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Sunday, April 17, 2016 pm                                                Ephesians Index

Studies in Ephesians (28)
BECAUSE WE ARE MEMBERS OF ONE ANOTHER (1)
Ephesians 4:25-32

         Tonight we continue our study in the book of Ephesians.    Paul in this letter has established how Christ died to save us and to unite us in Him.   Much of Paul’s doctrinal discourse in this letter has been directed toward establishing how it was God’s intent to provide spiritual blessings in Him made available to all.  In chapter 4 we have noted in detail his emphasis on unity.   He has noted what that unity looks like (4:1-6) and some qualities that will promote that unity (4:2-3).  We have been given teachers in the word (4:11) to equip us and build us up in the word so that we might together function causing growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love (4:11-16).    For this to be accomplished we must ALL put off the old man and replace him with the new man who is created according to God in true righteousness and holiness (4:17-24).   In the rest of this chapter (4:25-32), Paul describes the conduct of this new man.  He provides a number of practical actions that we each need in our lives.  All of these things, when properly applied, will draw us as the body of Christ closer together and closer to God.

         Tonight we begin a discussion of these qualities.  Most of these qualities we have addressed in times past, some fairly recently. In this lesson we want to begin a discussion of these subjects, noticing the text and some observations.   Tonight, we notice the first 3.

 I.                     Putting away lying (falsehood) and speaking the truth to one another (25)

a.       Putting away lying (or falsehood) The word “lying” is from the Greek word, (ψεδος, pseudos).  It is the word from which our English prefix, “pseudo” comes and means something that is false.  The NASB & ESV uses the word, “falsehood.”  
Christians are to be absolutely truthful.  It is a fundamental quality.  We ought to be such that our word has meaning.  As Jesus taught, “Let your ‘yes’ be ‘yes, and your ‘no’ mean ‘no’” (Matthew 5:37, speaking of oaths and keeping our word). 
Honesty and integrity are qualities of the Christian found when we are truthful. 

This gives us an idea of what is being addressed. 
To what does this have reference?  
Personally - Col. 3:9 calls for us not to lie to one another.  Rev. 21:8 notes that all liars will be cast into the lake of fire and brimstone.   We sometimes try to make distinctions between the outright lies and others we see as less condemning – untruthful excuses, deception in our words, exaggerations as fact, failing to tell the whole story (leaving out that which we seek to hide), insinuations, etc. 
God wants us to be straight forward in our demeanor.
Doctrinally – we must be careful to reveal the truth of God’s word.  In the context of Ephesians, Paul has dealt with doctrinal manipulation and misunderstandings, etc.  It has been emphasized that we must be truthful (even this past week) with God’s word. 
His word can be manipulated and cause division and dissention (2 Peter 3:16, 2:1-2, etc.)
WE live in a generation where many do not want to address religious falsehood.  Far too many have itching ears (2 Tim. 4:2-4).  Many want the preacher to proclaim “smooth things” (Isa. 30:10). 
How foolish such is to think that God doesn’t care about false doctrine and false teachers (see James 3:1, Matt. 12:36 – every idle word…)
2 Cor. 11:12-15 – Paul spoke the truth that he might cut off false apostles, who deceived the people. 
Have no fellowship with unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them (Ephesians 5:11).
Solomon noted, “He who speaks truth declares righteousness, But a false witness, deceit.” Prov. 12:17

 

b.       Instead, we speak truth to one another – the “neighbor” in this text would at least include our brethren in the matters we have discussed.
Later in this text, the attitude of these conversations will be addressed, but here we note the need to be truthful – both personally and doctrinally!
1 John 2:21 notes that John wrote because they know the truth, “and no lie is of the truth.”
Eph. 4:15 – we are to speak the truth in love. 
NOTE: We need to speak up!  It’s not just about telling the truth when you do speak.  There are times when you MUST speak!   Acts 4:20 finds the apostles, “We cannot but speak…”
Paul would later say, “Have I become your enemy because I tell you the truth?”  Gal. 4:16.

c.        How does this promote godly unity?  It should be obvious that when all are speaking truth with proper motives, it will promote agreement.  It is also a manifestation of integrity and honesty in our lives which builds trust. 
Furthermore, the text says, “For we are members of one another” – this is the reason we should speak truth.  A functioning body needs all its parts to be working in concert with each other. 

 II.                   Controlling our anger, nor giving place to the devil in our lives (26-27)

a.       Anger is described as one of the prime emotions.  It is an emotion that most of us understand.   It describes a strong feeling of being upset or annoyed.   It can be one who is simply agitated or enraged.   Many, as a result of anger say or do things that are often later regretted.  Because anger, uncontrolled, can cause great damage.

b.       However, in our text, we find that it has its place.  Anger itself is not sinful.  It is how we manage our anger.  In our context, there are three different Greek words for anger.

