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May 5, 2021 7:00 pm
Dr. Steve Pettit continues the series entitled “New Life in Christ,” with a message titled “How We Should Not Walk,” from Ephesians 4:17-20.
Welcome to The Daily Platform from Bob Jones University in Greenville, South Carolina. The school was founded in 1927.
The evangelist Dr. Bob Jones Senior's intent was to make a school where Christ would be the center of everything, so he established daily chapel services today.
That tradition continues with fervent preaching from the University chapel platform today on The Daily Platform. Dr. Steve Pettit, president of Bob Jones University is continuing a study series from Ephesians entitled new life in Christ. Steve has written a study booklet for the series. If you would like to follow along. You can order a printed copy from the website.
The Daily Platform.com today. Steve will show us in Ephesians 417 through 19. How we as Christians should not walk. Could you please take your Bibles this morning and turn with me to the book of Ephesians Ephesians chapter 4 today were going to look at the first three verses in our study as we have begun our study in the new life in Christ. We started with basically an introduction and then the understanding of the overall message of Ephesians and so beginning today the rest of the semester we will take an expositional law that is studying the Scripture bringing out what the Bible is saying and then applying it to our lives.
As of this morning will look in verse 17 to verse 19 here God's word.
This I say therefore and testify in the Lord that you 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 passed feeling have given themselves over unto lasciviousness to work all uncleanness with greediness. Verse 25 you have not so learned Christ learning is a lot like a battery. You both need a negative pole and a positive call in order for it to work properly. We often learn just as much by what we should not do as by learning what we should do in Ephesians chapter 4 through verse through chapter 6 Paul describes the behavior of the believer in five walks, four of those walks are positive.
One is negative.
We are commanded to walk in a right way and we are commanded to not walk in a wrong way, we are told what we should do and we are told what we should not do my own experience of life. The things that I often remember were the times that I was corrected for what I should not be doing especially when it was my mother doing the correction.
This section that were looking at today and this semester is actually telling us how we should not wall and notice the opening of the verse he says in verse 17 this I say therefore and testify in the Lord that you henceforth walk, not as other Gentiles walk so essentially this morning were going to look first of all, it who are these Gentiles because he telling us not to live like them then secondly we have to understand, how is it that they live, how to they walk with their lifestyle. Like, and then will finish up with just a couple of applications of the urgency of what is trying to say.
So when Paul says don't walk like other Gentiles who are the Gentiles will essentially the Scriptures divides the ancient world spiritually into two kinds of people groups before the coming of Christ. Those two groups were the Jews and the Gentiles. Now the Jews were from the family of Abraham we discover that in Genesis chapter 12, the Gentiles, however, were from the family of Noah. The Jews were God's chosen people. They were given the law of God, they were given the Scriptures the promises and the covenants. The family of Noah, however, were made up of the 70 people groups that were divided by God at the Tower of Babel. We read in Genesis 1032 these are the families of the sons of Noah after their generations in their nations. The word nation.
There is a word for Gentile and by these were the Gentiles the nations divided in the earth after the flood. So actually God gives in this name.
He calls them Gentiles, and they included all the nations and all the people groups of the world, apart from the family of Abraham and all Gentile nations were idol worshipers. Only the family of Abraham received the knowledge of the truth the light of God in who he is what everyone else worship God in their own image and in their own darkness. That's where we get of course all the mythology from Roman. In Greek. Now if you go to Ephesians chapter 2 in verses 11 and 12, the apostle Paul describes the Gentiles from a spiritual perspective and he sets forth the spiritual handicaps or the spiritual deficiencies of the Gentiles and look at verse 11 in Ephesians 2 he says wherefore remember that you being in time past Gentiles in the flash, who are called un-circumcision by that which is called circumcision in the flesh made by hand. What he simply saying here is that the term uncircumcised was a term of derision that the Jews used against the Gentile. Now notice the next verse, verse 12, where he describes what their spiritual handicaps word he says. At that time you were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world what he say about the Gentiles number one, they were without a Messiah. They will, they were without Christ, the hope of the Jewish people was the coming Messiah but the Gentiles had no expectation of a coming deliver a coming Messiah, a coming rescuer.
