Bible Study Notes:

Old Self vs. New Self: Ephesians 4:14-24


These notes are from a transcript of the postings during Bible Study on Thursday Nights at 8 PM at Bible Study Chat at churchusa.com.
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Father God we thank you for the beautiful day of sunshine and joy You've graciously given to us. Thank you for all of Your glorious gifts! Thank you most of all for Your precious Son, who in turn gave His life for our sins. As we open your Holy Word tonight Lord, make it real to us and help us to apply it to our own lives. Father we kick satan out of here in the blessed name of Jesus

satan we declare that you are a liar and the father of all liars and we come against your cunning schemes and crafty moves in Jesus Name! We bind you and rebuke you and cast you out of this room our machines our cables, the phone lines, etc in the Blessed Name of Jesus!

Holy Spirit we invite Your peaceful anointing on our eyes, ears and hearts, that You may teach us and guide us into all truth. AMEN!!! Praise the Lord!!!

Father, our salvation is marked in the book of the lambs. We are Yours, we follow your will in this study tonight. In the sweet sweet name of Jesus. AMEN

Thank you Jesus! Last time we were talking about some of the gifts that Jesus has given to the Church. let me post it to refresh your memories.

Ephesians 4:11-13 It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, to prepare God's people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.

We discussed what these gifts were, among other lists of gifts, and about finding our own individual ministries in the body. We also discussed the fact that these ministry gifts were given to the Church to prepare God's people to serve Him and to become mature. And also the fact that these ministry gifts will be here UNTIL the whole body of Christ is mature.

Now some Christians think that they can "wing it" and don't have to be a part of a local body of believers. But if Jesus felt that we needed these ministries, who are we to oppose Him? So my prayer is that we will all seek God and find our ministry, if not in this list, in the others we spoke of.

BSoC - Even fellowship in cyber church is not enough.

Now verse 14 tells us what could happen if we don't take advantage of the teaching and preaching and prophecy from His Godly ministers.

Ephesians 4:14 Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming.

The image of a baby being blown about by the wind, and tossed back and forth by the waves is pretty gruesome really, but that's what COULD happen to any of us who launches out on his/her own and refuses to listen to the leaders Christ has appointed for us. Let's look at the KJV:

That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;

This phrase "sleight of men" - Gr. Kubeia, cube, refers to loaded dice against which no man can win. Those who play around with false doctrine cannot win eternal life. Fooling around with false doctrine is like playing with loaded dice - you CANNOT win!

This phrase "cunning craftiness" - Gr. Panourgiea - cheating and subtlety and methodia - method - signifies the art, wile, stratagem or method of the devil to destroy souls by fallacy. It refers to the systematizing of error and making it such a perfect counterfeit of truth that only those who are experienced in truth can detect it.

99% of Christians are no match against some of the belief systems that are out there. They are so "beautifully" thought out and the literature is so well organized that it is almost impossible to rebuke it! And they have all sorts of strategies lined up to hook you in and confuse you. They not only know most of the questions you might ask, but have already memorized the answers! And this is not only true of the major religions, but false intellectualism, secular humanism, and even some groups who say they are "Christian".

2 Peter 2:1-3 But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them--bringing swift destruction on themselves. Many will follow their shameful ways and will bring the way of truth into disrepute. In their greed these teachers will exploit you with stories they have made up. Their condemnation has long been hanging over them, and their destruction has not been sleeping.

How do you witness to people caught up in these errors?

  1. Be SURE you know the Word yourself so you won't fall into error.
  2. Seek the leading of the Holy Spirit. Witness in His timing.
  3. No one was ever won by Christ through argument. Witnessing is not arguing.
  4. Show them love.
  5. Most of all, never beat them over the head with the Bible. That's not how Jesus won people, and you won't win people that way either.

It's always good to be prepared for their arguments - so you'll know what to expect. Josh McDowell has written a lot of good stuff, such as More Than a Carpenter and Evidence That Demands a Verdict. Paul begins verse 15 with INSTEAD which means, don't do verse 14, instead do this:

Ephesians 4:15 Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ.

