Sunday, May 15, 2016 pm                                                        Ephesians Index

Studies in Ephesians (29)
Ephesians 4:25-32


In our ongoing study of the book of Ephesians, last month we began noticing some practical actions that we need in our lives as seek to build up the body of Christ.   In that lesson we addressed, 1) The need to put away all lying (falsehood) and to be truthful, 2) the need to control our anger, so that the devil has no place in our lives, and 3) the need to work with our hands with our ultimate goal being to help others and keep busy.   We made observation with each of these how they promote unity.  In this text we also are reminded that we are dealing with a command to “put on the new man which was created according to God.” 

Today we continue our study of qualities and we will continue to see how they build us up as the body of Christ. 

 I.                     Watching our tongues

a.       Simply be reminded of the damage the tongue can do.  We have recently addressed James 3:1-12 and the potential of the tongue both for good and bad, and while we will address some things in this text that involve the tongue, let us step back and look at Paul’s overall point in the context.

b.       Let no corrupt words proceed out of your mouth – the word “corrupt” means unsound or “unwholesome” (NASB).  It describes language that harmful, i.e. unhealthy and evil.  
Words can do so much damage and come in various forms – lies, gossip, hateful words, blasphemies, etc.  As Christians, we must learn to put a guard over our mouths – David said in Psalm 141:3, “Set a guard, O Lord, over my mouth; Keep watch over the door of my lips.”

c.        But what is good for necessary edification – we have addressed this edification even in this letter (cf. Eph. 4:16), it is a word that was associated with building a house.  It implies the idea of building up.  God gave us our tongues to use, but to use wisely and for good.   Examples of this would include encouragement or exhortation, teaching, correcting one in error, etc.
AND at times silence is the right word.   James 1:19 reminds us of this!  So does Proverbs 10:19, “In the multitude of words sin is not lacking, But he who restrains his lips is wise.  Let us also keep in mind that what is necessary is about THEM and not about you!  (This put to silence the argument that “I tell it like it is” or “As long as it is true…”

d.       How does this promote unity?  Duh!!!!  Rightly chosen words build us up.  They resolve problems with love, and can draw us together.  Proverbs 25:11 tells us, “A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver.

 II.                   Living so as to not grieve the Holy Spirit

a.       In this we learn that God and the Holy Spirit can be grieved.  This is part of their personhood.   Also worthy of note is how this expression might be a result of the previous (watching our tongues), just as properly dealing with anger results in not giving place to the devil. 

b.       The idea of grieving is to sadden.  Usually we think of this in greater terms then general melancholy.  This is a word that can mean sorrowful or distressed. 
On one occasion, when Jesus entered a synagogue where there was a man with a withered hand, He knew it was an occasion where His critics were looking to accuse Him.  We are told that He looked at them “with anger, being grieved by the hardness of their hearts…” (Mark 3:5)   The word grieved is related to the word in our text. 
When in the garden awaiting betrayal, Jesus was sorrowful and deeply distressed (Matthew 26:37), so were His disciples when He told them what was about to happen (Matthew 26:22).

c.        Grieving the Holy Spirit – in our text it is the Holy Spirit that is grieved.  We know this because we are told that this is “the Spirit of God by whom we were sealed for the day of redemption.   When we obey the gospel, in some way we receive the “gift of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:38).  Ephesians 1:13 tells us that having believed we were “sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise.”  Whatever is involved with that, it gives us hope of salvation, and the point here is those things that have been given to us by God, are now being disregarded in some way and that grieves the Godhead, the angels and the righteous.  I am reminded of one walking away from God as described in Hebrews 10:29 where we read of one who has “trampled the Son of God underfoot, counted the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified a common thing, and insulted the Spirit of grace?
In Luke 15:7, 10 there is rejoicing in heaven over a sinner that repents.  When the godly reject Him and misbehave, it grieves them!

d.       How do we grieve the Holy Spirit?  Consider our context – when we in anger give place to the devil, lie to one another, steal, let corrupt words proceed out of our mouth which damage and destroy rather than building up, we are grieving Him.  Also following this warning, Paul continues to emphasize burning anger in its various stages (or forms). 
Possibly we could add to this, when we FAIL to behave as described in verse 32

e.       How does this promote unity?   This is a phrase related to the tongue we discussed earlier.  So what was said there applies here.  When we are behaving as brethren, we are bringing JOY to the Holy Spirit and to God.  This will bring us together. 

 III.                 Putting away ungodly attitudes

a.       Paul now gives a list of six ungodly attitudes.  These are associated with anger in its various forms, both the internal agitation and the outward reactions.

b.       Again, we have in recent lessons addressed most of these qualities and the damage they can do.  We briefly mention them again here.