They had no hope for their future. These are those who live BC before Christ and the notice. Secondly, the Gentiles were without citizenship in the nation of God's people. They were aliens from the commonwealth of Israel.
The Jews chosen by God were given an exclusive and special spiritual position and relationship with God but the Gentiles were outside of the family. They were not a part of God's people in the notice.
Thirdly, the Gentiles were worth were without any promises from God. The covenants that God made to the Jews. These agreements these promises were about their future. For example, the Abraham it covenant spoke of the coming Savior, the Davidic covenant spoke of the coming king. The Mosaic covenant help the Jewish people understand who their God was and how that they were to have a relationship with him and all of the covenants were for the blessing of the Jewish people and the Gentiles. They didn't understand any of it and the number for the Gentiles were without hope.
Think about it. If God does not pay you attention than what kind of hope. Do you have the answer is none. Only despair master question this morning. What would your life be without God merely take take all your faith, take all the Bible take all the knowledge of God. Take everything that you've ever known about God and deleted in your mind and suddenly you're now living your life with out God, what would your life be like it would be a life without hope and finally number five, the Gentiles were without God in this world. The Jews had God is their son.
He was there light. They had God is their shield.
He protected them. They had God is their shepherd. He guided them. They had God is there salvation he rescue them from the penalty of their sin. This was the condition Paul sets forth of the Gentiles. What they were like by when Jesus came. It changed everything for the Gentiles in Matthew summarizes this when Jesus began his ministry around the Sea of Galilee and listen to Matthew chapter 4 beginning in verse 13 and leaving Nazareth.
Jesus, when he lived in Capernaum by the sea. This is the territory of Zebulon and Naftali so that what was spoken by the prophet Isaiah might be fulfilled that the land of Zebulon in the land of Naftali the way of the sea, beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles.
The people who lived there in darkness have now seen a great light, and those who dwelt in the region in the shadow of death over them. A light has dawned the coming of Jesus Christ was the coming of light to the Gentile people and and through Jesus Christ. He brought the Gentiles close to the father to have a relationship with the father just like the Jewish people had that. Think of this. Paul is reaching the Ephesians and the Ephesians.
By and large were Gentiles and they had believed on the Lord Jesus Christ and now they come into this relationship with God.
So that's of the Gentiles were so how did these Gentiles live prior to their conversion, and if we look if you will please in verse 17 he begins to unfold the anatomy of the enter life in the inner mind of the Gentile. He explains how they think he gets into their head.
And Paul does this for reason, because Paul's approach and spiritual living always started with the way that you think is what drives the way that you live many years as I work with our team members that traveled with us in. I would have to talk to them about issues. I never asked them what did they do. I asked him what were you thinking what's going on through your head and Paul gets inside the head of the Gentiles and explains their thinking, and he begins. First of all with a very general statement. Notice what he says. He says that the Gentiles were walking in the vanity of their mind Paul is describing God's perspective on the overall viewpoint of the Gentiles. Thinking about life. We would call it their worldview. Paul is saying that their inner thinking their desires and their choices could be summed up with one word vanity. What is it mean what is vanity mean it means to be incapable of producing any useful result. For example, let's say you come to Bob Jones University as a freshman and you start taking classes and at the end of the first semester here, Bob Jones University. You flunked every single class. However, you're not equipped so you come back. Second semester and once again you fail every single class but you not prone to quitting. So you come back the second year you're still a freshman. You have a pass anything and you go your second year and you still fail every single class now since we need your money. We let you come back the third year and once again you failed everything up as you been here three years and you never capacity classes.
Now let me ask you question how many of you would eventually ask yourself why am I doing what's the point. This is a total waste. That's what the word vanity means. It means that your living life without any point meaningless is interesting to me that in the world. When people go out and get drunk they will often say they went out and the got wasted. Do you know anybody in the Scripture who wrote about the vanity of life without God, who was gunning Solomon was the name of the book that he wrote the spoke about the emptiness of life is a book of Ecclesiastes and essentially Solomon is riding out of his own experience because Solomon was a place of life that he could satisfy every human desire that you would ever want satisfied everything a person could ever want pleasure, possessions, prestige, money, fame, power, wisdom, beauty, houses, glands, sex was beyond is the dude at 300 wives and 700 cucumber vines a thousand mean mean I don't even want to go there.
