When we received Christ, we got a brand new
garment. Once Christ comes in, that garment is present. Christ is the very
fabric of that garment. When I choose to let Jesus be Jesus in my life,
when I choose against my flesh, when I choose to say "yes" to
Him, strengthened in the inner man by the Spirit of God, then I begin to
live a brand new way.
When you receive Christ, you have the garment to wear that
identifies you wherever you are. It is a brand new lifestyle. But how many
Christians are still trying to go back and put on those old clothes, still
trying to dress the way they want to dress? What an indictment Paul gives
to us. He warns them in verses 17-19 not to go back and live like they
used to live. It says in verse 22: "in reference to your former
manner of life, you lay aside the old self, which is being corrupted in
accordance with the lusts of deceit." In other words, the more you
choose the old flesh, the more you choose, not Jesus, but what you want in
your life, the more you begin to be caught up in that downward spiral
which is constantly being corrupted.
That verse talks about the lust of deceit. Did you know that all
of the lusts that we have to contend with are deceitful? They make you
think that you want something and pull you out of your walk with God. The
moment you get it, you realize it is not what you thought it really was.
Now you are caught once again in the current of that which is constantly
We started off by saying that we must put on the new man. Living
the brand new life is like putting on a brand new garment. Point number
two was, before I can put on the new, I have to take off the old. In both
of these situations, I have already put on the new man and taken off the
old. However, we must appropriate this now and bring positional truth down
to experiential truth. The Christian life is a walk. It is moment by
moment making that constant choice to make sure I am dressed properly in
the garment of the Lord Jesus being Jesus in my life. It is a brand new
way of living.
Point number three is in verse 23. We have to be, first of all,
renewed in our minds. We are not going to put on these new clothes until
we start thinking differently. Remember the lost world is darkened in its
understanding. We have been enlightened in ours. We can understand what is
right and what is wrong. We understand now what God requires and the more
we get into His Word, the more we allow our minds to be renewed, then the
more we are going to dress properly and live properly. The world looks at
us and sees the witness of Jesus being real in our life.
Letís look at verse 23: "and that you be renewed in the
spirit of your mind." That word "renewed" caught my
attention. It is not the same word as Romans 12:1 or Romans 12:2.
Certainly your mind goes there. Romans says, "Do not be conformed to
this world, but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind."
There are two words that are used in that little word
"renewing": ana, which means again and kainos,
which means renew. In other words, it is a qualitatively brand new mind.
He is telling the Romans, "You are going to have to completely change
your way of thinking."
Perhaps he is saying something else here to the Ephesians.
Itís almost the same thing. The Ephesians are already changing their
minds. They are already faithful servants as verse 1 of chapter 1 tells
us. He uses another word in Ephesians 4:23 which comes from ana and
neos. Neos, means new, not so much qualitatively new, but
thinking in other ways. In other words, you continually let your mind be
changed. It has already started with this qualitatively brand new way of
thinking. Now you continue to let God rebuild and renovate your mind.
You see, the problem with us is the way we have been trained to
think. If we donít think Godís way, then obviously we are going to
live wrong. Proverbs says, "As a man thinks, so is he."
Certainly my heart is to be surrendered, but I need to get into Godís
Word and let Godís thoughts replace my thoughts, qualitatively and
otherwise. I continually grow as the Holy Spirit of God begins to teach me
how to wear my new garment.
I think there are some steps there. First of all, we have to
take off the old. Then we put on the new. Then thirdly, before we are ever
going to consistently do that, we have to be renewed in the spirit of our
mind. Now the word "spirit" there tends to refer to the rational
part of the mind. So I think what Paul is saying here is that in the area
where you decide, in the area where you make decisions, in that area of
your mind, you need to be consistently renewed so that you will
continually put on the new garment of the brand new behavior.
Well, then Paul moves on and begins to show us, with the fourth
point, what the new garment looks like. In verse 25 he says,
"Therefore, laying aside falsehood, speak truth, each one of you,
with his neighbor, for we are members of one another." The first
characteristic of this garment is we are going to have a transformed
tongue. The Bible tells us that what the mouth speaks identifies what is
on the inside of the heart. James 3 says no man can tame the tongue. If
you ever see somebody in control of their tongue, they must be under the
control of the Holy Spirit of God.
