Calling Day 10 The Jesus Life: Digging Deeper

Digging Deeper Days

Finding the original intent of Scripture and making good application to our everyday lives as we become equipped to correctly handle the Word of Truth!

Today is 2-for-1 Friday!
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The Questions

1) What does Paul mean when he begins verse 17 with “therefore”? Therefore, what?

2) How exactly am I supposed “be angry and do not sin”?! (verse 26)

3) There are so many warnings and instructions in this passage. How can anyone live up to these expectations?

Ephesians 4:17-5:5

Therefore, I say this and testify in the Lord: You should no longer walk as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thoughts.  They are darkened in their understanding, excluded from the life of God, because of the ignorance that is in them and because of the hardness of their hearts.  They became callous and gave themselves over to promiscuity for the practice of every kind of impurity with a desire for more and more. But that is not how you came to know Christ,  assuming you heard about him and were taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus,  to take off your former way of life, the old self that is corrupted by deceitful desires,  to be renewed in the spirit of your minds,  and to put on the new self, the one created according to God’s likeness in righteousness and purity of the truth.  Therefore, putting away lying, speak the truth, each one to his neighbor, because we are members of one another.  Be angry and do not sin. Don’t let the sun go down on your anger,  and don’t give the devil an opportunity.  Let the thief no longer steal. Instead, he is to do honest work with his own hands, so that he has something to share with anyone in need.  No foul language should come from your mouth, but only what is good for building up someone in need, so that it gives grace to those who hear.  And don’t grieve God’s Holy Spirit. You were sealed by him for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness, anger and wrath, shouting and slander be removed from you, along with all malice.  And be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving one another, just as God also forgave you in Christ.

5 Therefore, be imitators of God, as dearly loved children,  and walk in love, as Christ also loved us and gave himself for us, a sacrificial and fragrant offering to God.  But sexual immorality and any impurity or greed should not even be heard of among you, as is proper for saints.  Obscene and foolish talking or crude joking are not suitable, but rather giving thanks.  For know and recognize this: Every sexually immoral or impure or greedy person, who is an idolater, does not have an inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.

Original Intent

1) What does Paul mean when he begins verse 17 with “therefore”? Therefore, what?
In this short passage, Paul (the writer of this book) uses the term therefore three times. There is this catchy little phrase used in our student ministry at church that can be helpful here. We teach students to ask, “What is the therefore, there for?”. This is especially important in Paul’s writings as his thoughts are often strung along together like a row of Christmas lights. We must remember when talking about original intent that, what we now think of as a book in the Bible, started out as a letter. These letters were written to a specific church (or more accurately, a group of house churches in a specified location), for a specific purpose. Which means the original readers would have started at the beginning of the letter, not in the middle like we sometimes do when studying the Bible. This entire letter builds on itself, kind of like building blocks, each block relying on the block under it as a foundation for itself.  The “therefores” are used as a continual reminder to not forget what we have already read.

2) How exactly am I supposed “be angry and do not sin”?! (verse 26)
Anger by itself is not categorized in the Bible as sinful, however, it does come with a hefty warning. James says, “for human anger does not accomplish God’s righteousness.” (James 1:20) Anger becomes sinful if it isn’t addressed and dealt with in a loving manner that aligns with God’s righteousness. Living for God, which translated to living differently than everyone else around them, was a new thing for these Gentile (non-Jew) believers. Paul is pointing out some ways in which they can live out their new-found faith in Jesus. Dealing with anger proactively, rather than seeking revenge or feeding their anger by allowing it to fester and grow is one way believers can live out The Jesus Life.  Paul is providing the churches in Ephesus with specific examples for taking off the old self from before Jesus saved them, and putting on the new one.

3) There are so many warnings and instructions in this passage. How can anyone live up to these expectations?
Paul does list a seemingly impossible list of qualifications (for lack of a better word) for living a godly life in this passage. However, he also provides the necessary guidance in chapter 5:1-2, by telling these believers to imitate God and love others as Jesus had loved them. In fact, Jesus says in Matthew 22:37-40 that the entire law can be summed up in just two commands, love God and love others. Paul also reminds them in Ephesians 4:30 they are not alone in this new way of living the Jesus life, but that they have been “sealed with Him” through the Holy Spirit. The down payment for Heaven to come, or our assurance of salvation, comes in the form of the Holy Spirit actually dwelling inside every believer to empower, teach, and equip them to live out the Jesus Life in beautiful ways that reflect Christ Himself.

