Jesus said that the wise man built his house upon the rock, but the foolish man built his house upon the sand. When the storms of life came the wise man’s house, it stood firm. But the foolish man’s house went splat. All around us we see people who’s lives are going splat including in situations of financial trouble, marriage trouble, kid trouble, and moral trouble. Today we will look at Ephesians chapter 4 to find six ways God anchors us to help build our lives upon a solid foundation.
1.God anchors us by giving us COACHES.
All around us in life we see the value of a coach; someone encouraging us to persevere, stay the course, and finish well. Superstar athletes who get paid millions of dollars have coaches. Famous singers all have vocal coaches. The top CEOs have life coaches. All the great leaders in the Bible had coaches.
Joshua was coached by Moses.
Elisha was coached by Elijah.
David was coached by Samuel.
Solomon was coached by David.
The twelve disciples were coached by Jesus.
Paul coached Timothy and Timothy coached others.
It’s a biblical pattern laid down in 2 Timothy 2:2 where Paul tells Timothy he wants him to take the things that he has learned from Paul and pass them on to other faithful men who will be able to pass them on to others. We pass it on from generation to generation. You are a link in an unbroken chain of coaching that has been passed down from generation to generation for 2000 years.
We don’t want to be the one who breaks the chain. Everybody needs a Paul and everybody needs a Timothy. We all need somebody we’re learning from and somebody we’re passing it on to. In Ephesians 4:11-13, we see that God has given five coaches to the church.
“Christ gifted some of us to be apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers, so that His people would learn to serve and His Body would grow strong. This will continue until we’re united by our faith and understanding of the Son of God. Then we will be mature, just as Christ is, and we will be completely like Him.” Ephesians 4:11-13 CEV
God gives the Church five coaches: apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers. He gives these coaches so that the people will learn to serve, grow strong, be mature, and become like Christ.
2.God anchors us by teaching us THE TRUTH.
If you want your finances to be secure you’ve got to know what God says about finances and apply that truth to your life. The same is true for your marriage or your job. In any area, you’ve got to know and apply the truth.
“Then we will no longer be like children, forever changing our minds about what we believe because someone has told us something different or made a lie sound like the truth. Instead, we will hold to the truth in love, becoming more and more like Christ, who is the head of His Body, the Church.” Ephesians 4:14-15 NLT
One of the marks of spiritual immaturity is people can sway you from the truth. A spiritually immature believer is always changing their mind about what they believe because of something someone else has said. Somebody makes a lie sound like the truth and they fall for it because they don’t really know the truth. If you don’t stand for something you’ll fall for anything.
God says you’ve got to know the truth to weather the storm because every self-defeating behavior in your life is based on a lie. If you want stability in your life you’ve got to identify the lies and replace them with the truth. Every time we believe a lie about something the world says instead of what the Word of God says, we lose our footing and our lives start to collapse.
Jesus said, “The truth will you free.” He also said, “I am the truth.” Jesus didn’t say I teach the truth, I point to the truth, or I’m one of the ways to the truth. He said “I AM” the truth. Truth is not simply a principle. Rather, Truth is a person.
“Since you have heard all about Him, you have learned the truth that is in Jesus.” Ephesians 4:21 NIV
3.God anchors us through NEW THINKING.
Both the stability and the instability you have in your life start in your mind. You’ve got to build your life on a biblical worldview. You’ve got to see your life through the lens of Scripture. If you want your life to be stable and built on a strong foundation, the battle is won and lost in the mind.
“But we have the mind of Christ.” 1 Corinthians 2:16 NIV
The news media, talk radio, television, Facebook, video games, music, etc., are all worldly things that invade our minds and impact the way we think. Whatever you watch, listen to, and read the most is what you’re going to become like. If your primary sources are secular, then you’re being conformed to the world not transformed to become like Christ. If you want to stand firm you’ve got to let God teach you the right way to think.
“So don’t keep living as the ungodly do, for they are hopelessly confused in their thinking. Their closed minds are full of darkness; they’re far away from the life God gives because they have shut their minds and hardened their hearts against Him. They don’t care anymore about right and wrong, and they’ve indulged themselves in all kinds of immorality, evil thinking, and the constant desire for more.” Ephesians 4:17-19 NIV
They have built their lives on shifting sand and one day their lives are going to collapse! And if you don’t want your life to collapse right along with them, look at what Ephesians 4:23 says.
