Summary: We cannot be worthy of Christ’s love and sacrifice, but the Bible DOES encourage us to WALK IN A MANNER WORTHY of Christ. We walk on two legs -- education of God’s Word, and action for God.
In this, the opening verses of his letter, Paul praises the Colossians for the good that is in their church, and by encouraging them in verse 10 to “live a life worthy of Christ.”
“Live a life worthy of Christ…” -- Easier said than done.
In the movie, Saving Private Ryan, actor Tom Hanks plays an army captain who is among those American soldiers who took part in the D-Day Invasion of World War II. Shortly after the invasion, this captain is put in charge of a special mission -- save Private Ryan. Ryan’s brothers have all been killed in different battles during a short period of time. Only he survives among his siblings. The military decides Private Ryan must be located and returned safely home to his family.
But the search is not easy. Many of the men in the group are shot and killed along the way. The cost is incredibly high. At one point, the character played by Tom Hanks talks to his men and in frustration says, “This Ryan had better be worth it. He’d better be a genius or something. He’d better live a long life and do something like invent a longer lasting light bulb or something.”
Finally, they find Private Ryan. But before returning to safety, the captain is shot. Mortally wounded, he looks up at Private Ryan and with his last breath, says, “Earn this.”
It is a touching moment.
The captain died for this private, and the private had better live up to that honor.
Christ died for us, and we’d better live up to that honor.
Our lives should reflect that the sacrifice made by Christ was worth His life.
It is a tall order -- live a life worthy of Christ. In the movie, Saving Private Ryan, we get a glimpse of this. A man is about to die. He orders the soldier for whom he has given his life to live up to his sacrifice and to earn it. No one would want to sacrifice his or her life for nothing. We would want it to count for something. We would want the person for whom we died to live a life worthy of the life we were giving up.
So -- Christ died for you. Your life, therefore, had better be worth that sacrifice.
How do we do that?
Paul wrote his letter in the Greek language and what we read in English as a phrase is actually a single word. “Live a life” is the single word that actually means “walk.”
In fact, some English translations render it this way. The King James Version, for example, says, “Walk worthy of the Lord.”
Now how does one live -- or walk -- in a manner that is worthy of the Lord?
Well, if you take a look at how one literally walks, we do it with two legs -- at least, if we are born healthy and keep our health
St. Paul tells us that we live worthy, or walk worthy, by using two spiritual legs.
Take a look at what he says in his letter, in verse 10: “We pray that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please him in every way:
bearing fruit in every good work,
growing in the knowledge of God.”
One leg is bearing good fruit and the other is knowledge of God.
One leg is action, the other education.
Think about education. Time and again, the Bible affirms the value of knowledge and understanding.
Psalm 119, verse 66 has a prayer in which the psalmist begs God, “Teach me knowledge and good judgment.”
Proverbs 1, verse 7, says, “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and discipline.”
One of the things that has always been a part of the Presbyterian Church is that we have valued education, knowledge and understanding.
Years ago I served a church in Tennessee. That church had been established in 1779 and is the oldest Presbyterian Church in Tennessee. The Session of that church is the oldest continuing governing body of any sort in the state of Tennessee. Shortly after that church was organized, the pastor and elders opened the first school in the community. A short time after that, the pastor opened the first college in the area.
That’s the way it was all over this country. Many of the first schools were started by Presbyterian ministers and churches.
This tradition continues today. Presbyterians value education and knowledge.
Our denomination supports and maintains 66 colleges and universities.
We believe that knowledge is important. When we learn about Calculus, we are not just studying numbers -- we are learning about the principles by which God operates the universe. When we study astronomy, we are learning about the universe God created.