The Walk of The Believer -Ephesians 4:1-3
What does it mean to walk the Christian Walk?
You have probably heard it said; Dont just talk the talk, but walk the walk as well. This phrase is common in many areas of society, whether it be in our jobs, at school, in sports, or whatever. What it means is if you are going to participate in such and such, do whatever it is you are going to do in such a manner that you bring honour to whatever it is you are involved in. Dont go at it half way, give it your best shot, do the best you can do at whatever it is you are involved in. It is all well to talk big saying I am real good at .. But do your actions back up your mouth? As a youth I often heard it said that talk is cheap, which is another way of saying something like, your actions dont back up your mouth.
In the Christian life, we also should back up our mouths with our actions. There are many nominal Christians out in the world who are good at talking Christianese. But their actions, their day to day behaviour says they are not Christians, because they behave like the world. They behave just the rest of the secularized world. Others looking at them would never recognise them as Christians.
What would you think for example of a guy who goes to church every Sunday, all dressed up to the max, and then when he goes to work Monday through Friday he drinks like a fish at night in the bars, swears like a sailor, and gets into bar room brawls on Saturday night? The outside world would never associate him as being a Christian, would they? But, sadly that is how many nominal Christians behave. What is a nominal Christian you may ask? It is one who is a Christian in name only, but in reality is really not a Christian. Those who profess to be Christians, but behave like the world, give the name of Christ a bad reputation. How can we blame unsaved people from not wanting to become a Christian if they see called Christianity behaving like drunken sailors, cheats, thiefs etc.? They have every good reason to call us hypocrites.
A story is told by an un-known writer, about an elderly man who retired after many years in the British army. One day a man who knew about his long history and distinguished military career decided to play a prank on him. As the old soldier walked down the street with his arms full of packages, the jokester sneaked up behind him and shouted, Attention! Without hesitation, the military man dropped his arms to his side, and every package went tumbling to the sidewalk. Without a conscious thought, the veteran was doing what comes naturally to a soldier.
Similarly, as believers in Christ, our behaviour as Christians should mirror, and correspond to the new life in Christ which has been granted us since we gave our lives over to Him. Our lives should mirror more the example of Christ living in us. Though we are still dealing with sinful flesh on this side of eternity, we need to exemplify the kind of person that God wants us to be. When an athlete is performing in the Olympics, he behaves as an Olympian. If he does not he is often disqualified, and he is shamed. A soldier also in training behaves like a soldier or he is discharged, or perhaps put into military prison. As a Christian we likewise need to put into practice the deeds of a Christian and we should not in any way be seen to be behaving in any manner that puts to shame the name of Christ.
By faith in Christ, we have become children of God, who are empowered and enabled to walk the walk of a believer by the enabling power of the Holy Spirit. To walk the walk of a believer is to put into practice the teachings and ways of Christ, so that the world may see Christ living in us.
Richard W. De Haan writes an analogy likewise showing how some do or do not walk the walk. A new Christian was reading through the Gospels. After she finished she told a friend she wanted to read a book on church history. When her friend asked why, the woman replied, Im curious. Ive been wondering when Christians started to become so unlike Christ. What a testimony that is to Christianity. Whether the story is real or not, it is a true statement of what the church has become. It is said, if you want to know what the world is like, look at the church. Why? Because if the church is strong, standing up to its beliefs, being the standard bearer, being in a sense the judge of the world, setting the moral example, the world will be in line with the church. But sadly, the mainline churches have slacked off; have allowed immoral standards to creep into her midst and the consequences are not hard to see. The world has slipped into a slimy pit of immorality, mirroring the days before God flooded the earth because the whole world had become corrupt and immoral.
And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. Gen. 5:5 KJV
How can we blame a new believer as above to wonder what has happened to true Christianity, when it would appear the majority of Christian churches have slipped, appearing to be no different than the world. We have become so un-Christ-like. Rather than trying to behave as true believers, imitating the life of Christ, many so called Christians are imitating the world, rather than Christ.
Roughly 2,000 years ago the name 'Christians' first appeared on the earth. (Acts 11:26) It is true that many today still bear that name, but how many bear the image of Christ? In other words, when he comes back to call His own home , will He find any true Christians? What a sad state of affairs that would be for Christ to come to call home His elect, and to find none but nominal Christians!
Paul writes; For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them. Eph. 2:10 KJV
This tells us that we are saying unto the world, we are following Him, who is Christ Jesus our Saviour.
