Ephesians 4:21

These words describe the method, not the substance, of Christian teaching; the latter is adverted to in the next verse. The historical name, "Jesus," instead of the more common official name, "Christ," indicates that this teaching is given through the life of our Lord on earth. We come to the knowledge of truth by hearing him, by being taught of him, by seeing it as it is in him.

I. THE KNOWLEDGE OF TRUTH IS OF SUPREME IMPORTANCE TO US. The means is proportioned to the end. If the life of Christ is necessary for the revelation of truth, the truth thus revealed must be of first moment. Emotion without truth is vapid sentiment; and action without truth can have no moral character, and is as likely to be hurtful as useful. It is a blind man's groping. We can dispense with a superfluity of dogma. We have too many words about truth. But truth itself, the living spiritual reality, is the very breath of our souls. To know ourselves and our vocation, to know God, his love and his will, to know the spiritual order of things as far as it touches our own lives and conduct, is of vital interest.

II. TRUTH IS REVEALED IN CHRIST. Truth is written on the great book of creation, but in obscure hieroglyphics, for nature is an inarticulate prophet. Truth has also come through the inspiration of thought and conscience in poets and seers. But then it is always in words; and words make it but a clumsy garment hiding its finer beauty and, at best, speaking at second hand. In Christ we see truth intelligible, powerful, touching. It is revealed in his very self and in his words and deeds as they are the outcome and signs of his character and nature. Christ is the truth. He has but to be and to be seen and heard for truth to be revealed.


1. It is human. Truth is seen in Jesus just because he is a real and perfect Man. As man is made in the image of God, the very being of a perfect man must be a manifestation of Divine thoughts.

(1) Therefore any dogmas that are contrary to humanity are false.

(2) Therefore, also, we need not fear truth. She has a human countenance.

2. It is living. Truth in words is cold and dead, though it may be clear and beautiful. Truth in Jesus is alive, revealing itself in action, putting teeth energy, responding to our sympathy.

3. It is spiritual. Truth of religion and of conduct is what we see in Jesus, not reminiscences of secular history nor anticipations of material science. The highest truth concerns God and the soul, duty and the unseen world. 4. It is beautiful. Christ's glory was full of grace and truth. In his face truth has no terrors, but the most winning attractions and the most moving loveliness.


1. We have to "learn Christ." That is the one lesson for our souls. We may learn all systems of theology and yet know nothing of the highest truth, if we do not know Christ. They who sit at the feet of Jesus drink from the deepest fountains. As Christ is best described to us in the four Gospels, these Gospels are the chief source of Christian knowledge. Yet inasmuch as the apostles interpret the mind of Christ, we may learn Christ from the whole of the New Testament But we must also come to a personal communion with Christ in order to know him aright.

2. We have to Trove how we have learned Christ by our conduct. This knowledge is to shape our actions. Fidelity, purity, and charity of life must make men see what truth we have found in Jesus. - W.F.A.

But ye have not so learned Christ.
The Christian method of moral regeneration includes three distinct processes.

1. The renunciation of the previous moral life. The ethical change was not to be partial, but complete. But this complete moral revolution is not accomplished either by one supreme effort of our own will, or by any momentary shock of Divine power. It is a lifelong and painful process.(1) Self-examination is necessary. Our moral habits must be compared, one by one, with the commandments of Christ, and their conformity with the genius and spirit of Christian ethics must be patiently and honestly tested. In the humblest and obscurest of our Christian brethren we may often discover virtues which bring home to us how incompletely we have mastered our inferior and baser self. The imperfections in other men which provoke our resentment may make more vivid to us our own imperfections. The resentment itself, by its bitterness and impatience, may reveal to us a vanity, a wilfulness, and an impatience, which we thought we had subdued.(2) Self-discipline, personal effort, as well as reliance on the Divine grace. If we discover that we have fallen into habits of careless speaking, and that with no deliberate intention to deceive, we are frequently conveying false impressions, we must call these habits by their right name; careless and inaccurate speaking is falsehood. We must watch our words so as to cheek the sin. We must speak less. We must think before we speak. We must submit to the humiliation of correcting the false impressions which we have created by our carelessness. If we find that we judge men hastily and harshly, condemn them on inadequate evidence, draw injurious conclusions from facts of which perhaps we have an imperfect knowledge, we must break the habit of rash judgment, must be silent about the conduct of other men till we are sure that we are right, and even when we are sure that we are right, ask ourselves whether there is any obligation resting upon us to pronounce any judgment at all. If we find that we are disposed to indolence we must try to discover whether we are yielding to any forms of physical indulgence which are unfriendly to vigorous and persistent industry, and avoid them. If sometimes we are betrayed into excessive drinking, we must consider whether our moral safety does not require us to abstain altogether from the kinds of drink that are perilous to us.

