A NEW MAN (Ephesians 4-6)
The song “Just As I Am” is certainly a staple of the Christian hymnal, but I am convinced it is woefully misunderstood. The idea so prevalent today is that I can come to Jesus “Just As I Am” and leave just as I am. But that old hymn doesn’t express that idea at all, instead it expresses a truth much more rich and much more Biblical. As the song states, “He will welcome, pardon, cleanse, relieve…” Essentially, you can come to God, but only on HIS terms. You don’t get to make the rules. And when you leave, it is on a new course. In truth, we are not fond of that idea in our culture today. It’s God’s way, or no way. But, that too reflects the beauty of this great truth. God’s way, has made it so we have a way at all. We can come to Him in our hopeless, lost condition and leave with a new found purpose and hope.
I want to highlight one of the words in the previous sentence; new. Your purpose is what motivates you in this life, but the key idea is new. Your purpose in this life is new, or not what is once was. Your hope is what fuels the motivation behind your purpose, but the key idea is new. Your hope is rooted in what your new life in Christ provides.
Paul expresses this idea by the “new man” sections of scripture (Especially: Ephesians 4-6 & Colossians 3-4). To summarize the concept: You are striving to be a new person every day, based on your newfound purpose in this life and the hope that it provides. Our theme this year for the Northwest church of Christ is focused around this section of Ephesians. A new man - Ephesians 4-6.
This is one of the more practical sections of the New Testament. Paul deals with many grand themes of God’s plan for humanity’s redemption in the first half of his letter, but then shifts the discussion to speak in more practical terms. I think this is what Paul has in mind when he opens the fourth chapter with “walk worthy of the calling…” The great truths of God’s eternal purposes in Christ are the bedrock upon which we build our lives of faith. Once Paul has built that foundation, he moves on to how that impacts us in our “walk” with Christ.
God has called us to live a new life, driven by our relationship with Him. As God’s new person we are concerned about unity among God’s people. The new person in Christ wants to serve God and God’s people using all the abilities the Lord has given him. All the while they are reverent of God’s word, as it is the standard and guide by which this person learns what a “new” life looks like. The renewing of the mind is an area far too neglected in modern Christianity, but one Paul saw as vitally important. We are constantly changing (renewing) our minds and the way we see things as we study the Word of God. Paul reminds us that this is part of what it means to be followers of God. We are always changing, improving, and seeking the ways of God. While we lived in the world and gave into sin, we were in darkness, but now that isn’t the case. We are a child of the light and as light, we are a beacon of hope reflecting the light of a life in Christ. That is a powerful attribute in a world of darkness. Our goal and aim is to understand the will of God in our lives. As His children and we want to know our Father better. This isn’t just about high reaching concepts as it has practical application even in the home. How we handle our marriage and the interaction we have with our spouse is not the same as it was before we became new. This relationship reflects Christ’s relationship with the church. What union is more powerfully illustrated? Our newness should reflect that. While still considering the home, Paul turns his attention to how that applies to child rearing. As a new person, the goal we have in raising children must shift as well. We are no longer raising them for Harvard, but Heaven and the glorifying of God Himself! Paul concludes his powerfully packed proclamation by speaking of the warfare that faces the Christian. The new life we are striving to have is not going to be without conflict. We will face struggle within and without. Satan is after us like a light-seeking missile. Are we going to rise up and fight?
As we become new, we are equipping ourselves to better serve Christ and our fellow soldiers.
Becoming new isn’t an easy process, but then again, changing and improving never is.
Our theme this year seeks to highlight what it means to become A New Man.
“A New Man” (Ephesians 4-6)
“And that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness.” (Eph. 4:24)
January - “Walk worthy of your calling…”
MV: Eph. 4:1
February - “The unity of the Spirit…”
MV: 1 Cor. 1:10
March - “Using our gifts…”
MV: Rom. 12:6a
April - “A perfect man…”
MV: Col. 1:28
May - “Renewed in mind…”
MV: Rom. 12:2
June - “Followers of God…”
MV: Eph. 5:1
July - “Light in the Lord…”
MV: Mt. 5:14
August - “Understanding the will of the Lord…”
MV: 1 Pt. 4:1-2
September - “Husbands and wives…”
MV: Col. 3:18-19
October - “Christ and the church…”
MV: Eph. 1:22-23
November - “Parents and children…”
MV: Col. 3:20-21
December - “Be strong and stand…”
MV: 1 Tim. 6:12