The New Self

Uncivil War

Pastor Jerry Gillis - April 30, 2023

Community Group Study Notes

  1. Have someone in your group give a brief recap of Sunday’s message, highlighting the primary Scripture points and the main idea of the message.
  2. How did this message strengthen and/or correct your previous ideas about “the new self”? Did you learn anything new about God or yourself this week?
  3. Interact with this statement: “Be killing sin, or sin will be killing you.” How have you seen the effects or consequences of sin in your own life or in your family history? 
  4. Share about a time in your life when you remember making a conscious decision to turn away from something you knew was wrong (sin) to choose a different way instead (to walk in righteousness).
  5. “The goal of the everyday Christian life is to close the gap between our practice and our position.” Is this the goal of your everyday life? Are you seeing the fruit of this in your life? 
  6. Consider the “put off” and “put on” list outlined in the message. What do you need to repent of? What do you need to better practice in your life? Where do you have gaps? 


Action Step

Spend time “closing the gap between your practice and your position.” Set aside a time this week to confess and repent. Consider praying Psalm 139:23-24 or Romans 12:1-2 as you begin your time of confession and repentance.  As you pray the words of David, “Search me, Lord, and know me,” sit silent before God. Let God reveal you to yourself, and then begin confessing and repenting. 


Mobilization Challenge

Next Sunday, May 7th, we will begin the Envelope Challenge. Commit as a group to engage in the challenge together! Throughout this challenge, we’ll explore some practical ways to steward our lives through time, talent, treasure, and fervent prayer. The goal isn’t to just complete a challenge – it’s to train ourselves to think differently about the ways in which we engage in the mission God has us on in our everyday lives! Begin praying about who God is calling you to bless! 


Sermon Transcript

I want you to take your arm, and I want you to put it up, like you're in a throwing position. You're holding on to something, like you're gonna throw a rock. Stay there. This is the position that we find ourselves in most naturally when we talk about someone else's sin. But when it becomes our sin, do this with me, we want the rocks dropped. And put your arms down. I wanna remind you of something, that should be in reverse. You should not pick up the stone when we're talking about other sins, but you should pick up stones to kill sin in your own life. You see, when we talk about the idea of the old self and the new self, there's a reality that's true, and that is that the old is gone, and we have been made new. There's no question about that. But what's also true is that there is sin and indwelling sin that piques the attention of our unredeemed flesh and wants to have its sway and wants to fight and rage against what is our new self reality. And I don't know if you recognize that, but there's oftentimes a difference between what we are in reality and what we are positionally, what we are supposed to be in our new self, right? If you weren't here last week, then I hope that you'll go back, and you'll listen to the message because it is foundational for what we're talking about here. And it's really important that you do that. I realize that there are people from time to time, you travel, you're sick, you're on vacation, you're whatever. But man, stay connected to what we talk about because sometimes what's happening is the teaching is building on itself, and that's a part of the kind of the everyday living of what we do in the body of Christ. And so it's not enough to just jump in and jump out. You need to stay connected to what we're doing so that the fullness of what we're talking about and what the word of God is saying to us and calling us to gets our undivided attention. And today I want to talk about that difference, practically speaking, between what we are sometimes in reality and what we are positionally. And we see that there's a difference. I don't know what some of you do for work. I know what some of you do for work, I don't know what all of you do for work, but maybe in your work, you have come upon something called a gap analysis. It's a simple function of basically some managers or leaders are looking at their organizations, and they're saying, "Here's our current state of reality, and here's where we want to be, and what's the delta between those two things?" Sometimes like in sales, they'll put it this way. There's sale metrics going this way and time going this way. And you'll see a performance line. This is what today looks like, but this is really what we want to be at. This is our potential. And there's a gap in between those things. And you're asking yourself, "Okay, how do we make up the gap?" Or maybe other people look at them this way. You know, you've got the, this is our current state, and this is the, we're really happy on this side, this is the happy desired state. And there's a gap between those things. So what do you have to do? Well, here's the action plan to bridge the gap, right? It's a gap analysis. It's not hard, right? You just look at what the current state