Therefore Walk Worthily
Topic: Sunday Sermons Scripture: Ephesians 4:1
Our home in northern Kentucky sits under one of the flight paths for the Cincinnati International Airport. The planes come in, probably at least a half mile high. We don't really hear them but we see them coming in from time to time and as it so happens, because I'm aware of that, the last time that I was flying into Cincinnati from a brief trip, I happened to have a window seat and I was looking out the window to see if I could identify our house from the air. I had never been able to do that and yet this last time I saw a couple of reference points geographically that helped me to know about where our how should be and I was able to see our house. The perspective was very cool. I could see our house. I could see our driveway. I could see our vehicles on our driveway. In retrospect, I'm quite glad that there wasn't any of our kids or Nancy out on the street because I'm sure that under the press of the moment, I would have tried knocking on the window, "Hey, hey, hey! I'm up here," and that wouldn't have been too cool when I looked back and saw the fellow passengers there. But the point of that is that the perspective from being above and seeing something from a higher elevation was different from seeing things at ground level. There is a value and there is a perspective that you get from the big picture that transcends that which you see in the day to day, feet on the ground detail which all of you can relate to.
Well, that gives us a perspective on what we're going to do here this morning from God's word as we come back to the book of Ephesians, into Ephesians chapter 4 and I would invite you to turn there. For those of you that are visiting with us perhaps today, we are so glad to have you with us. I know that you'll find our church to be a friendly welcoming church because our people are friendly welcoming people. But for those of you that are visiting and haven't been here, we are teaching verse by verse through the book of Ephesians and we've been at this for a number of months now and a couple of weeks ago we finished chapter 3 and completely having gone through the first 3 chapters of the book of Ephesians and you're with us now as we enter into chapter 4 and this first verse of Ephesians 4 represents a major transition in the book of Ephesians. It's very significant what's going on here.
The Apostle Paul has spent 3 chapters describing and praising God for the nature of Christian salvation. He has spent time praying and interceding for not only his readers but for Christians of all time, that they would enter into an understanding of how great salvation is. In the opening 2 chapters, through chapter 2, verse 10, Paul has indicated and explained how God chose us for salvation as Christians. He adopted us into his family. He redeemed us by the blood of Christ, that is that he purchased us out of the slave market of sin at the cost of his own blood and transferred us into the kingdom of God and moved us out of the kingdom of Satan as Colossians 1 describes. We have been purchased with precious blood. Our sins have been washed away never to be held against us again. And not only that, God has sealed us in the Holy Spirit. He has put his imprint upon us to show that we belong to him and that we will belong to him forever.
The greatness of salvation is surpassing and as Paul has gone on in chapter 1, he said that God saved us in this way, God redeemed us by the same power that raised Jesus Christ from the dead. You could no more raise yourself to spiritual life than you could create a world or that you could raise a dead man from the grave. You don't have that power. You don't have the power to save yourself. You don't have the power, dead in sin, to make yourself into someone new. Scripture says that the leopard can't change his spots and so in the same way, we can't turn our sinful nature into one that is holy and pleasing to God. It takes a powerful act from God and Paul says in Ephesians that that's just what he did, that he raised us from spiritual death by the same power that he used to raise Christ from physical death.
So out of sheer grace, mercy and great love, the Creator God, the God of the Bible, the God of our salvation, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, out of a boundlessly good character, out of a wonderful, loving disposition toward sinners and rebels like you and me, God saved us and brought us into his family and he did it in such a magnificent way that formerly warring groups against each other, Jews and Gentiles, in the church because they are under one Lord would now be reconciled to one another. Having been reconciled vertically to God in the power of salvation, they are now reconciled vertically to each other in Christ. And Paul, having laid all of that out, prays in chapter 3 that we would understand the greatness of that salvation and that God would carry out the fullness of his eternal purpose for saving us and that we would know, look at chapter 3, verse 18, that we would "be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God."
That is magnificent truth. That is in a transcendent realm that takes us beyond the day to day ordinary things of life and shows us the greatness of what it means to be a Christian. And even more, the greatness of the character and the power of God that he would have mercy on a sinner like you and wash away your sins, never to take them into account again and to bestow upon you the very righteous status of his own Son so that you would be judicially fit to enter into the kingdom of God and that there would be no charge raised against you throughout all of eternity despite your prior sins. Who can fathom the greatness of the salvation like that? How wonderful are the eternal purposes of God? And Paul at the end of chapter 3, is praying that God would just go on and continue on and accomplish the work that he has begun in us so that we would enter into the fullness of that salvation and that it would go infinitely beyond all that we could ask or think. That's what we've studied the in those past 3 chapters. That's a brief overview of those chapters and that's what we've studied over the past 6 months or so.
