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A NEW WALK FOR A NEW LIFE
Intro: In the first phrase of verse 17, there is a word that beckons to focus our attention backward. It is the word therefore. Anytime you see therefore in the Bible, you should stop and see what it is there for.
Our calling to salvation by grace through faith, vv. 1-3.
Our unity in the body of Christ, vv. 3-6.
Our unique gifting by the Holy Spirit to serve the Lord and His church for His glory, vv. 7-10.
Our being built up through the ministries of gifted individuals in the church, vv. 11-16.
We who have been saved, are no longer like we were. We are new creatures in Jesus Christ, 2 Cor. 5:17. As a result of the new birth, we are not what we used to be. And we can no longer live like we used to live. We have been changed. Thus, we are different from the world around us. Pauls challenge here is to mark the differences between the children of God and the children of the devil. We are to mark those distinctions between the saved and the lost, and we are to be different. Here, Paul note three specific problems that plague the lost.
A. V. 17c There Is A Problem With Their Heads - Paul
says the lost walk in the vanity of their
minds. The word vanity
means futility, emptiness, that which is
wasted on nothing. The lost live empty lives because their
minds are corrupted by the inborn sin that dwells within them. Thus, every
thought is corrupted by evil.
The lost mind invents ways to
serve the flesh, or the selfish desires of the mind. The lost mind invents
false gods, false religions, and foolish philosophies that are designed to
showcase mans brilliance. Yet, the inventions of the lost mind are empty of
anything helpful, and they ultimately damning to the soul of man. There is a way that seemeth right unto a man, but the end
thereof are the ways of death, Pro. 16:25.
In another passage, Rom. 1:28,
Paul tells us that the lost possess a reprobate
mind. This refers to a depraved
mind. This word us was used to describe metals that were tested
and rejected by refiners because they were too impure. The word came to mean useless and worthless.
So, the unbeliever has a
problem in his mind. His mind is depraved
and it is capable of producing nothing but thoughts that are useless and worthless. Because we are
saved, we are to be different!
B. V. 18 There Is A Problem With Their Hearts -
Paul says their understanding is darkened,
and they are alienated from the life of God,
through the ignorance that is in them,
because of the blindness of their heart. The word blindness refers to stubbornness. It speaks of a heart
confronted with truth, but which refuses to embrace that truth. It is what Paul
refers to in Romans 1:18, when he mentions those who hold the truth in unrighteousness. The word hold in that verse means to oppress. It speaks of those hear the
truth, and know the truth, but who refuse to acknowledge and embrace the truth.
Because of the stubbornness
of their hearts, they are separated from the life that could be theirs in
Jesus Christ, and they remain trapped in the darkness and depravity of their
condition. Whether we like it or not, the lost are dead in trespasses and sins, Eph. 2:1.
The human race did not merely get sick when Adam sinned, it died, Rom. 5:12.
In that dead an depraved state, the lost live for nothing but to gratify the
lusts of the flesh and the mind, Eph. 2:2-3.
In this state, their understanding is darkened. The phrase is
a perfect participle. This
means that the lost live in a continuing
state of spiritual darkness and ignorance toward the things of
God. Thus, since they are dead, they are unresponsive to the things of God. They
are like a cold, immobile corpse, which can neither see, hear, feel, or think.
They are dead because they are alienated
from the life of God. They are unmoved by the truth. They are
unfazed by matters of right and wrong. They love the dark, and they pursue the
works of darkness.
Because we are saved, we are
to be different! Because we are saved, the very life of God defines us and
empowers us. We are not dead to truth, but we love the truth, and long to live
it out daily. We are not in darkness as is the world, but we walk in the light, as He is in the light,
1 John 1:7.
We are not like them, so we must not be like them!
C. V. 19 There Is A Problem With Their Hands -
Because the lost are dead,
they are said to be past feeling.
That phrase means that they have lost their
sense of pain. It is used in the sense of not being bothered in
their conscience by the things they do. They are like the leper who suffers
horrible disfigurement and loss of fingers, toes and other extremities because
their ability to feel pain is taken away. Thus, they do no know they have been
hurt, and their injuries fester and destroy their lives.