How dare we then, who bear His glorious name, foul the name of Christ, bring shame to Him, dishonour what He has done for us on the cross by behaving as the world, indulge in every fantasy, in every sinful act that God has decried as evil, as an abomination, doing the same shameful deeds as they who Jesus will one day say; Depart from me into everlasting fire to the pit of hell created for fallen angels.?
Should we not be more like the Master, should we not, live and grow, love as He has loved, showing the world the love of our Master? Should we not deny our self-indulgences, like the Galilean? Should not our motto be; 'More like the Master I long to be!
A true story is told of a missionary who was once captured by rebels and they held a gun to his head. They told him to renounce Christ or die. He replied; Pull the trigger. By Gods providence and mercy, the trigger was pulled, but it jammed. Shortly others came to his rescue and the rebels escaped. Can you picture in your mind, to be at church the following Sunday to hear this missionary say; Friends, we must be faithful, even unto death. Would his listeners not have heard him in a different more profound, powerful way than by one whom had not had a gun pointed at his head, and been told to renounce Christ? His message would have been; if it is important enough for me to die for Christ, should you also not live for him, being ready to die?
Paul likewise, when he was imprisoned for his undiminished testimony and stand for Christ wrote to his fellow brothers, telling them of his imprisonment and stand, and also telling them that what he was doing, he was doing so that they would also follow his example and live for Christ; to live as Christians, and if need be to die as a Christians, standing up boldly proclaiming Christ not only in word, but in-deed also.
Paul was telling them, to not only talk the talk, but to walk the walk also.
One of the biggest barriers we have to reaching the world for Christ is our witness to others by our walk. We are being witnessed every day by others, seeing how we live, how we behave. Do we portray a Christ-like life in our everyday words, deeds, behaviours? The world sees these so called Christians, these nominal Christians, and they see that they, like many of us are hypocrites. They see the office worker who goes to church on Sunday, but behaves like scum the rest of the week. So why, tell me why would they want to become Christians? Sunday morning pulpit preachers and teachers and parishioners are, found in adultery; found viewing pornography, found molesting kids, found in adult book stores, found smoking dope, drinking to excess, etc. Are they a true testimony to the world of what it is to walk the walk? Is it no wonder we are unable to reach the lost of the world for Christ with that kind of testimony? Our words have no power when the world sees us behaving the same as they are. The truth of the gospel is small talk; it is cheap talk to the eyes of the world, when so called Christians do the same as the world.
What does Paul say in Romans Chapter 2 regarding the likes of those who talk the talk, but do not walk the walk, doing the same as the world? Therefore, thou art inexcusable, O man, whosoever that art that judgest: for wherein thou judgest another, thou condemnest thyself; for thou that judgest doest the same things. KJV Rom. 2: 1
Do you? Are you condemning yourself?
Is this not the hour to manifest once and for all true Christ-likeness? Shall we continue to debase the name of Christ? Shall we profess the name of Christ one moment and slander it at the next moment by our witnessed walk? True Christianity must not only be witnessed with the mouth, it must also be believed in the heart, and lived in our daily lives as we walk among the heathen, among our fellow workers in banks, in malls, bowling alleys, in the parks, down the ski slopes, and not only in the church alone.
The book of Ephesians is a strong commentary of the Christian life, both in the here and now and in the coming promises of eternal life. One of the main themes of the book of Ephesians is the mystery of the wonderful truth revealed now to both to the Gentile and Jew. Both believing Gentile and Jew are now one in Christ, being fellow members of the Body of Christ awaiting our redemption where we will be transformed into our new glorified bodies.
Chapter one called the mystery, looks forward to the time, (a dispensation,) when all things shall be brought under control, under the leadership of Jesus Himself. (Ephesians 1: 9,10, 21-23) and all believers shall reign with Him.
Chapter 2 describes the process of salvation by the grace of God, by which believing sinners are reconciled to Him, becoming one with Him as new creations, where God dwells in the human temple, by way of His Holy Spirit.
Chapter 3 continues to explain the mystery of Christ (verse 4) whereby all believers become fellow heirs, partakers of Gods promise (verse 6)
And now we look a little closer at what it is to be true walkers of the Christian faith emphasizing also unity of the body of Christ.
Read Ephesians 4:1-3 to see if we can get an idea what it is to Walk the Christian Walk, not to just talk the talk.
