Summary: Our response is all about conforming our life to God’s expectations not God conforming to our expectations.
“Learning How To Walk A New Way” – Part Three
OPEN: So today we want to continue on our study of Eph. in the fourth chapter. Paul says we are to walk worthy of the calling we have received. We’ve noted that if we are truly going to respond properly – live properly in response to what Jesus has done for us there are these five first steps we have to take. We’ve only covered one of them thus far. We are to be completely humble. (pop quiz - how many people would say you’ve mastered this one already (humility) and are ready to move on to the next step?) If you raised your hand, you failed the test.
Review #1 : First five steps – be completely humble, gentle, patient, bearing with one another in love and united with one another in the Spirit
Review #2 : We’ve already talked about the issue of pride in our lives and seen in Scripture that
consistently, the first step all of must take is a step of humility. We’ve said that pride is a kind of plagiarism that takes credit for what God has created and authored. Humility is dealing with ourselves honestly before God. See ourselves as He sees us
- Note this: These are the very first steps that God says we are to take when we decide to become a Christ follower. What do we normally tell people after they become a Christian that they are supposed to do? When someone becomes a Christian we, we tend to say to them, now that you're a Christian you need to read the Bible and you need to pray and you need to go to church and you need to talk about Jesus to others and, and that's right, that's all true - but there’s actually a problem with all those things. Because a person can start doing all that activity and not have had any real change on the inside. Sometimes I’ll ask a person, “Tell me what has changed in your life since you’ve accepted Jesus as Lord and Savior?” “Well know I go to church and I attend a Bible study and I help out with the kids and I tell my friends about Jesus.” “OK – OK – that’s all good – But what has changed about you? You are telling me what about your doing – not about your being. You’re giving me an external answer to an internal question. What the Apostle Paul is saying here is look, now that you're a Christian and now that you know who you are here is what I want you to do, and he talks only about the inner man, only about the inward graces.
- Our response is all about the internals – not the externals. Initially it’s all about experiencing change with internal attitudes not external activity. Ill. when a child begins to walk it’s a great mile marker for mom and dad. They can take great joy in the fact that their child is growing up. But if after that child learns how to walk they use their mobility to go around the house and break things – you’re going to be fairly upset. Or if after they learn how to talk they all they do is call you names and say you’re stupid – you’re going to respond to that immediately. If the internal attitudes are not matured before the external abilities are developed you’re not parenting your child properly. It’s the internal attitudes that matter the most and need to be the primary focus. What ends up happening way too often in the church is we take brand new baby Christians and press them into service without giving the child a chance to process through the internal struggles that we all face. We do so at a disservice to them and to the Body of Christ.
Our response is all about conforming our life to God’s expectations not God conforming to our
expectations. Walking refers to the idea of daily conduct, it's the idea of daily living, it's the idea of daily life – it isn’t as much “something to do” as much as it is how we respond to the people and circumstances around us. Walking a new way has to do with our understanding and accepting the authority and the power of God’s Word – We walk differently when we walk out of here having something changed within us. I’ve been thinking that the way we end our services fall short of what we should be doing each week. “If there is anyone here that would like to respond to what God’s Word says today, please raise your hand.” Here’s my concern: Wouldn’t we all want to respond every week? Does it make any sense to sit in the pew and say – “I really don’t need this portion of God’s Word? “I’ll make the decision whether I really need to apply this to my life.” We become the judge of God’s Word instead of God’s Word judging us.