Ephesians 4:17-32

New Wardrobe


Recently Gallup  took a Poll where they asked Americans these questions: How would you rate the overall state of moral values in this Country ?

1) EXCELLENT – one percent

2) GOOD -  17 percent

3) FAIR -  41 percent

4) POOR – 40 percent


Question #2 Right now, do you think the state of moral values in the country as a whole is getting better or worse?


1) GETTING BETTER – 24 percent

2) GETTING WORSE – 67 percent


I think most of us here would agree with the latter – things are getting worse – and maybe like never before – Believers need to stand out

A) Always scares me as society goes further & further into immorality and ungodliness that the Church follows to close behind/ lines are getting blurred


B) Well here in Ch.4 Paul is talking about the Believers walk v.2 Walk … worthy  v.17{ Walk in Purity { Walks in light of Morality: Rd v.17-19


“This I say, therefore, and testify in the Lord, that you should no longer walk as the rest of the Gentiles walk.”


C)  Now when the Bible speaks of walking, it’s referring to our manner of life.  It’s referring to our behavior, or our lifestyle. 

1) And so what Paul is saying here is that we shouldn’t have  the kind of lifestyle that we once had. 


D) See A person who is a Christian, is a person who has undergone a drastic change, a change inside that results in change outside. 

And quite honestly, if there’s no change outside, then we have to question whether or not there’s actually been a change inside. { FRUIT /evidence

Now I think today, maybe more than ever before, we’re seeing there’s a lot of confusion over this. 

A)There are people who are claiming to be Christians, who after studying their lives you, would never in a million yrs draw that conclusion yourself. 

Been said “the strongest argument for Christianity is Christians…… Nothing better than a changed life

But also been said “The strongest argument against Christianity [is] Christians”

Nothing worse than a life that hasn’t changed


B) When  you just can’t see that their behavior is anything like the behavior that’s described in the Bible. { Salvation leads to Transformation

1) NEW LIFE – results in a NEW LIFESTYLE


C) SO Our manner of life is to be different from those who don’t know Christ– A lifestyle that is different from the world { Gentiles


Now understand that when Paul refers to the Gentiles, he is talking about unbelievers / the term Gentile is a synonym for unbeliever. 

A) Paul is talking about the unbelieving world.  And he mentions that we used to be part of that.  But we’re no longer part of it.


B) Now Paul does a good job here of describing the downward digression of the unbelieving world throughout it’s history


C) Notice it begins with futility of the mind “The Gentiles walk in the futility of their mind.”  


It describes a Society that insist on Doing what is right in their own eyes – No moral absolutes

A) Romans 1:22 Professing to be wise they became fools-   This has been the problem of man from the very beginning. 


B) Man from the beginning has conducted himself the way he thinks best, rather than submitting to what God has said in His Word. 

C) And that is why the history of the human race is as it is. That is why the world is in a mess today { Time Changer 


D) The world has been in a deplorable mess from the beginning to the present day, and it’s all because of man walking in the futility, or the emptiness, or the worthlessness of his own mind, { Ignoring God’s word


Ps 14:1 The fool has said in his heart, "There is no God."

A) Notice that it says – in his heart – that means he might not verbalize it but it is how he lives his life – as if God doesn’t exist


B) That Person / that Nation is foolish – they are walking in the Futility of their Minds


C) Which leads to Having their understanding darkened – because they are not following any moral absolute –

1)In other words there is an Absence of Spiritual understanding & perception they are in the dark because they are not walking with God in the Light


That Futility of the mind & darkened Perception – leads to being Further Alienated from the Life of God 

A) IN other words they have cut themselves off from the very life of God all that is pure / Holy / right & just


B) They become even more Ignorant – Hosea My people are destroyed for lack of Knowledge because they have rejected Knowledge

1) Oh we might be more intelligent as it relates to technology than past cultures but we are far removed from God’s Plan for many SOCIALLY


C) The word blindness in v.18 is really Hardness of Heart – that is where it all leads – you reject God ignore His word long enough  Heart gets hard


D) Move to that Place v.19 of being Past feeling – like there is a giant Callous on your heart – no longer any convictions / any morals / standards

Now we are told in the scriptures that the role of the HS is to convict of sin – yet we see a culture becoming more & more Callous

A) What is needed today more than anything – what we need to be praying for is a fresh out pouring of the HS


B) Once a nation or people or person becomes – past feeling What comes next is Lewdness – Some trans- Licentiousness { License to sin

1) A word that describes a flaunting of immoral practices – throwing off all restraint having no sense of shame or fear - 


C) We see this today flaunting of Homosexuality { Movies

1) Half time super bowl shows – { Sad had the thing w/ JJ not happened no one would have said a word – { Whole thing was perverse – lyrically


