Study Notes

Ephesians 4:25-32


In our last study, Paul told us that we need to lay aside the old self and put on the new self. And so as he begins in verse 25, he is saying, "Therefore..." In other words, "Because you need to be renewed in the spirit of your mind, walking in righteousness and holiness of the truth..."

4:25 Speaking Truth

No more lies - only truth. Why is it that lies seem to be par for the course for many Christians today? "I couldn't make it - I was sick." "No, I never got the message." "No, I never gossiped about you." "Yes, I was there, but I couldn't find you." Why is honesty so rare among those who've been called to be righteous? It is all about faithfulness. David cried out,

Ps. 12:1-2 Help, Lord, for the godly man ceases to be, For the faithful disappear from among the sons of men. They speak falsehood to one another; With flattering lips and with a double heart they speak.

He also sang,

Ps. 40:4 How blessed is the man who has made the LORD his trust, And has not turned to the proud, nor to those who lapse into falsehood.

"Lapse into" means "to swerve." Lies are like a ditch on the side of the road that you swerve into and get stuck. You are blessed when you choose to speak the truth, and don't swerve off the road of honesty.

4:26-27 Proper Anger

Paul talked about lies, now he brings up the subject of anger. Anger is not a sin, when brought about by righteous cause. Certainly many things make God angry - and He is without sin.

But the truth is that very seldom do we have pure motives for our anger. It is usually because we didn't get our way - didn't get what we wanted; it is because people wouldn't listen to us, or we weren't getting the respect and attention that we deserved. James said,

James 4:1-2 What is the source of quarrels and conflicts among you? Is not the source your pleasures that wage war in your members? You lust and do not have; {so} you commit murder. And you are envious and cannot obtain; {so} you fight and quarrel...

Anger often comes from selfish motives. And even when your anger is righteously justified on occasion, you enter into sin when you react to it in an ungodly way.

Paul also says that if you don't deal with your anger immediately, it becomes an opportunity for the devil to get in there and make you bitter, unforgiving, and unrepentant. I deal with anger a lot - it is one of the sins that continue to plague my old man and I have to continually crucify him to prevent his resurrection. If I didn't habitually repent and deal with anger, it would consume me, making me a bitter person, an unforgiving man, and completely useless for the kingdom of God.

4:28 Let Him Labor

Now Paul mentions something that I feel that I can be self-righteous about: Work. Laziness is an abomination to God. It is a sin to be collecting welfare and unemployment if you are able to work. I read this and I think, "Well, I work six days a week, at least twelve hours a day. I'm completely justified, and can read this without being convicted."

But then I read what Paul has to say about the motives for labor:

Eph. 4:28 order that he may have {something} to share with him who has need.

Do you know why God has given you the strength, energy, and intelligence to work? To share with those who have need.

It doesn't seem like the American way, does it? "Provide for yourself! Why should I work so that others can mooch off of me?" That's because our flesh isn't good at sharing. When I've worked hard to earn something, I sure don't want to give it away to be lost, lend it out to be broken, or let someone borrow it when they should be working as hard as I am to go earn their own. But that's not the Jesus style. He taught,

Luke 6:30-38 "Give to everyone who asks of you, and whoever takes away what is yours, do not demand it back. And just as you want people to treat you, treat them in the same way. And if you love those who love you, what credit is {that} to you? For even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is {that} to you? For even sinners do the same. And if you lend to those from whom you expect to receive, what credit is {that} to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, in order to receive back the same {amount.} But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High; for He Himself is kind to ungrateful and evil {men.} Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful. And do not judge and you will not be judged; and do not condemn, and you will not be condemned; pardon, and you will be pardoned. Give, and it will be given to you; good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, they will pour into your lap. For by your standard of measure it will be measured to you in return."

When I read this, I come to the realization of how completely selfish my flesh is. I have no room to brag about my long hours and laborious work week. I can only repent and pray, "Father, make me more like Your Son Jesus."

4:29-32 Unwholesome Words Vs. Graceful Words

Finally, Paul addresses the way that we speak to one another. He says not to permit anything to come out of our mouths that doesn't build people up and give them grace.

My mouth always wants to tear down and administer justice. But when I do that, the Holy Spirit Who lives inside of me is grieved. He desires that I speak kindly to people, forgiving them when they wrong me, because that's what Jesus has done for me.

The Bible says that Jesus was put to death on a cross, and then raised up from the dead on the third day. And God has commanded that we...

Acts 10:42-43 "...preach to the people, and solemnly to testify that this is the One who has been appointed by God as Judge of the living and the dead. Of Him all the prophets bear witness that through His name everyone who believes in Him receives forgiveness of sins."

Before you can forgive others for what they've done to you, you need to receive forgiveness from God for what you've done to Him.

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