James J. Barker

Lesson 16

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.



  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. 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).
  4. What else grieves the Holy Spirit?
  • Skipping church.
  • Not being faithful with tithes and offerings.
  • Not reading the Bible.
  • Not soulwinning.
  • Not praying.
  1. Why is the Holy Spirit grieved?
  • He is “the Holy Spirit.”  Therefore, anything that is unholy grieves Him.
  • He is “the Holy Spirit of God” – a member of the Trinity.  We need to remember that the Holy Spirit is a divine Person, not a mere influence.  One of the marks of a cult is that they deny the personality of the Holy Spirit.
  • We are “sealed unto the day of redemption.”  A seal speaks of worship and security.  The Holy Spirit is the seal that guarantees our preservation until Christ returns for us.
  • Interestingly, people who are opposed to the doctrine of the eternal security of the believer claim that it gives the Christian a license to sin.  But here Paul uses the doctrine of eternal security as a strong reason why we should not sin.
  • So rather than eternal security being a license to sin, to the contrary the true believer does not want to grieve the Holy Spirit.



  1. Paul lists several specific sins (4:31):
  • “Bitterness” – resentment, unwillingness to forgive, holding a grudge, etc.  I heard a pastor tell a story about a Christian lady who admitted she “hated” another person.
  • “Wrath” – the wrath of God is good and necessary, but the wrath of man is not good and is not necessary.
  • “Anger” – hostility.  Lewis Sperry Chafer was praying with H.A. Ironside one time and was surprised to hear Ironside pray, “Lord, help me not to be a grouchy old man.” Dr. Chafer was surprised because Dr. Ironside was such a gracious gentleman.  But we all have to watch out for this.
  • “Clamor” – angry bickering, shouting at people.
  • “Evil speaking” – slander, abusive speech.
  • “Malice” – wishing evil on others, meanness.  The great 19th century evangelist, Sam Jones, traveled all over America preaching a sermon called “Quit Your Meanness.”  Harry Ironside wrote this: “Anger cherished becomes malice, and Satan works through a malicious spirit.”
  1. Someone said Eph. 4:31 describes “natural vices,” whereas 4:32 describes “supernatural virtues.”  We need to replace the sins of 4:31 with the Christ-like qualities of 4:32.
  • “Kindness” – an unselfish concern for the welfare of others, Christian courtesy.
  • “Tenderhearted” – a compassionate interest in others, a willingness to bear their burdens.
  • “Forgiveness” – a readiness to pardon offenses, to overlook personal wrongs against oneself, and to harbor no desire for retaliation.  One night I was preaching along these lines and I pointed out how I did not like that bumper-sticker, “I DON’T GET MAD – I GET EVEN!”  A man sitting up front smiled sheepishly and admitted that he had that sticker on is car.  God wants us to minimize the faults of others, not to maximize them.



  1. We have noted the emphasis in the book of Ephesians on the Christian’s new walk (2:10; 4:1, 17; 5:2, 8, 15).
  2. Our walk is to be a clean and pure walk (5:3).
  3. It should be a walk marked by thankfulness to God (5:4, 20).
  4. We should walk as children of light (5:8).
  5. We should walk circumspectly (5:15-17).



  1. God has forgiven us.  We should be very grateful (cf. Eph. 4:32b).
  2. And thankful (5:4b, 20).
  3. I am glad we have a day (Thanksgiving) set apart to give thanks to God, but Christians ought to be thankful all the time.
  4. First Thessalonians 5:18 says, “In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.”

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