D) See it in the use of Profanity on TV – now the F word

1) No restraint – Bachelor / Bachelorette – dating making out – several people on national TV


E) Lewdness leads to UNCLEANESS speaks of Perverse Sexual practices –  


That is the digression of those who walk in the Futility of their minds

Exactly what Paul lays out in Roman 1 v.16 {Given over to a debased mind

A) That is the digression of the Unbeliever – but note v.20  But you have not so learned Christ, 21 if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught by Him, as the truth is in Jesus:


B) Notice that Paul doesn’t say But you have not so learned ABOUT Christ – but you have learned Christ


C) I can learn about President Bush – read the Books – study history

1) Only way really learn him – his heart – spend time – Intimacy


D) Many believers make the mistake of learning about Jesus – read Matt- John 20 times – learn about Jesus

1) Goal is to learn Christ – Hear His heart – Communion

So Paul is saying you guys haven’t just entered into an academic exercise you have really experienced life with Christ

A) You have heard Him / taught by Him – Were they ? No Jesus was dead and Risen / Ascended before they had even heard – the gospel


B) But Jesus speaks to us thru His word – We learn tonight if we read this w/ an open heart


Now in v.22 Paul gets very PracticalPut off the old / put on the new – One coat to another – Fashion makeover   Rd v.22-24

A) Sunday Paper every now and then – Fashion preview – every seen that probably have had the same reaction as me – who would wear that?


B) Who would actually wear that Hat in Public ? Crazy – not only is it ugly it is completely un practical


C) Fashion industry every year has their what is HOT & what is NOT what is IN / what is OUT  

1) Out with the old and in with the new


D) Well starting here in v.25 Paul is essentially saying the same thing – Christian is to put on a new ward robe –

1) Get rid of this and Put on that

 Therefore, putting away lying, "Let each one of you speak truth with his neighbor," for we are members of one another.


What is Hot ? Truth telling /  What is not? Lying – Put off the coat of lying and put on the coat of truthfulness

A) We live in an age that really promotes lying You know, Solomon said a long time ago, “There’s nothing new under the sun.”


B) But  when something comes along we tend to think, “Wow, this is a new thing that’s come along.” 

1) And yet, you can find all throughout history there is this recycling of false ideas and philosophies

C) For Instance : In our society, on the college campuses, there’s great debate over whether or not there is any such thing as Absolute truth.

1) And  in our Postmodern thinking there is what is referred to as  “situational ethics” which basically teaches you to sort of change your ethical standard based on the situation you’re facing. 


D) If lying will advance the situation then lying is ok!!!


Is this a new Concept ? Not at all – it wasn’t called that in Paul’s day but the Philosophy was very prevalent

A) And I want to share a few quotes with you from the time that the Ephesians that Paul wrote to were living. 


B) These were the kinds of things that were being suggested among the Greco-Roman world at the time.  Popular philosophy  saying

“A lie is better than a hurtful truth, & “Good is better than truth,”


Darius a politician “When telling a lie will be profitable, let it be told.” 


Plato:  He may lie who knows how to do it in a suitable time.” 


C) IN other words if the situation arises where a lie is suitable, then go ahead and do it. 


So you can see the whole idea of situational ethics, or the whole dispute over whether or not we should tell the truth or lie. 

A) It’s not anything new.  There’s nothing new under the sun.


B) So just as these Ephesians were living in a culture that had lost its moral bearings, or had no real high ethical standard,

1) so we find ourselves living in the same kind of culture today.  And it is becoming more accepting to Lie !


D) But not for the Believer who has experienced New life in Christ – Put off the coat of Lying and put on the coat of truth

For the Christian it is not situational ethics that we want to look to but God’s Standard { God hates lying

A) Think about it lying made God’s top ten list – the 9th commandment basically says – You shall not lie – Bear false witness


B) Prov 6:16-19 list seven things that God hates – the 2nd thing on the list is lying and the 6th is a false witness who speaks lies


C)  Lying is a serious thing to God – includes white lies / fibs / exaggerations – all lies – God says put it away  Why?


D) Note we are members of one another – Members of the same body

1) Lie we hurt each other – if the Brain lies to the hand that the fire is really cool when it is really hot the hand will get burned


E) Lying hurts the body – lying destroys a marriage – Trust is destroyed

1) Even after Forgiveness happens – Trust needs to be earned


E) Lying leads to more lies – cover ups – Mess -  So Put away lying and speak the truth { NEW WARD ROBE


2nd What is hot – Anger management – What is not ? Anger v. 26-27

26 "Be angry, and do not sin": do not let the sun go down on your wrath,27 nor give place to the devil.


