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"Yes, I am coming quickly." Amen.
Revelation 22:20

This is a Home Bible study. It exists to promote the Word of God as it's written, which means nothing added or taken away, and minus opinions.

The Bible is the only source of Divine Truth in the world today. Although it is both helpful and informative in many ways, the Bible often doesn't tell us everything we want to know but the Bible does tell us everything we need to know.

My role is to guide you through the Scriptures; to explain what this book says and in some cases what it does not say because this is just as important.

Ultimately, you have a decision to make concerning your salvation - no one can make it for you. The Lord Jesus Christ, the Creator God, has given everyone the ability to make choices - this is is called "Free Will." I pray you consider your choice wisely.

II Timothy 2:15

Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth.


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Friday, June 15, 2018

Ephesians 4:26-32 (Lesson 21)


Home Bible Study©
Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth (2 Timothy 2:15)

Established November 2008                                                 Published Weekly on Friday AM

This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men (and women) to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.  (1Timothy 2:3-4)

Ephesians (4:26-32)                                                               (Lesson 21)

Welcome back to HBS. 

…that, in reference to your former manner of life, you lay aside the old self (old man), 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.  Therefore, laying aside (put off) falsehood, SPEAK TRUTH EACH ONE of you WITH HIS NEIGHBOR, for we are all members of one another (Ephesians 4:22-24).

Paul recently taught the Ephesians about their former manner of life.  Why?  Their old man is being corrupted by their lustful (greedy) desires.  Therefore, Paul gave them two commands:  lay aside (put off) your former manner of life,”“and put on the new man.  Why?  Because their new man which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness and truth.  Said differently, “Your conduct should match your life, if you intend to walk worthy…

All true Believers have been made alive to God (Ephesians 2; Romans 6:11; Colossians 2:13), but our regeneration did not transform the old man, i.e. our Adamic nature.  Regeneration awakens us spiritually from our previous state of being dead to God (Romans 6:5-11) and God gives us a new nature (1 Corinthians 3:16; Ephesians 3:16, 4:24; Colossians 3:10).  Our new man desires “the things of God” from this point onward (1 Corinthians 2:6-10), and through works of service to the building up of the body of Christ (4:12).    

So, the Ephesians (and us) are carrying unwanted baggage around with them, that is, their old man which our Apostle Paul likened to a “filthy, worn out suit of clothes,” and these two entities are by nature polar opposites,

For I do not understand my own actions.  For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate (Romans 7:14-25).

These two entities engage in spiritual conflict incessantly:
  
For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would (Galatians 5:17 – KJV).    

The old man is controlled by our sinful nature.  It desires those things that are displeasing to God and contrary to the Holy Spirit.  The new man is the life that serves God and others (Ephesians 4:12) in a new way, having been transformed by a renewed mind into a new creation in the image of God. Our new man is controlled by the Holy Spirit (Romans 8:9) and whatever belongs to Him has been “laid aside,” that is, “put to death” (Colossians3:3-8).

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Please open your Bible at Ephesians 4:25.

Ephesians 4

25: Therefore, laying aside (put off) falsehood (the lie, essentially), SPEAK TRUTH EACH ONE of you WITH HIS NEIGHBOR, for we are all members of one another.

Paul emphasizes speaking the truth to one another but why?  The answer is found at the end of the verse, “for we are all members of one another. 

From verse 4:25 to 4:32 a pattern becomes rather obvious.  Paul begins by teaching the Believers what not to do and then commands them to do the right thing.  Sometimes Paul gives them the reason (motivation) for the required change.  We recently learned of the direct connection between obedience and love.  Spiritual growth is wonderful, but what’s most important is the motivation for the required change.    

Paul’s saying when we lie to one another we harm the body of Christ to which we all belong, and we also bring harm to our Savior’s name (4:4-6). 

Therefore – having just described the required changes that need to be made in their walk (life), Paul specifically describes how a righteous lifestyle is walked out.  In essence, He’s giving the Ephesians godly guidelines to follow so they all can attain God’s predetermined goals for His Church.   

Unity in the faith is one of the goals God has purposed for His Church:
 
There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all who is over all and through all and in all (4:4-6).

…for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ; until we all attain unity of the faith (4:12-13).