Now, it's hard to imagine if you just stop there, it's hard to imagine that there would be anything else left to say. What do you say after you have described the indescribable? What is left to speak after you have laid out a magnificent plan of revealed salvation that no man could ever conceive on his own? How can you build upon the magnificent, wonderful grace of our Lord Jesus Christ poured out in shed blood as a sacrifice to turn away the wrath of God from us? What is left to say after that? Well, we're about to see and what we're about to see, beloved, we are at a pivot point here, not only in the book of Ephesians but we're at a pivot point that helps us understand the very nature of Christian living, the very nature of what it means to be redeemed by Christ, to be a Christian. We're at a very crucial, important point here in the book of Ephesians and also in the way that we think about the whole nature of what it means to be a Christian because there are some who perhaps, being very inclined to loving doctrine which is a good thing to love, but there are those who are inclined to stop at the intellectual, to stop having stated the doctrine, to stop there and to close the book and say, "That covers everything." Well, that's not true. That's not true. If that covered everything, if that was all that we needed to know, Paul would have laid down his apostolic pen and Ephesians would only be 3 chapters long. As it turns out, it's 6 chapters long. We're only halfway through the book of Ephesians. So the very structure of the book should tell us that at this point, there must be something more for us to understand. There must be something more to grasp and there is.
This great doctrine of the first 3 chapters, this closing intercessory prayer from the Apostle Paul, brings us up to chapter 4 now and brings us into what we are supposed to do with all of this truth. How is it that we respond? Look at chapter 4, verse 1. That's going to be our text for this morning, keeping in mind the greatness of everything that we have talked about and summarized here today already. Chapter 4, verse 1 says,
1 Therefore I, the prisoner of the Lord, implore you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called.
We are going to stop there. That's the only verse that we're going to look at today and after our Bible conference next weekend, we will pick up with the rest of this text later on in 2 weeks. But for now, we're just going to look at chapter 4, verse 1, because there are some really crucial things that I want you to see. I want you to see an elevated overview of what's going on here, a big picture sense of what great doctrine means for the day to day life that you find yourself here in earth. We're going to break this verse around 3 headings here.
First of all, we're going to see the link. The link is what we are going to see first here in chapter 4, verse 1. Look at chapter 4, verse 1 with me again here. Paul says, "Therefore." We'll stop right there. Therefore. Therefore is a word that indicates there is a transition that is taking place. The word "therefore" functions like a bridge, a bridge that takes you from one side and carries you over to the next side. We've had the side where Paul has laid out the explanation and the praise for God of the doctrines of salvation and what God has actually done for us and now the word "therefore" indicates that he is linking what he has said in the first 3 chapters to what now follows. He's going to draw out inferences. He's going to show us the implications. He's going to show us what should result from the fact that we have been born again. We understand this doctrine, what comes next? What is supposed to flow from this? So this word "therefore" is a link to take us from this doctrinal exposition in the first 3 chapters to the application of that doctrine to your daily life. Here's the thing, beloved, here's the thing that in a church that emphasizes teaching, here is one of the greatest risks that a church that loves good doctrine could fall into and it's to be simply satisfied with good doctrine and not to move on into working that out into the spiritual growth and the sanctification that the Lord has for us.
I know of a man who doesn't see the need for church. He's been a Bible student for a very long time and the question comes up, "Well, what does a church have to teach me? What does a pastor have to teach me? You should see the degrees after my name," and takes a remote approach to involvement in the church and looks on the nature of God's church, the gathering of God's people, with disdain. Now, that's not someone that's in our church. I'm not describing anyone that's here in this room but I want you to see that the danger of so loving doctrine is that if you don't realize that there is a "therefore" after the doctrine, if you don't realize that there is a link between what we understand to how we live, you are going to have a completely distorted view of what the Christian life is intended to be. Paul wrote this book, Paul wrote this letter, I should say, of Ephesians, it's a general letter. It's describing truth that applies to all Christians everywhere and what we should see as we study the overall view of Ephesians is to realize that this truth of the first 3 chapters leads into a practical application in life. And if, beloved, oh, this is so very important: someone who is not interested in the last 3 chapters of Ephesians needs to question whether they have ever understood the first 3 chapters to begin with because for the Apostle Paul, there was a link. There was a connection. There was an unbroken bridge between the first 3 chapters and what he says the rest of the time.
