Seeking Jesus First - July 21, 2023

Seeking Jesus First - July 21, 2023
Photo by Ben White / Unsplash

The Apostle Paul still speaks today. Because his letters were recorded, we know what this amazing apostle was preaching and teaching the church and the churches. Paul’s teachings are foundational truths built around faith in Christ Jesus and built on to the cornerstone of Christ Jesus Himself. Paul tells how a believer and follower of Christ should live.

Grace forgives. Grace does not excuse bad behavior. “For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age,” (Titus 2:11–12, NKJV) Grace teaches us to deny ungodly behavior and worldly lusts. Grace teaches us to live soberly, righteously, and godly right now. Paul wrote that to Pastor Titus.

Ephesians is one of the most plainly written epistles in the Bible. It teaches us that we are seated with Christ, we should walk worthy of our calling as sons of God, and to stand firm in the faith on God’s word. But this epistle also teaches us how to live as believers. Take a look at this passage in Chp. 4.

that you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness. Therefore, putting away lying, “Let each one of you speak truth with his neighbor,” for we are members of one another. “Be angry, and do not sin”: do not let the sun go down on your wrath, nor give place to the devil. Let him who stole steal no longer, but rather let him labor, working with his hands what is good, that he may have something to give him who has need. Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.” (Ephesians 4:22–32, NKJV)

He very plainly teaches that we are to put off our former lifestyle and put on the lifestyle of Christ Jesus. He write to, “put on Christ” in other epistles. It is clearly a theme in his teachings. Let’s break down this passage but go ahead and read from verse 17 when you have time:

17 Do not walk in the futility of the mind

18 With a darkened understanding, alienated from the life of God

18 In ignorance and in blindness of heart

19 With no conscience or compassion for others

19 They do things with only their own selfish and greedy lust in mind

20 Christ is not like this and He does not teach us to be like that

21 Because the truth is in Jesus

22 Put off that way of living

22 Put off the old mindset that just grows more and more corrupt every day because of deceitful lusts

23 Be renewed in your inner man

23 Let Holy Spirit fill your inner man and transform your thinking

23 Think like Christ Jesus instead

24 Put on the new man

24 The new man is fashioned in the image of God in righteousness and true holiness

24 You have access to this new man because of Christ in you

25 While you are putting away the old man, put away lying

25 Speak the truth to each other because we are members of each other

26 Don’t sin because you get angry

26 Forgive right away.

26 Don’t even wait until night fall to extend forgiveness

27 Bitterness gives place to the devil in your life

28 Don’t steal anymore

28 Work with your hands instead

28 Do enough good work with your hands that you can earn a living and be able to share with others

29 Don’t say anything corrupt, evil or negative

29 Say only what buds others up

29 Your words should impart grace to whoever hears you speaking. Grace empowers others to do better.

30 Do not grieve the Holy Spirit with your words or actions.

30 Holy Spirit is the seal of God’s promise on your life.

31 Go to war against all bitterness, wrath, anger, complaining and evil speaking in your life.

32 Be kind and tender hearted toward one another.

32 Always share God’s forgiveness with others by forgiving them yourself.

When Paul teaches non-Jewish believers in Jesus how to live a Godly life, he is not telling them a new set of laws that will put them in bondage. He is teaching them how grace empowers a believer to live in faith, hope and love. He is showing them what a Godly lifestyle looks like. It is our privilege to be Godly, and it was made possible by God whose power gave us all things that pertain to life and godliness.