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No Longer Living the Dark Life (Ephesians Sermon 26 of 54)

No Longer Living the Dark Life (Ephesians Sermon 26 of 54)

February 07, 2016 | Andrew Davis
Sanctification, War Against the Flesh, Holiness, Total Depravity

Introduction

The Dark Heart of Humanity

Well, we live in amazing times of development, of transformation, of rapid change, right before our eyes. I alluded to it a moment ago in my prayer. Thinking technologically, I'll never forget, and I've mentioned this to some of you before, the first calculator my family ever owned. My father bought it back in the 1970s for $150. And it had four rubber feet and it sat on the desk, and it had a thick power cord that you plugged in and an on-off switch that clicked. And when you clicked that switch, these glowing orange digits came up, and it could do all four of the functions. It could add, subtract, multiply and divide. We wouldn't have known that it didn't have memory, we would've had no idea whatever that was, but we were thrilled. And I was mystified by this thing. Now I have this smartphone which has a clock app on it that you'll be glad to know about, letting me know that it's 11:20 AM. But it also can do far more on its calculator app than that thing did and that just came along with the phone. Smartphone. When I was a kid phones were up on the wall, and you actually did hang them up. I mean, what? We have to come up with a new verb for ending a phone call because you don't hang this thing up. But we had things you'd hang up, and we had these rotary things that you'd put your fingers in, and some of you know exactly what I'm talking about, others of you have no idea. When you call home, you push “Home,” and it calls, and you don't even know your own home phone number. That's scary. We have to be able to keep saying these numbers, because we will lose all track of the things that the computer keeps record of.

But that's happened before our very eyes, technological advances point to human brilliance, intellectual achievement, scientific advancement, but yet we see around us the truth of the text that Herbert just read, that people can be scientifically brilliant and technologically advanced, and still dark in their minds. And we see the evidence of spiritual darkness ever escalating and increasing in our time. We see it whether in terrorism or racism, or poverty, or just the evening news, as you watch basically, in effect the crime bladder, or the things, the tragedies that happen, both in our community and to the ends of the Earth. It's a tragic time for us to be alive, and we need to understand it from a spiritual point of view. We live here in a community of brilliant people. In a community of people that are being trained in some of the best institutions of higher learning in the world. And they come from around the world to be educated here. Some of them settle in here. Others just come here to do their research in pharmaceutical companies, electronic companies, in the RTP. This is an amazing place to live, similar to my home area of Boston. But yet we also see the darkness of our own community. We see the evidence of sin right in the streets of Durham, and in the community right around us. And we need the word of God to tell us the truth, we need to know what's really happening in the world, and we need to know ourselves properly too.

And so, as you heard the words that Herbert read, as you heard Ephesians 4, it was directed to the church at Ephesus. Yes, it was about unbelievers, but it was directed to people who had been rescued out of that darkness, and exhorting them to live differently than their surrounding lost neighbors and friends. To live a life of holiness, a life of purity before the eyes of Almighty God, and that the Gospel has come to do precisely that. Every Christian is a miracle of transforming grace. We don't fully understand what's happened to us, we don't fully understand how much we have been rescued and saved by sovereign power, and that Satan's grip on us was broken by a far more powerful conqueror, Jesus, who “rescued us out of that dominion of darkness and brought us into this kingdom of light.” And we underestimate how much those old sin patterns are still rooted in our hearts. And how much we have to hear the truth from Ephesians 4. And so, that's what we're going to look at today as we begin to look at Ephesians 4, 17 through 24. Called on to no longer live the dark life.

Context

Now, the context there in Ephesus is quite remarkable. Ephesus was a city in Asia Minor, modern-day Turkey, and it had one of the seven wonders of the ancient world there, a magnificent temple to Artemis. Amazing architecture, amazing size, and people came from all over that part of the world to worship there, if we can call it that. It was a thoroughly pagan community, a thoroughly pagan place. Artemis was the goddess of the hunt, the goddess of fertility in some ways to look at it, protector of women, and Gentile worshipers would come from all over the Roman empire to indulge in sexual immorality in the worship services there at the temple. Some historians list Ephesus as one of the most licentious cities in Asia Minor. The temple of Artemis was a major center of this debauchery and wickedness. Like most pagan worship rituals, the worship of Artemis was an extension of human inner darkness described in Ephesians 4 that you just heard.