So if we love the doctrine of the first 3 chapters, we should equally love the application that comes in the final 3 chapters because it's all God's truth, it's all what God has for his people, it's all an expression of his purpose for us in our lives and in our salvation. So we don't take a pair of scissors and cut this book in half and once we've gone through one section, we're done. Or we don't jump over the first 3 chapters to simply get to the practical application. These are a unit. It's a seamless garment and we're meant to understand that and to heed it accordingly.
Now, this idea, this transition, this outlaying of doctrine followed by practical application, is a typical pattern in Paul's letters. He writes this way. He thinks this way. It's an expression of the way that God intends to communicate to his people. In the book of Romans, Paul spends the first 11 chapters systematically going through the doctrine of salvation and how that relates to the future of Israel and by the time he's done with those first 11 chapters, he moves into chapter 12, verse 1 of Romans and he says, "Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice." There are the great doctrines of salvation and then there is the inevitable "therefore," saying, "Here's what this means for your life today. Here's how you take this truth and apply it so that you live in a way that is worthy of the God who called you." Paul does this repeatedly. He does it in Galatians. He spends 4 chapters in Galatians explaining the doctrine of justification by faith and then in chapter 5, verse 1, he says, "Therefore keep standing firm." In Colossians, a book that is parallel to the book of Ephesians, in the first 2 chapters he is laying out doctrine and in chapter 3, verse 1, he says, "Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above."
So beloved, here's what we need to see in the big picture. Here's what we need to see as the plane, as it were, is coming in to land in Ephesians 4. We realize that the doctrines of grace which we embrace in this church, we love them, we teach them and we do not apologize for them. We realize that those doctrines of grace as you come in for a landing, have a practical impact on the way that you live and, beloved, at Truth Community Church, we embrace and we teach the responsibility that those doctrines lead to as much as we teach the doctrines themselves. We hold them in balance. We believe that all of God's word should be heeded. All of God's word should be read. All of it should be studied. All of it should be taught. And God's word doesn't stop simply with the great doctrines of grace, it goes on and says, "And here is what it means for you and me for how we live." For us to understand that, for us to embrace that is crucial to the life of the church. It's when you take these doctrines and apply it that you grow in holiness. It's when you take these doctrines and apply them that you don't fall into a cold, lifeless mentality. It's when we're dealing with sin and confessing sin and turning from sin and pursuing righteousness that we become the totality of the people that God would have us to be. You see, Bible teaching, God's word, God's revelation, let's put it this way, true salvation links doctrine to duty. If you have been saved by grace, there is a corresponding responsibility for you to live accordingly. True salvation links what you believe to your behavior. It does not cut them in 2 and separate them. The man who is truly born again lives according to his new nature. He seeks to apply what God has given to him.
This is essential. This is crucial. How many of you know people who say, "I'm a Christian. I prayed a prayer one time. I prayed the prayer." Yeah, that's over with. "Now I go on and I can live life the way that I want," and you see them living a life of unbroken sin, of indifference to God, separated from the church, never opening a Bible and having nothing to do with the people of God. How common is that and yet a person like that, we've all seen them, we all know them. I'm sure I'm bringing pictures of people into your memory. How often do you see that and yet because of shallow, ineffective, untrue teaching, they have been conditioned to think, "Yeah, but I'm a Christian." Look, that is not biblical salvation. Whatever that is, it is not an expression of what the Bible describes salvation because in the Bible, when a man is born again, there is a "therefore" that is an unbroken link between the change in that man's heart to the way that he now begins to live and what shapes his affection, what shapes his behavior, is determined by the act of God in saving him and by what he begins to understand biblical truth to be. A man, a woman, a young child who is content to ignore the demands of Scripture on his daily life is simply declaring that he has never been born again to begin with. When a man's life contradicts what he says he believes with his lips, you listen to the testimony of his life, not to what he claims to believe. James says that faith without works is dead. Jesus said, "Why do you call me Lord, Lord and do not do what I say?" The Apostle John says in 1 John 2, he says, "The one who says I have come to know him and yet does not keep his commandments is a liar and the truth is not within him."