Unity is built upon trust.  So falsehood (deceit) is unbecoming of a true Believer.  When someone is caught in a deception fellowship is ruined and relationships may end, because once an atmosphere of trust prevailed but now a mood of distrust is present. This leads to disunity or separation generally.    

…laying aside falsehood, “SPEAK TRUTH EACH ONE of you WITH HIS NEIGHBOR,  

Lying is as common to mankind as weeds are to a garden.  Truly, lying has become habitual and is part and parcel of our corrupt society.  Psychology Today reports:  We couldn’t get through the day without being deceptive.”  In the June 2017 issue of National Geographic I found this comment:  Although lies are often condemned by many, people are especially prone to accepting lies…”

Another article I read recently about the politicos in Washington, D.C. contained this statement,”  You know they’re lying because their lips are moving.   A different reporter said,” If everyone in our society started telling the truth our way of life would collapse.”  I don’t know if this is true, but it sounds logical. 

From this we learn deception is prevalent and people, in general, accept untruths.   People live with deception in their homes, in the workplace, and in the church.  The media is inundated with deceit.  According to a January 2018 poll, 70% of those questioned are confused about the credibility of “Fake News” and where it originates.  Face Book has been in the news of late, and not for their achievements, but for lying to congress and the public, yet I haven’t found anyone who complains to the point of leaving this social giant behind and moving forward without them.  It should come as no surprise to discover on March 8, 2018, NBC News reported, “Fake news, lies and falsehoods spread faster on social media than truth does.”  We’ve reached the point where most people are ignorant of where truth ends and deception begins.  They’ve been conditioned to accept opinion as truth  

Time Magazine reported:  Bank employees are more likely to exhibit dishonesty when discussing their jobs, a new study found.”  The large banks in America dispute the statement, but please bear in mind on September 8, 2016, Wells Fargo fired 5,300 employees for creating “ghost accounts.”  They opened millions of bank and credit card accounts in their customers’ names without their approval and without their knowledge.  This is hardly ethical behavior, yet people still conduct their business daily at this bank. 

This was after the DOJ announced on February 9, 2015 it had reached a financial settlement with five of the largest mortgage service (banks) in America:  JP Morgan Chase Bank, N.A.; Wells Fargo, N.A. and Wells Fargo & Co.; Citi Residential Lending Inc., Citibank, NA and CitiMortgage Inc. (Citi); GMAC Mortgage, LLC, Ally Financial Inc. and Residential Capital LLC (GMAC Mortgage); and BAC Home Loans Servicing LP formerly known as Countrywide Home Loans Servicing LP (Bank of America).  However, these banking giants continue to thrive today despite the deception.  Proof, again, people accept lies. 

I can remember when contracts were discussed face-to-face, verbally, and a man’s handshake was his bond.  A person was only as good as their word.  Character mattered.  Lying includes telling direct falsehoods and telling only part of the truth with the intent to deceive just as Satan (the father of lies) practiced in the Garden of Eden when he tempted the woman.  Lying also includes:  exaggeration (the proverbial fish story for example), cheating in school and on taxes, making promises and breaking them, false flattery, weak excuses, and those oh so common little white lies.   

Some argue lying is not all bad.  Isn’t it a good thing when you spare someone’s feelings?  Isn’t a lie warranted to prevent someone from experiencing distress, as when you spot your best friend’s girl friend kissing someone other than “your best friend?”  Humans rationalize the sin of lying in many ways, but consider your relationship with this individual six months down the road when she finally discovers the truth and you knew about it but didn’t say anything.  Is this how a friend behaves?  You didn’t spare her the anguish; you just delayed the inevitable, and made the situation worse. 

Imagine where we’d be today, if our Apostle Paul opted to spare people’s feelings by not telling them they are “dead to God,” “lost in their sin,” and “without hope!”  Instead, he spoke the truth regardless of the consequences:  And the Lord said to Paul in the night by a vision, "Do not be afraid any longer, but go on speaking and do not be silent (Acts 18:9, 19:8; Galatians 4:16).

God plainly said:  “Do not steal.  Do not lie.  Do not deceive one another (Leviticus 19:11 – NIV). 

The Bible states the unsaved that are characterized by lying “will be thrown into the lake that burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death” (Revelation 21:8).  Jesus Christ said they are marked as being children of the devil, who is the father of lies (John 8:44). 