And there were perversion there that I won't list, but just evils and perversions that were going on in connection with that religion, and that society. Fifth century Greek philosopher, Heraclitus, referred to Ephesus as the “darkness of vileness,” and said, "The morals there were lower than animals and the inhabitants of Ephesus were only fit to be drowned." Well, that was the community into which the Gospel came as a light shining in a dark place, and individuals rescued out of that darkness were being called on now by the Apostle Paul to shine in that dark community. Now, one of the things we need to know about the Bible, people say, "How do we know that this book is still relevant 20 centuries later?" Well, one of the doctrines of the Bible is the immutability, the unchangeableness of God. God never changes, ever. But one of the things you start to learn as you read the pages of the Bible is that human beings don't essentially change either. And the same issues that the Ephesian Christians were facing back then, we face in 21st century America too. And we need to hear this message, we need to hear it here in Durham, and we need to hear it in America, and in this world.

Now, let's get some bigger picture context, again, in Ephesians, and trace out the flow of this magnificent book. In Ephesians 1-3, we have depicted, from 50,000 feet or 100,000 feet up, a satellite look down on the overarching work of Salvation in Christ. Looking down at the eternal purposes of Almighty God, in saving sinners like you and me. And so, we have in Ephesians 1 verse 4, that “God chose us in Christ before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless before Him.” And so, that's the ultimate end of our salvation, that we should be “holy and blameless.” What that means is we need to live a different life than the surrounding pagan world around us. We were chosen for that. We're destined for that. That's where we're going. And we're told there in Ephesians 1 that “in love He predestined us to be adopted as His sons through Jesus Christ.” And so we bear the family name, how we live is a reflection on the name of Christ, the name of Almighty God in our community. So it matters very much what kind of life that we live. We're told that all of our sins, all of our wickedness and our corruption, has been paid for by the shed blood of Christ. That He atoned for our sins, “in Him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God's grace that He lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding.” So not only do we have forgiveness of sins, but we have the gift of wisdom and understanding to know what's happened to us, and what's going on in the surrounding world.

We're told also that the Ephesian Christians, when they heard “the word of truth, the Gospel of their salvation, having believed they were marked in Christ with the seal of the promised Holy Spirit.” And so we, Christians, just by hearing a message, the message of the Gospel, and believing that message, we have received the gift of forgiveness of sins, and adoption in the family of God and the sealing with the Spirit. We are marked, with the Spirit, as His own possession. All of that had happened to the Ephesians Christians has happened to us. Now, in Chapter 4, in verse 1, the apostle Paul is calling on the Ephesian Christians to live a life worthy of the calling they have received. We are to live up to these lofty exalted eternal themes. We're to live up to holiness, we're to live up to being adopted and forgiven by the blood of Christ. All of these things are to be part of our lifestyle.

So we talked about the unity of the Church, and how we should make every effort to keep that unity, but then he talks about the diversity in the Church, diversity of spiritual gifts. Looked at that for three weeks, and we've seen that the goal of the diverse spiritual gifts is to build the Body of Christ, the Church, up into full maturity in Jesus that we would be conformed to Him in every respect and we'll “no longer be infants tossed back and forth by false teaching.” And we're not going to be infants blown back and forth by temptations. But we're going to be rock solid and mature, and more and more conformed to Christ. That's the goal. And so that's the context of where we're at.

From Now On, Live a Different Life! (vs. 17)

And then it goes from that into this appeal for holiness. A different kind of life, there's a different kind of life that must flow from the Gospel. So look at it again, verses 17-24. "Therefore I tell you this and insist on it in the Lord that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do in the futility of their thinking. They are darkened in their understanding, and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts. Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality, so as to indulge in every kind of impurity with a continual lust for more. You, however, did not come to know Christ that way. Surely you heard him and were taught in him in accordance with the truth that is in Jesus. 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 spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.”