What do you think "speaking the truth in love" means?

Z - living and being truthful in all of our ways?

Tal - show them that Jesus always loves them no matter what

OlePappy - Speaking what the Bible says

Are little white lies OK to spare someone's feelings?

Tal - NO

Z - nope....

Amplified: Rather let our lives lovingly express truth in all things - speaking truly, dealing truly, living truly. Enfolded in love, let us grow up in every way and in all things into Him Who is the Head, [even] Christ, the Messiah, the Anointed One.

So should we just be brutally honest, and "let the chips fall where they may"? You know, "tell it like it is"?

Z - no, do it in Love...with a truthful and caring attitude...? you can tell someone the truth....w/o trying to hurt....no need to be cold

It's hard to know when to speak up and when to be silent, and what to say when we speak, isn't it? We really need to lean on the Holy Spirit in this area I think. A word that comes to mind is TACT. We can tell the truth in a tactful way, considering the others feelings. Also be sure you've honestly removed the "plank" from your own eye, before you start worrying about the speck of dust in someone else's! Speaking the truth in love - first ask yourself, "IS this the TRUTH?" and then "How can I express it in the most loving way possible?"

Father, we pray that you will give us the wisdom to speak the truth in love always. Guide our thoughts and speech to reflect your love in everything. AMEN

Also, remember that there is a time to speak and a time to be silent. The hearer may not be ready to accept what you have to say, or your heart may not be ready to say it. Or you are angry or upset about it. I think if we all prayed more and talked less, we wouldn't have so much trouble with this verse! Also, sandwich any "constructive criticism" you have with layers of love - let the person know you value them. Don't by any means put yourself in a superior or condescending role.

Tal - The bible says a lot about keeping our mouths shut-James 1:19-20,Prov.10:19,and Prov. 13:3

forgiven, I guess we should add another question to our list, "Is it necessary for me to say anything?" Sometimes it's better to be silent.

The truth doesn't always have to be unpleasant either! I believe it includes telling others how much we appreciate them and what a good job we think they're doing for the Lord! Or in parenting their kids. Or whatever.

sharon - but remember forgive; God is in control at all times; the Bible said don't condemn yourself for what you allowed yourself to do; try not to be double minded; what ever you do put God first and don't allow yourself to be condemned no matter what

If we DO listen to those God has appointed as our ministers, and we DO refuse false doctrine, and we DO speak the truth in love, what does verse 15 say will happen?

Ephesians 4:15 Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ.

GROW UP! Praise the Lord, we will grow up IN ALL THINGS! The goal of our Christian life should be to GROW UP in ALL things INTO Christ!

Z - we will no longer be children...but maturing Christians!!

sharon - growing up means also you are taller and you can see better in all things

What does it mean, "who is the Head, that is, Christ"? The next verse helps explain it:

Ephesians 4:16 From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.

Who is the body? Every born again, blood bought, Spirit washed, Bible believing, member of the Lord Jesus Christ is a part of His body. Now we're the body, He's the Head. That means, He's the brains of this operation, and is the ONLY one who can direct the body. What does this mean ", joined and held together by every supporting ligament"?

Z - is that our faith, our gifts, growing one another in love?

ThunderQueen - Its an analogy,The church like a body needs every supporting ligament, it is love that holds the body together, each person doing his or her own part, exercising his or her gift from within the body that produces spiritual growth

OP was just telling me that ligaments are what hold the muscles and bones together - what holds us together - keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.

ThunderQueen - an arm can do the body no good if it is severed from the rest of the body

Notice it says "supporting" ligaments. We need to remember that we ARE one body and need to support one another. Don't be a "charlie horse Christian" always going into spasm about something - because you won't be supporting the body that way! And if we don't do our share, then someone else has to carry the load, and can get strained and out of joint. This goes back to Galatians 6:5 - carrying your own load.

