Summary: If we are going to reach our full potential as believers and as a church we have to deal these basic concerns first.
“Learning How To Walk A New Way”
Ephesians 4:1-10 May 31, 2009
OPEN: Last week we started on this study in Eph. 4 and we are learning how to walk a new way. It doesn’t matter what your age is – there should always be something new entering into your walk with the Lord. If you are not experiencing ongoing change in your walk with the Lord – I would suggest there is something wrong. “I learned how to do it right way back when and I’ve been doing it right all along since then.” What a prideful thing to say. “I don’t need to change anything about my walk with the Lord, I’ve already got it all figured out.” “I don’t need Bible study, Sunday school, worship service – my walk is A-OK.” What a total lack of humility. Exactly the opposite of what God calls us to.
There are five characteristics that start us off on our journey – five baby steps if you will that have to be in place if we are going to walk properly. If we are going to reach our full potential as believers and as a church we have to deal these basic concerns first. And last week I noted that these steps are progressive in nature. You have to focus on step one before you attempt to move on to step two. This isn’t hop-scotch. You don’t get to jump over one to get to another. “The humility thing is kind of hard for me – so I’ll skip that and come back to it some other time.” It doesn’t work that way. Here’s why – God doesn’t work that way. He’s recorded these issues the way that he wants us to deal with them. You might want to jump over one so you can move on to the next – but that doesn’t mean he’s going to agree with your approach. None of us get to pick and choose which parts of God’s Word we want to follow and which parts we want to ignore. Now I called these baby steps – and I guess I probably need to find another way of expressing that – they are first steps – but that doesn’t mean that any of these issues are simple steps.
* Walk Worthy of Your Calling. Last week we said that the word “worthy” is means to balance out the scales. We have in the first three chapters the rights and the honors and the privileges and now in the last three chapters he says, “Here are the requirements. If you want to be a meaningful part of God's church, if you want to be somebody that matters in His church, if you want to advance the Kingdom- if you really believe in this then here are the standards by which you are to walk. – Here’s how the scales balance out according to God’s point of view.”
So last week we started on just the first one. Humility is dealing with yourself honestly before God. It
is honest self-awareness. And this is where it all starts. Humility begins with an honest person begins seeing himself honestly before God.
By the way, how do you think Paul learned that the first step in the life of the believer is always
humility? It was the very first lesson Jesus taught him – Paul could have easily pointed at his credentials and said: “I’m already qualified.” (Phil 3:4-9) If anyone else thinks he has reasons to put confidence in the flesh, I have more: 5circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; in regard to the law, a Pharisee; 6as for zeal, persecuting the church; as for legalistic righteousness, faultless.
7But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. 8What is more, I consider
everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ 9and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith. We all want to point back to our prior experiences – our prior education, our credentials, our prior positions and say, “Just look how qualified I am” Paul says, “In humility I had to throw all that away - then I was qualified to be used by Christ. I had to get honest about who I was before God before God could really use me.”
The way Jesus starts out in the Sermon on the Mount – His first sermon starts with the issue of humility. Blessed are the poor in spirit – for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are they that mourn. Blessed are the meek. Blessed are they who know they don't have anything so they hunger after and thirst after righteousness. The scribes and Pharisees in the crowd that day would consider themselves rich in spirit - rich in spiritual knowledge, rich in spiritual piety, rich in spiritual activity. When it came to spiritual accounts - they didn't need anything from Jesus or anybody else. Jesus says – “I can’t work with people like that – Because what they are really doing is desiring people to acknowledge them – to look at them –to remember them. They are competing for His glory. Their piety is really rooted in pride. – I want to spend a little bit of time on this today. My temptation was just to go along in this book and follow my outline – but I really feel God has slowed me down. These topics are just so important in all of our lives.