In today’s world, we may easily forget to whom we belong. Temptations, anger, political and social upheavals, tend to lead us to worldly things and in worldly ways.
A. The Gentile Walk
This I say, therefore, and testify in the Lord, that you should no longer walk as the rest of the Gentiles walk, in the futility of their mind, (Ephesians 4:17)
1. Paul says to the Ephesians: I am teaching you with the authority of Jesus Himself.
2. Walk as you are called, not as the Gentiles that you once were.
3. Most of the converts from Ephesus were pagan Gentiles.
4. Paul is reminding them that they are converts first, then Gentiles second.
5. In the futility of their mind - In the way of folly, or in mental folly.
6. The word “vanity” in the Scriptures means more than mere “emptiness.”
7. It denotes moral wrongness, to those who worshipped vain idols, and are alienated from the “true” God.
B. The Walk in Darkness
having their understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God, because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart; (Ephesians 4:18)
1. Their understanding has not been darkened by God.
2. It is not that they cannot understand.
3. Their hearts have been darkened by sin
4. They are alienated from God by their choice not to hear His word.
5. Each of us is responsible for what comes from our mouth.
6. Mental incapacity would prevent some from understanding the nature of sin.
7. A man who indulges in low vices will weaken his mental powers, and render himself incapable of intellectual effort to resist larger vices.
8. Indulgence in vice destroys the intellect as well as the body
9. Nothing is more obvious than that indulgence in sin weakens the mental powers and renders them unfit for high intellectual effort.
10. This is seen all over the pagan world now - in the stolid, stupid mind; the perverted moral sense; the incapacity for profound or protracted mental effort is as it really was among the pagans to whom Paul preached.
11. Their ignorance is of the true God, and of what constitutes virtue.
12. It follows; that man who has debased his “understanding” by sin, needs to make an effort to elevate himself; and hence a large part of the efforts to save people must consist in “patient instruction” for renewed understanding.
C. The Lost and immoral Gentile Walk
who, being past feeling, have given themselves over to lewdness, to work all uncleanness with greediness. (Ephesians 4:19)
1. Fully hardened in sin.
2. There is a total disregard of all emotion on any moral subject.
3. This is an accurate description of the state of a sinner.
4. He has no “feeling,” no emotion and total lack of morality.
5. He often gives an intellectual assent to the truth, but it is without emotion of any kind.
6. The heart is insensible as the hard rock.
7. They have done it voluntarily.
8. In Rom_1:24, it is said that “God gave them up.” There is no inconsistency.
9. Whatever was their teaching about God; they preferred lasciviousness to that instruction. Rom_1:21.
because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. (Romans 1:21)
Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves, (Romans 1:24)
1. Learn this; if a man wishes to be blessed with a clear understanding, he should attempt to be a “good man.”
2. He who wishes a mind well balanced and clear should fear and love God.
3. If Christianity done no other good on earth than to elevate the “intellect” of mankind, it would have been the richest blessing which has ever been given to mankind.
By Gary Murphy
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