2. The constant renewal of the higher and spiritual life by the power of the Spirit of God. The "spirit," which is that element of our life which comes to us direct from God, restores to the "mind" its soundness and health, the clearness of its vision, and its practical force and authority. In this high region of our nature Paul finds the springs of moral regeneration. Strength as well as light comes to us from invisible and eternal things; from the immeasurable love of God, from the glory of His perfection, from the knowledge that He is our comrade in every conflict with sin, that He is troubled by our defeats, and rejoices in our victories, from the hope of dwelling forever in His eternal peace and righteousness and joy. But if we are to be under the constant control of that spiritual universe by which we are environed, there must be a constant renewal of the spiritual life. It is not enough that, once for all, we have been born of God. The Divine life given in the new birth must be fed from its eternal springs, or the stream will soon run shallow, will cease to flow, will at last disappear altogether. The constant renewal of the spiritual life is the work of the Spirit of God; but we are not the merely passive subjects of His grace. It is our duty to "be renewed." We are required to form the moral and spiritual habits which render possible, and which secure, the fresh access from day to day of Divine inspiration. There should be an habitual remembrance of the power and goodness of the Spirit, whose coming has more than compensated for the loss of the earthly ministry and visible presence of Christ. There should be habitual trust in Him as the Giver of light, of strength, of joy, and of righteousness. There should be habitual prayer for His teaching and His strong support. We should think much of God, and our thoughts of Him should be determined and controlled by the revelation of Himself in Christ. We should "mind" — "not earthly things" — but things heavenly and Divine; for our citizenship is in heaven, our riches, our honour, our blessedness, our home, are there.

3. The appropriation of the righteousness and holiness of that new and perfect humanity which God created in Christ. Christ is the prophecy of our righteousness, as well as the sacrifice for our sins — the prophecy, not merely the example or the law, of our righteousness; for He came down from heaven to give the very life of God to man, and in the power of that life all righteousness is possible. The prophecy has been fulfilled in every generation since He ascended to the Father, and in every country in which the Christian faith has been preached. The Lord Jesus Christ announced that He had come to give to the human race a new and diviner life, and strength to achieve a diviner righteousness. And we see that those great words have been accomplished. He has originated a new and nobler type of moral character, and a new and nobler religious faith. He Himself has been the root of the new ethical and spiritual life which has revealed its strength and its grace in Christian nations. His own unique perfection has been repeated, in humbler forms, in the lives of innumerable saints. The Vine has sent forth its branches into all lands, and men of every variety of civilization and of culture, of every variety of moral temperament and moral character, have illustrated the characteristic qualities of Christ's own righteousness. In Him a new humanity was created. He is the Head of a new race. We ourselves are conscious that through Him we have passed into the Kingdom of God, are under the authority of its august and eternal laws, and that if our union with Him were more intimate we should have strength to achieve an ideal perfection.

(R. W. Dale, LL. D.)


1. Learning Christ is

(1)much more than learning doctrine, precept, or ceremony.

(2)Much more than knowing about Christ, or learning from Christ.

2. It includes several forms of knowledge.

(1)To know Him as a personal Christ.

(2)To know His nature, and to treat Him accordingly.

(3)To know His offices, and how to use them.

(4)To know His finished work for God and for us.

(5)To know His influence over men, and to test it.

(6)To know by learning Christ the way to live like Him.


1. So as to remain as we were before. Unchanged, and yet at peace.

2. So as to excuse sin because of His atonement.

3. So as to feel a freedom to sin because of pardon.

4. So as even to commit sin in Christ's name.

5. So as to reckon that we cannot conquer sin, and so sit down under the dominion of some constitutional temptation.

6. So as to profess reverence for His name and character, and then think little of the truth which He reveals.

III. HOW WE HAVE LEARNED IT. We know the truth, and know it in its best light.

1. As directly taught by His own self, and by His own Spirit.

2. As distinctly embodied in His life and character.

3. As it relates to Him and honours Him.

4. Consequently, as it is in Him. Truth is in Jesus, indeed and of a truth, for in Him everything is real.

5. Consequently as it works a total change in us, and makes us like to Him in whom truth is embodied.

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

He exhorts not to an outward reformation of their converse only, but to that truth and sincerity of sanctification, which the doctrine and power Of grace in Christ teacheth and worketh in all true Christians: "If so be," saith he, "ye have learned the truth as it is in Jesus." Which doth not, as other doctrines of philosophers, etc., teach you to put off the evils of your outward converse only, and to put on a new conversation over an old nature, as a sheepskin over a wolfish nature; he that doth no more falls short of that truth of grace which Christ requires; but it teaches principally to put off the old man, as the cause of all the evils in the outward converse; and that is his meaning, when he saith. "As concerning the outward converse put off the old man," without which it is impossible to reform the converse.

(Thomas Goodwin.)

To make a profession of religion is comparatively easy — and that on many accounts.

1. Because the secret doings of a man are known only to himself.

2. Because a man's doings, which are known to his family, by reason of the partiality and kindness of the members of that family, do not become known to many besides.

3. Because those who make a profession are so numerous that they have a family feeling for one another, and are always ready to help one another.

4. The heart of man aids a mere profession.

I. Those who have learned Christ properly, and not as the hypocrites, have learned their NEED of Christ. Do you feel your sins to be a burden, too heavy for you to bear?

II. Those who learn Christ properly, to the salvation of their souls, learn the WORTH of Christ. He obeyed the law for us; He died on the cross for us; He endured the wrath of God for us. Who can estimate the worth of all He did and suffered?