Personal Holiness Confirms Salvation

So we're going to look at this passage this week and next week, but we're going to begin by zeroing in on what Paul tells the Ephesian Christians is true of non-Christians around them there in Ephesus, it's still true in our day as well, and the call to live a different kind of life now from that. From now on we are to live a different life, verse 17. It links it to the word therefore so in light of the spiritual gifts, in light of maturity as each part does its work, in light of all of this, I'm telling you, we've got to live a different kind of life, we've got to walk, the verb here is, walk, and sometimes it's translated, live. But it's that idea of a daily walk with Christ, day after day, left foot, right foot, just the way you live your daily life, you must no longer walk as the Gentiles do. Daily life has to change, and your personal holiness must come and confirm your salvation. The saving work of God in your life. Some people are cynical, outsiders are cynical of the true Gospel. A full forgiveness of sins apart from works? Kind of like easy believe-ism they think it is. Somebody who's been a terrible criminal and they're in prison and they suddenly have some conversion, and we're supposed to believe that? There's a lot of cynicism. They understand a morality that comes through hard work and hard effort and achievement, where you earn moral status by your efforts. They understand that, but this? And yet this is exactly what the apostle Paul is teaching, "For it is by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not of yourselves, it's a gift of God, not by works, so that no one can boast." So full forgiveness of our sins, past, present, future. Forgiveness is always a gift of grace. It's never earned, it's never connected to your good deeds, ever, and never will be. We are forgiven, we're adopted, we're in the family of God by sheer grace through Christ.

It's hard for people to understand, but they also don't understand the fullness of Salvation. The personal holiness confirms that justification has even happened. And if there's no works of holiness in your life then you've not been born again, your sins are not forgiven, you're still dead in your transgressions and sins. So the lifestyle validates the saving work of God in your life, it validates it. And so, there have to be works of grace, there have to be works of holiness. James says, "What good is faith without deeds? Can such faith,” that kind of faith, “save you?” It cannot. “As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead.” And I would think we would go first and foremost to works of holiness. Of putting sin to death by the Spirit, of saying no to temptations, of growing in grace and godliness. These works I think James would've said are primarily what he has in mind, even more than any other, giving to the poor and needy, caring for others, evangelism, these things. Is there a pattern of holiness in your life? So there has to be a radical change. We must no longer live as the Gentiles do, we have to think differently now.

The Radical Change of Conversion

He's going to say later in Ephesians 5:8, maybe there's a few paragraphs down on the page, "For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of the light." So we're called on to live as children of the light. Now, this is a command, this is a command from Almighty God through the Apostle Paul. This is not an option. There's not a higher level of Christian, this has to be in your life. This pattern of holiness. He says in the ESV, which you heard Herbert read, verse 17, "Now I say this and testify in the Lord," it's a sense of a strong word coming from the apostle Paul, this is something that must not happen, the days of visiting that filthy temple of Artemis are over forever. You must never go back, the days of lying and stealing, and slander, and gossip and blasphemy must end forever, the days of sexual immorality, there “must not be even a hint of that among you.” Those days are over, they must end. Peter puts it this way in 1 Peter 4:3, he says, "For you've spent enough time in the past, doing what pagans choose to do, living in debauchery, lust, drunkenness, orgies, carousing, and detestable idolatry.” He calls it a flood of dissipation. We're done with that. We're done, immediately done. No more, no longer. There's a sense of urgency here, in what Paul is writing. You must not live like that anymore.

I think he really makes the urgency very sharp in Romans chapter 8, verse 13, and 14. There is contrasting the carnal mind, the mind of the flesh with the mind of the Spirit, and it all comes down to this, in Romans 8:13 and 14, "For if you live according to the flesh you will die." And in context that means go to Hell, die forever, eternally die. You'll be condemned. That's the life that leads to destruction, as Jesus said, and many travel through it. If you live according to the flesh, you will die, but “if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live.” That means go to Heaven. Because those who are led by the Spirit of God, these are the children of God, you see, and only those. Led, but where? Led into battle, led into holiness, led to put sin to death, that's the life that leads to Heaven. If you're not living that life, you're on the road to destruction that Jesus described. So this is something that must happen. This holiness worked out by the Spirit.

The Darkness of Life Apart from Christ (vs. 17-19)

Powerfully Clear Depiction of the Darkness of Life Apart from Christ

Now in verses 17 through 19 he describes the darkness of life apart from Christ. Look at it again, "So I tell you this and insist on it the Lord that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do in the futility of their thinking," he says. Verse 18, "They are darkened in their understanding, and separated from the life of God, because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts. Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity with a continual lust for more." So he begins by looking at their hearts. Their darkened hearts, their hearts are filled with darkness. He zeros in on their thinking. He says in verse 17, "You must no longer live as the gentiles do in the futility of their thinking." They have a futile way of thinking. Futile means empty, foolish, amounting to nothing. It doesn't go anywhere, ultimately vain and foolish. That's the way they think. They're looking for purpose from life, they're looking for meaning for life, and they're coming up empty. What do they come up with? They come up with effectively “let us drink and be merry for tomorrow we die.” They don't have an answer. You must not think like that, we can't have this futile empty thinking anymore the way that the Gentiles do. And the futility of their thinking leads to a worthless way of life.

