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The Riches of His calling to holiness

The Sufficiency of Christ: A walk through Ephesians  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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New life, new responsibilities or renewed ones for the older Christians

Notes & Transcripts

Sequoias

(insert slide of redwood trees)
One of the things CA is known for is the sequoias or the redwood trees. They are massive and some you can even drive a car through. But what you may not know is that the roots of these giant sequoias are not deep, they spread out and are intertwined with each other. The roots of the sequoias lie just below the surface but they can weather the worst of storms, how? For they grow in groves and the roots intertwine with each other to hold each other up.
We as people are like the sequoias we need to grow in groves (we may call them churches). alone the winds, storms of this life can take us out, but collectively when we are intertwined with each other the storms cannot break us. As the sequoias grow and reach toward the sun, we as Christian’s when we grow together in groves reach toward the Son!
Our passage today we look at the call to holiness, personally and how collectively it helps us to grow together.
God called us by the Gospel
God called us to the mystery
God called us to unity
God called us to holiness, that is what we are looking at today.

I. Call to Holiness

Eph4:
Ephesians 4:17–18 NASB95
17 So this I say, and affirm together with the Lord, that you walk no longer just as the Gentiles also walk, in the futility of their mind, 18 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;
Ephesians 4:19–20 NASB95
19 and they, having become callous, have given themselves over to sensuality for the practice of every kind of impurity with greediness. 20 But you did not learn Christ in this way,
Eph4:190
Ephesians 4:21–22 NASB95
21 if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught in Him, just as truth is in Jesus, 22 that, in reference to your former manner of life, you lay aside the old self, which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit,
Ephesians 4:23–24 NASB95
23 and that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind, 24 and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth.
So we are to live and work in unity, which means we need to walk away from vanity and the things that detour us from walking in unity to the fullness of Christ (re: 4:13)
Paul calls for people to come to the calling of holiness. Holiness to obtain it by ourselves is impossible for without faith it is impossible to please God and holiness pleases God. We need God to change us hence why David prayed.
Psalm 51:10 NASB95
10 Create in me a clean heart, O God, And renew a steadfast spirit within me.
We cannot do it, we need God to do it, but before God will change our heart we have to change our mind. This is what Paul is talking about, we need to make the decide to make changes in our life because we are trying to grasp the riches we have in Christ Jesus, including the riches of His calling to holiness.
Ephesus was a gentile culture where temple prostitution was considered a form of worship to the goddess Diana, crime, immorality, idolatry were all common, and this is what many of the people there in Ephesus were coming out of and Paul is telling them don’t live like that anymore, that way is futile.
Then in (v.18-19) Paul goes on to tell us why they were like that, they were darkened, sin had no impact on them. I heard a story about a old preacher Dr. Donald Barnhouse who shared a message about the repercussions of sin and a youngman came up after the service saying that sin did not effect him, he felt no guilt, no shame about it at all eventhough he knew it was wrong. Dr. Barnhouse asked the youngman if he dropped a heavy weight on a dead man would he feel it? The youngman said “no, he’s dead.” Dr. Barnhouse replied that’s the point, if sin does not impact you, if you don’t feel it’s weight than you must be spiritually dead. Don’t let there be a hardness of heart.
When the weight of sin loses its fear of the consequences in our lives then we are slowing spiritually dying. Sin is grievous and we need to remember that always and not allow a hardness of heart to make us callous. It sure does not promote unity within the body, nor maturity.
(Slide) These verses point out some very dangerous things.
(Slide) Petrified hearts -they no longer feel the weight and the grievousness of sin.
(Slide) Dominated by sin lost its shamefulness - they don’t even try to hide their sin, they don’t care who see’s anymore
(Slide) giving in to lustful desires they don’t care -they don’t think about who their sin impacts, they just give in to their own selfish desires.
Is this not the same problem we see in the world today and even slipping into the church too if we want to be honest. People want to turn the eye to sin, nor call sin, sin, we want to make it not sound so grievous.
Now this is not the way you learned was it? That is what Paul brings up.
Ephesians 4:20–21 NASB95
20 But you did not learn Christ in this way, 21 if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught in Him, just as truth is in Jesus,
You heard the truth, believed the truth, obeyed the truth, don’t be one who just knows about God, be one who knows God. How we do that is by doing what we are doing today. It is going further too, it is reading and studying God’s Word on your own.
That brings us to the next point Paul is trying to make in our call to holiness, the call to put off, and to put on.
Ephesians 4:22–24 NKJV
22 that you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, 23 and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, 24 and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness.
Ephesians 4:23–24 NASB95
23 and that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind, 24 and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth.
Ephesians 4:22–23 NKJV
22 that you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, 23 and be renewed in the spirit of your mind,
(Insert a slide with two pictures on it, 1. graveclothes, 2. new man in Christ)
First you put off, you get rid of those old graveclothes then you put on a new way of doing things that is created in Christ Jesus in true righteousness and holiness.
Put off deceitful lust, that is a body killer, the spiritual body, the body of Christ. this is not just a sexual thing, but a desire, a lust for anything the flesh desires, demands that we indulge ourselves in (ok for me sometimes it is food) we need to be careful
there is old adage that goes like this. (Slide) “Lust is like a fire the more you feed it the more it demands. The hotter it gets, the hotter it burns.” - We need to put off deceitful lust and put on and be renewed in the spirit of your mind.
Notice Paul says put off, put on, we need to do it, and it takes effort. We cannot just sit there and think the transformation is going to happen, we need to get involved get up and get involved. We learn to replace our old lifestyle with a new lifestyle in Christ. Remember you change your mind, God will change your heart and will help you in your transformation through knowledge of him. More than academic knowledge but true knowledge (which means application knowledge).
Now this call to holiness takes come cultivation.

