A Worthy Walk?
In verse 9 Paul prayed that they might know the will of God for their life.
The most important thing in the life of a Christian is to know the will of God.
It is really not necessary for you to know the will of God for your entire life.
As a matter of fact, I donít know of anyone who really knows Godís will for their entire life...
Because Godís will is movable.
I did not say changeable...but I did say movable.
Paul doesnít say that it is important for them to know the will of God for a lifetime...
But it is important for them to know the will of God at least a day at a time.
And so in verse 9 he says...
Of his will...because thatís the most important thing for you and me as Christians...
Is to know the will of God.
>But listen to me.
God does not reveal his will to us simply to satisfy our curiosity.
God reveals his will for us so that we might know how to walk.
God not only wants us to know his will...
God wants us to do his will.
Not only are we t trust...we are to obey.
Trust and obey.
Know the will of God, and do the will of God.
And so Paul says, "I am praying that youíll know Godís will."
And then Iím praying that you may live a life worthy of the Lord.
That simply means that you would walk in accordance with the will that God has revealed for your life...
At that particular point in time.
A worthy life that honors the Lord and obeys his revealed will.
An unworthy life is a life that dishonors the Lord and disobeys his revealed will for our lives.
And so when Paul is saying, "Iím praying that you would have a worthy life"...
The KJV uses the word "walks", which means conduct or manner of life.
It is used predominantly by the apostle Paul in the books of Colossians and Ephesians and I Thessalonians.
Paul talks about walking in love.
He talks about walking in the spirit.
Negatively he says, "Do not walk after the flesh."
That means do not conduct yourself, or do not have a lifestyle of living for the flesh, for the self.
But have a lifestyle of walking in love.
Walk in the spirit.
Walk circumspectly or in wisdom.
Walk is a personís conduct.
It is their lifestyle that they live.
And so a worthy walk is a lifestyle that honors and obeys the will of God...
For a personís life at that particular point in time.
>Now he tells us that there are four characteristics about a life that is a worthy walk...
Or a life that pleases God.
Look in verse 10...
Well obviously man in his lost natural state cannot please the Lord.
But when Jesus comes into a personís life that person does have the capability of pleasing the Lord.
And thatís exactly what the Bible is teaching here.
No person in their lost condition can please the Lord because no flesh can glory in his sight.
But when a person is indwelt by the Holy Spirit, cleansed by the blood of Jesus...
In love with the Lord, then that person can please the Lord...
And not only can he do it, the Word of God exhorts him to do it.
He says here that we are to live a life worthy of the Lord "and please him in every way".
And so a worthy walk is a life that pleases the Lord.
>And I believe that most Christians really do have a desire to want to please the Lord.
Now sometimes we get frustrated.
Sometimes we get discouraged.
Sometimes we have put someone up as an example to follow, and that person stumbles and falls.
And when they stumble, it just seems to affect us so negatively that itís hard for us to get over it.
And I suppose that most of you can name a preacher or someone else who has stumbled or fallen...
Or gotten into sin and living in a life of rebellion.
And Iím not trying to glorify that.
Iím just saying that sometimes when we try to please the Lord we get discouraged...
Because we have our eyes focused on others rather than having our eyes focused on the Lord.
That little song says, "Turn your eyes upon Jesus, look full in his wonderful face...
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim, in the light of his glory and grace."
>But there are four elements in the life that pleases God that he mentions here and I want to just share them with you.
First of all, the life that pleases God is a fruitful life.
Look in verse 10...
Being fruitful...thatís in the present tense.
That means it is a continuous action.
It means that weíre not only to be fruitful from time to time...
It means that we are to be fruitful all the time.
We are to continuously be bearing fruit.
Now what kind of fruit is he talking about?
Over in the book of Galatians Paul says, "Now the fruit of the spirit is love and joy and peace and meekness and gentleness and temperance and faith."
He gives nine elements in that cluster of the fruit of the spirit.
But I donít believe thatís what Paul is talking about here.
