Christ and the Church 4: Christ in Our Outward Walk
Text: Ephesians 5:1-20MS Word Link
Joke: Former brawling lumberjack, gets saved and called into the ministry. He takes a small church back up in the mountains among the same kind of lumber camps he used to work at. He preached hard and long against the sin in the camps, especially the drunkenness. One particular man took it personally and one day after he had drunk all night rode out to the church to teach that interfering preacher a lesson.
He rode into the church yard and there was the former lumberjack now a pastor doing some work around the church. The drunk rode right up to him, jumped off his horse told him, “I’m sick and tired of your preaching” and then he took a swing at the new pastor. The pastor had been a lumberjack for good reason, he was tall, well over 6 foot and heavily muscled from all the years of hard work felling trees. He had also been a man who before he got saved loved to fight, but now God was his father and Jesus was his savior and he wasn’t going to brawl with this drunk, especially in the church yard. So he just spun him around picked him up by his collar and by the seat of his pants walked over to the 6 ft high fence on the side of the church yard and lifted the man over the fence and dropped him. As he walked away he heard the man call out and as he looked back around he saw, the now very polite drunk looking through a knot hole in the fence. As he listened the man said, “Pastor, if you’ll just hand me my horse over this here fence, I think I’ll be on my way."
That pastor had to live and act differently than he did when he was lost. He had to walk a different path and that is what Paul was encouraging the Ephesians to do in the chapters we have been looking at.
Review: Christ and The Church
Chapter One – Who We are In Christ
1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ:
Chapter Two - Salvation In Christ
2:8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
Chapter Three – Grow In Christ
3:18 (You) May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; 19 And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.
Then last week in Chapter 4 we began the practical section of the epistle with Christ in our Walk.
4:1-6 Walk In Unity
4:7-16 Walk in Maturity
4:17-32 Walk In Newness
Imitators of the Almighty:
Then Paul says in Eph 5:1 Be ye therefore followers of God
The Gk word is μιμητής (mimētḗs) where we get the word mimic and imitate. Paul is telling us to be like our heavenly Father, to follow him, to imitate him. And he adds a qualifier as to how we are supposed to do that. “As dear children.” God is our father and we are his children therefore, it should be natural for us to imitate and follow Him because this is who we are, we are children of God. There should be a family resemblance.
When I was a boy growing up in the same town where my grandparents and dad had lived, people were constantly asking me, “aren’t you Sammy Minefee's boy? You look just like him.” I didn't try to look like my Dad. I just was like my Dad because I was his son.
That’s what Paul is telling the Ephesians, be like your Abba, Father. We need to have people around us notice the resemblance. Wouldn’t it be great to hear from a lost person, “I can tell, you must be a Christian.”
That resemblance is seen in our walk. Now Chapter 5 is a continuation of the theme of Christ in Our Walk from Chapter 4 so I couldn’t understand why in 5:1 Paul says, Therefore. “Be ye therefore followers of God” What was the reason for the conclusion. So I looked at the walks of chp 4 and of chp 5 and I say a difference. If I had seen it last week I would have labeled last week’s sermon Christ in our Inward Walk, because as you look at the descriptions, Unity, Maturity and Newnews, you can see that those are inner qualities, but when we come to chapter 5 these walk are outward walks, our life that is seen by the lost.
And the first outward walk is Walking in Love.
Walk In Love – Ephesians 5:2-14
And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour. But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints; Neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient: but rather giving of thanks. For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience. Be not ye therefore partakers with them.
Showing God’s Love
The word for love here is the one you would expect, agape, self-giving, sacrificial love. The love that Jesus had for us is the love that is to empower our walk in Christ.
And this love is meant to be seen. It cannot be agape love unless it is a giving, sacrificial love and that can only be true when we are giving or sacrifice to and for others.
I wanted to sing that chorus, we used to sing as teenagers in the southern Baptist church I grew up in. “They will know we are Christians by our love, by our love. Yes they will know we are Christians by our love.” I didn’t use it because it also says things like We are one in the spirit we are one in the Lord and we pray that someday all unity will be restored” No Baptist can sing that, it was written by a Catholic priest and that is what they would like for all denominations to be gathered back to Rome, well Baptists were never part of that mess and we can’t sing about unity be restored when there never was unity with error, but I still like the part that says, “They will know we are Christians by our love.” Yes they should know that. The lost world should know the love of Christ in us and through us, poured out to them.
