Series EPHESIANS with Pastor Mark Finley |
Lesson 8: Christ-Shaped Lives and Spirit-Inspired Speech |
Memory Text: Ephesians 4:22-24 -You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. |
8.1 The Downward Spiral of Sin
Paul appeals to believers in Ephesians 4:17–32 and Colossians 3:1–17 to shape their conduct in a way that promotes the unity of the church. He illustrates the negative consequences of the pagan lifestyle and redirects the focus toward living in harmony with Christian virtues and values, contributing to unity and growth in faith. Paul emphasizes the importance of a life characterized by divine grace and a transformation of thoughts and behaviors, contrasting it with a life marked by sinful practices and alienation from God.
8.2 A Dramatic Change of Clothing
Paul emphasizes in Ephesians 4:20–24 the essence of conversion by stressing that believers, through their connection to Christ, gain a living understanding of Him. He encourages the abandonment of the old, sinful life, experiencing an inner renewal, and adopting a new, God-like pattern of life, akin to changing clothing. This dramatic change of clothing symbolizes a profound shift in lifestyle and behavior initiated by embracing a life shaped by Christ.
8.3 Unity-Building, Grace-Filled Speech
Paul conveys a clear message in Ephesians 4:25–29 concerning the use of language among believers, with the admonition to avoid expressing destructive or harmful words being particularly significant. This advice highlights that our words should encourage and build up, necessary and filled with grace for those who hear them, in order to foster the unity and growth of the community. Given the power and influence of our words, it’s crucial to use language that is constructive and encouraging.
8.4 The Holy Spirit in the Believer’s Life
Paul earnestly warns in Ephesians 4:30 against grieving the Holy Spirit through our sinful behavior, especially through harmful words and negative actions within the Christian community. Simultaneously, he emphasizes the promising fact that the Holy Spirit dwells within believers as a seal and guarantee of redemption until the day of salvation. This illustrates the lasting and unbreakable connection of the Holy Spirit with believers while also emphasizing His personality and divinity.
8.5 Kindness (Not Bitterness)
Paul emphasizes in Ephesians 4:31–32 the importance of interactions among believers by urging the abandonment of six negative behaviors, including bitterness and wrath, and encouraging the adoption of kindness, warmth, and forgiveness. This call to rid oneself of harmful attitudes and words while actively cultivating kindness and forgiveness is based on the model of forgiveness God shows us in Christ, striving to strengthen communication and relationships within the Christian community.
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