The first thing Paul says about the characteristics of the
garment is, speak truth and stop speaking falsehood. Letís identify here
why it is a characteristic of this new garment. If you go back to John
8:44, the same word is used to identify its source. Remember Ephesians 2
says we were once dead in our trespasses and in our sins. Of course, we
were of our father the devil. "You mean to tell me that lost people
have a father who is called the devil?" That is exactly right. If you
donít know Christ, may I just encourage you to realize that you are
already in that downward spiral, in that trap of being deceived by the
devil himself. This comes right out of the devil himself. People who lie
find their roots in the devil himself. Look at John 8:44: "You are of
your father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your
father. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the
truth, because there is no truth in him. Whenever he speaks a lie, he
speaks from his own nature, for he is a liar, and the father of
lies." When you find a person who does not tell the truth, who lies
in any area of his life, you find a person who is no longer being
controlled by the Spirit of God. He has now subjected himself under the
influence of the old devil who is the father of all lies.
If you will look in Colossians 3:9 it documents that we were
once like that. It was part of the fabric of the old man. It certainly
isnít a fabric of the new man. Colossians 3:9 says, "Do not lie to
one another, since you laid aside the old self with its evil practices."
We know the root of it is the devil and we also know that it is seen and
manifested in the old man, the old garment. When I take off the garment of
Christ, when I put on those wrong clothes, immediately I am going to see
lies and deceit come out of my mouth.
Look in I John 2:27: "And as for you, the anointing which
you received from Him abides in you, and you have no need for anyone to
teach you; but as His anointing teaches you about all things, and is true
and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you abide in Him."
Folks, listen, there is no lie, there is no deceit in truth. There is no
deceit in the written truth, the living truth. There is no lie in that.
Where do lies come from? They come from the pit of hell. What is it
representative of? The old man, the way we used to live. It was a
characteristic of man to just simply lie. But when you come into the
truth, there can be no lie in your life.
Look at I Peter 2:22. Jesus lives in us in the person of His
Spirit. We find the word again, and it speaks directly of the Lord Jesus
Christ. It is a prophecy of Him which was fulfilled in Him. In the Lord
Jesus there was no deceit. Peter says, "Who committed no sin, nor was
any deceit found in His mouth." That tells me two things. First of
all, the truthfulness of our Lord Jesus Christ and His inability to lie,
but secondly the truthfulness of His Word, for in what He spoke there was
Folks, you canít lie when Christ is in your heart because
lying is something that is a nature of Adam and the nature of the devil
himself. He is the father of it. It came in through Adam. When God came to
Adam he called out, "Adam, where are you? What have you done?"
Adam replied, "It is her fault." I mean, it is immediate. I
donít know why Paul started with this as the first characteristic of the
garment. I think it is because all lying and all deceit protect the flesh
rather than confess the flesh. It is so easy to tell a lie, isnít it?
Just tell a partial truth. You canít do it when Jesus Christ is in your
You see, lies always protect the flesh. The flesh is filled up
with lustful deceit and doesnít want to be exposed. So when you come and
bow down before Christ and begin to put that brand new garment on, it
wonít let you lie. If you do, immediately you know you have grieved the
Holy Spirit of God. Isnít it amazing, he starts right there?
I want you to see something in chapter 6. Chapters 4 and 6 are
saying the same thing! In chapter 4, Christ life is your garment. In
chapter 6 He is your armor. It is the same thing. The whole book of
Ephesians is like a fabric that is so woven together. You canít
disassociate chapter 6 from chapters 3 and 4. It all blends together. It
says over in chapter 6 concerning the armor, "having girded your
loins with truth." How many times have you heard that preached that
that is the Word of God? There is no definite article there. God is trying
to say, "A person who is wearing the garment of Christ is transparent
and open and honest and does not lie about anything, especially with his
lips. He doesnít speak deceit. First of all then, we have a transformed
Secondly we have a controlled temper. "Wait a minute. Are
you telling me I can have a temper and it still be under control?"
Yes. Look at what he says here in verse 26: "Be angry, and yet do
not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger." We think anger in
itself is sin. No. It is what you do with anger. I am grateful for all the
ones who have worked for the Pro-life cause. Hey, folks, we need to get
mad. But what you do with that anger? James says the anger of man never
accomplishes the righteousness of God. So in other words, this anger is
not really just you getting mad. It is the Lord Jesus in you. He was not a
very mild person all the time. He drove the moneychangers out of the
Temple. This man who came to this earth, the God-man who was so virtuous,
stood in a perfect balance between the extremes. He got angry, but He knew
what to be angry at. He knew the target of His anger. He knew exactly how
to express that anger. He never sinned at all.
So we are to be angry, but not sin with the anger. Go back to
verse 2 of chapter 4. Here is a good example of it. It is all in
relationships. Obviously it means that provocation has taken place.