Remember this first though, to walk the Christian walk is not a Fire Insurance to make sure you get to heaven. Many so called Christians have taken on that attitude. They want a simple easy Christian life, getting that Fire Insurance to heaven, without the added responsibility to live as Christ would have us to live. They do not want to Walk the Walk but merely to just be good at Talking the Talk. Is this the life Christ has called us to? They may find at the time of reckoning that they will be surprised when God sends them in the opposite direction, of what they expected. Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatever a man soweth, that he shall also reap. Galatians 6:7 KJV
In the opening verse of Ephesians Chapter 4, there are two very important words which we should take notice of. They are the words, therefore and beseech. First of all, when you see the word therefore, in scripture you have to keep in mind that the writer is about to move from an important precious thought, idea, ready to expand on it to another dimension. In the previous chapters Paul wrote of the Spiritual Blessings of the Christian, both now and future, and now moves to the practical aspects, the importance of Walking the Walk.
The Apostle Paul, also uses the word beseech, when he says, I, (...), beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called. (Eph. 4:1 NKJV) The word beseech means to ask earnestly, to plead, to implore. It is an appeal to walk worthy of the calling of the life we now have in Christ. In other words we are to behave at all times, in all ways, in all manners as Christ would in all situations.
To be called of Christ is a calling which carries with it an honour, a prestige, nobility. To be called means that we are ambassadors for Christ. What higher honour can there be than to be called of Christ, to be followers, resembling His life in us? We are to walk worthy of that calling.
I submit to you that the walk of the believer according to these first three verses includes not just a calling, but a correct attitude, and an endeavour to live up to an expectation worthy of what we have been called to as ambassadors, representatives and followers of Christ. In the King James 1611 the word used instead of calling is: vocation. The word vocation literally means a calling, to which you have been called. What is this calling we are called to? In the secular world, we think of the word vocation, or calling as a job, i.e. banker, teacher or whatever. In church we often think it means our calling, perhaps to become a missionary, a music leader, pastor, Sunday school teacher, or what have you.
All this is good and true, but we have a prior, higher calling, and that is to be saved. 2 Tim. 1:9 tells us God has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was given to us in Christ Jesus before time began. KJV
This is the greatest calling that we could ever have, to be called and saved by God. Remember, it is not us who calls upon God, but He calls us. The Holy Spirit convicts us of sin, convinces us of the sufficiency of Christ and causes us to be drawn near to Christ and to be saved. (Phil. 3:14)
Therefore, now we have been called to the highest calling, we are to live a life worthy of the name of Christ and to be called Christians. We must not do anything that will bring shame or dishonour to the name of Christ, by the things we say, do, dress, act, think, work etc.
Our walk, the Apostle Paul says is to include a right attitude. Our attitude, he says, is to be "with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love" (Eph. 4:2 NKJV).
Lowliness means to be humble. We are not to be prideful. We are to be conscience of our nothingness, to esteem others better than ourselves. Lowliness is the opposite of conceit and arrogance.
We are to walk in gentleness, or as the King James 1611 says, in meekness. Meekness is not weakness as some would have us to believe. Meekness however is to display the qualities of kindness, mildness, gentleness, and to be teachable. Jesus Himself said to take His yolk upon him, and to learn from Him for He is gentle, and lowly in heart. For you will find rest in your souls when you allow Him to be your all in all, to allow Him to take control of your life. Matt. 11:29
The Christian attitude is to be one of longsuffering. Longsuffering is to endure trouble, pain or injury brought on by another, and to be patient with others. Longsuffering means to be able to put up with insults criticism etc. without lashing back and getting angry. Longsuffering means to take the punishment meted out to you, without defending and avenging yourself. Rom. 12:19 tells us,Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord. KJV. See also Deut. 32:35; Lev. 19:18
Jesus gave us the example when He was abused and taken to the cross and crucified, though He did no wrong. Also before the cross, he said,To him who strikes you on the one cheek, offer the other also. And from him who takes away your cloak, do not withhold your tunic either. Luke 6:29 (NKJV)
Longsuffering also means to patiently bear the faults of others. After all, which one of us is perfect? Just think how much happier would be our homes, churches and places of work if we learned to patient with one another, excusing each others faults and shortcomings.
Thirdly Christians are to walk with an attitude of love. What does Paul say about the subject of love in 1 Cor. 13:4-7? He says love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up. Love does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, and thinks no evil. Love does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in truth. Love bears all things, hopes in all things, and endures all things.
Why are we as Christians able to put up with each other despite all our quirks and faults? It is because we have the love of Christ in us. How does that song go? They will know that we are Christians by our love, by our love. (written by Peter Scholtes additional words and music by Carolyn Arends. © 1966 by F.E.L. Publications, Ltd./ASCAP (1925 Pontius Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90025)). This is how we ought to treat one another, with love.
