Read thru New Testament Devotional – October 2, 2017

Ephesians 4
Ephesians 3:1-6:20-The message of God given to the Gentiles (continued) Ephesians 4-6-In these three chapters Paul now explains how the people of God are to "walk"...meaning how they are to live their lives.
Ephesians 4:1-6-Live a life that preserves the unity of the body
Ephesians 4:1-Paul says that because of this wonderful work of God in the "inner man" of believers...we should then "walk in a manner worthy" (the Greek word “worthy” means: of equal value, comparable, correspondent to, in a manner becoming) of Him and the calling which He has given us.
Ephesians 4:2-3-Paul lists several specific characteristics of this worthy walk: 1- humility; 2-gentleness; 3-patience; 4-forbearance towards one another with love; 5-diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. This last characteristic is also the goal for this worthy preserve the unity among believers that the Spirit brings.
Ephesians 4:4-6-Paul now expands on this unity. We should have a worthy walk because there is: 1-one body; 2-one Spirit; 3-one hope of your calling; 4-one Lord; 5-one faith; 6-one baptism; 7-one God and Father (and God is over, through, and in all of us).
Ephesians 4:7-16-Spiritual gifts build up the unity of the body

Paul demonstrates how even the fact that each of us is different because of the gifts that God has given to us...that very difference is supposed to be a unifying element in the church. These gifts are for the "building up of the body of Christ until we all attain to the unity of the faith...” (:12-13), "grow up in all aspects into Him, who is the head” (:15), "being fitted and held together by that which every joint supplies" (:16). Notice carefully the spiritual results of this joint effort by every member of the body...

1. Unityoffaith(:13)
2. KnowledgeoftheSonofGod(:13) 3. Matureman(:13)

4. MeasureofthestaturewhichbelongstothefullnessofChrist(:13) 5. Nolongertobechildren...(:14)
6. Speakingthetruthinlove(:15)
7. GrowinallaspectsintoHim(:15)

Given these results of unity in the body, we begin to understand how important it truly is. It is not just a matter of getting along with each other. But there is a much deeper, far more important aspect of our unity. Our unity is one of the components of the Spirit’s work that conforms us into the image of Christ. Ephesians 4:17-5:21-How to live in your daily life

Ephesians 4:17-19-Don't live like Gentiles (in Paul’s writings this term generally refers to anyone who is not a Jew) who “walk in the futility of their mind, being darkened in their understanding, excluded from the life of God, because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the hardness of their heart" (:17-18). In other words, the Gentiles live life based strictly on what they have come to know and to desire entirely on their own (with no reference to God). They have no interest in the things of God. Paul says that as a result of this lifestyle they have become “callous”...insensitive to God, and have “given themselves over to sensuality”...they have intentionally pursued those things which fulfill their most base physical and emotional desires. Falsely thinking that this is what will bring meaning and satisfaction to their lives (:19).

Ephesians 4:22-Paul uses very visual terms that describe how we are to make this change of lifestyle and “walk” (live) the Christian life. It is imperative that we remember that in this passage we are not talking about how to become a Christian. That happens by accepting Jesus Christ as your Savior by an act of faith in Him. Someone has put it this way: “This passage is not speaking about how to be a Christian; but, how a Christian should be.” Paul says that because we are Christians we are to “lay aside the old self” (:22,25) and we are to “put on the new self” (:24). This is a picture of an exchange of clothing. We take off one set and put on a new set. You cannot wear both sets of clothing at the same time. It is one, or the other. And so it is with the Christian life. You cannot live the life of Christ and continue living the life of one who is lost, without Christ.

a. Put off ... the old man ... put on the new man: This has the same idea of putting off or putting on a set of clothes. The idea is to "change into" a different kind of conduct.

i. Think of a prisoner who is released from prison, but still wears his prison clothes and acts like a prisoner, not a free man. The first thing you would tell that person is "put on some new clothes."

ii. Even as putting on different clothes will change the way you think about yourself and see yourself, even so putting on different conduct will start to change your attitudes. This means that we shouldn't wait to feel like the new man before we put on the new man.

iii. Fundamentally, Paul says that for the Christian, there must be a break with the past. Jesus isn't merely added to our old life; the old life dies and He becomes our new life. 4.cfm?a=1101024

