James J. Barker

Lesson 15

Text: EPHESIANS 4:22-32


  1. The “old man” (4:22) is our old Adamic nature – corrupt and unclean.
  2. The “new man” (4:24) is our new nature, which we received when we received Christ.
  3. We inherited Adam’s fallen nature by natural birth, and Christ’s perfect nature when we were born again.
  4. Putting on the new man means putting away sin.


I. LYING (4:25)

  1. “Putting away lying…” (4:25) – this includes so-called “little white lies,” fibbing, cheating on taxes and in business, exaggerating, failing to keep promises, flattery, etc.
  2. Today we are hearing a lot about politicians putting a “spin” on things.  Back when Bill Clinton was president, we were told that the White House employed quite a few full-time “spin doctors.”  This is a new term for professional liars.
  3. This morning in my devotions, I read this from HA Ironside, “God is called the ‘God of truth’ (Isa. 65:16).  The Holy Spirit is the ‘Spirit of truth’ (John 16:13).  Christ said, ‘I am…the truth’ (John 14:6). No one can have fellowship with the Holy Trinity who does not walk in the truth (II John 4; III John 4).  God desires truth in the inward parts (Psalm 51:6).  Falsehood of every kind is hateful to him.  There is nothing that so manifests the alienation of the natural man from God as his tendency to falsehood.  Of the wicked we are told that they go astray from their very birth speaking lies (Psalm 85:3). Satan himself is the father of lies (John 8:44).  It is he who injects the venom of untruthfulness into the heart of man (Acts 5:3).  Only by the new birth can this lying spirit be overcome.  It is as the regenerated man yields himself to God as one alive from the dead that he learns to delight in the truth objectively revealed and to walk in the truth subjectively” (The Continual Burnt Offering).



  1. “Be ye angry, and sin not…” (4:26). This verse indicates that sometimes it is good to be angry.  The Bible says: “Ye that love the LORD, hate evil” (Psalm 97:10).
  2. If you love God, you will hate sin.  If you love flowers, you will hate weeds.
  3. Even unsaved people recognize this. Aristotle said: “Anybody can become angry – that is easy; but to be angry at the right person, to the right degree, at the right time, for the right reason, and in the right way – that is not easy.”
  4. We should not let “the sun go down upon” our wrath (4:26b).  Anger must be dealt with Scripturally and quickly, otherwise grudges can grow.
  5. Unconfessed sins of anger provide the devil with a foothold (4:27). We see this all the time.  People stay angry and then go out and kill people.



  1. Stealing (4:28) – it is amazing to me that Christians need to be reminded not to steal, but in fact, some Christians do steal.  They take things home from work, and they goof off when they should be working.
  2. A man asked a big employer, “How many men do you have working for you?”  He replied: “About half of them.”
  3. Some people cheat on their business dealings and on their taxes – that’s stealing.
  4. Some Christians do not tithe.  That’s even more serious – that’s robbing God (Malachi 3:8).
  5. Unfortunately, selfishness was not eradicated the moment you and I were saved.  God wants us to work hard and then give to those in need (4:28b).
  6. When worldly people get a raise in income, they raise their standard of living.  But when godly people get a raise, they raise their standard of giving!
  7. When professed Christians steal, it is a big stumbling block to the unsaved, and it brings reproach upon the cause of Christ.



  1. Another area where we need to be renewed is in the area of our speech (4:29).  Corrupt speech generally means dirty talk, suggestive and lewd remarks, off-color jokes, so-called “four-letter words,” swearing, taking the Lord’s name in vain, profanity, raunchy stories, etc.
  2. This would include any form of conversation that is empty, idle, and worthless.  Note that in Ephesians 5:4, Paul refers to “foolish talking.”  This is not necessarily limited to dirty talk but any talk that is unprofitable (cf. Matt. 12:36, 37).
  3. Our speech should be:
  • “edifying” (4:29) – it should build up, not tear down.
  • appropriate – suitable for the occasion.
  • gracious – it should “minister grace unto the hearers” (4:29b).
  1. “What is in the well of the heart will come up through the bucket of the mouth” – J. Vernon McGee (cf. 4:31).



  1. If we take Ephesians 4:30 in its immediate context, it means that worthless talk grieves the Holy Spirit.
  2. Certainly inappropriate speech is part of our old nature and should be carefully avoided (cf. 4:29).
  3. Many years ago, Lehman Strauss was preaching at a Bible conference for young people.  The afternoon was given over to recreation and he was getting ready to preach at the evening service.  Unfortunately, some people brought a feeling of silliness and frivolity into the meeting that night, perhaps even the song leader, who called upon Pastor Strauss to sing, knowing full well that he was not a good singer.  Since he couldn’t carry a tune in a bucket, Bro. Strauss assumed it was a prank and proceeded to stand up on a chair and sing “Nothing But the Blood of Jesus” in a silly, childish voice.  When he came to the phrase, “Nothing but the blood of Jesus,” he said later that he felt a cold chill sweep through the auditorium.  He wrote that “it was evident that such levity had grieved the Holy Spirit.  I was making sport of the Name of Jesus, and it cut my own heart to the quick.”
  4. This is the immediate context.  Let’s go back a few more verses.  Lying, excessive anger, and stealing certainly grieve the Holy Spirit (4:24-30).
  5. Next week we will look at other ways the Holy Spirit is grieved.

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