and the current reality is versus what the desired future is supposed to look like. And you figure out how do we bridge the gap between those two things? Well, in some degree, our lives in Christ are in that current and future state. See, positionally, we are already made new. Like, we are already made new. Our old self is dead. We confirmed that last week in the word of God, right? We've been crucified with Christ. Our old self is dead positionally, truly, indicatively, as we talked about last week. And we have a new self that we have been given, right? And this is a beautiful reality. It is true. But what you see in the actual New Testament is you see this, you see a state of being that is already, but not yet. The kingdom, the kingdom has come, it is already among us, but it is not yet here in its fullness. We are already brand new, but we are not yet as fully redeemed and glorified as we're going to be. So it's this already, not yet tension that we have, and we feel and sense the gaps between what we are and what we will be. But truthfully, when we're talking positionally, because we already are these things, we already have a new self, it's a gap between what we are and what we are, if I could say it that way, right? A gap between what we are and what we are. Could I just get the honest feedback from everybody that is watching and listening right now, with an uplifted hand, would you say I feel the gap between what I am and what I am supposed to be? Okay, that should have been everybody. If it wasn't, we'll talk about lying in a little bit. We literally will. That's not just a funny thing. We're actually gonna talk about that in just a few moments. Now, the reason that I'm bringing this up is because every single one of us, we all feel that gap. The good news is that the apostle Paul has actually addressed that in some degree. He didn't use the term gaps, but he talks both in the indicative and the imperative because Paul can talk about two things at the same time. He can talk about the truth of our indicative position. You remember indicative, those of you who weren't here, and you didn't watch last week, just a real quick recap. It's not a grammar lesson, it's just a recap. Speaking in the indicative means we're hearing things from the scripture that are just true. Like, they're just the facts. This is just true. You have been crucified with Christ. The old self is dead because it's been crucified with Christ. That's just the indicative. That's just true, right? And then the imperative is, well, then what do you do? What are the commands associated that flow out of this truth that we're now supposed to do, right? So one, indicative, is telling us what's true, and the other, imperative, is telling us what to do. One's true, what to do, what's true, what to do. You got it now? Paul can talk about those at the same time. Why wouldn't he? Because we can talk about what is true and talk about what we must do because it's an already, not yet kind of environment that we live in in our Christian lives. And when Paul's writing to the Ephesians, and that's where we're going to be looking in just a moment, in the book of Ephesians, we'll be in chapter four. But what I wanna remind you of is in the book of Ephesians, how Paul starts this in chapter one, two, and three is he starts it very indicatively. Paul writes the first three chapters, a very high level view of the church, the purpose and nature of the church, the nature of who we are in Christ, the nature of what Jesus has done on behalf of Jew and Gentile, bringing them together as one new humanity. And so in these first three chapters, you've got this high-level view of just what's true. It's Paul by the Spirit teaching us about the nature of the purpose of the church and who we are in Christ and what Christ has done. And all of these things are just objective reality that he is communicating to us. And some of the things that he says are astonishingly beautiful because when we pause to think about him, we're blown away, because he's talking about things that are yet to come but are true now. And you just go, "Oh, that is amazing." Like in Ephesians 2:6, listen to what Paul says. "And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with Him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus." Do you know when he uses this term raised us and seated us, that that's in the aorist tense, it's in the past tense, and it has an indicative mood associated with it. He's talking about an action that's already occurred but is also something that we're going to fully realize. Can you imagine that? Because what Paul's doing is he's saying to us that he understands, just as he did when he was writing to the Romans, that Jesus is not just our substitute, He is, but He's also our representative. And as our representative, you know what happened? Listen, Jesus went to the cross, and He brought us with Him. Jesus rose from the grave, and He brought us out of that too. Jesus is seated at the right hand of the Father, and He brought us there too. It's as if we're already there while we're still here. It is an astonishingly beautiful conception that Paul gives to us. It is as true as if we were already there because, positionally, we are, but yet practically, here we are, right? So Paul