Study Notes

Ephesians 4:20-24


Paul has been telling us that we should...

Eph. 4:17 ...walk no longer just as the Gentiles also walk...

He then went on to describe how they walk: their minds set on what is inappropriate, their understanding darkened, excluded from the life of God and ignorant of God, their hearts hardened and callous, practicing sensuality and impurity, trying to satisfy desires for more that are never fulfilled. Now he says...

4:20-24 You Did Not Learn Christ In This Way

He says, "Although the Gentiles live like this, YOU did not learn Christ in this way. That's the way those people in the world live, but not you." That would be really encouraging, if he'd finished his sentence with that statement. But he didn't stop There. He went on to use that terrible two-letter word: "IF."

The Dreaded "If"

The word "if" in Scripture can be quite scary. Because it often asks, "Are you sure this truth applies to you?" It frequently says, "This statement doesn't apply to you unless you meet the following condition..."

Eph. 4:20-21 did not learn Christ in this way, if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught in Him...

"If you've really heard Christ, if you've really been taught in Him, then it's true that you did not learn Christ in this way."

This is one of those times when the Bible uses that word "IF" to say, "Look, I have no doubt that you're Christians - IF you're living a Christian life." Nobody wants to hear it. Many people want to deny it or re-interpret it. But for the sake of clarity, it is repeated many times. For example...

Hebr. 3:14 ...we have become partakers of Christ, if we hold fast the beginning of our assurance firm until the end

Hebr. 3:6 ...Christ {was faithful} as a Son over His house whose house we are, if we hold fast our confidence and the boast of our hope firm until the end.

Col. 1:22-23 present you before Him holy and blameless and beyond reproach - if indeed you continue in the faith firmly established and steadfast, and not moved away from the hope of the gospel that you have heard...

1Cor. 15:2 are saved, if you hold fast the word which I preached to you, unless you believed in vain.

1John 2:3 this we know that we have come to know Him, if we keep His commandments.

"The proof is in the pudding." "Actions speak louder than words." However you want to say it, salvation is something that the Bible says requires evidence. Not to earn it, but certainly to prove it. New lives produce new fruit. And a changed life is the confirmation that we have truly met Jesus Christ. That's why Paul is hitting this subject so heavy: "You can't live like the Gentiles. You need to walk worthy of your calling."

Lay Aside The Old Self

He exhorts us, "out with the old, in with the new."

Eph. 4:22,24 ...lay aside the old self... (and) put on the new self

The old self is your former manner of life, when you were separated from God. That's got to be put away and replaced.

Laying aside the old self is an interesting process, because it's been done, but then it also needs to be done. On one hand, it has already happened. It was accomplished the minute you were born again. That's why it is sometimes talked about in the past tense:

Rom. 6:6 knowing this, that our old self was crucified with {Him,} that our body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin;

Col. 3:8-10 But now you also, put them all aside: anger, wrath, malice, slander, {and} abusive speech from your mouth. Do not lie to one another, since you laid aside the old self with its {evil} practices, and have put on the new self who is being renewed...

These verses talk about the old self being crucified, laid aside, already. But they also tell us to no longer be slaves to sin, to put aside all of these bad things. That is the other part of the process, the daily part, of laying aside the old self. It is just as Jesus said:

Luke 9:23 ..."If anyone wishes to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me."

We've got to deny ourselves daily, because the old self is always ready to resurrect, to come back to life, to rear his ugly head and surprise us with how corrupt and deceitful he can be.

We replace the old self with the new self. Scripture says,

Rom. 13:14 ...put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh in regard to {its} lusts.

It is a minute-by-minute choice we make as to what we will be wearing. Will we be wearing the old self, or the new one? Will we choose to put on the nature of the Lord Jesus Christ, or that of the old man?

Be Renewed In The Spirit Of Your Mind

The key to making the right choice, to daily laying aside the old self, is to make sure that we're continually being renewed in the spirit of our minds. That means saturating our minds with good things, not the things of the world.

Phil. 4:8 Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, let your mind dwell on these things.

Too many people are force-feeding their minds with the trash that the world is offering. The visuals we're seeing from TV's are defiling us. The audio we're hearing from CD's are corrupting us. The morals we're being programmed with by the world are ruining us. We've got to stop letting these things in and instead focus on that which is righteous. Because when you feed your mind a steady diet of things that are godly and spiritual, then your mind is renewed.

Rom. 12:2 not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind...

This word "renewed" literally means "to be like the recently-born." We need to get back to the innocence. To renew our minds, that they would be fresh and pure as a new-born child.

2Cor. 4:16 ...though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day.

May we be people who pray,

Ps. 51:10 (KJV) Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.

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