Ephesians 4:17-24 Be Who You Are

by | Jun 7, 2023 | Ephesians, New Testament

I.     The Spiritual Life Of An Unbeliever Vs. 17-19

A.      The Way They Think V. 17

1.      Therefore- refers back to the exhortation which began in 4:1-3.
2.       and testify in the Lord- An appeal made by Jesus through Paul.
3.      that you should no longer walk as the Gentiles walk. walk– to order one’s behavior.
4.      futility- aimless, worthless, unprofitable.

a.      Vaughn- Futility: “The thought is not that unregenerate minds are empty. It is that they are filled with things that lead to nothing.”

5.       mind- not just intellectual understanding, but moral understanding & perception
6.       “Don’t live like unbelievers who end up thinking in unprofitable ways”.
7.       Christians ought to realize that we ARE different. Don’t try SO hard to be relatable.

B.      Why They Think That Way V. 18 

1.      4:18ahaving their understanding (about God & His ways) darkened,

a.       Their ability to understand, feel, desire, the things of God was made to be darkened.

2.       4:18b-being alienated from the life of God. alienated– to be estranged from God.

a.       Their lack of spiritual perception was a result of not having a life with God.

3.      4:18c-because of the ignorance that is in them,

a.      Ignorance-Intellectual and moral blindness. Not an external force, but in them.

4.      4:18d-because of the blindness (hardness) of their heart;

a.      blindness– literally, hardness. “The covering with a callous.”
b.      It is the repetitive rejection of Christ and the light of God that hardens their hearts.

5.       Read John 1:1-9; 3:16-21; 8:12; 9:5; 12:35, 36, 46.
6.       Jesus is the remedy to a darkened understanding of life. He IS Light.

C.      How They Act V. 19

1.        who- “who are of such a nature that…”
2.        being past feeling– to cease to feel pain or grief.

a.      Speaks of a heart that has ceased to be sensitive to the prompting of the conscience.

3.       have given themselves over– to give into the hands of another.
4.       lewdness- no restraints, a surrender to impulsive lewd desires, regardless of consequences to self, and with no effort to conceal it. Flaunting self-destructive sin.
5.       Miller defines unbridled lust– “A cannibal committing suicide by nibbling on himself”.
6.       uncleanness- every kind of moral uncleanness.
7.       with greediness– the desire for more immorality, or a different kind of immorality

II.      The New Nature Of The Believer Vs. 20-24

A.      Spiritual Understanding Vs. 20, 21

  1.     V. 20-you- emphatic. “But you, as opposed to them….”

a.      “But you, being distinctly different from them…
b.      The Christian is different than the unbeliever in spiritual understanding.

2.      V. 21a if- since, in view of the fact that you have heard of Him. If = since

a.      They had heard & learned Christ when they were converted. A fulfilled condition.

3.      And been taught by Him– not just about Him, or of Him, but by Him.

a.     They learned about Jesus by walking with Jesus, through the Holy Spirit.

4.      V. 21b Literally- as the truth about Jesus is found in Jesus, through fellowship.

B.     What To Do And Why Vs. 22-24

1.       V. 22a that you put off– Like the putting off of a garment, like a change of clothes.

a.      QUESTION- Why can the Christian “put off” the old man?
ANSWER- Because we have been given a new nature to replace it with.
b.      QUESTION- Why can’t the unbeliever put off his old nature?
ANSWER- Because he doesn’t have a new nature to put on.
c.      Read Romans 6:6, 7; 2 Corinthians 5:17; Galatians 2:20.
d.     The Christian has a new nature to put on. That new nature is instinctively holy.
e.      In contrast, the old nature is instinctively in rebellion against God.
f.       David Guzik– “Think of a prisoner who is released from prison, but still wears his prison
Clothes and acts like a prisoner, and not like a free man. The first thing you would tell that person is to “put on some new clothes”. (Not a prisoner anymore)
g.      Why would you want to suffer with the consequences of wearing prison clothes?
h.      Prison clothes=old identity. You might be used to them, but it’s better to change.

2.      4:22b, c– What to “put off”.

a.     old man– old in the sense of worn out, decrepit, useless.
b. The unsaved person dominated by the totally depraved nature.
c.      which grows corrupt– speaks of a present condition: a continual process.
d. The unsaved person grows increasingly corrupt apart from Christ.
e.      according to the deceitful lusts– passionate cravings which are deceitful, false, lying cravings. Promising satisfaction, they create emptiness.
f.       Drinking saltwater makes you thirstier and poisons you with seven times more salt g. than the body can handle. The more you drink, the thirstier you get, the quicker you die.

3.      4:23a-renovated by inward reformation.

a.       the spirit of your mind- not merely a change of opinion, but a change in the morality of thinking.
b.      In the part of the mind that has a consciousness towards God, the spiritual man c. who through an inward change now has a new morality and thinks differently in regard to moral issues.

4.      4:24a- and that you put on– speaks of a fulfilled condition. They were new creations.

a.     Their old man had been put out of business; the new man had come to life.
b.     New man- Put off the old useless man; put on the new man; new in quality.
c.      which was created according to God- the Christian is made a new creature after the order of God, in the image and likeness of God, taking on the character of Christ.

5.      4:24b-in true righteousness and holiness.

a.      righteousness- doing what is right and just.
b.      holiness- unpolluted with wickedness.