Summary: When you walk with the Lord you can be sure that you will receive the nourishment needed to produce healthy, growing fruit.
Intro: A farmer one planted two fruit trees on opposite sides of his property. The one he planted to provide a hedge hide the unsightly view of an old landfill; the other to provide shade to rest under near a cool mountain stream which ran down beside his fields. As the two trees grew, both produced began to flower and bear fruit.
One day the farmer decided to gather the fruit from the tree nearest his house – the one used to provide a hedge from the landfill. As he brought the fruit inside the house, he noticed that it was a little deformed – the symmetry of the fruit was not very good, but still the fruit looked edible. Later that evening, while sitting on his porch the farmer took one of the pieces of fruit for a snack. Biting into the fruit, he found it to be extremely bitter, and completely inedible. Casting the fruit aside he looked across the field to the other tree over by the mountain stream. After walking across the field, the farmer took a piece of the fruit from the other tree and bit into it. Find the fruit to be sweet and delicious he gathered several more pieces of fruit and took them to the house.
The fruit was greatly affected by the nutrition of the root. Just as the tree grew by the landfill to be bitter, and the tree by the stream produced sweet fruit, so the Christian has a choice. He can either put down his roots into the soil of the landfill of fleshly pursuits, or into the cool refreshing stream of the person of Jesus Christ. We must understand that the root bears the fruit. The fruit of the Christian is the outward evidence of the inward motivation.
When you walk with the Lord you can be sure that you will receive the nourishment needed to produce healthy, growing fruit. This morning we will look at 5 benefits of Walking with the Lord.
First we need to learn how to walk with the Lord.
I. How to Walk with the Lord. We pick up this letter where we concluded last Sunday [read vs. 9a]. We find here Paul making the statement that they, both Paul and Timothy have not stopped praying for the faithful saints at Colosse. They heard of their growing faith in Jesus Christ – their growing faith is the “it” in the verse if you read the NASB, KJV, or NKJV.
Paul writes that they have not ceased to pray for them. Some may read this and ask “How is that possible – to pray without ceasing?” This statement should not be taken as though they were constantly verbalizing a prayer – we know they could not have because Paul was busy preaching the Gospel to lost people. Instead, we read this realizing that Paul viewed everything in life in relation to God.
As Paul went thru life encountering everything in life – good and bad, what he saw prompted him to prayer in some way. When we hear of bad news our reaction is to pray for God to act in that situation because we know that God cares. When we hear of good news, our response is praise to God because we know that He was glorified. When Paul thought or heard of one of the beloved churches, it moved him towards prayer with God. We could say that a person who prays without ceasing is constantly aware that God is constantly working.
The other side of praying without ceasing is being aware of the needs of those around us. We need to be aware of the needs of others. We need to be able and look at others surroundings and understand what they are going thru.
Illustration: There is a ministry in Waco that will take a group of teenagers and take their money away and any other possessions they may be carrying. They will then give them some rules such as stay in a group together and then they will drop them off for the evening – overnight on the streets of Waco. In order to teach them what the homeless goes thru. They have to find their way back to the shelter where they separate them into 2 groups. One group is given a meager meal such as oatmeal and bread while the other group gets a 4 course meal including steak. They are teaching the kids what we do in society. Those well-to-do eat filling, healthy meals and we might support a shelter to give basics. Here is the purpose: They help the kids understand how the homeless live – they are people-conscious.
These 2 elements (Aware of God working, and aware of people’s situation) together help us to constantly pray. And then notice what and how Paul prayed for these faithful saints [read vs. 9b]. It has been said “a persons prayers are the mirror of his inner life. They reflect the depth of his emotions, the tenderness of his affection, the breadth of his sympathies, and the sincerity of his devotion… an index to his sense of values. ” (Curtis Vaughan; Ephesians, pg 310).