A few years ago a church of which I was pastor had a Sunday afternoon Nursing Home ministry one Sunday of each month. There were several who attended the service, and we sung hymns, and I usually preached a short message.
Almost every Sunday we were there I made an attempt to visit a moment with each one, shaking their hand, placing a hand on their hand or shoulder, even kneeling beside them so I could hear what they wanted to say. One man in particular, which I remember well; and this shows the repulsive side of me; was a man who was pushed in a wheel chair to the service. This man was unclean, he stank, and it was so bad the flies even noticed. I tried to give him the same attention I gave all the others.
The first time I met him I am sure I pulled away, but quickly caught my action, and still spoke with him. That must be a small bit of how God senses our stink of sin. The odor of sin is more than He in His holiness, righteousness and justice can endure, but in His wondrous grace, and tender mercy He provides cleansing, and new clothing of righteousness which is the righteousness of Christ Jesus.
Would God provide this cleansing, new clothing, and new life to continue living in that stench from which we have been delivered? By no means.
I. THE CHRISTIAN LEARNS CHRIST (v. 20).
II. THE CHRISTIAN “PUTS OFF” THE “OLD MAN” (vv. 21-23).
III. THE CHRISTIAN “PUTS ON” THE “NEW MAN” (v. 24).
IV. THE CHRISTIAN “PUTS AWAY” LYING (v. 25).
THE CHRISTIAN LEARNS CHRIST. We already know the way we have left behind. It is time we learn Christ. This is not learning about Him, but LEARNING CHRIST. This means a life, road, path of sin, stench, death and destruction is left behind (Ephesians 2:1). It was a life that knew not that it was enslaved until the Light of Christ broke through.
It is good to learn about Jesus Christ, however the Christian LEARNS CHRIST. That means we love Him more than anything else; we love and enjoy sweet fellowship with Him. That means that we walk with Him and He with us (John 14:21, 23-24). That means to live His life so others see Him within us.
THE CHRISTIAN “PUTS OFF” THE “OLD MAN”. When Jesus delivers us from that life of sins condemnation and its stench the old stinky clothes of sin must be removed; sometimes, however the Christian getting full of themselves rather than full of God, put the old clothes back on. Delving into the sewage of our sins, the stench hangs around again, and we wonder why God seems so far away, and we have started getting into the old, former way of life.
The people of Ephesus were known to be worshippers of Diana, and this made the Christian life a little difficult, because all the Ephesians were almost expected to be Diana worshippers. Every culture or society is difficult for the Christian life. We say things today like, “It’s hard to be a kid today”. “Things are different in this day than they have ever been”. I am one who begs to differ with that. Someone has said, “The more things change; the more they remain the same”; and that looks right to me. I read the Bible, and in the prophets I see people who are absolutely no different than the people of today are. That is why we need the apostle’s inspired words today.
Put them off… that is not what you learned Christ. That old life of self, sin, and its stench must go. “Put off” that old garment spotted by the flesh. Since the apostle is telling us to “put off” that surely means that it is in our power, through the Spirit of Christ [Holy Spirit] to put it off. We have the POWER of God to put off the evil.
Then there must be “renewing in the spirit of your mind” as well. Before we were born of the Spirit of God our spirit was dead to God. By the power of the Spirit of God our spirit was born of God; we are empowered to overcome all sin; to put off the garment of sin, and put on the “new man”. The “putting off” comes before the “renewing the mind”. The old stench of sin on those grave clothes blocks the fragrant scents of heaven and of God’s glorious grace. (Colossians 3:8-9).
THE CHRISTIAN “PUTS ON” THE “NEW MAN”. The “new man” is born of God to be like God in His holiness, and righteousness; through His Son. We are told by Paul nine times within his epistles to “Put on” something…
1. In Romans 13:12 he writes, “Put on the armour of light…”
2. 1 Corinthians 15: 53 & 54 “Put on incorruption… ‘put on immortality” twice in these two verses;
3. In Galations 3:27 “put on Christ…”;
4. Ephesians 4:24 “Put on the new man…”
5. Ephesians 6:11 “Put on the whole armour of God…”
6. Colossians 3:10 “put on the new man…”
7. Colossians 3:12 “Put on… bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering”
8. Colossians 3:14 “Put on charity…”
We are to “put on” the life of Jesus Christ.
THE CHRISTIAN “PUTS AWAY” LYING. Lying is a means of deception. Deception should never be in the heart of the believer; the follower of Jesus Christ. Deception’s intent is to cover the truth, and reveals nothing except that the one lying, deceiving cannot be trusted. Deception is a tool of the enemy.
The truth is precious among friends, neighbors, and practiced among them. Sometimes truth hurts, however, it is a means of great peace, and to great peace. Truth is the way to the knowing of God, and all knowledge needed knowing. Truth is the way to strong faith, and new, rewarding fellowship with one another and with the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Jesus is the Truth in Person.
Those who do the truth come to Jesus. “But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.” John 3:21 (KJV)
“He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.” John 3:36 (KJV)
-Tim A. Blankenship