Ephesians Teaching Series

This beautifully constructed letter can best be understood by paying attention to its amazing structure.

15. Eph 4:17-5:2 You can Choose!

  • How do I live this new life? Not only does Paul explain the power, but he also lays out some very clear examples of this power in action in our daily activities.

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You can Choose!

Ephesians 4:17-5:2 (Part 15 of series) — Andrew Fountain: Sept 17, 2023

Video cover image by Kelly Sikkema Upsplash

Please open the page showing this passage by Clicking here,
or download the PDF of the page here.


  • Ephesians falls into two halves
    • Part one (chs 1-3) explains the truth, tells us what reality is about
    • Part two (chs 4-6) tells us how we should live by this truth
  • Summarizing part 1 is a prayer for us to know
    1. the power of the Spirit in our inner person
    2. the love of Christ which is “beyond knowledge”
    3. the destiny of being the very dwelling place of God

You can Choose!

  1. Review: How the Body comes to Unity
  2. The Meaning of Ephesians 4:17-25
  3. Eph 4:25-5:2 —Our Practical Response

1. Review: How the Body comes to Unity

  • Last week we saw how part 2 begins with:

This is a prophetic word from Paul that:

  • Something spectacular is going to happen in churches
  • and we can be part of it
  • we can be instrumental in it happening

God has given the gifts:

  • For the building up of the body
    • Until we grow up into unity,
      measured by the fullness of Christ
      • No longer children
        • Speaking truth in love
      • Grown up
    • We reach unity,
      by every part using it’s measure
  • The body built up in love

The Question that is (almost) never asked: When?

  • Some assume it happened when the N.T. was completed
    • is the church mature? or blown around?
  • Many think it is fulfilled at the return of Christ
    • So what is the point of Paul trying to motivate them?
  • one exception

Harold Hoehner

“…if the potential of the fully mature church is not real for the present time, Paul offers a false hope.”
Ephesians An Exegetical Commentary (Baker 2002)

  • I ended last week with the challenge:

Everyone involved

  • Every part of the body using the measure of gifting they have
  • How do we do this?
  • How many churches have succeeded and can give us a process to follow?
  • We are all in this together—I can do my part, but no more than that
  • Are you up for trying?

You can Choose!

  1. Review: How the Body comes to Unity
  2. The Meaning of Ephesians 4:17-25
  3. Eph 4:25-5:2 —Our Practical Response

2. The Meaning of Ephesians 4:17-25

Ephesians 4:17-5:2

  1. Τοῦτο οὖν λέγω This therefore I say
καὶ μαρτύρομαι ἐν κυρίῳ, And I insist in the Lord
μηκέτι ὑμᾶς περιπατεῖν καθὼς καὶ τὰ ἔθνη περιπατεῖ that you must no longer walk as the Gentiles walk
ἐν ματαιότητι τοῦ νοὸς αὐτῶν, in the meaninglessness of their thinking
  1. ἐσκοτωμένοι τῇ διανοίᾳ ὄντες, darkened in their understanding
ἀπηλλοτριωμένοι τῆς ζωῆς τοῦ θεοῦ, alienated from the life that comes from God
διὰ τὴν ἄγνοιαν τὴν οὖσαν ἐν αὐτοῖς, because of the ignorance that is in them,
διὰ τὴν πώρωσιν τῆς καρδίας αὐτῶν, because of the hardness of their hearts;
  1. οἵτινες ἀπηλγηκότες ἑαυτοὺς παρέδωκαν τῇ ἀσελγείᾳ becoming callous, they gave themselves over to self-indulgence
εἰς ἐργασίαν ἀκαθαρσίας πάσης ἐν πλεονεξίᾳ. doing every kind of impurity, and greedy for more
  1. ὑμεῖς δὲ οὐχ οὕτως ἐμάθετε τὸν Χριστόν, But you did not learn Christ this way
  2. εἴ γε αὐτὸν ἠκούσατε καὶ ἐν αὐτῷ ἐδιδάχθητε, given that him you have heard and in him you were taught:
καθώς ἐστιν ἀλήθεια ἐν τῷ Ἰησοῦ, (since the truth is in Jesus),
  1. ἀποθέσθαι ὑμᾶς κατὰ τὴν προτέραν ἀναστροφὴν τὸν παλαιὸν ἄνθρωπον to take off the old self, belonging to your former behavior
τὸν φθειρόμενον κατὰ τὰς ἐπιθυμίας τῆς ἀπάτης, corrupted by deceptive desires
  1. ἀνανεοῦσθαι δὲ τῷ πνεύματι τοῦ νοὸς ὑμῶν, to be renewed by the Spirit in your mind,
  2. καὶ ἐνδύσασθαι τὸν καινὸν ἄνθρωπον τὸν κατὰ θεὸν κτισθέντα to put on the new self created after the likeness of God
ἐν δικαιοσύνῃ καὶ ὁσιότητι τῆς ἀληθείας.in righteousness and truthful pure behavior
  1. Διὸ ἀποθέμενοι τὸ ψεῦδος Therefore having put off falsehood
λαλεῖτε ἀλήθειαν ἕκαστος μετὰ τοῦ πλησίον αὐτοῦ, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbour,
ὅτι ἐσμὲν ἀλλήλων μέλη. for we are members one of another.
  1. ὀργίζεσθε καὶ μὴ ἁμαρτάνετε· Be angry and do not sin;
ὁ ἥλιος μὴ ἐπιδυέτω ἐπὶ [τῷ] παροργισμῷ ὑμῶν, do not let the sun go down on your anger
  1. μηδὲ δίδοτε τόπον τῷ διαβόλῳ. Do not give an opportunity to the devil.
  2. ὁ κλέπτων μηκέτι κλεπτέτω, Let the stealer steal no longer;
μᾶλλον δὲ κοπιάτω ἐργαζόμενος ταῖς [ἰδίαις] χερσὶν τὸ ἀγαθόν, rather let him labour, doing honest work with his own hands
ἵνα ἔχῃ μεταδιδόναι τῷ χρείαν ἔχοντι. that he may have something to share with anyone in need
  1. πᾶς λόγος σαπρὸς ἐκ τοῦ στόματος ὑμῶν μὴ ἐκπορευέσθω, Let no corrupting talk leave your mouths,
ἀλλὰ εἴ τις ἀγαθὸς πρὸς οἰκοδομὴν τῆς χρείας, but only what is good for building up the person who needs it,
ἵνα δῷ χάριν τοῖς ἀκούουσιν. that it may give grace to those who hear.
  1. καὶ μὴ λυπεῖτε τὸ πνεῦμα τὸ ἅγιον τοῦ θεοῦ, And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God,
ἐν ᾧ ἐσφραγίσθητε in whom you were sealed
εἰς ἡμέραν ἀπολυτρώσεως. for the day of redemption.
  1. πᾶσα πικρία καὶ θυμὸς καὶ ὀργὴ καὶ κραυγὴ καὶ βλασφημία ἀρθήτω ἀφ’ ὑμῶν σὺν πάσῃ κακίᾳ. Let all bitterness and rage and anger and shouting and slander be put away from you, along with all malice.
  2. γίνεσθε [δὲ] εἰς ἀλλήλους χρηστοί, εὔσπλαγχνοι, χαριζόμενοι ἑαυτοῖς Become kind to one another, tenderhearted, showing grace to one another,
καθὼς καὶ ὁ θεὸς ἐν Χριστῷ ἐχαρίσατο ὑμῖν. just as God in Christ showed grace to you

