Title: Ruth: 3:10-13; A community without lies. The God who cannot lie; the Christian who cannot lie.
Eph 4: the life of the community of believers and a reminder of the old life of the old man in the world of darkness.
In our current passage in Eph 4, the apostle Paul is revealing the great life of the community of believers, who grow together, are knit together in love, serve one another, and build itself up in love. This is the gift of God to the community of believers, united by love and the ministry of God the Holy Spirit. Such a community speaks truth to one another, for they have nothing to hide, nothing to take from one another; only to give to one another.
It is a true community of heaven, living on earth, but not hidden from the earth in some type of commune or walled off city, but in the midst of the world, being a light unto the world.
JOH 13:31 When therefore he had gone out, Jesus said, "Now is the Son of Man glorified, and God is glorified in Him;
JOH 13:32 if God is glorified in Him, God will also glorify Him in Himself, and will glorify Him immediately.
JOH 13:33 "Little children, I am with you a little while longer. You shall seek Me; and as I said to the Jews, I now say to you also, 'Where I am going, you cannot come.'
JOH 13:34 "A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another.
JOH 13:35 "By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another."
Paul is also sure to remind us of the life and community that Christ has delivered us from. The pagan world of darkness, sin, and evil is filled with men who have inner darkness, callousness, sensuality, impurity, and greed. To the believer in Christ this is an old world and an old man. They each have a new world and a new man, which together comprise the life of Christ, all courtesy of the grace of God through Jesus Christ our Savior.
There is a reason that Paul gives this reminder. If we have been delivered from it and can never again be a part of it, then why bother reminding us of it? The past is the past; leave it there.
The reminder of the old world and the old man raises fear in us whenever we begin to look back upon it as something good or worthy.
There still exists within the believer the proclivity to sin. He can begin to look again to the old world and the old man. He can draw into himself, become isolated, selfish, and alone just as the old man did in the old world. We can be deceived into thinking that maybe this was right before and perhaps still is. Paul reminds us of what we have been delivered from and what that world and life leads to - as he puts it; things worthy of death.
The reminder serves to rise up a righteous fear of the things that lead to death when the eyes of our soul happen to fall upon them. When I see myself drawing into myself, becoming isolationist, selfish, small, afraid, anxious, unloving, and alone, these are the times when I can again project the lie instead of the truth.
When the flesh draws us into ourselves, afraid, isolated, selfish, we project the lie. Walking in the light is always of the truth.
EPH 5:7 Therefore do not be partakers with them [live the same as unbelievers];
EPH 5:8 for you were formerly darkness, but now you are light in the Lord; walk as children of light
EPH 5:9 (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness and righteousness and truth),
EPH 5:10 trying to learn [proving] what is pleasing to the Lord.
The reminder of the things of the past, and the very real fact that Jesus has delivered me from them, raises up that fear of God, and through study, prayer, and recalling the great truths of the gospel, I am delivered in that instant from the sins of the old man and old world and into the life of the new man and the new world.
God has brought His wrath to bear on all things of darkness. The believer is not afraid of His wrath, so as to ever be afraid of God, as God’s wrath will never come upon him, but he fears the things that are the object of that wrath, and so he fears God.
By removing oaths, Christ abolishes all lies. The community of Christians are members of one another in Christ, born of the truth, and so only speak truth to one another.
EPH 4:17 This I say therefore, and affirm together with the Lord, that you walk no longer just as the Gentiles also walk, in the futility of their mind,
Many of the Christians in Ephesus are from Gentile stock. They have come from a pagan world. But for them that world is the old world and their heathen flesh is the old man.
EPH 4:18 being darkened in their understanding, excluded from the life of God, because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the hardness of their heart;
EPH 4:19 and they, having become callous, have given themselves over to sensuality, for the practice of every kind of impurity with greediness.
ROM 1:18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness,
ROM 1:19 because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them.
ROM 1:20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse.
ROM 1:21 For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God, or give thanks; but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened.
The word of God says they “became futile” (the word meaning vain or foolish) - an aorist passive. At some point they received foolishness.
ROM 1:22 Professing to be wise, they became fools,
ROM 1:23 and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and of birds and four-footed animals and crawling creatures.
Since they exchanged the glory of God for an image, we conclude that ever man has a conscience that is infected with a desire for a god even when rejecting the incorruptible God.
ACT 17:22 And Paul stood in the midst of the Areopagus [Mars’ Hill] and said, "Men of Athens, I observe that you are very religious in all respects.
ACT 17:23 "For while I was passing through and examining the objects of your worship, I also found an altar with this inscription, 'TO AN UNKNOWN GOD.' What therefore you worship in ignorance, this I proclaim to you.
There is a God known to likely exist, but unknown to the soul of the pagan. Christ removes this veil.
ACT 17:24 "The God who made the world and all things in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands;
ACT 17:25 neither is He served by human hands [carved from stone: did Paul gesture towards a statue?], as though He needed anything, since He Himself gives to all life and breath and all things;
ACT 17:26 and He made from one, every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined their appointed times, and the boundaries of their habitation,
God determined Athens and Rome.
ACT 17:27 that they should seek God, if perhaps they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us;
ACT 17:28 for in Him we live and move and exist, as even some of your own poets have said, 'For we also are His offspring.'
Paul quotes Aratus’ poem Phenomena, who was from Paul’s home country about 300 years prior. There are many similar quotes by other Greek poets - that a god created men. This is true, yet there is only one God and He does not dwell in temples, nor is He made of marble or gold. They worship, but in ignorance.
We know that God seeks us and here we see that God has made all men and nations so that we would seek Him. However, we also know that zeal without knowledge takes us in the wrong direction - a false religion. Paul says that men might feel after or grope for God and find Him. The only reason that this might work is that God is so near to all men.
This is a truth stated by God’s messenger that has ramifications on the whole world and the history of man and nations.
ACT 17:29 "Being then the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Divine Nature is like gold or silver or stone, an image formed by the art and thought of man.
ACT 17:30 "Therefore having overlooked the times of ignorance, God is now declaring to men that all everywhere should repent,