Somebody has provoked you. Look at what he says: "with all humility
and gentleness, with patience." Those three words right there show
you that somebody is standing in the balance. They are upset. Nobody likes
provocation. But they are letting their righteous anger rise up to where
they know that they are not going to hate the sinner. They are going to
hate the sin and still love the sinner. They are willing to trust God
through the whole thing. The word "gentleness" simply means an
inward calm so tamed by the Holy Spirit of God that when it happens, you
know God is in control. Now that is a person who knows how to be angry,
but not to sin with the anger. It is not really him being angry. It is the
Lord Jesus rising up in him. There is such a thing as a righteous anger,
and I believe that is what he is talking bout. But there is no sin with
that righteous anger.
The word "sin" means missing the mark. We donít miss
the mark with that anger that is within us. It goes on to say in verse 26,
"do not let the sun go down on your anger." Personally, in my
own heart, Paul is telling to me, "When the sun goes down, make sure
your spirit is quiet. Donít let the sun go down on your anger." You
know, my wife and I have done this over the years. We have tried never to
go to bed without solving whatever difference we have. We have tried our
best to make sure that we have dealt with what has angered us. We try to
disassociate it from unrighteous anger and righteous anger to make sure we
donít sin with our anger. We have not always done it, but it has been a
helpful thing in our marriage.
You have a controlled temper when you have on the new garment of
Christ. Not only do you have a transformed tongue, but you have a
controlled temper. Thirdly, we have a frustrated tempter. Oh, listen, when
you start putting on the new garment, you are going to frustrate the
devil. Do you want to frustrate him? I do. As a matter of fact, I love to
irritate him. If you want to irritate him, put on the new garment and walk
the brand new life. Let Jesus be Jesus in your life, and you are going to
Look at what Paul says in verse 27: "and do not give the
devil an opportunity." Now let me explain that a little bit. There
are people who say because he uses the word "opportunity," which
is translated "place" 72 times in the Scriptures, then that word
has to mean "place" here. That means that somehow a Christian
can let the demons of hell get inside their life. Now that is being taught
whether you believe that or not. Some of you may say, "Amen, preach
the truth!" A lot of people say a demon can get inside of a
Christian. This is one of the verses they use. They want to translate it
"donít give a place," as if you are going to open up a room
and let him in.
The New American Standard translators did us justice by
translating it "opportunity." That turns your mind from the
devil getting inside to where you become a pawn in his hands in order to
bring division rather than to build up. If you can find anywhere in the
Word where that word is used in any other way other than
"place," you donít have a case. You cannot force the fact that
it means "place" in this context.
Let me show you two other places where it is used and could not
mean "place" in those contexts. It is the same Greek word,
though. Look in Acts 25:16: "And I answered them that it is not the
custom of the Romans to hand over any man before the accused meets his
accusers face to face, and has an opportunity to make his defense
against the charges." Guess what? Thatís the same word.
Look in Hebrews 8:7. It is used a little differently even there.
In the context it is very clear. Right before the verse that tells us we
are of a better covenant, it says, "For if that first covenant had
been faultless, there would have been no occasion sought for a
second." "Occasion" is the same word. Why do people think
in Ephesians 4:27 the Scriptures are teaching that a Christian can have a
demon? Folks, that is not even in the context of the chapter. The whole
chapter is putting on the new garment. The whole chapter is saying,
"Listen, donít go back and live like you used to live. If you do,
the devil then has an opportunity to influence you wrongly into doing
things that you shouldnít do, into doing things that are a downward
spiral. You donít want to go back into that. He works in the context of
the world. He works in the pulpit of the world in order to tempt the
flesh. Donít give him an opportunity to do what he wants to do."
What is the word for "devil" there? There are many
words for devil. You can go to Revelation and find out that he is the old
dragon. You can find out he is a lot of things. What is the word used
here? Well, the word translated "devil" is the word diabolos.
That tells you a whole lot about what the author is trying to say. Why did
he choose that name and not other names? Why didnít he call him Satan?
Why didnít he say demon? He didnít. He said devil. Why? The word diabolos
comes from dia, which means through, and bolos, which means
to cast, to cast in between and do what? Divide. What happens when a
Christian puts on the wrong garment? What is he doing to the body of
Christ? What is the context of chapter 4? There are sixteen verses on
doing what? Preserving the unity of the Spirit of God. Now there is a
warning. Donít go back and live like you used to live. Put on the new
What is in the new garment? Honesty, no lying. You donít
protect the flesh. You confess it. Not only that, you have a controlled
temper. Then when you do that you have frustrated the tempter. He canít
get into the body of Christ. He canít begin to tempt you to where you
fall again. You start walking and living like you ought to walk and like
you ought to live.
Put on the new garment. Put on the new clothes and you will have
a transformed tongue. What you say to people will edify and not tear down.
You will have a controlled temper. You will be angry, but it will be
Godís anger in you and you wonít miss the mark with your anger.
Thirdly, you will definitely frustrate the tempter because he doesnít
know how to handle you when Jesus is Jesus in your life.