Summary: What is the major task confronting the church? – teaching people to walk properly.
Learning How To Walk A New Way”
OPEN: Today we are going to be continuing in our study through the book of Ephesians. This morning we are going to be looking at chapter 4 and learning how to walk in a new and different way. Now I know we are not going to get very far into this today. In fact I’m sure we won’t even get the first two verses covered completely. Now I didn’t start out that way. I started out with an outline of the first 10 verses and that was what I was going to speak on this morning. But I got so wrapped up in some of the concepts in the first couple of verses that I got really bogged down. So I don’t know if it’s my own stupidity or God that has slowed me down - but I chose to believe that it was God for obvious reasons. – Anyway today we are going to be talking about learning how to walk in a new way.
- As parents one of the great jobs we have is teaching our children to take their first steps. The day baby takes his/her first steps is a big day. If mom is at home and dad is at work – the first order of business in the evening is: “Watch this!” And you hold that toddler up and try to get them to duplicate those first tentative steps. The day a child starts to walk is a big deal. It’s a day of celebration and joy. But every parent also knows, it’s only the beginning. Just because baby can take one or two steps, it doesn’t mean they can walk yet. As they start to learn how to walk, there are going to be a number of times when they are going to fall onto the soft padding God has been so gracious to provide on the back side of our bodies. (Wasn’t the Lord so very thoughtful for providing that?) But every parent wants their child to learn how to walk properly. If there is anything that gets in the way of that – it becomes a major issue for the parent. Ill. one of our children actually had a difficult time at first in this area. Our first daughter Nikki had a twist in her legs that caused her feet to turn outward. As a very young child, the bones in her legs started to grow in an unnatural way. She was extremely bow-legged and the bow in her legs was getting in the way of her walking properly. So the doctors gave us a contraption that had straps that wrapped around her legs that put pressure on the bones in her legs as she was growing. Those leg braces eventually changed the way her legs developed and she walks fine today.
What is the major task confronting the church? – teaching people to walk properly. How many of you have ever talked with a person who has either gone through an injury or some kind of devastating accident or experienced a illness of some sort that so effected their legs or feet that they said, “I had to learn how to walk all over again”? Some injuries in life can be so devastating that you actually have to learn how to walk all over again. And that can be a very painful process, depending on the extent of the injuries. You see that’s exactly the way it is when we come into the body of Christ. We have to learn how to walk all over again. We are not trying to correct a few mis-steps that we’ve made along the way. It’s a brand new way of walking – a brand new way of living. We have to be taught how to walk - how to live – all over again. Let’s dig into it:
As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received.
There are two things that identify Paul in this verse. Paul was a prisoner- he was really a prisoner of Rome technically, but he never saw it that way. Some would say he was chained to a guard (and he was) – but in reality he was chained to Christ. And here's a great truth for you to remember. The apostle Paul had the ability to see everything only in the light of how it was attached to Christ. If you saw him in his jail cell – you would say he was attached to the guard – Paul would say – no I’m really here because I am attached to Christ. Referenced everything to the divine. That took everything in life above the mundane. “If God is in what I am doing – then how can it be mundane?” Everything keyed off of his connection with Jesus. Why does he say he is a prisoner? Someone might say – “It’s easy for him to say walk worthy….he doesn’t know what my life is like.” So he just throws this in – I’m a prisoner – and it doesn’t change my walk. Even though the circumstance is negative..there's never a change in the commitment. Even though my circumstances are down – my commitment level stays up. And so he begs even as a prisoner that everybody walk worthy.