Well look, you know, I realize that this lays a blanket of doubt upon the claims of many people to have salvation, especially within the church as it is so called in America but we don't care about what the implication of that is, beloved. We don't care what the implications of it are, we just want to know what the Bible says is true and then apply it and use it to understand our own lives and what our own responsibility is and then use that to give us discernment so that we would know the truth. And what we need to understand is that this link that we're describing here, this transition between doctrine to duty, is an indispensable part of what true salvation really is. No man is born again unto a life of continued unbroken sin. That would be foolishness. No man can claim that the Holy Spirit dwells within him which is true of every true Christian, and say that he is indifferent to holiness. How could you have the Holy Spirit of God reigning in your heart and be utterly indifferent to a love for God or a love for obedience to him? We're not demanding perfection from Christians. Perfection won't come until we're glorified. What we're talking about is a bent toward what God says will be true and what flows from true salvation.
So with this word "therefore," Paul has linked what he has said about the greatness of our salvation and is about to set upon a course that describes what it means for our lives and how we live in daily life. Go back to chapter 4, verse 1 now with that in mind. That's the link, "therefore." Notice what Paul says. There is so much in this verse that teaches us and instructs us and gives us a sense about the reality of salvation. Paul says, "Therefore I, the prisoner of the Lord, implore you to walk in a worthy manner." Paul injects at this point, he injects this reminder that he is in prison as he writes this epistle. Christ appointed Paul to his apostleship and so he speaks with the authority of Christ and yet, strangely from one perspective, strangely obedience to Christ and faithfulness to his apostolic commission has landed him in a Roman prison. He writes this with a Roman guard chained to him.
So Paul is writing this as one who is a prisoner of the Lord, appointed as an apostle, speaking with the full authority of the Lord Jesus Christ himself and yet he speaks as one who is suffering for the very truth that he is upholding. He is one who has lost his freedom because of what has happened to him as a result and he has been imprisoned for speaking the very things that he has said and taught over the years. Here's what we should see from that, here's what we should think as we read the human instrument describing himself in Ephesians 4:1. Listen beloved, this is really important. It's just so important for us to shape our hearts according to the realities of what we're reading in Scripture. The Apostle Paul has the authority from Christ to speak because Christ appointed him to that office and what is more, Paul has a particular moral authority to speak. He is in prison. He has sacrificed his own liberty for the sake of the truths that he is writing about and he is suffering in this place as we looked at when we looked at Ephesians 3, verse 1, he is suffering for the sake of the people that he was writing to. In a sense, he has suffered even for our sake here today because we are still receiving this as the word of God.
So we're reading a letter from a man who is suffering personally for the sake of the truth that he was upholding and that gives us the sense that we should bend our ear with a humble, receptive heart that says, "Yes Paul, what would you say to me now? You are suffering from my sake. You are suffering for my benefit." Just like the Lord Jesus only in an infinitely greater way, Christ suffered on a cross for the sake of my salvation, now his apostles suffers in prison as he writes, writing to build up and to strengthen us. He has the moral authority to speak and we should respect just on a human level what comes through the pen of the apostle and when we remember that he's writing the very word of God to us, all the more that we would bend our will, that we would bend our affections and say, "Yes, in light of this great salvation that has been given to us, what else do you have to say? Speak, O Lord, for your servant listens." That's the only way that we can respond. Our hearts must be tender to what is set before us here in God's word.
Now, watch this, we're still in point number 1 here: the link. Watch what Paul says here. The Lord Jesus Christ who is the eternal Son of God, who has all authority has been given to him in heaven and on earth, he says, at the end of Matthew 28 and he appoints Paul to go and be his representative, right? Are you tracking with me here? Paul has a peculiar, unique authority over the church and he has every prerogative to command because he speaks with the authority of Christ. He has every right to simply lay out, "Now, you do this." Notice something marvelous about the nature of Christian salvation and authority in the church by the way that he makes this transition here in chapter 4, verse 1. Look at it there, he says, "Therefore I, the prisoner of the Lord, implore you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called." It's not an imperative. He doesn't use a command here. He doesn't use a grammatical imperative to make his statement in order to bring forth the attitudes and behavior that he wants that he is going to explain in the following 3 chapters. He could command them but, beloved, instead he appeals to them. He says, "Based on everything that you know," he appeals to their heart rather than exercising his authority directly on their volition. That is huge. One writer says this about this particular aspect of this passage. He says and I quote, "You do not find the apostle lording it over the faith of the people of God but graciously, tenderly pleading with them rather than sternly ordering their behavior." An apostle who could command says, "I implore you. I beseech you. I exhort you." And the way that he handles this is designed to have us cultivate our affections rather than simply give external compliance to what is given.
