Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Thoughts from Ephesians – Part 3

So far we have talked about the first key word from Ephesians, "Sit." We looked at how sitting describes our position with Christ in the heavenlies. We also looked at sitting in relation to being content to sit in the presence of our Heavenly Father and get our direction from Him. Today we will move on from sitting and discuss the second key word from Ephesians, "walk." The Christian experience, just like the human experience, doesn't begin with walking. You don't see many babies walking after they have been born. First, first they learn to sit and then they learn to walk. As we have previously stated, "Sit" describes our position to Christ. Now we are going to see that "Walk" describes our life towards man. It is the expression of our life in the world. Walking is the practical outworking of that heavenly position here on earth. As a heavenly people, we are required to bear the stamp of that "heavenlienss" upon us in our earthly conduct. When someone sees our actions do they see someone that is seated in Heavenly Places with Christ? When someone hears our words do they hear the words of someone that is seated next to Christ? It is a very sobering thought to consider that we represent Christ with every word and deed. What a terrible thought to think that I have somehow besmirched the great name of the Lord of Hosts! How do we avoid this? How do we walk in a manner that reflects that we are seated with Christ in Heavenly Places?

Well, in the epistle to the Ephesians, Paul describes 3 ways that believers should walk. We are to walk "in love" (Eph. 5:2); we are to walk "in the light" (Eph. 5:8); and finally, we are to walk "circumspectly" (Eph. 5:15-16). Whenever I read scripture, I often think to myself, "What does all that mean?" and, "How can I apply this to my life?"

What does it mean to walk "in love"?

First, we must know what love is…because it isn't what one might think based on what we learn from the movies. "Love" ( the Greek word used here is "agape") describes the love God gives freely, sacrificially and unconditionally regardless of response -- love that goes out not only to the lovable but to one's enemies or those that don't "deserve" it. "Agape" speaks especially of love as based on evaluation and choice, a matter of will and action. This love is not sentimental or emotional but obedient and reflective of the act of one's will with the ultimate desire being for another's highest good. Since it is unconditional, this love is still given if it's not received or returned! "Agape" gives and gives and gives. It is not withheld. "Agape" love is commanded of believers, empowered by the Holy Spirit, activated by personal choice of one's will, not based on one's feelings toward the object of one's love and manifested by specific actions (see 1Cor 13:4-8 for a detailed list of these actions. "Agape" love speaks of a love called out of one's heart by the preciousness of the one loved, a love that impels one to sacrifice one's self for the benefit of the object loved. It is the love shown at Calvary. The prototype of this quality of supernatural love is the Father's love for sinful men as manifest by the Son's sacrifice on the Cross. So walking in love, or walking in "Divine Love" is consistently doing, desiring, and praying for what is best for others...even if they are ungrateful, complain, or others would deem them undeserving.

Now we move on to - Walking in Light - EPHESIANS 5:8: "for you were formerly darkness, but now you are Light in the Lord; walk as children of Light". Darkness describes the character of the life of the unconverted as void of truth and virtue in intellectual and moral matters. When we are saved we are called out of darkness and into His marvelous light. (1 Pet. 2:9). I've met a lot of people that have a hard time getting over their sinful pasts. They've done things that they aren't proud of and it is very difficult for them to accept God's forgiveness. We must always remember 1 John 1:9, "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us [our] sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." We are to leave our past in the past! Look forward and walk in His marvelous light! John 12:46 says, "I am come a light into the world, that whosoever believeth on me should not abide in darkness." We are not to abide in darkness or abide with darkness.     We are commanded to walk in the Light. 1John 1:5-7 says, "This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. (6) If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth: (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." Walking in the Light is not fellowshipping and continuing to abide in darkness. This is a somewhat controversial topic, as many people ask, "How are we supposed to save the lost, if we are not to be around them?" Well, I don't really subscribe to the complete forsaking of the lost and excluding all forms of darkness mentality. John is referring to those that claim to be walking in the light and yet continue to walk in darkness. In other words, they claim to be Christians, but are continuing to live sinful lives. There are also those that are Christians, but have no Christian friends. They spend all their time with unbelievers and fellowship with them only. This is a dangerous. We need the fellowship of our fellow Christian brothers and sisters to encourage us and help us along the way. When we do not have that it becomes very difficult to stand firm and continue to make right choices. While I would say that it is not wrong to have unsaved friends, I would certainly caution against developing relationships with only the unsaved. Our relationships with the unsaved should be with the motive of seeing them get saved.

Finally - Walking Circumspectly - EPHESIANS 5:15-16: "Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men, but as wise, making the most of your time, because the days are evil." See to it that you walk circumspectly (akribos - accurately, diligently, carefully). Walk warily, exactly or diligently. Our English word circumspect is from the Latin (circum- = around + specere = look) and conveys the literal picture of looking around or figuratively being cautious. One who is walking circumspectly is one who is surveying all circumstances and possible consequences before acting or deciding. A great word picture! The idea of "akribos" is that our walk is in strict conformity to a standard, and as such calls for carefulness against any departure from what is proper to a believer's walk. How does one accomplish this charge to be careful how we walk?[Soft Break]By not walking unwisely, but wisely, as those who are continually redeeming for themselves the precious time God gives, by understanding His good and acceptable and perfect will and by not being filled with wine but being filled with His Spirit. The present imperative commands one to continually pay especially close attention to how they walk. "Be constantly taking heed how accurately you are conducting yourselves." We need to remember that our heart is more deceitful than all else and that the enemy of our soul constantly prowls around and his desire is for our soul. To walk circumspectly is to walk in the light of our exalted position and privilege as beloved children of God. To walk in an unwise manner means to descend from the high plane and privilege to the profane practices of the fallen world. To walk wisely is to redeem each day, "buying up" every precious moment God gives.

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