Proper living in community of faith
Published 4:42 pm Friday, October 31, 2008
Scripture: Ephesians 4:1-5:19
Aim: To instruct the pupil in some basic traits of character, which the Christian needs to develop in order to become a productive, faithful Christian in the New Community—the Church.
Golden Text: “I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith, ye are called” (Ephesians 4:1).
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Every lost sinner is to be confronted with the gospel message. Each person is to understand that he or she is a sinner before God, and each is therefore “lost” (separated from God) and under the penalty of sin, which is eternal death (eternal separation from God and His goodness).
Jesus Christ came into the world for the express purpose to die on the cross for the sins of men (Romans 5:8). He became sin for men that men may receive the righteousness of God through faith in Christ (II Corinthians 5:21). The gospel message includes, “But as many as received Him, to them gave He the power to become sons of God, even to them who believe on His name” (John 1:12).
Once a person receives Christ as Savior, he is instructed to learn how to live the Christian life. No new convert knows all that is required of him by his Savior and Lord at the time of conversion. Each one is to “grow in grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ” (II Peter 3:18). In this lesson we have some of Paul’s basic instruction as to how to live the Christian life in a way that is pleasing to the Heavenly Father and our Savior, Jesus Christ.
Paul says the member of the New Community—the Church of Jesus Christ—is required to “walk” (that is to live) “worthy” (in a way that pleases God) of the “vocation wherewith ye are called” (Ephesians 4:1). This verse indicates that the sinner is “called” by the Lord to be saved and to follow Him.
Further, it indicates that the Christian life is a “walk”—a constant progression of the proper activities to keep going forward. And, it indicates the Christian life is vocation—a permanent responsibility in which one is to constantly continue to live to please God. Paul gives five basic principles in this passage, which should characterize the Christian’s walk (his life).
I. He should walk in unity with the other members of the New Community and seek to keep unity within the church itself (Ephesians 4:2-16). This requires each one being obedient and in harmony with the Lord and His will for the Church. Love for one another should be evident (vs. 16).
II. He should walk in purity (Ephesians 4:17-32). The old sinful life is to be put away (vs. 17-23), and the practices of righteousness and godliness is to become a way of life (vs. 24-32).
III. He should walk in love as a dear child of God (Ephesians 5:1-7). He is to offer himself to God as a pleasing offering (vs. 2). Again, all sinful practices are to be put away from him (vs. 3-4). He is to not be a partaker with those who are disobedient to God, vain and covetous (vs. 5-7).
IV. He should walk as a child of light (Ephesians 5:8-14). This light comes from the Lord Jesus Christ (vs. 14). This light teaches one how to do the will of God, how to be a faithful Christian, how to be a good witness for Christ, how to avoid and reprove the wicked workers of darkness (sin and rebellion to God, vs. 8-13).
V. He should walk wisely (Ephesians 5:15-19). One should not be foolish to live in a disobedient way (vs. 15). He should use his time wisely (vs. 16). He should seek to understand what the will of the Lord is (vs. 17). This comes from a knowledge of the Word of God.
He should be filled with the Holy Spirit (vs. 18). This means that one has surrendered to the Lord and His will completely. He empties himself of all the things that hinder in living the Christian life and trusts God to fill him with the Spirit. The result is that God will be glorified and the believer will be filled with singing and praising God and Christ in his daily life (vs. 19).
Howard Tillery is the pastor of New Ochlocknee Baptist Church in Grady County. He lives in Cairo.