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Jan 29, 2023

God-Centered Ethics

God-Centered Ethics

Passage: Ephesians 4:25-32

Speaker: Andrew Kerhoulas

Series: Song & Dance - The Gospel Melody that Moves in Ephesians

Keywords: truth, anger, tenderhearted, do not grieve the holy spirit, be kind, build up one another, forgive as you have been forgiven

How do we assess if we are moving through the world, like in a dance, in the way God intends? Specifically, what does it look like on street level to put off the old self and put on the new? We have been trained by religion to pursue impersonal behaviors—a sterile list of things we should start and stop doing. But being free from falsehood, anger, bitterness and the like is not as simple as swapping out bad habits for good ones. Amazingly, God offers us something—or really Someone—to motivate and empower the dance of the gospel. Embedded in the do’s and don'ts is the reminder that the way we dance affects God the Holy Spirit like it would anyone else who loves us—we can even cause him grief. So how do we learn to dance, as it were, in ways that delight the Holy Spirit?

Readings & Scripture

PREPARATION: Lamentations 3:22-26; Psalm 24:7-8, 10
LEADER: The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.

ALL: “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, “therefore I will hope in him.”

LEADER: Lift up your heads, O gates! And be lifted up, O ancient doors,
that the King of glory may come in. Who is this King of glory?

ALL: The Lord, strong and mighty,
the Lord, mighty in battle!

LEADER: Who is this King of glory?

ALL: The Lord of hosts,
he is the King of glory!

EXTEMPORANEOUS PRAYER ending with The Lord’s Prayer:
ALL: Our Father, Who art in heaven, hallowed be Your name.
Your Kingdom come. Your will be done on earth, as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
For Yours is the kingdom, the power, and the glory, For ever and ever. Amen.

CENTRAL TEXT: Ephesians 4:25-32
Eph. 4:25 Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another. 26 Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, 27 and give no opportunity to the devil. 28 Let the thief no longer steal, but rather let him labor, doing honest work with his own hands, so that he may have something to share with anyone in need. 29 Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. 30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31 Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. 32 Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.

BENEDICTION: Ephesians 3:20-21
LEADER: Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever.

ALL: Amen.


  • Matthew 18:21-22; 19:14
  • John 2:13-22; 3:33; 11:33
  • Acts 10:44
  • Romans 12:15
  • Ephesians 1:13
  • 2 Corinthians 1:22
  • 1 Peter 1:5
  • Revelation 7:2-3


  1. Is anger a four letter word in your mind? How does this passage talk about anger? Try to remember places Jesus got angry. Then consider whether there are things Christians should be angry about.
  2. Read verse 25 with this question in mind: what motivates truth-telling? How does this impact your role within our church family?
  3. Which of the prohibitions are most difficult for you to obey and why? How does the gospel empower you to not only obey the negative commands (e.g. put away bitterness, wrath, slander, etc.) but also to live out the corresponding positive commands (e.g. kindness, tenderness, etc.)?
  4. What does it mean to grieve the Holy Spirit (v. 30)? What does this—that we can grieve him—say about the Holy Spirit? 
  5. Spend time meditating on verse 32. Why is the command to forgive possible? Ask Jesus to help you identify someone you need to forgive because of the gospel.



  • For it is an inexpressibly delightful thought, that he who rules heaven and earth, and is the creator of all things, and the infinite and ever blessed God, condescends to enter into such infinite relationships with his people that his divine mind may be affected by their actions. C.H. Spurgeon
  • For me, forgiveness and compassion are always linked: how do we hold people accountable for wrongdoing and yet at the same time remain in touch with their humanity enough to believe in their capacity to be transformed? Bell Hooks
  • There’s just something unsustainable about an environment that demands constant atonement, but actively disdains the very idea of forgiveness. Elizabeth Bruenig
  • Is it too late for Christianity to reintroduce…depths of meaning…which can be found only in the message of a supernatural salvation? Is evangelicalism’s only message today the proclamation of individual rescue from a fore-doomed generation? Or has this evangel implications also for the most pressing social problems of our day?  Carl Henry
  • Our vision cannot be simply for a restoration of churches and Christian institutions to their former states of strength. That is to mistake means for ends. Our vision should be that the astonishing biblical possibilities for the church as the community of the Spirit would be realized in U.S. society in ways it never has before. The church has been given divine power to radiate the infinite glory and goodness of God in our lives and relationships (2 Peter 1:3-8). It has the capacity to be a new humanity—a community of surpassing beauty (Ephesians 2:14-18; 4:15-16). Under the leadership of Christ’s Spirit, churches have the ability to make their surrounding communities far better places to live (Matthew 5:13-16; Luke 10:25-37; Galatians 6:10), so that many are drawn to God’s beautiful glory (1 Peter 2:11-12; cf. Deuteronomy 4:5-8). Tim Keller
  • At the cross we see not only God’s love, but the seriousness with which he takes our sin. Brian Rosner
  • "Jesus wept" is the shortest verse in the bible. It may be the most profound. Here is a God with sacred tears on his cheeks. Being a disciple includes asking Jesus to teach us the way of tears. Push back on the trivial distractions that rob you of your capacity to love. Jon Tyson
  • Live to the point of tears. Albert Camus