A Believer will not suffer for eternity in the Lake of Fire.  You can’t lose your salvation, but because you’re the Lord’s ambassador of reconciliation you can certainly lose your credibility (2 Corinthians 5:11-21) and impair unity in the body.

Let’s be clear.  Paul isn’t saying all Believers SPEAK TRUTH.  We all tell lies now and again, but this should not define our character.  Thus, Paul said, “lay aside falsehood,” because it is the old man’s character.  Believers are to be known as truth-tellers especially to one another; their neighbor.  Paul said, “…we are members of one another (4:25b), lying not only hurts the body (other people) it harms Christ, the head, and us.  We depend on one another the same way the members of our body rely on accurate messages from the nerves and brain.   

We must tell the truth to each other but this doesn’t mean we’re required to express everything we think and feel.  We’ll learn more about this in 4:29.  There are other things to consider before we speak.  The Body of Christ is built up by speaking the truth, in love.  The old adage, “You can’t get there from here” applies because unless you learn to love people, even the unlovable, the body of Christ suffers.  Love for others is our motivation for speaking the truth.  Paul’s talking about the same kind of love Jesus Christ exhibited on the cross (Romans 5:6-9). 

This doesn’t mean we’re to “tell other people off,” or “unload our emotional baggage” (thoughts and perspective) on one another.  Paul’s simply saying when we speak it must be truthful.

FROM UNRIGHTEOUS ANGER TO RIGHTEOUS ANGER

Ephesians 4:26-27

BE ANGRY, AND yet DO NOT SIN; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and do not give the devil an opportunity. 

I was taught, long ago, all anger is sinful.  Perhaps you received this same instruction.  However, the Bible doesn’t say this.  I was taught the opinion of man, clearly, because Paul said “Be angry.”  He did not say Be not angry.  From his statement we learn there will be those times when something goes wrong causing Believers to be angry.  But this command and other statements in scripture teach us because we’re holy we are to exercise restraint:

The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control (Galatians 5:22-23). 

As we walk by grace, through faith, practicing restraint (self-control) the Holy Spirit enables us to reign in our anger.  Paul put it this way “…do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and do not give the devil (Satan) an opportunity.”

Anger in and of itself is not sin.  What you do with your anger is the issue.  Paul said “Don’t let your anger get the best of you; deal with it or else the devil will tempt you which may cause you to sin.

The anger Paul speaks of here is the same as in Psalm 97:10 and Proverbs 8:13:

Hate evil, you who love the Lord, Who preserves the souls of His godly ones;
He delivers them from the hand of the wicked (Psalm 97:10).

The fear of the Lord is to hate evil; Pride and arrogance and the evil way And the perverted mouth, I hate (Proverbs 8:13).

The thing these two Bible passages have in common is they instruct the righteous (those who are in right-standing with God) “to hate evil.”  Our Apostle Paul said true Believers are not to accept evil.  Looking to scripture for an example of this teaching, we find the Lord Jesus Christ refusing to accept evil.  He acted with righteous anger by driving out the merchants and money changers from the Jewish Temple.  Why?  They had turned God’s house of prayer into a “den of thieves” (Matthew 21:13; Mark 11:17; Luke 19:45; Isaiah 56:7; Jeremiah 7:11).  The religious leaders were lying to the people and robbing them in God’s house, so the Lion of Judah brought the matter to everyone’s attention.  But Jesus didn’t sin.  His behavior was a controlled act of righteous indignation (James 1:20).   

If your anger seeks to vindicate itself in its quest for revenge, then it’s gratuitous.  Righteous anger is based in the holiness of God and the sincere love for others, seeking their highest good in other words (Galatians 6:1-4, 10).  Agape love is sacrificial in nature and leaves “getting even or getting ahead’ in God hands.  (Romans 12:19; 1 Thessalonians 5:15; 1 Peter 3:9).  

Anger or righteous indignation should be experienced by every true Believer who becomes aware of a grave injustice; not to the extent of becoming Batman-like, avenging evil wherever you find it.  Righteous anger reacts against sin.  This means for anger to be righteous, it cannot, must not, arise in response to a violation of my preferences, because I’ve been inconvenienced in some way, or my rights are being neglected.  In brief, biblically speaking, righteous anger focuses on God, His kingdom, His rights, and His concerns, and not mine or yours.  It’s not about us it is about God. 