That kind of love, the love of Christ that laid down his life on the cross, the love of an imprisoned apostle who has the authority command but says, "I implore," should melt your heart. Should condition you to a receptivity and should soften your affections and soften your will. You see, this is the link to it all that Paul says, "Doctrine leads to duty. Though I have the authority to command you, yet rather I appeal to you." And in that way, not using the full extent of his authority to bear down and to Lord it over us but rather using his love, using his example as that basis upon which he appeals to us, we say, "Oh, I see the link." We say, "I'm totally receptive to whatever comes next because in light of the greatness of salvation in the first 3 chapters, in light of the wonder of God in saving a wretch like me and now here's his appointed apostle appealing to me in love rather than demanding with his fist, the only righteous way that I could respond, the way that I want to respond," you should be saying to yourself, "is I'm all ears. I'm completely receptive. Lay it out. My will is bent before yours, my Lord, and through your chosen representative, the Apostle Paul." We say, "Of course we will respond." How could we not respond in light of everything that has gone before?
That's not just a point of interpretation of this verse, this is an approach to the entire way that you think about the Christian life. That's what I want you to see is that we are so overwhelmed by the goodness of God, the love of God, the greatness of the privilege that has been bestowed upon us, the greatness of the future that lies before Christians, the eternal purpose of God mediated through a suffering servant on the cross and mediated through the writings of a suffering apostle in prison. "O God, how much you have given and with what a gentle, gracious, merciful spirit it has been handed to me. What else could I do but be utterly compliant with whatever comes next?" That's the way to think about what it means to be a Christian.
Now, at this point, let me make a little practical application that flows right from this but I want to bring this out even though it's a little bit outside of exactly what Paul is talking about right here. You men, you men who have authority over your family, over your wife, over your children, maybe in a business realm, certainly for elders and those who aspire after leadership in the realm of the church, get your lesson right here. I was raised by a very authoritarian father who was not a Christian and so, you know, I give allowance for that but his word was law and he was a demanding man. Whatever he said, that is what was supposed to happen and you didn't argue with it. You didn't buck against it because there would be consequences if you did. Maybe you were raised in a home like that. Maybe you're a father like that here today. Well, I want you to think through this with me. You know, I was a fairly new Christian when Nancy and I got married and we started to have children and the only pattern for parenting that I had known was that which I had inherited from my father and so, you know, in the early years when our kids were very young, the first couple of kids were very young, I tried to exercise rule in my house by the same way. "Do this!" And it didn't work. It was just obviously failing and it gave me the opportunity to go back and to think through it and say, "Okay, in the Christian realm, that's not what you do with authority. That's not how you handle authority in the Christian realm. You don't become a dictator. You don't become abusive. You don't do it that way." God gives you men, you men who have positions of leadership, whatever the realm may be, God gives you leadership and intends for you to exercise that leadership with the spirit that is manifested by the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Apostle Paul. Not lording it over. Not being abusive and demanding because you don't get your way or because you don't want to deal with the tender hearts of those who are underneath you. We look at the way the Apostle Paul says and he says, "I implore you. I have your interests at heart and so I ask you, I entreat you to follow after what I'm about to say." And men, if you have been given a position of leadership, a position of authority in whatever realm that we have talked about here, you must understand. This is so vitally important that it has been given for you to exercise that with the same spirit by which you were brought into Christian salvation in the first place. Christ laid down his life, Philippians 2 talks about that.
The Apostle Paul appeals rather than commands and you must understand that if you are given authority so that you could exercise it to the benefit and the upbuilding of those who look to you for leadership. That is fundamental to Christian leadership. That flavors everything that we do. And men, you must embrace this and if when the doors are closed and its private with you and your family and you're a domineering, lording it over type of man, you need to repent and change and ask God to forgive you for not being like what led you to salvation in the first place. That is how we live and lead with the authority that God gives. We see it exemplified for us by the Apostle Paul here in chapter 4, verse 1.
Now, having said all of that, what does he transition to? This is where he has transitioned from. Of course, you moms, that would go for you and all of that would go to you in your own parenting as well, but men particularly need to hear that, what I just said. What does he transition to? We see what he is transitioning from, what is he going to transition to as he talks to us? Point number 2 here this morning, we saw the link and now we're going to see: the life. The life. Chapter 4, verse 1, look at it with me again. "Therefore I, the prisoner of the Lord, implore you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called." He tells them to walk in a worthy manner. Now, understand, I think you just for the sake of clarity obviously you would understand this. He's using "walk" metaphorically. He doesn't mean move your feet. He's not talking about motioning with your legs. That's not his point here obviously. He's using the term "walk" to refer to the concept of the way that you live your daily life, of how you conduct yourself. He's using it to describe the manner in which you live.
