23 Nov

This Sunday 22 November I spoke on Ephesians 4: 17-32. In my talk I used both the NIV translation and The Message paraphrase. The editor’s heading for the NIV text is, The New Life. The Message heading for the same text is ‘The Old Way Has to Go.’ Opposites. One positive; the other negative. I used both texts.

Why? And how did I design the talk, and my reflections? I form two steps.

  1. Because when I teach now I no longer used three points, I get it down to one essential point, a key word or phrase. For this passage I used one word: new

Essential word: new

2. I take this word/phrase and form and essential question:

Here the EQ: How do I keep the newness, the freshness of my faith? How do I keep this first love new? Revelation 2: 1-4

There is a two step approach to my answer to this essential/how to question.

A. First, I read the text in two different translations. I wash myself in His word. Ephesians 5: 26 (Both translations I used NIV & Message are below)

B. Last, I think, reflect about being thankful. This is the ‘message’ of this passage in Ephesians. Paul wrote two letters to churches while he was in prison. The overarching message of each is: be content, be joyful in all circumstances. Be thankful. The Message paraphrase of 4:30 puts it well ‘Don’t take such a gift for granted.’ This is the gift of the Holy sprit; the gift of new life in Christ.

How can I be thankful? Reflect on ten things you are grateful for; then expend to twenty; then grow to forty. It will be hard at first as you practice you will become more specific. then, it becomes easier. Thankfulness keeps things new. It keeps me in my first love, Jesus. Be Thankful. Love.

 So I tell you this, and insist on it in the Lord, that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking. 18 They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts. 19 Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, and they are full of greed.

20 That, however, is not the way of life you learned 21 when you heard about Christ and were taught in him in accordance with the truth that is in Jesus. 22 You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; 23 to be made new in the attitude of your minds; 24 and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.

25 Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to your neighbor, for we are all members of one body. 26 “In your anger do not sin”[a]: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, 27 and do not give the devil a foothold. 28 Anyone who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with their own hands, that they may have something to share with those in need.

29 Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. 30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31 Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. 32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.

17-19 And so I insist—and God backs me up on this—that there be no going along with the crowd, the empty-headed, mindless crowd. They’ve refused for so long to deal with God that they’ve lost touch not only with God but with reality itself. They can’t think straight anymore. Feeling no pain, they let themselves go in sexual obsession, addicted to every sort of perversion.

20-24 But that’s no life for you. You learned Christ! My assumption is that you have paid careful attention to him, been well instructed in the truth precisely as we have it in Jesus. Since, then, we do not have the excuse of ignorance, everything—and I do mean everything—connected with that old way of life has to go. It’s rotten through and through. Get rid of it! And then take on an entirely new way of life—a God-fashioned life, a life renewed from the inside and working itself into your conduct as God accurately reproduces his character in you.

25 What this adds up to, then, is this: no more lies, no more pretense. Tell your neighbor the truth. In Christ’s body we’re all connected to each other, after all. When you lie to others, you end up lying to yourself.

26-27 Go ahead and be angry. You do well to be angry—but don’t use your anger as fuel for revenge. And don’t stay angry. Don’t go to bed angry. Don’t give the Devil that kind of foothold in your life.

28 Did you use to make ends meet by stealing? Well, no more! Get an honest job so that you can help others who can’t work.

29 Watch the way you talk. Let nothing foul or dirty come out of your mouth. Say only what helps, each word a gift.

30 Don’t grieve God. Don’t break his heart. His Holy Spirit, moving and breathing in you, is the most intimate part of your life, making you fit for himself. Don’t take such a gift for granted.

31-32 Make a clean break with all cutting, backbiting, profane talk. Be gentle with one another, sensitive. Forgive one another as quickly and thoroughly as God in Christ forgave you.

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