Please find my teaching notes below to Pt. 6 of the Chosen series- a Study of the Book of Ephesians.
INTRO: Easter- “Crucified with Christ so Christ can take control of my life!” Return to Ephesian series, “Living Like Christ” is the perfect topic…
I grew up near Amish country. The Amish learn to live a certain way- no electricity, no cars, no stylish clothes, no “fun”… It isn’t hard to identify them…. ITS CULTURAL!
Big Idea: If you’ve LEARNED about Christ, then LIVE like Christ!
KEY: If you’ve been around church, you’ve heard that often- we tell people all the time, “You need to live like Jesus!” What we don’t tell them is HOW!! NOT ABOUT INFORMATION BUT ABOUT INFLUENCE!
In this next section of Paul’s letter to the Ephesians he tells us the HOW TO LIVE LIKE CHRIST!
NOTE: Eph. 4:17-24 17 With the Lord’s authority I say this: Live no longer as the Gentiles do, for they are hopelessly confused. 18 Their minds are full of darkness; they wander far from the life God gives because they have closed their minds and hardened their hearts against him. 19 They have no sense of shame. They live for lustful pleasure and eagerly practice every kind of impurity. 20 But that isn’t what you learned about Christ. 21 Since you have heard about Jesus and have learned the truth that comes from him, 22 throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life, which is corrupted by lust and deception. 23 Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. 24 Put on your new nature, created to be like God—truly righteous and holy.
NOTICE: “that isn’t what you LEARNED about Christ… you have LEARNED the truth that comes from him…” SO WHAT HAVE WE LEARNED? HOW DO WE LEARN IT??
YOU’VE LEARNED: YOU DON’T HAVE TO LIVE CONFUSED! 17 With the Lord’s authority I say this: Live no longer as the Gentiles do, for they are hopelessly confused.
It’s profound that Paul tells these “Gentiles” to NOT live any longer like “Gentiles!” WHAT PAUL COULD’VE SAID AS EASILY IS: “Don’t live like YOU WERE RAISED! “Living like you were raised” can be INCREDIBLY CONFUSING…
Confusion is not from God. God wants you to live in clarity! Confusion is a “lack of understanding, ignorance, uncertainty, doubt.” It comes from the latin word meaning “to pour together, mingle.” It’s when there are too many influences, too many choices, too may voices coming at you…
“Hopelessly confused” means you have no set course for your life and you’re just wandering around in circles in the WILDERNESS! Start to build a “life” in the wilderness, act wild… “WILD”-derness! The EXODUS of Israel- 40 years in the “wilderness!” THE WILDERNESS HAS NO WAY OUT!! “hopelessly confused….”
Is. 40:3 “Listen! It’s the voice of someone shouting, “Clear the way through the wilderness for the LORD! Make a straight highway through the wasteland for our God!” -referring to the role of John the Baptist.
Is. 43:19 “For I am about to do something new. See, I have already begun! Do you not see it? I will make a pathway through the wilderness. I will create rivers in the dry wasteland.”- referring to Jesus’ mission!
Jesus is “the WAY, the TRUTH, and the LIFE” (John 14:6)!” He brings clarity and certainty to your life! Jesus’ life is the life we are called to live. Just look at Jesus and you know how to live- you find your DEFINITION, DIRECTION, DESTINY!
HOW?? FOLLOW THE WAY! Jesus invited his disciples into a “lifestyle”, a “community”, a “circle of influence.” YOU DON’T FOLLOW AIMLESSLY OR ALONE!!
ILL. “Don’t FOLLOW THE CROWD…” What’s the mean, why do people say that?
FOLLOW THE COACH, THE COMMUNITY! You FOLLOW after Jesus by FOLLOWING those whose lives look a lot like Jesus! You NEED a church community. You NEED a Life Group. You NEED spiritual mentors. You NEED to be a spiritual mentor! SHOWING AND SHARING!!
Paul understood YOU LEARN TO LIVE LIKE CHRIST IN THE CONTEXT OF A COACHING AND COMMUNITY ENVIRONMENT! Paul said, “Follow my example as I follow the example of Christ!” 1 Cor. 11:1
SO- if you’re not yet connected to a “coach” or “Life Group” GET CONNECTED!!
YOU’VE LEARNED: YOU DON’T LIVE WITH A CLOSED MIND! 18 Their minds are full of darkness; they wander far from the life God gives because they have closed their minds and hardened their hearts against him. 19 They have no sense of shame. They live for lustful pleasure and eagerly practice every kind of impurity.
Paul implies that having a “closed mind” is an action or decision you make not something that merely happens to you. Like having the power to open or close a door, you have the power to open or close your mind to the truth/life of Jesus Christ!
In Acts 17 Paul says that “God is not far from any of us!” That’s a powerful and profound statement. It means that God is engaged in an ongoing effort to reveal himself to us, to relate Christ to us. He does this through our conscious. He does this through our convictions. He does this through our circumstances.
But we can open our mind and heart or we can close our mind and heart to the ongoing revelation of who Jesus is- TO THE INFLUENCE, NOT THE INFORMATION! TEACHABILITY!! We can “shut the door” and close ourselves off from the “way, the truth, and the life!” Sometimes our reaction to the revelation of truth is to “run into our room and slam the door!”