  1. γίνεσθε οὖν μιμηταὶ τοῦ θεοῦ, ὡς τέκνα ἀγαπητά, Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children.
  2. καὶ περιπατεῖτε ἐν ἀγάπῃ, καθὼς καὶ ὁ Χριστὸς ἠγάπησεν ἡμᾶς And walk in love, just as Christ loved us
καὶ παρέδωκεν ἑαυτὸν ὑπὲρ ἡμῶν προσφορὰν καὶ θυσίαν τῷ θεῷ εἰς ὀσμὴν εὐωδίας. and gave himself up for us, an offering and sacrifice to God for a fragrant aroma.

Translation and structure by Andrew Fountain

  • All the references to minds and understanding are in green
    • Does this make sense?
    • Is lack of education the problem?
  • The key idea comes in v.18 —the life of God
    • The mind is in darkness if it is cut off from the light (v.18)
    • Jesus is the source of truth (v.21)
      • and if our mind is cut off from God
      • it is like the branch of a tree that is cut off
  • So how does a darkened mind result in people breaking God’s laws?
    • They can’t see that they are good for them, that they are true and beautiful
  • So what is the answer?
    • People must have the life of God in them
  • So what is it that we have learned? …
  • look at Eph 4:22–24 (see passage above)
  • Who is “The New Man” that we are to put on?
    • Jesus Christ
  • So who is “The Old Man” ?
    • Adam
  • Notice corruption (decay, death) vs new creation
  • Notice where the the new creation is: spirit of our minds: our inner being, not yet our bodies
  • So if Adam and his descendents were given a law
    • culminating in the 10 commandments
    • moral laws that applied to all mankind, the whole creation
  • What about the new mankind—is it the same for us?
    • Yes and no
    • God’s idea of right and wrong has not changed
    • But here is the difference


  • Adam was created in the image of God, bearing in some ways God’s likeness
  • But he rebelled and defaced that image
  • He was created from dust
  • As the new creation we carry God’s DNA in a living way
  • We are created in the Spirit, not dust
  • This new nature will naturally live like its parent
  • What does this actually men in practice? What does it look like?

3. Eph 4:25-5:2 —Our Practical Response

  • Each unit has three parts (in almost all the cases)
  1. Negative command
    1. Positive command
      1. Motivation of love
  • This follows the pattern of v.17-24:
    Negative, Positive, motivation from your new identity
  • What commandments can you see Paul referencing?
  • Note that they are virtually all about our relationships
    • The motivation is love! which flows from our new identity!
  • The last one is a mega-climax
    • Still in 3 parts.
  • If you are not a Christian...

Putting it into practice

  • If you are Christian, you are a New Creation (v.24)
  • But you have to actively take off the old habits
  • This is a moment-by-moment choice!

Updated on 2023-09-23 by Andrew Fountain

Last updated on 17 Sep 2023
Published on 17 Sep 2023