SoulShift

SoulShift: Stand

As we finish up our series entitled SoulShift, we have walked all the way through Ephesians 4-6.  The goal of this series has been to give us an extended lesson on how one makes the spiritual shift from being a person of the world to a child of the King.  New life as a believer in Jesus is different from our old life of sin.  My prayer is that this series has helped us to clearly see what that new life looks like, especially within the context of our families.

The book of Ephesians ends with a rallying cry, a believer’s “call to arms.”  Up to now our text has been teaching us how to live, giving us examples of what a changed life looks like: spirit-filled wives submitting to their husbands, spirit-filled husbands loving their wives like Christ loves the church, spirit-filled children obeying parents, and spirit-filled parents teaching and nurturing children.  Our passage now makes a big shift from teaching how to live as a believer to rallying us to the task.  This is the “stop talking about it and  start doing it” moment. 

SoulShift: Stand

SoulShift: A Family SoulShift (Part 3 of 3)

Over the last few weeks, we have been looking at changes that need to happen in our marriages and families.  In Chapter 5 verse 21, we found the Greek word translated “submitting.”  It is "hypo-tasso," which is the voluntary attitude of respectful deference or lining up underneath another.  It is the opposite of the word “epi-tasso,” which means to line up over or against another. 

The goal of this series is to give us an extended lesson on how to spiritually make the shift from a person of the world to a child of the King.  As a believer, your new life in Jesus is different from your old life in sin.  This series is meant to help us clearly see what that new life looks like and equip us to get there.  Our text this morning continues our journey by showing us that “hypo-tasso” is important even when it comes to being a child or parenting one.

SoulShift: A Family SoulShift (Part 3 of 3)

SoulShift: A Family SoulShift (Part 2 of 3)

 

Way back in February we began a series from the book of Ephesians, Chapters 4-6! We gave the series the title "SoulShift" because these three chapters call believers in Jesus Christ to make profound life changes:  

  • Changes in the way we interact with others.  We are to treat others with humility, patience, and love; tell the truth; be angry without sin; work in order to give; and be kind, tenderhearted, and forgiving.
  • Changes in how we use our gifts in ministry to others.
  • Changes in our marriage relationship.  Our last sermon focused specifically on wives. Guess who we will focus on today, guys?!

 The purpose of this series has been to give us an extended lesson on how to spiritually make the shift from a person of the world filled with anger, hatred, lust and sin, to a faith-filled, pure, and humble child of the King.

SoulShift: A Family SoulShift Part 2 of 3

SoulShift: A Careful Life

I came across this quote the other day.  “ I should have been more careful. I was blinded by your halo, so I never noticed the horns.” –Author Unknown

These words sum up so well the advice Martha and I have been giving our girls since they were little.  Carefully decide now what kind of man you will date and marry.  Because once you fall in love, often objectivity goes out of the window.  “ I should have been more careful. I was blinded by your halo, so I never noticed the horns.”

"I should have been more careful." Have you ever told yourself that?

Ephesians 5:15–20 15 Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, 16 making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. 17 Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. 18 And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit, 19 addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, 20 giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ

SoulShift: A Careful Life

SoulShift: Children of Light

Imagine yourself stumbling through a polluted pitch-black tunnel.  The rank smell of your filthy shirt fills your nose, the taste of bile rises in your throat, and putrid grime covers your feet as you slowly sink in the muck of the tunnel.  Then suddenly, with one well-placed step, you break through into the light.  At first, you are blinded by the brilliance, but as your eyes adjust to the radiant glow you realize where you are.  You are in a completely new and different world; an unpolluted world without impurity, greed, or idolatry.  The air is fresh with goodness, righteousness, truth, and purity. And instead of sinking, you are walking on solid ground.  Almost by instinct you strip off your filthy shirt and bask in the light, your skin warming in its glow.  As your eyes adjust to holiness and righteousness, your first thoughts are filled with awe, love, and worship.  It’s a brand new life, a second chance.

What do you do with your second chance?  What will this new life be like, this holy life? What makes the air so fresh?  How will you now live?  Those are the questions that Ephesians 4-6 answers for us.

SoulShift: Children of Light

SoulShift: Imitators of God

Ok class… Two new vocabulary words.  There will be a test.

Protrepsis: Conversion literature; where an author tries to convert outsiders to follow a particular path.

Peter tells the crowd... Acts 3:19 (NLT) 19 Now repent of your sins and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped away. 20 Then times of refreshment will come from the presence of the Lord…

Ephesians Chapters 1-3 is almost entirely “protrepsis.” It is meant for you to see the power of Jesus and for you to put your faith in him.

There is another word…

Paraenesis: It is a noun; it means instruction or exhortation.  Paraenesis are powerful writings aimed at those who already follow a path, giving them instruction on how to best follow it.  Biblical paraenesis are the passages that address the topics that hit you and me everyday… friends, sex, money, food, paraenesis are teaching passages, educating us on how to be Jesus followers in everyday areas.  The Bible is filled with helpful paraenesis.

This passage is one of those paraenetic passages.  We will not be learning about “how to become and Christian”(That would be protrepsis).  We are going to talk about “how to live christianly,” how to put real life to your real faith.

It will put meat on the bones of our sermon last week, where we saw that believers are constantly “putting off” our old life stuff, like a hard callous heart, and then relentlessly “putting on” new life stuff through renewing our minds.

In order to hear this sermon properly we are going to have the attitude “Lord… If you will teach me your ways I will obey.” 