                                                   i.      Anger (vs. 26) - ὀργίζω, orgizō – to be angry.  L&N (88.174) says, “to be relatively angry.”  This describes the state of one who is upset or whose mind has been provoked.

                                                 ii.      Wrath (vs. 26) – παροργισμός, parorgismos – this is one burning with anger.  This is the bad temper, one who is easily or constantly irritated or exasperated.  L&N (88.175) – one who is quick-tempered or given to anger.

                                                iii.      Wrath (vs. 31) – θυμός, thymos – this describes one whose feeling boils up and may erupt suddenly.  L&N (88.178) – a state of intense anger, with passionate outbursts of anger or fury.

c.        “Be angry and do not sin”.  A quote from Psalm 4:4.   As noted, this is one who becomes agitated at something.   There are examples of righteous anger – our Lord was angry (Mark 3:5).  John 3:36 describes the anger of God against the disobedient.   Perhaps, it is something that grieves the godly.
But anger that does not sin is: 1) properly directed against the object of anger and 2) under control.  James 1:19 speaks of being slow to anger.

d.       Do not let the sun go down on your wrath – the word here is the stronger form and one that could easily lead to sin.  Paul is saying if you have such tendencies take care of them quickly. 
Some have said that before you go to bed, work through whatever is angering you.   This can be very helpful in a marriage, etc. 

e.       Nor give place to the devil – the idea of giving the devil a place is to give him opportunity or occasion to work in your life.  Anger can do that, IF one fails to control himself or dwells on something it can open the door for Satan to provoke us to sinful conduct.  Satan (as used in this text) is the word “devil” which means a slanderer.  He will do what he can to destroy you and others.  We must beware of “the wiles of the devil” (Ephesians 6:11) and his devices (2 Corinthians 2:11). 
He will cause you to become bittern, wrathful, complaining and might cause you to say and do things that are harmful.    
That is why when you are angry, you must resolve to resolve it quickly!  

f.         How does this promote unity?  Again, it is obvious that anger can cause us to say and do things that destroy relationships and reputations.  We can act in such a way as to divide rather than reconcile.
Words can be VERY hurtful.   Perhaps you have heard the saying, “Sticks and stones can break my bones, but names will never hurt me.”  As a rule that is NOT TRUE!  Words spoken in anger do great damage.  Proverbs 15:1, “A soft answer turns away wrath, But a harsh word stirs up anger.

 III.                 Working with our hands so that we might be a help to others (28)

a.       Don’t steal (even if you used to) – As noted, the Christian must live an honest life.  That is not merely about what we say, but also what we do.  Stealing is not honest.  It is detestable and condemned by God.  It was condemned in the 10 commandments (Exodus 20:15).  In 1 Cor. 6:10, it is in the list of what some in Corinth used to do and of which we are told that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.
HOW often do we think of what stealing might involve?  The obvious is to outright take what belongs to another.  But do we consider that we can steal by failing to be truthful in a trade (lying about what something is worth or its condition), by pilfering (holding back what belongs to another – such as dishonest scales, etc. – see Titus 2:10 where bondservants are told not be guilty of pilfering), by shortchanging our boss, receiving benefits dishonestly, etc. 
Some consider gambling a form of stealing, or at least contributing to stealing.  But there are other issues with gambling! 

b.       Labor with your hands doing what is good – the word for labor is a word that indicates one is to work hard or toil.  Christians should be hardworking.  We are not to idle or lazy.
Proverbs 13:11, “Wealth gained by dishonesty will be diminished, But he who gathers by labor will increase.

1 Thessalonians 4:11-12 calls for us to work with our own hands and lead a quiet life.
2 Thessalonians 3:10-11 warns that if one will not work, he should not eat…
NOTE: As with Corinth, it could that some in Ephesus before they were converted engaged in work that involved stealing in one form or another.  If so, let us be reminded that one of the best ways to overcome old sinful behavior is to replace it with godly, productive behavior – such as working hard!
Ecclesiastes 5:12 – the sleep of a laboring man is sweet.

c.        So that he may have something to give to the needy – another oft addressed principle in scripture.  We should care about others and strive to be a help to others (as opposed to hoarding what we have).  Are we willing to share? 1 Tim. 6:18 calls upon the wealthy to be willing to share.
As Christians we are to distribute to the needs of the saints and be given to hospitality (Romans 12:13).

d.       How does this promote unity?
1) When we are working, we are not idle and getting into trouble.
2) We are more able to fully support the work of the body (as opposed to requiring the body to support us which takes away from other needed activities). 

 In this lesson, Paul is getting very practical in describing our conduct toward one another.  May we examine such passages with a desire to be all that God would have us to be.