knows what to do with both the positional and the practical imperatives. He knows what that looks like. And the first three chapters are kind of in that indicative positional sense. And then in chapter four, five, and six, Paul talks practically about who we are and what we should do and what that looks like. And he talks about the old and the new self, and he can talk about them both at the same time about who we are positionally and who we are practically. Let me show you. In Ephesians chapter four, beginning in verse 22, Paul writes this. "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; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness." Now, Paul, here, can speak of position. He can speak of old self and new self, and it's absolutely true. The old self is dead, and the new self is what's real, that we are new creations in Christ Jesus. But he can talk about those while also simultaneously talking about the need for our experience to match reality, right? This is what Paul is helping us to understand. Paul's not uninformed that sin exists. Paul's not uninformed that sin wants to appeal to our unredeemed flesh and its members, to be able to be a conduit for the outworking of sin, for us to be planted in the land of Adam instead of in the land of Christ. Paul knows all of these things, and he is now appealing to us in real ways for how to live out of our true self, our new self. And how does Paul, watch this, how does Paul define our new self? Look again in verse 24, here's what he says. "To put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness." Can you imagine that we've been given a new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness? What is Paul getting at right here? What is he saying? It seems unbelievable. Paul's just saying what he said in other places. Like, for instance, when he wrote to the Galatians in chapter two, listen to what Paul said. You may know this first, "I've been crucified with Christ, and I no longer live," watch this, "but Christ lives in me." If you want a good explanation of what a new self that's made like God in true righteousness and holiness looks like, try this one on. Jesus' life inside of us, His very life inside of us. Because that's what Paul is getting at. That's the nature of our new self. When Peter talked about this idea, he actually used a different phrase but understood it the same way. Listen to what Peter said in 2 Peter 1. "His divine power," God's divine power, "has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and goodness. Through these, he has given us His very great and precious promises so that through them," watch this, "you may participate in," what? "the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world and caused by evil desires." So the Paul says that the new self is made like God in true righteousness and holiness. And he says, our old self, we've been crucified with Christ, and it's no longer we that live. Its Christ living in us, this new self, right? And Peter adds to that, you know what that is? That's participation in the divine nature. Wow, this is what God has granted to us in His grace. This is the beautiful picture of what the new self is like. It's God's life in us, the life of Christ, the life by the spirit, the divine nature of God. Yet we got gaps, don't we? Yet we have gaps between what it looks like to live in that and what it looks like to live presently, but that's okay, listen. Now we understand the goal of what everyday Christian living is supposed to be. It's simple, the goal of the everyday Christian life is to close the gap between our practice and our position. That's the goal. Close the gap between our practice and the position that we've been called to in Christ Jesus and have been given. That's the goal. Now, we can't do that on our own. But we must participate with God and cooperate with God in it. And so what Paul does is he gets very practical for us in these verses because he helps to understand kind of the process in which we do that. And in fact, we just read it, a few moments ago, in these verses, and I hope that you'll stay with me and catch on to them because Paul talks about the process of how we do that. Notice what he says, it's gonna be right in front of us. "You were taught, with regard to your former way of life," watch this, "to put off," what? "Your old self." You're saying, "Yeah, my old self's dead. I have to reckon it as dead." You do. Paul said that in the book of Romans very clearly. But Paul, remember, can talk about two things at the same time. He's talking about our position, and he's talking about how we practically experience that position. So he says what you have to do is put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires and then what? To be made new, how? In the attitude of your minds, right? That's what he says comes right after that. You put off the old self. You're renewed in the attitude of your minds. And then what does he say? And you put on the new self, right? This is the process that Paul is outlining for us. And he's outlining for the Ephesians by God's own Spirit's leadership in his life and saying this is how you do this. Now, you and I probably understand, pretty well, put off and put on, right? You got old, dingy, soiled, gross clothes, take them