Righteous anger will resemble the actions and expressions of our Lord.  As I said, evil comes in many forms such as:  a child physically or sexually abused by an adult, this includes abortion for anything but a documented medical concern, a sleazy character who entices run-a-way girls into prostitution, or an individual selling drugs on school property.  

Note the restrictions Paul’s command places upon this anger.  Be angry, but do not sin.
Do not let this emotion cause you to violate God’s standards.  This is easily done; anger is a powerful emotion.  It must be restrained. 

In addition, Paul said, “do not let the sun go down on your anger.” Anger that is not dealt with quickly turns to bitterness.  This gives the devil an opportunity (a foothold) to feed that anger until it becomes an out of control inferno causing us to strike out, selfishly.    

FROM STEALING TO SHARING

Ephesians 4

28: He who steals must steal no longer; but rather he must labor, performing with his own hands what is good so that he will have something to share with one who has need.

Paul visited Ephesus several times.  In around 57–58 AD, he stayed there for over two years as part of his third missionary journey.  Paul’s effectiveness and success in spreading the gospel in Ephesus meant that some people were turning away from the cult of Artemis and converting to the faith.  Some Ephesians were also turning away from magic:  A number who practiced magic collected their books and burned them publicly; when the value of these books was calculated, it was found to come to fifty thousand silver coins” (Acts 19:10, 19).

The Ephesian Church was known throughout the region for acknowledging Paul’s gospel and his apostleship unlike the Corinthians who couldn’t make up their minds about his apostolic authority and were known for their carnality.  Between the two churches, the Ephesians could be considered spiritual giants.  Yet, evidently, some of them were stealing.  This is just one more reminder to us all that our old man is alive and intends to thwart our desire to do the right thing at the right time. 

The Koine Greek word translated steal is Klepto (klep’-to), Verb, Strong’s Greek #2813; meaning:  to commit a theft, to take away by theft stealthily.  We get the English word Kleptomania from this word and it means:  an irresistible impulse to steal stemming from an emotional disturbance more so than an economic need.  The word itself or variations of the word appear 13 times in the N.T.  I didn’t count the references in the O.T. but the one that stands out there is the LORD God’s command:  Do not steal.”    

Not only is this command not being addressed by a great many, the act of stealing have been redefined by our society.  In some cases it’s not even thought of as stealing, as in taking home items that belong to your employer, conducting personal business on the computer while at work, goofing off at work; which includes personal phone calls, visiting other workers on company time, and updating social media sites, and simply day-dreaming instead of focusing on the tasks at hand.  There are many ways to steal, and these are limited only by man’s imagination.  Thus, we discover stealing doesn’t only refer to robbing banks, identity theft, embezzlement, and shoplifting items from Wal-Mart. 

Paul gives the Ephesians the alternative to stealing which is working, and by that labor we are to provide for ourselves and those who have genuine need.  We are responsible for ourselves to “work with our own hands” and provide for those who depend on us.
If we do not, we deny the faith and are worse than unbelievers (1Timothy 5:8).  Those who refuse to work are not to even be given anything to eat (2 Thessalonians 3:10-11).  Those who have a genuine need, such as widows and orphans without means of support, or those physically incapable of providing for themselves are to be assisted out of the overflow of charity which should be in the heart of every Believer (1 Corinthians 9:6-8).  

FROM UNWHOLESOME WORDS TO WHOLESOME

Ephesians 4

29: Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it may give grace to those who hear.

The word unwholesome refers to that which is corrupt or foul, as in rotten vegetables or spoiled fruit.  Foul language from the mouth of a Believer is contradictory to their new life, in Christ.  An unbeliever may honestly say, “The devil made me do it,” but a Believer may not.  There is no excuse for cursing like a drunken sailor or for telling off-color jokes.   Just because your peers practice these things doesn’t mean it’s ok.  In Colossians 3:8 Paul commanded the Believers to “put them all aside: anger, wrath, malice, slander and abusive speech.”

Jesus Christ’s words just came to mind.  He said, “For out of the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks (Matt. 12:34), so it is no wonder non-believers speak the way they do.
The mouthpiece of our old man is the tongue.  The Apostle James said, “…it is untamable” (James 3:6-8).  He’s not wrong, even on our best day, if you drop a weighty object on your toe, you’ll probably say things unbecoming of a true Believer.    