Now, he's already used the term like this earlier in the letter and now we're just going to take a moment to look at what he has in mind when he says this word "walk." I want you to see that it's a key theme in the book of Ephesians. Look at chapter 2, verse 2 for a moment. Actually, we can start in verse 1. Chapter 2, verse 1, he says, "You were dead in your trespasses and sins, in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world." He's saying, "You walked in your trespasses and sins." In other words, you were conducting life in the realm of disobedience to God and being completely dead and indifferent to the claims of his word and the claims of Christ on your life. You were dead and that's the manner in which you conducted your life, okay? So we see the word "walk" used in that sense.
Now, go down a few verses in chapter 2, verse 10 and you'll see this again used in a positive sense and chapter 2, verse 10 is sort of a foreshadowing of what comes in chapters 4 through 6. In fact, chapter 2, verse 10, in a sense is is almost a parallel passage to what we're looking at here today in chapter 4, verse 1. Notice that it has a connective there, chapter 2, verse 10, "For you have been saved by grace; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand." What? Why? Where? "So that we would walk in them." He says, "You were saved by grace through faith. God did this so that you would walk in good works that he appointed for you in your future life, in your life as a Christian, that there would be, God has ordained circumstances in which the reality of your Christian faith would be lived out in your daily conduct," in other words, "by the way that you walk in life." So Paul picks up on that from chapter 2, verse 10, and he says, "I implore you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling."
Now, as you go on in chapter 4, you see Paul coming back to this metaphor of walking again and again. Verse 17 of chapter 4, he says, "So this I say, and affirm together with the Lord, that you walk no longer just as the Gentiles also walk, in the futility of their mind." Don't walk according to your former dead way of life. Don't walk according to the culture that surrounds you. He says, "Live life differently." Now, that verse alone, verse 17, that verse by itself is enough to condemn the entire seeker sensitive philosophy of church ministry that seeks to be as much like the world as it possibly can be with an idea of attracting people into it. That's wrong. That's not right. That's not godly because we are told not to walk like the Gentiles walk. "Don't conduct yourself like them. You were saved by God out of an ungodly life and therefore your conduct is to be different."
He goes on. This is just an overview. We'll go through all of these verses in the future. Look at chapter 5, verse 1, he uses the word "therefore" again and in chapter 5 you get a little bit more definition to the kind of walk that he has in mind. He says, "Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children; and walk in love." Conduct yourselves in a selfless way with those around you. Walk in love just as Christ also loved you. Look at chapter 5, verse 8, "you were formerly darkness, but now you are Light in the Lord; walk as children of Light." One more in verse 15, "Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise."
So we see here as Paul is laying forth for life that is supposed to flow from the doctrine that we believe, the life that flows from being born again, there is a walk that is involved and it is a walk of love. It is a walk of wisdom. It is a walk of holiness. And as he lays those things out, he is continually contrasting it, "Not like the former manner of life that you used to engage in but something else, something patterned after Christ, something in obedience to the revealed word of God." So what we're seeing and, again, we're seeing a big picture view here. We're not getting down to the implications that this has for particular aspects of conduct. We want to see the big picture and the big picture is that to become a Christian is to sever the former way of life in order to pursue something different that is modeled after the nature and command of Christ. The life is the link. Salvation is linked to a new life in the redeemed and Paul goes on and he amplifies that throughout the rest of the letter and he brings it down to points of application and talks about realms of forgiveness and truthfulness and love and not being a drunk and in the way that you conduct yourself in marriage, in parenting and in the workplace and the way that you pray. All of that flowing out of the bigger picture of, "This is a life that corresponds to the way that you have been saved." So he brings out all of the detail. For today, we're simply seeing the big picture of the indissoluble link between salvation and the way that we subsequently live.
You cannot separate the 2. You cannot, as it were, if we remember how Solomon solved the problem when the 2 women brought a baby and he didn't know who the mother was, he said, "Cut the baby in half," and one of the women said, "Yes, do that." The other woman said, "Oh no, my lord, let her have the child." Solomon said, "There is the mother, the one that has affection for the child." Well look, you can in a similar way evaluate who has the true affection for Christ, the man, the woman who says, "Of course I want to conform my life to Scripture. Of course I want my life to reflect the glory of Christ. Of course I'm not going to be hardheaded and hardhearted against the commandments of God. Why would I cut the baby in half?" The person who is content to think only of doctrine and never worry about how it applies to his life, I fear for one like that and Scripture would call him to examine himself to see whether he's in the faith or not because if you love the doctrine and you are truly born again, you're going to carry over and have a natural affection. The "therefore" is going to link in your own heart as well.
