Ephesians: Walk in Love – The Fruit of the Spirit


It’s time to begin our service today. I am glad to have you with us, and I send you my greetings. And as always, I send special greetings to all the different ones who have reached out, and I have been working with over the past week. The saints in Brazil, and Canada, and Germany, and in the United Kingdom. God bless you all. I enjoyed the time we had to speak this week and exchange messages.

As many of you have probably heard, Ewald Frank passed away yesterday, June 8, 2024. Ewald Frank was the leader of the second-largest group of Message followers in the world. They are a large international fellowship. I would guess there are perhaps 250,000 in the groups he is associated with. And the groups associated with Ewald Frank include Colonia Dignidad in Chile. Which, as far as we know, continues to have people who fellowship with Ewald Frank’s groups to this present day. And as many of you know, they killed and murdered untold numbers of people. Certainly in the hundreds, but probably well into the thousands. And they tortured and molested hundreds of children. I read one figure that estimated that perhaps there were as many as 40,000 child rapes that occurred there over the years. It’s a lot of very dark and ugly horrors. I think it’s safe to say that it is the most evil dark corner of The Message.

If you are newer to Faith Assembly or younger, you probably won’t recall Ewald Frank. It would have been the mid or late 1980s when our churches stopped fellowshipping with him. I think it was the early 1980s that the last time Raymond Jackson and people from Faith Assembly went to his church in Germany. But all that stuff was going on for most of the year we fellowshipped with them. And Faith Assembly contributed financially to support some of that stuff over the years.

At any rate, 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 am, 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. And 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.

And I am glad you are here with us today, because there is forgiveness to be found in Jesus Christ. There is a better way. A cult built on lies cannot save anyone. But Jesus can. And, it is such a sad, painful thing to realize we have been the victims of a hoax, and that our prophet tricked us, and that he was really a false prophet. It is very painful and full of grief to realize we have been so betrayed by men that we loved. But in our sorrow, there is still hope. It turned out William Branham was a fake prophet. But there is good news. Jesus is still a real savior. And I tell you what, if you wake up one day and realize that you are in a doomsday cult, then you realize just how badly you need someone to save you.

And before we start this lesson today, I would like you to know that I am very thankful that Jesus saved me. He saved me from a doomsday cult. And even more importantly, he saved us from the grievous sins that we committed in the name of that false religion. And that, more than anything else, is what I am most thankful for.

And today we have a better way to live, which is to walk in love. Today I am picking up at verse 25 in Ephesians 4, and I will read down to the first verses of chapter 5. You are welcome to follow along with me. I am using the English Standard Version. The Apostle Paul wrote:

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.

Ephesians 4-5 ESV

Let us pray.

Lord God, as we approach the scripture today, we pray you bless our understanding. Once more we pray, what we have not, give us. What we know not, teach us. And what we are not, make us. For Christ’s sake. Amen.


Well, as we begin our lesson today, you already know this is our third lesson working our way through the second half of chapter 4. In our last lesson, we looked at verses 17 through 24. In those verses, Paul explained what drives the lifestyle of fallen mankind. Paul told us the lifestyle of fallen men and women is defined by hard-heartedness and futile thinking. That hard-heartedness and futile thinking lead fallen mankind to be callous people who do not really care how their actions harm others. As fallen people live their lives, pursue their desires, and satisfy their appetites, they end up doing all kinds of harmful things. Things that harm their neighbors and things that grieve the very heart of God. Often, they are blind to even seeing anything wrong with their lifestyle. They don’t even recognize the harm they have caused.

In these verses, Paul is showing the Ephesians a contrast between the lifestyle of fallen mankind and the lifestyle that Christ and his disciples live. The life of fallen man is defined by callousness, hard-heartedness, and futile thinking. But the life of Christ and his disciples are defined by love. Love guides the actions and conduct and defines the character of the followers of Christ.

As Paul made that contrast between those two very different sorts of lifestyles, Paul is encouraging the Ephesians to walk in love. To reject being hard-hearted and callous, and to instead walk in love, like Jesus Christ did. Paul explained that learning to walk in love begins by coming to know Jesus Christ, learning what manner of a person he is, which starts with knowing him as our savior.

That is something each and every one of us needs in our lives. If we want to walk in love, like Christ did, we need to know Jesus as our savior. We need to hear and understand the gospel message. We need to understand we are living in a fallen world, and that we ourselves were born as fallen men and women. And that we had no way out unless Jesus saves us. And Jesus has come to save us purely as an act of love and mercy and grace. God has saved us, by Jesus Christ, to prove that he is good and merciful. Paul told that to us back in chapter 1.