Returning to what Paul said earlier, Believers are to “put off” their filthy, worn out clothing, that is, sin and “put on” the new man.  Thus, unwholesome language is uncharacteristic of a spiritually-minded Believer, in Christ. 

Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things (Philippians 4:8).

Paul’s solution is, “but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, (for this reason) so that it may give grace to those who hear (4:29b). 

Think this through, who is going to listen to you share the gospel, if they’re aware of your habit of using unwholesome language.  It’s a “turn-off.” Rotten words destroy; they don’t edify or build an individual up. 

The Believer’s speech is to be guided by these three characteristics:

1)      We speak only “such a word as is good for edification.” Our concern is building one another up in Christ.  This includes appreciation, correction, encouragement, and motivation when necessary, in love.  It is always the truth spoken with genuine love.  Ask yourself this question before you speak, “Will my words genuinely help build the other person’s faith and help them become more Christ-like?

2)      We also speak “according to the need of the moment.” In other words, we speak appropriately at the appropriate time.  This takes discernment, wisdom and at times, patience.

“A man has joy in an apt answer, And how delightful is a timely word!”
(Proverbs 15:23).

3)      We speak in order to give grace to those who hear.  Gracious words comfort a grieving family; it empathizes with them, and demonstrates the love of Christ Jesus to those who are in need.  Therefore, our spiritual service to others is more important than getting something off our chest, emptying our minds of clutter, in other words.  This includes confronting sin in a timely fashion wherever it’s found.  Jesus was a friend of sinners.  We have not been given the freedom to be less.  Jesus didn’t turn away from the sinner; He confronted evil (sin) by presenting the scriptures (God’s truths) to the lost. 

FROM IMMORALITY TO VIRTUE

In the remaining verses, Paul commands the Ephesians to leave immorality behind and embrace change:    Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.  Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice.  Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you (4:30-32).

In verse 32 our Apostle Paul explains how the Ephesians (and us) are to behave.  But first, in verses 30-31 he contrasts those who truly live for Jesus Christ with the folks who do not.  When a Believer does not walk worthy of the calling for which they have been called, God calls it sin.

If we do not live in accordance with God’s standards, temptation leads to sin.  Paul said the covetous (greedy) nature that’s a part of all sin leads to bitterness and wrath and anger and these lead to the outward expression of these emotions, clamor, slander, and malice.

Bitterness is a spirit of irritability that keeps a person imprisoned in perpetual animosity.  Wrath is the wild rage of the passion of the moment while anger is more internal and more subtle, a deeper feeling.  Paul said the outward expressions of these sins are clamor, slander and malice. Clamor is an outward sign of wrath expressed in the loss of control in public outbursts.  Slander grows out of bitterness and is the defamation of those considered your enemies.  Malice is the general term for the evil that is at the root of all immorality.  The Believer must put all these things away from him and put on the virtues listed in verse 32.  Be kind to one another instead of bitter. Tender-hearted (gentle) rather than irritable.  Forgiving each other rather than filled with animosity.

If you as a Believer continue to live as if you were not, exhibiting the kinds of things Paul has mentioned here, you will grieve the Holy Spirit.  By the way, the very fact that the Holy Spirit can be grieved underlines the truth He is a living Person, capable of thought, expressing His will, and demonstrating emotion.  You cannot grieve a force.

The truth is the Ephesian Church was experiencing all of these things, which is why Paul’s words here actually mean, “Stop grieving the Holy Spirit!”  Believers stop grieving the Holy Spirit when we live according to our calling in Jesus Christ, a calling to which the Holy Spirit has sealed us:

to the day of redemption.

We speak the truth in love rather than lie.

We have righteous anger, but we control it and do not let it lead us into sin.

We go to work seeking to provide for ourselves and others out of the charity of our heart rather than steal.

We guard our mouths and refrain from using unwholesome (rotten) words.  Instead we seek to build one another up with appropriate, gracious words.

We put off the vices of bitterness, wrath and anger which lead to clamor, slander and malice and instead put on the virtues of kindness, tender-hearts and forgiveness.

In doing these things, we please the Lord by loving others rather than grieve the Holy Spirit.  In doing these things we live according to our calling; in harmony with being the new creatures God has made us when He saved us; and in agreement with the new life we have in Jesus Christ.

