Text: Ephesians 4:28-32
Introduction: We live in a society that embraces instant gratification. “Instant gratification can also refer to the act of receiving a reward without having to wait.” Many of us want to skip the line (fastfood), escape the process (pain), we are in a rush, are impatient, and just want instant relief.
And applied in the Christian life, we expect ourselves and even the people surrounding us to be instantly mature, understanding, perfect, and transformed. Today’s reality was also the reality of the NT.
Background: After Paul insisting on unity in church (4:1-16), he went further for the maturity of the church (4:17-27). Paul’s concern was not just unity but also maturity. As I was studying this passage carefully, I came to the conclusion that Unity marries Maturity; or simply, unity and maturity are inseparable (4:13).
Main Idea: But today’s sermon will focus on the goal of unity and maturity, that is, having a transformed life. This transformation of life is greatly based on what Christ had done on the cross and not on what humanity can do for themselves (Read verses 7, 21, 32).
However, many of us thought that after praying the “sinner’s prayer” it is already done. You are already a Christian and can go on with your former life. This is a false doctrine called “easy believism.” God calls not only for a change in our lives but transformation through a journey called “process.”
What is the process based on Ephesians 4? Examining verse 28 first.
- Changed Person – “sudden, concrete and defined; external influences” – justification
- “Thief must steal no more”
- “no unwholesome talk come out of your mouths”
- Desire to become an engineer
- “Put off your old self”
- Patience, humility, and forgiven
- Transformation Process – “incremental, 1% is still progress” – sanctification
- “must work, or study”
- “only helpful for building up others”
- Study engineering
- “Put on your new self”
- Long-suffering, conflicts, trials, and brokenness (31)
- Transformed Person – “influencing change, from within, recreating, reinventing” – restored image of God – Christ-exemplifying
- “sharing with those in need”
- “so others will benefit” for edification
- Build and invent new engineering things
- “for we are one” unity
- Gracious and forgiving others (32)
The “process” is part of God’s plan for us. We encounter this every day in our lives. We are in the process of waiting for the second coming of Christ. We are in the process of healing our generational and cultural trauma. Transformation does not come instantaneously; it goes through the process.
Likewise, Romans 8:29 – 30 –> Justification > sanctification > glorification
v. 28: Anyone who has been stealing (sin) must steal no longer (change)
but must work, doing something useful with their own hands
|that they may have something to share with those in need.|
|v. 29: Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths||
but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs
|that it may benefit those who listen. (edification)|
|vv. 22-25: to put off your old self||
put on the new self
|for we are all members of one body. (unity)|
For those God foreknew he also predestined; And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified
to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters.
|those he justified, he also glorified. (Romans 8:29-30)|
to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it (v. 7);
How can we sustain this transformation? The answer is “In Jesus” Philippians 4:19, “19 And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.”
Pastor John Paul Arceno
UCBC New Jersey | September 17, 2023