                                                   i.      Bitterness – a word that is associated with a bad taste in one’s mouth.   But here it is the attitude of sharp resentment, spite or perhaps even hatred.  One with this attitude is seldom happy.  Hebrews 12:14-15 calls for us to pursue peace with all, and holiness, with caution lest any root of bitterness spring up and cause trouble defiling many. 

                                                 ii.      Wrath – or furry is a strong, intense outburst of anger.  This is anger acting impulsively.  It is one losing his temper.  It is a work of the flesh (Galatians 5:20).  This is the one who out of anger does something rash only to regret it immediately.  But often the results are too late to change.  There are many in prison who in a fit of wrath (rage) killed or maimed.
DON’T speak words against one another when you are angry. 

                                                iii.      Anger – is a word that means a burning fury that doesn’t subside.  This is descriptive of one who remains angry and will not let it go or work through it. 
Do you know of brethren who just refuse to get over some wrong that has happened to them?   They possess this anger.   James1:20 says, “the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God.”   This comes after telling us to be slow to speak and anger (wrath).

                                                iv.      Clamor – is loudly expressing yourself.  A footnote in the NKJV describes it as loud quarreling.  This is one who in anger yells, or shows himself in such a way that all know he is angry.  Furthermore, his loudness is such that he covers up rational discussion.  Do you ever hear someone loudly say, “I don’t care what it says…”?  That is clamor.

                                                  v.      Evil speaking – the Greek word is the word from which we derive our English word blaspheme. It includes the idea of reviling or cursing one.  It means to slander (NASB) one, speak abusive words often with the intent to damage one’s character.   How often does anger deteriorate to personal attacks?

                                                vi.      With ALL Malice – malice is a word that means, a feeling of hostility and strong dislike, with the possible desire to cause harm (L&N, 88.199).  This is one who is mean spirited and vicious in attacking another.   We’re told in 1 Corinthians 14:20 to be mature in understanding, but to be babes when it comes to malice.

                                              vii.      Is it any wonder that one who carries on with such behaviors grieves the Holy Spirit?

c.        How does this promote unity?  Again we are reminded that we are putting these things away. Problems are more often solved with calmness and a reasoned disposition.  These qualities destroy and divide!  If you harbor such, you have NOT put to death the old man of sin with his deeds (Colossians 3:9).

 IV.                 Putting on the new man

a.       Be reminded, you must replace the old man with a new man and his ways.   You must fill the void!   Instead of the ungodly attitudes, let us strive for these qualities.

b.       Be kind to one another – kindness is a quality desperately needed.  1 Corinthians 13:4 tells us that Christian love is kind.   This is how we ought to seek to treat each other. 
It has also been pointed out that this word is more than mere disposition (gentle and polite), it involves being useful in dealing with others.   Just as God in His “kindness” (Ephesians 2:7) took steps to save us (cf. Romans 2:4 – His goodness, 1 Peter 2:3 – the Lord is gracious, etc.).
RATHER than seeking to punish and make miserable someone else, seek their well being

c.        Being tenderhearted – one who is understanding and compassionate, merciful.  Rather than being rough and easily provoked, strive to be one who is moved with compassion when you see others in trouble.  Be like Jesus who was moved with compassion (Matt. 9:36, 14:14, etc., based on the same Greek word).  We know people like this!  People that genuinely care and show pity toward the suffering of others (think of the kitten with the sad eyes looking at you).

d.       Forgiving as we have been forgiven.  The final quality we discuss is one willing to forgive or pardon another.  This quality is emphasized in scripture with great warning.  In Matthew 6:12, 14 – Jesus elaborates on our request for God’s forgiveness.  We must be willing to forgive if we want Him to forgive us!    Colossians 3:13 tells us that as Christ has forgiven us, so we must also do. 
Interestingly, the word in our text is a different word that is related to grace
(χαρίζομαι, charizomai) and is descriptive of one willing to graciously forgive.  In other words, even if it is not deserved!    Incidentally, this is how Christ forgave us!!!
This is one who WANTS to forgive others and will go to great lengths to see it happen.

e.       How does this promote unity? Think of the one who has a disposition with these qualities and what he will do to resolve disputes and differences.  Think of how this one will think of the interests of others rather than himself (Philippians 2:3-4). 

 And thus we can see what the quality of the new man (the Christian) is to be like.  These qualities are designed to draw you closer to God, but in the process if every within the body seeks to possess them, it will also draw us closer to one another (cf. Ephesians 4:16).   How are you doing in these things?