III. Those who have learned Christ to the saving of their souls have learned the DESIGN of Christ. That design was to prepare a people for His Father.

IV. Those who have truly learned Christ are CONSCIOUS OF NEW DESIRES. The glory of God is now their aim and ambition.

V. Those who have learned Christ properly will be deeply INTERESTED IN THE GLORY OF CHRIST.

(H. Allen, M. A.)

In the school of Jesus Christ it is not always the oldest or the cleverest who are the best scholars. In other schools the scholar must be naturally clever, or, at least, most industrious, if he is to gain a high place, and win a prize. In Christ's school there is a place and a prize for the dullest, and he will succeed very well if only he wants to learn. I want you all to come to Christ's school today, old and young, clever and dull, and to hear some of the lessons which that school teaches.

I. WE MUST LEARN TO HATE OUR OWN SINS. Like David, like St. Peter, like every penitent, when we think of the past we abhor ourselves, and sit down among the ashes of humiliation.

II. WE MUST LEARN TO KNOW OUR OWN WEAKNESS, AND OUR NEED OF A SAVIOUR. The world will not give us that lesson.

III. Another of the lessons we must learn is TO CONQUER OURSELVES. The world gives a great many instructions about conquering difficulties, beating down obstacles, overcoming enemies; but it is Christ's school alone which can show us how to conquer ourselves. You have probably noticed the change in a young country lad after he has enlisted for a soldier, and gone through his drill. Whereas he was a high-shouldered, slouching, ungainly figure, now he has learnt to carry himself like a soldier, he has conquered the old bad habits which he acquired by lounging in the lanes, or plodding along the furrows. My brethren, we have all got our bad habits, our ugly tempers, our sharp tongues, our discontented feelings, and it is only the drill of Christ's soldiers, and the teachings in Christ's school, which will make us get the better of them. And we shall learn in Christ's school to be brave. The world's school can teach us a certain kind of courage, but not the highest, nor the best. The world can teach us how to resent an injury, not how to forgive one. It is in Christ's school only that true heroes are made. The world can make such soldiers as Caesar, or Napoleon, but the school of Christ alone can make a Havelock or a Gordon. I have read of a poor boy who came to school with a patch on his clothes. One of his schoolmates singled him out for ridicule and insult; and the boy answered: "Do you suppose I am ashamed of my patch? I am thankful to a good mother for keeping me out of rags, and I honour my patch for her sake." All the noble army of martyrs, of every rank and kind, learnt the secret of their courage in the school of Christ, and have left us an example to follow.

(H. J. Wilmot-Buxton, M. A.)

There is, then, somewhere, a school where Christ is taught, and Christ is learnt. There are a great many schools where Christ is not taught; where almost everything is taught except Christ; where religion is taught, but it is not Christ's; where even Christ is taught, but it is not the Christ of the Bible. Where, then, is the school of Christ? What is it? How is the instruction carried on? Who is the teacher? What are the lesson books? What is required of the scholars? How are they classified? What do they pay? Are there prizes? First, it is obvious, that IF IT BE A SCHOOL, THE ATTAINMENT OF THE KNOWLEDGE WHICH IS TAUGHT THERE MUST BE PROGRESSIVE, and whoever the teacher may be, there is required, on the part of the learner, earnestness, patience, fag. For it is a school. You say, "But it is hard work." True; but the work wants doing.

1. In this school, who is the Master? Christ; only Christ. "The Master!" Not a master — "The Master." In this school, then, of sacred lore, the one and only Teacher is the Lord Jesus Christ. There are human instructors, such as the Sunday school teacher, or a pious friend, or a parent, or a minister: but only as Christ is in them, and uses them. May not the cause why you have made no better progress be this, that you have not sufficiently recognized this fundamental principle? — for observe the line of thought how it runs on. You see the position is absolute. You must have "heard Him, and been taught by Him.

2. How? What are the lesson books in that School of Christ? Of course, chiefly the Bible. For we have two words, a Living Word, and a written Word; and the written Word is the visible embodiment of the Living Word. It is when the Living Word is felt in the written Word, that the written Word becomes God's Word indeed. But Christ can, and does, make everything His representative teacher. A providence — an object in nature — He is there: and therefore it can teach. He who can see and learn Christ anywhere, can see and learn Christ everywhere. The whole world becomes the primer.

II. Now, WHAT IS TAUGHT IN THIS SCHOOL? I answer, primarily, and in one word, Christ. The Teacher Himself is the subject. We have the highest authority for saying, In Him are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge," Therefore, really to know Christ, is to know all things — all things that may serve our present peace, our present holiness, and our happiness forever. For observe, the whole Law embodied itself in Christ. He kept it for us, even to the law of death. There lies our safety. All nature — with all its beauties, and all its grandeur, and all its hidden mysteries — is the work of Christ. It is the mind of Christ; it is the development of Himself. So that no man knows creation till he knows the mind of the Creator. We shall best know the kingdom if we know the King! O wonderful and happy school! where the Infinite and All-loving and Almighty Teacher pours Himself into the learners, and as He does so, opens their understanding to understand it; softens their hearts to receive it; strengthens their memory to retain it; and enables their lives to exhibit it. O wonderful and happy school! where Omnipotence gives the will, the capacity, and the power to know and do what Omniscience teaches.