Although Christians who are indwelt by the Holy Spirit, we are to manifest the fruit of the spirit.
Thatís not the kind of fruit that Paul is talking about, not the fruit of the spirit.
>Over in the Gospel of John, Jesus talks about another kind of fruit.
It is soul-winning fruit.
Jesus said, "I am the vine and you are the branches."
Branches are to produce fruit.
Branches are to bear fruit.
And Jesus said, "those branches that do not produce fruit, I cut them away and throw them away."
Now Jesus is talking here about soul-winning fruit.
You and I are Christians and we are to harvest other Christians.
Weíre to share the gospel.
Weíre to witness and win other people to Christ.
And thatís what Jesus is talking about in John 15.
But thatís not what Paul is talking about here.
When Paul is talking about a Christian being fruitful, heís not talking here about the fruit of the spirit.
And heís not talking about soul-winning fruit.
But heís talking about the fruit of good works.
Look what the verse says...verse 10...
>Did you know that God saved us to work?
God saved us to work.
The Ford plant produces automobiles that they might work.
The Chevrolet plant produces automobiles that they might work.
Timex produces watches that they might work.
God produces Christians that they might work.
Now hereís where the devil has a real field day.
The devil has convinced many people that works are the basis of a relationship with God.
In other words, you work in order to be saved.
And when you finally do enough works God becomes indebted to you...
And you have earned the privilege of going to heaven.
You have worked your way into salvation.
Well I tell you thatís totally false.
Thatís a lie of the devil.
Nobody is saved because of the works theyíve done.
Work is not the root of your relationship with God.
But works are the fruit of your relationship with God.
>Most Baptists can quote Ephesians 2:8 and 9.
The Bible says: for by grace are you saved through faith, and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God, not of works, lest any man should boast.
Oh, not of works.
Thatís what Ephesians 2:9 said.
Man, Iím not saved by works.
But verse 10 says: but we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works.
You see, friends, grace comes into my life through faith.
I put my faith in God and grace comes into my life.
But the Bible says Iím to be a minister of grace.
And thatís not just talking about pastors.
Thatís talking about all believers.
I am to be a minister of grace.
The Bible says, "He gives grace for grace."
You see, grace is supposed to be coming into my life...
And grace is also supposed to be dispensed out of my life.
I put my faith in him and he gives grace.
But it is through the doing of good works that Godís grace flows through my life.
Godís grace doesnít flow through my life when Iím at home in bed asleep.
Godís grace doesnít flow through my life when Iím over in the study locked up by myself with all my books.
But Godís grace is flowing through my life when Iím serving Jesus.
Jesus said, "I must do the works of him that sent me."
A lot of us have forgotten that 90% of serving the Lord is just plain old hard work.
Man it takes hard work to be able to play the organ and piano like Donna, Opal, Connie, Patsy & Marsha do.
It takes hard work for the choir to be able to come and sing like they sing for us.
On Sunday afternoons when weíre getting up from a nap, they are here rehearsing.
It takes work to do that.
But you see, thatís the will of God.
90% of serving the Lord is just plain old hard work.
Weíd rather have spasms and fits and feel good and get in on the miracles and see angels.
I tell you Iíve never seen more movies and TV programs about angels in all of my life.
But I want to tell you, donít trust Hollywood to tell you the truth about angels.
As a matter of fact, some of the stuff Iíve seen Hollywood put out about angels...
Would lead you to believe that angels are involved in sort of criminal activity from time to time.
Demons are but angels arenít.
Angels serve God.
Angels are ministering spirits to the redeemed of God.
Angels stand in the presence of God and worship him and cry...
"Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of Hosts."
All of us like those good parts, those juicy parts.
Why who wouldnít like to see an angel fly across the room?
Who wouldnít like to experience a divine healing?
Who wouldnít like to have some supernatural fit?
But friend, I want to tell you, most of serving the Lord is just work, plain work.
It doesnít mean itís an energy of the flesh, but it does mean itís work.
And so Paul says, "A life that pleases God is a life that is fruitful", fruitful in good works.
