Read Ephesians 4:25-28
Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another. Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and give no opportunity to the devil. Let the thief no longer steal, but rather let him labor, doing honest work with his own hands, so that he may have something to share with anyone in need.
What 3 sins does Paul mention to avoid here and what reason does he give to explain why?
Yesterday, we read that Paul told the Ephesians to take off the old self and put on the new self. But what does that mean practically? In today’s passage, Paul showed us examples of how we can apply the principle of taking off the old self and putting on the new.
First, Paul says to put away falsehood. Stop lying. Instead, we should always speak the truth. Our enemy, Satan, is the ultimate liar and loves to deceive God’s people. When we tell a lie, we help Satan accomplish his goals. Paul said that we are members of each other. We need to be able to trust each other. God’s body should be bonded together and built up in truth, not crumbling under the weight of lies. Love your neighbors enough to speak the truth, even when it’s hard to speak honestly. Ephesians 4:16 reminds us that we can speak the truth in a loving manner and we should.
Second, Paul addresses anger. It is possible to feel the emotion of anger without sinning, especially righteous anger directed towards sin and not people. Paul says it’s ok to be angry, but if you are feeling anger, deal with it quickly and appropriately or it will give the devil an opportunity to damage and divide relationships between God’s people. Again, you can deal with anger as sin while still showing love to people.
Finally, Paul addresses stealing. He says if you were a thief, now that you are in Christ, you should not steal anymore. Instead, you should do honest work for your keep. And not just so that you can take care of yourself. Paul says that you should work honestly so that you have something to share with people who are in need. Did you know Paul himself had a trade? He was a tentmaker. Many of the disciples were fishermen. Jesus was a carpenter. While they had the financial support of people who believed in their ministries, they did not take that generosity for granted. Instead, they worked to help support themselves and they gave generously to those in need.
Friends, if you are in Christ, take off the behaviors of the old self. Lying, stealing, and unresolved, sinful anger are not of Christ. So put on honesty. Put on gentleness and forgiveness. Put on honest hard work and generosity. Allow Him to transform you.
Jesus, You are honest, gentle, patient, and generous. Help me to take off my old sinful, selfish habits and put on your goodness and truth. Amen.
~ Pastor Nat Crawford
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