Trinity Church - Waxahachie
Life Group Notes.- Get Your Mind Back
September 26, 2021

Life Group Notes.- Get Your Mind Back

September 26, 2021

 

Get Your Mind Back

Life Group Notes

My Story

QUESTION: Can you think of a time in your life when you were surrounded by a group of supportive people in a difficult time? What did it mean to you to know that you a part of a caring community?

Get Your Mind Back

This week Pastor preached from Ephesians 4:17-32, and the title was “Get Your Mind Right.” The focus was on allowing our way of thinking to be renewed through our engagement with scripture, with one another and with the will of God. Tonight, we will explore further how that change of mind is expressed in the way we think of ourselves and of the community of believers (the Church).

The Old Way of Life

This section of scripture opens with Paul describing the way that the Ephesians lived before they came to Christ. Paul uses the term “gentiles” in this passage to mean unbelievers.

“Therefore, I say this and testify in the Lord: You should no longer walk as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thoughts. 18 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. 19 They became callous and gave themselves over to promiscuity for the practice of every kind of impurity with a desire for more and more” (Ephesians 4:17–19; CSV).

In these verses Paul describes the blindness of those who are without Christ, whose ignorance and calloused hearts lead them to sinful lives. It is easy for us to catalogue all of the ways that people in the world are practicing every kind of evil, but Paul’s focus is on the church and the patterns of thinking that he wants the Ephesians to leave behind. At the heart of these patterns is a fundamental orientation toward selfishness.

QUESTION: How do you think selfishness can drive us toward self-destructive behaviors or attitudes?

The Old Way of Life

This section of scripture opens with Paul describing the way that the Ephesians lived before they came to Christ. Paul uses the term “gentiles” in this passage to mean unbelievers.

“Therefore, I say this and testify in the Lord: You should no longer walk as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thoughts. 18 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. 19 They became callous and gave themselves over to promiscuity for the practice of every kind of impurity with a desire for more and more” (Ephesians 4:17–19; CSV).

Question: How do you think selfish thinking can drive us toward self-destructive behaviors or attitudes?

The School of Jesus

The next section of our passage describes how the transformation from the old self to the new takes place.

20 But that is not how you came to know Christ, 21 assuming you heard about him and were taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus, 22 to take off your former way of life, the old self that is corrupted by deceitful desires, 23 to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, 24 and to put on, the new self, the one created according to God’s likeness in righteousness and purity of the truth.

The phrase “came to know Christ” as it is translated by the Christian Standard Version can also be translated simply as “learned Christ”. Verse 21 shows that we learn Christ by hearing about him and being taught by him. The Church that Paul was writing to would not have been directly taught by Jesus in the way that the apostles were. Rather, the Ephesians learned from Christ by patterning themselves after the life of Jesus. If the former way of life was marked by selfishness and “deceitful desires” (4:22), then the new way is to put on the pattern of Jesus.

Question: Apart from just a lack of sinful behavior, how might the model of the life of Jesus help us to renew our minds and escape from a pattern of self-centeredness and self-indulgence?

A recurring theme in Paul’s letters is that the work of the Spirit in our lives produces a new (or renewed) creation. 2 Corinthians 5:17 says:

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has passed away, and see, the new has come!”

In Genesis 1:26-27, God creates humans in his image. So much was broken when sin came into the world. But Ephesians 4:23-24 tells us that even now we can begin to be remade into the likeness of God in purity and righteousness.

Question: Have you or someone you know experienced such a complete transformation that it is almost like they are a completely new person?

Shifting from “Me” to “We”

The final paragraph of our text describes the way of life that we should pursue.

25 Therefore, putting away lying, speak the truth, each one to his neighbor, because we are members of one another. 26 Be angry and do not sin. Don’t let the sun go down on your anger, 27 and don’t give the devil an opportunity. 28 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. 29 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. 30 And don’t grieve God’s Holy Spirit. You were sealed by him for the day of redemption. 31 Let all bitterness, anger and wrath, shouting and slander be removed from you, along with all malice. 32 And be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving one another, just as God also forgave you in Christ.

Notice that the most of the behaviors to avoid or embrace in this chapter are discussed in terms of relation to others. We must speak the truth not only because it is right, but because we are members of one another (verse 25). We are to avoid theft and embrace honest work for the purpose of having something to share (verse 26). And we are to be careful of our speech so that we can build up the church. The description of the life of health and grown here as elsewhere in the New Testament is described in terms of our relationship to one another.

Question: What is the difference between thinking of things only in terms of what is right and wrong verses also thinking of our actions as either building up or tearing our family in Christ?

Let’s Pray

Among the most important reasons that we do life groups at Trinity Waxahachie is to provide spaces in which we can practice the values we read about in Ephesians. The Christian life cannot be lived as richly as Christ intends, if we are not sharing this life with one another. As we close in prayer let us intentionally focus our attention on hearing the needs and concerns of others. As we share our own burdens, let us also look to how we can encourage each other and take action to help in anyway that we can.

 

Save PDF Locally

Click to save a copy of the filled-in notes to a PDF file on your device

Save PDF to Google Drive

(Android & PC Only) Click to save a copy of the filled-in notes to a PDF file on your Google Drive account

Send to Email

Enter your email address below to receive a copy of your filled in notes