The lost sinner commits his
life to evil, and as he does, he loses his sensitivity toward sin. This leads
them to ever deepening levels of wickedness. They yield their lives to lasciviousness. This word speaks of wanton sensuality. It is an attitude
that says, I will do what I please, when I
please, with whom I please, and I dont care what anyone says or thinks about
it. It is a life given over to open sin.
Thus the sinner works all uncleanness. The word work, means to work hard, to take pains, to do your best.
Uncleanness speaks of impurity and rottenness. This idea here
is that the lost person works hard at his sinning. He gives himself actively to
the pursuit of rottenness. He does his best to be as bad as he can be. What an
accurate description of our world! The lost all around us work themselves to
death in the pursuit of their pleasure; never realizing that their wickedness,
and corruption is doing nothing but increasing their guilt in the eyes of a
holy God. They are past feeling,
and they dont care!
And, they do all this with greediness. This simply means that he
does what he does for self-gratification. In other words, he is his own god,
and he lives to worship himself. His worship of self involves gratifying all
the base, evil desires of the flesh and the mind. They give themselves over to
the lusts that drive them. They do it for their own benefit, never stopping to
consider the truth that their endless of pursuit of wickedness will end wit
them in Hell for all eternity!
That is how the lost live;
the saints of God are to be different!
II. V. 20-21 BE DISCERNING
While we are to avoid being like the lost, we are to strive to be like the Lord. Having told us what we should not be, Paul now teaches us what we should be.
A. Christ is Our Example - The lost are
motivated by theirs lusts; we are to be motivated by the Lord. Paul hold Jesus
Christ up against the backdrop of the sinfulness and wickedness of this lost
world, and the contrast could not be greater.
The phrase learned Christ refers to being saved. As
I have already said, when He saved us, He changed us. He made us like Himself,
and delivered us from being like the world. Fulfilling the sins of the flesh is
no longer our creed and standard of living; Jesus is! He is our example. We are
not to allow the flesh and its base, wicked desire to control us any longer,
but we are to take Jesus for our example and we area to walk in holiness and in
the newness of life.
When a person claims to know Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, and still lives like the world, they are either deceiving themselves, or they are a liar. Listen to the Word of God:
Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God, James 4:4.
And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his
commandments. He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a
liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is
the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him. He that saith he
abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked,
The born-again believer
strives to be like Jesus, discerning the way He walked from what the Bible
teaches and by how the Spirit of God leads within. This produces a life that is
vastly different from the life lived in sin. This results in a life that is
pleasing to the Father, and one that emulates Jesus Christ in the world. It is
the fulfillment of Phil. 2:5, which says, Let
this mind be in you that was also in Christ Jesus.
B. Christ Is Our Educator - The redeemed are
no longer ignorant and trapped in the death and delusion of their sins. The
redeemed have heard His voice. They have been taught His truth. They have been
brought out of death into life. They have been placed on a different path. They
have been taught, and as a result, they have been changed by the power of God.
When Christ came to us, He
brought with Him knowledge and truth. He taught us the truth about God,
Himself, His Spirit, Heaven, Hell, Sin, Salvation, life, death, grace, faith, righteousness,
eternity, judgment, the purpose of life, the meaning of life, creation,
history, and everything else that matters. We are no longer in the dark, but we
now walk in the light! Jesus has taught us truth, John 16:13, and His truth has made us free,
Consider this: And we know that the Son of God is come, and hath given
us an understanding, that we may know him that is true, and we are in him that
is true, even in his Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and eternal life,
1 John 5:20.
So, we are to be different
from the lost world around us. We are to be discerning and learn all that we
can from the Lord Jesus Christ.
I. Be Different
III. V. 22-24 BE DECISIVE
Since have been changed by the power of God, and since we have been taught the truth about God and Christ, we are to make some active changes in our own lives. The three actions Paul mentions in these three verses, put off, v. 22; be renewed, v. 23; put on, v. 24, are not commands for the believer, They are actually statements of fact. Each of these statements refer to what the Lord did in us when He saved us. We are reminded of what He did so that we can every step to ensure that each of these conditions is an active reality in our lives day by day.
A. V. 22 There Is Something To Renounce - The
phrase put off means to strip away. It is the image of taking
off clothes. The old man is dirty, corrupt and filthy. He was stripped off, when we are converted. We
are to be sure that he remains stripped off.