Now when all the believers are joined together and supporting each other, and growing individually, what happens? The whole body GROWS! Jesus wants us to grow up individually as in v. 15, AND as a body, v. 16! As the body grows and EACH part does it's work, we are built up in LOVE. Each part is important! Each part contributes to this building up! Each part supports the other and each part profits.

A body is organic, it is a system of different parts working towards the same goal, it is concerned with each part, no matter how lowly or unlovely it might be. Paul teaches in another place, can you say to your foot, get out of here, I don't need you?

It's hard sometimes to deal with stinky feet Christians, isn't it? Maybe you think I'm one of those sometimes! But we need to catch a vision of ourselves as ONE body with Christ as our Head. And quit acting like there's this group that I don't like, and this other group that's so-so. Then Paul says:

Ephesians 4:17 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.

SO is like therefore, SINCE we are all one body and grow together in love, Paul has something to say. And very strongly, he INSISTS on it IN THE LORD. Like amisfit says, Shut up and listen! You MUST - it isn't optional! You MUST NO longer live as the Gentiles do - the pagans, the unbelievers, those in the world, outside of Christ. How do they live? In the futility of their thinking. What does futility mean?

Amplified: "you must no longer live as the heathen (the Gentiles) do in their perverseness - in the folly, vanity, and emptiness of their souls and the futility - of their minds."

Romans 1:21 For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened.

OlePappy - As the Borg says, "resistance is futile".

Futility is hopelessness, nothing to be gained, emptiness, vanity, folly, "chasing the wind" as in the Book of Ecclesiastes. Verses 18-19 explains what this futile thinking is.

Ephesians 4:18 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.

First of all they've hardened their hearts. They refuse to listen to God or obey Him. Since God is the source of all wisdom and knowledge, they become stupid, ignorant, unwise. This ignorance of God's will and ways and wonders has separated them from God and the life He gives.

ThunderQueen - In other words we are to reject all that corrupts and be like God in true righteousness and holiness

Therefore their understanding is darkened, mentally they are dim, they cannot see the light of Christ, they are unable to think the way God does and receive the gifts God has to freely give them.

Ephesians 4:19 Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, with a continual lust for more.

This in turn causes them to loose all sensitivity - they've lost their moral conscience - no longer know right from wrong - have lost true sympathy for others - And have turned themselves over to sensuality - gratifying the flesh - and ever needing more and more gratification, stoop to lower and lower levels of impurity - especially sexual impurity - and continue to lust for more and more and more!

We see this splashed on every newspaper in the land, on TV, whatever, the acts of those who have hardened their hearts to God and have slid ever closer to destruction. And the shame of it all is that many of these futile thinkers are promoting this lifestyle as a religion. The only way you can worship God they say, is to indulge all of your senses to the limit! They have changed bad to good and good to bad, and exult in it!

ThunderQueen - We must reject all that corrupts and be like God in true righteousness and holiness

But Paul says, NO!

Ephesians 4:20 You, however, did not come to know Christ that way.

Futile thinking, hardening your heart, being ignorant of God's love, becoming darkened in your understanding - will NOT lead you to Christ! What is the right way? How can we get on the right path? How can we keep from hardening our hearts and becoming ignorant?

Ephesians 4:21 Surely you heard of him and were taught in him in accordance with the truth that is in Jesus.

JESUS - look to the truth in Jesus. Don't look at what other "Christians" do or say. Look to Jesus, the Author (beginner, initiator, writer) and finisher (maturer, protector, nurturer and perfector) of our faith. Have you heard of Jesus? Have you heard how he went about doing good and healing ALL that were oppressed of the devil?

ThunderQueen - We must rid ourselves of hostility in favor of treating one another as God treats us in Christ

Have you heard how He died for your sins and mine, redeemed us from the curse of the law, set us free from the law of sin and death, and made it possible for us to walk in newness of life?

Ephesians 4:21 Surely you heard of him and were taught in him in accordance with the truth that is in Jesus.

