Sermon from our Sunday morning worship service on June 13th 2021
Last week we finished up Ephesians chapter 3
And just like chapters 1 & 2 - we could spend double the amount of time in them, and continue to learn and grow and hear from our God
Next year, when we get back to the book of Ephesians, we’ll see more that we didn't this time around
But today, were going to get into Chapter 4
I'm going to read the first few verses, but today were just going to focus on verse 1, because of how much is packed in there.
 I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called,  with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love,  eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.  There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call— one Lord, one faith, one baptism,  one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.  But grace was given to each one of us according to the measure of Christ’s gift.
Walk in a manner worthy of ---------our calling.
Not worthy of our intellect
Not worthy of our strength
Not worthy of our ability
Walk in a manner worthy of our calling
If you believe ------ it is not because you were smarter than anyone else
It is not because you are stronger than anyone else
It is not because you are more able than anyone else
It is because God has called you.
God does the calling.
Because of this, when Paul tells us to walk in a manner worthy of our calling, we can understand that how we live doesn't give us entrance into the presence of God.
Ive said this before, and its a reality that deserves to be repeated over and over and over again
Every religion on this planet, teaches humanity to live and act in a certain way, and because of their actions and behavior ----- they have earned and worked for the favor of their God, and thusly God rewards them with salvation
They all teach that humans are down here, and God is up here, and the work we do earns us step by step entrance in the presence of the divine
Christianity, on the other hand, teaches the exact opposite of that
Yes we are down here
Yes God is up here
But no good thing we could ever do will help us climb the ladder up to heaven----
In fact Isaiah 64:6 tells us that if we assume our good deeds and self directed behavior can earn us salvation…..then they are nothing but filthy rags
And the word used there, is the same word used to describe a monthly menstrual cycle
So God, being rich in mercy and lovingkindness ------ came down
He saw our complete inability to save ourselves, and lowered Himself, even to the level of a slave ------ to save His children
We cant work our way up ------- so God came down.
But then we read the words of Saint Paul, and he tells us to walk in a manner worthy of our calling.
As in ------- you are new ----- start acting like it
You aren't the old you anymore ------ so live like it
If you have repented of your sins and believed in the Gospel of Jesus Christ, then the sins of your past no longer have a say in how you live your life ---- now.
Yes there are natural consequences that may have an affect
if I robbed a bank, but then God found me - I still have to serve the jail time
But the manner in which you live your life ------ from the point of your salvation forward --------- is not bound by your sins or the sins of others.
You are a Christian
You are new
The old you was nailed to the cross with Christ, and died with Him ------- so walk in a manner worthy of that calling.
Live ----- like ---- a ----- Christian
Well that's easy, right.
No more swearing
No more sleeping around
No more getting drunk or getting high
No more looking at porn
No more defending immorality
No more selfishness
No more putting yourself before others
No more making a name for yourself
Now we turn the other cheek
Now we are humble
and now we show love to the people who would turn us in to the authorities to save themselves
Whoah ---- pump the brakes ----
As i've mentioned several times, Paul is writing this from a prison cell
In fact if we look at our verse again, Paul is using his status as a prisoner to urge us in our walk.
He isn't commanding us as the mouthpiece of God ----- like he did in chapter 1
Look at those words again:
“A prisoner for the Lord ------ urges you….”
The manner in which we live our life, must come from a place within us that wants to please God. (X2)
I've had friends and family members ask me:
“How do i know that I am saved?”
“How can I be sure that God has elected me to salvation?”
Do you want to live your life for Him? ----- even if you mess up?
Do you want to do the right thing? ------ even though you feel unworthy?
Do you want to see others saved?
Do you want the words of God to be the standard? ---- even though you have questions and confusion and times of weakness?
Then you are saved
The unregenerate heart doesn't want to live for God-----
Do you want to live for Him?
Do you want to see the wickedness in this culture brought to ash and dust?
Do you want to see other people freed from the chains of their sin?
Then live like a Christian and walk in a manner worthy of your calling.
That doesn't mean we save people - at all.
Like we talked about last week, we plant seeds but God causes growth.
But we still have this urging from a prisoner to walk in a manner worthy of our calling.
So-----what does that look like?
How do we walk in a manner worthy of our calling?
How do we honor the calling of God upon our life?
How do we live in such a way that the sacrifice that Jesus made, is evidenced in every area of our life?
A little sidetrack here,
When your reading your Bibles, and these kinds of questions come up?
What does that mean?
I don't understand that?
What is that talking about?
There's more to that, that I'm not getting…..
Check the footnotes.
In a lot of Bibles, there are little letters or numbers, next to different verses, that will lead you to the answers of your questions.
You see, many Christians before us did much more work than any American Christian ever has.
They found the cross references
They put notes in for people who came after them
They connected the dots that God wrote in Scripture, so that the Christians who came after them, would have an easier job of connecting the same dots they did.
And many of those Christians, who worked on the Bible that way---
Finding the cross references
Many of them were imprisoned and killed for their work
Beheaded, burned at the stake, and legally persecuted against
So …… when were reading our Bibles, and we see that God is telling us to walk in a manner worthy of our calling, and we ask…. Hhhhmmmm what does that mean?
We could dig through Scripture and find other books, chapters, and verses where that phrase shows up….. Or we could check out the footnotes and follow the dots that other saints have connected for us.
So…. what does it look like to walk according to our calling?
The first two come to us in:
 so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him: bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God;
Bearing fruit in every good work
Increasing in the knowledge of God
Bearing fruit in every good work----
What fruit comes from your life?
What are you doing for God?
Do you simply believe that being a Christian means checking off a box on a list of Christian beliefs, and once that list is fully checked, then you can sit back and live your life however you want?