If you truly loved your neighbour, would you be doing anything to offend them, or cause them to be upset with you? Of course not! Yet we all do from time to time dont we? It is a good practice to think before we speak. That way when you are tempted to say something that is not nice to another, you will think twice before doing so and say something nice instead.
In years past it was common to see some folks wearing a bracelet with the initials; WWJD. It stood for 'What Would Jesus Do'. This was a constant reminder to act as Jesus would in all situations. Would Jesus purposely insult you, cut you down? Would Jesus pick on you? Would Jesus swear at you? Would Jesus go out of His way to defame your character behind your back? So why do we?
In verse 3 of Ephesians chapter 4, Paul says that we are to Endeavour to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. The key word of course is endeavour. What does the word endeavour mean? It means to try hard, to attempt earnestly, to make an effort, to strive towards a goal of action.
So Paul is saying here that we are to try to make an earnest effort at maintaining unity. We are to work hard at, or strive diligently and apply ourselves earnestly at maintaining a unity, a oneness, a harmony in the spirit of peace with our fellow man. This follows well what Paul has been appealing for us to do already, doesnt it? It is hard work for many to keep the peace no matter where you are at, whether it is at home, at work, at church, or even in your marriage.
Most of us want to do things our own way, rather than making an attempt at being agreeable, working in unity with one another. We cringe at the thought of compromising or agreeing with one another, when in reality we would rather do the opposite. To get along with others is hard work. We have to work hard at it.
Here are some examples of what it is to Endeavour to Keep the Peace in Unity. Sometimes you need to bite your tongue when you want to speak out if you feel wronged. Sometimes you need to do what others are doing rather than doing things your own way. You must be careful not to spread rumours. You need to avoid gossip, slander and dissing someone. Dont cut others up. Avoid sarcasm. Do not be negative with one another. Do not assume things about others until you have all the facts.
What do you think are the biggest problems in the church today? Division and disunity are probably the biggest problems in many churches today. Jesus said in Mark 3:25, And if a house is divided against itself that house cannot stand. (NKJV).
A divided church you see, is a dying church. In many of the bigger churches they find it difficult to accomplish maintenance projects because of all the infighting among themselves. Everyone has his or her own opinions on how this or that should be done, what colour, what wallpaper to use etc. And no ones opinion is right except your own. That unfortunately is the prevailing attitude in many churches today.
Unfortunately also there are those within the church whose sole ambition seems to be to cause disunity, to sow the seeds of disharmony, rather than to do the opposite. Some unfortunately thrive on controversy. Some go out of their way to sow seeds of discontent, to catch the preacher at a mistake, always looking for a way to cause division.
In every church youll always find those who are critical of everything that goes on within, criticizing leadership, or the way things are done, often dissuading change. God says in Prov. 6:19 that He hates the one who sows discord among brethren. If this be so, then we must work hard at guarding our tongues, our thoughts, our words and our actions.
Division is just not common in the church. Division is alive and well also in the home as well. It is just as important to keep unity and peace at home as it is in the church or at work or at play.
For example someone may want and insist on having the biggest piece of pie at supper time. Another may make certain that they get the most comfortable chair in front of the television. You may push your way into the bathroom first thing in the morning. Kids especially will fight to sit beside the window in the car. At play you may argue to be the captain of your 'pretend' ship. An older bigger kid may insist on being the captain of the 'throw together' baseball team. Adults and kids fight to have the best seat on the boat. The list goes on and on.
The same problems are found at work. Why do you think there is so much trouble at the work place, why are there so many strikes? There is always someone who wants to be top dog, to get their own way.
Is this a new phenomenon? It surely is not.
Disunity and disharmony began way back even before there was time on earth. Let us read briefly Isaiah 14:12-15.
How are you fallen from heaven O Lucifer, son of the morning? How are you cut down to the ground. You who weakened the nations! For you have said in your heart: I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God; I will also sit on the mount of the congregation On the farthest sides of the north; I will ascend above the heights of the clouds, I will be like the Most High. NKJV
Do you see it? He wanted the best place in front of the T.V. He wanted the best seat in the ball park. He wanted to be top dog. He was not satisfied with the position and place God had given him in the universe. He basically had it all, yet he was still not satisfied. Greed and pride go hand in hand.
Greed and pride also breeds disharmony and disunity. Greed and pride breeds division.
Do you now see why it is important to endeavour to be at peace with one another? Do you now see why it is important to have an attitude of humbleness, meekness, longsuffering and love?
