That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.
So last week we covered the concept that when we are born again in Christ, the old man is put off, and the new man is put on; furthermore, the believer who has a revelation of this truth allows a process to ensue where the mind is renewed. When the believer becomes more and more aware of how God is creating a new creation in Christ and how the plan of God works through the operation of grace working in the heart of man, he learns to rest in the finished work of Christ, allowing an inner change to take place, allowing a new thought pattern to emerge, a renewed mind:
Now, Paul begins to exhort the Ephesians this way...Ephesians 4:21
If so be that ye have heard him, and have been taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus:
If you've really been taught the doctrines of Christ, and you're beginning to operate with a renewed mind, then some new behaviors will begin to emerge, because bondages will be broken in your life, because Jesus defeated the forces of evil at the cross.
Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbour: for we are members one of another.
They answered him, We be Abraham's seed, and were never in bondage to any man: how sayest thou, Ye shall be made free? Jesus answered them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin. And the servant abideth not in the house for ever: but the Son abideth ever. If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed. I know that ye are Abraham's seed; but ye seek to kill me, because my word hath no place in you. I speak that which I have seen with my Father: and ye do that which ye have seen with your father. They answered and said unto him, Abraham is our father. Jesus saith unto them, If ye were Abraham's children, ye would do the works of Abraham. But now ye seek to kill me, a man that hath told you the truth, which I have heard of God: this did not Abraham. Ye do the deeds of your father. Then said they to him, We be not born of fornication; we have one Father, even God. Jesus said unto them, If God were your Father, ye would love me: for I proceeded forth and came from God; neither came I of myself, but he sent me. Why do ye not understand my speech? even because ye cannot hear my word. Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it. And because I tell you the truth, ye believe me not. Which of you convinceth me of sin? And if I say the truth, why do ye not believe me? He that is of God heareth God's words: ye therefore hear them not, because ye are not of God. Then answered the Jews, and said unto him, Say we not well that thou art a Samaritan, and hast a devil? Jesus answered, I have not a devil; but I honour my Father, and ye do dishonour me. And I seek not mine own glory: there is one that seeketh and judgeth. Verily, verily, I say unto you, If a man keep my saying, he shall never see death. Then said the Jews unto him, Now we know that thou hast a devil. Abraham is dead, and the prophets; and thou sayest, If a man keep my saying, he shall never taste of death.
Behold, thou desirest truth in the inward parts:and in the hidden part thou shalt make me to know wisdom. Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean:wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
In the John passage, we're given a glimpse on why God hates lying so much; simply stated, lying finds its genesis in the father of lies; furthermore, it's a tool Satan used to deceive the first family and throw God's creation into disarray. God hates a lie because it keeps everything concealed and shrouded in darkness. God wants His people to tell the truth.
The Psalmist found this out the hard way. Through his disobedience with Bathsheba, Uriah the Hittite, a mighty warrior has been murdered in battle. The illegitimate offspring of their unholy union is also dead, and David has fasted and repented in sack cloth and ashes. Now, he has picked himself up from the floor and with time for reflection, he sees himself. He sees his own ways, his failures, his schemes, his lies. He sees how his methods have grieved the heart of God, and with all this, he puts stylus to papyrus and writes: God desires truth on the inward parts and in the hidden part you shall make me to know wisdom.
Let me say this child of God, "If you want God to make you to know wisdom in the hidden part, in the deep recesses of your Christian spirit, you better quit living a lie with Him. You don't have to come clean with the preacher, and I'm sorry if this makes you feel uncomfortable, but God wants truth. You don't have to come clean with me, but you better come clean with Him.
...for we are members one of another.
In reality, the whole underlying context of this passage we are studying is discussing how people should live amongst their brothers and sisters, remembering that we are all members of one body. But before we move forward notice how the Apostle points out the fact that we definitely shouldn't be lying or operating in deception with one another. We're all members of one another. All this time the Holy Spirit has been painting a picture of the eternal family of God i.e. the body of Christ, and the thought is why would we want to lie to and deceive our own body? We're in this together. We're all on the same team, and we're all supposed to be about the Father's business operating for the same purpose, so why would we operate like the enemy of our soul and lie about and to one another?
Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath:
The emotion of anger is attributed to God in the Old Testament and to Jesus in the New Testament. With this in mind, it's important for us to understand that there is such a thing as righteous anger. Righteous anger will have at its source a stand against something that's in opposition to God. The Greek scholar Vincent makes the point that righteous anger isn’t only condoned in the New Testament but it’s expected.
As an example, let's use one of the passages we discussed last week. We used Hebrews three to describe God's people not operating with a renewed mind towards God because of an inability to perceive His ways, and being influenced by the world (Egypt) so that their "worldview" was changed.
But now let's use the same text to describe a time when God gets mad:
Wherefore (as the Holy Ghost saith, To day if ye will hear his voice, Harden not your hearts, as in the provocation, in the day of temptation in the wilderness: When your fathers tempted me, proved me, and saw my works forty years. Wherefore I was grieved with that generation, and said, They do alway err in their heart; and they have not known my ways. So I sware in my wrath, They shall not enter into my rest.)
So here we see that God is swearing according to His wrath that He's not pleased with the behavior of His people. To be truthful, the biggest part of the problem is that they didn't know His ways, which resulted in improper behavior. Furthermore, because they refused to learn His ways and stop the error of theirs, He said that He wasn't going to let them enter His rest.
Maybe there is a sobering message here for the people of God that transcends time: learn the ways of God and hearken unto them. Then, just maybe then, you will find rest for weary soul.