Paul also makes sure that the Ephesians, who were former pagans and many of whom worshipped their Gods by in immoral sexual rites, understand what Christian love was not,
Walking in Love as followers and children of God is not anything like the world’s ideas of love.
He lists the world’s corrupted ideas of love.
Fornication: any sex outside of marriage.
Uncleanness: pornography, voyeurism, lust and creating lust in others.
Covetousness: love of things
He exhorts them, “Let in not be named among you, as becometh saints.” Because of who you are, a saint, a sanctified and separated one.
Then he lists the kind of speech that can’t proceed from a mouth controlled by God’s love
Filthiness: foul mouth
Foolish talking: being the fool instead of the saint.
Jesting: dirty jokes
But rather, Paul says, God’s love is expressed by the giving of thanks.
Your speech should reflect God’s grace and love not the world’s filth and immorality, because someone out in the world is always listening.
He tells them, “This you know” - this is the knowledge of a child of God,
No whoremonger: lover of whores, prostitutes
Nor unclean person: whose inner man is polluted
Nor covetous man, who is an idolater
Has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God.
Let no man deceive you with vain, empty words, God’s wrath comes upon the children of disobedience because of these things. Be not partakers with them. Literally, Stop being partakers with them.
We as followers and children of God must be different enough in our walk, in our love to make a difference in this lost world.
We are children of God. Be like Him. You should be a supernatural wonder in a world of supermundane sin. Yet too many times we lose sight of who we are and see only what the world offers.
Peter Marshall describes 20th century Christians in these words: "They are like deep-sea divers encased in suits designed for many fathoms deep, marching bravely forth to pull plugs out of bathtubs."
We are the children of God and we know what is right and what is wrong. We know that we need to live our life under the banner of truth. That we need to see that no excuse for worldliness, will stand one day before God. That our children are watching us, our lost family, friends and neigbors are watching us. We need to wake up to the reality of a world that is dying and going to hell and it doesn’t know the love that you and I know. We need to realize that the day is fading and night is fast approaching. We need to see ourselves as the children of God sent forth into this world to change it by the love of Jesus.
Leslie Flynn in Dare to Care Like Jesus tells the following story: "A Christian baroness, living in the highlands of Nairobi, Kenya, told of a young national who was employed as her houseboy. After three months he asked the baroness to give him a letter of reference to a friendly sheik some miles away. The baroness, not wishing the houseboy to leave just when he had learned the routine of the household, offered to increase his pay. The lad replied that he was not leaving for higher pay. Rather, he had decided he would become either a Christian or a Mohammedan. This was why he had come to work for the baroness for three months. He had wished to see how Christians acted. Now he wanted to work for three months for the sheik to observe the ways of the Mohammedans. Then he would decide which way of life he would follow. The baroness was stunned as she recalled her many blemishes in her dealings with the houseboy. She could only exclaim, 'Why didn't you tell me at the beginning!'
Transition: Paul next goes to our outer walk of light
Walk In Light – Ephesians 5:8-14
For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light: (For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth;) Proving what is acceptable unto the Lord. And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them. For it is a shame even to speak of those things which are done of them in secret. But all things that are reproved are made manifest by the light: for whatsoever doth make manifest is light. Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light.
Showing God’s Light
Walk as Children of light, Paul says, take action, live, conduct your life in such a matter that you make a positive, holy, righteous difference, just be the way you live.
He is telling us still to be like our Father. God is light. Jesus said, "I am the light of the world." We also should be light as He is light.
The Paul lists Four Elements of Walking In The Light.
vs. 9 Light walkers bear the fruit of the Holy Spirit.
All goodness, All righteousness, and All truth.
Vs. 10 Light walkers prove what is acceptable, (what is pleasing) to God.
Vs. 11 Light walkers have no fellowship with but rather reprove unfruitful works of darkness, this the contrast with the fruit of the Spirit.
Vs. 14 Light walkers awake the dead by bringing them to Christ. Wow, isn’t that a supernatural call to duty? As you walk in light you are awaking the dead by showing them Jesus! We as Children of God should go out into the dark cemeteries of sin and set them alight by just walking in.
You these things by being who we are, Children of God, walkers in Christ, walkers in love, walkers in light.
You remember the hero of Star Wars, Luke Skywalker. I always thought at was such a cool name, Skywalker, but you have a better one you for are and I are Light walkers. So next time you introduce yourself you have my permission to say, “Hello there, I’m Kris Lightwalker.” You know people are going to be impressed! Of course, if you have to tell people who you are supposed to be as a Christian, somethings not working in your walk. They should just know you are Chuck Lightwalker, LeeOra Lightwalker, Jason Lightwalker.
