Introduction: Were you a Christian your entire life? If so,
some of what is written to the Ephesians today may be
difficult to align with your life. Imagine that you grew up
worshiping idols. Your moral compass would be completely
different than that of those who grew up accepting the Bible
as truth. In our study this week Paul gives us a guide on
Christian living. He emphasizes the significance of
transformation from our old selves to our renewed selves in
Christ. This shift doesn’t just influence personal
development; it extends to our relationships, notably in the
church and our homes. Let’s delve deep into understanding
the heart of this transformation and how it builds unity
among believers!

I. The Old Self

A. Read Ephesians 4:17. What does Paul mean when he
says that we must change our “walk?” (We need to
change the direction of our life.)

1. What causes the Gentiles to be off course?
(There is something wrong with their thinking.
Their minds are not operating correctly. Their
thinking is distorted and inadequate.)

B. Read Ephesians 4:18. Are the Gentiles innocent
victims of ignorance? (It doesn’t sound that way
because it says their ignorance is due to their
“hardness of heart.” Plus, the words “darkened”
and “alienated” are words reflecting movement
towards the dark side of things.)

C. Read Ephesians 4:19. What is the goal of these
Gentiles? (They desired to “practice every kind of

1. Why do they have this goal? (They have “given
themselves up” to this way of life. This
paints a picture of giving in to impurity.
Again the phrase “have become callous” shows
movement to the dark side.)

2. Imagine a church in which these “old” traits
represent the current attitudes of members.
How would this create division or challenges
within the community of believers?

a. What if one group of “old” trait members
took pride in their traits?

3. How important to our transformation is it to
acknowledge these traits and understand their

II. Embracing the New Self

A. Read Ephesians 4:20-21. What is essential to a new
self? (Education. Notice all the words that
reflect learning: learned, heard, taught, and

1. What role do those essentials suggest for the
church and its members? (We need to be in the
business of teaching about Jesus. As Paul
writes “you learned Christ.”)

B. Read Ephesians 4:22-24. What do you think Paul
means when he asks us to “put off” and “put on?”
(One commentator calls this “practical religion.”
We make decisions every day about how we should
think and live. This is a continuous, conscious
decision in our Christian journey.))

1. How are righteousness, holiness, and truth
involved in this?

2. How does the Holy Spirit play a role in this?
(It seems very difficult for me to change my
desires. That is why Ephesians 4:23 speaks of
being “renewed in the spirit of your minds.”)

3. How does this goal impact unity in the church?
(Can you imagine a weight-loss meeting in
which half the group wanted to gain weight and
half wanted to lose weight?)

C. Both Ephesians 4:22 and Ephesians 4:24 seem to
equate changing the old self for the new self with
changing clothing – a purely external issue. Is
our clothing a purely external matter? (I am
positive, based on personal experience, that how
you dress influences what people think of you. I
also think it influences how we think about

1. Our goal is not to focus on clothing, but
rather the idea that we make the changes
we can which will begin the transformation of
our attitudes. Is what I just wrote consistent
with righteousness by faith? Is it consistent
with the work of the Holy Spirit? (The power
is in the Holy Spirit. But the decision is
ours. Our decisions are continuous.)

III. Practical Steps to the New Life

A. Read Ephesians 4:25. Why do you think in our goal
of putting on the new self Paul mentions telling
the truth first? (Telling the truth is
foundational to having a solid relationship with
others. Adam Clarke’s Commentary on this verse
says “truth was but of small account among many of
even the best heathens.”)

1. How do you react to people who habitually lie
to you?

2. Notice the phrase “we are members one of
another.” What do you think that means and why
is it relevant to truth? (Recall our
discussions about unity? We are part of the
body of Jesus. How would your body operate if
one part of the body was deceiving another

B. Read Ephesians 4:26. What kind of anger is not

1. Read Mark 3:5. What kind of anger is Jesus
showing here? (The context shows that the
Jewish leaders were looking to see if Jesus
would violate the Sabbath by healing a man
with a withered hand. Jesus was angry with
their attitude (“their hardness of heart”)
that it was improper to do good on the

2. Read Mark 3:6. What does this teach us about
the nature of their hard hearts? (They thought
it wrong to heal on the Sabbath, but it was
permissible to plot on the Sabbath to kill

a. What did the attitude of these religious
leaders say about the character of God?

b. Consider again the attitude that made
Jesus angry. Was it just about His doing
good on the Sabbath, or was it
misrepresenting the character of God, or
something else?

3. Why is there a time element to anger? Why
should it be resolved in one day? (If we
harbor anger it turns to malice and
resentment. In other words, it gets worse.)

C. Read Ephesians 4:26-27. I thought it best to read
both of these verses together. Are they related?
If so, how? (By nursing a grudge, by becoming
bitter, we open the door to greater sins.)

D. Read Ephesians 4:28. Begging in the United States
is uncommon outside of the larger cities.
When I see able-bodied people (mostly men) begging
it irritates me. My irritation is partly that the
beggar is lazy, and partly guilt over my refusal
to give the beggar money. Perhaps, despite
appearances, he cannot work. Perhaps he is
mentally ill. What does this text say about the
benefit of working? (It gives you a sense of self-
worth and allows you to share with those in need.)

1. Should the point about working to help others
make me feel even more guilty? (I trust Paul’s
primary point is that you change from someone
who is taking from others to someone who gives
to others.)

E. Read Ephesians 4:29. The verse uses two words that
take some contemplation to connect. The words are
“corrupting” and “building up.” How would you
relate them in this context? (If you corrupt
someone else by your words you harm them. If you
encourage someone or educate someone with your
words you help them. Paul tells us to use speech
that helps others.)

F. Read Ephesians 4:30. Is “grieving” the Holy Spirit
like lying, getting angry, or stealing? (Read
John 16:13. The work of the Holy Spirit is to lead us
to truth. When we fail in the practical living
that Paul advocates, the Holy Spirit is frustrated
in its work. Paul tells us to encourage the Holy
Spirit by right living.)

1. Why does Paul mention in Ephesians 4:30 being
“sealed” by the Holy Spirit. (We have
previously discussed that the presence of the
Holy Spirit with us today is God’s guarantee
of our eternal life with Him. If we keep this
in mind we will be more conscious of doing the
right things.)

G. Read Ephesians 4:31-32. Can you summarize these
two verses? What is the common theme? (We need to
treat each other with kindness and not malice.)

1. Why? (Jesus forgave us. We need to have a
forgiving spirit towards each other.)

H. Friend, you are saved by grace alone. It is not
based on your works. Being saved means that you
are different than you used to be. It means that
you are leaving the old life behind and walking in
accord with the will of the Holy Spirit. Will you
determine today to live a life consistent with
being saved?

IV. Next week: Living Wisely.

Copr. 2023, Bruce N. Cameron, J.D. Scripture quotations are
from the ESV Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard
Version ), copyright 2001 by Crossway, a publishing
ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All
rights reserved. Suggested answers are found within
parentheses. If you normally receive this lesson by e-mail,
but it is lost one week, you can find it by clicking on this
link: Pray for the guidance of the
Holy Spirit as you study