Have you been taught IN HIM, or have you just merely listened to some man's opinion about Him?

sharon - knowing God; praying watching as well studying; acknowledge God in all thy ways and he will direct your path..... learn to trust and when you trust him he will bless you

4gvn - I think taught in HIM, means you learning the word, studying and reading His word and praying in the Spirit the revealer of truth

If you WERE taught correctly, you will get these results:

Ephesians 4:22-24 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; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.

Hardening of hearts is a two way street. God says come, you say no. God says come, you say no. And on and on. You harden your heart against His love, and then He gives you what you want - a heart of stone.

Ephesians 4:22-24 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; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.

IF you were taught Jesus in accordance with the truth, the first thing you learn to do is put off your old self, which is being corrupted by deceitful desires. When you come to Jesus, your spirit is made new, but it takes a while to get the old flesh and emotions to pay attention. You have to "put off" this old way of thinking and living. Your body wants to keep satisfying it's desires like always, and you need to be careful because they are deceitful. Living by feelings is the old self, living by faith is the new. How can you put off this old self? It won't go away if you ignore it - and certainly won't go away if you satisfy it's deceitful desires.

ThunderQueen - I think Paul refers to the sin nature which is set on a course of corruption. Any person's hope to a new self "created" by God - this new creation takes place when we believe in Jesus. It is up to us to decide if we will heed the pull of the old sinful desires or respond to the new self's pull toward righteousness am I correct? to be made new in the attitude of your minds

Romans 12:2 Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is--his good, pleasing and perfect will.

You renew your mind by learning to think like Jesus. How do you know how Jesus thinks? Read the Word. Imitate what He says and does. When you renew your mind - create new thought patterns, new ways of thinking, you will be able to test your actions and see if they line up with God's will.

Amplified: Do not be conformed to this world - this age, fashioned after and adapted to its external, superficial customs. But be transformed (changed) by the [entire] renewal of your mind - by its new ideals and attitude - so that you may prove [for yourselves] what is the good and acceptable and perfect [in His sight for you]

sharon - think like Jesus; first off we have to except him and then love him with all your heart mind and soul - he is first; then love one another as we love our self; and I had to pray for this when I read it and its a everyday thing never stopping staying in the spirit

4gvn - God's will, what the bible teaches us to be and to do, right?

Perfect here is teleos - that which has reached its end; nothing more to complete it, thorough, finished, mature, complete. To keep walking in God's will for you until you've finished your work and He brings you home! and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness

ThunderQueen - God won't force us to be godly, but if we choose righteousness, He will enable us

4gvn - that's means total make over of the attitude

Ephesians 4:31. "get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other."

Notice that putting off the old self and putting on the new self is something YOU DO. Something you choose, something you must want above the deceitful desires of your old lifestyle. There are things you need to give up, places you need to quit going, people you need to quit associating with, thoughts you need to quit thinking. This is the negative part.

And there is a positive side too! Don't get caught up in brow beating yourself and blaming and condemning yourself. This is if you only focus on the negative. When you, with God's help, put off some aspect of the old self, with God's help, put on some aspect of the new self in it's place. For example, give up gossiping and take up speaking good about one another! Give up bitterness and start forgiving. Give up hatred and anger and start loving!

sharon - oldtimer when I didn't want to give up some of the thing I use to do, I asked god to give me the desire and remove it; the closer I got to God the more of the old me was dying; sometimes I got upset, but I never stop praying for me...

ThunderQueen - Anger is an emotion, Sin is a choice You may feel anger, but you can chose not to sin

Right Sharon! It is a process, it doesn't happen over night! In fact it is a life-long walk!

Lord, plant these seeds of righteousness and right thinking deep into our hearts and bring forth a harvest of loving truth in Jesus! Help us to be doers of the word and not hearers only, walkers and not just talkers, so we won't deceive ourselves. In Jesus Name AMEN. Thank You Father for those gathered here tonight. Bless and guide them until we meet here again to study Your beautiful word. I praise and thank You in the name of Jesus. AMEN

Remember, whenever God gives us a revelation, the devil tries to steal it from us. Guard your hearts and meditate on what you've learned!
And put it into practice.

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