(To be continued)

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GJ Heitzman’s Ministry
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Friday, June 8, 2018

Ephesians 4:23-25 (Lesson 20)


Home Bible Study©
Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth (2 Timothy 2:15)

Established November 2008                                                 Published Weekly on Friday AM

This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men (and women) to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.  (1Timothy 2:3-4)

Ephesians (4:23-25)                                                               (Lesson 20)

Welcome and thanks for choosing HBS as your Bible study partner.

We’re in the midst of our study of Ephesians chapter 4 which the Bible translators titled:  The Believer’s Walk… in love (4:1-3).  Genuine love for one another is absolutely essential if we’re to grow up (mature) in all aspects into Him who is the head (of God’s one Church), even Christ (Ephesians 4:15; Galatians 5:22-26).

Babies are usually fussed over receiving exceptional, loving attention.  However, I’ve never met a mother or father who did not set goals for the child fully expecting them to advance from mother’s milk to solid food, progress from crawling to walking, develop speaking skills, and graduate the toilet-training process, with honors.  These accomplishments in their child’s life mark their visible growth.  Babies are cute and cuddly, but no parent I know desires that they remain a toddler.  Who wants a five year-old sucking on a pacifier and asking for a diaper change?

In chapter 4, Paul speaks of “living a sanctified (holy) life.”  Holy means to be separate; set apart for the use intended by the Designer.  An ink pen is sanctified when it’s used for writing.  Eyeglasses are sanctified when used to improve one’s vision.  Biblically speaking, an individual is sanctified when striving to walk worthy or live their life according to God’s divine purpose.

In Ephesians 3:10-11, we learn about God’s divine purpose for each of us, His Church:

…and to bring to light what is the administration of the mystery which for ages has been hidden in God who created all things (including the Church); so that the manifold wisdom might now be made known (how) through the church to the rulers and the authorities in the heavenly places.  This was in accordance with the eternal purpose which He carried out in Christ Jesus our Lord (Deuteronomy 29:29).


God fully expects every Believer to change (repent) and grow up (mature) in all aspects into Him (related to Jesus Christ).  Unity of the faith and spiritual maturity are two goals God the Father has determined for His one Church; the Body of Christ (Ephesians 4:4-6, 5:30; Romans 12:5; 1 Corinthians 12:12-27).

Last week we learned another required goal God has determined for the body is purity:

…that, in reference to your former manner of life, you (by the Holy Spirit’s power) 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 (4:22-23).

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Let’s pick up our lesson from there.  Please open your Bible at Ephesians 4:23-25.

…and put on the new self (or the new man), which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth.  Therefore, laying aside falsehood, “SPEAK TRUTH, EACH ONE of you WITH HIS NEIGHBOR, FOR WE ARE (what) MEMBERS OF ONE ANOTHER.”

In verse 24 Paul explains how the true Believer attains purity.  The verbs “laying aside” and “put on” emphasize accomplished events in the Believer’s life, rather than the process of present sanctification (the reorientation of our desires) itself.  So, Paul isn’t telling them to lay aside (put off) their “old self,” their “old self” (the old man) has already been laid aside at their conversion (Romans 6:6, 8:12-13; Colossians 3:9-10; 1 Thessalonians 4:3).  Accordingly, Paul commands them not to live (walk) like the unbelieving Gentiles, a.k.a. their pagan, Ephesian counterparts. 

This fits the Bible context in verses 4:22-24.  Paul reminds them of what they were taught, and that was they are presently in Christ.  This means each Believer has laid aside their old self and put on the new man. 

We placed our trust (faith) in the gospel (1 Corinthians 15:1-4) and are now justified, i.e. declared “not guilty” in the eyes of God; however, this doesn’t mean God removed the old man (our Adamic nature).  Our old self is totally depraved, wicked beyond measure, and loves the things God deplores.  Our sinful nature will be with us until the Lord comes for His one Church at the Rapture, which means we need to “deal with” the ever re-emergent force of the flesh, by using the Spirit’s power to overcome temptation and sin:  Many are the afflictions of the righteous, But the LORD delivers him (and her) out of them all” (Psalm 34:19, 57:1; 1 Corinthians 10:13; 2 Thessalonians 3:3).

