SCRIPTURE READING: Ephesians 4:25-32, ESV:
Six practical out-workings of faith:
1. New Character
2. New Emotion
3. New Work Ethic
4. New Speech
5. New Relationship to Holy Spirit
6. New Worldview
New Character – Vs 25
Perhaps nothing represents the Newness of Life we have in Jesus more than the transformation of our character. Moving from a life of deception & deceit to one of integrity and truth.
Lying; where does it come from?
Jesus identifies Satan as the originator of lying. John 8:44-45
What is a lie?
Direct deceptive communication: Did you drive my car while I was at work today? No! I did not!
Exaggeration:begins with what is true, then grows beyond what is true to that which is not.
Flattery: saying something nice to someone, that you do not believe to be true, to make them feel good about themselves and also about you.
Foolish Promises: making promises that you know you have no intention of keeping, or suspect you will not be able to keep.
Betraying a Confidence:when you commit to confidentiality, then tell someone else about it, without confessing to the one who confided in you, every time you are in their presence and do not confess, you are lying to them.
Truth Point: Since Satan is the “father of lies”, when you choose to lie, you acting like a child of Satan. Walking in his footsteps.
We are to put off deceptive practices and put on truth because we are members, one with another, of the body of Christ!
Being truthful doesn’t mean telling everything you know. Discretion is not deception.
The follower of Jesus is to continually be taking off false communication and putting on that which is true.
New Emotion – Vs26-27
Anger in and of itself is not sin… The gospels record Jesus displaying anger… so there is a legitimate anger as well as an illegitimate anger.
Illegitimate anger = that which is self-serving, self-defensive, resentful toward others because of their offences toward us.
Legitimate Anger = Jesus displayed anger when His Father was misrepresented or when others were being mistreated.
There are things that should make us angry and drive us to action. But, Paul warns, though there is legitimate anger, even legitimate anger can turn to illegitimate anger. That’s why he tells us NOT to …let the sun go down on your anger, 27and give no opportunity for the devil.
Righteous anger is meant to be acted on…
· confront the wrong doer,
· report abuse to the authorizes,
· write your congressman or senator about an unjust law
Truth Point: Sometimes anger is the righteous response, but only to action to see positive resolution and never as a pacifier to continually nurse our misgivings about things that just don’t personally suit us.
New Work Ethic – VS 28
I demonstrated how lying associates one with Satan, the father of lies. Stealing is another activity that associates us with his camp. John 10:10
Satan takes – Jesus gives
Satan is a thief. As Children of God must lay aside any association with Satan’s thievery and walk in the path of God’s generosity.
How do we do that? Through a Christ-like work ethic. VS28: the instruction is to stop taking from others to satisfy your own lust for things, and to start working.
Why work? So that you can buy the things you might have stolen? In part, but notice… so that you may have something to share with anyone in need.
Truth Point: Gospel transformation goes beyond ceasing a sinful behavior. It promotes life action that mimics the loving, giving, generous nature of The Father.
Satan steals – The Father gives in abundance
What is Stealing? Taking that which does not belong to you.
Like lying, stealing comes in many forms:
Intentional overestimating on a job:
Padding expense accounts
Falsified cost overruns
Intentionally reneging on a debt
Not paying fair wages
Failing to report income to the IRS
There are both active and passive ways to steal.
How does something become ours legitimately? 3 ways:
1. Buy it.
2. Make It.
3. Receive it as a gift.
If you didn’t buy it, make it, or receive it as a gift, it is likely you’re stealing it.
The Gospel is The Answer
The only way a person can be transformed from lying to honesty, hatred to love, thief to giver, is through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, God’s Son.
· In a human body, Jesus took our sin upon Himself. On the cross His body was broken and His blood shed to deal with the guilt and power of sin.
· He died there and was buried. But on the third day He rose from death, defeating sin, death and Hell, bringing saving grace and new life to anyone who will trust Him as Savior & Lord.
· When we turn from sin to Jesus, He puts to death sin’s dominion over us, bringing new life our spirit that had been previously dead to The Father.
· It’s not about our works of righteousness, but Jesus’ work that is represented by the bread and cup of Communion.
Today we celebrate this work of Jesus as we receive the elements of Communion.
While the elements are passed, consider your life. Do you know Jesus as your personal Savior? If not, won’t you bow your head and heart before Him, confessing your sin, trusting in His saving work on your behalf?
Believers, we are commanded to search our hearts to see if there is unconfessed sin between us and God. If there is, lay it down, confess it and God will forgive.