Introduction: Last week Paul gave us the vision of what we could and
should become in Jesus. We are all a part of the church, each of us
fulfilling our specific role. The glue that holds us together so we
can work well with each other is “ligaments” of humility, gentleness
and love. What happens if one part of our church body is infected
with the cancer of sin? This week Paul talks to us about what we
should avoid in life to remain a healthy part of the church. God has
expectations for our life. Let’s jump in and learn about them!

  1. Closed Minds, Dark Hearts

    1. Read Ephesians 4:17-18. Some cite Paul for the argument
      that once we are saved it does not matter what we do. What
      does this text suggest? (In Ephesians 4:17 the Greek word
      the NIV translates “live” is the “peripateo” that we
      discussed last week. Paul is telling us not to “walk” in
      the ways we did before we were converted.)

      1. The mind is the key to our actions. When Paul tells
        that the unconverted Gentiles have “futile thinking,”
        what does he mean? (Something that is “futile” is not
        worth the effort. They have “lightweight” thoughts.
        Thoughts that are not worth thinking.)

      2. Notice the other descriptors that Paul uses:
        “darkened,” “ignorance,” and “hardening of hearts.”
        Would “evil,” “uneducated,” and “closed” minds be a
        reasonable way to restate this?

        1. How does the world often describe Christians?
          (“Uneducated” and “closed minded” are two common
          descriptions. Paul tells us that these terms
          more appropriately describe those who have not
          accepted Jesus!)

          1. Why are these terms appropriate for the
            world? (Without an understanding of the
            mystery of God’s will you are missing an
            important part of your education. If you
            reject the gospel, you have a closed mind.
            If you do not know God, you cannot
            properly understand the world.)

      3. A Commentary, Critical and Explanatory, on the Old
        and New Testaments brings out an interesting aspect
        of these verses. It tells us that Ephesians 4:18
        refers to “literally the hardening of the skin so as
        not to be sensible to touch.” The unconverted cannot
        see and he cannot feel. Imagine a life like that!

    2. Read Ephesians 4:19. What kind of “sensitivity” has been
      lost by the world? What sight and feeling has been lost?
      (The sensitivity to the impulse of the Holy Spirit.)

      1. When Paul tells us that those who give themselves up
        to “every kind of impurity” have a “continual lust
        for more,” what is he describing in today’s terms?
        (Addictions. Sexual impurity, for example, is both
        progressive and addictive. I saw an investigative
        program on trapping men who were using the Internet
        to lure underage boys and girls into a sexual
        relationship. Adults, posing as children, would
        respond to electronic messages from these men and
        would tell them that they were home alone. These men
        would walk into the home of the child and be
        confronted by a news reporter. Even a medical doctor
        and a rabbi were caught in this sting. These men knew
        this was wrong, but they did not resist their evil
        impulses. Their addictions made them insensitive to
        the Holy Spirit – and to common sense!)

    3. As a part of the body of Christ, what is our mental
      obligation? (To be open-minded about the things of God, to
      be educated about God’s Word, to think worth-while
      thoughts, to be sensitive to the Holy Spirit.)

  2. Coming to Christ

    1. Read Ephesians 4:20-21. How is the Christian different?
      (He has now been taught to act differently.)

      1. Do we actually do this: teach Christians to act

      2. When I was a young man in my early twenties and first
        started teaching a Bible class, the big theological
        controversy was over righteousness by faith. My
        church was divided not so much over the issue of
        grace, but the issue of what that meant in the life
        of the believer. Some praised the “relief and
        release” they felt in knowing that their actions no
        longer mattered. They no longer had to worry about
        obedience. Is that what we should be teaching? (Let’s
        look at that next.)

    2. Read Ephesians 4:22-24. What does Paul say is the “truth
      that is in Jesus?” (Paul continues that the truth we have
      been taught is to put off the old self. Put on new
      attitudes, put on a new self “created to be like God in
      true righteousness and holiness.”)

      1. Do our thoughts and actions matter? (You bet they do.
        They do not save us, but they are a critical part of
        our new way of life. We do not become converted and
        then remain in our old life.)

      2. When you look at the phrase “created to be like God
        in true righteousness and holiness,” of what are you
        reminded? (The creation of Adam and Eve. Jesus gives
        us the ability to be recreated again in the image of

  3. Practical Godliness

    1. Read Ephesians 4:25-28. Paul now gives us some very
      specific advice on living the Godly life. What connection
      do you see between verses 26 and 27? (Anger gives Satan a
      foothold in your life.)

      1. How is that? (Anger prompts you to do things which
        you know are not right. Your normal restraints are

      1. What does Paul say to the poor who will not work?

      2. What does Paul say to the rich who are selfish?

    1. Read Ephesians 4:29. What test would you apply to whether
      your talk is appropriate? (Whether it would benefit those
      who listen.)

      1. What place is left for insults? Gossip? Malicious

      2. We read in Ephesians 4:25 that we should speak
        truthfully. Sometimes I hear (and sometimes I find
        myself saying) “Well, it’s the truth.” Is
        truthfulness the only standard by which we should
        measure our speech? (We should ask ourselves not only
        whether something is true, we should also ask whether
        it is helpful and beneficial.)

    2. Read Ephesians 4:30. Why is this such important advice?
      (Because the power of the Holy Spirit is the key to the
      new life. Romans 15:16.)

    3. Read Ephesians 4:31-32. How do you get rid of bitterness?
      Is it something that you can just grit your teeth and

      1. What relationship do you see between these two
        verses? (The one is the antidote to the other. If you
        practice being kind, compassionate and forgiving,
        then bitterness, rage, anger, brawling, slander and
        malice will be banished.)

    4. Friend, God calls you to the new life. Will you determine
      to put the “old person” behind you and walk in the ways of

  1. Next week: The Christian Walk.