Ephesians 4_25-32      Living Truthfully

Rev. David Holwick  ZL

First Baptist Church

Ledgewood, New Jersey

November 10, 1991

Ephesians 4:25-32


  I. Concrete behavior that should result from a Christian's new nature.

      A. Five examples.

          1) Telling the truth.

          2) Controlling our anger.

          3) Honesty at work.

          4) Kindness of speech.

          5) The forgiveness and compassionate that are found in God.

      B. All concern our relationships.

          1) Holiness is not mystical escapism.

          2) It is living the right way in the eyes of God and people.

      C. In each, a negative prohibition is balanced by a positive command.

          1) It is not enough to shed the old clothes; we have to put on

               the new garments.

          2) Give up lying, stealing, losing temper // put on speaking

               truth, working hard, kindness to people.

      D. In each, a theological reason for the command is given or implied.

          1) In the teaching of Jesus, belief and behavior always dovetail.

II. Don't tell lies, but speak the truth.        4:25     (cf. Zech 8:16)

      A. Necessary to lie sometimes?

          1) Fibs and "white lies."

          2) Lie to avoid something worse, maybe for a good reason.

             Lying Baptists:

             Back in 1804 in Kentucky, a dispute arose among the Baptists.

             Some Baptists were arguing whether they should tell the truth

                and possibly sacrifice the life of a child as a result.

             Another group thought they should lie to the Indians and

                possible save the child.

             They came to be called the "Lying Baptists."


          3) The truth is always a better idea.

          Kim Duk-Soo was found by North Korean soldiers in their cellar

             on November 20, 1950.

          He and his father, a Presbyterian pastor for 42 years, were taken

             to prison and told they would be executed in the morning.

          His father told him they could not tell a lie to save their lives.

          That evening, a captain approached Kim.  "Are you a Christian?"

          For a fleeting moment, life for a lie seemed the only logical

             way to go.

          But the young boy remembered his father's instruction.

             "I am a Christian," Kim said.

          The captain drew closer, and whispered, "I am a Christian too.

             I used to be a Sunday school teacher before the war.

          You must escape tonight.  I will help you."

          Kim fled that night, having to leave his father under heavy

             guard awaiting his eventual death.

          Kim made it to an American base and played the organ for the


          If he had lied, what would have happened to him?          #1181

      B. Lying is always wrong.

          1) It is against God's character.       1 John 2:21-22

          2) It typifies sin.                     Revelation 22:15

      C. We are members of Christ's body.

          1) Fellowship is built on trust, and trust is built on truth.

          2) No place for lying in the Christian life.

      D. Oprah Winfrey on "How Truth Changed My Life"   (1989 Read. Dig.)

         When Oprah was 13 she decided new, octagon-shaped glasses

            would make her beautiful and popular.

         Her mother refused, telling Oprah they couldn't afford such

            an extravagance.

         The next day, after her mother had gone to work, Oprah smashed

            her old glasses on the floor.

         She pulled down the curtains, knocked over a table and threw

            things around the room.

         Then she called the police.

         "I decided to be unconscious when they came in and to have


         At the hospital, the doctor brought her mother to her bed,

            but Oprah pretended not to recognize her.

         "All we know is that someone broke into the apartment, hit her

            over the head and broke her glasses," explained the doctor.

         "Broke her glasses?" asked Vernita Lee.

            "Do you mind if I'm alone with the child for a few minutes?"

         The mother glared at her daughter and counted to three.

            As Oprah tells it:

        "She got to two, and I knew she was going to kill me.

         And so I said, 'It's coming back to me now ... you're my mother!'

           She dragged me from the bed and we went home.

         Yes, I got the octagons."

         She went to live with her father, Vernon Winfrey, who had

            married and grown into a respectable member of the community.

         He was a barber and pillar of the Baptist church.

            He taught her honesty.

         "I never told another lie.

            I wouldn't dream of making up a story to my Dad.

         Let me tell you, there is something about people who believe in

            discipline - they exude a kind of assurance and realism."

         At a beauty pageant when asked about her life's ambition, she

            replied, "I believe in truth, and I want to perpetuate truth.

               So I want to be a journalist."

         Her most valuable lesson:  "Just tell the truth.

