May 24, 2020. Ephesians 4:32

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Ephesians 4:32 New King James Version (NKJV)

32 And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.

  • Not malice, but forgiveness
    • Paul spent a considerable amount of space urging the Ephesians to remove wicked elements from their lives which grieved the Holy Spirit
      • Lying, stealing, anger…
      • Wrath, blasphemy, bitterness, and malice
    • Paul urges the Eph. to show the love of Christ to each other
      • The word “be” should be translated “become” (not there yet)
      • Paul moves from urging to commandment
    • A great deal of teaching in New Testament is devoted to the aspect of love
      • Matthew 22:36-40 love neighbor is 1 of the 2 great commands
      • James 13:34-35 Christ’s disciples known for love of believers
      • I Corinthians 13:13 among faith, hope, and love, the greatest is love
    • Since one can’t truly love and hate at the same time, love trumps hate
    • Malice and evil must be replaced with charity and goodness
      • Paul states that we have a choice of attitude and action
      • Feelings can be overcome by right choices
      • Emotions will either control you or you will control them
  • Kindness and tenderness
    • Paul moves from those aspects that must be removed to those aspects that must replace what is removed
      • Not an instant change (“become” kind and forgiving)
      • Literally, “become kind and tenderhearted among yourselves”
    • Act of continually making progress from evil to holiness
    • Kindness = goodness
      • This grace, charity, mercy, and gentleness in one package
      • Luke 6:27-36 God is said to be kind and merciful even to the ungrateful and merciful
        • Provides them food and prosperity
        • Delays judgment and God seeks their repentance
      • Goodness is altruistic and not reciprocal
        • Kindness by commandment and desire
        • James 1:21 we need to do right because it’s right to do (a Christian code, duty, obligation…) God’s will
        • Matthew 7: 12 do to others what you want them to do to you (without expecting return in kind)
      • Kindness was shown by David to Mephibosheth, Barzillai to David, the Good Samaritan, Jesus to the blind man, the Syro-Phoenician woman, and women bent over by a demon
    • Tenderheartedness = bowels of mercy
      • Refers to the intestines (Acts 1:18 Judas fell head long, dashing on the rocks, and his bowels gushed forth)
    • Considered the seat of emotions
      • Affections (titus 2:5, a wife is to have affection for her husband)
      • Instead of the heart as the seat of emotions, the Hebrews viewed the intestines as seat of emotions
      • This form of the verb (literally, “good intestines”) is translated compassionate (only place in New Testament)
      • Paul uses tenderheartedness 8 times to Corinth.
    • Comes into our culture with the idioms “gut feeling”, “feeling in the pit of my stomach” (pithy), or “I feel deep inside me” (Not emotion driven, but choice driven by will)
  • Forgiveness
    • Forgiveness = “leave behind” (remove from the place)
    • To no longer hold someone to account
    • Forgiveness is based upon accountable authority (right to judge)
      • Psalm 51:4-6 sin is against God alone (he alone is holy)
      • We are to forgive others because God for Christ forgave us
      • Matthew 18 unless we forgive others, Christ will not forgive us
    • Forgiveness does not make one forget
      • This is why forgiveness is a choice (hurt and pain still there)
      • Romans 12 vengeance belongs to God alone
      • God promises blessing and reward when we forgive (Matthew 5)

Key Verse:

Luke 6:27-36 [New King James Version (NKJV)]

27 “But I say to you who hear: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28 bless those who curse you, and pray for those who spitefully use you. 29 To him who strikes you on the one cheek, offer the other also. And from him who takes away your cloak, do not withhold your tunic either. 30 Give to everyone who asks of you. And from him who takes away your goods do not ask them back. 31 And just as you want men to do to you, you also do to them likewise. 32 “But if you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. 33 And if you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. 34 And if you lend to those from whom you hope to receive back, what credit is that to you? For even sinners lend to sinners to receive as much back. 35 But love your enemies, do good, and lend, [a]hoping for nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High. For He is kind to the unthankful and evil. 36 Therefore be merciful, just as your Father also is merciful.