Do you see this, beloved? You see it? I mean, that's a request for information from me to you. Do you see this? Do you understand why it must be that way? No one, no one who truly sees their sin, no one who truly has felt the weight of the condemnation of God on their heart because they were a rebel against Christ and they knew it, no one who has found relief in that situation at the cross, no one who realizes that Christ carried their sins on their behalf when he hung at Calvary and now their conscience is free and there is no fear of condemnation because we are in Christ Jesus and we know that our future is an eternal bliss and peace with God in heaven, no one who truly understands that will be indifferent or hostile to what the claims of God are in his Christian life here today. No one. No one. If you're indifferent or you don't care, you're hostile to that, then you have to go back and question whether you understand salvation at all because the heart that has truly been redeemed, the hearts of most of you in here today, you understand that. You embrace that. You love Christ. You worship him. You're grateful to him and as a result, of course you want your life to reflect back gratitude and praise and worship to him. You wouldn't have it any other way. That's the mark of a true Christian. The absence of that is very disturbing. The absence of that finds no support in Scripture as being a mark of true salvation.
Now, we've seen the link, we've seen the life, I had to come up with another 4 letter word the began with "l." Point number 3: the lift. The lift. What I mean by the lift is that Paul goes on and shows that our daily lives have now been elevated to a whole other realm of value, of glory, of purpose, of meaning. He has lifted your ordinary life. You moms, caring for the kids, washing the dishes, changing the diapers, Paul takes that ordinary day to day sameness and elevates it into something really noble. You men in the workplace, the same thing. He elevates it all into something that totally transforms the way that we think about why we are here and why we even exist. What he says here actually redefines your whole concept of the purpose of your existence. I'll say that again: what Paul says here actually redefines your understanding of the entire purpose of your existence. Why am I here? A Christian can go to chapter 4, verse 1 of Ephesians and get a clear answer that gives him direction in life. There is no reason for a Christian to feel aimless and purposelessness in his life because Paul lays it out for us with clarity right here in chapter 4, verse 1.
What is the lift that he gives? In other words, how does he elevate our daily life? Our walk, as it were? Look at chapter 4, verse 1 now, he says, "Therefore I, the prisoner of the Lord, implore you to walk," how should I walk? "Walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called." Ah, this is so magnificent. I won't rehearse it all again because I rehearsed it at the start but everything that he said about the greatness of salvation and God's purposes in salvation in the first 3 chapters, he says, "Now, you in your life right now, even in the sorrow and difficulty that you are walking through and the heavy weight of your trials, understand that what God calls you to is that God has given you that station in life so that your walk and your daily conduct would correspond with the greatness of the way in which he has saved you. Walk in a manner worthy of your salvation."
The word "worthy" was originally used to refer to the balancing of scales and so you would have a weight on one side of the scale and if an object was worthy, so to speak, it would balance out the scales; there would be a balance to it that corresponded. The weight on the right side of the scale would correspond to the weight on the left side of the scale so that they were in balance. What he's saying here in Ephesians 4 is that he's calling us in recognition of the great, noble weight of the nature of God's salvation in our lives, he says, "Now you live in a way that corresponds with the greatness of the way that God has saved you. You live in accordance with the greatness of an eternal purpose at work in your life. You live in light of the greatness of the Christ who saved you on the cross. You live in light of the greatness of the Holy Spirit who indwells you." He says, "Your life should correspond to that."
Then he goes on and he explains to us what that looks like. What he's doing here is Paul is appealing for a life of holiness as the response to the saving grace and mercy of God and your life of holiness, your efforts at pursuing obedience, your efforts to love God and to pursue him, your willingness to lay down your life for Christ and to lay down your life for his people and to lay down your desires for the sake of others, your willingness to speak truth and not falsehood, your willingness to forgive rather than to hold grudges, as you go through the book of Ephesians, husbands to love your wives, wives to submit to your husbands, all of that is a corresponding response to the greatness of salvation. Paul says, "In those daily aspects of Christian living, your heart response is giving a corresponding weight and glory to the way in which you have been saved." And all of a sudden, as you go through chapters 4 through 6, and you think about it from one perspective, you say, "This deals with so many ordinary things. My marriage. My parenting. My job." Precisely, that's the point, that it's in your daily life where God gives you the opportunity to manifest a glory that corresponds to the way in which you have been saved and we must think about this rightly.
