Ephesians 4:30-32

Sunday Morning Bible Study

June 25, 2006


Back in Eph. 4:17-24, Paul talked about how we as believers need to learn to “put off the old man” and “put on the new man”. We’ve seen how through verses 25-32, Paul has been giving a clearer picture to what this means. Over and over he contrasts the “old man” with the “new man”. We are to put off lying, anger, stealing, and corrupt words. We are to put on truth, giving, and words that build others up.

:30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.

sealedsphragizo to set a seal upon, mark with a seal, to seal

Back in chapter 1 Paul wrote,

(Eph 1:13 NKJV) In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise,
We talked back then that this was a work that happened when we opened our heart and first trusted in Christ. The picture is that of putting a wax “seal” on an object, and the Holy Spirit is the “seal” that God has put on our hearts when we opened our heart to Jesus.
The “seal” was a picture of a completed transaction, that God has finished paying for our sins.  It was a picture of ownership, that He’s left His mark on us.  It was a picture of security, everyone else keep their hands off.  It was a picture of authenticity, that God’s Spirit on your life is proof that you are the real thing, a real Christian.

The “seal” of the Holy Spirit on our lives is a wonderful thing – and Paul reminds his readers that this seal will stay on their lives until the day that Jesus comes back.

But some people think that this is all there is to being a Christian.
In reality, this relationship with the Holy Spirit is just beginning.
The Holy Spirit wants to develop a loving, caring, helping relationship with you.
He wants to fill you, empower you, help you to follow Jesus. But when I keep saying “no” to Him, He is grieved…

grievelupeo to make sorrowful; cause grief, to make one uneasy

This is one of the verses that hints that the Holy Spirit is not an impersonal force, but a person. You can’t “grieve” the wind. You grieve a person.

It also shows that the Spirit isn’t just anyone, but a close friend. When you start doing stupid things, it’s only the people who are close to you that care enough to grieve.

How is the Holy Spirit grieved?

There is a very similar phrase found in the book of Isaiah:

(Isa 63:9-10 NKJV) In all their affliction He was afflicted, And the Angel of His Presence saved them; In His love and in His pity He redeemed them; And He bore them and carried them All the days of old. {10} But they rebelled and grieved His Holy Spirit; So He turned Himself against them as an enemy, And He fought against them.
This is talking about Israel being led out of Egypt, into the wilderness, and how the people rebelled in the wilderness.

The writer of Hebrews gives us a little more insight into this:

(Heb 3:7-10 NKJV) Therefore, as the Holy Spirit says: "Today, if you will hear His voice, {8} Do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion, In the day of trial in the wilderness, {9} Where your fathers tested Me, tried Me, And saw My works forty years.
They saw God’s works.
{10} Therefore I was angry with that generation, And said, 'They always go astray in their heart, And they have not known My ways.'
Even though they had seen God’s works, they didn’t know God’s ways.
As Christians, we also see God’s ways. We’ve seen His love at the cross. We’ve seen His patience in our lives.
Looking at the things in our passage, we can see that God has also spoken truth to us, given so much to us, spoken words that build us up in grace, and He is kind, tenderhearted, and gracious.
But when our lives are filled with the “old man” instead, we cause sorrow to the Holy Spirit.

:31 Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice.

Here’s some more about the “old man”.

bitternesspikria a bitter root, and so producing a bitter fruit; resentfulness, harshness; a long standing resentment; letting something just continue to simmer inside, until it begins to eat away at us.

Someone does something we don’t like and we hold on to the resentment and it becomes bitterness.


