by Jeffrey W. Hamilton

Text: Ephesians 2:1-10


I.         From the beginning, Christians have struggled with living in a world of sin without being a part of that world.

            A.        Paul’s struggle - Romans 7:14-25

            B.        Some would take Paul’s words and say that as long as I intend to please God, it doesn’t matter what I actually do. Paul’s answer - Romans 6:20-7:2

II.        Before becoming a Christian, we were of the world - Ephesians 2:1-3

            A.        Worldliness is being disposed to things pertaining to this temporary world; not regarding the spiritual or religious realm but being secular.

            B.        You walked according to the course of this world

                        1.         “Course”, literally “age” - The mass of thoughts, opinions, maxims, speculations, hopes, impulses, aims, and aspirations at any time current in the world, which may be impossible to accurately define but which circulates through the world and characterizes it.

                        2.         “World” - The ungodly mass of men who are alienated from God and therefore are hostile to the cause of Christ. The aggregate of all things earthly which, although hollow, frail, and fleeting, stir the desire and seduce us away from God.

                        3.         It really isn’t too hard to understand.

                                    a.         This is our shows which entertain without any moral standard

                                    b.         This is our schools which teach without any ethics enforced

                                    c.         This is our movements which reach for any cause without regard for right and wrong

                        4.         Not understanding there is something greater, we drifted along with the masses.

            C.        You walked according to the prince of the power of the air

                        1.         We followed the path of Satan

                        2.         Satan is the ruler of this world - John 12:31

                        3.         He is the god of this age (same word as “course” in Ephesians 2:2) - II Corinthians 4:3-4

                        4.         I John 5:19 - The whole world lies in the power of Satan

                        5.         He has deceived the whole world - Revelation 12:9

            D.        Satan is the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience

                        1.         Satan has always defied God - John 8:44

                        2.         Those who practice sin are of the Devil - I John 3:8

            E.        We once lived in the lusts of the flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind

                        1.         I John 2:15-17

                                    a.         Lust of the flesh - what feels good

                                    b.         Lust of the eyes - what looks good

                                    c.         Pride of life - what makes me look good

                        2.         James 1:13-16 - Satan uses our desires to trap us in sin

                        3.         I Peter 4:1-5 - living according to the lusts: sensuality, drinking of all sorts, and idolatries.

                        4.         Yes, we were once such fools - Titus 3:3

III.       We must not be conformed to the standards of the world - Romans 12:1-2

            A.        We may have followed in ignorance, but no more - I Peter 1:14-16

            B.        We cannot continue to walk the same path - Ephesians 4:17-24

            C.        Such was our miserable past, but it isn’t to remain - I Corinthians 6:9-11

            D.        We must cleanse ourselves of all defilements - II Corinthians 7:1

            E.        Sin must not reign - Romans 6:12-13

            F.        Don’t make provisions for lusts - Romans 13:12-14

IV.      We must take up a new standard

            A.        Follow the Spirit - Galatians 5:16-17

            B.        It means thinking like God thinks - Ezekiel 36:24-28

            C.        If we focus on the world, we cannot follow the laws of God - Romans 8:5-8

            D.        We must take on the mind of Christ - I Corinthians 2:1-3:3

                        1.         Not in

                                    a.         The wisdom of men (2:5)

                                    b.         The wisdom of this age (2:6)

                                    c.         The spirit of this world (2:12)

                                    d.         Things taught by human wisdom (2:13)

                        2.         But relying on

                                    a.         The power of God (2:5)

                                    b.         God’s wisdom (2:7)

                                    c.         The Spirit of God (2:12)

                                    d.         Things taught by the Spirit (2:13)

                        3.         The natural or worldly man deems spiritual things as foolishness; hence, he cannot make spiritual judgments

                        4.         Because we have learned the mind of Christ through the words revealed by the Spirit, we can make spiritual judgments

                        5.         The Corinthians made errs in judgment because they approached their problems as worldly men

            E.        We must live for the will of God - I Peter 4:1-2

V.        To walk according to God, we must be reborn - John 3:3-6

            A.        A new life, the old has been killed - Romans 6:3-7

            B.        The opportunity to start is available today.

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