Darkened Hearts

Now, perhaps these enlightened Greeks there, Greek speakers there in Asia Minor, would've been offended, say, "Hey, we have some of the greatest philosophers that have ever been in history. Socrates, and Plato, and Aristotle, are you telling us that's all emptiness and darkness? We have some amazing mathematicians, like Archimedes, we're able to put up the temple of Artemis. So are you telling me that those achievements are nothing?" You say ultimately they are nothing. They are nothing because they are empty. You're separated from the life of God, you have no connection with God, and so you may do all these great achievements, but God's not impressed by them. He's not surprised by them either. He knows what He made in you, he knows what's metaphorically "under the hood". He can lift up the hood, he knows what kind of engine his put. He knows how “fearfully and wonderfully made” your brains are. He knows that you're created in the image of God and that you can do astonishing things with your intellect. He made you.

You remember back at the time of the Tower of Babel, and remember when the people discovered how to make bricks and bake them thoroughly, and cover them with pitch. And I look at that from a mechanical engineering point of view. Tt's like, “alright, greater compression strength and you start getting some higher and higher buildings. Hey, I have an idea. Let's build a tower that reaches up to the heavens so that we can make a name for ourselves.” And that passage is so enlightening on just what God thinks about human science and intellectual ability. He says this in Genesis 11:6, the Lord said, “If as one people speaking one language they've begun to do this, then nothing they propose to do will be restrained from them." That's high praise. Keep in mind he also had to say within the Trinity, "Let us go down and see that puny, little tower that they're building." It doesn't say “puny, little” look it up say, "Pastor, you said ‘puny, little.’" I said it and I know. But that's the image. It's like the gap between our highest achievement and God is infinite, so God's not impressed, and he's saying apart from Christ, you're darkened in your thinking and in your understanding, doesn't matter what you achieve intellectually.

In the 1930s, Germany was a worldwide leader in technology. Some of the best physicists in the world were there, Einstein, and Schrodinger, and Heisenberg, and Max Plank, they were German. They were leading the world in the study of electromagnetic radiation which led to modern telecommunications, the greatest rocket scientists in the world were German. Nuclear physics. They were leading the world in aviation as Charles Lemberg made very plain when he visited and saw their Luftwaffe. Yet within 15 years, Germany lays as a big pile of smoldering rubble, and why? It's because of the darkness, the darkness of their heart and the wickedness of the leadership and the wickedness of the achievements and all that, etcetera. Technological achievements, undeniable, but that's still darkness apart from a life of God and a knowledge of God. So mere intelligence and academic achievement and inventiveness, and all that does not commend us to God. God is not impressed.

Probing of the Unregenerate Heart

Paul extends the probing of the unregenerate heart, he says, "They're darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts, having lost all sensitivity they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity with a continual lust for more." So this darkness extends to everything. Their understanding is corrupted, they understand things skewed. The affections of their hearts are corrupted, what they love and what they hate, it's messed up. The will is a slave to that messed up affection structure and so they're going to choose what they corruptedly love and reject what they corruptedly hate, and that's what their will is doing and their emotions are twisted. Every aspect of the heart.

Number of years ago there was a flood in Bangladesh and the water mixed. Fresh water, salt water, and waste water in ways that were deadly dangerous to the populous so that you couldn't go to your well and drink because it might very well be polluted. The contagion had spread and connected all of the water supplies and it was a big health issue. I think that's a picture to me of the corruption of original sin going to actual volitional sin corrupting every part of the inner person. That's what Paul's talking about here.