III. WHAT ARE THE PRIZES? The great reward — in this school of Christ — is that every learner, as he advances, is placed nearer and nearer to his Master's side. He becomes more conscious of his Master's love. These are the rewards now. What by and by? "Eye hath not seen nor ear heard."

(J. Vaughan, M. A.)

It is a remarkable expression — "Learning Christ." We learn a science, or we learn a language, or we learn a subject — but what is it to learn a person? We do not learn a person by hearing about him, or reading about him; we must know him. Now remember, that to "learn" implies effort, study, perseverance, progress. You do not learn by intuition. You do not learn by simply being told a thing. There must be patient earnestness. Now I wish to inquire, What are the schools in which Christ is most taught?

1. And I say first, and emphatically, the nursery. Perhaps in no part of our lives have we truer views of Christ than the views of our early childhood. The Scriptures is made for childhood. Even before a child can understand anything, it can understand Jesus. It is the basis of a good education. It meets a child's intellect. It draws out a child's thoughts. It is a child's philosophy.

2. The next best school, perhaps, is affliction. Life is more still. The day is not so crowded. The heart is more open. We are more impressible to holy lessons.

3. But affliction will not do much if it do not lead us to a further and most important school, the school of our own closet, By three teachings we chiefly learn Christ — prayer, the Bible, and meditation. If either be wanting we shall miss our lesson.

4. Another school of Christ and an eminent one, should be this place. What is this pulpit for but to teach Christ? All our theology begins and ends there. Christ the basis — Christ the sum and substance — Christ the end and object — of all true knowledge.

(J. Vaughan, M. A.)

As the truth is in Jesus
The portion of our text on which we would fix mainly your attention is, the description of truth as made known by revelation. Now, we shall take truth under two principal divisions, and compare it as it is in Jesus with what it is out of Jesus. We shall refer, first, to those truths which have to do with God's nature and character; secondly, to those which have to do with man's condition.

I. We turn, then, to the TRUTHS WHICH HAVE TO DO WITH THE NATURE AND CHARACTER OF GOD. We begin with the lowest element of truth, namely, that there is a great First Cause, through whose agency hath arisen the fair and costly fabric of the visible universe. But take the truth of the existence of a God as it is out of Jesus, and then take that truth as it in Jesus, and let us see whether in the two cases the same truth will not bear very different aspects. Apart from revelation, I can believe that there is a God. I look upon the wonder workings by which I am encompassed; and I must sacrifice all that belongs to me as a rational creature, if I espouse the theory that chance has been parent to the splendid combinations. But what can be more vague, what more indefinite, than those notions of Deity which reason, at the best, is capable of forming? The evil which is mixed up with good in the creation; the disordered appearances which seem to mark the absence of a supreme and vigilant government; the frequent triumph of wickedness, and the correspondent depression of virtue; these, and the like stern and undeniable mysteries, will perplex me in every attempt to master satisfactorily the unity of the Godhead. But let me regard Jesus as making known to me God, and, straightway, there succeeds a calm to my confused and unsettled imaginings. He tells me by his words, and shows me by his actions, that all things are at the disposal of one eternal and inscrutable Creator. Putting forth superhuman ability, alike in the bestowment of what is good, and in the removal of what is evil, He furnishes me with the strictest demonstration that there are not two principles which can pretend to hold sway in the universe; but that God, a Being without rival, and alone in His majesties created whatsoever is good, and permitted whatsoever is evil. Thus, the truth, the foundation truth, of the existence of a God takes the strength, and the complexion, of health, only in the degree that it is truth as it is in Jesus.

II. Let us turn, now, from the nature of God to HIS ATTRIBUTES. We take, for example, the justice of God. We night obtain, independently on the scheme of redemption, a definite and firm-built persuasion, that God is a just God, taking cognizance of the transgressions of His creatures. What, then, shall we do with this truth of God's justice? We reply, we must make it truth as it is in Jesus. We send a man at once to the cross of Christ. We bid him gaze on the illustrious and mysterious Victim, stooping beneath the amazing burden of human transgression. We ask him whether the agonies of the garden, and the terrors of the crucifixion, furnish not a sufficient and thrilling demonstration that God's justice, when it takes in hand the exaction of punishment, does the work thoroughly — so that no bolt it too ponderous to be driven into the soul, no offence too minute to be set down in the reckoning? So, then, we may count it legitimate to maintain that the truth of God being a just God is appreciated truth, and effective truth, only in the degree that it is truth as it is in Jesus; and we add, consequently, new witness to the fact, that the definition of our text describes truth accurately under its influential and life-giving forms. We may pursue much the same line of argument in reference to the truth of the love of God. We may confess that he who looks not at this attribute through the person and work of the Mediator, may obtain ideas of it which shall, in certain respects, be correct. Yet there is no property of the Creator concerning which it is easier to fall into mistake. We have no standard by which to estimate Divine affections, unless one which we fashion out of the results of the workings of human. So that, whilst we have not before us a distinct exhibition of God's love, we may fall naturally into the error of ascribing an effeminate tenderness to the Almighty, and reckon, exactly in proportion as we judge the love amazing, that it will never permit our being given over to torment. Hence, admitting it to be truth, yea, most glorious and blessed truth, that the creature is loved by the Creator, this truth must be viewed through a rectifying medium, which shall correct the distortions which a depraved nature produces. Now, we maintain again that this rectifying medium must be the person and work of the Saviour. In other words, we must make the truth of God's love truth as it is in Jesus, and then, at one and the same time, we shall know how ample is the love, and be guarded against abusing it.