>Now the second thing he says.
A life that pleases God not only is a fruitful life, it is a growing life.
Look in verse 10: growing in the knowledge of God.
Growing in the knowledge of God.
You know what?
Many people consider salvation to be an end.
But friends, salvation is not an end.
Salvation is just the beginning.
Just like the wedding ceremony is not the end but the beginning...
The salvation experience is not the end, it is just the beginning of a life with Christ Jesus.
And yet many folks have stopped at the point where they got in.
>I knew a man that every time you got around him...
He would always talk about some great football play he made when he was in high school.
He had caught the ball and he ran, I suppose probably two feet for a touchdown or something.
You understand it got longer every time he told the tale.
I mean it finally got to the point that he left one state and ran into another state just to run a touchdown.
But his life had stopped at that point in time.
I mean he may have run 50 yards but he hadnít run two feet sine then...
Because his whole life had stopped at that time when the people in the grandstands were cheering him...
Because of that touchdown run.
>Well friends, God doesnít want us to stop in our spiritual development.
All of us would admit that our children grow up too fast.
There is a disease that some children have that they never grow.
They just remain small.
They donít grow physically.
They donít grow mentally.
They donít grow.
They just remain as infants until they die.
They might live several months.
They might live several years.
But they never grow.
None of us would wish that on our children.
God wants us to grow, to increase in the knowledge of God.
>Now how do you do that?
How do you increase?
I know how to increase in the knowledge of mathematics.
You start out with arithmetic in grade 1, and then you move from arithmetic to math...
And you move from math into geometry, and you move from geometry into algebra...
And then on into all the rest of it.
Iíve already gone farther than I ever went.
Thatís how you grow in math.
>How do you grow in the knowledge of God?
I only know of two ways.
One is spend time reading the book.
I donít know how you can ever expect to know about God if you donít spend time reading his word.
The Bible is Godís word, and God reveals himself through the word.
I know that God reveals some things about himself in other ways.
The Bible tells us that the "heavens declare the glory of God."
I can go out tonight and look up and see all of the stars and the moon, the planets.
And I can know that God is a God of glory.
I can know heís a God of design and a God of creativity.
I can know some things about God by observing nature.
I can know some things about God by looking at little babies.
I can know some things about God by looking at old people.
But God has chosen to reveal the deep things of himself to us through his word.
>The second way we grow in our knowledge of God is by spending time with him.
We spend time with him.
Thatís what we call praying.
The Bible says weíre to always be in an attitude of prayer.
That doesnít mean that we always keep our heads bowed and our eyes closed.
If thatís what prayer is, I could never pray driving.
I spend a lot of time praying while Iím driving.
Thatís what spending time with God is.
Talking to him...fellowshipping with him...
Loving him...enjoying his presence.
Paul says, "I want you to live a life that pleases God"...
And that means it is a life that is fruitful.
That means it is a life that is growing.
>Notice a third thing he says.
The life that pleases God is also a life that is empowered.
Look there in verse 11.
He says: strengthened with all power.
That word "power" is in the present tense again.
Not only are we to be continuously fruitful and continuously growing...
We are to continuously be empowered.
God wants us to be strong.
>God doesnít want his children to be wimps.
God wants us to be strong.
Now this is not something that we can do for ourselves.
Man today somebody thinks, "Well Iím gonna be strong...
Iím gonna eat Wheaties, the breakfast of champions."
A lot of folks think in order to be strong they have to go to the spa...
Work out...pump the iron.
Well I suppose you can do that.
But I remind you, the Bible says, "Bodily exercise profiteth little."
One of my favorite verses.
The only verse I like better than that is when Isaiah said, "Let thy soul delight itself in fatness."
My two favorite verses in the Bible.
Being strong physically is something we can do for ourselves.
We can eat the right food...we can exercise...
We can diet and do all that stuff.
But being strong spiritually is not something we can do for ourselves.
>Look at it.
Strengthened with all power according to his glorious might...
Or the power of his glory.
Be strong in the Lord...
Be strong in the power of his might.
