Ephesians: United in Christ
Pastor Ewings' Message Notes on his sermon based on Ephesians 4:17-24
In the text before us today, Paul speaks of the Christian’s sanctified life and contrasts it with the “old” way of life—life without Christ. Paul uses the term “Gentiles” to refer to unbelievers. Many of the Ephesian Christians were “Gentiles,” but after their conversion their ethnic background no longer matters. They are entirely different people now from what they were before; Jesus makes them new.
Paul traces the futile thinking of the unbelievers back to their darkened understanding. Their thoughts are futile because their minds have been totally corrupted by sin. It’s impossible for unbelievers to have even one godly thought. Their sinful, corrupted nature has made them total strangers to the spiritual life that God gives. Ironically, the unbeliever’s darkened understanding of happiness must sooner or later lead to misery. Already in this life, without realizing it, the unbeliever suffers the consequences of living apart from God. He lives without the comforting peace that comes from being right with God through faith in Christ. If the unbeliever remains without this peace during his life here, then physical death will seal his separation from God for all eternity.
Paul says that Christ is served only when the Christian puts off the old, sinful nature which resembles the unbeliever in every way. By bringing us to faith God has put off the “old” for us. Because of Christ’s work, the sin of our old Adam, along with his bad reputation and his insatiable desire for evil, is no longer charged against us. Appreciating what Christ has done, we will not want to give the “old” nature the upper hand in our lives.
In our service to Christ and in our desire to remain in His truth, we drown the “old self” continually through daily contrition and repentance. How important it is for Christians to recognize the old nature as a constant and deadly threat to our salvation! It is a constant threat because it can never be reformed. It is “being corrupted” Paul says; the sinful nature never cleans up its act. In fact, it only gets worse as time goes on. We need Jesus to make us new! He renews us with His Word and Sacraments.
First Lesson - Exodus 16:2-15
Second Lesson - Ephesians 4:17-24
Gospel - John 6:24-35