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And He Himself gave some to be....evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ...
- Ephesians 4:11-12

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Location: The Hill Country of Texas

Pastor - Providence Reformed Baptist Church
Director - TIME in the Word Ministries

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Walk This Way

Last Sunday we examined Ephesians 4:17-19 in a message titled "Don't Walk This Way." Through the course of the message, a part of the series Learn to Discern, we learned what it means to not walk as the rest of the Gentiles walk, studying what the Bible means when it tells us that the Gentiles walk in the futility of their mind with darkened understanding (a lack of discernment) due to their alienation from God. They are, we are told, ignorant, blind, past feeling, given over to lewdness, and are working all uncleanness with greediness.

This week we will follow up with Ephesians 4:20-24 in a message titled "Walk This Way". Here is the text followed by a brief outline and some points to ponder. (The audio will be posted later today.)

But you have not so learned Christ, if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught by Him, as the truth is in Jesus: that you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness.

Walk This Way – Eph. 4:20-24

A. Having Heard and Learned the Truth (vs. 20-21)

1. Hear the Call – John 8:47; 10:27
2. Learn the Truth – “to come to know” – 1 Cor. 2:9-16; 1 John 2:3
3. “The Truth is in Jesus” – John 17:3; 1 John 5:20

To hear and learn the Truth is to hear the call to salvation and come to know Christ. Both verbs are written in a tense that lets us know that this hearing and learning is a “one time act” that can never be repeated. This then we know refers to the effectual call of the Spirit that is understood by the theological term “regeneration.” God calls us from death to life. Once alive, we are then given the gifts of grace of repentance and faith so that we might be justified.

B. Put Off (vs. 22)

1. Your former conduct (way of life) – Gal. 5:19-21
2. The Old Man (old – useless) – Isaiah 55:7
3. Corrupted more and more in deceitful lust

C. Be Renewed (vs. 23)

1. In the spirit of your mind (inner man)
2. Repentance – Col. 3:10; 2 Cor. 5:17; Phil. 2:5; Rom. 12:2

Points B (put off) and C (be renewed) are described as repentance. To repent is to “change your mind.” A change in mind will always produce a change in behavior! The word “repent” was the first word preached by John the Baptizer, Jesus, the disciples, Peter at Pentecost, Paul, and again by Jesus to His church in Revelation. It is the first word to be heeded in our salvation. If we do not repent we cannot believe and be saved. We must put off the old man and be renewed (born again as a new creation) or we cannot be saved. See 1 John 2:4, 15; James 4:4. (Again, to be very clear - this is a change of the inner man, the spirit of your mind, the very deepest part of who you are that determines how you think and what you do. If this inner man is not changed and the corrupt nature thrown off, then salvation has not occurred!)

D. Put On (vs. 24)

1. The New Man (not renovated, but completely new) – Gal. 2:20; 5:21-22
2. Created (made) like God
3. In righteousness and holiness

a) Righteousness – in right relationship to others (Ex. 20:12-17)
b) Holiness – sacred observance of all duties to God (Ex. 20:3-11)

To put off the old man is to repent. To put on the new man is to believe (faith). Our faith is proved by obedience – this does not mean that we are saved by works, but our salvation does work! We put off the old, put on the new, and therefore do what we are supposed to do in obedience to God. We can do this because when we are saved we are made “capable” of obeying the Word of God.

Discernment then is not just attaining knowledge of the difference between good and evil, right and wrong, sound and unsound doctrine. Discernment begins with knowledge, and as we use wisdom (having the right perspective) we come to understand and act upon the differences that we now see. So we hear, learn, differentiate between good and evil, and we shun the evil and we do the good.

Just as we say that if we have not changed then we have not been saved, we also can say that if we do not DO the truth after we hear it then we are not discerning and are therefore in sin. After all, the Bible is clear, "to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin" (James 4:17).


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