Everyday Application

1) What does Paul mean when he begins verse 17 with “therefore”? Therefore, what?
Because “therefore” is there for us as a reminder to look backward and read or remember what we have already read or learned, this word should act as a flashing light when we read it in Scripture. Slow down and pay attention! It’s as if the writer is saying, “because of everything I’ve already told you about Jesus, who He is, and what He has done for you, pay attention to what I’m getting ready to teach you.” Remember the idea of building blocks. Everything you’ve already read from the first part of this book serves as the foundation for what is about to come. In this case, we need to look back at the beginning of chapter 4, which ironically also begins with “therefore”.  However, we can use the first part of chapter four to gain some context for the current section of Scripture we are studying. In verse 1 we read “live worthy of the calling you have received”.  That statement alone is a strong foundational block on which we can build. In other words, Paul is saying “don’t lose sight of the fact that God chose you. Because of this blessing, He wants you to live differently than the rest of the world. Therefore, let’s go over a few things that can help you in your journey to “live worthy of your calling.

2) How exactly am I supposed “be angry and do not sin”?! (verse 26)
There is no doubt this is a tough question to answer in our everyday life, where it seems everyone is angry about something. Handling anger in a godly fashion that honors God’s righteousness is a difficult challenge! Anger is a feeling given to us by God. It’s an emotion He put inside of us, one that Jesus Himself experienced while He was living on earth. (Matthew 21:12-13) The challenge comes in recognizing why we are angry and deciding how best to handle those feelings in a way that honors our calling as Christ-followers. This is where the not sinning part of the equation comes into play. Let me share with you a real life example that might help. I sit writing this in the middle of July 2020, masks have been mandated and back-to-school plans have just been announced. On top of all the Covid-19 drama, it’s approximately 9000 degrees outside, which makes everything somehow worse. Everyone is angry about pretty much everything and they are not afraid to share it, whether it be on social media, email, or even face to face. A good friend and I were talking over the weekend and made it a goal not to sin with our words this week. Having a good friend keep you accountable is amazing!  I can’t tell you how many times I saw her face in my head this week saying, “Hey Lori, don’t say it, remember, you’re not sinning with your words.” While this is a simple example, having my friend’s accountability has forced me to stop and think about why I’m angry in the first place. The process of thinking about the why of our anger can open our eyes to see our own sinfulness. We want our way. We think we are right, justified, and everyone should agree with us. This is the sinful side of anger, but there is also a righteous anger. Jesus demonstrated this anger in Matthew 21:12-13 when He threw the money changers out of the temple because they were not honoring God. Righteous anger can be experienced over how Covid is tearing us apart, the lives it is forever changing, how we (the Christian community) are failing to pray as much as we complain. The easiest way for us not to sin in our anger is to take it to God immediately, and allow Him to calm our emotions, and then direct our words and actions towards His righteousness.

3) There are so many warnings and instructions in this passage. How can anyone live up to these expectations?
The application for us today is basically the same as it was for the church in Ephesus. It is impossible to meet these qualifications on our own and without divine help. Thankfully, we have Jesus’ sacrifice covering the times we do sin, and His Holy Spirit empowering us to live for Him! Today, we also have the added blessing of God’s word being so accessible to us, a gift our early church brothers and sisters did not have! The Bible is literally at our fingertips every single day! Digging deeply into God’s word, learning and knowing what it says, is a great practical step we can each take, regardless of where we are in our faith journey. Sure, there will be days when we mess up and seemingly everything that comes out of our mouths will be unwholesome. We are all human beings living in a broken and fallen world, but, if we put in the effort to get into God’s word every day and humbly submit to His authority, asking Him to help us, those days will be fewer and fewer. Always remember, we are NOT alone! We have the Holy Spirit. Let Him be your guide. Plus, we have each other. It is so much easier to live this Jesus life with others who are traveling the journey as well!

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Digging Deeper is for Everyone!

1) Take this passage (or any other passage).
2) Read it, and the verses around it,
several times
3) Write down your questions
as you think of them.
4) Ask specific culture related questions and be ready to dig around for your answers. Google them, use, or look them up in a study Bible and read the footnotes (click on the little letters next to a word and it will show you
other related verses!). (
5) Check your applications with other trusted Christians that you are in community with and embrace the fullness of God
in your everyday!

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Why Dig Deeper?

Finding the original meaning is a huge deal when we study Scripture and can make all the difference in our understanding as we apply God’s truths to our everyday lives.

In our modern-day relationships, we want people to understand our original intention as we communicate; how much more so between God and humanity?!

Here’s a little bit more on why we take Digging Deeper so seriously.

Study Tools

We love getting help while we study and is one of many excellent resources, providing the original Hebrew (Old Testament) or Greek (New Testament) with an English translation.

Want to know more about a specific word in a verse? Click on “Strong’s Interlinear Bible” then click the word you’d like to study. Discover “origin”, “definition” and hear the original pronunciation – That Is Awesome!

Want more background? Click “Study Tools”, then pick a few commentaries to read their scholarly approach, keeping in mind that just because a commentary says it, doesn’t mean it’s true. (just like the internet :-))

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