My mind and yet he discovered that in all of this life was empty without God. Any rights in Ephesians and Ecclesiastes 1 verse two vanity of vanities, says the preacher, vanity of vanities, all is vanity.
What does man gain by all the toil at which he toils under the sun's point is like does it make sense and has no meaning without God and from God's perspective Gentiles live every moment of every day and they never discover life's purpose and by the way, that is why it is so important that all of us get the that the importance of evangelism.
Because what we doing with taking light to those who are living life without any purpose or meaning. That's the way God views the Gentiles in a general way, but then let's take it a little deeper. Now he speaks more specifically how Gentiles think in a specific manner and notice what he says beginning in verse 18. He says having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God. Here he speaking about their condition.
The word understanding is the ability to think things through in a reasonable manner and they make good, make good decisions.
We do that all the time. He says there understanding about life is darken the word darkness is refers to the absence of the knowledge and presence of God. The worst blackout in US history took place on 14 August 2003. It affected eight US states, Ontario, Canada, and a total of 55 million people were involved. Paul is saying a spiritual darkness has come over the minds of Gentiles. The lights have been turned off and they have never been turned back to in other words, they really don't understand in their thinking and their decisions, how to make choices about life in God's perspective and then he says there alienated from the life of God alienated means to be a foreigner so I going to another country where you don't understand their language, the customs and their culture and Gentiles are foreigners to the life that we have in God.
They don't understand your life. They don't understand what is happening your heart why it is that you make the choices that you make. And Peter writes about this. Peter writes about the reaction of the Gentiles to the unwillingness of believers to sit to live sinfully like other Gentiles, and I like to read to you. First Peter chapter 4 because this is a verse that jumped out of me when I was a student at the Citadel living amongst people that were unbelievers and I've been converted, and they were mocking me and making fun of me that I would not go out and do what they were doing. What a comfort this reverse was to me.
Verse three of first Peter Foreman read it in the ESV.
I think it's will clear for the time that is passed suffices for doing with the Gentiles want to do living in sensuality, passions, drunkenness, orgies, drinking parties, and lawless idolatry. By the way, that's called college with with respect to this, they are surprised when you do not join them in the same flood of debauchery and they malign you. They speak evil of message you that if you are never maligned by an unbeliever for your lifestyle. I'd like to ask what kind of Christian, are you if you're never mocked because of what you don't do that and what kind of Christian life. Are you living this is Peter writing. He is saying that Gentiles do not understand why we are the way that we are why the way we are the way we are and why is it they don't understand because they're in satanic bondage.
Paul writes in second Corinthians 4 but if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost because the God of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not last the light of the glorious gospel of Christ to the image of God, should shine unto them. When the light shines sand is exposed and we flee the darkness and we run to the light that's the thinking of the unbeliever.
What's the reason for this. Notice what Paul says will read on here in verse 18 having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God and now he gives the calls he says through the ignorance that is in them because of the blindness their heart. The word ignorance. There is the root word for agnostic, it means they that they know nothing about the existence and the nature of God. Practically they are atheist, but this ignorance is basically rooted in their ignoring the truth.
Paul says it this way in Romans 121 because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were they think over the Cape they became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened, is not that you don't know is that you don't want to know. It is an ignorance that you are responsible for, and then he really summarizes it in the statement because of the blindness of their heart. He's here writing of the primary calls and reason for your darkness, alienation and ignorance.
He is saying. Blindness means stubbornness on unwillingness to learn someone who is not teachable. And Paul is saying that every body is culpable for the condition of their own heart. When my children were growing up at home. I said whatever you grow up to be like it is your fault.
You cannot. You cannot blame your mom and dad the way you grew out the family you grew up in whatever disadvantages you think you didn't have. You cannot blame us if you walk away from God.
