A warm welcome to my blog on this Nineteenth Sunday after Trinity!
Ephesians iv. 17.
THIS I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that yet henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind, 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: who being past feeling have given themselves over unto lasciviousness, to work all uncleanness with greediness. But ye have not so learned Christ; if so be that ye have heard him, and have been taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus: that ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; and be renewed in the spirit of your mind; and that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness. Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbour: for we are members one of another. Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath: neither give place to the devil. Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth. Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers. And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption. Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: and be ye kind one to another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you.
In Ephesians 4:1–16, Paul focused on Christians living lives worthy of our calling by God. Now Paul transitions to a new section in verses 17–32. He contrasts the new life believers have in Christ, as opposed to the "old life" of the world. Paul's introduction notes how directly and seriously he intends these instructions to be taken. The reference to speaking "in the Lord" makes his words stand out.
Paul instructs the Ephesians not to share in the kind of immoral lifestyle which non-believers follow. The Ephesian Christians were mostly Gentiles, in the sense of being non-Jewish: they were not descendants of Israel. Symbolically, "the Gentiles" mentioned in this context are those people who are separated from God. They are the unsaved. As saved believers, the Ephesians were once "spiritual" Gentiles, but no longer. Paul's point here is that believers cannot continue to live as unbelievers and expect to please God.
We have talked this evening about what it means to move from the Old life of the world to the New Life in Christ.
The world is such an evil place and even those walking in the New Life still struggle the temptations of the old. Alone we cannot endure in order to be saved. That is why we need the power of the Holy Spirit to dwell in us. The Collect for this Sunday tells us this so well :
O GOD, forasmuch as without thee we are not able to please thee; Mercifully grant that thy Holy Spirit may in all things direct and rule our hearts; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Where do we go from here to face another week ? Pray for an indwelling of the Holy Spirit in your lives. Keep on reading the teachings of the Apostles as much as you can, so that you are reminded to how to be different, because you confess Christ Crucified.
While we still can , lets get back on track.
Father Ed Bakker,
Priest & Missioner,
Anglican Catholic Church / Original Province,
Mission of Saint Aidan of Lindisfarne
Launceston on Tasmania