“Instead, there must be a spiritual renewal of your thoughts and attitudes.” Ephesians 4:23 NLT
If we’re going to bear the fruit of the Spirit in our lives, it’s got to come from the Spirit. It’s not something we just attach on the outside, Spiritual fruit is an inside job, it happens in the mind first.
“Let the Spirit change your way of thinking.” Ephesians 4:23 CEV
4.God anchors us by CLEANING HOUSE.
“So get rid of your old self, which made you live as you used to—the old self that was being destroyed by its deceitful desires.” Ephesians 4:22 TEV
To get healthy in your life you need to get rid of some things, this is a concept found all throughout the Bible. If you want a healthy body you have to get rid of the junk food in your house. If you want a healthy mind you have to avoid a few magazines. Cleaning house may mean you need to block some channels on your television. You may need to set a parental guide for yourself or put a filter on your Internet. That’s cleaning house mentally.
You may have to clean house in your schedule. Many of us are trying to do too much and could actually accomplish more if we just did less. Make a list of everything on your schedule and prioritize A, B and C. Then, focus on the A’s and forget the B’s and C’s, do what matters most!
You may have to do some house cleaning in your heart. Maybe there are things you need to confess to God or confess to someone else. Don’t carry unconfessed sin in your heart. Don’t carry emotional baggage around with you, get rid of it. Confess it.
“We must get rid of everything that slows us down, especially any sin that distracts us, so we can run the race that lies ahead of us!” Hebrews 12:1
God has an exciting race for you to run but you’ve got to get rid of the stuff that slows you down, distracts you and holds you back. Have you noticed it’s easier to pick up bad habits than it is to get rid of them?
Why is it so hard to give up bad habits? There are four main reasons.
- Because I’ve had them a long time.
You didn’t collect your hurts, habits and hang ups overnight. Many of your bad habits you’ve had since you were a kid. But what works when you’re a kid doesn’t work when you’re an adult.
“When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me.” 1 Corinthians 13:11 NIV
A lot of our bad habits may be self-defeating but they’re familiar. You know them and you are used to them.
- Because I identify with them.
We often confuse our identity with our defects. When you tie your identity to your bad habits you set up a self-fulfilling prophecy about how you will act. If you’re going to break that bad habit you need a new identity. You need to know who you are in Christ. You need to get rid of the old self and it’s sinful habits and put on the new self that is yours in Christ.
- Because they have a payoff.
Whatever gets rewarded gets repeated. So for any negative behavior in your life there’s some kind of pay off. Maybe it’s masking your pain or giving you an excuse to fail. Maybe you’re getting attention or temporary relief or pleasure. But anything negative in your life has a payoff, otherwise you wouldn’t keep doing it. So you’ve got to change the payoff to break the habit.
- Because Satan fights it.
Satan does not want you to be set free. He wants you bound up in your sin. He doesn’t want you to become more like Christ. He wants your life to collapse. So the moment you get serious about making your life secure in Christ, Satan’s going to start feeding you negative thoughts like, “Who do you think you are? “You’ll never break this habit, it’s just the way you are.” “You’re never going to be like Christ.” “You may as well give up.”
The Bible calls Satan “the accuser of believers.” But if your life is going to be secure and stable you’ve got to clean house and it’s not going to be easy but the Bible says that in Christ we are more than conquerors in Christ we are a new creation.
5.God anchors us through HONEST COMMUNITY.
There are some storms you can’t handle on your own, some life storms are so big you have to gang tackle them. That’s why we encourage everybody to get in a small group.
“No more pretense! Tell your neighbor the truth. In Christ’s Body we’re all connected to each other. So if you lie to others, you end up lying to yourself.” Ephesians 4:25 MSG
Everybody needs a community where they are accepted unconditionally. We waste a tremendous amount of energy pretending we’re better than we are.
“Never use harmful words but speak only what’s helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.” Ephesians 4:29 NIV
“Be kind and loving to each other, forgiving each other just as God forgave you in Christ.” Ephesians 4:32 NIV
In a small group you don’t only speak about the things that build you up. You speak about things that build others up according to their needs. It’s not just about you and your needs, it’s about the Body of Christ being built up.