SoulShift: Imitators of God

SoulShift: Put Off, Put On

We humans are a contradiction.  On one hand we have a hard time seeing ourselves in anything but a positive light. When we compare our selves to others we pick people that we stack up well against.  When we get caught in sin we blame others, or accuse those who catch us as being “holier than thou.”  We constantly cut our selves slack and when our conscience does get bothersome we medicate it, we quiet it through drugs, alcohol, entertainment or even hobbies.  There is a little voice that constantly whispers to us, “you don’t really need to change.”

On the other hand, we also have a hard time seeing our selves with any real power to change.  We feel helpless. We have tried so many times and have fallen so far short of the goals we set out for our selves that we refuse to set new ones.  We feel incapable of real change so we resign ourselves to the fact that we will always be this way.  The sins we battled years ago are the sins we still struggle with today.  We feel inept, ineffective, unqualified, incompetent, miserable and hopeless.  There is a little voice that constantly whispers to us, “you are powerless to ever really change.”

I am convinced that most of us trudge through our Christian life flip flopping between these two voices.  We start feeling guilty about how we handled a situation and we hear, “Hey, cut your self some slack on this one, it’s not you who needs to change.”  And if we still feel guilty the voice in our head changes… “Maybe you do need to change, but what are you going to do? This is just who you are…”

I am not sure about you, but this is the reality of so many who come to me for spiritual counsel.  They feel paralyzed.  Paralyzed by a deadly combination of self-rationalization and self-condemnation.  But there is a better way.

SoulShift: Put Off, Put On

SoulShift: Equipping the Saints

Last time, as we explored the first few verses of Ephesians 4, we were urged to live a life (walk) in a way “worthy of our calling,” in a way that is worthy of having a relationship with Almighty God.

The worthy walk was described in verses 2-3: with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.  Talk about a Soulshift. Imagine what our families would be like, what our church could be, if we just shifted this much? We would be a powerful witness to the Gospel.

What we didn’t get to when we studied this was how one makes this happen.  How does one become humble, gentle, and patient?  How do we grow into a people of God who walk worthy of our calling? How do we make that kind of Soulshift?  Especially since Jesus is no longer with us physically; since he has ascended to heaven?

The answer to that question?  Before Jesus ascended he gave us amazing soul-shifting gifts.  These gifts flow from the Holy Spirit and are meant to change us, grow us, and make us like Christ.  They make us capable of being brilliant lights in a sin darkened world, but also capable of healing our marriages, being wonderful parents, overcoming sinful habits, and creating Biblical communities of support and care.

SoulShift: Equipping the Saints

SoulShift: Walk Worthy

Last time, we told you that Paul wrote this letter while he was a prisoner in Rome. As Paul was in jail for preaching Christ, he had some important truths to tell his beloved church in Ephesus about living free on the outside. He begins by urging them to some things: I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you. The word “urge” means to ask for something “earnestly with politeness;” to respectfully request, or to plead for, to appeal to.’1 Paul is imploring us, pleading with us, politely pushing us to do something. He is being very pastoral; he is coming along side of us, nudging us to the right way. I explain this because I want you to catch the tone Paul uses as he begins this section. He is not commanding us to do anything. He is not legalistically demanding that we do something. This whole section begins with Paul appealing to us, and very politely and very humbly urging us to…

“Walk in a manner worthy of our calling.”

What does that mean? Almost every time you see the word “walk” in the New Testament, it refers to living or how we are to live. In Colossians 1:10, believers are urged …to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God. In 1 Thessalonians 2:12… we exhorted each one of you and encouraged you and charged you to walk in a manner worthy of God, who calls you into his own kingdom and glory. In all of these cases we are being urged or exhorted to live or walk a certain way. In this passage, Paul is urging us to live in a manner “worthy of our calling.”

 [1] Louw, J. P., & Nida, E. A. (1996). Greek-English lexicon of the New Testament: based on semantic domains. New York: United Bible Societies.

 

SoulShift: Walk Worthy

SoulShift: Ephesus - City of Magic

 

If a friend came to you for help with some serious marriage problems and they were looking for sound biblical advice, where in the Bible would you look to give them that advice?  Or how about this. You are a community group leader, and two ladies in your community group have grown to hate each other.  They talk badly about each other and cut each other down.  What book of the Bible would you teach from to address this?  Or maybe you are a youth leader and you overhear several junior high boys completely rip apart another boy in the group so viciously that the 12 year old boy they are berating refuses to ever come back to youth group.  What Bible passage would your next Sunday school lesson be from?  Where would you turn to give advice to a sexually addicted friend or a fellow parent struggling with a rebellious child?  Or to confront a gossipy person or a friend who drinks too much?  One last scenario.  What chapter in the Bible would you turn to if the godliest person you knew came to you and said, “I give up.  I can’t do it any more.  I’m beat down, depressed, discouraged, and I can’t fight any longer.”  What would you tell them?  Could you open your Bible and encourage them?
 
In every one of these scenarios, I would turn to the same three chapters.  If you look at my Bible, the pages of these three chapters are dirty, tear stained, and crinkled.  If you drop my Bible, it falls open to these two chapters.  Over the next few weeks, we are going to walk through them. If you stick with me through this entire series, we will discuss how to parent biblically, how to strengthen and heal your marriage, and how to face depression, anger, fear, and discouragement.  We will discuss how we as believers can overcome life-dominating sins, wrong thinking, and even how we can repair broken or hurting relationships.  These three chapters are powerful.  The passage is Ephesians chapters 4, 5 and 6.

 

SoulShift: Ephesus - City of Magic