Expository Preaching
J. Michael Shannon and Robert C. Shannon
(c)opyright J. Michael Shannon, 1982
"The Power of Negative Thinking"
Ephesians 4:17-32

Introduction: We have all heard of the power of positive thinking, but Paul also speaks of the power of negative thinking.  However, we most appreciate the demands of the gospel if they are put in the form of positive directions.

Proposition:  Christianity makes moral demands.

  I.  THINK RIGHT, vs. 17-24

A.  Not as the godless
B.  Not as the hardhearted
C.  Not as the ignorant
 II.  TALK RIGHT, vs. 25-29
A.  No lying words
B.  No angry words
C.  No insincere words
D.  No unwholesome words
III..  ACT RIGHT, vs. 30-32
A.  Be careful.
B.  Be courteous.
C.  Be kind.
D.  Be compassionate.
Conclusion:  We speak of a well-rounded personality; but there are three sides to character, and each part is necessary if one is to be a whole person and a holy person.

    In New Zealand, they have a saying, "She'll be right, mate."  Whenever anything is worrisome or anything goes wrong, you will hear that optimistic sentence. "She'll be right, mate."  That is certainly a good and helpful way to look at life.  There is value in positive thinking.  There is also value in negative thinking.  There are some things that will not be right until we put them right.  There are some things that will not be right until God puts them right.

    In Edna St. Vincent Millay's poem, "Concert," there is a verse spoken by a girl as she leaves her lover to attend the symphony alone:

"Come now, be content.
I will come back again to you:
I swear I will.
And you will know me still.
I shall only be a little taller
Than when I went."
After we have been in the presence of Christ, we are always a little taller than when we went!

    H. G. Wells once said, "If there is no God, nothing matters.  If there is a God, nothing else matters!"  That ought to highlight our need to walk in God's ways, to talk in a fashion that pleases Him, and to think on those things that honor Him.

     Do you remember the chant from childhood: "Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me."  It isn't so.  Every one of us has sometimes been hurt by words.  We have been hurt by lying words.  We have been hurt by unkind words.  We have been hurt by angry words.  It is our place to forgive and forget - but also to be instructed by such experiences so that our words do not bring pain to others as others words have brought pain to us.

    Everyone is familiar with that splendid organization, Alcoholics Anonymous.  The idea has worked so well that it spawned Gamblers Anonymous and Overeaters Anonymous.  Now, there is a new one.  It's called Anonymous Anonymous.  It is for all the people who do not want anybody to know what their problem is.  We know the problem, however.  It is sin.  The old man must be crucified and buried and his deeds buried with him.

    When we "get even" with someone, that is exactly what we are doing.  We are descending to their level.  Instead of walking on a higher plane, we are stooping to the same low level they occupy.

    Recently, United Press International reported on the large number of Christian converts in the world of music.  Bonnie Bramlett, Bob Dylan, Donna Summer, B. J. Thomas, Richie Furie, and Al Green are among them.  They all achieved success in the world of entertainment, but found life empty without Christ.  All people need to experience the new life and walk the new ways of Christ.  For that there is no substitute - not fame, not money, not success, not anything!

    Viola Tyrrell writes about Omnephris, a young man who lived in A.D. 60.  Madly in love, he hired a trumpeter to walk before him and a crier to walk behind him.  As he paraded through the streets, the crier shouted, "The noble Omnephris doth love the beautiful Dionysia."  Dionysia relented and married him, saying, "How can I doubt the love of him who hath trumpeted me abroad?" How can we doubt God s love when He offers us such newness? Does God have reason to doubt our love? Are we too coy and shy in showing that we love God and all His children?

The Gospel Issues a Challenge (4:1-17)
Table of Contents
The Gospel Offers a Model (5:1-20)

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