“A New Wardrobe”
By Pastor Donald Parker
The book of Ephesians in the Bible was actually a letter that Paul had written to the Christians in the city of Ephesus while he was imprisoned for sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ. The Christians in the church consisted of both Jew and Gentile Believers. In the second half of his letter he writes to the Christians in the church of Ephesus about matters of Christian living.
Ephesus was a leading commercial and educational city in the Roman Empire. It was also home of the pagan temple of Diana; a city of extreme wickedness and sexual immorality. Many of the Christians in the church of Ephesus had come from that kind of background. Therefore, they would often have to walk past some of the places where they once caroused around in; along with some of their old acquaintances. So, these Christians in the church of Ephesus, just like us today, faced the constant temptation to slip back to their old ways. Therefore, Paul writes this letter to warn them, and us today, to resist the temptations.
Paul wrote in Ephesians 4:20-24, “That, however, is not the way of life you learned (21) when you heard about Christ and were taught in him in accordance with the truth that is in Jesus. (22) You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; (23) to be made a new in the attitude of your minds; (24) and to put on the new self, created to be like God in the true righteousness and holiness.”
Paul says, “to your former way of life, to put off you old self.” To “put off” means to “strip off” like taking off old filthy dirty clothes. It’s a description of repentance of sin and submission to God.
Now when we think of clothes, the occasion or event often determines the wardrobe we choose. For example, if we’re going to a formal event, we men may choose to wear a suit and tie or maybe even a tuxedo; and you ladies may choose to wear an elegant evening dress.
If we are going to work in the office, we would choose to wear “business casual.” If you’re going to work on the ranch, you may choose jeans and a long sleeve shirt. If you were going to an amusement park or water park, you would probably choose to wear shorts with tennis shoes or sandals, or a swimsuit and flip-flops. The truth is the way we dress has an effect on how people perceive us. What you need to understand is clothing doesn’t change who we are on the inside, but who you are on the inside does affect the clothing we choose; the Christian life is no different.
Paul is stressing to us here that we must wear the right “clothes” to match the new life we have in Christ. Remember those ragged out old filthy dirty clothes of sin you wore before you gave your life to Jesus Christ? The problem however is many people choose to keep a set of old clothes in the closet so they can slip back into their old patterns of sin every now and then. That’s why Paul pleads with us to make a clean break from the past, and throw out all the old filthy clothes of sin; for new clean clothes.
Before we can put on our new clothes, we have to first take off our old ones. When you gave your life to Jesus Christ, when you accepted Him as your Lord and Savior, you received a new wardrobe. When God makes our inside clean, we want our outside to match.
Paul urges the Christians in Ephesus and us today to completely abandon the temptations; the traps of sin from our former way of life, and avoid reaching into the closet and putting on an old filthy dirty pair of clothes.
Paul urges them to remove their old filthy clothes and throw them away and by the renewal of their minds to “put on the new self” tailored after the pattern of Jesus Christ Himself. In Christ, the old self no longer exists as it had in the past, and the new self is created “to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.”
My friend, when we as Christian live our lives in the fashion of our new selves, our outside matches our inside. It’s a beautiful thing reflecting Christ in our lives that shines bright in a dark, lost, world and brings God glory. To hear how God can change your life, join us Sunday mornings at FBC Van Horn, A place to Belong.