            It will save you every time."                            #678

III. Don't lose your temper, but make sure your anger is righteous4:26-27

      A. "Be angry, and sin not" (KJV) echoes Psalm 4:4.

          1) Meant to restrict anger, not command it.

      B. Righteous anger.

          1) In Ephesians 5:6, God's anger falls on the disobedient.

          2) Jesus was angry.         Mark 3:5

          3) Christians need to get angry about injustice and sin.

              a) True peace is not identical with appeasement.

      C. Dangers: the permissive "be angry" is qualified by 3 negatives.

          1) Don't sin.

              a) Make sure anger is free from injured pride, malice,

                   and the spirit of revenge.

          2) Don't let the sun go down on your anger.

              a) (Doesn't mean people in Nome, Alaska, can be angry

                   for six months straight.)

              b) Meaning:  don't nurse anger.

              c) Very applicable for married couples.

          3) Don't give the devil a foothold.          4:27

              a) Satan knows how easily we sin with anger, and so

                   lurks around looking for opportunities.

      D. Christians need to control anger.

         Abilene, Kansas:  October 1900.

         Halloween night, and ten-year-old Dwight Eisenhower was so

            angry his face turned crimson.

         His older brothers were allowed to go trick-or-treating, but

            he had to stay home.

         "You're too young to go out," his father, David, told him.

         Young Ike burst into tears, ran into the yard and began punching

            the trunk of an apple tree.

         He later recalled:  "My dad suddenly had me by the collar and

            I was getting a tanning."

         Then he sent Ike to bed.

         The boy's mother, Ida, came into his room with a word of advice

            from the Bible:

         "Better a patient man than a warrior, a man who controls his

            temper than one who takes a city."     (Proverbs 16:32, NIV)

         When he was 76, Ike wrote:  "I have always looked back on that

            conversation as one of the most valuable moments of my life."


IV. Don't steal, but work and give.              4:28

      A. Eighth of Ten Commandments.

          1) Applies to stealing money, tax evasion, ripping off workers.

          2) Illustration:  young youth group member who shoplifted trains.

      B. Positive implication:   earn your own living.

          1) All work is honorable in God's sight.

          2) Don't scrounge, but contribute.

          3) In the OT, the poor weren't given food, but given a small

               corner of a field to harvest for their own.

  V. Don't use your mouth for evil, but rather for good.     4:29-30

      A. Speech is a wonderful gift from God, unique to humans.

          1) Don't let rotten talk come out.

              a) ("Rotten" is also used of fruit.)

          2) Instead, build people up.

      B. Old Testament:   "Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the

            tongue of the wise brings healing."         Proverbs 12:18

      C. Jesus taught the great significance of speech.

          1) Our words reveal what's in our heart.           Mark 7:21-23

          2) We will give account for every careless word.   Matt 12:33-37

      D. Grieving of Holy Spirit.

          1) The Holy Spirit lives inside every true Christian.

              a) He is aware of all your thoughts, words and deeds.

              b) It hurts him when we sin.

          2) Are you aware of Him?

VI. Don't be unkind or bitter, but rather kind.        4:31-32

      A. Six unpleasant attitudes.

          1) Bitterness.   "Sour-puss"   "An embittered and resentful

                spirit which refuses to be reconciled."     (Aristotle)

          2) Rage.      Passionate outburst.

          3) Anger.     A more settled and sullen hostility.

          4) Brawling.  Getting excited and screaming at each other.

                             (Common in churches)

          5) Slander.   Literally, "blasphemy."  Speaking evil of others.

          6) Malice.    Wishing and plotting evil against people.

                          (It's also a good summary of all of them)

      B. The qualities of God and Christ.

          1) Kind.          "Chrestos" sounds like "Christos."

              a) Used in Sermon on Mount for God's kindness toward the

                   "ungrateful and the wicked."        Luke 6:35

          2) Compassionate.

              a) Literally, "acting in grace."

          3) Forgiving.

VII. Are you living in truth?

      A. Honest, rather than deceitful?

      B. Controlled, rather than temper-filled?

      C. Soft-spoken, rather than cutting?

      D. Hard-working, or a shirker?

      E. Forgiving, as God forgave you?

Copyright 2017 by Rev. David Holwick

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