off. Put on clean clothes. That makes perfect sense, right? We go put on, put off. I got that. But Paul says something in between those two things that I think we miss often. Put off the old, be renewed in the attitude or spirit of your mind and then put on the new self. What does it mean to be renewed in the spirit of our mind or renewed in the attitude of our mind? What does that mean? How does that happen? Let me tell you how it happens, by the Spirit through the Word. That's how that happens. It's the washing of the water of the Word of God over our minds. It's the renewal of our minds and our hearts because of the revelation that God by His spirit has given us about Himself and about what is true. That's how we begin to see our minds ultimately renewed. And so Paul gives us this process that we're to walk through. Put off the old self, be renewed in the attitude of your mind, and put on the new self. Now, I wanna make sure you understand something. The old self and the new self, they don't get along. They are opposed to one another. They don't have anything in common. They are in opposition. And that's why Paul says when it comes to the things of the old self, you have to put them off, discard them. Maybe it's another way to say kill them, 'cause listen carefully. Sin is not something, we play with sin, but sin doesn't play. Sin does not play with us. We play with it. It does not play with us. And so what we find ourselves doing is we find ourselves still keeping on the old, dingy, gross, disgusting garments of the old self, and instead of throwing them off and putting them in the burn pile, we just try to accessorize them. That's what we do. You know, you put a little something on here, I don't even know how to accessorize, but whatever, right? You put some stuff on to make yourself look better, even though you're in a really gross state. It's not what you do. You take off the old clothes and you put them in the burn pile because you got a completely new set of garments that are coming onto you. And that's why we have to understand that sin is not going to play with us. We have to help it die. The great puritan thinker and writer, John Owen, said this, "Be killing sin, or sin will be killing you." That's as true a truism as I can imagine because we can't coddle sin. We can't treat sin like it's a pet of some kind. I read a story that actually happened, probably, I don't know, 13-ish years ago. A 34-year-old man in Omaha, Nebraska, had a nine-foot, 25-pound pet boa constrictor. He really enjoyed taking it out, showing it to all of his friends 'cause it was his pet, until, tragically, he takes it out, begins showing it to his friends. He has it on him, you know, he's real comfortable with it. Everything's good until the boa does what the boa does and constricts around his neck and kills him. Do you know what that boa didn't care about? Didn't care that this guy thought that it was his pet. He didn't care that this guy was like the owner. A boa did what it does. It constricts its prey and kills it. It's a tragic story. It's a true story. Sin is like that. Sin does what it does, and it doesn't care about how you coddle it, how you try to dress it up, how you try to justify it. Sin just does what it does. It just kills. That's what it does. The preachers of old used to say sin fascinates, then it assassinates. It thrills, and then it kills. Sin will always take you farther than you want to go and leave you worse off in the place that it leaves you. It's just what sin does. So we can't coddle it. But what Paul's saying when he says put off, put off, put off, he's saying get rid of it, throw those clothes in the burn pile, kill it. But he doesn't just say that. It's not just, "Don't do this." He says put on, right? Put off, be renewed, and put on. And then he gets really practical, like, really, really practical, and I think this is important for us. Here's the first thing Paul teaches us, practically speaking, he gives illustrations. He says, "Put off lies," and, "put on the truth." Put off lies, and put on the truth. Listen to what verse 25 says. "Therefore," since he says put off the old self, be renewed in the attitude of your mind, and put on the new self, he says, "Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to your neighbor, for we are all members of one body." Now, it's an interesting thing that what we just said a moment ago is that you have to put off lies, and he's saying put on truth, right? But he also told us, a moment ago, that the process of this is to be renewed in our minds. And so what does the Word of God say about lying? What does it say about where lies emanate from? Jesus actually spoke to it in John 8. Here's what He said. He's talking to a gathering of Jewish people that are there, and He said, "You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father's desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies." Listen carefully, do you know what Jesus just said? That lying is the language of hell, and truth is the language of heaven. Lying is the language of hell, and truth is the language of heaven. That's why, for you and me, what we have to make sure of is that we are putting off the language and the attitude of hell that is consistent with how we begin to embrace the old and to be