Pope visits Montana
On a tour of Montana, the Pope took a couple of days off to visit the mountains for some sightseeing. He was cruising along the campground in the Pope-mobile when there was a frantic commotion just at the edge of the woods. A helpless man, wearing sandals, Hawaiian shorts, a save-the-whales tee shirt and a tree-hugger hat was struggling frantically, thrashing around trying to free himself from the jaws of a 10 foot grizzly. As the pope watched horrified, a group of loggers came racing up. One ran up and quickly fired a 44 mag into the bear’s chest. The other two reached out and pulled the bleeding semiconscious man from the bear. Then using long clubs, the three loggers beat the bear to death and hauled it to their truck. Immediately the Pope shouted and summoned them to come over. “I give you my blessing for your brave actions!” he told them. “I heard that there was bitter hatred between loggers and environmental activists. But now I have seen with my own eyes that this is not true.” As the Pope drove off, one logger asked his buddies “Who was that?” “It was the Pope,” one replied. “He is in direct contact with God, and has access to all of God’s wisdom.” “Well,” the logger said, “he may have access to God’s wisdom, but he sure doesn’t know anything about bear hunting. By the way, is the bait holding up okay, or do we need to go back and another one?”

wraththumos passion, angry, heat, anger forthwith boiling up and soon subsiding again; outbursts of anger like the flame that comes from dried weeds when a match has been lit to them.

angerorge temper, indignation; settled feeling of anger

Earlier (4:26) Paul had said, “Be angry and sin not”. There is the possibility that a person could be angry correctly. But more often than not, man’s anger is wrong and dangerous. And that’s why Paul says you’re better off just putting it away from you.

clamorkrauge a crying; it’s the outcry of passion, the outward manifestation of anger in yelling or brawling.

evil speakingblasphemia slander, speech that hurts another’s good name

malicekakia ill-will, desire to injure; a vicious disposition

Some have suggested there might even be a progression here: Bitterness leads to explosions of anger, which leads to a slow settled anger, which leads to brawling, slander, and a desire to injure the other person.


Dealing with bitterness

During World War II the U.S. submarine Tang surfaced under the cover of darkness to fire upon a large Japanese convoy off the coast of China. Since previous raids had left the American vessel with only eight torpedoes, the accuracy of every shot was absolutely essential. The first seven missiles were right on target; but when the eighth was launched, it suddenly deviated and headed right back at their own ship. The emergency alarm to submerge rang out, but it was too late. Within a matter of seconds, the U.S. sub received a direct hit and sank almost instantly.
This is what happens when we don’t resolve the anger and bitterness. We may think that we’re looking to hurt the other person, but in reality it will ALWAYS come back to hurt you.
Dr. S. I. McMillen illustrates in a chapter entitled “The High Cost of Getting Even,” from his book, None of These Diseases, how physical maladies including ulcers, high blood pressure, and strokes are connected to harboring resentment and hatred toward others. He says, “It might be written on many thousands of death certificates that the victim died of ‘grudgitis.’”
You're watching a baseball game, your favorite team. We'll assume it's the Angels. It's a close game. In the final minutes, the umpire makes a lousy call, and the Angels lose. You're angry.  To make matters worse, they replay it ten times from five different angles. And every time you see it replayed, the hair rises on the back of your neck. You get angrier. In the post-game show, what clip do they show? That bad call. You turn on the ten o'clock news. What do they replay? Sports Illustrated comes in the mailbox. There's a cover story on the game with a photo of this same lousy call.

-- Jim Nicodem, "The Straight Scoop on Anger," Preaching Today, Tape No. 172.

That’s what happens when we don’t “put away” the bitterness and the anger.  We’re destined to “replay” it over and over in our heads.
We need to learn to “put away” these things.
be put awayairo to bear away what has been raised, carry off; to remove
Can you just “put it away”?

Have you ever been involved in an angry argument when the phone rings, and you pick up the phone and are somehow able to answer sweetly, “Hello?”?


Those who say they will forgive but can't forget, bury the hatchet, but they leave the handle out for immediate use.