Cause for this Darkness: Separation from God

And the reason for this is separation from God, they're separated from the life of God, separated. Earlier in 2:12 it said, "without hope and without God in the world." they're separated, it's a gap between them and God and therefore there's a gap between them and life, that's the nature of being dead in their transgressions and sins, they're separated from life. In John 17, Jesus praying said, "Righteous Father, the world has not known you." It's like a cry from his heart. The world has not known you but I know you. And He said earlier in that same prayer in John 17:3, "now this is eternal life, that they may know you the only true God and Jesus Christ whom you have sent." that is what life is, it's knowing God. But these folks, they're hardened, they're calloused. Do you see those words? There's a hardness to them an unresponsiveness. Their conscience is seared. There is a picture in another verse about a seared conscience. In 1960 I read about a Abebe Bikila of Ethiopia, he won the Olympic Marathon in the burning streets of Rome running barefoot. Think about that. If I have to go across the sidewalk in the summer, I have tender feet and they're going to burn but this man had been running for his whole life with no shoes and so his feet were completely calloused and he ran better that way. And so that's a picture that building up of callous, it's a picture of insensitivity, unresponsiveness to spiritual things. So, they're hardened and they're darkened through this depravity.

It should hurt us to sin. There should be a hurt that happens. We're going to talk later about “grieving not the Holy Spirit of God.” It should hurt when we sin. There should be that responsiveness but these folks are hardened and calloused and they don't weep over sin, and not only that, but they're addicted to it. There's a continual lusting for more and more. It's never enough. Sin is addictive. You have to have more and more of the drink, more and more of the drug, more and more of the porn. The porn isn't enough, it's have to get weirder and weirder. There's a pushing and an edging all the time, why? Because there's a law of diminishing returns, and we become seared and hardened and need more and more, and that's the addictive nature. C.S. Lewis, in his book Screw Tape Letters where an older demon is training a younger demon on how to tempt humans, and he said, "The recipe is this, ever-increasing slavery to ever decreasing pleasure, that's the recipe for success." and that's what happens more and more enslavement less and less joy and pleasure out of it.

I just want to stop right now and say, "Is there anyone here who knows exactly what I'm talking about because I'm describing you?" That you know that you're separated from the life of God, you're on the outside. You don't know forgiveness. You don't know joy and happiness, perhaps you're afraid to die, maybe you're not because your hardness is such that you don't think about where you're going in all of this. You're not afraid of Judgment Day or you're terrified of Judgment Day. Either way, you know you're on the outside. All I can say is I thank God you're here. I prayed specifically this morning that God would bring some folks here. I actually prayed that they would come, that people would come, who didn't know they were coming when I was praying that prayer. And that may be describing you, maybe God brought you here and you know you're on the outside looking in, I plead with you to flee the wrath to come and go to Christ the savior. Jesus came and died on the cross for sinners like you and me. We were all like this, there's no difference. Paul's saying, “that's how you used to be Ephesians but now you have come to faith in Christ, you know that God sent his son who lived a sinless life, perfectly obedient to the law of God, and who died an atoning death for sinners like you.” Call on Him, "Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved."

How You Learned Christ (vs. 20-21)

Praise God for Salvation in Christ

So he turns in verses 20-21 and says, "What about you? That's not how you learned Christ." He's talking to Christians now. Look at it, verses 20-21, "You however did not come to know Christ that way, surely you heard him and were taught in him in accordance with the truth that is in Jesus." All I can say is, Praise God for the Gospel, amen? Praise God for salvation for sinners like us. He just abruptly breaks his incisive probings of the unregenerate pagan heart and addresses the Ephesians Christians directly. “You didn't know Jesus that way. That's not how it happened. You're not included.” There's been a decisive break made between me and sin. Praise God, a decisive break through Christ. And he says, "You didn't learn Christ through wickedness and depravity and hardness, not at all. Rather light was spoken into your dark heart." God said, “let there be the light of Jesus in your heart,” and He opened up the eyes of faith to see the light of the glory of God in the face of Christ and you were saved. Now he's calling on you because “God is light and in him there's no darkness at all,” He's calling on you, 1st John, to walk in the light as He is in the light. That's what's going on here.

And he refers to their hearing of the Gospel and it says literally, "Surely you heard Him." Now the ESV, NIV makes it more like Jesus is the topic of what you heard but that's grammatically not correct. It's not “Surely you heard of Him” or “heard about Him,” that's true, we did hear about Jesus. But the grammar actually says, "Surely you heard Him." and that's so much better, isn't it?