renewed in our minds, to realize this is not what we desire, this is not what we want, this is not who we are. And instead, we're going to speak the language of heaven, which is truth. Let me ask you a question. Do you have any gaps in this area? Do you? Have there been lies in your relationships, spouse, friend, family, colleagues? Do you speak the truth in your business dealings, or are you shady and squirrelly? Do you speak the truth on your tests, students? Are you living out your truth? Are you living out the truth in the resume that you put together? Lies are the language of hell. Truth is the language of heaven, according to Jesus. And Paul says that we need to put off lies and put on truth as we have our minds renewed by that. Because he says, 'cause he says you don't need to bring falsehood to your neighbor 'cause you're members of one body. Wouldn't it be super weird if my mouth said to my hand, my mouth just went rogue, said to my hand, "You should put your hand down in that pot of boiling water, it's fine." And then my hand does it and is scalded and then is looking at my mouth like, "What are you doing? Why would you do this?" I don't know why my hand is talking now. I just, right? You understand that, though, right? The lies that you tell affect others. Not just the lies you tell about things, but the lies you tell yourself. They all affect everything and everybody, because we're members together. That's why Paul says put off lies. That's the old self. Be renewed in your mind to understand why truth, because Jesus is truth. "I am the way, the truth, and the life." Jesus Himself is truth. Truth is the language of heaven. And so we put that on. Do you have any gaps there? He gives us another illustration, and it's this. Put off sinful anger, and put on timely reconciliation. It's a second illustration that Paul gives us this very practical in nature, put off sinful anger, and put on timely reconciliation. Look in verse number 26. "'In your anger,'" Paul says, "'do not sin.' Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold." You see what Paul is doing here is he's addressing the anger that leads to sin. Now, listen, there is such a thing as righteous indignation, okay? That does exist. But I wanna make sure you understand something. I have seen righteous indignation that was right and true and holy stay for too long in its place and begin to devolve into anger that leads to sin. Because sometimes what righteous indignation has, and it may be directed properly, and it may be right and true at the first, but then it devolves into retribution and vengeance. God said, "Vengeance is mine," says the Lord, "not yours." We like to quote it and say, no, vengeance is mine. He says, no, no, no, vengeance is mine. I'm the God of justice. I know. Nothing's going to escape me. You can trust me. Even if you can't get justice in the moment when you are dealt with unjustly, I've got all of this. Do not let your anger devolve into sin. And here's why. Because generally speaking, anger, though it can be good for very specific instances, is, generally speaking, something that leads to sin, generally speaking. And Paul says that's the old self there. That's the old self. In fact, if we let our minds be renewed about this anger, we can go back, and we can see illustrations in the context of scripture. I could take you all the way back to the book of Genesis with the first family. Why don't I? Genesis 4. "Now Abel," you know where this is going. "Now Abel kept flocks, and Cain worked the soil. In the course of time Cain brought some of the fruits of the soil as an offering to the Lord. And Abel also brought an offering, fat portions from some of the firstborn of his flock. And the Lord looked with favor on Abel and his offering, but on Cain and his offering, He did not look with favor. So Cain was," what, "very angry, and his face was downcast. And then the Lord said to Cain, 'Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast? If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door. It desires to have you, but you must rule over it.' Now Cain said to His brother Abel, 'Let's go out to the field.' And while they were in the field, Cain attacked his brother Abel and killed him." Why? Anger, that's where anger got him. Anger that ballooned into an angry jealousy. Everything about it, it went from anger to homicide. But you know what? Jesus knew that. And I believe it's part of where Jesus was drawing from in the Hebrew scriptures when He was preaching in the Sermon on the Mount, and He said these words in Matthew 5. "You've heard that it was said to people long ago, 'You shall not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.' But I tell you that anyone who is angry with a brother or sister will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to a brother or sister, 'Raca,' is answerable to the court. And anyone who says, 'You fool!' will be in danger of the fire of hell." I'm not gonna unpack all of that. Here's what Jesus is saying is that that unhealthy anger that leads to sin is the root cause of even worse things. And Paul is reminding us that, in our old state, we used to let that anger just fester because we felt like, it felt like a warm blanket to us. This has happened to me, and I'm angry about it, and I'm