It is your fault. That's what he saying here he is saying the blindness of the heart is the unwillingness to receive the truth and respond to the truth in it is a hardness that develops over time. Let me to stop here and say one of the biggest dangers of coming to Bob Jones University is called Chapel Chapel is dangerous. You know why because truth is being preached from this pulpit in the power of the Holy Spirit and God is speaking to your heart and what you do with that truth is is what is that is going to determine your direction, your future, your spirituality. That's why you can sit here and you can get hard or you can get solved, and whatever happens to you. You are culpable for the condition of your own heart. You are responsible and what he is saying here. The reason why the Gentiles are the way they are.
It's not that they don't know it's not that they can't know is that they don't want to and what is the consequence of this way of thinking.
Notice what he tells us here in verse 19, who being bent past feeling have given themselves over to lasciviousness. The word pass feeling there means the means losing the capacity to feel any shame or embarrassment or guilt is like getting calluses at a friend of mine in college.
He was a gymnast. Remember, you come back after swinging on the parallel bars in the afternoon.
His hands were filled with blisters and he was in miserable pain for about one week and then finally was blisters turn to calluses in about two weeks later he would come back and show me the calluses and then he would take pins and he would stick them in the calluses and he would hold up his hands with pin sticking in his hand and he would not feel one who being passed feeling when our hearts are hardened against truth our hearts get hard and the feeling that we should hamper disobedience is a sense of shame and guilt, folks, guilt is not bad.
Guilt is good because guilt is from God.
The absence of guilt means the absence of God. If you abandon God, then God will abandon you who being passed feeling have given themselves over have handed themselves over to lasciviousness what is lasciviousness is behavior that is lacking in moral restraint is being loose with your morality, and he says here to work all uncleanness with greediness. The idea here is that you are engaged in sexual activity and once is not enough.
So I would like to say to all of you here because your college student your 18 to 23 years old. You're the height of your time in your life emotionally. The only way to control sexual appetites is not by law but by grace by God is only God that can give you strength to say no to what your flesh wants to say yes to. But if you are giving into immorality listening very carefully. You are turning God.
All you cannot sit here and say you love God and live in sin, you cannot do that.
It's one of the other. So Paul is saying that these this is the lifestyle of the Gentiles as we finish this morning. What is this all me will go back to what he says in verse 17 a look at a says this essay, there testify the Lord that you henceforth walk, not as of the Gentiles walk was he saying he says don't let this way don't even live is what you know what sexual immorality should never ever ever happen on the campus about gender diversity. You know I because we Christians. Christians don't play loose with their morals but I want to say that if that's the only way to look at this passage were really not looking at it at a deeper level because Paul makes two statements that take us to another level.
Notice he says in verse 70. This essay there and testify in the Lord.
Paul is referring back to what is written in the beginning of chapter 4 and he writes about the unity of the people of God, and he says in order to cultivate unity.
There has to be purity God's new society demands new standards and Paul is speaking as will as if he was a martyr about to die and he's testifying. That's what the word testify means it means to be a martyr and only simply saying here is, he is declaring with with a sense of urgency the importance that we as believers don't live this way. Why, because this is what destroys the church and then as we finish go back down to verse 20 and he says, but you have not so learned Christ what he saying here is when you learn about Christ. It's the opposite of the life of vanity and immorality in the lifestyle of the Gentile. What Paul is saying here is the ideas that a believer living like a pagan is utterly impossible when you learn about Jesus. This is not what you learn when you're taught the gospel. There is no opportunity for life of vanity and ignorance in immorality. This is not genuine biblical Christianity because the new life requires a new lifestyle so he saying walk, not as the Gentiles live but all but all that old, and put own that beautiful new life that is in Christ, would you bow your head and close your eyes. Please. We pray this morning.
Me, I urge you, may I urge you that if you are involved in thinking like an acting like the Gentiles than then don't live that way you are culpable for your own hearts choices.
God grant you the grace not to get hard, but to get solved and tender and pliable and moldable in the hands of our good and gracious God father, thank you for your word, bring forth fruit in our lives.
Report the fruit of holiness. In Jesus name, amen. God bless you.
You been listening to a sermon from Ephesians chapter 4 the sermon as part of the study series called new life in Christ by Dr. Steve Pettit, president of Bob Jones University. Thanks again for listening. Join us again tomorrow as we study God's word together on The Daily Platform