III. We proceed, further, to affirm, in reference to THE CONDITION OF MAN, that truth, if rightly understood, or thoroughly influential, must be truth as it is in Jesus. Man's moral disability is not to be described, or understood, theoretically. We want some bold, definite, and tangible measurements. But we shall find these only in the work of Christ Jesus. I learn the depth to which I have sunk, from the length of the chain let down to updraw me. I ascertain the mightiness of the ruin by examining the machinery of restoration. Thus the truth of human apostasy, of human corruption, of human helplessness, how shall this be truth understood and effective? We answer, simply through being truth as it is in Jesus. We add, that the law of God, which has been given for the regulation of our conduct, is a wonderful compendium of truth. There is not a single working of wickedness, be it the lightest and most secret, which escapes the denouncements of this law; so that the statute book proves itself truth by delineating, with an unvarying accuracy, the whole service of the father of lies. But who knows anything of this truth, unless acquainted with the law as expounded and fulfilled by Christ? Christ in His discourses expanded every precept, and in His obedience exhibited every demand. Knowledge of the law would crush a man, if unaccompanied by the consciousness that Christ obeyed the law in his stead. So that truth as it is in Jesus, this is knowledge, and this is comfort. And, finally, for we must hurry over ground where there is much which might tempt us to linger, look at the context of the words under review, and you will find that truth, as it is in Jesus, differs from truth, as it is out of Jesus, in being a sanctifying thing.

(H. Melvill, B. D.)


1. The life of Jesus opposed and contradicted that which was false and wrong; and in this respect the truth was in Jesus. Ask ye me — "And what was false and wrong?" We answer, Christ scarcely found anything true and right. Himself was in perpetual collision.

2. Jesus embodied the truth of truth's symbols. Certain ordinances from the day of Abel were symbols of truth. Jesus Christ was that which these symbols signified. There had been offerings for sin — the blood of bulls and of goats — of lambs and calves — the ashes of heifers. These sacrifices were the figures of the true. He abolishes old carnal sacrifices by being Himself the real sacrifice. And thus the truth of Sacrifice is in Jesus.

3. Jesus spake truth — that which, on account of its importance to man, is The Truth. This will appear in the following circumstances.(1) The truth that is in Jesus is eternal. Eternal truth — that was within God before there was a creature to be spoken to by God.(2) The truth in Jesus is also in harmony with all truth, and with the whole nature of Him who created all things, and by whom all things consist — it is in accordance with the one Infinite Mind that is expressed. on the star and on the flower, by the Seraph and by the insect.(3) It is universal truth. And truth worthy of all acceptation — so attractive to angels that they stretch their faculties to look into it, and so important to man that, sown broadcast on the earth, it will change the wilderness into a fruitful field.(4) Almighty truth — a hammer that will break a rock, and a fire that will burn all before it as stubble; and living truth — the incorruptible seed of a new birth, and the principle of an eternal life.


1. Nothing childish can be learned of Christ. And the becoming a little child does not mean becoming weak and little. What Christ here enforces is modesty, teachableness, candour, simplicity, freedom from lawless ambition, a loose hold of surrounding objects.

2. A shifting and accommodating creed is not learned of Christ. His doctrines are not like inconstant, changeable gusts of wind, or even like steady trade winds. They are light, not wind — knowledge of truth arising in the midst of the darkness of ignorance, and shining brighter and brighter unto day.

3. Pious frauds are not learned of Christ. Truth is in Jesus; and ye have not learned to use artifice, cheating, and deceit in religion, if ye have heard and been taught by Him.

4. A literal and carnal interpretation of Christ's laws is not learned of Christ.

5. Truth framed according to system is not learned of Christ.

6. Nothing contrary to the God-like can be learned of Christ. The doctrines Christ taught were Divine. The works Christ performed were Divine. The life Christ lived was Divine. All notions and ideas received from Him are light of God's light. The character which His influence forms is in the likeness of God. The course of conduct which He marks out is an embodiment of the will of God.

(S. Martin, D. D.)

If you have learned Christ as the truth is in Him, you have so learned Him as to put off the old man and to put on the new. Faith works by love, even as the tree has both its leaf and fruit. And as if a tree should be changed from one kind to another, the leaves and fruit should likewise be changed; as if a pear tree should be made an apple tree, it would have leaves and fruits agreeing to the change made in it; so man by faith having his heart purified, made a tree of righteousness, he has his leaves and fruits; leaves of profession, fruits of action. So again, a man, as a new tree set into and growing out of Christ, bears a new fruit, he converses in holiness and newness of life. Thus you see how those that are faithful are also saints, because by faith their heart is purified, their profession and conversation are sanctified.