Now, in 4:25-32, Paul teaches practical applications of how each Believer is to live 24/7/365 because present sanctification requires us to be separate from the world.  Beginning in verse 4:25 and all the way through to verse 6:9, Paul names several specific sins characterized by their old man they are to be put off, and godly behaviors they are to be put on.   It’s not true in every instance, but he usually mentions the sinful behavior Believers are to put off, and then the godly behavior they are to put on.  Sometimes he follows this up by giving the reason (motivating factor) for the necessary change. 

In 4:25 Paul wrote:  Therefore, laying aside falsehood, SPEAK TRUTH EACH ONE of you WITH HIS NEIGHBOR, for we are members of one another.

Paul uses the word Therefore frequently.  He’s taking us all back to the preceding context or what he had stated earlier.  Because we must no longer live like the (unsaved) Gentiles, and because we have received the teachings of Christ, we have put off the old man and put on the new man, which means we have also "laid aside falsehood."

"Laying aside falsehood"the words "laying aside" are from the Koine Greek word Apotithemi (ap-ot-eeth'-ay-mee), Verb, Strong’s Greek #659; which means:  to put away (literally or figuratively), cast off, lay apart (aside, down), put away (put off).  Here Paul expresses the idea of “taking off a filthy and worn out suit of clothes.” 

This term is also used at the stoning of Stephen:

And when they had driven him out of the city, they began stoning him, and the witnesses laid aside their robes at the feet of a young man named Saul (Acts 7:58).

And Paul expresses its meaning quite well in Galatians 3:27:  For all of you who were baptized into Christ (by faith alone) have clothed yourselves with Christ.

The English Majority Text Versions correctly carries over Paul’s metaphor of “literally, removing one’s old clothes:” 

Therefore, having put off falsehood (past tense), "Let each one speak truth with his neighbor," for we are members of one another.

This verse explains an accomplished or completed action that took place in their past, specifically, at their conversion.  This is when they laid aside the old man.  

The English Standard Bible Version is even more enlightening.  It says they have already put aside falsehood (speaking untruths):  Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another.


"Falsehood"is from the Koine Greek word Pseudos (psyoo’-dos), Noun Neuter, Strong’s Greek #5579; meaning:  a falsehood, an untruth, a lie.  Paul’s literally saying these saints “have put off the lie."  

Paul used this same expression in Romans 1:25:

…For they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever.  Amen.

Here in the Greek it is "the lie."  They exchange the truth of God for the lie.  So Paul uses the same expression as in Ephesians 4:25, but in Romans it refers to idolatry.  So Paul may be using "falsehood in the sense that anything which is opposed to the truth of scripture is “the lie.”  He just said, "The New Man... has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth."  Now he says, "…having put away the lie" which could possibly be Paul referring to anything that runs contrary to God’s revealed truth, or God’s Word in general.  All of man’s philosophy and wisdom apart from God’s wisdom and expressed will runs contrary to the scriptures and could be labeled "the lie."

"SPEAK TRUTH EACH ONE of you WITH HIS NEIGHBOR"—the word "speak" here implies the Ephesians are to make a habit of speaking the truth.  But hold the horses!  These folks are saved and eternally positioned in Christ Jesus, so don’t they always speak the truth?  That would be “No.”  If practical righteousness was automatic as many church leaders teach, Paul wouldn't need to tell these folks (and us) to speak the truth.  Practical righteousness is not automatic no more than one’s salvation is automatic.  Some churches believe and teach this untruth.  However, the N.T. is filled with God’s commands and guides for living righteously (Zechariah 8:7-16; Romans 12:9; 1 Thessalonians 5:22; 1 Peter 2:11).

Then Paul gives the reason why we’re to speak truth to our neighbors:  For we are members of one another.  Although we must follow all of Paul’s teachings re: the biblical principles of ethics at all times and toward everyone, Paul focuses mainly on our behavior within God’s Church family, since the context has to do with maintaining the peace and unity that the Lord Jesus Christ died to obtain:  For if we have been united with Him like this in His death, we will certainly also be raised to life as He was (Romans 6:5 – Berean Literal Bible). 

