Out With The Old, And In With The New!
Ephesians 4:17 through Ephesians 4:24 (NIV)
17So I tell you this, and insist on it in the Lord, that (I, A) you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking. 18They are darkened in their understanding and (I, B)separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts. (I, C)19Having lost all sensitivity, (I, D)they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, with a continual lust for more.
(II, A)20You, however, did not come to know Christ that way. 21Surely you heard of him and were taught in him in accordance with the truth that is in Jesus. (II, B)22You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; (II, C)23to be made new in the attitude of your minds; 24and to put on the new self, created to be like God (II, D)in true righteousness and holiness.
Introduction: You can not claim the cleansing of Christ and remain the same.
Sometimes men think that they can reform themselves and live a new life, but that is not the case. Man can not change himself anymore than a dead person can raise themselves. It has to be the giver of life himself, Jesus Christ, who imparts life to us as He did to Lazarus at the cold and silent tomb.
* No matter how much a man tries to reform himself, he can never achieve the newness of life that God wants him to have in Christ. Although a man can make changes in his life, even positive changes, he still remains the same person and often goes from one kind of problem to another.
Sports broadcaster Harry Kalas once introduced a Philadelphia Phillies baseball player, Garry Maddox, with the following words: "He has turned his life around. He used to be depressed and miserable. Now he's miserable and depressed."
We need Christ to change us with might and power to become alive to God.
2 Corinthians 5:17 (NIV)
17Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!
Our new life is a departure from old ways. It is more than turning over a new leaf, but it is a coming alive to the things of God.
*ER - Vital Statistics tell if you are dead or alive.
I. Leave the Corpse Life - A Flat Liner
A. Without Understanding
*In the subterranean chamber of imagination, what do you worship? Before what pictures do you bow? Do you do, in the mind and imagination, what you fear to do in the flesh? Are words spoken there which you dare not speak with the lips? There, do you scorn and ridicule one whom you publicly praise or flatter? In this realm, do you ever wish another out of your way? What are the pictures on the walls of your imagination? --McCartney
B. Without Life
*"Fear not that thy life shall come to an end, but rather fear that
it shall never have a beginning."
For reasons no one may ever know, a woman, who enjoyed a lively form of worship, went one Sunday to a very staid and formal church. As the preacher reached the end of his first prayer, she said quietly but firmly, "Amen, Lord. Amen."
A deacon who was in the same pew leaned over his wife's lap, and whispered, "Lady, please try to control yourself! We don't allow that kind of thing in this church!"
However, no sooner had the next hymn come to a close, when the woman shouted, "Amen! Hallelujah! Praise the Lord!"
The deacon quickly leaned over his wife's lap again. "Lady!" he hissed, "You must quiet down immediately or LEAVE!"
"Oh, I really didn't mean to DISTURB," said the woman, "but I'm just so HAPPY since I found the LORD!"
"Well, you may have found the Lord," hissed the deacon, "but I am quite certain you did not find Him HERE!"
C. Without Sensitivity
- Doctor pricking with a pin to find evidence of feeling.
Those who are dead are without feeling, or become insensitive. Just as a corpse looses all feeling in its body, so too are those who sin with pleasure while they at the same time reject the pricks of the conscience.
D. Without Control
- A marionette Puppet in the hands of a slave master called sin.
II. Live the Christ Life - A Full Lifer
A. Exposed to the Truth
- Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life, and the way to life is through the truth. Minds that reject the truth are still dead.
B. Extending Control
* In Cleveland a few years ago, this banner proclaimed the virtues of a certain grade of motor oil: "A Clean Engine Always Delivers Power."
C. Experiencing Life
* An unbeliever said to a converted alcoholic, "Surely you don't believe those Bible miracles such as Christ changing water into wine?"
"No difficulty in believing that kind," he replied. "You come to my house and I'll show you how Christ changed beer into carpets, chairs, and a piano!"
*It is related of Augustine that after his conversion he was met by a fallen woman who had known him in his sin. As he passed her by, she stopped him and said to him, calling him by his familiar name, "Austin, it is I." Augustine turned and said, "But I am not the man you once knew, for I have become a new creature in Christ Jesus."
- Dr. Spiros Zodhiates, Pulpit Helps, March 1996, p. 4
Romans 6:10 through Romans 6:11 (NIV)
10The death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God.
11In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus.
D. Expressing Holiness
Romans 6:13 through Romans 6:14 (NIV)
13Do not offer the parts of your body to sin, as instruments of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God, as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer the parts of your body to him as instruments of righteousness. 14For sin shall not be your master, because you are not under law, but under grace.
Conclusion: It is Grace that teaches us to fear, and grace our fears relieve. Not because we can suddenly excuse sin because of grace, but because we can finally overcome the sin that leads to death. We can truly become new through Jesus Christ, and be given new life.
Jesus is the resurrection and the life - Usually used at funerals as we look at the dead and find hope in Christ. The promise to the sisters of Lazarus was that though he were dead, yet shall he live. There are many who are living a life today, who though they are alive, yet they are dead. God calls us to leave the Corpse life, and start true life through Christ.