The term “old self” speaks of the life we lived before we receive Christ (“former manner of life”, :22). It is the self-determined, self-driven, self-serving, self-satisfying life. This is the life that Paul speaks of as being how the Gentiles walk. Did you hear the word “self” there? Before we accept Jesus as our Savior we are totally self-dependent to make decisions about life. However, when we accept Jesus as our Savior, at that very moment, the Holy Spirit comes into our lives. We now have a resource available to guide and direct us that has never been available before. The “old self” doesn’t disappear. It’s still there because it is a part of our very make-up, it is a part of our physical nature. So now, we must make a constant, continuous effort to be submissive to our “new self”...the life lived in submission to the Holy Spirit. Paul says that this is a struggle...because the “old self” is accustomed to being in control. It’s the way that we have always operated and it satisfies many strong emotional and physical desires. Paul speaks of this struggle in detail in Romans 6-8. The “new self” is the life lived with and through the Holy Spirit. The question is: How do we do this? How do we “lay aside the old self” and “put on the new self”? Paul is very specific in saying that it is a deliberate decision of the mind ("be renewed in the spirit of your mind and put on the new self...righteousness and holiness of truth", :24) that results in specific changes of behavior. Paul gives several applications of this principle of "laying aside" the old self (:22, 25) by identifying several of these negative behaviors...1.-falsehood (:25); 2.-anger (:26); 3.-stealing (:28); 4.- speech (:29); 5.-bitterness (:31); 6.-anger (:31); 7.-clamor (:31); 8.-slander (:31); 9.-malice (:31). Each of these “grieve the Holy Spirit”. It is an amazing thought that our actions can actually cause God to grieve. But, it is even more wonderfully amazing to realize that our actions can also please God (5:10)!

Grief, Grieve:

akin to A, denotes
(a), in the Active Voice, "to cause pain, or grief, to distress, grieve," e.g., 2Cr 2:2 (twice, Active and Passive Voices); 2Cr 2:5 (twice), RV, "hath caused sorrow" (AV, "have caused grief," and "grieved"); 2Cr 7:8, "made (you) sorry;" Eph 4:30, of grieving the Holy Spirit of God (as indwelling the believer);
Vine’s Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words, =NASB

e. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God: The new man will not grieve the Holy Spirit, knowing that He is our seal both in the sense of identification and protection.

i. There are many ways to grieve the Holy Spirit. We can neglect holiness and grieve the Holy Spirit. We can think in purely materialistic terms and grieve the Holy Spirit. The Spirit exalts Jesus (John 15:26); when we fail to do the same, we grieve the Spirit.

ii. "I think I now see the Spirit of God grieving, when you are sitting down to read a novel and there is your Bible unread. Perhaps you take down some book of travels, and you forget that you have got a more precious book of travels in the Acts of the Apostles, and in the story of your blessed Lord and Master. You have no time for prayer, but the Spirit sees you very active about worldly things, and having many hours to spare for relaxation and amusement. And then he is grieved because he sees that you love worldly things better than you love him." (Spurgeon)

iii. "Although the word 'grieve' is a painful one, yet there is honey in the rock; for it is an inexpressibly delightful thought, that he who rules heaven and earth, and is the creator of all things, and the infinite and ever blessed God, condescends to enter into such infinite relationships with his people that his divine mind may be affected by their actions. What a marvel that Deity should be said to grieve over the faults of beings so utterly insignificant as we are!" (Spurgeon)

iv. "Sin everywhere must be displeasing to the Spirit of holiness, but sin in his own people is grievous to him in the highest degree. He will not hate his people, but he does hate their sins, and hates them all the more because they nestle in his children's bosoms. The Spirit would not be the Spirit of truth if he could approve of that which is false in us: he would not be pure if that which is impure in us did not grieve him." (Spurgeon)

v. The Holy Spirit's grief is not of a petty, oversensitive nature. "He is grieved with us mainly for our own sakes, for he knows what misery sin will cost us; he reads our sorrows in our sins ... He grieves over us because he sees how much chastisement we incur, and how much communion we lose." (Spurgeon) 4.cfm?a=1101024

Paul then gives three applications by identifying positive behaviors...1.-kindness; 2-tender-hearted; .-forgiveness (:32).

Prayer: Father, help me to not just enjoy the blessing of the work of Your Holy Spirit in my life...but to realize that the true blessing is in the change that it makes in me in my relationships with other people. If I am truly living a life of faith in the power of Your Holy Spirit...then that will be evidence in how I live among my brothers. Help me to be a part of the work that unifies Your body.

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