A WALK WORTHY OF OUR CALLING
The apostle Paul instructs us inEph 4:1, "I, therefore, ... beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called ... "
Paul also mentions 'walking worthy' in 1Thes 2:12, where he says:
" ... encouraging, comforting, and urging you to live lives 'worthy' of God, who calls you into His kingdom and glory."
And again in Col 1:10, he states, " ... so that you may live a life 'worthy' of the Lord and please Him in every way; bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God."
-- So, what is Paul saying, that we are to walk 'worthy' of the calling with which we were called?
- Jesus died a painful, agonizing death on the cross, beaten beyond recognition, so we may have eternal life.
- Jesus 'took the bullet for us.' All our sins have been nailed to the cross and washed away.
- All things have become new. Even our way of thinking should have changed by 'putting on the mind of Christ.' Fleshly desires decreasing while spiritual desires increasing; sinful behavior being replaced with godly behavior. These should be the goals of every believer.
Paul is admonishing us to live a life holy and acceptable to God. Living a life 'worthy' of the pain and agony Jesus suffered on the cross for us.
Most of us know how to walk 'worthy' of what the Lord did for us at Calvary. In this message, I've listed ten points as to how we should be walking worthy:
1. Confessing and then repenting of all our sins. Then turning from them,
avoiding all that God's word instructs us to avoid. It's that simple for many of us.
2. Choosing humility over pride. Jas 4:6 tells us, "God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble." Jas 4:10 says, "Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up." Prov 6 lists 7 things God hates. A prideful look is one of them.
3. Choosing to fully surrender our will to God's perfect will through obedience to our Heavenly Father.
Bible gateway says this: "Submission to God's authority brings freedom. It sets order and direction in our everyday lives for those found in Christ. And what is to follow is unimaginable blessing for those who are obedient."
4. Avoiding selfishness, sharing what we have with those who are truly in
need of help.
Phil 2:3-4 says, "Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others."
I once read this quote but unable to recall the source. It says this:
"Spiritual maturity is always determined by our willingness to sacrifice our own desires for the interests of the Kingdom or for the sake of others."
But, this is an important caveat. Some believers and even some behind the pulpit, quote the word in an attempt to manipulate and take advantage of fellowbelievers. They may say something like, 'The bible says to share and to sacrifice what you have for others ... and for me.'
Or, a pastor who tries to 'fleece his flock' for self-gain by quoting Gal 6:6, "The one who is taught the word is to share all good things with the one who teaches him." "So, open your wallets and help purchase for me that private jet so I can reach and preach to more people ... and travel in luxury and decadence."
Yet, these people seem to forget the principle of equality.
Paul tells us in 2Cor 8:13-14, when he was speaking about the 'grace of giving':
"For I do not mean that others should be eased and you burdened; but by an equality, that now at this time your abundance may supply their lack, that their abundance also may supply your lack that there may be equality."
We should not allow ourselves to be taken advantage of, or made to feel guilty ... by those who are able to meet their own needs, through their own able bodied efforts. 2Thess 3:10 is clear: "If anyone is not willing to work (and he or she is able-bodied), neither should he eat."
5. Avoid judging others with 'unrighteous judgment.' Rather, judge based upon what the word of God says.
"But, doesn't the bible tell us not to judge others?" No. God's word tells us to first judge ourselves, then judge others righteously. First, remove the plank from our own eye, then use righteous judgment to judge another.
In John 7:24 Jesus Himself tells us, "Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment."
And God says in Zech 8:16, "These are the things you shall do: Speak each man the truth to his neighbor; give judgment in your gates for truth, justice, and peace ..." In other words, judge righteously.
(Ex) I remember a hospital system with whom I was employed, required all of its employees to take a test in regard to judging others based on appearance.
In one question, there were pictures of four individuals. We were asked which one of the four was the millionaire: (1) A woman wearing designer clothing, (2) a man wearing a nice suit carrying a briefcase, (3) a construction worker wearing a white helmet, and (4) a man wearing baggy trousers and a wrinkled shirt. Who was the millionaire? (4).
We are to judge according to the principles set forth in scripture, not by a person's appearance, or by the standards we set for others:
"Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment."
Walking worthy of the Lord's sacrifice also means to:
6. Put away ungodly thoughts.
Phil 4:8 says, "Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy - meditate on these things."
(Ex) A married man sees a beautiful woman, or a married woman beholds a handsome man. A thought comes to mind clearly in violation of God's law against adultery and fornication. That thought must immediately be rejected and cast out. If we entertain such thoughts, we know what consequences lie ahead.
In Gen. 4:7, God tells Cain: "If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin lies at the door. And its desire is to control you, but you must subdue it and be its master."
Ungodly thoughts don't build us up. And they don't grow our faith. Rather, they tear it down. Put them away as soon as they enter your mind. Immediately cast them out. Do not entertain them or allow them to enter your heart.
7. Walking in love while rejecting the fruits of the enemy: hate, bitterness, anger, resentment, unforgiveness, harboring contempt in our heart for others.