6.God anchors us through FAITH.
You must believe that you can stand firm with God’s help. The person who says “I can” and the person who says “I can’t” are both right. God says you’ve got to believe and not give up.
“Now, by His mighty power at work within us, God is able to do far more than we would ever dare to ask or even dream of infinitely beyond our highest prayers, desires, thoughts, or hopes.” Ephesians 3:20 LB
By His mighty power at work within us God is able. Notice that this has nothing to do with your will power. It’s not you mustering up the will to stand firm. This is God working in your life. Think of the biggest thing you could ever think that God could do in your life and God can top that. That’s faith!
Check back on your discussion from last week. What steps are you going to take to get the most out of your small group this Fall?
Hear the Word
Read Ephesians 4:11-32 together.
The six ways God anchors us are: 1) Coaches; 2) The truth; 3) New thinking; 4) Cleaning house; 5) Honest community; 6) Faith.
Identify which components of change you need God’s help with the most.
1. God anchors us by giving us COACHING.
Christ gifted some of us to be apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers, so that his people WOULD LEARN to serve and his Body WOULD GROW STRONG. This will continue until we’re united by our faith and understanding of the Son of God. THEN WE WILL BE MATURE, just as Christ is, and we will be completely like him. Ephesians 4:11-13 CEV
2. God anchors us by teaching us THE TRUTH.
Then we will no longer be like children, forever changing our minds about what we believe because someone has told us something different or made a lie sound like the TRUTH. Instead, we will HOLD TO THE TRUTH in love, becoming more and more like Christ, who is the head of his Body, the church. Ephesians 4:14-15 NLT
Since you have heard all about Him, you have LEARNED THE TRUTH THAT IS IN JESUS. Ephesians 4:21 NIV
3. God anchors us through NEW THINKING.
Don’t keep living as the ungodly do, for THEY ARE HOPELESSLY CONFUSED IN THEIR THINKING. Their CLOSED MINDS ARE FULL OF DARKNESS; they’re far away from the LIFE God gives because they have SHUT THEIR MINDS and HARDENED THEIR HEARTS against him. They don’t care anymore about right and wrong, and they’ve indulged themselves in all kinds of immorality, evil thinking, and the constant desire for more. Ephesians 4:17-19 NIV
Instead, there must be A SPIRITUAL RENEWAL OF YOUR THOUGHTS AND ATTITUDES. Ephesians 4:23 NLT
Let the Spirit CHANGE YOUR WAY OF THINKING. Ephesians 4:23 CEV
4. God anchors us by CLEANING HOUSE.
So GET RID OF YOUR OLD SELF, which made you live as you used to — the old self that was being destroyed by its deceitful desires. Ephesians 4:22 TEV
We must get rid of everything that slows us down, especially any sin that distracts us, so we can run the race that lies ahead of us! Hebrews 12:1 GW
Why Getting Rid of Bad HABITS is So Hard:
- Because I’VE HAD THEM A LONG TIME
- Because I IDENTIFY WITH THEM
- Because THEY HAVE A PAYOFF
- Because SATAN FIGHTS IT
5. God anchors us through HONEST COMMUNITY.
No more pretense! TELL YOUR NEIGHBOR THE TRUTH. In Christ’s Body we’re ALL CONNECTED TO EACH OTHER. So if you lie to others, you end up lying to yourself. Ephesians 4:25 MSG
Be KIND AND LOVING to each other, FORGIVING EACH OTHER just as God forgave you in Christ. Ephesians 4:32 NIV
Never use harmful words but speak only what’s helpful for building OTHERS UP ACCORDING TO THEIR NEEDS, that it may BENEFIT THOSE WHO LISTEN. Ephesians 4:29 NIV
Small Group Ground Rules:
- What is said in the group stays in the group!
- No quick answers, snap judgments, or simple fixes.
- No politics, no controversial topics.
- No selling products or services to other members.
6. God anchors us through FAITH.
Now, by His mighty power at work WITHIN US, God is ABLE to do far more than we would ever dare to ask or even dream of ̶ infinitely beyond our highest prayers, desires, thoughts, or hopes. Ephesians 3:20 LB