(P. Bayne.)

The direct and immediate purpose of these words is to show the irreconcilable contradiction between a course of life, such as that of other Gentiles, and the Christian discipline and instruction which these Ephesian believers had received.

I. It is here distinctly affirmed that THE LIVING VOICE OF CHRIST HIMSELF IS OUR TEACHER. "Ye have heard Him. The New Testament everywhere represents Christ as still working and teaching in the world. He has pledged Himself to send that teaching Spirit of truth, in whose coming He Himself comes, and all whose illuminations and communications are imparting to us the things of Christ.

II. THOSE WHO ARE IN CHRIST RECEIVE CONTINUOUS INSTRUCTION FROM HIM. And have been taught by Him." These words seem to imply the conditions and the gradual process of Christ's schooling. His teaching is not one act, but a long, patient discipline.

III. THE THEME OF THE TEACHING IS THE TEACHER. "Ye have not so learned Christ."

(A. Maclaren, D. D.)

I. If we have learnt the truth as it is in Jesus it has at once TAUGHT US TO RENOUNCE ALL DEPENDENCE ON ANY WORKS OF OUR OWN, and at the same time PUT US ON A COURSE OF HOLY ACTION.


III. The truth as it is considered in Jesus, PRODUCES A VERY GREAT HUMILITY OF MIND, AND AT THE SAME TIME, A NEW AND ELEVATED SENSE OF DIGNITY. Nothing produces such humility of mind, so permanent and universal in its operation, as the reception of "the truth as it is in Jesus." Hence, then, the real Christian begins to enlarge the view of his own dignity; he considers himself as born to immortality. And being now reconciled to God, and being made a member of Christ and heir to His promises, he feels in himself a new sort of worth and value.

IV. "The truth as it is in Jesus," whenever it takes place in the heart, IS A SOURCE OF REAL HAPPINESS. It is a light-giving truth; it not merely enlightens the understanding, but it touches the sensibilities of our nature; it comes into contact with the sensitive part of our frame; it produces a goodness of heart, and peace and tranquility of mind, and an elevation of hope, that no other system produces.

V. If we are partakers of "the truth as it is in Jesus," WE SHALL BE UNITED IN HEART AND AFFECTION WITH ALL THOSE THAT EMBRACE THE SAME TRUTH. This truth has an uniting quality. It binds together in the ties of amity all its disciples. It produces such a change in the character that it qualifies them for the closest degree of intercourse and friendship.

(F. J. Judkin.)

The longer you live, if you keep in a healthful spiritual atmosphere, the more deeply you will feel the utter unreality, and blankness of help or comfort, of all religious teaching which is not saturated through and through with Christ, with special Christian doctrine: the more deeply will you feel the moral paralysis of all moral truth, but truth as it is in Jesus. The living, experimental Christian will turn away from all that is not such, just (though the similitude be homely) as an animal rejects the food which does not suit its nature. "I don't say," will be the living Christian's feeling, "I don't say but all that may be true; but it is not the truth for me!" And I do not mean Christ merely; but Christ as seen in the great Atonement. When one hears a great deal about the beauty of Christ's character; and about His sympathy with us; and about looking to Him as our Example; but nothing of His atoning sacrifice and His regenerating Spirit; I refuse to receive that as gospel truth, the truth as it is in Jesus! I revolt, as much as any from the stupidity of those who would count how often Christ's Name occurs in a discourse; as if that were a test how far the discourse is leavened by His Spirit. But I remember how one, chief among apostles, said to dear friends, "I determined not to know anything among you, save Jesus Christ, and Him crucified." "We preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumbling block, and unto the Greeks foolishness: But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God."

(A. K. H. Boyd, D. D.)

Colossians, Ephesians, Paul
Accordance, Assuming, Christian, Clear, Ear, Fact, Indeed, Instructed, Least, Taught, Teaching, Truth, Voice
1. He exhorts to unity;
7. and declares that God therefore gives various gifts unto men;
11. that his church might be edified,
16. and grow up in Christ.
18. He calls them from the impurity of the Gentiles;
24. to put on the new man;
25. to cast off lying;
29. and corrupt communication.

Dictionary of Bible Themes
Ephesians 4:21

     8316   orthodoxy, in NT

Ephesians 4:17-24

     6745   sanctification, nature and basis

Ephesians 4:19-22

     5030   knowledge, of Christ

Ephesians 4:20-24

     5034   likeness

January 14. "Unto the Measure of the Stature of the Fulness of Christ" (Eph. Iv. 13).
"Unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ" (Eph. iv. 13). God loves us so well that He will not suffer us to take less than His highest will. Some day we shall bless our faithful teacher, who kept the standard inflexibly rigid, and then gave us the strength and grace to reach it, and would not excuse us until we had accomplished all His glorious will. Let us be inexorable with ourselves. Let us mean exactly what God means, and have no discounts upon His promises or commandments. Let
Rev. A. B. Simpson—Days of Heaven Upon Earth