gonna stay angry about it, like it was doing anything to the other people, by the way, that you were angry about, nothing, they're not even thinking about it. They don't even care. But you're just toxifying your soul with all of the anger that you can muster. And Paul's saying put that to death, and instead of being angry, you should find a timely reconciliation for that anger. Paul says, "Don't let the sun go down on your anger." That's the phrase that he used. He's basically saying this, don't let your anger carry into another day, an anger that can lead to sin. Don't let it carry into another day. Figure out how you need to deal with that, and deal with it right away. Why? Because that's the life of God. That we, in all of our sin and all of our mess and all of our junk, God actually initiated reconciliation with us. To do what? In Jesus, He satisfied His anger and sin on our behalf. You see, that's what the new self does because it's like God. The old self just wraps ourself up in it. And Paul is saying the reason that you do this, the reason that you do this is because you do not want to give the devil a foothold. Do you know another way of looking at that is this. You live in a house that you've called your Christian life, but you have left a key for the enemy. "Don't do that," he says. Put on the new self. Third illustration he gives you is put off stealing and put on sharing. I imagine we all know that we probably have some gaps where we have to put off lies and put on the truth or put off sinful anger and put on timely reconciliation. And some of you are going, "Ah, you know, I don't know about this. I'm not really stealing anything, so it's not particularly a big deal." Listen to what Paul says, though. Verse number 28, he says, "Anyone who's 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." Now, Paul was definitely addressing a group of people who were coming to faith in Christ out of paganism in Ephesus. And obviously, a part of that background had to do with them being comfortable with maybe being squirrelly and stealing and taking and doing stuff and being shifty and all of that stuff, right? And Paul says that that's the old way of living, and you gotta let that go. You have got to let that go. And now what I want you to do, instead of stealing, is you need to work with your own hands. Because you're able to, you need to work with your own hands. Why? So that you've got something to share. Now, I'll come back to that in a minute because when we talk about this idea of putting off stealing and putting on sharing, we need to be reminded about what Jesus says that the nature of the enemy and the nature of Jesus is. Listen to what He says in John 10:10. Here's what the thief comes to do, steal and kill and destroy. But what's the nature of Jesus? "I've come that they may have life, and have it to the full." You know what the enemy does? The enemy wants to steal. Jesus wants to share. The enemy wants to steal. Jesus is saying, "I'll share my life with you." The enemy's trying to steal so that he can glorify himself. And Jesus says, "I am taking my very life, and I am sharing it with you." And so He says, put off stealing. Some of you're going, "Well, that doesn't really, you know, again, you can move on. This doesn't have anything to do with me." And you may be sitting there, saying that, and you haven't given a dime to your church in ever, that you literally haven't been a person of generosity ever. You know, I'm not gonna go there. It just came to mind. Do you know that God actually rebukes the leaders and the nation of Israel in the book of Malachi? And He says, "Will you rob God? Will you rob God?" And they're like, "Wait, what?" First of all, can you really rob God? Not really, but he's saying this, right? Will you rob God? And they're like, "What are you talking about robbing you? What are we robbing you of?" I required you to give, and you're not doing it. That's what He says to them. Now, we're not in the New Testament under a system of tithes where you have to have a certain percentage, like they were in the Old Testament, where God had manifestly said some very specific things. We're not under that here. What we're under in the New Testament is generosity. That's what we've been called to, generosity. And if our lives are not postured in generosity, then we're not really getting what Paul is saying in terms of what it means to be part of the new way of living 'cause he says this, stop stealing, and by the way, we gotta renew our minds because the enemy, Satan, is the author of stealing, Jesus is the author of giving. Everything about God is giving. God so loved the world that He gave, right? This is the nature of God. When we are giving, we are acting like our father. When we are hoarding or stealing, we are acting like the enemy. And so as we do that, Paul says, very specifically, there's a purpose in this. Work with your hands instead of stealing so that you can take care of your own needs, sure, you can take care of your family, sure, but what does Paul say? So that you can share with others, that the point is actually beyond meeting your own needs and that of your family. That's a good thing, that's right, that's important. But he says it actually goes beyond that into living lives of generosity. You mean I may have to help supply the needs of people that don't have enough? Yep, that's what God did. That's what we do. See, everything that Paul is doing here, he's saying this is a part of the old way of living, and this is God's new self in you and what it does. He gives another helpful illustration by saying this, put off rotten talk and put on helpful talk. Mm-hmm, put off rotten talk and put on helpful talk. Let me show it to you, verse 29 and 30. "Do not let any unwholesome," that word on wholesome can be translated rotten. "Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouth, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs that it may benefit those who listen. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption." You see, if we remember to put off what is unwholesome or rotten talk, and we are to put on that which is helpful and builds, we should be reminded, in the renewing of our minds, what Jesus said very much about our speech. In John 12, Jesus said this, or Matthew 12, forgive me. He said, "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. You brood of vipers, how can you who are evil say anything good? For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of." Or said another way, out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks. "A 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. But I tell you that everyone will have to give account on the day of judgment for every empty word they have spoken. For by your words, you will be acquitted, and by your words you'll be condemned." Why? 'Cause your words reflect your heart. That's why. So it's no wonder that Paul is talking about speech right here because our speech is indicative of our heart. Is He talking about just like cussing and stuff, of course, that's included, being foulmouthed and those kinds of things is included in unwholesome or rotten speech, of course, right? But that's not predominantly what Paul's getting at. What he's getting at predominantly is the kind of speech that is destructive, critical, degrading, unhelpful. That's the kind of speech that he's getting at. And he says don't do it. But the problem is we're conditioned for it in the world that we live in. I was reading about some psychologists, and they were talking about they would have these big, you know, piece of big white poster board or whatever, and they would take a black magic marker, and they would draw a circle right here and color it in. And then they would say to their class, what do you see? And they would all say, "A black dot." And he put it down, and he says, "Does no one see a humongous white square? Does nobody see it?" 'Cause we're conditioned. We look for the bad in people. We look for their failures and their flaws, and then we pounce on them. Remember? It's our natural position. And then we just want to, we pounce on it. But yet when we're talking about a brother or sister, listen, they are not their sin. They are not their sin. They're new. See, sometimes we get into this mode, right? Like, "Oh, we're just sinners, and we're just disgusting sinners and," okay, we were. Now we're not. We're saints who sometimes sin. That's who we are. So we're trying to close the gap between what we are and what we are, right? And we have to make sure that we understand what the truth is so that we conform our very lives to it. Do you have any gaps in this area, about rotten talk instead of helpful talk? Do you participate in gossip at the office, or just routinely, just participate in it? Or maybe bear false witness, because you're willing to talk about things that you don't fully know about and therefore could be speaking untruly? Do you have a critical spirit? It's like move number one, always, "Look at what they've got on." "Oh, he's such a stupid idiot." "Oh, she's ugly." Is that the move? Is it a critical spirit? Do you have opinions that you just can't keep to yourself ever, so that everybody everywhere always needs to know your take on everything? Paul says, put on the new. Helpful talk, talk that builds up, not degrading, not disgusting, not dehumanizing or demonizing, but that which is helpful and builds them up. Now, I'm not talking about, like, in the generation that we live in and the culture that we live in, it's always, "You're so awesome, you're so ." and it just becomes a bunch of gobbledygook. And there's nothing. It's actually just a bunch of nothing. You're talking about . It's just a bunch of nothing. Speak the truth of God. That's what builds. That's what helps. And speak it in love. The last illustration that Paul gives us this. Put off animosity, and put on the kindness of Jesus. Put off animosity, and put on the kindness of Jesus. Notice what verse 31 and 32 say. "Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you." Bitterness and rage and anger and slander have no place in the new self, no place in the new creation. And Jesus demonstrated to a world that was full of bitterness and rage and anger and slander, God demonstrated His very heart. In fact, Paul talks about it. Just a couple of chapters earlier in Ephesians 2. Notice this, he says, "As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you follow the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who's now at work and those who are