A) Talked about this on Sunday  - Angry not sin { Jesus


B) Anger that becomes sin – when it  is allowed to fester – take root because we let the sun go down on our wrath .. place to the Devil

1) Old Proverb He who goes to bed angry has the devil for a bedfellow


C) So Need to Put off the coat of Anger that turns into sin – holding a grudge

1) Out with Anger – New ward robe of Self control


3rd What is hot ? – Giving / What is not?  Stealing  V.28

28 Let him who stole steal no longer, but rather let him labor, working with his hands what is good, that he may have something to give him who has need.

A) Now stealing is another one that made God’s top ten list: the 8th commandment says You shall not steal


B) Hey I have got that one down – I don’t steal – Not a Shop lifter

But : Do you show up late to work – or leave early ? Stealing time


C) Long lunch ? Extra long Breaks ? Ever do  your own stuff on work time ?

1) Internet paying bills - / looking up personal stuff when you are supposed to be working ? – All examples of stealing that we don’t think about


D) Pet peeve of mine our staff – because they are robbing God !!!


D) Every fudge on your taxes ? Stealing


So the ward robe of the  new man is He puts away stealing / works with his hands : Work = to weary ones self with labor or toil

A) 2 Th 3:10 Don’t work you don’t eat !!!


B) We have been wired by God for meaningful – work – God’s wants us to work so that we have something to Give  : 1 Tim 5:8

 But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.


C) Stealing – hurts people and takes from them / where as Working Helps people – give to them


So what is hot:Truth telling / Anger management / Giving What is not Lying / Angry / Stealing

A) Next Timely talk v.29 Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers


 What is hot? : Timely talk / What is not?: Trash talk

A) Corrupt = Putrid { Rotten eggs / spoiled fish / UGLY

1) Talk that is cutting / divisive / unusable and unfit { Put away


B) What is hot? Timely talk - what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers

A) Phillips translates words that are suitable for the occasion


B) Grace to the hearers – Undeserved favor


Col 4:6 Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt,


C)  Salt – Healing – Medicinal / flavor enhancing gives life to a conversation / preserving


Pr 25:11 A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold In settings of silver.



             T – is it true?

                   H – is it helpful?

                           I – is it inspiring?

                                  N – is it necessary?

                                        K – is it kind?


D)  Nothing left to say - Good.  Be quiet!”

1) Two ears – one mouth for a reason {Tongue is a sharp sword – it is like a fire – it can do incredible Damage

                                         So Put on timely talk / put off Trash talk


Now v. 30 we camped out at on Sunday: Eph 4:30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.

A) Non Christians according to Acts 7:51 resist the spirit


B) But Christians grieve and quench the spirit – all these things mentioned here are things which  Grieve the Spirit

C) Listen You & I Can’t afford to grieve the spirit – which makes it even more important for us to – Put off the old / Put on the new

1) Last one v. 31 -32


What is hot ? Forgiveness / What is not Unforgiveness

A) Six unforgiveness words listed here : Three attitudes: bitterness, anger, malice   Three actions: wrath, clamor, evil speaking


B) Bitterness is 1st because others stem out of bitterness: =  Lingering unforgiveness -  Ill feelings that fester – bitterness is like a poison –

1) Like an infectious disease /  Defiles many


C) Anger – A strong resent


D) Malice is “anger smoldering” Replays in our mind

1) 3 Attitudes


Three actions: wrath, clamor, evil speaking

A) Wrath” as anger exploding

        Clamor” refers to a loss of self-control Raised voice, shouting, even 



B) Evil speaking - Means “ruining someone’s reputation by evil reports


C) Paul says let that be put away from you – take off that Coat –

1) NOTE: Not a one time thing – but when ever it comes up – Put it away


Put on what is Hot: FORGIVENESS 

A) Putting away is step 1 / forgiveness is step two – I can’t truly forgive until I have acknowledge my own wrong attitude


B) Unforgiveness hardens the heart / Forgiveness softens the heart

1) Like “cleansing a wound to prevent infection “No matter how painful it is, it is necessary


Note How we are to forgive “as God in Christ also forgave you”

A) How does God forgive?  Note 5 things we are done


One – God forgives readily

Ps 86:5 For You, Lord, [are] good, and ready to forgive, And abundant in mercy to all those who call upon You.


Two – God forgives abundantly

Isa 55:7 Let the wicked forsake his way, And the unrighteous man his thoughts; Let him return to the LORD, And He will have mercy on him; And to our God, For He will abundantly pardon.


Three – God forgives on the basis of grace

Eph 1:7 In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace


Four – God promises not to remember it against us any longer

Heb 10:17 "Their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more."


Five – God forgives at great cost to Himself

1Pe 1:19 but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.


Most forgiving people on the planet – we have been forgiven of so much