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Learn from Christ, Ephesians 4:17-32

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Idea for group discussion leader: Use this discussion for an introduction. What things did you learn from your favorite teacher? Most likely it was not math, science, or language; it probably involved something about human relationships. Perhaps you were encouraged to do your best or try something you did not think you could do or put off a habit that was harming your life in some way. You copied him (or her) because you admired him, and he took an interest in you. Besides a relative or friend, who is it that is interested in you and your welfare more than anyone else in the world? Jesus Christ. What can we learn from him? Learning from Christ is the theme of today's study.

Review of background and significance for this lesson: Ephesus was an immoral city that practiced sorcery and idolized a goddess named Artemis, whose image supposedly fell from heaven. Ephesus was also a mixed city of Jews and Gentiles (non-Jews). This created a lot of tension between the two groups in the church. This was one of the reasons for Paul's second and third missionary journeys; to encourage the Gentile believers, who were being told that believing was not enough; they needed to observe the Jewish Law and traditions. He also wrote to encourage them to love and accept each other in the new body of believers, the church.

In our last lesson, chapter 4:1-16, we learned that because of our calling to adoption as children of God (chapter 1), because of God's saving grace to Jews and non-Jews (chapter 2), because of Paul's administration (stewardship) of the message that Gentiles and Jews are on equal footing and part of the new body, the church (chapter 3), therefore, we should walk worthy of the calling we have received. This means that we should live in a manner suitable to or comparable to the calling we have received (chapter 4:1-16). Since we were adopted into the family of God and have all the blessings and inheritance of his sons, we should walk like we are princes and princesses of the King of Kings and LORD of LORDS (1Peter 2:9-10).

We have received a gracious calling, so we should act with grace. We need to be gracious and forgiving of one another.

By the grace of the Holy Spirit God has given gifted men to the church. Spiritual leadership gifts are meant to be used to equip, mature, and protect the body of the church from apostasy. Other spiritual gifts given to believers in the body of Christ are meant to benefit and grow the body of Christ as each one contributes his or her gift.

Read Ephesians 4:17-32. Generally speaking, what is this section of scripture about?

Answer 1


How should we not live (walk) Ephesians 4:17? How is this described? Ephesians 4:18-19

Answer 2


In our culture and time, how do unbelievers walk in the futility of their minds?

Answer 3


In vs. 20-21. "But" is a word of strong contrast: But the Ephesians believers did not learn Christ that way. This implies that they learned a different way. This was probably through discipleship. They were probably taught by Paul and his disciples, maybe Apollos, Priscilla and Aquila, or Timothy.

What does vs. 21 mean if they physically did not hear Christ personally? What does it mean to hear Christ and be taught in him and learn in this context? In whom is the truth found? To what is this contrasted with in our text?

Answer 4


What did the disciples learn of Christ? vs.22-24 What should we put off and what should we put on?

Answer 5


What is the key to laying aside the old self and putting on the new self? verse 23. What does that mean?

Answer 6


Verses 25-32 give us examples as to what Paul means to lay aside the old self and put on the new self

How do we lay aside the old self and put on the new self in the way we talk? Ephesians 4:25, 29. In what ways are people false with other believers?

Answer 7


How do we lay aside the old self and put on the new self in our attitudes. What should we do with anger? Does this verse say we should never be angry? How does anger relate to giving the devil an opportunity or a foothold in your life? verse 26-27

Answer 8


How do we lay aside the old self and put on the new self in our actions? verse 28

Answer 9


How do we lay aside the old self and put on the new self in our Spiritual relationship with God? verse 30

Answer 10


How do we lay aside the old self and put on the new self in our relationship with one another? verse 31-32

Answer 11


Lessons to Live by: (If you are the leader, ask for members' input first)

Today's Bible memory verses:

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. (NIV)

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A1: Ephesians 4:17-32 deals with how not to live (walk), what to put off and what to put on, and how to live as believers in Christ

A2: We should not walk as other Gentiles walk - in the futility of their minds. This can be contrasted with walking in a manner worthy of the calling you have received. This is described as "...being darkened in their understanding, excluded from the life of God, because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the hardness of their heart; and they, having become callous, have given themselves over to sensuality, for the practice of every kind of impurity with greediness. "(Eph 4:18,19, NASB)

A3: Your answers. Here are some possible answers: me first mentality and actions, sexually promiscuous, atheism, indulgent lifestyles, lack of self control, never satisfied, wanting more, more and more, no time for God or church. Since Paul warns Gentile believers not to walk that way anymore, there must be a danger of doing so.

A4: Possibly they learned the ways of Christ by listening to their spiritual leaders, but they did not just take notes. They listened in order to put it into practice. How do we learn when our spiritual leaders teach us the ways of Christ? Do we learn in order to put it into practice?

The truth is found in Christ. This can be contrasted with the false deceptions and the futility of the world.

A5: They were taught "to lay aside the old self, which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit, and that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and put on the new self, which in [the likeness of] God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth. (NASB)

A6: That we be renewed in the spirit of our minds. In the immediate context this means to apply the ways of Christ which you have learned. Our new self has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth.

A7: Therefore, laying aside falsehood, SPEAK TRUTH EACH ONE OF YOU WITH HIS NEIGHBOR, for we are members of one another. In what ways are people false with other believers? Perhaps to spare feelings or make others feel better about themselves, they lie. Perhaps when the truth needs to be spoken in love to help a fellow believer, they do not do it because they do not want to offend him or make him feel unaccepted. Does this help us grow in Christ?

29 Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear. (NIV)

A8: "BE ANGRY, AND YET DO NOT SIN; do not let the sun go down on your anger,

No, this verse does not say we should never be angry. We should be angry about sin and injustice. We should not, however, let our anger develop into sin or be sinfully anger with bitterness or vengeance in our hearts. Anger can also give the devil a foothold in our life. The devil can use sinful anger to divide the church or family or other relationships.

A9: He who steals must steal no longer; but rather he must labor, performing with his own hands what is good, so that he will have something to share with one who has need.

Besides providing for our needs, one of the purposes of labor is to share with others.

A10: Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. This verse expresses the personality of the Holy Spirit; He can be grieved.

What grieves the heart of God if we use Ephesians 4 for an example? It grieves God when we do not accept each other. It grieves God when we do not walk in a manner worthy of the calling we have received. It grieves God when we do not put off our old lifestyles or adopt the ways of the world instead of his ways. It grieves God when we ignore him, stop coming to church to worship him and stop using our spiritual gifts for the benefit of the body. It grieves God when we are false with each other. It grieves God when we speak unwholesome words to each other. It grieves God when we are angry with each other, and stay angry without just cause. It grieves God when we allow the devil to have a foothold in our lives. It grieves God when we do not labor so that we may share with others. It grieves God when we are mean instead of kind and sympathetic.

What other things grieve God outside of this context? Our lack of faith, how we treat our spouse or family.

A11: Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. [This must have been a problem in Ephesus for Paul to keep mentioning this]

4:32 "Be kind to one another, tender-hearted (compassionate, sympathetic, pitiful), forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you."

How should we forgive? How did God in Christ forgive us? Christ sacrificed himself for our sins, all our sins, to us who were undeserving.

Lessons to Live by:

•  We should walk in a manner worthy of the calling we have received and in the ways we learn of Christ; not in the empty (futile) ways of the world, but with righteousness and holiness.

•  Don't just listen to the ways of Christ - put them into practice

•  in your talk

•  in your attitudes

•  in your actions

•  in your relationships with God

•  in your relationships with each other

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