disobedient. All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath. But because of His great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions. It is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with Him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages He might show the incomparable riches of His grace expressed in His kindness to us in Christ Jesus." Paul says to us, "Put off animosity, and put on the kindness of Jesus." Do you have some gaps there? Have you let rage and anger and slander and bitterness win the day? Take those clothes, and put them in the burn pile, and have your mind renewed about what God has done for the world in Christ, a world that was bitter and angry and slanderous and rebellious and all of those awful things, and that God has demonstrated His kindness to us in Christ Jesus. This is glorious news to us. So Paul's saying to us, we gotta close the gap between our practice and our position, and God's the one who's gonna help us with that. Now, don't lose sight. We are new, we are new. The old is dead, the new has come, but practically, we've gotta keep putting it to death and keep putting on what is ours to possess. And we do that by having our minds renewed so that the new self, which is actually God's own life in us, can lead us to a place where we are living in the way that God has designed for us. If you want to find yourself, you have to lose it to gain it. You have to lose it to gain it. So what gaps do you have? I would ask you to allow the spirit of God to speak to you at whatever place in your heart that He wants to speak and that you'd cooperate with Him. And if that requires repentance and repudiation of that which is raging against your new self, then do so. And find His forgiveness and strength and new life and hope. And so I just want you to cooperate with the Spirit. I wanna give you just a few moments, even right now, just where you are, to just do business with the Lord in the quietness of just these few moments. So take a moment to do that. I don't know what God may be saying to you, what He may be doing in you, but I'm just asking you to cooperate with His spirit in you. 'Cause what God's great desire is is to move you from the place where you are and I am to becoming more of who we are actually. But you may be here, and you've never before entrusted your life to Jesus. You've never actually moved into the land of what it means to be in Christ. You've been in the land that we call in Adam. You've lived in the land of the old self, and you're still living there, and there's no amount of work you can do to get yourself entrance into this new land. You can't cross the border. You can't climb the wall. This is a work that only God can do because it is by grace that we are saved. It is He who has to do that on your behalf. But if we put our faith in Him, that He died for our sins, that He rose from the grave, conquering our sins, and we put our trust that He is our only hope and our only salvation, and He is the truth and the way and the life, then we can be forgiven and made new, and He will place us into the new kingdom, the kingdom of light instead of darkness. And if you're here, and you've never before received Jesus, found the forgiveness of your sins, in just a moment when we dismiss, as everybody's making their way out, I'd ask you to make your way up. There'll be some men and women that'll be right down here, down front. And you can take one of them by the hand and just say, I want to surrender my life to Jesus. And here's what they're gonna do. They're gonna pray with you, and they're gonna send you home with something that's gonna help you in your journey of faith. It will be the best decision you've ever made in your life because God has done His part, and He's calling out to you to come to know Him, to be forgiven, to be made new. So I would encourage you to come. And for the rest of us, maybe you still have some work that you wanna do with the Lord, and you just wanna sit for a little bit. You can do that. You can stay right in this room and sit and do business with the Lord, it's fine. If you'd like to come and you wanna take one of these folks up here by the hand and say, "I just need somebody to pray with me about whatever," you can do that as well. You just do as the Spirit leads. Father, thank you for the kindness that you have demonstrated to us in Christ. And I pray that we would be a people who would, who, really, the only thing that we hate is sin. And we want to see it disposed of, discarded, thrown in the burn pile of our own lives. And that we would have as serious an eye toward our own sin as we have had criticism for others. I pray you'd help us to learn what it means to see the gap close between what we are currently and what we are positionally in reality, and help us more and more grow into the likeness of Christ. Thank you for the truth of the Word. I pray that it would wash over us and that it would change us and it would make us new and that we would walk filled with your life in us, because when we do, others can drink from that river. And that's what we want the world to see more of you, Lord Jesus, more of you. So I pray you would do this for your glory and for our good. In Jesus' name, Amen.

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