Paul said, "I can do all things because I was trained at the feet of Gamiel."
Thatís not what he said.
Paul said, "I can do all things because Iíve learned how to survive in prison."
Thatís not what he said.
Paul said, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."
The one who empowers our life is the Lord himself.
Jesus said in Acts 1:8: Ye shall receive power after the Holy Spirit is come upon you, and you shall be witnesses unto me.
That Holy Spirit power.
Paul said, "Oh, I want to know him and the power of his resurrection."
Resurrection power is moving in this hour that Jesus might be glorified.
God says, "I want you to be powerful...I want you to be empowered."
>And look what he says there in verse 11.
He says, "If youíll let me empower your life"...three things will result.
First of all, patience.
Impatience is a sign of spiritual weakness.
"Well Iíll tell you right now, preacher, I just donít have any patience at all."
Thatís a sign of spiritual weakness because spiritual strength produced by God results in patience.
The word "patience" has the idea of endurance...Fortitude.
It is the opposite of cowardice.
Over in the book of Ephesians Paul says, "Put on the whole armor of God, and having done all to stand."
Man, sometimes itís not easy to stand.
Sometimes itís easy to sit down or lay down or run.
But God has called us to stand.
That requires patience, and that patience only comes by the strengthening of the spirit of God.
>Notice secondly, he says there in verse 11: endurance.
The KJV uses "longsuffering".
The opposite of longsuffering would be revenge or retaliation.
Do you know somebody that loses their temper and flies off the handle and just has a spell?
Thatís not a sign of strength.
Thatís a sign of weakness.
Sometimes we think weíre really being strong and tough and macho when we lose our cool...
And just use language we ought not to use and scream louder than we ought to scream.
"Iím tough...you better look out."
Thatís not strength...thatís weakness.
God says, "You let me empower you and youíll never make a fool of yourself flying off the handle."
And I guarantee you, every time you fly off the handle, you make a fool of yourself.
>Then he says thirdly, "joy".
Not only will there be patience and endurance, but joyfulness.
Hey, hereís one of those great paradoxes of scripture.
We sing, "The joy of the Lord is my strength."
But the converse of that is true.
"The strength of the Lord is my joy."
Did you know that?
The joy of the Lord is my strength...the strength of the Lord is my joy.
A life that pleases God is a life that is empowered by him.
A life empowered by him will produce patience, endurance and joy.
>One other thing.
The life that pleases God is fruitful, growing, empowered and thankful.
Look in verse 12: giving thanks.
>"Well Bro. Joe, you donít know the circumstances that I live under...
You donít know the circumstances I have to live with...
You donít know my wife...you donít know my husband...
You donít know my kids...you donít know my parents...
You donít know my employer."
That doesnít matter.
You and I have an opportunity to give thanks...
And he mentions here five things for which every person can be thankful.
>But there are five things here that all of us regardless of our financial status...
Regardless of our health, regardless of our marital status...
Regardless of anything, there are five things that every Christian can be thankful for.
Look at them in verse 12.
What does that mean?
When you and I read about the inheritance of God...
We need to understand what it is.
>Look over to the book of I Peter 1:3: Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ: which according to his abundant mercy has begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you.
Our inheritance is talking about eternal life in heaven.
Itís talking about heaven.
Itís something that you and I could have never deserved.
We were unfit.
We were unqualified to go to heaven.
But Jesus did something in our hearts that made us fit, that made us qualified to go to heaven.
And friend, for that every Christian can give thanks.
Thank God Iím going to heaven.
I donít hope going to heaven.
I donít think Iím going to heaven.
I donít pray Iím going to heaven.
Bless God, I know Iím going to heaven because Iíve been qualified to share in the inheritance.
Iíve been made part of that.
Thank God for that.
>Secondly, he says there in verse 13, we can give thanks because we have been delivered from the power of darkness.
You remember how it was before you were saved?
You remember those old shackles the devil had around your neck?
You remember those old thoughts you used to think and those places you used to go...
And that life you used to live?