Isn’t this what Christ said in Matthew 5:14 Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. 15 Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. 16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.
Illustration: Daniel Webster’s Responsibility to God
At one time, Daniel Webster was considered the greatest of all living Americans. He was outstanding as a statesman, lawyer, orator, scholar, intellectual and political leader. Twenty-five of the nation’s leaders attended a select banquet in his honor. One man at the banquet asked Mr. Webster, "Sir, what is the greatest thought that ever entered your mind?" Without hesitation, Webster replied, "The greatest thought that ever entered my mind was the thought of my responsibility to God." As he spoke, he wept, excused himself from the banquet, and went outside to get control of his emotions.
If that story is true then I believe Daniel Webster probably was one of the greatest of all Americans at that time, not because of his intellect but because he understood how he was meant to walk as a follower of God.
Transition: Paul’s final walk is in vss. 15-20
Walk In Wisdom – Ephesians 5:15-20
See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, Redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is. And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit; Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord; Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ;
Showing God’s Wisdom
See then, in light of what has been said, walk circumspectly, walk wisely. Walk in Wisdom. And again Paul list the elements of our walk, our living that would mark it as a path of wisdom. The Wisdom Walkway is marked by…
Vs. 16 Redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Buying up time, making use of every opportunity by use it twice once here on earth during our life and then in eternity when we receive the reward for how we literally spent our time.
Vs. 17 Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is. You cannot be a wisdom walker unless you know where God wants you walk and what He wants you to do. You can’t be a wisdom walker unless you know the Lord’s will and that is found in and only in, God’s word. If you are wise you will know this book.
Vs. 18 And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit. Now here is some real wisdom, don’t be a drunk. Paul uses wine here because it was the most common intoxicant of his time, but you can put anything here that would fill and control you. The follower of God, the child of God, the wisdom walker knows that they should only be controlled and filled by the Holy Spirit. Anything else makes us look and walk like fools.
Vs. 19 Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord. I don’t know if Paul was a musician, but he sure understand the connection between God and us through music. He says if you are wise then sing and worship through, three types of music, 1. Psalms, 2 Hymns 3 Spiritual Songs. This probably means that the worship music of the church was changing because it had moved past just the praise songs of Israel found in the book of Psalm. Psalms were usually songs set to stringed instruments, but now Paul also mentions hymns, which meant a song of celebration, and spiritual songs, which speaks of songs that reflected the Christians new life.
Finally in vs. 20 Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Wisdom walkers are thanks givers. Truly wise people, know how much they owe to their Lord and Savior and they give thanks always, for all things in His name. In all ways and for all things means you are perpetually thankful.
There are many things in this overloaded, over saturated world of information that tries to convince us what is wise. We have become so inundated with facts, figures and forms that it has become almost impossible to sift through it all and find real wisdom. It truth it was always that way, the world has always tried to drown us in trivia in order to hide from us the truth.
Aren’t you glad God has cut through all that by giving us His Word, the revelation of what is truth and where wisdom may be found?
This is where we come to understand about redeeming time and the eternity that is coming. Here is where we see the will of the Lord. On these pages is where we realize the power and control of God’s Holy Spirit in us. In these chapter and verses is where we learn to praise God and to know why He is worthy of that praise and of our thanks, in all ways and at all times for all things.
Paul speaking to the Corinthians, a city that was renowned for its places of learning, said this in 1 Corinthians 3:18 Let no man deceive himself. If any man among you seemeth to be wise in this world, let him become a fool, that he may be wise. 19 For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God...
Later in 1 Corinthians 4:10 We are fools for Christ’s sake, but ye are wise in Christ …
The world can’t understand this wisdom, can’t see it as anything but foolishness, but the world thinks lust is love and darkness is light. You as a child of God have found real love, you have seen pure light and you now walk in Christ in Wisdom.
What an awesome calling we have been given
Paul began this section of Ephesians by telling us “Walk worthy of the vocation by which you have been called.”
That is quite a walk when you consider what you have been called to. You been called to salvation, called to grow, called to unity, called to maturity, called to a new man every day, called to be, what you are, children of God, followers, disciples, imitators of our Heavenly Father and our Savior Jesus Christ.
It is a walk that will fill a lifetime and it begins again with the very next step I take and I must determine with each step that I will walk this path in love and light and wisdom as the child of God that I am.