New Life In Christ
I like new stuff. I played tennis last week with my neighbor. He busted out a brand new can of tennis balls and I brought one from Roscoe’s bed. The new ones were brighter and bounced better. Smelt better. Anyone else?
Sometimes it can feel like we need a new life. We feel dinged, scuffed, tarnished, broken, used up, and it seems impossible to be made new. But the goodnews of the gospel is that you can have new life. You find it in Jesus.
We are in a passage of scripture that connects the goodnews of the gospel to who we are and the practical implications of that goodnews. Trusting in Christ leads to a deep and pervasive change and it changes us in every way. It is such a deep, pervasive change that it makes us a new person. Lets read,
17 Now this I say and testify in the Lord, that you must no longer walk as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their minds. 18 They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart. 19 They have become callous and have given themselves up to sensuality, greedy to practice every kind of impurity.
20 But that is not the way you learned Christ!-- 21 assuming that you have heard about him and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus, 22 to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, 23 and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, 24 and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.
25 Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another. 26 Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, 27 and give no opportunity to the devil. 28 Let the thief no longer steal, but rather let him labor, doing honest work with his own hands, so that he may have something to share with anyone in need. 29 Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. 30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31 Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. 32 Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. (Ephesians 4:15-32 ESV)
In life we sometimes get hit, tarnished, broken and wonder if we can find a new life. Prop: The gospel shows us that in Christ we can find new life, but it requires putting off the old. This new life is the true life as it was meant to be lived.
- A New Person
Paul tells the Ephesians to put on the new self (anthropos) (v24). Put their old ways behind them (v22 old self). New, fresh, better.
Paul tells them they are not to walk as the Gentiles. Its interesting he testifies to this in the name of the Lord. You don’t use the name of the Lord except to make something certain. Probably means people were professing to know Christ and yet walking in their old ways. Could see people saying something like “May grace about as my sin abounds.” Paul says you cant do that.
He makes a distinction here of how they were living and how they are to live now.
- futility of mind. vanity is nothingness, not selfishness, but empty. When you are empty anything will fill it. When your mind is empty you can have all kinds of dumb ideas fill it.
- they were once darkened. Darkness means you dont know where you are going.
- ignorant. They didnt know anything
- once hardness of heart
- calloused and sensual.
But now they know Christ. They were once dead in their sins, but now they have been made alive. You have been set free so don’t go back into bondage.
They live with hardened hearts. Sin is a slippery slope. You give in a little here and there and soon don’t realize how far you have fallen. You can get hardened to sin become calloused. If you ever do an activity with a repetitive motion you know what’s like to get a blister. Chop wood and you will get blisters on your hand. If you keep doing it soon those blisters will turn to hardened skin. Your hands become calloused and that hardened hand is not bothered by the work. God tells us that sin can harden our hearts.
Couple who argues. Use to treating each other bad.
Living in ignorance of God’s will. Many times people do wrong because they don’t know better. Knowing God’s will his law what he approves and disapproves can change us. We are not living in ignorance. We have learned of christ. We have learned that we have life in him. This is better than anything else. The light of the world has come. Live by it!
They are new and that means they are to put off the old. They are called to be in reality who they are in Christ. Put off the old self. V23 the “old man” (anthropos). If you are in Christ you can’t live like you lived without Christ.
Put on the new self. They are to “be renewed.” The verb here put on refers to something that is an ongoing process. Its a continual action. A continual putting on. Its never complete. It not like you complete a program and your done. You never have to do that program again. You dont get through church membership and say I m done. You certainly don’t become a pastor and realize I have achieved it.
John Owen. Classic book Sin and temptation. “Be killing sin or sin will be killing you.”
As you turn to Christ in newness you begin to experience the new life with God. You experience life as it was meant to be lived. The true self. V24 created in image of God. in true righteousness and holiness. This is what we were meant for. Lying, stealing, degrading is the false way.
In this section he is making sure the fruit of the gospel is produced in the lives of those who follow Christ. They are new and ought to live differently. Can’t live like everyone else.
It is what we should be. Who we were made to be. When you ahve this you dont have to pretend to be something else. Its the real! “The glory of God is man fully alive.” The glory of God is man fully alive.”Iranaus. Do you want to be fully alive? Then put the old away. Put it to death. Stop living in it.
The new is the better. The new is who you were meant to be. Stop living in the old!! That is part and parcel to following Christ. When there is a new person at the control of your life you act different. New girlfriend/boyfriend.
- A New Lifestyle
A new life means a new life style. Don’t those things go hand in hand. You win the power ball and who is going to drive up in the same car they have been driving. Its the new me. It the wealthy me. Well in Christ, we are not about money. We have something better than money, and new car, and a big house. In Christ we have every spiritual blessing. We are spiritually wealthy, and it makes a difference in our life.
We are looking at a list of commands. We saw last week that Paul spent the first three chapters of this book talking about indicatives, statements of fact about what we have in Christ. Bless, Reconciled. Forgiven. Now the last three chapters there is a shift to what a person should and should not do. The indicative provide the basis and motivation of the imperatives.
These commands tell us you cant live however you want. Don’t say, “Whatever makes you happy.” Trust in Jesus must change your life. Your New life in Christ leads to a new life style.
There is a put off and put on. It is not enough to take something away and have nothing. There must be positive actions.
- V25 Therefore, having put away falsehood; speak the truth. I cant tell you how many fights between couples would stop if people just spoke the truth. “Whats wrong?... Nothing.” Thats a lie!
- 26 be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and give no opportunity to the devil.
