Conduct in Christ | Ephesians 4:25-5:2

December 17, 2012

Book: Ephesians

Scripture: Ephesians 4:25-5:2

The Call of A Believer

  • Unity; 4:3
  • Do not think and behave like outsiders; 4:17-19
  • Cultivate The Christian Mind; 4:20-24

The Christian Mind

Ephesians 4:20-24 20 That, however, is not the way of life you learned 21 when you heard about Christ and were taught in him in accordance with the truth that is in Jesus. 22 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; 23 to be made new in the attitude of your minds; 24 and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.

Paul is asking for personal responsibility. Now that they have learned, they know and they have been taught the truth about Jesus; they have the responsibility to “take off/strip off,” “Renew your mind,” and “put on” the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.

We Pentecostals are more experiential in our worship. I praise God for that and I do that with regard to my faith and worship. Every external fruit of a believer has to come from the mind that is Christian.

Paul speaks to the Corinthians:

1 Corinthians 14:20 Brothers and sisters, stop thinking like children. In regard to evil be infants, but in your thinking be adults.

A proper of us our mind that is transformed by the word of God is wonderfully beneficial. It Glorifies God. He has made us as rational beings in his own image and given us Scripture in a rational revelation which he intends for us to study. It enriches us. Every aspect of our Christian discipleship (worship, faith, and obedience) depends for its maturing on our reflection, respectively upon God’s glory, faithfulness and will. It strengthens our witness in the world. We are called like the apostles not only to preach but also to defend to people its truth (Acts 17:2, 19:8; 2 Cor. 5:11; Phil. 1:7). – John Stott, Issues Facing Christianity Today, Chapter 2, Page 65

As Paul ends that note by recalling how they have been created for righteousness and holiness. Now you can move on to talk specifically about some virtues and vices that need to be dealt with in their midst. Some of the things they should do and some of the things they should not do. Earlier on, Paul used contrast patterns where he talked about the gentile mindset in contrast with the Christian mindset that needs to be developed among the children of God. From here on, Paul is going to be a very clear and practical demonstration of this new life in Christ, as to what it means to put off the old man and put on the new self.

Ephesians 4:25 Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to your neighbor, for we are all members of one body.

1. Move From Falsehood Into Telling The Truth

“Put off falsehood,” “speak the truth.”

For false that used to be practised in our previous life, he says we are to put it off.

Falsehood – This means every form of dishonesty.

Promises not kept, betraying confidence, false flattery, stretching the truth, passing on information that is unsubstantiated or rumours.

A believer’s word must be trustworthy. When we say something, we need to mean it. Our ‘yes’ needs to mean ‘yes’ and our ‘no’ needs to mean ‘no.’ The reason Paul gives for this is that we are members of one body. We cannot have a body function when the hand is in deceitful of the leg. We as the body of Christ will not function properly apart from truth. We need to speak the truth one to another.

For unity to prevail in any community, truth is essential. Each member of the community owes each member the right to know the truth in order to develop trust. Paul said they should let falsehood be put away and they should speak the truth with their neighbours, which means fellow believers because we are members of one another. We belong to one another and each member deserves to be told the truth.

2. Move From Anger To Forgiveness

Ephesians 4:26-27 26 “In your anger do not sin” Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, 27 and do not give the devil a foothold.

Anger is one of the emotions that God has given us. Jesus got angry and did not sin. We need to remember that we are not Jesus and the possibility for you and I to get angry and sin is very high.

Is it okay to be angry?

Pictures of Anger: Pointing finger, phone rage, road rage

When Paul says “In your anger do not sin”. What is he saying? This is a culture that drinking wine was very common and people would get drunk and behave the way they are not supposed to behave.

Anger can take things so far.

Paul says, “In your anger do not sin.” So the imperative carries the sense that we can become angry.

The world says, “Anger for the right cause is okay.” They say, “If people are not angry at evil in society, there will not be justice.”

Paul says ”In your anger do not sin.” What does he mean?