If we live by just the first two commandments, "Love the Lord with all your heart," and "Love your neighbor as you love yourself," we will be fulfilling all ten commandments.
While Jesus was speaking to the Pharisee who tried to test Him by asking which is the greatest commandment, Jesus said to him in Matt 22: 37-40,
"You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind ... and the second is like it; You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets." How?
If we love God with all our heart, soul and mind: We won't take God's name in vain, we won't worship any other gods, we won't make graven images to other gods, we will honor our father and mother, and we will keep the sabbath day holy.
If we love our neighbor as we love ourself: We won't have the desire to murder him or steal from him; we won't bear false witness and lie or talk trash about him; and we won't commit adultery with his wife.
In an article found in Bible Study Guide.org, it says this:
"The phrase 'walk in love' expresses our entire relationship with God and mankind ... Jesus is our example of walking in love ... A walk in love is not dictated by the doctrines and emotions of men but by God, thus imitating Him ... Are you walking in love as a beloved child of God? If not, whose child are you?"
So, we are to walk in love, not only with God, but with all men if possible.
Rom 12:18 says, "If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men."
And Jesus tells us in Matt 7:12, "Therefore, whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them ..."
If we are walking 'worthy' of Jesus' sacrifice for us:
8. We will desire to "Seek first the things of the Kingdom and God's righteousness..." We will not allow our flesh to control us. We do this by placing God's will before our will. So, by putting down our will, we are putting our flesh into submission to God in obedience.
(Ex) We should desire to attend church with the brethren, instead of watching Sunday football or go with friends to a sporting event on the Lord's day.
(Ex) We should desire to attend a prayer meeting rather than watch a TV special. And placing first in our lives the things of the Kingdom, rather than the things this world has to offer.
Most of us here know that seeking first the Kingdom requires daily dedication: Prayer, Bible study, Praise and Worship, attending church - keeping our focus on God. Seeking after the spiritual things rather than valueless things the world offers.
9. Walking a walk worthy of our Lord means to walk in faith, putting off all unbelief. We talked last week about unbelief being the enemy of faith.
If we allow even a morsel of unbelief into our heart, if we don't immediately reject it knowing it's from the enemy, we can quench the work of the Holy Spirit.
And last week I mentioned God takes 'unbelief' very seriously. It comes with consequences. And it grieves His heart.
Heb 3:12, 18-19 tell us: "Beware brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God." "And to whom did He swear that they would not enter His rest, but to those who did not obey? So we see they could not enter in (the Promised Land) because of unbelief."
Just as we may be kept out of heaven through our unbelief. We choose unbelief, or we choose to believe through faith.
10. Walking without fear and trepidation. Fear is an obstacle for many believers.
In one of his books, Richard Wurmbrand stated the bible tells us not to fear 366 times, one admonition for each day of the year, including leap year.
Some verses from God's word telling us 'not' to allow fear into our hearts:
-- 2Tim 1:7 says, "For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind."
-- Deut 31:6 tells us: "Be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid of them; for the Lord your God, He is the One who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you."
-- And God declares through the prophet Isaiah in Isa 35:3-4, "Strengthen the weak hands, and make firm the feeble knees. Say to those who are fearful-hearted, be strong, do not fear!"
Are these verses promises from God, or just fairy tales?
-- When a believer walks in fear, isn't he demonstrating unbelief in God's promise to be a very present help in times of trouble?
-- What kind of testimony is walking in fear?
-- What are believers demonstrating to the unbeliever when we walk in fear? That we don't trust God's promises of protection declared in His word?
-- How many times has God told us not to fear? And just a thought: Are we
sinning against God through disobedience during those times we do fear?
But, having said all of this, how should we be 'walking worthy' of our Lord during these uncertain times and in the dark days that will soon be upon us? The prophets are warning us of things that are coming:
-- In 2020, prophet Sadhu Selvaraj said that 2020 would be a year of spiritual preparation because the years that follow would all be downhill.
-- One of the Romanian prophets recently declared the first half of 2023 would be a time of warning. The second half would mark the beginning of trouble which would only escalate. And recently, there has been some talk of another pandemic being released in, or near September of this year.
-- Several years ago, another Romanian prophet warned that certain laws would be changed, but not for good. What's happening now? Laws are being passed that take away our free speech; our right to bear arms slowly being whittled away; and even the right to raise our children the way we feel is appropriate.
And a number of states are introducing and passing laws that would criminalize parents if they refuse to allow their underage children to go through transition surgery. The latest state to adopt this evil is Washington state.
-- Another Romanian prophet recently prophecied:
"The enemy is asking to sift you, but I will stop at every house with my scale. This year, I will put my scale on every house, says the Lord. Be on watch because you don't know when it is your turn. No one should think highly of himself, nor should brag or be proud of themselves. I have called you to humility, so stay humble and every day keep in mind that what if today is the day your household will be on the scale."
