26 Sept. Ephesians 4:17-32

26 Sept. The way people should live

"In the Lord's name, I tell you this. Do not continue living like those who do not believe. Their thoughts are worth nothing. They do not understand, and they know nothing, because they refuse to listen. So they cannot have the life that God gives."

"They have lost all feeling of shame, and they use their lives for doing evil. But what you learned in Christ was not like this. I know that you learned about him, and you are in him, so you were taught the truth that is in Jesus."

"You were taught to leave your old self - to stop living the way you lived before. That old self becomes worse, because people are fooled by the evil things they want to do..."

"But you were taught to be made new in your hearts, to become a new person. That new person is made to be like God - made to be truly good and holy."

"So you must stop telling lies. 'Tell each other the truth,' [Zechariah 8:16] because we all belong to each other in the same body."

"When you are angry, do not sin, and be sure to stop being angry before the end of the day. Do not give the devil a way to defeat you."

"Those who are stealing must stop stealing and start working. They should earn an honest living for themselves. Then they will have something to share with those who are poor."

"When you talk, do not say harmful things, but say what people need - words that will help others become stronger. Then what you say will be good to those who listen to you."

"And do not make the Holy Spirit sad. The Spirit is God's proof that you belong to him. God gave you that Spirit to show that God will make you free when the final day comes."

"Do not be bitter or angry or cross. Never shout angrily or say things to hurt others. Never do anything evil. Be kind and loving to each other, and forgive each other just as God forgave you in Christ."

          (Ephesians 4:17-32)

 

 

"Have you lost all feeling of shame?" "Stop telling lies." "Don't say harmful things." "Temper your language." "Don't shout angrily or say things to hurt others." - Are these words from St Paul? Words from 2000 years ago??

Well, they could be, but they are actually things that were said in the UK House of Commons!

We don't usually watch UK Parliamentary proceedings live on television, but when political events in Britain became quite unprecedented (with the UK Supreme Court declaring that the Prime Minister had acted unlawfully in proroguing Parliament for 5 weeks), we watched the proceedings live when the Prime Minister addressed the House of Commons.

And, to be quite honest, we were appalled at the language used by the Prime Minister and several other MPs. Whatever your political opinions, to witness the disgusting language and gestures used in Parliament was shameful. To witness a Prime Minister who had no humility and refused to say sorry for making a mistake which was deemed unlawful - and criticised the highest justices in the land for maintaining what has been the law in the UK since the Bill of Rights in 1688 - was tragic and heart-breaking.

But St Paul, in his Letter to the Ephesians, tells us that this is the kind of language and behaviour to be expected from those whose lives have not been renewed by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Paul said to the believers, "Do not continue living like those who do not believe. Their thoughts are worth nothing. They do not understand, and they know nothing, because they refuse to listen. So they cannot have the life that God gives." (Ephesians 4:17-18)

So he told the believers how Christians should behave: "So you must stop telling lies. 'Tell each other the truth'." (Ephesians 4:25) "When you are angry, do not sin, and be sure to stop being angry before the end of the day." (Ephesians 4:26) "Those who are stealing must stop stealing and start working." (Ephesians 4:28)

And, "When you talk, do not say harmful things, but say what people need - words that will help others become stronger." (Ephesians 4:29) "Never shout angrily or say things to hurt others." (Ephesians 4:31) "Be kind and loving to each other." (Ephesians 4:32)

Finally, above all things - as Christians who have God's Holy Spirit living within them - "Do not make the Holy Spirit sad." (Ephesians 4:30) God is saddened when he hears and witnesses language and behaviour such as we witnessed in the UK Parliament. As God's people, we must do all we can to rebuke and seek to change those who use ungodly words and actions to bring about their political aims.

The photo shows the Houses of Parliament in London (by Mike Gimelfarb).

You can read more of Paul's words @ https://www.thebiblejourney.org/…/15-pauls-le…/the-new-life/


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