..bad tempered people are worse to live with. – Aristotle, Nic. Ethics IV .5, 1126a

Have you ever lived with a bad-tempered person?

In Ephesians 4:26 Paul says “In your anger do not sin.”  Paul in Eph. 4:31 he gives a list of anger:

Ephesians 4:31 Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice..

Look at those words carefully: Anger, brawling, slander. In Greek, that expresses different forms of anger. Here he says let them be put away from you even though in verse 26 he is saying “In your anger do not sin, don’t let the sun set on your anger.”

What he is saying here in verse 31 is this prolonged anger is problematic. Here even when he says to put away he put that expression in the passive as if a person has allowed himself to be so stuck in the spirit of anger that they need external help, that God can deliver them of this anger.

Meaning of the words Paul uses here for anger reflect bitterness, rage, anger, brawling and slander.


In Greek, the word bitterness is a deep-seated anger that may burst out or overflow in the form of curses, harsh or bitter words (also bitter gall). When this form of anger is not exploded, it sits in a person’s heart and engages the mind like cancer eating away all the good qualities God has given the individual.

We call it bitterness. It’s a form of anger that has found a home and is kept intact, and as it gets intact there it builds and builds and becomes so bitter and begins to translate into how a person lives their life as if they are swallowing bitter pill every given minute.


Conveys the sense of “wrath” as being the manifestation of the most violent external expression.

Paul says people who are trapped in bitterness which is sitting there and it’s eating them and wearing them out, but there are some people who also have that problem with this kind of rage. Let it be put away from you. In other words, avail yourself for God to take that from you because it hinders community life and it affects so many people.

The other form of the word anger used here,

Anger (traditional) is sometimes understood as “the quiet definite reaction of the human soul.” It is kept inside. It is cool, they are angry but they are pretending nothing is happening and it is sitting there, and it is sitting there for a long time.

brawling is angry shouting or yelling.

Slander/Evil speaking or malice is actually a word that is used to refer to speaking against God or slandering/defaming others as a consequence of irritation or frustration.

Do you know someone who is angry, who justifies like anger runs in my family? We are always like this, angry. Paul says “In your anger do not sin. Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry.”

In counselling, it is said that “Hurt people will hurt people.” “Hurting people, hurt people.” People who are hurting inside hurt other people. When they hurt other people they often even don’t realise they are hurting other people, because they are hurting it is so normal to them.


Let this be put away from you if you are dealing with any of such things. Ask God to help you out of it because it affects you. Because it is God’s will that you live freely. Seek help, talk to some Christian leaders, and talk to some counsellors. Anger is one of those things that destroy.

Words which spring from anger are mixed with gall when anger swells within the breast, restrain the idly barking tongue – Plutarch, Mor. 456E

  • Anger Has A Devilish Influence.

Ephesians 4:26-27 26 “In your anger do not sin” Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, 27 and do not give the devil a foothold.

If you let anger reside in your heart for a long time, you give a loophole, you give an opening for the devil to settle in. Paul has talked about how in Christ the victory is won over all these powers and yet he is suggesting here that, the believer has the ability to open the door for the devil to come in to cause harm. Anger has a devastating effect when it is not managed or controlled.

James 1:19-20 19My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, 20because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires.

Paul’s Remedy For Anger Management

Ephesians 4:26-27 26 “In your anger do not sin” Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, 27 and do not give the devil a foothold.

  • Anger Is A Necessary Emotion, V26-27

Be angry, feel free to express yourself in anger, but do not let the sun set on your anger.

  • Time Limit On Anger. Let there be a time limit. Anger should be short-lived. If you do not forgive or deal with the issue it will find residence within you and it causes harm.

Since anger has a devastating effect:

  • Ask God for deliverance from destructive forms of anger.

The believer should then ask for help and ask God to deliver them from that situation. Paul contrasts that quickly with verse 32 talking about anger.

Instead Of Anger:

Ephesians 4:32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.

Instead of anger, let the opposite qualities happen.

Instead of finding all these stuff in your heart, let that heart be tender.

