Scripture Reading: Psalm 19: 7-14
Sermon Title: Put on the New Self (Part 2)
Sermon Text: Ephesians 4:20-24
Memory Verse: Psalm 19:14
MAIN IDEA: Be renewed in the spirit of your mind and put on the new self which is in the likeness of God.
Introduction: The Unity of Truth
Renew Your Mind with Truth
NOTE: “Scripture quotations are from the NASB." I provide this manuscript as a courtesy. I do not follow the document word for word during the message. I also do not write the document with the intent of publication; there may be grammatical errors throughout. Thanks for understanding.
Introduction: The Unity of Truth
We are lavished with God’s grace. We have redemption through the blood of Christ and we have received forgiveness of our sins. God has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ. He has promised that we will be holy and blameless before His throne. He has predestined us to adoption as sons and daughters so we may be called the children of God. God made known to us the mystery of His will that He is summing up all things in Christ, things in heaven and things on the earth. We have obtained an inheritance in Christ. And, we are sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise.
We are together, alive with Christ, risen with Him, and seated with Christ at God’s right hand in the heavenly places. Our future is glorious.
Herein is the message of the three beginning chapters of the letter to the Ephesians. There is no Saint receiving more from salvation in Christ. There is no Saint receiving less. The Gentile is a child of Abraham along with the Jew. Both are saved to the uttermost.
Paul may just as easily have written that the Gospel applies equally to a man as it does to a woman. A saved American is not more privileged in the eyes of God than an Iranian who is saved. The man in debt, living life as a pauper receives the same blessings as a saved billionaire. The murderer and the gossiper both stand blameless before the throne of God. The elderly man and the child are both children of the King. Christ is in every servant and in every master and bringing both to the same glory.
Every Saint in Christ saves receives all of Christ. We share in one faith, one Lord, one baptism. We are one in the Spirit; fellow heirs, fellow members of the body, and fellow partakers of the promises in Christ Jesus. Each of us is fitted together as a building block in God’s holy temple with Christ as the corner stone. We are joined together with the Trinity.
Therefore, we are to be in unity
with one another.
Chapter four begins by saying, because Jew and Gentile are equally called with one hope and one calling, I beg you to live a life that reflects you are together
called by God. Live with humility and gentleness. Be patient. Lovingly show tolerance for one another’s faults. Be diligent to preserve the unity of the Holy Spirit by living with one another in the bond of peace.
God gives to the church apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers to equip us. They are given to equip the saints for the work of the ministry and to bring about unity in the faith. All saints receive varying gifts from God to serve one another equally and without prejudice. God’s intent with the church is that we live as a unified body. It is as we pray, “Let Your kingdom come on earth as it is in heaven.”
The Disunity of the Mind of Futility
There is nothing that will disrupt unity more than a mind that is not set on the things of God.
This is the warning of verses 17-19.
So this I say, and affirm together with the Lord, that you walk no longer just as the Gentiles also walk, in the futility of their mind, 18
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; 19
and they, having become callous, have given themselves over to sensuality for the practice of every kind of impurity with greediness.
The Gentiles referred to in verse 17 are unbelievers outside the church. No longer walk, stop living, as unbelievers live in the futility of their mind. A mind of futility is a mind which is totally useless. It is vain and of no value.
The understanding of an unbeliever’s mind is darkened. Our understanding is not darkened. We are children walking in the light of God’s Word. God reveals to us His will. We live with an understanding of God’s purpose and plan.
Unbelievers have a mind of ignorance. Because of their ignorance, they are excluded from living the life God has for them. We are not ignorant and we are not excluded from the life of God. We receive all the blessings of heaven. Therefore, stop walking as though we are ignorant.
The futile mind results in a hard and callous heart. We have God’s Holy Spirit in our heart. God has given us a new heart of flesh. We are no longer people with a hard-heart so we should no longer live in that way.