July 27. "The Building up of the Body of Christ" (R. V. , Eph. Iv. 13).
"The building up of the body of Christ" (R. V., Eph. iv. 13). God is preparing His heroes, and when the opportunity comes He can fit them into their place in a moment and the world will wonder where they came from. Let the Holy Ghost prepare you, dear friend, by all the discipline of life; and when the last finishing touch has been given to the marble, it will be easy for God to put it on the pedestal, and fit it into its niche. There is a day coming, when, like Othniel, we, too, shall judge the
Rev. A. B. Simpson—Days of Heaven Upon Earth

June 15. "Grow up into Him in all Things" (Eph. Iv. 15).
"Grow up into Him in all things" (Eph. iv. 15). Harvest is a time of ripeness. Then the fruit and grain are fully developed, both in size and weight. Time has tempered the acid of the green fruit. It has been mellowed and softened by the rains and the heat of summer. The sun has tinted it into rich colors, and at last it is ready and ripe to fall into the hand. So Christian life ought to be. There are many things in life that need to be mellowed and ripened. Many Christians have orchards full of
Rev. A. B. Simpson—Days of Heaven Upon Earth

The End of Religion
EPHESIANS iv. 23, 24. Be renewed in the spirit of your mind; and put ye on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness. This text is exceedingly valuable to us for it tells us the end and aim of all religion. It tells us why we are to pray, whether at home or in church; why we are to read our Bibles and good books; why we are to be what is commonly called religious. It tells us, I say, the end and aim of all religion; namely, that we may put on 'the new man, which
Charles Kingsley—Discipline and Other Sermons

The Likeness of God
EPHESIANS iv. 23, 24. And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; and that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness. Be renewed, says St. Paul, in the spirit of your mind--in the tone, character, and habit of your mind. And put on the new man, the new pattern of man, who was created after God, in righteousness and true holiness. Pay attention, I beg you, to every word here. To understand them clearly is most important to you. According as you take them
Charles Kingsley—Discipline and Other Sermons

Seventeenth Sunday after Trinity the Christian Calling and Unity.
Text: Ephesians 4, 1-6. 1 I, therefore, the prisoner in the Lord, beseech you to walk worthily of the calling wherewith ye were called, 2 with all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; 3 giving diligence to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. 4 There is one body, and one Spirit, even as also ye were called in one hope of your calling; 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6 one God and Father of all, who is over all, and through all, and in all.
Martin Luther—Epistle Sermons, Vol. III

Nineteenth Sunday after Trinity Duty to New and Old Man.
Text: Ephesians 4, 22-28. 22 That ye put away, as concerning your former manner of life, the old man, that waxeth corrupt after the lusts of deceit; 23 and that ye be renewed in the spirit of your mind, 24 and put on the new man, that after God hath been created in righteousness and holiness of truth. 25 Wherefore, putting away falsehood, speak ye truth each one with his neighbor: 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
Martin Luther—Epistle Sermons, Vol. III

The Calling and the Kingdom
'I beseech you, that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called.'--Eph. iv. 1. 'They shall walk with Me in white; for they are worthy.'--Rev. iii. 4. The estimate formed of a centurion by the elders of the Jews was, 'He is worthy for whom Thou shouldst do this' and in contrast therewith the estimate formed by himself was, 'I am not worthy that Thou shouldst come under my roof.' From these two statements we deduce the thought that merit has no place in the Christian's salvation, but all
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture Ephesians, Peter,John

The Goal of Progress
'Till we all attain unto the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a full grown man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ.'--Eph. iv. 13 (R.V.). The thought of the unity of the Church is much in the Apostle's mind in this epistle. It is set forth in many places by his two favourite metaphors of the body and the temple, by the relation of husband and wife and by the family. It is contemplated in its great historical realisation by the union of Jew and
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture Ephesians, Peter,John

A Dark Picture and a Bright Hope
'That ye put off, concerning the former conversation, the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts.'--Eph. iv. 22. If a doctor knows that he can cure a disease he can afford to give full weight to its gravest symptoms. If he knows he cannot he is sorely tempted to say it is of slight importance, and, though it cannot be cured, can be endured without much discomfort. And so the Scripture teachings about man's real moral condition are characterised by two peculiarities which, at
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture Ephesians, Peter,John

The New Man
'And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.'--Eph. iv. 24. We had occasion to remark in a former sermon that Paul regards this and the preceding clauses as the summing up of 'the truth in Jesus'; or, in other words, he considers the radical transformation and renovation of the whole moral nature as being the purpose of the revelation of God in Christ. To this end they have 'heard Him.' To this end they have 'learned Him.' To this end they have
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture Ephesians, Peter,John

Grieving the Spirit
'Grieve not the Holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.'--Eph. iv. 30. The miracle of Christianity is the Incarnation. It is not a link in a chain, but a new beginning, the entrance into the cosmic order of a Divine Power. The sequel of Bethlehem and Calvary and Olivet is the upper room and the Pentecost. There is the issue of the whole mission and work of Christ--the planting in the heart of humanity of a new and divine life. All Christendom is professing to commemorate
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture Ephesians, Peter,John

