We have only two more weeks in our study, Ephesians: The Church Rooted in Love, Walking in Power. Our text for Week 8 was Ephesians 4:17-5:14. This lesson was a study of contrast between the lifestyle and walk of the Gentiles and the truths taught in Jesus. Paul exhorted these believers to understand the message they had received and to grow up in all aspects for the growth of the body of Christ.
“So this I say, and affirm together with the Lord, that you walk no longer just as the Gentiles also walk, in the futility of their mind, being darkened in their understanding, excluded from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the hardness of their heart; and they, having become callous, have given themselves over to sensuality for the practice of every kind of impurity with greediness.” Ephesians 4:17-19
In their former way of life, these Gentile believers walked and lived like all the other Gentiles around them. Their minds, their hearts, and their lifestyles did not reflect the life of God. Their former life, what Paul calls the old self, served only themselves and they were still left wanting.
“But you did not learn Christ in this way,” Ephesians 4:20
A powerful statement from Paul and then he continues with these words of contrast.
“if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught in Him, just as truth is in Jesus, that, in reference to your former manner of life, you lay aside the old self, which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit, and that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth.” Ephesians 4:21-24
Paul tells these believers that if they have truly been transformed by the saving power of the message of Jesus Christ and have been taught truth, then they should no longer walk in darkness. Their old self and the former patterns of that life are over. They are to put on their new self, to be renewed in their minds, and to allow truth to breed holiness and righteousness in them. They are no longer Gentiles but Christians. No longer are they to walk in futility of mind with a darkened understanding because now, they walk with the mind of Christ. (1 Corinthians 2:16) No longer are they excluded from the life of God and no longer are their hearts hard and callous because now, they have been brought near in Christ and have been made alive by the grace and love of God. (Ephesians 2:4-6)
Paul then continues by giving these Christians a list of practical instructions in living their new life in Christ located in Ephesians 4:25-5:2. We listed these instructions in our work which included the laying aside of falsehood, speaking truth with one another, not to sin when angry, not to steal but to labor and share with the needy, not to speak unwholesome words but edifying words, and not to grieve the Holy Spirit. In addition, Paul stresses behaviors that are to be put away and others that are to be lived out.
“Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you. Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children; and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma.” Ephesians 4:32- 5:2
We are to forgive as Christ has forgiven us. The Greek word used for forgive in this passage is not the usual choice word. This word, charizomai, contains the word for grace within it. We are to be grace givers, people who show someone a favor or do something agreeable. We are to be people that don’t just let go of an offense but give grace filled forgiveness to others because we have received the same from Christ. We are to imitate our Father as His beloved children walking in love and truth.
In order to walk in this manner, Paul, in Ephesians 5:3-14, states behaviors that need to be removed from the believer’s life because the believer walks in light as children of the Light not the darkness. Believers are not to be deceived by empty words or to be partakers in the behaviors of their former lives but to know that they are to bear the fruit of the Light, to try to learn what is pleasing to the Lord, and to walk in the light of Christ.
The Lesson 8 video featured Kay Arthur. She spoke and taught on Ephesians 4:17-5:14 line-by-line encouraging and exhorting the listener to truly examine themselves to discover if they were living and walking in the truth and light of Jesus Christ. She ended with this thought; Are you modeling what it means to belong to Jesus?
Begin the Week 9 Lessons. You can do it and finish well!