June 25, 2017 – Ephesians 4:17-24

Lesson Date: June 25, 2017

Focal Scripture Passage: Ephesians 4:17-24

AIM: To lead students to create lists which contrast the behavior of lost people and saved people, and to evaluate their behavior to see if it gives evidence of genuine salvation.


Before class: Read the notes on Ephesians 4:17-24 found in the Sunday School Teacher Book. Locate a terribly dirty, torn, old shirt or jacket. If you can’t find one, make one. Also, bring two different Sunday School Member Quarterlies (from different quarters), which have different color covers (two other differently-colored objects will work just as well). Pre-arrange with your Class Coordinator or one of your class members to greet everyone at the beginning of class and to lead an opening prayer. Bring the dirty old shirt or jacket to Sunday School, but hide it from view. Have enough copies of “The Behavior of Lost People vs. Saved People” handout for your anticipated attendance. Have some pens on pencils on hand for those who need them.


INTRODUCTION (Create Learning Readiness): As your Class Coordinator (or other class member) greets the students and leads the opening prayer, quietly slip out into the hall and put on your old, dirty, torn garment. After the prayer, come back into the room and begin reviewing last week’s lesson. When class members comment on your nasty garment, ask them what’s wrong with it. Ask them if it doesn’t look like something a Sunday School teacher should be wearing on Sunday morning. Take off the nasty garment and replace it with a clean, new garment. Ask the class if you look better that way. Ask them if you look more like a Sunday School teacher should.

Read the lesson aim to the class. Give everyone a copy of “The Behavior of Lost People vs. Saved People” handout (and a pen or pencil if needed).



  1. Review.
    • Remind the class that we are studying the New Testament book of Ephesians. Locate Ephesus on the map.
    • Remind them that the first half of Ephesians is primarily doctrinal, while chapters 4, 5, and 6 contain very practical instructions for living the Christian life.
    • Ask: “What was last week’s lesson about?” (God’s plan for His church).
    • Ask if any volunteer would recite last week’s memory verses (Eph. 4:11-12).
  2. How NOT to Walk.
    • Ask a volunteer to read Ephesians 4:1.
    • Remind the class that the word walk refers to our daily lifestyle and behavior.
    • Tell them verse 1 begs us to walk worthy of the call the Lord has placed on our lives.
    • Today we are going to learn more about how we should “walk.”
    • If you want to know how to do something, it is helpful to know what NOT to do.
    • Ask the class to listen for how we are NOT supposed to walk, as you read verse 17.
    • Read Ephesians 4:17.
    • Ask: “How are we NOT supposed to walk or behave?” (like “other Gentiles”).
    • Ask: “How does verse 17 say the other Gentiles walked?” (with vain, futile thinking).
    • Explain that the word vanity means emptiness, uselessness, and depravity.
    • Tell the students the “other Gentiles” to whom Paul was referring were lost That means Paul was telling his readers that Christians shouldn’t behave like lost people!
    • Tell the class that the first characteristic of lost people is futile thinking.
    • Ask them to write that on their handout.
  3. The Behavior of Lost People.
    • Tell the class that Ephesians 4:18 contains three more characteristics of the walk or behavior of lost people.
    • Ask a volunteer to read that verse.
    • Turn off the lights in the classroom. Hold up the two differently colored Sunday School Member Quarterlies (or other objects) and ask the class to tell which is which.
    • Comment that colors are hard to distinguish in the dark. Turn the lights back on.
    • Ask the class to name the next characteristic of lost people (their understanding is darkened).
    • Ask the students to write that on their handout.
    • Tell the class there are two more characteristics in verse 18.
    • Ask them to name those two characteristics of lost people (they are alienated from God and they are spiritually blind).
    • Stress the fact that lost people cannot see or understand any spiritual truth (1 Cor. 2:14).
    • Ask them to write those two characteristics on their handout.
    • Tell the class that Ephesians 4:19 contains three more characteristics of lost people.
    • Ask them to listen for them as you read that verse.
    • Ask the class to name those three characteristics (past feeling, lasciviousness, and uncleanness with greediness).
    • Define those terms, as follows:
      • Past feeling = spiritually insensitive and uncaring.
      • Lasciviousness = shameless unbridled lust.
      • Uncleanness with greediness = moral impurity, desiring only to please self.
    • Ask them to write those three characteristics on their handout.
    • Tell the class in simple terms, lost people are spiritually blind, alienated from God, spiritually callous, lustful, impure, and self-indulgent.
    • Tell the students there is one more characteristic of lost people, found in Ephesians 4:22.
    • Read that verse.
    • Ask them to identify that last characteristic of the behavior of lost people (they exhibit corrupt behavior, driven by their deceitful lusts).
    • Ask them to write that on their handout.
  4. The Behavior of Saved People.
    • Tell the class that verses 20, 21, 23, and 24 tell us how saved people are supposed to behave.
    • Ask a volunteer to read Ephesians 4:20-21.
    • Ask the class to name the two characteristics of saved people in those verses (taught by Christ and understand the truth).
    • Ask them to write those on their handout.
    • Stress the fact that lost people cannot understand the things of God, but saved people can.
    • Read Ephesians 4:23.
    • Ask the class to identify the characteristic of saved people found in that verse (renewed mind; in other words, right thinking).
    • Ask them to write that on their handout.
    • In relation to having a “renewed mind,” read Romans 12:2 and 1 Corinthians 2:16.
    • Stress the truth that wrong behavior comes from wrong thinking, but renewed minds produce Christ-like behavior.
    • Read Ephesians 4:24.
    • Ask the class to name three more characteristics of saved people found in that verse (the new man, follow God’s pattern, and behavior marked by righteousness and holiness).
    • Ask them to write those three characteristics on their handout.
    • In relation to being a “new man,” read 2 Corinthians 5:17.
    • Remind the students of the old, nasty, torn garment you “put off” at the beginning of the lesson.
    • That was a picture of “putting off” the old man (verse 22) and “putting on” the new man (verse 24).


PERSONAL APPLICATION: Remind the class that Christians are supposed to walk worthy of their calling (Eph. 4:1) and they are no longer supposed to behave like lost people (Eph. 4:17). Ask everyone to look at his or her completed handout sheet (which should look like the example below). Read over the characteristics of lost people and then read those of saved people.

Lost People

Saved People

v.17: Futile thinking v.20: Taught by Christ
v.18: Darkened understanding v.21: Understand the truth
v.18: Alienated from God v.23: Renewed mind and right thinking
v.18: Spiritually blind v.24: A new man
v.19: Past feeling v.24: Follow God’s pattern
v.19: Moral impurity v.24: Marked by righteousness and holiness
v.19: Self-indulgent
v.22: Corrupt behavior, driven by deceitful lusts

Ask: “Which list best describes your life?”

Tell the students if they are truly saved their life ought to look more like the list on the right. If it doesn’t, then they are either lost or terribly backslidden.

Take a Sunday School Member Quarterly and read the plan of salvation printed on the back cover. Urge anyone who is not saved to trust Jesus TODAY! Urge anyone who is saved but behaving in some area like a lost person to confess and repent of his or her sin. Urge them to get that right TODAY!

Lead a closing prayer of confession and repentance.


CONCLUSION: Tell the class that confessing a particular sin will not necessarily produce victory in that area forever. Urge everyone to be on the lookout for some of those same sins to creep up on them this week. If they are vigilant and prayerful, they can immediately resist the urges of the flesh and yield to the Spirit. Tell them to be sure to walk like a new man this week. Next week they will learn about grieving the Holy Spirit.

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