Ephesians: Walk In Love – Putting On The New Man


It’s Time to Begin Our Service. I am so happy to have you here with us, and I am thankful that we have a few minutes to examine the scripture together.

I want to make sure I send special greetings to our friends in Israel, with whom I had the opportunity to exchange messages this past week. Let’s make sure we continue to keep them in our prayers, both for the situation going on with the war and for them as they are walking this same path we are, having also left the same places we have.

I also want to send greetings to everyone who has reached out over the past week—the ones in Norway, in Canada, in Kenya, Germany, and especially the ones at Faith Assembly. We are continuing to lift you all up in prayer. We each have unique situations, and answers are not always one-size-fits-all. We each have to find the right way forward for ourselves. For some of us, there are fewer attachments and it is easier to move along. For others, it takes a lot of consideration and care to break with the past, because there are many consequences associated with making those decisions. I pray that God will help you with the guidance and strength for each of your unique circumstances. And, as I am thinking about it, please say a special prayer for the ones who are working in the Philippines. May God give them the strength and courage they need.

If this is your first time joining us, and you wonder who we are and what we are up to, my name is Charles Paisley. I, and most of our listeners here, are formerly members of the cult following of William Branham known as The Message. The Message is a global doomsday cult with millions of members. It started right here in Jeffersonville, Indiana, and spread all over the world. I am formerly associate pastor of the second oldest Message church in the world, right here in the Jeffersonville area. This is a little mission we operate to offer encouragement to those leaving The Message and to take a look at the plain reading of scripture as we seek to wash out of our minds what, for most of us, has been a lifetime of indoctrination.

Today we are back in the book of Ephesians. I invite you to turn there with me, into the fourth chapter. In our last lesson, we started our examination of the second half of this chapter. Today, we are going to pick up where we left off, and I will read from verse 17 down to the second verse of chapter 5. The apostle Paul writes:

17 Now this I say and testify in the Lord, that you must no longer walk as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their minds. 18 They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart. 19 They have become callous and have given themselves up to sensuality, greedy to practice every kind of impurity. 20 But that is not the way you learned Christ!— 21 assuming that you have heard about him and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus, 22 to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, 23 and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, 24 and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness. 25 Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another. 26 Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, 27 and give no opportunity to the devil. 28 Let the thief no longer steal, but rather let him labor, doing honest work with his own hands, so that he may have something to share with anyone in need. 29 Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. 30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31 Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. 32 Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.

5 Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. 2 And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.


Let us pray.

Lord God, as we approach these scriptures today, we know that your word calls us to lives of good character. We know that the Holy Spirit is at work within us to change our hearts, minds, and lives—all for the better. The desire of our hearts is to be exactly what you would have us to be and that we may be able to walk in the same love that Christ walked in. Help us receive into our hearts what is written in the scripture, we pray. In Jesus’ name, Amen.


We have quite a few verses of scripture we are going to walk through today. If you recall from our last lesson, we spent our time examining the framework Paul is using. We looked at the authority he appeals to as his basis for explaining these elements of a Christian lifestyle. We saw that his basis and authority were the life and teachings of Jesus Christ during His ministry here on earth. Paul is looking specifically at the life and teachings of Jesus as the perfect pattern and example, and from that, Paul draws the things he shared in these verses.

Ultimately, at the very root of all this, lies the command that Christ gave: that we should love one another as He loved us. Paul is appealing directly to that as his authority in verse 20, verse 32, and again at the start of chapter 5. We will touch on that a bit more as we walk through these verses.

Before we begin, let me point out to you the basic flow Paul is following in this section. In verse 17, Paul starts to give the Ephesians a list of don’ts—a list of things they should avoid, things which should not be part of a Christian life. Then, in verse 21, he starts to explain that Christians have different lifestyles and how that change in lifestyles occurs, how it comes about. Finally, in verse 25, Paul begins to give the Ephesians a list of things they should seek to do. This list of things they should seek to do will carry on all the way to the end of the book of Ephesians. We are just getting started with the list here today.