As you go through these last 3 chapters of Ephesians, listen, we're about to refute a lot of, in the next 3 sentences we're about to refute a whole lot of ways that many people approach so-called Christianity. Ephesians 4 to 6 doesn't call us to contemplate private revelation from God. It doesn't entitle us to be entertained in the church. It doesn't call us or promise us a healthy, wealthy life. No, what Paul says, "Eere are the implications of this salvation." He says, "You stay away from falsehood. You live a life of love. You walk a walk of love, a walk of light, a walk of wisdom." And he places the corresponding glory that we give back to God in the realm of daily ordinary life lived with a heart that is responsive to Christ, responsive to his word, and a life that is content to live this out in details to the glory of God. And in that which seems, perhaps, day by day to be mundane and, "What possible value is there in all of this routine?" Paul takes it and he lifts it and says, "It is in that realm where I call you to live in a worthy way that corresponds to the greatness of your salvation." All of a sudden you have a completely different perspective on why you do what you do and a whole different motivation to live.
True salvation lifts you to a life of humility, to a life of pursuing unity, to a life of pursuing purity and says that that pursuit corresponds to the greatness of the way in which you have been saved. They are not going to make documentary dramas about this here on earth. The ordinary nature of it is not something that is going to capture headlines in the newspaper or get you interviewed on a television show but who cares. You see, we let God define where this life, we let him carry it out and show for us how it is that we apply this in a way that pleases him. And beloved, your daily life, your patient, faithful life, is a pleasing corresponding response to the way that you been saved.
Be encouraged. The struggle is worth it. The pursuit of holiness is valuable. It corresponds to the greatness of the way that you have been saved. In other words, beloved, eternal salvation elevates your ordinary life to a pleasing act of worship to God offered in response to the way that he has saved you. That's worthy of him. God says, "That pleases me." God says, "That is what I want. I want to see your character in the circumstances I have given you start to reflect the motivating impulses of my own Son when he went to the cross." You say, "But it's such a humble response." God finds it pleasing and we're pleased to do it in response to this great salvation, to link what we have been given to the life that we live so that it would lift up the name of Christ in glory. We have months to work the implications of this out. It will be a wonder as we do it together in the days ahead.
Let's bow together in prayer.
Lord Jesus, we honor you and we thank you. So much of your life is not even recorded for us in Scripture. You call us to this ordinary life, having lived for most of your life here on earth an ordinary life yourself as you worked in a carpenter's shop, as you lived in subjection to your own parents. We marvel that you, the Lord of glory, would condescend to live a humble life like that and the fact that you did it, Lord Jesus, ennobles our pursuit to do it as well and calls us to faithfulness in the midst of those details. Lord, let us be a people, let us be a church, let us individually be those who see great doctrine and love it and teach it and study it and understand it and then just as willingly and gladly say, "Therefore I must live in accordance with what Scripture teaches." Let us never divide what you intended always to be kept together, our Lord.
And for those that are here within the walls of this room, our Father, I pray for them today. Father, some full of joy, some here today full of sorrow and difficulties just ahead. May they find encouragement from remembering the greatness of salvation that you have done in their lives. Father, may they see that you value, that you honor, that you call them to these circumstances and that in these circumstances, even if there is not an earthly relief to be had from the pressure of the day, Father, may there be a great ennobling sense that says, "Ah, but I can do this for Christ and I can offer it as a sacrifice of worship to him," and may that ennoble the approach and give them a joy and a peace and a satisfaction and a purpose which sustains them and encourages them in the things that lie ahead. Father, as we contemplate the greatness of this salvation for each one here, dear Lord, I pray that you would grant to them an abundant entrance one day into your eternal kingdom and that you would strengthen them until that day comes.
And Father, for those who are here who do not know Christ, we ask you by a work of your Spirit to work on their hearts to bring them to repentance and faith in Christ. Convict them, Father, that they would see, "I have not been living for the glory of God. I have been indifferent to Christ and to his word. I am a guilty sinner before a holy God." Father, by the power of your Spirit, bring them to that spiritual point and then take them further that they would say, "Therefore I repent of all of that and I turn to Christ and I receive him. I rest in him as my Lord, as my Savior. Lord Jesus, I commit myself to your hands and pray that you would have mercy on me and receive me and forgive me and give me eternal life." Father, do that work in unredeemed hearts here. Do it now, Father. Impress upon them the urgency.
And for all of us, Father, may we always live in light of that holy "therefore," that sanctified inference. Now that I am saves, therefore, dear God, help me to live a life that is worthy of the manner in which I have been called. We pray in Jesus' name. Amen.