The Threefold Unity
'One Lord, one faith, one baptism.'--Eph. iv. 5. The thought of the unity of the Church is very prominent in this epistle. It is difficult for us, amidst our present divisions, to realise how strange and wonderful it then was that a bond should have been found which drew together men of all nations, ranks, and characters. Pharisee and philosopher, high-born women and slaves, Roman patricians and gladiators, Asiatic Greeks and Syrian Jews forgot their feuds and sat together as one in Christ. It is
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture Ephesians, Peter,John

'The Measure of Grace'
'But unto each one of us was the grace given according to the measure of the gift of Christ.'--Eph. iv. 7 (R.V.). The Apostle here makes a swift transition from the thought of the unity of the Church to the variety of gifts to the individual. 'Each' is contrasted with 'all.' The Father who stands in so blessed and gracious a relationship to the united whole also sustains an equally gracious and blessed relationship to each individual in that whole. It is because each receives His individual gift
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture Ephesians, Peter,John

Christ Our Lesson and Our Teacher
'But ye have not so learned Christ; if so be that ye have heard Him, and have been taught in Him.'--Eph. iv. 20, 21. The Apostle has been describing in very severe terms the godlessness and corruption of heathenism. He reckons on the assent of the Ephesian Christians when he paints the society in which they lived as alienated from God, insensible to the restraints of conscience, and foul with all uncleanness. That was a picture of heathenism drawn from the life and submitted to the judgment of those
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture Ephesians, Peter,John

Of the Church
"I beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, with all lowliness and meekness, with long-suffering, forbearing one another in love; endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all." Ephesians 4:1-6. 1. How much do we almost continually hear about the Church!
John Wesley—Sermons on Several Occasions

The Ascension of Christ
It seemed expedient for him to stay, to accomplish the conversion of the world. Would not his presence have had an influence to win by eloquence of gracious word and argument of loving miracle? If he put forth his power the battle would soon be over, and his rule over all hearts would be for ever established. "Thine arrows are sharp in the heart of the king's enemies; whereby the people fall under thee." Go not from the conflict, thou mighty bowman, but still cast thine all-subduing darts abroad.
Charles Haddon Spurgeon—Spurgeon's Sermons Volume 17: 1871

Forgiveness Made Easy
At this time we wish to speak a little concerning the duties of love and forgiveness; and here we note, at once, that the apostle sets before us the example of God himself. Upon that bright example we shall spend most of our time, but I hope not quite so much as to forget the practical part, which is so much needed in these days by certain Unforgiving spirits who nevertheless assume the Christian name. The theme of God's forgiving love is so fascinating that we may linger awhile, and a long while
Charles Haddon Spurgeon—Spurgeon's Sermons Volume 24: 1878

Grieving the Holy Spirit
I. The few words I have to say UPON THE LOVE OF THE SPIRIT will all be pressing forward to my great mark, stirring you up not to grieve the Spirit; for when we are persuaded that another loves us, we find at once a very potent reason why we should not grieve him. The love of the Spirit!--how shall I tell it forth? Surely it needs a songster to sing it, for love is only to be spoken of in words of song. The love of the Spirit!--let me tell you of his early love to us. He loved us without beginning.
Charles Haddon Spurgeon—Spurgeon's Sermons Volume 5: 1859

The Prison-House.
(Seventeenth Sunday after Trinity.) EPHESIANS iv. 1. "The prisoner of the Lord." This is what Paul the aged called himself in writing to the Ephesians. He had appealed unto Caesar, and he was a captive at Rome. But he does not style himself Caesar's prisoner, but the prisoner of the Lord, whose he was, and whom he served. Let us think first of the place and manner of St. Paul's imprisonment. The place was Rome, the capital of the world. A city full of glorious memories of the past, and famous
H. J. Wilmot-Buxton—The Life of Duty, a Year's Plain Sermons, v. 2

The Authority and Utility of the Scriptures
2 Tim. iii. 16.--"All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness." We told you that there was nothing more necessary to know than what our end is, and what the way is that leads to that end. We see the most part of men walking at random,--running an uncertain race,--because they do not propose unto themselves a certain scope to aim at, and whither to direct their whole course. According to men's particular
Hugh Binning—The Works of the Rev. Hugh Binning

Of the Creation 0F Man
Gen. i. 26, 27.--"And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness, and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him, male and female created he them."--With Eph. iv. 24.--"And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness."--And Heb.
Hugh Binning—The Works of the Rev. Hugh Binning

The Central Sun
(Sunday after Ascension, Evening.) Ephesians iv. 9. 10. Now that he ascended, what is it but that he also descended first into the lower parts of the earth? He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that he might fill all things. This is one of those very deep texts which we are not meant to think about every day; only at such seasons as this, when we have to think of Christ ascending into heaven, that he might send down his Spirit at Whitsuntide. Of this the text
Charles Kingsley—Town and Country Sermons

The Truth in Jesus.
But ye did not so learn Christ; if so be that ye heard him, and were taught in him, even as truth is in Jesus: that ye put away, as concerning your former manner of life, the old man, which waxeth corrupt after the lusts of deceit.' [Footnote: That is, 'which is still going to ruin through the love of the lie.']--Eph. iv. 20-22. How have we learned Christ? It ought to be a startling thought, that we may have learned him wrong. That must he far worse than not to have learned him at all: his place
George MacDonald—Unspoken Sermons

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