The Don’ts

As we see, what Paul is sharing is very practical guidance about conduct. He is not only describing the conduct itself, but he is also giving practical guidance about how this change in conduct occurs.

In verse 17, Paul writes:

“Now this I say and testify in the Lord, that you must no longer walk as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their minds.”

Paul is opening his list of don’ts here. Right away, we notice that Paul is using the word “walk” to describe the lifestyle of people. If we look back up to verse 1, here in chapter 4, we will notice that Paul used the same word there: “walk.” Paul is going to continue using that word here and there as we go through this section. By comparing verse 1 with verse 17, we detect right away that there is a right way to walk and a wrong way to walk. In verse 1, we see Paul talking about the right way to walk, but here in verse 17, Paul explains something about the wrong way to walk.

As a very basic thing, we can say that the Bible is telling us there is both a right way and a wrong way to live our lives in terms of our conduct and behavior. This may seem very basic, but it is the start of our understanding in this regard. There is very clearly no way around it: there is a right way to conduct ourselves and a wrong way to conduct ourselves.

We might compare that back to the words of Jesus. Jesus said He was the way, the truth, and the life. That saying of Jesus is very deep and contains a lot, but part of it tells us that Jesus is the perfect example of a life to live. Another part is that it tells us Jesus is the way to go, and to get somewhere, you have to walk. If you are walking in Christ, you are walking the right way. But if you are not walking in Christ, you are walking the wrong way.

Relating that back to what Paul is saying in the fourth chapter of Ephesians, we can understand why he would choose to use the word “walk” to describe a Christian lifestyle. Because we are walking in the way, and the way is Christ. That Paul has this in mind is fairly obvious from these verses. If we jump down to verse 2 in chapter 5, we see that Paul says the right way to walk is to walk like Christ did—in love.

Bringing that all back to verse 17, we can say the right way to walk is to walk in Christ, to walk in love. The right way to walk is to let love define our character and our manner of life.

As we read our way through this list of don’ts of the Christian lifestyle, we realize that in the proper context, all of these things we should avoid are the opposite of love. These things we should avoid are unloving. These things we should avoid are ultimately harmful, not only to ourselves but also to others around us.

Understanding this is very important. God has our ultimate good in mind. The life He lays out for us to live is not a life designed to cause us harm. It is a life that, if everyone in the whole world lived it, would bring harmony and peace. The things God tells us to avoid are for our own good. They are things that make the world a worse place. They are things that lead to suffering, pain, sorrow, and fear.

They are the opposite of love.

The Futility of their Minds

As we go through these don’ts, we notice that they all contribute to making the world a worse place and lead to people being hurt.

Now, the next thing I want you to notice is that Paul connects what he is saying to the minds of the people. I point that out because I want you to notice that Paul is not obsessed with externalism as he walks through the next few chapters and talks about the Christian lifestyle.

Paul is concerned, first and foremost, with a mindset. This lifestyle is connected to a way of thinking. Both the good walk and the bad walk are connected to ways of thinking. Paul describes the bad lifestyle as coming from the minds of people who are futile in their thinking. Something that is futile is something that will never work; it is bound to fail—it’s futile.

And that is how fallen mankind is without God. They come up with all kinds of plans, ideas, and schemes to make the world a better place, but it never works out. You think of the communists—they thought they would create a communist utopia where everyone would be happy and live in peace. Instead, they ended up putting all kinds of people in the gulag and starving their people to death in big famines. It was all futile; it never produced what they were looking for.

Carnal-minded people have it in their minds that they can solve all their problems without God. They can social engineer, make new laws, have better education, and do all kinds of things, but it never works out. We live in a pretty good country here in America; we have a lot of freedom and mostly live good lives. But after 275 years, America still has all kinds of problems, and if we are here for another 275 years, there will still be all kinds of problems because mankind lacks the ability to make the world a perfect place. It is a futile effort, and instead, whatever comes along, you always end up with bad people doing bad things, and people end up getting hurt.