As we begin to learn these things, to learn Christ, that begins a transformation that will lead us to walk in a better way, to live in a better way.

As we arrive at verse 25, Paul begins to give us a list of very practical examples of what the Christian lifestyle looks like. You could call it a list of dos and don’ts, but it’s deeper than that. This is actually about the heart and the souls of people. This description of the lifestyle of followers of Christ is going to carry on into the next chapters.

List of Dos

As we read through these first items today and into the next chapters as well, you will notice Paul tends to explain both sides of his instructions. With each item on this list, Paul will first tell the Ephesians what they should avoid doing. Then Paul gives them the alternative—what they should be doing instead. And then he provides a little explanation as to why that is the case. This pattern repeats over and over: what not to do, what to do instead, and then why. This is really helpful because it helps us see the contrast and understand what is motivating Paul to say these things, and it helps us understand the objective.

The first of these is in verse 25. Paul says:

25 Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another.

So we have what to avoid—telling lies. Then we have what we should do—tell the truth. And then we have the why—because we are all part of the body of Christ.

If you think about a natural human body, all the parts of the body cooperate with each other. My foot is not trying to trick my hand. Our body parts are all communicating honestly with each other. And so, in the church, we should be honest with each other. No trickery. Paul is telling us to tell the truth and to be honest. That is very straightforward.

Now, as we think about that just a little bit deeper, make sure you notice this: being honest is a fruit of the Spirit. Being honest is part of being faithful. Honesty comes from faithfulness, which is the fruit of the Spirit. Keep that in mind, and you will see a deeper pattern as we go along.

Verse 26 is next:

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.

So we have what not to do—we should not let our anger give way to sin. And then we also have what we should do—which is not to let the sun go down on our anger. And then we have the reason why—to not give the devil an opportunity to exploit that situation.

In simple terms, Paul is telling us not to dwell on our anger for too long. We should let our anger go before it grows into bitterness or hate or turns to wrath. Be angry, but do not sin. It’s natural for certain things to make us angry, but we do not have to let that anger simmer and turn into something sinful like bitterness, hate, or wrath.

Now, what is anger? In a very basic sense, what is anger?

Anger is an emotion. And as we read through here today, we will find this is not the only emotion Paul speaks about. Anger is an emotion. As you think back through the Bible, we will remember that there are a lot of places where the Bible tells us that God gets angry. We can even read in the Gospels about places where Jesus got angry.

So, if God gets angry, and Jesus got angry, we can say that being angry is not a sin. When people tell you that anger itself is a sin, or that something is wrong with you because you feel angry, those people don’t know what they are talking about.

Feeling angry is a normal emotion. God made man in his image. You and I were created to be like God in certain ways, and feeling emotions is one of the ways we are created like God. Did you know that? The very reason that you can feel emotions like anger is that you are created in God’s image. It is only natural that the things that make God angry are probably going to make us angry too.

What makes God angry? Evil makes God angry. When people mistreat God, it makes him angry. When people mistreat each other, that makes God angry too. It is only natural that things like that would make us angry too.

Remember how Paul is framing this: we are to walk in love. If you don’t get a little angry when you see what you love being mistreated, then are you really walking in love?

If you can sit by and not be a little angry, and not be a little motivated to intervene when you see evil being done, then I would suggest to you that you are not walking in love.

Godly anger actually arises from love itself. It arises from a love of what is good and a love of others, and seeing those things that we love being misused and mistreated. Injustice, abuse, harming people, and evil can make us angry, and it almost certainly will if we have the love of God in us.

We watch the news sometimes, and you see some poor little child has been killed by some monster. It makes you feel angry. In that instance, being angry is not a sin. In fact, in that situation, being angry is a natural response of love.

But what Paul is telling us here is that we must not let our anger lead us to act out inappropriately. And that is where we are angry but do not sin. There is a right way to handle situations, and there is a wrong way.

What would we call that? What would we call the ability to handle the situation in an appropriate way, despite having strong emotions like anger? We would call that self-control. In the King James Version, it is called temperance. And what is temperance, or self-control? It is the fruit of the Spirit. God has self-control; he is temperate. God puts up with a lot. God is even-handed and fair when he deals with situations, even though the situation made him angry. We should be the same and not deal with situations in an inappropriate way. God is temperate with self-control, and we should be temperate too.