When you go about your day to day life ----
Going to work-
Paying your bills-
Enjoying your hobbies-
Raising your children // teaching them the Scriptures //
What fruit comes from you?
Is everything in your life a superficial attempt at keeping normal and calm
Are you so wrapped up in the chaos of this world, that the Godly things take a backseat to the American things?
What comes from your life?
What do you grow?
When someone in your life comes to you, for whatever reason ----- do they see God in you?
Do they see compassion for the lost?
Love for people, who maybe even their own stupid choices have gotten them in the situation they are in?
When we see wickedness and evil celebrated and endorsed ------- do we respond with hatred for those caught in the devil’s snare?
When someone looks at our life, do they see the fruit of the Spirit?
Do they see love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control?
What happens in your life to bring glory to God?
The second thing we see in Colossians 1:10 is that walking according to our calling, means we will not only bear fruit, but we will be increasing in the knowledge of God;
So when you take a look at yourself and your life, and see the fruit that comes from you------
Look to see if you are increasing in the knowledge of God
Do you challenge the beliefs you hold?
Do you ask deeper questions?
Do you read and study the Bible?
We all have phones
We all have Bibles
We all have the internet
The saints before us, and even those alive today, have had their very lives threatened and taken from them, because of the Book that sits collecting dust beside our beds.
Are you increasing in the knowledge of God?
If not ---- why?
Why not learn more?
Why not grow?
Are you afraid of what you'll find?
And then if you do find something within the pages of God’s Word, that you disagree with------ what will you do?
Will you bend what is written, until it fits perfectly in with what you already believed beforehand?
Or will you bend your mind and your will to what is written...regardless of how that makes you feel or the repercussions it will have on your life?
Are you the bottom line?
Or is Scripture?
Because if you want to walk in a manner worthy of your calling, then you need to increase in your knowledge of God, and the only way to do that, is to surrender our own way of thinking to what is written.
So in 1 verse, Colossians 1:10 we have two instructions of how to walk in manner worthy of our calling:
We bear fruit in every good work
We increase in the knowledge of God
Then we can look at: Philippians 1:27 to see another example of how to walk in a manner worthy of our calling:
 Only let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving side by side for the faith of the gospel.”
So….if we want to walk in a manner worthy of our calling, we:
Bear fruit in every good work
Increase in the knowledge of God
Stand firm with other Christians, side by side, striving for the faith
I've been saying it all through the book of Ephesians ------ we are one body
There is no such thing as a lone wolf Christian
We are called to work together
Stand with one another
When one member of the Body is weak and frail and hurting
We stand by their side
Showing them compassion and sympathy
Praying for them
Helping them in whatever way we can
That verse in Philippians, even says that we are to live in such a way….. That other Christians, even if they are absent from our day to day life ----- hear that we are standing side by side with our brothers and sisters ----- and striving for the faith.
We bear fruit ----- together
We increase in the knowledge of God ------ together
We gather together
Live our life together
We are never to be ok with superficial, meet and greets between the people in our life for whom Christ died.
God placed us in their life --- intentionally
Knowing that the way we live can compliment others
Can help others
Lift them up
Gently and compassionately correct them
Strengthen and encourage them
In fact, if we refuse to stand side by side with the other Christians that God placed among us ------ then we are intentionally not living our life worthy of the calling of God.
We are assuming we don't need help
We are placing ourselves apart from them or above them….instead of beside them
We are saying that we ourselves are smarter or holier or better christians than all those other christians….. So we are just going to do our thing, the way we want to, because we want to, and no one else can tell us otherwise.
Romans 16:17 says:
17 I appeal to you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine that you have been taught; avoid them. For such persons do not serve our Lord Christ, but their own appetites, and by smooth talk and flattery they deceive the hearts of the naïve.
If you intentionally cause divisions contrary to what Scripture teaches ----- then you do not serve Jesus Christ, but your own appetite.
Do you want to walk worthy of the manner in which you were called?
Then bear fruit in every good work
Increase in the knowledge of God
And work together with other Christians --- side by side---- striving for the Gospel
In closing -------
Look at your life
Has it stalled out?
Have you been treading water for so long you've forgotten how to swim?
Are you bearing fruit?
Are you increasing in the knowledge of God?
Are you standing side by side with other Christians as you all move forward and strive for the faith?
This world is lost and hurting-----
They need the truth
We know where the lifeboat away form this sinking ship is-----
We know His name---
We worship here in this building every Sunday----
We worship Him in our homes every day
We study His words---
We pick them apart
We memorize them
We teach them to our Children
Those beyond our doors need us!
They are hurt and dying
They are lost and afraid
They need us
What is there in your life, that is worthy of the calling of God?
Id like to close with this, and then we will be standing to sing together the words of the doxology
1 Thessalonians 2:1–12
 For you yourselves know, brothers, that our coming to you was not in vain.  But though we had already suffered and been shamefully treated at Philippi, as you know, we had boldness in our God to declare to you the gospel of God in the midst of much conflict.  For our appeal does not spring from error or impurity or any attempt to deceive,  but just as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, so we speak, not to please man, but to please God who tests our hearts.  For we never came with words of flattery, as you know, nor with a pretext for greed—God is witness.  Nor did we seek glory from people, whether from you or from others, though we could have made demands as apostles of Christ.  But we were gentle among you, like a nursing mother taking care of her own children.  So, being affectionately desirous of you, we were ready to share with you not only the gospel of God but also our own selves, because you had become very dear to us.
 For you remember, brothers, our labor and toil: we worked night and day, that we might not be a burden to any of you, while we proclaimed to you the gospel of God.  You are witnesses, and God also, how holy and righteous and blameless was our conduct toward you believers.  For you know how, like a father with his children,  we exhorted each one of you and encouraged you and charged you to walk in a manner worthy of God, who calls you into his own kingdom and glory. (ESV)