That sort of futile thinking—the idea that we can do without God—that idea is a futile thought in the minds of many people. And that is not the only futile thought in the minds of people who do not know Jesus, but it is one of the big ones.

Paul is connecting this futile form of thinking with people being disconnected from God, and there is an ignorance in them—they are ignorant about something, and that ignorance is causing them problems. Paul chalks it up to a root problem, which is the hardness in their hearts.

So, verse 17 was about futile thinking in their minds, and verse 18 brings us to hardness in their hearts. This is not focused on externalism; this is about hearts and minds. That is what the kingdom of God is concerned with today—the kingdom of God is within you, and it is concerned with the hearts and minds of men and women.

The very thing Paul is talking about is what God is after—healing futile minds and hard hearts. Paul explains that futile minds and hard hearts produce bad things. He starts to explain it in verse 19.

What is it to become callous? A callous person doesn’t care for others; they don’t care who they hurt, who they have to step on, or what problems they cause—they are callous. In that callousness— not caring who they hurt and what damage they do—they pursue their own sensualities; they go after things to please themselves and feed their own appetites, and they hurt all kinds of people and cause all kinds of damage along the way.

We realize there is nothing wrong with having desires and taking enjoyment in life, but when we become callous and hurt people along the way, then it’s a problem. When we allow our pursuit of what we desire to become our priority, then we become callous, and people get hurt.

And, I want to make sure you see, that is Paul’s angle here. Paul is not condemning eating the piece of pie; he is condemning stealing the handicapped spot from the crippled old lady when you go to pick it up. Paul is condemning harming people in the pursuit of your desires.

Now, what is an impurity? Jesus said, it is not that which goes into a man that defiles him, but what comes out of him. What defiles a man comes out of his heart. Jesus said that those things—hate, jealousy, murder, sexual immorality, greed—are impurities. And it is those impurities in the heart that cause the problems. It is the greed that leads people to cheat, steal, and not be generous; it is hate that leads to violence and cruelty; it is sexual immorality that destroys relationships, homes, and families. And those are the impurities that callous people who lack self-control practice.

And that is all the opposite of love, isn’t it?

Love is patient, kind, generous, and considerate of others. But love has nothing to do with this lifestyle Paul is telling us we need to avoid.

You see, Christians like those in Ephesus, they know something those other people do not know. They have learned Christ. They have learned a better way. They see a better way to live. Jesus is the life – he is the life we want to live. It’s not a life where we put ourselves and our pursuits first and step on other people to get what we want. It’s a life where we walk in love, like Christ walked.

That doesn’t mean we don’t have pursuits and enjoyments. But it does mean we put the good of others first. It means we consider how our actions impact other people, and we are conscious of the people around us. And we are considerate of them.

We have learned a different sort of lifestyle from Christ. A life where we sacrifice for the good of others. It’s a life where we can lay down something that we wanted in order to help another. And it can be from the small to the big. And it doesn’t mean we become a doormat for everyone else. But there is a core of love that guides our choices, decisions, and our life. And that is what we saw in Jesus Christ. That is what we learned from Jesus. And if we want to know the right way to balance those things, then we look at the life of Jesus.

Jesus took breaks. Jesus took vacations. Jesus enjoyed good meals. Jesus had friends. Jesus had things he got enjoyment out of. And Jesus also died to save his friends.

“No greater love hath a man than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.”

Jesus never stepped on anybody. Jesus never took what wasn’t his. Jesus never failed to show kindness to people in need.

And that is the opposite of what Paul is telling us to avoid.

Again, make sure you notice how Paul brings this back to the life of Jesus. The truth was in him – it was in his life – it was in his words. Paul is not saying – hey look at me, I am the example. No, Paul is saying – look at Jesus – he is the example.