Dwight Lyman Moody (1837–1899)

Dear Ann Landers:
I have a message for that 16-year-old boy who has a “21-year-old problem”—his brother.  My brother drowned three weeks ago.  One minute he was alive and full of fun.  The next minute he was gone, forever.  I never felt especially close to my brother.  We fought and didn’t agree on many things.  But now I realize how much a part of my life he was.  Sure, he got on my nerves, and I’d tell him to bug off.  But now I remember all the favors he did that only a brother could.  I’m just trying to urge people to think about what their brothers and sisters mean to them and to express their appreciation.  I hope they do it today because tomorrow may be too late.—Miss Him a Lot

Ann Landers, 8-24-92

Life is too short to waste any of it being bitter.  Learn to put it away.

:32 And be kind to one another,

kindchrestos fit, fit for use, useful; virtuous, good; manageable; mild, pleasant (as opp. to harsh, hard, sharp, bitter); kind, benevolent



Perhaps a good working definition of kindness is:  “doing good things for others”
Kindness is love in work clothes.
We have an example to follow:
(Luke 6:35 NKJV)  "But love your enemies, do good, and lend, 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.

God does good things for people who don’t deserve it.

(Rom 2:4 NKJV)  Or do you despise the riches of His goodness, forbearance, and longsuffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance?

God’s kindness has an effect on us – it makes us turn around.

We have the Holy Spirit living inside of us. And He is kind. Part of His work is to make us kind.
John Barrier didn’t like the way a bank manager in Spokane, WA, looked at him—like he’d “crawled out from under a rock” because of his dirty construction clothes.  So Barrier, who just wanted a parking slip validated, took his money and left -- $1 million at the time.  It began when Barrier, 59, went to Old National Bank to cash a $100 check.  When he tried to validate the slip to save 60 cents, a receptionist refused, saying he hadn’t conducted a transaction.  “She said you have to make a deposit,” he says.  “I told her I’m considered a substantial depositor and she looked at me like... well.”  He asked to see the manager, who also refused to stamp the ticket.  Barrier went to bank headquarters vowing to withdraw his $2 million plus unless the manager apologized.  No call came.  “So the next day I went over and the first amount I took out was $1 million.”  “But if you have $100 in a bank or $1 million,” he says, “I think they owe you the courtesy of stamping your parking ticket.”

-- Elisa Tinsley, USA Today

It pays to be kind.
The sun makes ice melt; kindness causes misunderstanding, mistrust, and hostility to evaporate.

Albert Schweitzer (1875–1965)

:32 tenderhearted,

tenderheartedeusplagchnos (“good” + “bowels”) having strong bowels; compassionate, tender hearted; The bowels were regarded as the seat of the passions, by the Hebrews as the seat of the more tender affections, esp. kindness, benevolence, compassion; hence our heart (tender mercies, affections, etc.).



There is no greater example of compassion than Jesus.
(Mat 9:35-36 NKJV) Then Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people. {36} But when He saw the multitudes, He was moved with compassion for them, because they were weary and scattered, like sheep having no shepherd.

Sometimes we can lose patience with people who are tired and unfocused.

When Jesus heard that John the Baptist had been executed, He felt like He needed to get away for awhile.  But instead of getting some time away, the crowds showed up looking for Him to heal people:
(Mat 14:14 NKJV) And when Jesus went out He saw a great multitude; and He was moved with compassion for them, and healed their sick.

He wasn’t ticked off at the people.  He was moved with compassion.  He even went on to feed five thousand as well.

We’ve heard the story of the Good Samaritan. A man was robbed and beaten. Nobody else would stop to help…
(Luke 10:33-34 NKJV) "But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was. And when he saw him, he had compassion. {34} "So he went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine; and he set him on his own animal, brought him to an inn, and took care of him.

Being tender-hearted results in kindness, doing good things for others.

John writes,

(1 John 3:17 NKJV) But whoever has this world's goods, and sees his brother in need, and shuts up his heart from him, how does the love of God abide in him?