What is the fate of those who strive to do otherwise? Let us return again to Isaiah 14:15. To Satan, God says, Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit. KJV This is a solemn warning. This may not be the destiny of all, especially believers, but Jesus makes it plain to those who want to be first that they shall not be first, but they shall be last. Matt. 19:30 And Mark says in 9:35,If anyone desires to be first, he shall be last of all and the servant of all. KJV
So where is your heart? Pray and ask God to show you where your heart is at. It may be a scary thing to do, because you may not like what you see. But is it worth your while to continue your life with an unclean heart? Or will you strive to be a better person and follow the desires and commands of God.
What kind of a Christian are you? Do your desire to strive forward and accept the calling of salvation as God has laid it out for you? Do you desire to strive forward and work hard to have an attitude of lowliness and longsuffering and love? Are you endeavouring to work hard at maintaining unity and peace with not just your fellow Christian, but also with your fellow man?
Have you been Walking the Walk, or are you just Talking the Talk? If you have just been talking the talk? Pray now that God will change you from the inside out. And obey the commands to walk the walk, endeavour to work hard at being the kind of person that God wants you to be, so that others will see a difference. Do others when they look at you see someone who is different, or do they just see another person of the world?
Are you a man or woman of God?
Are you Walking the Walk?
Unless otherwise mentioned: Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
However, there are very many good reasons that we should go to church. For when we do we learn more about God, we are drawn closer to God, We enjoy the fellowship of other fellow believers, we learn from one another, we build up one another to name but a few good reasons to go to church.
The Bible itself is clear also and speaks to us on why we as believers should go to gather together in fellowship to worship by way of songs and praise to our God who is worthy of our praises.
Let us look at some scriptural passages which speak of fellowshipping together and why we should gather together.
It is God’s will
“Then those who feared the Lord spoke to one another,
And the Lord listened and heard them;
So a book of remembrance was written before Him
For those who fear the Lord
And who meditate on His name.“ Malachi 3:16 NKJV
“For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.” Matthew 18:20 KJV
“Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.” John 17:20-21 KJV
When we gather together, God is in the midst of us
“That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ.” 1 John 1:3 KJV
“But ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels, To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect, And to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things than that of Abel.“ Hebrews 12:22-24 KJV
“But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.” 1 John 1:7 KJV
“O magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt his name together.” Psalm 34:3 KJV
“Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.” Hebrews 10:25 KJV
When we gather together we are exhorted
“Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.” Colossians 3:16 KJV
We are comforted & edified when we gather together
“Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also ye do.”
1 Thessalonians 5:11 KJV
God is delighted when we gather together
“But to the saints that are in the earth, and to the excellent, in whom is all my delight.”
Psalms 16:3 KJV
“When I remember these things, I pour out my soul in me: for I had gone with the multitude, I went with them to the house of God, with the voice of joy and praise, with a multitude that kept holyday.” Psalms 42:4 KJV
“Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity! It is like the precious ointment upon the head, that ran down upon the beard, even Aaron's beard: that went down to the skirts of his garments; As the dew of Hermon, and as the dew that descended upon the mountains of Zion: for there the Lord commanded the blessing, even life for evermore.“ Psalms 133:1-3 KJV
I could go on, but these are all very good reasons why we should go to church and fellowship together. To not gather together is to miss out on the many blessing by God upon those who do fellowship together.
Again, you do not need to go to church to be saved, but then again, God commands us to for our benefit in many ways. To abstain is to miss on so many blessings and learning and to be uplifted, encouraged etc.
The choice to stay away is your own but………….. !
The Submerging Church
The Church - Not the Place to be Entertained (Part of an Email)
This is a needed message for our day with so many talking the walk, but few walking the walk.Many play at being a Christian, few allow Christ in You.. There is a big difference. For we will never be holy people of God, if we do not allow Christ to be all in us, to have full control of every aspect of our lives. The local church likewise plays at being a church, but few are led by God. God for the most part is no longer allowed in the local church because its leaders and people within are satisfied to do church, but are not allowing God to lead. Are not allowing Christ to be the centrality of the service. Too much emphasis is placed in entertainment, not enough in worshiping God. Individuals also are not worshiping in the true spirit of worshiping their maker, but are rather at church to be entertained and not to worship. There is nothing wrong with entertainment, but the church is not the place to be entertained. It is a place of worship, to bow before our Lord and Savior, to draw close to Him, to be in His presence, to learn from His Word, to allow Him to speak directly to your heart through prayer, meditation of His Word and the message given.
If you go home after a church service and have not been blessed, you did not worship, you were entertained or bored, perhaps sleeping.
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