Ephesians 4:25 Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbour: for we are members one of another.
26 Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath:
27 Neither give place to the devil.
In our text today we begin with the word “wherefore”. The word “wherefore” is a connecting word that builds on that which has been given prior to its use. God has given us a challenge in the opening verses of this chapter regarding the need to walk worthy of our calling. He has also shown us what it means to walk worthy of our calling. He then injects some information regarding Jesus’ ministry while His body lay in the tomb after His crucifixion and prior to His resurrection. Next God reminds us of the tools He has given to help the saints to grow and be a blessing and be blessed in that call that we have been given.
The challenge now is to define further what it means to put off concerning the former conversation. There are many things that unbelievers are known for. Lying is common among lost people. Young children learn to lie very soon after being born. They do not need to be taught to lie. It is something that comes quite naturally.
Revelation 21:8 But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.
God gives us a warning here of where liars will end up. Truth is important. We have experienced blatant lying for the past 2 years regarding this virus. Not everyone who is spreading the lies is aware of what they are doing. That does not excuse them. The evidence is out there. It is easy to find. Yet the goal and the plan is to bring people under the control of the elite. We have mentioned before that this is a trial run for the time of the anti-christ. The devil has enlisted a number of people to work for him in this plan. He is limited in his actions by God. God warns us that the end of this age is near. He has also warned us of where those who choose to side with the devil will spend eternity.
The true child of God cannot be known as a liar. God helps us here to know what lying is. It is the opposite of truth.
Romans 3:4 God forbid: yea, let God be true, but every man a liar; as it is written, That thou mightest be justified in thy sayings, and mightest overcome when thou art judged.
John 14:6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.
John 14:17 Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.
The Godhead is truth. There is no lie in God.
John 17:17 Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.
If we want to know what truth is we look to God and we look to His Word. There is so much distortion of truth these days. We have those who assume there is such a thing as a “white lie”. People will also say they never do a certain thing but then when they talk further, they do sometimes do the very thing they say they never do. Speaking the truth to our neighbour is the absence of any lie. The immediate context here with regard to the neighbour would be those who are in the family of God. That does not mean we can lie to the ungodly. We need to be truthful at all times. Christians should be known to be trustworthy.
Paul reminds us here that those in the local church are members one of another. The saved are all part of the family of God. In heaven we will all be united in one place. On this earth we are divided into local churches. People lose trust in a liar. The media, our politicians, many health officials, car salesmen and many others have a reputation for being liars. It is very difficult to trust what they have to say. That cannot be the case for true Christians.
In verse 26 Paul addressed the matter of anger. It is important that we understand what Paul is saying here.
Matthew 5:22 But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire.
Jesus taught that we should not be angry without cause. We can become angry for no good reason. We might be in a bad mood and we get angry when we should not. If we are saved we need to ask God to forgive us for letting our emotions take over and we need to ask God to help us to gain control of our emotions. There are times when anger is a right response. However, we need to be careful not to allow anger to turn into hatred and violence.
In Mark 3:5 we see that Jesus looked upon the self-righteous religious leaders with anger. They were hardened in their hearts and had no love or compassion for others. They kept people bound and had no interest in helping them. Jesus had compassion and love and He healed the man with the withered hand on the Sabbath because it was lawful and it was also loving. Jesus did not become violent in His anger. He was indignant with the hard-heartedness of the religious leaders.
We can be angry with bad behaviour but we need to be careful not to allow that anger to take us to sin. Too often our anger is not justified and if we are saved we need to learn to walk in the Spirit so as not to fulfill the lust of the flesh.
God goes further in verse 16 by commanding His children not to allow the sun to go down upon their wrath. It is not good to keep anger for a long period of time. Unchecked anger can lead to bitterness. It can lead to violence. There are many people who do great harm to their own health by not controlling their anger. God says we need to deal with this emotion in the day that we have it. It helps nothing to let anger fester in our hearts and minds. We cannot be a testimony to others when we carry anger in our hearts for a long period of time. Thus it is important to deal with it by either addressing the matter in the situation we are in as Jesus did. He was angry with the hard-hearted religious leaders. He healed the man with the need and He continued to minister to the people. He did not hold on to the anger. We know that Jesus used righteous anger. That is the challenge we face. Can we truly justify our anger from God’s view, or do we simply get in the flesh?
In verse 27 we are given further admonition. We are not to give place to the devil. That is a general statement that covers any and every sin. There are so many ways in which to give place to the devil. Having evil thoughts is giving place to the devil. Listening to ungodly music is giving place to the devil. Lusting after things gives place to the devil. In Matthew 4 Jesus was tempted of the devil. He did not entertain the devil’s evil ideas. He answered with Scripture and the devil left Him.
James 4:7 Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.
You notice here that the first thing we need to do is submit to God. We are never told in Scripture to rebuke the devil. There are those who do just that. They are playing the fool and they are in a very dangerous place. The book of Jude tells us that even Michael the archangel, would not bring a railing accusation against the devil. He left that to the Lord. Those who are saved need to submit to God. We need to draw nigh to Him and when we are walking in obedience with God, there is no place for the devil to attack. When we get in the flesh and try to justify that, we are giving place to the devil. This is a moment by moment matter that we need to be aware of and deal with. As we memorize God’s Word and we have good hymns in our heart and mind, we can occupy our time with good thoughts and good words and the devil cannot interfere with our hearts and minds. He can and will tempt true Christians. I Corinthians 10:13 tells us that God has made a way of escape for every temptation a true Christian faces. The Christian life is a walk. It begins with the new birth. At that moment we are given a new nature. We are given the power to become sons of God. True Christians need to be actively involved in growing in the Lord and be mindful of the flesh and put the flesh to death. As we actively put on the new man we grow stronger in the Lord and can serve Him more faithfully.