In the story of the Prodigal son, the son had totally abused his inheritance, but when he came to his senses, he realized he was better off going home …
(Luke 15:20-24 NKJV) "And he arose and came to his father. But when he was still a great way off, his father saw him and had compassion, and ran and fell on his neck and kissed him. {21} "And the son said to him, 'Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight, and am no longer worthy to be called your son.' {22} "But the father said to his servants, 'Bring out the best robe and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand and sandals on his feet. {23} 'And bring the fatted calf here and kill it, and let us eat and be merry; {24} 'for this my son was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.' And they began to be merry.

Are you tenderhearted?  Are you moved with compassion towards people?  Jesus is.  If you lack compassion, there is someone who can help you.  He can teach you to be compassionate.

:32 forgiving one another, just as God in Christ forgave you.

forgiving … forgavecharizomai (“grace”) to do something pleasant or agreeable (to one); to show one’s self gracious, kind, benevolent; to grant forgiveness; we might say “to grace” a person.



The different forms of the Greek word for grace are found 16 times in the book of Ephesians.  In fourteen of those instances, it’s all about the grace that we have received from God.  The only two exceptions are about how we are to show grace to others:
(Eph 4:29 NKJV)  Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers.
(Eph 4:32 NKJV)  forgiving one another, just as God in Christ forgave you.
Again, our example in forgiving, in “gracing” is Jesus.
We must forgive because He has forgiven us.
(Mat 18:21-35 NKJV) Then Peter came to Him and said, "Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Up to seven times?" {22} Jesus said to him, "I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven. {23} "Therefore the kingdom of heaven is like a certain king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. {24} "And when he had begun to settle accounts, one was brought to him who owed him ten thousand talents. {25} "But as he was not able to pay, his master commanded that he be sold, with his wife and children and all that he had, and that payment be made. {26} "The servant therefore fell down before him, saying, 'Master, have patience with me, and I will pay you all.' {27} "Then the master of that servant was moved with compassion, released him, and forgave him the debt. {28} "But that servant went out and found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii; and he laid hands on him and took him by the throat, saying, 'Pay me what you owe!' {29} "So his fellow servant fell down at his feet and begged him, saying, 'Have patience with me, and I will pay you all.' {30} "And he would not, but went and threw him into prison till he should pay the debt. {31} "So when his fellow servants saw what had been done, they were very grieved, and came and told their master all that had been done. {32} "Then his master, after he had called him, said to him, 'You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt because you begged me. {33} 'Should you not also have had compassion on your fellow servant, just as I had pity on you?' {34} "And his master was angry, and delivered him to the torturers until he should pay all that was due to him. {35} "So My heavenly Father also will do to you if each of you, from his heart, does not forgive his brother his trespasses."

It’s not that we must forgive because we have a gun to our head.  It’s that we ought to forgive because of what He’s done for us.  He’s forgiven us so much, and our bitterness is so petty.


“I’m pregnant.” After Cori, my 21-year-old, unwed daughter, said those words, I went through all kinds of emotions. Yes, it would be embarrassing. I wrote the book Sanctified Sex. I had criss-crossed the country telling thousands of young adults like my daughter to “just say no.” Yes, it broke my heart. I stayed awake many nights listening to my wife’s muffled sobs. I came home many days to referee a family feud. Cori has always made it clear that she likes the wilder side of life. She has always learned her lessons the hard way. My wife, Roberta, and I have always wanted our home to be a place where no-strings-attached love could grow. Throughout the crisis, I have asked God, “How do I model sensitivity and strength when my family is falling apart?” God replied with several questions: “Will you quit, Haman? Will you quit loving your daughter? Will you quit investing in her life? Will you quit forgiving her as you have been forgiven?” My answer continues to be: “No, I won’t quit, Lord. With your help, my family will make it.”

-- Haman Cross, Jr., pastor of Rosedale Park Baptist Church in Detroit. Men of Integrity, Vol. 1, no. 1.