Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Walking Well - Ephesians 4:17-5:17

I've recently been reading Ephesians 4 and 5, and have been really struck by the number of reasons Paul gives for avoiding sin. I found it a real encouragement to avoid sin better in my own life, and I'm not sure I've ever seen a list of them worked through properly, so here goes...

  1. Walking badly is what the Gentiles do (4v17). One of Paul's big themes in the letters is Christian identity. Those Christians (like me) who were Gentiles ethnically are no longer Gentiles because of what God has done for them in bringing them near in Christ. So we shouldn't walk as the Gentiles do.
  2. Walking as the Gentiles do stems from having minds that are futile (4v17) – the word is the same one translated “meaningless” in Ecclesiastes. The way they think and the things they think about are passing away. So don't live like they do.
  3. Not only do their actions stem from ways of thinking that are passing away, they also stem from ignorance (4v18). Sinning is an ignorant way to act.
  4. Sin stems from hard-heartedness (4v19)
  5. Sin is giving yourself away to licentiousness (4v19)
  6. Sin leads to the pursuit of every uncleanness in excess (4v19)
  7. It's not how we were taught and discipled as Christians (4v20)
  8. It's not according to the truth in Jesus (4v21-22)
  9. Sin belongs to the old person, which is being destroyed (4v22)
  10. We should put off the old person and put on the new person (4v23)
  11. Our new selves were created according to God in righteousness and devoutness of truth (4v24)
  12. We are members of each other, so should be speaking truth to one another rather than falsehood (4v25)
  13. Sinning can give the devil a foothold in our lives (4v27)
  14. Our actions should be motivated by the needs of others (4v28-29).
  15. Doing good means that we can give to the needy (4v28)
  16. Our speech should be motivated by building up the needy (4v29)
  17. Sin grieves the Spirit of God (4v30)
  18. We have been sealed by the Spirit aiming for the day of redemption. We should therefore remember that we are heading for redemption and live accordingly (4v30)
  19. We should show grace to each other rather than evil because God has showed grace to us rather than evil (4v31-32)
  20. We should imitate God (5v1)
  21. Because we are God's children (5v1)
  22. Christ loved us and gave himself up for us – we should follow his example (5v2)
  23. We are “holy ones” and therefore should live in a fitting way (5v3-4)
  24. Sin is a form of idolatry, because we are acting as if God is really just our imagined version of God rather than the real one. (5v5)
  25. Idolaters (and therefore sinners) don't get an inheritance in God's kingdom (5v5)
  26. Saying that sinners won't be punished is just empty words (5v6)
  27. God's wrath really is coming on those whose identity is tied up with sin (5v6)
  28. We shouldn't partner with those who are heading towards God's wrath. (5v7)
  29. We were darkness, but now we are light. Therefore we should live like it. (5v8)
  30. God's light at work in us should produce goodness, righteousness and truth (5v9)
  31. We should test out what pleases God (5v10)
  32. The works of darkness are futile – they don't lead anywhere good. (5v11)
  33. It is shameful even to talk about deeds of darkness (5v12)
  34. God's transforming power is available to change the dark things in our pasts into light and use them for his glory (5v13-14)
  35. Walking well is wise; walking badly is foolish (5v15)
  36. The days are evil, therefore we need to make an effort to live wisely (5v16)
  37. It's important to understand what God wants us to do rather than be foolish (5v17)

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