Find a place in your heart, in your mind to forgive. Forgiveness should be reciprocal, it is supposed to be towards one another. As you forgive one another it is not only simple forgiveness. Christ who first forgave us should be the model for forgiveness. Forgive is the same word as divorce. Let go of the anger.

Do you remember the line in the Lord’s prayer that says, “Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.” In other words, God may not forgive us if we don’t forgive those who offend us.

Paul said instead of anger, let’s emulate the life of Christ as in Christ God forgave us. We should be able to forgive. The truth is: A lot of anger is harboured because we are not ready to forgive. A lot of bitterness, resentment, slander, blasphemy, and gossiping take place because we are not ready to forgive.

3. Work Ethics: Instead Of Stealing Work Hard

Ephesians 4:28 Anyone who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with their own hands, that they may have something to share with those in need.

In the 1st Century, stealing was condemned, but stealing was very common. In fact, in places like Crete, they used to even praise those pirates who go on the sea to rob people while their moralists are condemning stealing.

  • Do Not Steal.
  • Work Hard And Do Honest Labour.
  • Share – Practice Generosity.

Instead of stealing members should work hard with their own hands. They may be able to help those who are in need.

Why work? Paul says for those who are in church you should work hard so that they can be generous to many other people. The purpose of getting is giving.

Proverbs 19:20

Whoever is kind to the poor lends to the Lord,

and he will reward them for what they have done.

2 Thessalonians 3:10-12 10For even when we were with you, we gave you this rule: “The one who is unwilling to work shall not eat.” 11We hear that some among you are idle and disruptive. They are not busy; they are busybodies. 12Such people we command and urge in the Lord Jesus Christ to settle down and earn the food they eat.

Proverbs 10:4 Lazy hands make for poverty, but diligent hands bring wealth.

Paul says one should not steal. Stealing destroys society. Stealing of various forms. Work hard, and make a living so that you can be generous, not so that you can hoard.

4. Instead Of Vulgar speech Practice Edifying Speech

Ephesians 4:29-32  29Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. 30And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. 32Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.

  • Do Not Let Bad Words Come Out Of Your Mouth. It destroys the community.
  • Do Not Grieve The Spirit.
  • Have Personal Responsibility.

Unwholesome Words

  • It Is Like Rotten Or Decayed Fruit.
  • Conveys Words That Which Is Harmful, Unwholesome Etc..
  • Refers to: Abusive Language, Vulgarity, Slander/Contemptuous Talk

Believers’ Language must:

  • Build Others.
  • Meet People’s Needs.
  • Benefit Those Who Hear.

Paul says that believers should have the kind of language diction that builds other people up, that meets people’s needs and ultimately that benefits those who hear what they have to say.

James 3:9-12 9With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness. 10Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be. 11Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring? 12My brothers and sisters, can a fig tree bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Neither can a salt spring produce fresh water.

Negative Effects Of Vulgarity:

  • Destroys/Harms/Poisons Other People.
  • Greives The Holy Spirit.

What I do and what I say can actually grieve the Holy Spirit.

I want to remind you of the words of Jesus Christ:

Matthew 12:33-37 33“Make a tree good and its fruit will be good, or make a tree bad and its fruit will be bad, for a tree is recognized by its fruit. 34 You brood of vipers, how can you who are evil say anything good? For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of. 35A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in him, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in him. 36But I tell you that everyone will have to give account on the day of judgment for every empty word they have spoken. 37For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned.”

Words have power, they have the power to build community or destroy a community. They have the power to build families or destroy families. We have been given the gift of words.

Ephesians 5:1-2 1Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children 2and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.


Paul starts this writing by saying that unity is what the community of faith are called to. God is at work in his community, and yet community members have the responsibility in the way that they conduct themselves relative to truth and falsehood, the way anger is expressed, honesty, and integrity. The way we are ready to work is to make a living and be able to help others. The way we use words. May I encourage you to use your words helpfully, to edify, and to bring grace to those who hear you, all in the quest of building a community or living an exemplary life in the world without Christ?