The old man of sin remains
alive and well within each of us, Gal. 5:16-18; Rom. 7:14-25. He is deceitful and filled with lust, and he is growing ever more corrupt. The old nature is like a corpse rotting in the sun. It grows
more vile, more evil and more wicked every day. If we are not careful, he will
enslave us in old habits and ways of living that the Lord delivered us from
when He saved us.
The Roman were known to take
a murderer and stake him down to the ground. They would then place the body of
his victim on top of him, face to face, hand to hand, and foot to foot. As the
corpse rotted, corruption would eat into the murderer and destroy his life.
That is the way the flesh operates. Its depravity eats into our lives, and if
it is not kept under control, it will destroy our lives!
We must be decisive each day
and reckon the old man dead
to sin, but ourselves alive to God, through our union with Jesus Christ, Rom. 6:11.
B. V. 23 There Is Something To Renew - The lost
sinner has a mind that is given over to vanity, or futility. The sinners mind
gives itself over to things that are empty of value and result in judgment and
Hell. The saint of God, on the other hand, is to walk with a renewed mind.
When the Lord saved us, He
made us alive in Christ, John 5:24; Eph. 2:4-5. Part of that new
life involves a renewing of the mind. Our dead minds that were given over to
vanity were made alive, and we were enabled to think differently. We are to
walk each day having our minds renewed by the Word of God and by the Spirit of
The fact that God literally
changed our minds when He saved us gives us the ability to live different lives
from the world around us. The Christian life begins in the mind! When the
thinking is changed, the life is changed. When our minds are set on things
above and not on the things of this world, our lives will follow the direction
of the mind. Thus, we should strive each day to fulfill Rom. 12:2, which says, And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed
by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and
acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
If we can ever get our minds
right, our lives will be right. It is our thinking that either sets us on the
right path, or puts us on the path to trouble. In the end, everything comes back
to how you think about it. If the mind is right, the rest of the life will
follow the course set by the mind. The mind of the lost man will lead him ever
farther away from God, and ever deeper into sin. The mind of the saved man,
however, will lead him ever closer to God, and ever deeper in holiness.
We must be decisive and take control of the mind. Listen to what he Bible says about this matter.
For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ, 2 Cor. 10:3–5.
Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever
things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure,
whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be
any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things, Phil. 4:8.
C. V. 24 There Is Something To Reveal - Just as we
are to strip off the old man
of sin, we are to put on the
new man who is created in righteousness and
true holiness. This new, holy man was born in us when we were
saved. When he was created, we were given the ability to live lives that are
pleasing to the Lord. When He saved us, He made us a new creature, 2 Cor. 5:17. This new creature loves the Lord, and he loves
the things of God. He desires to serve the Lord, and he has been empowered to
walk in the will of the lord for the glory of God. Our responsibility is to let
this man out.
Paul says that the new man, which after God is created.
This phrase literally means that the new man was
made in the likeness of God. When Adam sinned int he Garden of
Eden, he marred the image of God in which he had been created. He passed his
sin and his warped nature down to all his offspring. When we were saved, we
were recreated in the likeness of God Himself. Praise God, we are made partakers of the divine nature, 2 Pet. 1:4.
This new man is literally Christ Who lives
in me, Gal. 2:20.
We are not yet perfect, but
we have been changed. We haven been given all that we need to live lives of righteousness and true holiness before
the Lord. Thus, we must actively yield ourselves to the Spirit of the Lord
within us and allow Him to walk in us day by day, Gal. 2:20.
We must no longer walk in the
rags of our sins. We must decisively put off
the old man of sin and put
on the new man who is made in
the likeness of God.
Conc: How are you doing in this
business of being different, discerning and decisive? Can you honestly say that
you are living a life that is different from the world around you? Can you
honestly say that your life displays Jesus Christ to the world?
If you are like me and you need help with your mind, the place to find help is in the Lord.
If you are like me and you need help putting off the old man and putting on the new man, the place to find help is in the Lord.
has dawned on you that you are lost and trapped in the deadness, darkness and
depravity of your sins, the place to find help is in the Lord.
There is not a person in this room who does not need to talk to the Lord about the truth contained in this passage of Scripture. I invite you to do just that right now!