Lastly, unbelievers are given over to a sensual and impure lifestyle. Their appetite is for sin and iniquity. We are not a people given over to impurity because Christ died for us. He freed us so we are no longer slaves to the appetite of sin. He gives us holy tastes and longings for righteousness. There is no satisfaction for us in impure living. We now hunger and thirst for what is good.
The mind of the unbeliever is the mind we received from the fall of man. In the Garden of Eden, man listened to and believed a lie rather than listen to the Word of God’s truth. Without the Truth of God’s Word, there is no unity with God.
The futile mind is the mind of fallen man. We once had that same mind. Scripture tells us that we were formerly alienated and hostile in mind (Col. 1:21). We formerly lived indulging the sinful desires of our mind (Eph. 2:3). We were once enemies of the cross of Christ because our minds were set on earthly things (Phil. 3:19).
But, as Paul already said in Ephesians, we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming (Eph. 4:14). We are to have the mind of Christ.
Listen carefully. Knowing the importance of the mind unlocks a room of blessing. Unless we understand we will never mature.
The truth of the Scripture is God’s will. If we don’t know the truth, we will not know God’s will. If we don’t know God’s will, we will live contrary to God. This is not something we want to do. It never turns out well.
Why is this such an important thing for us to do? Why is there such an emphasis in the Bible to put on this different mind?
Simply said, bad doctrine brings about envy, strife and friction.
If anyone advocates a different doctrine and does not agree with sound words, those of our Lord Jesus Christ, and with the doctrine conforming to godliness, he is conceited and
understands nothing; but he has a morbid interest in controversial questions and disputes about words, out of which arise envy, strife, abusive language, evil suspicions, and constant friction between men of depraved mind and deprived of the truth, who suppose that godliness is a means of gain. (1 Timothy 6:3-5)
is why the Lord tells us to not think as unbelievers. Bad doctrine brings about disunity in the church.
The Principle of Putting Off and Putting On
We could stop here and say, “Okay. Don’t have bad doctrine. Don’t have the mind of an unbeliever.” But, we all know doing this is not that simple.
Only teaching the “do not’s” of Scripture is a horrible and unsuccessful strategy. Christianity is not summed up in, “Don’t swear. Don’t be drunk. Don’t watch pornography. Don’t break the law. Don’t neglect gathering together. Don’t be a glutton. Don’t gossip. And, don’t have bad doctrine.”
The Bible does not teach in this way. Don’t get me wrong, the Bible does teach us what not to do. However, when the Bible teaches what not to do, it also teaches what we should do instead. We will always struggle when only have the “don’ts” in our life. The only way to overcome and to stop sinning is to replace the “don’t” with a “do.” Every evil act we eradicate from our nature needs to be replaced with an act of righteousness. It’s called, “putting off and putting on.”
So then, how do we stop walking with a futile mind? We don’t
have a futile mind when we do
have a renewed mind.
Every bad channel on the TV of our mind needs to be deleted and replaced with a good channel. Every wrong thought needs to be replaced with a right thought. We must replace lies with truth. Our futile mind needs to become a renewed mind.
Notice in verse 11 that Paul says God gifts the church with apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers. Why do we suppose God gives these people to the church? It is because they proclaim truth. They are given to the church to renew our mind. The goal, stated in verse 13, it is to bring about unity in the faith.
Therefore if there is any encouragement in Christ, if there is any consolation of love, if there is any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and compassion, make my joy complete by being of the same mind (Phil. 2:1-2)
When we have a renewed mind, we become unified. Imagine us having the same mind. Imagine no strife, no arguments, and complete agreement within the body! This is what God is seeking, “Thy kingdom come, Yhy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.”
Therefore, let’s endeavor to:
Be renewed in the spirit of our mind and put on the new self which is in the likeness of God.
Renew Your Mind With Truth
But you did not learn Christ in this way, 21
if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught in Him, just as truth is in Jesus, 22
that, in reference to your former manner of life, you lay aside the old self, which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit, 23
and that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind, 24
and put on the new self, which in the likeness of
God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth.
Four actions for putting on the renewed mind. Do this!
