteousness. He that hungers and thirst after righteousness shall be filled (Matthew 5:6). It is one thing to say, “Lord, I would like to be righteous in your eyes. I would like for You to fill me with Yourself,” and then you walk away and do your own thing. There was not much desire in that, not much hunger.

Matthew 11:29-30 Take My yoke upon you, and learn of Me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and you shall find rest unto your souls.
30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.

We tend to shorten this to “take My yoke upon you, … for My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” But it says, “Take My yoke upon you, and learn of Me.” We tend to focus on the yoke part, but it is when you are yoked with the Lord that you learn and that is how you learn to take care of these things. When you are in a yoke, the two of you have to go the same direction or you don’t get anywhere. You may have yourself yoked to the Lord or think you do, but if you are trying to go one way and God is trying to lead you another way, you just don’t get anywhere. But if you yoke yourself with the Lord, in other words, you bow that knee and you become submissive to His Lordship, then you learn. That is why the yoke is easy. We tend to focus on the yoke part with a negative connotation. But if you truly yoke yourself with the Lord, then you learn and taking care of the things of the self-nature becomes a lot easier.

When you first yoke yourself to the Lord, it is not necessarily fun. He learned obedience by the things that He suffered. Hebrews 5:8. So if you are yoked with the Lord and you try to do your own thing, the Lord doesn’t bend but that is how you learn. The righteous man falleth seven times and the Lord upholds him by His right hand. You get in that yoke and you start doing your own thing, and the Lord pulls you back. That’s how you learn; you are crossing the grain, swimming up current. Once you are going in the same direction, you can plow a lot of ground.

Ephesians 4:28 Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labor, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needs.

“But I don’t steal.” How many times have you showed up at a service and you didn’t have anything to give? You were stealing the blessing that someone was supposed to get. Let him that stole steal no more … but let everything to done to edifying. And if it isn’t edifying, it is stealing the edification that someone should be getting.

Ephesians 4:29-30 Let no corrupt communication [anything that is not carrying the nature of Christ] 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 you are sealed into the day of redemption.

The day of redemption…. You know what a day is – it is a realm. Into the day of redemption; into the realm of redemption. That day of redemption or realm of redemption is a state of being; it is a relationship with the Lord. Grieve not the Holy Spirit of God. There is a sealing that takes place and when you work against that sealing, work against the will of God, or what the Lord is trying to do, then you are grieving the Spirit.

Ephesians 4:31 Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice.

There is still bitterness, wrath, anger, and evil speaking if you have not completely dumped the way of the former life. Listen, bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking is all inherent within the self-life. Let all this be put away from you.

Ephesians 4:32 And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake has forgiven you.

I don’t think most Christians have a revelation or understanding of how much the Lord has forgiven them. Usually they don’t realize how their manner of life affects how the Lord relates to them. If you are not forgiving and tenderhearted, then the Lord is not going to be forgiving and tenderhearted. If you move in the bitterness, wrath, and anger, it will come right back on you. Be kind one to another! I know there are many people who seem to be kind, but human nature has a way of feigning kindness and humility. Human nature is not kind. It is not kind to you or to others. It may act as though it is kind sometime. We need to grab hold of this and understand it. Human nature in its fallen state is not kind. The Word, though, says that we are to be kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake has forgiven us. Therefore, put off the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, and put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.

Copyright © 2007 by Henry DuBose