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Summary: 5 Reasons the Christian life is compared to a walk. Then Paul gives a candid illustration of sex, purity, and holiness. Other topics include the walks of love, honesty, hope, and much more. Link inc. to formatted text, audio, PowerPoint.

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The Ideal Walk

I Thessalonians 4:1-8

Get all 4 parts w/ PowerPoint here:

http://gbcdecatur.org/sermons/IdealWalk.html

So far it has been personal- The Ideal Church [ch. 1], The Ideal Servant [ch. 2], The Ideal Discipleship [ch. 3].

Now it gets very practical.

v. 1 “beseech” = beg “exhort” = command

“Walk” is the key word. [also in v. 12]

Why compare the Christian life to a walk?

Enoch walked with God, and so did Noah. And Abraham told his servant to walk before God.

Walking requires life. Dead people cannot rise up and walk. But many try thru what we call ‘reformation’. But they need transformation.

Ill.—they try to turn over a new leaf, but they need a whole new tree.

Reformation is like a bottomless cup. Because you are trying to fill yourself WITH yourself, and nothing plus nothing still equals nothing. We need to tap into something else outside of us, something much more potent, something which can change us from the inside out and something big enough to fill us and fulfill us.

Walking also requires growth. It’s not only dead men that cannot walk...also babies cannot!

1 Peter 2:2

As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby:

Chapters 4 and 5 give us several areas we need to walk in. And it’s a sure sign of maturity and growth when we are willing to walk in these ways. We’ll be looking at, over the next couple weeks:

Walk in holiness, love, obedience, honesty, hope, gratitude.

Growing spiritually is not a process of gaining things you did not have before you got saved. When a baby is born it has legs already, but they have not grown strong enough to work, and they haven’t learned the coordination to use their legs yet. And God has already given you the capacity and the capability to walk in new ways, but you need to develop the strength and coordination to use what He has given to you.

When you got saved you got the mechanism you need, but now you need nourishment and practice for the mechanics of it all to work.

Watch out for that which will stunt your growth: self will and disobedience. When we say no to God we throw a big monkey wrench into the mechanism! God is under no obligation to continue blessing us and continue nourishing us if we fiddle w/ the contraption. He loves to reveal truth to us but He doesn’t have to. He doesn’t reveal truth to us so that we may consider it...but so that we may OBEY it!

How can some who have been saved for decades can still be so spiritually immature? Somewhere in their past they moved in their own direction of self will. They took a detour from pure truth onto a fork in the road, to go their own way. Maybe they are still heading in a good direction, but not the best direction. They aren’t heading toward the world, but also not heading toward Jesus, but rather to another goal of their own design. Or maybe there’s something they aren’t willing to obey...and the train stops right there!

So, walking requires life, and walking requires growth...

Also, walking requires liberty. If your legs are bound, they cannot walk, even if they have strength.

Psalms 119:45

And I will walk at liberty: for I seek thy precepts.

2 Corinthians 3:17

Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.

Galatians 5:13

For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another.

Walking also requires light.

Ever tried to walk thru the house in the dark, or find your way to bed? The other night we were trying to keep the kids asleep as we made our way to bed and I was finding every toy, box, and piece of furniture along the way, and even a vacuum someone left in the way. My wife said, “Could you possibly make ANY more noise?”!

Another time I was carrying one of our babies down the stairs in the middle of the night and I slipped and hit every step on the way down like a washboard!

Walking requires light, and I’m so glad that Jesus is the light and we can walk in the light, in the midst of a dark world.

1 John 1:7

But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.

Finally, walking requires progress. You aren’t really walking unless you are going somewhere.

Ill.—a walk on a treadmill is a walk to nowhere. There’s no forward progress. There may be a lot of effort involved, but it is futile and fruitless!

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