You remember the ungodliness and the wickedness and the immorality...
And the filth and the stench and the muck and the mire?
Thank God, Jesus delivered us from that.
Somebody asked me not long ago, they said, "Bro. Joe, do Baptists have a deliverance ministry?"
I said, "Praise God, we sure do. Weíve been in it a long time."
Because we believe that when a person comes to Jesus, Jesus delivers him from the power of darkness.
When a fellow gets born again by the spirit of God, heís not what he used to be.
Heís not all that heís going to be, and heís not even yet all that he hopes to be.
But thank God, heís not what he used to be.
Saved...the word "delivered" means to be rescued.
It means to be liberated.
We were enslaved, and Jesus has set us free.
Any Christian can thank God for that.
I mean you can drive a í54 Chevrolet and thank God youíre going to heaven...
And thank God he has delivered you from the power of darkness.
>Thirdly, he says there in verse 13: and brought us into the kingdom of the son he loves.
Thank God, he has given to us a new family.
You see, I used to belong to another family.
I used to belong to another kingdom.
Oh, it was a sight...it was the kingdom of this world.
It was the kingdom of wickedness.
It was the kingdom of evil.
It was the kingdom of the devil...
And the devil was the father of it.
Every one of us before we were saved, the devil was our father and our taskmaster.
He told us what to do and we had no choice.
We just did it.
But then Jesus came and Jesus translated us.
You know what the word "translated" is?
It means to be transferred.
It means to be reestablished.
When you translate from English to German or from German to French...
You take a language from one page and you lift it up and you put it over another page in a different language.
I used to be in another kingdom, but Jesus translated me and set me down in a brand-new kingdom.
I have a new family...you are my family.
Weíre brothers and sisters.
Iím so glad to be a part of the family of God.
Thank God...Iím going to heaven...
Iíve been delivered from the powers of darkness.
Iíve been translated in the kingdom of his dear son.
>Oh, thatís not all.
Look in verse 14...he gives us a fourth thing.
In whom we have redemption.
>What does that mean?
It means Iíve been bought.
One fellow said to me, "I know you preachers. You all have your price."
I said, "Youíre right. But you donít have enough money to pay it because the price is the precious blood of Christ."
Ransomed...purchased...redeemed by the blood of the lamb.
You and I were on the slave market of sin, and Jesus came and purchased us.
Yeah, I can give thanks...Iím going to heaven.
Iíve been delivered from the power of darkness.
Iíve been placed in the kingdom of his dear son.
Iíve been redeemed by the blood of the lamb.
I can give thanks.
>But he mentions a fifth thing here.
In verse 14: the forgiveness of sin.
You know what the word "forgiveness" means, what it speaks of?
It means to send away, to dismiss, to put aside.
Thatís what it means to be forgiven.
It means my sins have been sent away.
Get on from here...get on...dismissed...sent away.
You ask my why Iím happy and Iíll tell you why.
Because my sins are gone.
The Bible says in one place that God has taken my sin and removed them...
"As far as the east is from the west."
How far is that?
I have no idea.
Now if God has said as far as the west is from the east, you could measure that.
But God said as far as the east is from the west.
You see, you just start going east and youíll just keep going east.
You might come back to where you were to start, but youíre still headed east.
>Another place God says heís taking my sins and placed them in the center or the hollow of his back.
What does that mean?
Have you ever tried to look at the middle of your back?
I mean an Indian rubber man canít even do that.
When God takes our sins and puts them in the middle of his back...
That means he puts them in a place that he cannot see anymore.
As far as the east is from the west...
Thatís how far he has removed my sins.
He has taken my sins and put them in the middle of his back.
>Another place says that God has taken my sins and buried them in the depths of the deepest sea.
I donít know how deep the deepest sea is.
But God is using figurative language, not literal.
God has buried my sins in the depths of the deepest sea.
>Do you want a life that pleases God?
Find Godís will...walk in it...live in it...
And youíll find that your life will be fruitful, growing, empowered and thankful.
And thatís the life that pleases God.