But you did not learn Christ in this way, if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught in Him, just as truth is in Jesus (v. 21).
We need to know Christ. The way we know Christ is to make ourselves available to be taught.
Learning doesn’t happen all by itself. How do we as parents expect our child to learn? We expect them to go to school, listen to the teacher, read the book, ask questions, study, and be tested to make sure they learned enough before proceeding to the next topic.
We need to apply the same principles in Christianity.
SIDE NOTE: But, church is not a school!
Yes, church is not a school where we make everybody sit down as the teacher writes on the chalkboard and the students sit in little desks. But, church is a school.
Stop objecting to being taught because you may think church is not a school. In Ephesus, after the Jews rejected Paul’s teaching he left the synagogue, took away the disciples, “reasoning daily in the school of
Tyrannus” (Acts 19:9).
Why is Jesus called “Rabbi, teacher” by His disciples? Why did the early church continually devote themselves to the apostle’s teaching (Acts 2:42)? If there is no school in church, then why does God give the church teachers as a gift? If church is not a school, why does God require that those who oversee the church be able to teach? If church is not a school, then my job description needs to be changed because I am the pastor-teacher.
Yes, a school is not a church. I am not just a teacher, but a pastor teacher. But, don’t swing the pendulum the too far the other way. Church is not church unless there is teaching. And, church is not church if there are no students who are actively learning.
How well do we know our Savior? How well do we know this man who gave His life for us? How well do we know Him who walks on water? Do we know what He likes and dislikes? Do we know enough about Him that we may predict how He would respond to the same situations we are in? Do we love what He loves and hate what He hates?
Are we deeply in love with Jesus? I guarantee that if we are not in love with Him it is because we don’t know Him. We need to learn Christ, because the more we know Christ the more we will love Him and the more we will want to learn about Him.
Here is what our flesh will say, “I don’t want to learn Christ. I already know Him.” Our spirit says, “Jesus is my Bride-groom. I want to know the One who loves me.”
The end of the verse says, “just as the truth is in Jesus.” This means all truth is in Jesus. The truth about who we are is found in Christ. The truth about sin is found in Christ. The truth about love is found in Christ. All truth is in Jesus. Know Christ.
2-Lay aside old self
The second actions for putting on the renewed mind is to lay aside our old self.
in reference to your former manner of life, you lay aside the old self, which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit (v. 22).
How well do we know our old self? Are we able to recognize that which is our old self from our new self? How much effort are we putting into examining our thoughts, words, and actions and analyzing whether they are of the flesh or of the spirit?
Our old self is still very much alive. It jumps out all the time. However, it doesn’t want us to know it is alive. So, our old self deceives us. Our old self enjoys sin, gluttony, gossip, selfishness, pride, and all those things which God is trying to eliminate from our life (for our good). Our old self wants to indulge in these practices. Our old self feeds upon sin and iniquity. Our old self deceives us into thinking, “This isn’t so bad, how is watching one harmless little TV show such a big deal? Be loose with your lips, people want to hear your opinion. Make that crude comment, it’s funny, people will laugh and like you more. Go ahead, say what you want to say, you need to stand up for yourself, defend yourself. Do it! Everybody does it. I have a right to be discontent. I worked hard and deserve to be recognized.”
We are constantly being deceived by our own self. We don’t need peer pressure, because we have the pressure of our old self barking in our ear. I have come to learn to hate my old self. He is the biggest enemy to my spiritual maturity. My old self has a loose tongue, a prideful ego, a selfish desire for comfort, an envy for materialistic goods, a desire to be recognized, an impatience for people, lack of self-control with my anger when things don’t go my way. Not one of these contribute to unity. None of these are considered loving.
What about you? I’ve made my confession about my old self. Are you willing to look in the mirror and see if the old self is present? If you can’t see, you are not being honest with yourself or you are being deceived. Don’t be fooled. We all have the old self seeking to deceive and corrupt us. The old self seeks to derail our train to glory.