ILL. As a teen, closing my door, pillow over head, so I wouldn’t hear my mom’s prayers at night for me and my dad!
Paul says that we can close ourselves off from God! WHAT’S THAT LOOK LIKE? WE QUIT… church, we quit the Life Group, we quit the good relationships… People who are growing to look and live like Christ are ENGAGED, OPEN, TEACHABLE, CORRECTABLE… The reverse is true of those who CLOSE THEMSELVES OFF FROM GOD AND GODLY INFLUENCES!
We can shut ourselves off from God and choose to live in our own “little world- IN DARKNESS!” Because when you “shut God out” you “shut out the light!” You choose to live in the dark… your heart becomes hardened, you lose your sense of shame, you subject yourself and practice what only further pollutes your life!
LIVING LIKE JESUS IS NOT SO MUCH ABOUT OUR ACTIONS AS IT IS ABOUT ACCOUNTABILITY!
OPEN THE DOOR! HOW?? Choose to be accountable! ACCOUNTABILITY IS GIVEN! YOU “OPEN the DOOR” to accountability, YOU INVITE IT, through mentoring relationships- which is true discipleship. You live your life out in the open through relational connectivity that is conducive to looking and living a lot like Christ!
WHO ARE YOU BEING ACCOUNTABLE TO?
YOU’VE LEARNED: YOU DON’T LIVE CORRUPTED! 20 But that isn’t what you learned about Christ. 21 Since you have heard about Jesus and have learned the truth that comes from him, 22 throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life, which is corrupted by lust and deception.
Paul reminds the Ephesians that they had “learned” to live differently, “learned” about Christ, “learned” the truth that comes from him. WHAT HAD THEY LEARNED?
This phrase, “learned Christ” doesn’t appear anywhere else in the NT! No where else does Paul use it. The point is emphatic: YOU DIDN’T TAKE A COURSE ON CHRIST, YOU LEARNED TO BE CRUCIFIED WITH CHRIST!
LISTEN TO THIS: “Indeed Jews ask for signs, and Greeks search for wisdom; but we preach Christ crucified, to Jews a stumbling block, and to Gentiles foolishness, but to those who are the called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.” (1Corinthians 1:22, 23, 24) “For I determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and Him crucified.” (1Cor 2:2)
Paul is saying that YOU CAN’T TAKE A COURSE! YOU “FOLLOW THE COURSE” (CRUCIFIED WITH CHRIST)!
The Greek word is “didasko” which means “we are taught in such a way that our will is conformed.” It’s when a “teacher” doesn’t merely give you information but an authentic example! Jesus “taught” this way- “Come and follow me and I will make you fishers of men…”
Fly fishing in Montana. Brian Carpenter. The “class” was on the river!! Wasn’t long I was “putting on” the fly fishing persona. “Putting on” the outfit, the wadders, the shirt, the vest; I not only looked like a fly fisherman, I could fly fish!
Paul says, you’ve got to “throw off” what corrupts you to “put on” Christ! Brian had all the gear- He said, “Take that off and put this on!” Man, I felt like the real deal!! That’s the point of “learning Christ”- to look like him, live like him, you’ve got to “throw off” everything that “corrupts” that “look” and “life!”
PUT ON NEW CLOTHES! Paul says, “Look and live like Christ!” Rom. 13:14 “Clothe yourself with the presence of the Lord Jesus Christ. And don’t let yourself think about ways to indulge your evil desires. HOW??
We “dress” for the occasions- right? Fly fishing… So, to look and live like Christ we need to DRESS ourselves with the wardrobe Paul defines in Eph. 6:13-18…. WARFARE!!!
“13 Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm. 14 Stand your ground, putting on the belt of truth and the body armor of God’s righteousness. 15 For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News so that you will be fully prepared. 16 In addition to all of these, hold up the shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil. 17 Put on salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. 18 Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere.”
That’s your “clothes” to “look and live like Christ!” You “put off” what corrupts, keeps you from “that look and life!” YOU ARE DRESSED FOR SUCCESS!! * More on this in a few weeks…
DO LIVE LIKE CHRIST! 23 Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. 24 Put on your new nature, created to be like God—truly righteous and holy.
ILL. When I was on the river with Brian, dressed like a fly fisherman, had the fly fishing gear, was fly fishing with a master fly fishing guide… YEAH, I STARTED TO BELIEVE I WAS A FLY FISHERMAN!!
My attitude changed, I began to think differently. Sure, you can learn to fly fish on your own… But, to have an expert teach you, show you, train you, be right there with you, encourage you… that changes everything!
THE BEST WAY TO LEARN CHRIST, LOOK LIKE CHRIST, LIVE LIKE CHRIST, IS IN THE CONTEXT, CULTURE, AND COMMUNITY OF TRUE CHRISTLIKE PEOPLE!
Notice our “wardrobe!” It’s all about warfare!! I NEED THE CHURCH, A COMMUNITY OF FAITH TO HELP ME “LEARN CHRIST!” I NEED “COACHES” AND THE “CHURCH!” That’s how you “learn Christ!
(c) 2014, Terry Broadwater. For personal use only. All other uses please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.