The health of our physical body depends on truthful communication between its members through the nervous system.  If you put your finger on a hot stove and your nerves do not relay the message, “Wow, this is hot!” to the brain, you will suffer great harm.  A person with leprosy lacks this communication ability between the nerves and the brain.  They can actually cause great harm to their body without even knowing it.  When you lie to your spouse or another member of Christ’s body, you are injuring yourself, another member, and, what’s worse, you are injuring Christ, because He is one with His body.

Believers, as God’s children, are to always speak the truth.  Truth is an accurate representation of the facts.  The truth Paul speaks of here is compliance to and consistency with God’s righteous standards, as revealed in His Word:

"Sanctify them in the truth; Your word is truth (John 17:17).

As I pointed out earlier, beginning at verse 25 Paul begins to identify those attitudes and actions which the Ephesians are to put off.  He also names those which they are to put on” in their stead.  But Paul is also dealing with their manner of life. Their fleshly behavior is the outgrowth (the expression) of their inner fleshly nature, just as the Believer’s conduct is the outgrowth (and expression) of the new man, created and empowered by the Holy Spirit:

But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh.  For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the Law.  Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you just as I have forewarned you that those who practice such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.  But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.  Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified (put off) the flesh with its passions and desires (Galatians 5:16-24). 

Paul continues to stress the connection between our conversion to Christ (past tense) and our conduct in Christ (present tense), which should be manifested in our worthy walk; manner of life:
 
 What shall we say then?  Are we to continue in sin that grace might increase?  May it never be!  How shall we who died to sin still live in it?  Or do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death? Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, in order that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life.  For if we have become united with Him in the likeness of His death, certainly we shall be also in the likeness of His resurrection, knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, that our body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin; for he who has died is freed from sin.  Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him, knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, is never to die again; death no longer is master over Him.  For the death that He died, He died to sin, once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God.  Even so consider yourselves to be dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus.  Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body that you should obey its lusts, and do not go on presenting the members of your body to sin as instruments of unrighteousness; but present yourselves to God as those alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God.  For sin shall not be master over you, for you are not under law, but under grace (Romans 6:1-14).

As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, (Colossians 2:6).

In Christ, their old man was crucified, put to death.  As this applies to the Ephesians’ daily walk, Paul’s saying they are to crucify the flesh daily, and lay aside the evil conduct which springs forth from those fleshly desires.  In Christ we were made alive, raised from the dead and seated with Him in the heavenlies (Ephesians 2:5-6).  We are therefore to walk in newness of life, manifesting the work of the Spirit of God in and through us.  It is by His power that we are enabled and motivated to live in a way that pleases God:

There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.  For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death.  For what the Law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, God did: sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the requirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.… And if Christ is in you, though the body is dead because of sin, yet the spirit is alive because of righteousness.  But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who indwells you (Romans 8:1-4, 10-11).

I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me, and delivered Himself up for me” (Galatians 2:20). 

…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 (4:22). 

lusts of deceit – some people profess they are unsure of what Paul meant by this expression.  However, using the Law of First Mention, we find ourselves in Genesis, chapter 2.  This is the biblical account of the woman being deceived by the serpent in God’s perfect garden.  After reading the text, we can say for certain there is a direct association between “lust” and “deceit.”  Her lust for the forbidden fruit did not bring about the desired result; she did not become like God, even though Satan said she would.  Instead, her disobedient act caused her to become spiritually dead to God the moment she ate of it (1 John 2:16).   

Thus, we learn there is a direct relationship between “lust” and “deceit.” Using the woman’s fall from grace as the guiding example in scripture, it’s safe to say “lust” is “deceitful,” and you can flip that over and also say “deceit” is “lustful.”  Lust is deceitful in that it does not produce what it seems to promise.  Lust promises pleasure or complete satisfaction but ultimately it produces death (Romans 6:15-23).   Deceit is lustful in that it never seems to be satisfied.  Old Adam always wants more (Proverbs 1:10-19). 

Jesus warned of the danger of attempting to remove evil, rather than replacing it (Luke 11:26).  Paul’s words indicate our Adamic nature and its evil deeds are not merely to be rejected, they are to be replaced.   This is what Paul means by the term, “put off.”  The old man needs to go away and the new man is to be “put on. While the old man is continually being corrupted by the lusts of deceit, the new man is being renewed in each one of us, in accordance with the nature of God and His righteousness and truth.  

(To be continued)

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