I remember I was converted when I was in a lab and I heard a voice in my heart. I know you're going to think I'm weird but it's true. That's how I was converted. It was telling me I'm going to a retreat with Campus Crusade for Christ, a fall retreat. He told me. Didn't ask by the way, He doesn't ask, He tells, He's a king. And I said out loud, "No, I'm not." I'll never forget. If you had been in the room like, "Who are you talking to?" "I don't know, but I'm not doing what that voice is telling me to do." Later found out in John 10, this beautiful passage, He's the good shepherd. “My sheep hear my voice, I know them and they follow me.And I give them eternal life.” So surely you heard Him calling into your darkness like you're a spiritual Lazarus and He said, "Lazarus come forth." and you came forth, that's what you heard, you heard Jesus calling, and He did call you and He said, "Come unto me all you who are weary and burdened and I'll give you rest," speaking right in their hearts. Isn't this what you heard? And you heard Him, and you were taught in Him in accordance with the truth in Jesus. You've heard about these things.

The Basic Rhythm of Daily Sanctification (vs. 22-24)

Now, over the next few weeks, we're going to talk about the basic rhythm of sanctification that follows. I'll just read it and describe it quickly and we'll be done. It says, "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 spirit of your minds," this is good translation spirit of your minds, "and to put on the new self-created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness." Now, that rhythm is going to bring you to ever higher levels of holiness the rest of your life. And it's applied to every topic you'll ever find in life. He gives you examples right in Ephesians 4, example number one. Falsehood and truth-telling. So stop lying and start only telling the truth, verse 25. He's going to do the same thing in verse 28, “Stop stealing and instead work and give to the needy.” So put off, put on. So it's not just stop doing, but there's something good you're going to do now. Third example in verse 29, “Stop using corrupted speech, corrupting unwholesome words, but only say those things that are going to give grace to those who listen.” Fill your mouth with grace, fill your mouth with the word of God. So put off, put on. That's what we're going to look at as we go forward.

Application

Alright, so by way of application I've already made my appeal to you. If you're an unbeliever, I plead with you, don't leave this place unconverted. Talk to me, talk to someone, say "I want to know forgiveness, I'm afraid to die. I know that what this text says is true of me. I've been darkened. I've been living a life of lust and corruption and I want to be free, I'm addicted but I want to be free." Come and talk to me or one of the elders or any member to say, "I want to know more about Christ." So do that. But Christians understand, this was for you. The text says he's appealing to you as Christians to not be like this. So be aware of the danger, be aware of the fact that the seeds of your own destruction are in your heart. You're going to be fighting the flesh the rest of your life. So go over these verses and say, "How am I living like pagans? How am I living like a darkened calloused person? Is there a principle of sin in my life that I am not addressing like I need to, need to put to death? Am I living a holy life, and am I being renewed in my mind?" We're going to talk more about this over the next few weeks, but is there a regular pattern of Bible intake in your life?

Are you having your daily quiet time? Are you getting up and reading the word and feasting on the word of God, and being transformed in your mind? Different thinking leads to different living. If you want a different life, you have to think differently. That's what the word of God does. So just get your mind in the stream, the clean river of God's truth day after day, memorize the Scripture, just have it flowing through you. And also see the non-Christian world around you in light of these verses. There's a lot in Ephesians about what the non-Christians are like. They are dead in their transgressions and sins, they are without hope and without God in the world, they're darkened in their understanding, they need Christ. Does this insight motivate you to evangelism and missions? Does it motivate you to have courageous conversations with coworkers and fellow students and even professors, or bosses, or total strangers? A pattern of outreach built on compassion, because this is what they're going through, this ever increasing lust for sin.

Now over the next few weeks, we're going to talk about sanctification. We're going to talk about the rhythm of all that, come to that, but already begin putting these things into practice. Look at areas of your life where you need to grow, put off the old be made new in the spirit of your mind and put on the new. Close with me if you would in prayer.

Prayer 

Father, thank you for the things we're beginning to learn in Ephesians 4:17-24, thank you for the insight that the word of God gives. Thank you for the way it tells us the truth about our neighbors, coworkers. Thank you for the way it tells us the truth about ourselves, and we pray that you would continue to do a work of sovereign grace in our hearts transforming us, and make us an effective evangelistic church. Oh Lord, I pray that we see more and more baptisms here, more and more people who are being transformed by the Gospel. We pray in Jesus' name, Amen.

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