Our main point though is that it's possible for Christians to become angry especially when one person's behavior seems to be contrary to the will of God in a situation. But we must remember two things:
(1) there are certain behaviors we can exhibit when we're angry that aren't godly that would be sin by themselves.
(2) our text says that we aren't to let the sun go down upon our wrath. Now, Sister Toot used to use this specifically in marriage situations, and she would tell people to make up and kiss before they went to bed, and while there is some truth to that, the reality is that we better not let anger simmer and embitter our hearts towards anyone.
If you get to know me, you will learn that if I feel like there are some things going on between us that aren’t right, I will have to talk to you because I can’t live that way.
Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee; Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift.
The scripture says that if someone has a problem with you, that you're to go to them. I’ve learned through the process of time that it's easier for me to get things out in the open. I've learned something through the last several years: Satan wants to play tricks on my mind. Maybe he doesn't mess with you that way, but he does me, so I disarm the situation. I go to the person. One day, I may come to you and say, "Hey, is everything alright between us?"
And your response may be, "Yes, why."
And then maybe I might for a second feel silly because I made myself look foolish, thinking something was wrong when it wasn't, but I've actually learned something else about that: humility and humiliation come from the same thought, and Matt needs humility, and I've learned something about that:
1 Peter 5:6 Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time:
Jesus likes humility, and I really like Jesus : )
The main point is bring your situation before the Lord. Don't hold onto something in your heart that you can't change, letting it simmer and fester into a mess. If you do, you are hurting your own walk with God.
Ephesians 4:27 Neither give place to the devil.
In the KJV, there is a colon after the previous verse meaning the translators felt like there was a direct connection between verses 26 and 27, so the idea would be that if you do let the sun go down on your wrath, or you're not letting God deal with your frustrations about these things, then you could give place to the devil.
In addition to that we should understand that there are multiple ways that we could give place to the devil, so what does this thought of giving place to the devil even mean?
The word for "place" in the Greek is literally topos, and the overall thought describes a foothold or giving permission for someone to enter and live in a place, so in this sense, when a believer allows anger to simmer, he's opening a door and allowing Satan to move in with his seeds of bitterness in hand.
But it should be understood that it's not only anger that allows this process to ensue. The gospel teaches that "In Christ" we have protection from the powers of darkness. We are clothed in the armor of God, which we will get to soon enough, and when we get there, we will learn that Jesus is our armor. You can't get better protection than that.
However, when we open a door, Satan sticks his foot in quickly, and now he's wiggling his way into the heart. He wants permission through the free will that God gave you to come in, and so he works his subtlety. As he works quietly and softly he wiggles a little more: whispering, “this isn't that bad."
Whispering, “This won't hurt you. Some people are just overboard with Christianity. They operate in legalism. You, on the other hand have been given freedom. You can do this. They may not be able to, but you can."
And as we do the conscience is seared and he wiggles a little more and we let him in a little more and the whole while he's not really forcing himself. Instead, he's just waiting for us to give him permission. And before you know it, you've rented him a topos, you've rented him a room, and you've given place to the devil.
Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth.
We would all agree that stealing is against the character of God, so don't steal, which is an act of taking away from someone else. But notice how this first part of the verse, which describes taking from others, is contrasted to the next part, which describes labor for the purpose of having something to give others.
The "old man" takes; whereas, the "new man" gives. And don't just pass over the wording labour here:
Labour- kopiao= To toil, labor, be weary and fatigued.
Remember what God said to Adam after the fall:
In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.
The curse has brought manual labor. It's caused hard and fatiguing work, even the sweat of the brow to take place. But hallelujah we can glorify God with the way we work.
Maybe as they watch us work, they would ask in their hearts, "Why is this guy different? Why is this girl different? The work load is more; I'm becoming frustrated, but they seem to be happier. I'm slacking, but they're working harder."
Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers. And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.
The word corrupt literally means rotten. There are some words we can speak that just aren't redeeming. In other words, their purpose isn't of God, they are slanderous and injurious to the body of Christ, and God wants His people built up. I looked up the English word grieve in my Bible app and this is the only time the word is used in the New Testament. While there are certainly other ways the Holy Spirit can be grieved, we know for sure that speaking rotten words to people or about them will.
Instead, our words are to produce edification, a building up where grace is ministered to the hearers. It is beholden upon us as followers of our Lord to learn the truth of the gospel and minister the word in such a way that they are learning grace and God is changing their lives.
Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice:
Bitterness- poison: hatred
Wrath- passionate anger that's not rooted in righteous purposes. In other words it's human anger and probably demonic in origin. The difference between wrath, which is thumos in Greek and anger is that this word describes a sudden outburst of passion.
Anger- orge anger is a mind set that remains in a state of anger and is contrasted to the outburst passion of thumos.
Clamor- the word describes the croaking of a raven and is connected to the outburst of anger. In other words, yelling in association with anger.
Evil speaking- the word in the Greek is blasphemia, and it describes slanderous words. Why would we want to purposefully say things about people if we knew that they would hurt them.
Malice- badness, depravity, naughtiness. In this passage of thought, malice seems to be the root behind all the previous behaviors, so we see a person who lives in a state where his mindset is anger, he has passionate outbursts of anger, his words are loud and full of bitterness and slander; ultimately causing injury instead of edification.
The concept of malice is also used in these verses and describes things left over from the "old man" and shouldn't remain present in the new man:
Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures. Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath: For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God. Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls. But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass: For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was.
And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you.