When we are seeking unity with the body, we will actively identify those areas in our life needing change. Nobody may do this for us, we have to do this ourselves.
Sometimes, because we are deceived, we are blind to what needs to be changed. We need to ask others to identify areas we need to change. And, when others are willing to tell us, we need to thank them rather than defend ourselves and try to justify why we need to stay the same.
Putting aside the old self is painful. We need to pick up our cross and crucify our flesh. Our inner-man is screaming, “Yes” while our flesh is saying, “No, wait, it’s not as bad as you think.”
It is worse than we think. Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal those areas of your life which is corrupted. Ask God for help to lay aside the old self.
1, Know Christ, 2, lay aside old self.
3-Renew Your Mind With Truth
and that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind
How do we renew our mind? We do so by letting the word of Christ richly dwell within us (Col. 3:16). We need to set our mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth (Col. 3:2).
We hear the same truth in Romans which says:
do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect. (Rom. 12:2)
Renewing our mind with truth is the “putting on” which is to be contrasted with “putting off” the mind of futility of the unbeliever.
Renewing our mind is placed in Scripture as the contrast to the futility of the unbeliever’s mind. The renewed mind is no longer being carried about by every wind of doctrine, trickery, or deceit. The renewed mind is no longer ignorant nor has darkened understanding.
We are continually bombarded with the world’s truth. The prince of the power of the air is seeking to carry us about with every wind of doctrine. If we are not reading, memorizing, and meditating on the Word of God, we will not mature, but we will be tricked and deceived.
Many Scriptures come to mind.
For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart (Heb. 4:12).
The word of God will reveal to us our heart so we may combat the old self.
All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work. (2 Tim. 3:16-17)
Psalm 119:11 teaches, Thy word have I hid it my heart that I might not sin against thee.
We read Scripture as a counter-offensive to the fiery darts of the devil. We have to combat the lies with the truth.
Here is what we need to ask ourselves, “Am I able to discern Biblical truth from the philosophy of the world? We may have great knowledge of Biblical facts, but be very poor at application.
I can say with confidence that most us are growing in our knowledge of Scripture. I continually see people seeking to know and understand the truth. The more we grow in the truth the more we will grow in unity.
The fourth action is for us to pursue godliness.
and put on the new self, which in the likeness of
God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth.
When we have the likeness of God, we are godly. To pursue being godly is to pursue godliness.
“godliness is profitable for all things, since it holds promise for the present life and also
for the life
to come.” (1 Tim. 4:8)
This is what we heard on January 1st
. We need to discipline ourselves in our pursuit of godliness. It is by disciplining ourselves. We need to form habits and a lifestyle which builds spiritual muscle.
Again, I quote Don Whitney who says,
“I will maintain that the only road to Christian maturity and godliness
passes through the practice of the Spiritual Disciplines.
We are to be disciplined in our efforts more so than athletes discipline themselves with their body. Anyone familiar with professional athletes and Olympians know how they endure daily rigors of training. They feed themselves with the best nourishment. They get help from trainers and coaches. The best athletes seek to understand all they can about their sport. They study and train.
… put on the new self who is being renewed to a true knowledge according to the image of the One who created him (Col. 3:10)
God is calling us to be conformed to the image of Christ.
If we have learned about Christ, if we have heard God’s Word and have been taught in God’s Word, we will lay aside our old manner of life which is filled with deceit and we will renew our mind according to the truth of God’s Word.
Let us endeavor to create a culture of truth. Let us move our conversations to things which matter. As Paul says in verse 15, “speak truth to one another” (Eph. 4:15).
Because we are called to unity, and truth is essential to unity, we need to have our minds based upon truth. Unity begins with a mind centered upon truth
. The truth of our old self. The truth of the glory of our inheritance. The truth of how we are to live holy lives for our joy. There is much truth we need to learn and apply.
In doing all this, let’s think upon the beauty of the unity in the Trinity. Let their joy and love for one another be our motivation for seeking unity in the church.
Be renewed in the spirit of your mind and put on the new self which is in the likeness of God.