- 28 Let the thief no longer steal; do honest work so that he might share…
- 29 Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.
Corrupting talk. Literally, of decaying fish or fruit no longer useful for food. Have you ever gone somewhere and smelt the smell of dead fish. Its putrid. Hits you in the face. Have you ever had someone’s speech hit you like that. Harsh words. Just offensive. It just tears you down. On the flip side we can build others up with our words. Stengthen them. Give grace to people. I remember Bruce correcting people. He would tell people
- 31 Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. 32 Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another,
Let me sum up this section. Paul has spent three chapters telling about the great things in Christ. NOw he starts telling them how to live. He is essentially saying “Be in reality who you are in Christ.” If you are rich you live like you are rich. You dont worry about eating out, you dont worry when the new car gets a scratch, you dont fight about turning the ac up a couple degrees. You are spiritual rich, now live like it.
Follows an Old Testament. God calls his people out of bondage to sin and slavery and they are to live differentyl because of what he has done. God give commands because he has redeemed them. Thats the patter with the ten commandments. They get those commands after they have been redeemed.
Go deep in what Christ has done for you. Are there areas you need to change in. We have talked about the imperatives and indicatives. He is giving commands here. Don’t do this. Do this. As you think about areas to change in let the force of these imperatives change you. But also consider what are the indicatives you need to believe.
As a parent I can struggle with anger. I often realize I get angry with my kids, with my wife, with others when I feel God has wronged me. The day didnt go like I want. I dont just need to say stop getting angry. I need to go back and see what Christ has done for me. Eph 2:1-5. Its those times with the kids my faith gets tested.
What falsehood do you have in your life? How can you speak the truth? Are you a gracious person? Consider these things. Take time to think about it. Sit down with your spouse and ask them what they think about your walk with Christ. Are you open to that? If not, maybe you are not that open to living to your fullest. Do you share things like this with your spouse? I don’t think you are speaking truthfully to me. I dont think you are being very gracious.
Working on doing these commands. But also consider what indicatives about God do I need to believe in that moment. I am frustrated about something in the office, its does not feel like God is being very gracious to me, and I m taking it out on my spouse. I m frustrated with her over how I view my lot in life. Its a wonderful thing to come to see where my sin, the old man, likes to pop up. Men lead your families, girlfriends, kids.
Path of the righteous is like the first gleam of dawn, shinning brighter and brighter. Justification. Sanctification.
- New Gounding
The grounds for our new life is the work of Christ. That should be obvious, but I want to make it more obvious. Sometimes we talk about the gospel like it is the beginning point and we move on from it. You never move on from the gospel!
What you know of Jesus should motivate, inspire, and drive you to want to live differently. Do you think about the gospel on a daily basis, an hourly basis. When you are tempted to speak poorly,
You see this change in the Ephesians. In the book of Acts we are told more about Paul’s journey to Ephesus and how they were converted. At one a j rebukes an evil spirit from a man and it comes out in such a scene that this is what the Word says,
“And this became known to all the residents of Ephesus, both Jews and Greeks. And fear fell upon them all, and the name of the Lord Jesus was extolled. 18 Also many of those who were now believers came, confessing and divulging their practices. 19 And a number of those who had practiced magic arts brought their books together and burned them in the sight of all. And they counted the value of them and found it came to fifty thousand pieces of silver. 20 So the word of the Lord continued to increase and prevail mightily. (Acts 19:17-20 ESV)
The Gospel changed their lives. Things that were valuable before were no longer valuable. They were changed from the inside out. That’s a picture of new life coming in. And yet years later Paul would write to them to continue being renewed.
That is a great example of illustration. We put to death the old, we burn it. That is how you deal with your sin. Dont justify keeping things around that hold you back.
But many times we feel like we have done it and don’t need to do it again. The Christian life is a life of repentance. A daily putting to death of the old.
The gospel affects what we do daily.
Don’t speak falsely to you neighbor because in we are one (v25): we are one because of Christ. Don’t be angry because it gives the devil a foothold (v26). Dont steal but give freely (v28). Christ gave himself freely for us. Dont talk corruptly but give grace. Be kind. Forgive as in Christ God forgave you (v32).
The new person is founded upon and nourished by our relationship to Christ. We are not just moralist who go around saying do this and don’t do that. We have been changed by Jesus. Moralism tends to rely on our own ability. I m telling someone to do something without the basis. Without the indicative. Moralism is empty of the fuel of grace. God wants us to be energized with the rocket fuel of knowing Jesus.
Not self sufficiency. Give up relying on your self. Self reliance is the heart of so much of our trials. We get angry at others because they are interfering with our plans.
It is possible to be a Christian and yet walk like a gentile, to be darkened in your mind, to not be in the life God calls you to live in. Like taking car to shop. I never want to do it. Its going to cost something. That is the greatest reason we dont change more; it is the greatest proof we are mastered by something else. I don’t people to know I m living this way.
Jesus doesn’t just say stop doing that, don’t do that. He says look what i have done for you and be changed!
“But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first. Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent, and do the works you did at first. If not, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place, unless you repent. (Rev 2:4-5 ESV)
Good news to take to others.
People get excited when they know you can get something new. How about a new you. Be a church taking new life to others.
We have to get new stuff because our old stuff gets blemish, broken, dull, ruined with use. You may feel that way about your life. But there is a real opportunitiy to change in Christ.
This new life comes through Christ. It is not through a new self help book. It is by taking the word of God, reading it, believing in it, delighting in it, meditating on what Christ is and what you have in him and then living like what he has done for you is real!