Wait on the LORD: be of good courage,
and he shall strengthen thine heart;
wait, I say, on the LORD.
- Psalm 27:14
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Protecting the Unity of the Spirit 4.10.2016
Dear friend,

As we continue our studies in Apostle Paul's letter to the Ephesian congregation, we are picking up in verse 17 of chapter 4. Last Sunday we heard of our call to walk worthy of the calling which we have been called into. First of all, we have been called by God to enter into His kingdom as an individual through repentance towards God and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ.

Having been called into His kingdom, we are called to walk in unity in the Spirit, for we are of the same Spirit. Being called by and being indwelt by the same Spirit of God, we are one body and as individuals we are called to serve for the good of the body.

Each member is gifted according to the grace of Christ, various gifts are dispensed among the members by Christ, which are for the maturing of the saints, for the work of the ministry, and for the building up the body. This work is to continue within the body for the personal growth and maturity of each member off all ages all the way to the time when Jesus will return again.

We left off last week with this verse, which leads us into our sermon text for today. In verse 16 of chapter 4, Paul writes:

KJV Ephesians 4:16 From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.

The Holy Spirit concluded the first section of this letter by pointing out that Jesus Christ, as the chief cornerstone of His Body, is the head of the body and it is from Him that the body is built together. In the buildings of that era, the cornerstone was placed first and the rest of the building was built in accordance with the initial cornerstone. What Paul is saying here is that all teaching and doctrine flow from the Word of God that we have before us, and from the Word of God who became flesh and lived here on the earth.

Two very important facts stand out here: We must remain connected to the Vine, Christ and as members of his body, we must remain joined together with each part doing its part to work for the collective good of the corporate body, the congregation and so on. It is through remaining in Him, in His Word that we grow in love amongst ourselves, and therefore become enabled to love all people. In other words, being in Christ, we are called to participate within the body that we are a part of.

What has been written here in the beginning part of chapter four is an overall outline of what the structure of the body of Jesus Christ is designed to be so that it might function properly. As we go through the last part of this chapter, we will hear some more general teachings, and in the last part Paul we will hear some specific instructions, from which will flow application into our lives. What the Apostle seems to be doing here is giving admonitions/warnings about those things which can and will cause the connections within the body to become ineffective and even broken.

Let us read the portion that is before us today, and we will go through only verses 17-24, and next week will finish the chapter with verses 25-32.

4:17 This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity (devoid of truth, perverseness, empty) of their mind,
18 Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart:
19 Who being past feeling have given themselves over unto lasciviousness, to work all uncleanness with greediness.

He is speaking to Gentiles who have been converted from darkness to light, instructing them to not walk in the darkness anymore, a darkness that is in the mind, having a darkened understanding, shut out from communion and fellowship with God through ignorance which is due the the blindness of their heart. He than gives a warning of the consequences of walking in darkness, saying that in that condition they have become hardened in their conscience and have given themselves over to unbridled lust, to moral depravity that hungers for more and more ways to fulfil its lusts.

20 But ye have not so learned Christ;
21 If so be that ye have heard him, and have been taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus:
22 That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts;
23 And be renewed in the spirit of your mind;
24 And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.

If we have come to know the saving grace of Jesus Christ as revealed from God, we are to put off the old life that is according to the flesh, which is corrupted, depraved and which will never change its nature.

As a Christian, we have been delivered from the guilt of sin, the power of sin, but not from the presence of sin. In other words, we no longer live under condemnation of God, for He has placed our sin upon Christ, we have come to an acknowledgement of our guilt and of our need for forgiveness. We have been assured through the preaching of the Word that His grace is greater than our sin, and believing that, we live with no guilt for our sin.

We have also been delivered from the power of sin. What does this mean? Upon receiving the gift of faith, God comes to live in us in His Spirit, by which we given new loves and new hatreds.. These are consistent with the loves and hatreds of God. We no longer live under the power of the law, but we live under the power of grace,

Titus 2:11 For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men,
12 Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world;
13 Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;

But we have not been delivered from the presence of sin.

Perhaps going to the 7th chapter of Romans will help us in this.

Romans 8:22 For I delight in the law of God after the inward man:
23 But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.
24 O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?
25 I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin.

KJV Romans 8:1 There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.

As already stated, we live in freedom from guilt and from the power of sin but not from the presence of sin. Here in this part is shown unto us in verse 22 of the delight and joy that is in our heart that has been renewed, called the new man.

But there is left in us the old man's influence, which wars against our new mindset and which is trying to bring us into bondage to the old mindset. This causes a lot of unhappiness in our minds, in our hearts, and in our lives. So at times we cry out like the writer did: 24 O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?

8:1 There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.

The answer: I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord, and we could go onto say that through Christ we have been delivered from the guilt and the power of sin. But not the presence of sin. For Paul goes onto write that with the mind (and that is the mind that has been renewed or the new mindset) we serve the law of God (we love the things of God); but with the flesh, the law of sin. Hence, the conflict goes on, the new mindset has dominion in our life, but the old mindset is always trying to come back to gain the control.

A number of years ago we had a visiting preacher here and he used an illustration to help us see how this works that really stuck with me. Perhaps some of you remember it, but if not here is how he brought it out. He said that our old mindset could be likened unto us having a back pack on our back all the time, in which the old mindset lives. Every so often the old mindset tries to open up the top of the backpack and try climb out of his lower position. Sometimes we are not even aware of his advances, other times we are, but when we recognize him and his old ways, we push him back down into his place.


Thought leads to actions, Actions lead to habits, Habits become your character, Character determines destiny (your eternal life)

4:22 That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts;
23 And be renewed in the spirit of your mind;
24 And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.


There are three very important truths here, so let us look at each one separately.

4:22 That ye put (for good) off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts;

James 4:7 Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.

1 John 2:15 Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.
16 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.

23 And be renewed (continual action done in us) in the spirit of your mind;

KJV Romans 12:1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.
2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

24 And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.

Righteousness is God's unchanging aversion to right, and holiness is His unchanging aversion to sin.

God's mindset never changes, and we are called to put on this mindset of new clothes, to sink into them so to speak.


Our new mindset has been created by the Word, by faith we trust Him and His Word.

1. We need to resist the old mindset that only wants to live apart from God. (get back in the backpack)!

2. We need to continually be renewed in the knowledge that we are free from the guilt of sin and from the power of sin.

3. We need to remember that even though the presence of sin is still in us,we have been clothed with the righteousness of God through faith, and those are clothes what will never wear out.

Let us pray:
Lord, we thank you for your Word which is the Truth, the Way and the Life. Dear Father, you have blessed us through Christ your Son, by reuniting ourselves with you through Him, you have placed us in this wonderful fellowship of believers and you have given each of us gifts according to the measure of your grace.
Help us to comprehend more and more of your saving grace towards us, for we know that as you do that work in us, it will enable and empower us to put off the old mindset, to be renewed in the spirit of our mind and to continually live in the clothing that you have provided for us, the righteousness of Jesus Christ, clothing that will never wear out.

And that growth and maturity, dear Father, we understand will increase our love for you, for one another here in our congregation and for all people. For we know that as your love increases in us and amongst us, unity in the Spirit binds us together in purpose: Your purpose.

May we receive this benediction that the Apostle Paul prayed upon the Thessalonian congregation:

2 Thess 2:11 Wherefore also we pray always for you, that our God would count you worthy of this calling, and fulfil all the good pleasure of his goodness, and the work of faith with power:
12 That the name of our Lord Jesus Christ may be glorified in you, and ye in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Pastor Orval Wirkkala
Posted on 10 Apr 2016 by Pastor Orval Wirkkala
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