The Method

Now as we arrive here at verse 21, Paul has described the kind of life we should avoid. We should avoid lives where our thinking is futile, our hearts are hard, and we are callous when it comes to others, and we pursue what we want, when we want, regardless of the consequences. That we should avoid.

And here in verse 21, Paul begins to explain just how it is that people can change. How they can change from a callous, hard-hearted, futile-minded, self-serving kind of person. And we notice, the change starts with learning something. It starts with learning Christ. Knowing he is a savior. Coming into a relationship with him, and learning what manner of person he is. And Paul just takes it for granted that they have to know this. Because you have to know Jesus to actually get out of that rut of a lifestyle Paul wants them to avoid.

This change begins with learning Jesus. And as that is learned, then verse 22 comes into focus. Putting off your former self, and starting a new life. And as we become a loving person, our life becomes tempered by that love. And we are renewed in the spirit of our minds.

This is something happening in our minds. It is a change in the way we think about life and the world around us. We gain a new perspective. And it leads to a new manner of being. And Paul calls that the renewal of our minds.

And our old self, or our old way of living, dies. And we begin to enter into a new way of living. As Paul speaks of the old self, we realize our old life was crucified on the cross with Christ – because we are united with him. Our old self died on the cross. And our new self rose from the grave with Christ at his resurrection. Our new self is the new life in Christ, from his resurrection. And we come to faith in Christ, and we come to know him – that unites us with him. When we united with Christ – we united with him in his death. The old man died. But we also united with him in his resurrection. And received the new life. Both of those things – the death of the old man, and the new birth of the new man. Those things both happened because of our union with Christ.

And the transformation of our lives, it starts right then. Our spirits and our minds are renewed when we are saved. It starts right there. It’s not finished right there. But it starts there.

Our flesh is still fallen and cursed. But our spirits and our minds and our hearts are changed. They are changed by the entrance of Christ into our lives. And Christ enters our lives by the Holy Spirit.

And so our hearts, minds, and spirits are being renewed by the Holy Spirit. Right here, in the here and now, as people who are united with Christ.

But we are waiting for the second coming, when our bodies of flesh will be redeemed and renewed. And so, as we are here today, there is an invisible part of us that is renewed, but our bodies of flesh and blood are not renewed. We are only renewed in part.

And it puts a warfare in our lives, where sometimes there is a struggle. We know the right thing and we desire the right thing. But then we also deal with the temptation of the wrong thing. And that is a battle that comes at times in life. But it is important to recognize that battle itself is evidence to us that we have been renewed in our minds, hearts, and spirits. When we sense that struggle within us to do the right thing, that struggle is itself evidence that we have been changed. We are not callous and indifferent like in verse 19. We see, know, and understand, and we desire and seek what is right, even though sometimes we might not be as successful as we would like to be.

And I want to make sure I explain that. Paul walks through that in detail in the book of Romans, which we went through last year. But it is important to recognize the struggle and desire within you to do what is right. That struggle and desire is itself evidence that you have been renewed by the Holy Spirit, regardless of the outcome of that struggle in any particular case.

And our holiness is rooted in the fruit of the Spirit, which is within our hearts. And I want you to also notice here, Paul links the true holiness and true righteousness not to externalism but to the renewal that happens in our hearts and minds, verse 23.

So let’s make sure we recognize the contrast Paul is giving here. There is the old self which is callous, futile-minded, and hard-hearted. And there is the new self, who walks in love. That is the contrast Paul is painting.

Let me close in prayer.


Lord God,

Thank you for the clarity of scripture. Thank you for the apostle Paul who, though he was a prisoner, though he was facing hard and difficult times, though he had been persecuted and harmed by many people, his love for the church was great enough to lead him to write this epistle to his friend in Ephesus. An epistle that has been preserved for us here in the Bible. We thank you for all of that.

Now Lord, we ask that you help us as individuals. Help us to know this love of God in our own hearts. And please grant us to be fruitful followers of Christ, by the power of the Holy Spirit. This we humbly ask, in Jesus’ name. Amen.