In Paul’s first example, we discovered the fruit of faithfulness. In Paul’s second example, we discover the fruit of temperance, or self-control. I wonder what we will find in Paul’s next example? Do you think it could be another fruit of the Spirit? Let’s look at verse 28 and see.

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.

So we have what to avoid—stealing. We have what we should do instead—have an honest job. And then we have the why—so that we can have something to share with people in need. That is pretty straightforward, isn’t it? Don’t steal. Have an honest job instead. Then you can help people in need.

What do we have here? It looks like generosity to me. Something that helps other people.

Stealing hurts others—that is a callous sort of thing to do to someone. Stealing from others harms them. But working honestly allows us to be generous because we will have something to share. Instead of taking, we can give.

Generosity and the Fruit of the Spirit

What sort of generosity is Paul referring to here? It sounds like the fruit of the Spirit to me—kindness and goodness.

I hope you are noticing that Paul’s aim here is not mere externalism. By telling us the why behind each of these dos and don’ts, Paul is helping us understand that this is about something deeper than just behavior. This is really about character and our nature. It’s not giving for the sake of giving or about checking off some rule on a list. What Paul is after is people having a generous heart.

You could be someone who never stole anything in your entire life, but until you have become generous from your heart, you have not actually followed what Paul is talking about here. And that is what I want to draw your attention to. Paul is talking about something deeper, in the hearts of men and women. This is not externalism.

You may be angry and manage to keep your hands to yourself and not punch someone in the nose, but if in your heart it has turned into bitterness and hate, that is not being angry and sinning not. If there is hate and bitterness in your heart, then you are angry and you have sinned. Paul is after something deeper than externalism. He is after more than just not punching someone in the nose; he is after you having love in your heart for your enemy. He is not after you simply avoiding stealing; he is after you having a generous heart.

This is about walking in love. It’s about the heart, our nature, and our character. I really hope I am conveying that deeper level to you.

Verse 29 is next:

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.

So we have what to avoid—corrupt talking. Then we have what to do instead—being positive in our conversations. And we have the reason why—to give grace to others.

Naturally, from the places we come from, our minds will immediately go to all the words we’re not allowed to say. And there are a lot of words we could not say. It is good to not use coarse language and be a potty mouth. That is certainly something we should avoid. I would encourage you to not use naughty language that offends people. That is not a good thing to do.

But if we look at verse 29 and that is all we see, then I think we would be missing the point.

Paul is after something deeper than that.

When Paul talks about giving grace to those who hear, that implies that the hearer needs grace. In other words, someone has made a mistake, done something less than perfect, and that person needs to be spoken to gracefully.

Paul’s central thought here is not about using potty language. Paul’s example is talking to someone who is in sin, in a mistake, or in a situation where they have come up short. Paul is talking about someone who needs some mercy and grace. When we find ourselves in that situation, we should show mercy and grace.

In this respect, we can connect this to the last thing Paul told us—be angry and sin not. If someone needs some mercy and grace, then in our anger, let’s not deny it to them. For whatever reason you may think of, if the situation calls for mercy and grace, make sure we show it. Paul said—as it fits the occasion. Not every occasion is the same. Sometimes people are sorry; other times people are not sorry. How we handle that situation will depend somewhat on those sorts of things.

People who are sorry—we should always extend them mercy and grace. People who are not sorry—we should still handle them gracefully and as kindly as possible. But if they don’t feel bad about what they did, then we would be doing them a disservice by pretending like it didn’t matter. Even in that situation, there is a graceful way to handle it, where we leave an open door for reconciliation. What we say and how we handle it should fit the occasion and circumstances.

So what is that? What am I describing? It’s the fruit of the Spirit again. That is being long-suffering. It is putting up with things and people that are less than perfect and showing them an appropriate degree of mercy and grace when they make a mistake.

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.

As we look at that, we can understand that included in Paul’s concern is that we avoid communication that tears people down, that rips them up, harms them, and offers them no grace and no mercy. That is the corrupt communication Paul especially has in mind—calling people stupid, idiot, fat, ugly, no good, and worthless. Holding things over their heads, refusing to let go, speaking in such a way that the hearer can see no light at the end of the tunnel, just being mean to people, putting them down, and making them feel hopeless. Painting people in a bad light where there is no hope for them. Ruining their reputations. That is what Paul is warning against.

Paul is basically condemning half the sermons ever preached by Message preachers in verse 29.