II. Cultivation of Holiness

Ephesians 4:25–27 NASB95
25 Therefore, laying aside falsehood, speak truth each one of you with his neighbor, for we are members of one another. 26 Be angry, and yet do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, 27 and do not give the devil an opportunity.
Eph4:25
Ephesians 4:28–29 NASB95
28 He who steals must steal no longer; but rather he must labor, performing with his own hands what is good, so that he will have something to share with one who has need. 29 Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear.
Eph4:28-
Ephesians 4:30–31 NASB95
30 Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31 Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice.
Eph4:30-31
Ephesians 4:32 NASB95
32 Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.
So in other words, having laid aside, put off the old ways there are new ways of doing things, new lifestyle to learn about and to apply so as to protect the unity of the faith.
It starts with speaking truth (v.25) we put off lying and replace it with truth. This is the truth we find in Christ Jesus (v.21). We make telling the truth to our neighbor, or in other words sharing the truth with our neighbor our habit. Peter said it another way.
1 Peter 3:15 NASB95
15 but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence;
One more quick point on this item before moving on. There is speaking the truth, but then what about when we keep silent is there a falsehood that can happen there? Yes there is look at 1Cor5 and you can see that, they were not saying anything about sin. By our silence it is giving approval isn’t it?
So put off, and put on, be ready, then do it! Speak the truth.
(Slide)Don’t let anger get the best of you!
Jesus did not let anger get the best of him, for anger was not His best, His best was to worship the Father and to do the things the Father told Him to do. When he turned the tables of the money changers over it was because it was keeping people from worshipping the Father. There were other times he was angry too, but you can research those yourself in the scripture.
There is a time and a place for anger, and a way, so we need to be very careful. Anger can bring up unwholesome words (v.29) that does not promote unity within the body.
Anger can fester and open you up to the unwholesome things we have put off. Don’t go to bed angry, have issues with wife, kids, husband, deal with it. A neighbor, coworker or the like, handle it, don’t go to bed angry. We want no root of bitterness to grow.
Hebrews 12:15 NASB95
15 See to it that no one comes short of the grace of God; that no root of bitterness springing up causes trouble, and by it many be defiled;
Anger, bitterness not only effects you, according to Heb12:15 “many’ be defiled. It effects, impacts others. So don’t go to bed angry. Or in reality the scripture says “do not let the sun go down on your anger.”
So we have (THIS IS NOT ON A SLIDE)
Be honest, put away lying
Don’t let anger get the best of you
Now it brings us to stealing, stealing no more (v.28)
Not only are we not to steal and to work with our hands, but Paul gives a reason to do it, so you can help others. See the Christian is to put others before themselves and to trust God for provision for their life.
Now comes the topic of the words that come out our mouth (v.29)
Ephesians 4:29 NASB95
29 Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear.
we are to build up, encourage, edify one another, it will be giving grace to those who hear. Kingdom people have a different, or should, way of talking, the world murmurs, complains, curses, and corrupt communication, they fault-finding and filled with cynicism, whereas the Christian is to speak good words and to give grace!
(Slide) Can people tell you are a Christian by the way you talk?
The words you use, and how you use them make a difference!
For when we don’t put away lying, when we steal, when we use unwholesome words not used to build up and encourage the body then we grieve the Holy Spirit
Ephesians 4:30 NASB95
30 Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.
It is not that God does not know these things about us, it’s about how these things effect us and the unity of the body and the people we can lead to come to the kingdom.
So we need to remember
Ephesians 4:31 NASB95
31 Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice.
We started with put off today and put on, we have a reminder of putting off, to be put away and one last one, what we are to put on
Ephesians 4:32 NASB95
32 Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.
We put off - wrath, anger, clamor, slander and malice and put on kindness, tenderheartedness, forgiveness just as Christ set the example for us.
(Slide) So as we draw to a close the “unity” chapter of Ephesians there are lot’s of great principles to take away.
(Slide)God has given us the things we need as a church (the One’s) so we can be unified and effective
(Slide) We were given gifts to help unify and mature the body to the fullness of God in Christ Jesus
(Slide) We are a church (body of believers) we need to grow in groves and not try to be a lone ranger
(Slide) Whereas we are told things to put off, we are given things to put on to help us on our journey.
(Wrap up/Invitation) So put on love, put on respect, put on truth, put on working for the good of others. But most of all, put on Jesus first! (expand)
(Insert slide with 3 pictures 1. Put on Christ in baptism. 2. Put on love for one another, 3. the word UNITY in a text box)
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