As you look at verse 29, if you come across a preacher who can’t file his sermon under the heading of verse 29, then he is preaching a sermon that Paul has forbidden. A graceless sermon is a forbidden sermon. No preacher has a right to preach a graceless sermon. If they do, they are in open rebellion to the word of God, which sadly describes so many of the preachers in the places we come from.

Fruit of the Spirit

I hope you have noticed how the fruit of the Spirit is implicit in every part of the Christian lifestyle Paul is describing. The fruit of the Spirit is love, and the attributes of love—peace, kindness, long-suffering, faithfulness, self-control, and so on. Paul is commanding the Ephesians to walk in love, and Paul’s emphasis and explanations can all be brought back and rooted in love. This is not a list of dos and don’ts for the purpose of some code of conduct or externalism. Paul centers the emphasis of Christian conduct and lifestyle on love and the attributes of love.

This is walking in love. This is a lifestyle where love defines the conduct.

Paul never, ever, ever gives any focus on externalism when he talks about conduct. He always bases Christian conduct and lifestyle on these spiritual things: the fruit of the Spirit.

And that is true holiness. When you walk in love, when you have a character defined by the fruit of the Spirit, that is real, true holiness.

Not fake holiness, but the real deal. And that is the character of the new man. It is a character defined by the love of God. That love is put there in our hearts by the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives. That is the new man. The new man we put on is defined by a godly character. The new man walks in love. The old man was hard-hearted and callous. That is the contrast Paul is giving us.

Now, as we reflect back on these verses we have examined in this lesson, we have seen love, self-control, kindness, long-suffering. We have seen that we should speak in a way that shows grace to those in need of it. We should not steal, but be generous. We should not tell lies. We should not let our anger lead to sin.

In verse 24, Paul called these things true holiness. We know people who have checked off a long list of externalism, but they fall down on these things which Paul says are true holiness. They are thieves; they steal, cover up stealing, and support stealing. They are liars; they tell all kinds of lies, even from the platform. Their anger turns into hate and cruelty, and that comes over their platforms too. Their sermons and ways are totally graceless, utterly lacking in mercy.

They train their people to be just like them. As we look at those people, although they profess to be holy, we can say they are utterly unholy. There are black spots all over them. They build little clubs where everyone pretends none of it ever happened. They all reinforce each other and reassure each other that everything is okay. But everything is not okay. They have failed to actually walk in love. They have instead been hard-hearted and callous. They have harmed and injured many, many people to satisfy their desires and appetites. Their appetite and desire is to be special, to be elite, to feed their pride and ego. As they feed that, they have harmed numerous people, even to the point of driving people to suicide and putting people into early graves.

Brothers and sisters, there is a better way. Don’t be fooled by the long dresses, high hair, nice suits, and clean cuts. That is just a veneer. There is a genuine lack of true holiness in many of them. In part, we have to blame the leaders because many of them have never had the gospel shared with them. They have not really learned Christ because their preachers don’t preach Christ. As Paul explained, it is only by learning Christ that a person can really change.

A cult that is obsessed with doomsday, externalism, and legalism, and has put the words of man above the words of scripture, does not really teach Jesus.

In places we come from, they do not believe Jesus is a full savior. If you believe in Jesus, you are going to burn up in the tribulation—at best. People like you and me—they will say we can believe in Jesus all we want, but we will go to the worst part of hell because we reject them.

They do not believe Jesus saves. They have added themselves and their special teachings to the formula for salvation. You need Jesus, plus you need them and what they preach. Otherwise, we are going to burn up or suffer torturous deaths.

That is exactly what they teach, and that is not the Jesus of the Bible. That is not learning Christ. That is not learning Jesus saves, and that will never produce the true holiness Paul is speaking about here in Ephesians chapter 4.

But today, on this side of things, I am thankful we know Jesus as our Savior—not a partial savior, but a full, total, complete savior who will save us from all the wrath. We are justified by his blood, and he will do that because he is good, not because we are good.

Amen. I love my savior. How can you not love that? I hope that truth puts a zeal in you to walk in love just like Jesus did.


Let me close in prayer:

Lord God,

Thank you for the Bible. Thank you for opening our understanding by the Holy Spirit. Help us to grow every day to be more like our Savior. Help us to lay down our old life—the one we lived in the cult, where pride and vanity drove so much of our lives. Where we harmed others and didn’t even think about it because our hearts were hard and we were callous. But now let us walk in love, oh God. We look to you to put that love within us because that is the only way we can know or have the genuine love of God. This we ask in Jesus’ name. Amen.