But God also said, "When I put you on the scale, I do it with love and mercy so you will not be given to the enemy to sift you." (which would be a far worse trial)
-- And yet another prophet warned that this year, the devil will attack God's people in their bodies and their possessions. Is anyone here being attacked physically or through loss of their possessions more than usual? How about loss of income through escalating food and gas prices? Or increasing rent? This is a manipulated attack by the enemy.
But I'd like to make this point. Many American prophets are speaking prophetic words that are polar opposite to what the Romanian prophets are decrying.
How can this be? Don't prophets all hear from, and serve the same God? Why do the prophetic messages differ so drastically?
When we hear a prophetic message, the message should be consistent with what the word of God tells us. If the prophecy is inconsistent with the word, we should ask ourselves: 'Is this prophecy truly from the Lord, or from the prophet's flesh?'
It doesn't necessarily mean the prophet is deliberately being deceptive or duplicitous. But, we should question whether he or she is truly a prophet of God.
Three examples of prophetic messages (first example is fictitious; just for discussion purposes)
(Ex 1) A prophet gives you a word saying, 'Thus says the Lord, You must fear and trust your fellow man, which will bring to you and your family, great safety.' Sound good and reassuring?
But, what does the word of God tell us about fearing man? Prov 29:25 says:
"The fear of man brings a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord shall be safe."
This prophecy contradicts what the word of God teaches. Beware of its legitimacy!
(Ex 2) Not long ago, I was given a prophetic message telling me God promised He would always have mercy on me, as long as I continued to put my trust in Him.
The bible contains many promises of God's mercy toward us, consistent with the prophecy I received. Isa 30:18says, "Therefore the Lord waits to be gracious to you, and therefore he exalts himself to show mercy to you."
(Ex 3) In Matthew 24, when Jesus described to His disciples what would happen in the last days before His return, Jesus declared these future events:
1. You will hear of wars and rumors of wars.
2. Nation will rise against nation ... and there will be famines, pestilences and earthquakes in various places.
3. They will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you. And you will be hated for My name's sake.
4. Many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another.
5. Many false prophets will rise up and deceive many.
6. And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold.
7. For false christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect.
Jesus went on to mention several other signs regarding the end. But, what He says next should give us pause as we listen to some of the prophets who prophecy 'good times and normalcy will soon be restored.' One recently prophecied the end wouldn't come for another 100 years!
Jesus said in Matt 24:33-34,
"So you also, when you see all these things, know that it is near -- at the doors! Assuredly (make no mistake; It's a sure thing) I say to you, this generation will by no means pass away till all these things take place."
So, if this statement is being interpreted correctly, the generation that witnesses what Jesus foretold will not die off, until all these things take place.
And what does God's word teach a generation is, in years?
Ps 90:10 says: "The days of our lives are seventy years; and if by reason of strength they are eighty years ..." So, a generation may be 70-80 years before it dies off.
But God's word is clear. We are not to set dates or the time of Jesus' return. We only know the season we're in as we witness come to pass what Jesus said would unfold prior to His second coming.
And where in Matthew 24 did Jesus say?
"And when you see all these things come to pass, know that good times are just around the corner!'
Beware of the prophet who says good times and normalcy will soon return.
Yes, there may be a short window of revival, one last outpouring that could make people think good times have returned. But, I'm believing what Jesus tells us, that the time is short.
So, as we see events unfold that Jesus spoke of:
-- What manner of people ought believers be?
-- Are we truly 'walking worthy of our calling' ? Worthy of our Lord's sacrifice?
-- What example should we be setting for those who are walking in darkness,
panicked and desperate by what they see unfold?
Jesus tells us in Lk 21:26, "... men's hearts failing them from fear and the expectation of those things which are coming on the earth, for the powers of the heavens will be shaken."
As believers, when we see these things come to pass, we will remain steadfast and strong in faith. We will be a light in the darkness, that beacon on a hill to all those walking in that darkness.
* Rather than walking in fear, we will walk in peace and with confidence. We serve Jehovah Shalom, the God who is our peace.
* We will trust in God's many promises to protect those who walk with Him;
in trust, in love and in obedience. Prov 30:5 says: "Every word of God is pure; He is a shield to those who put their trust in Him."
* We will walk in love, loving even our enemies. Though many will come against us ... as we see happening even now ... we are to, nevertheless, love them and walk in love, just as Jesus taught.
* We will not be moved or shaken by what we see because ... 'we walk by faith, notby sight.' Proverbs 3:5-6 says, "Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths."
* We will walk in the fear of the Lord, not in the fear of man. 'What can man do to us?'
Again, Prov 29:25 says, "The fear of man brings a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord shall be safe."
Isa 51:7 says: "Do not fear the reproach of men, nor be afraid of their insults ..." and in verse 12, "...Who are you that you should be afraid of a man who will die, and of the son of a man who will be made like grass?"
As we witness more banks failures and imminent financial collapse, pension funds going belly up, lack of medicines and medical care, concentration camps being set up, nuclear explosions and people falling dead in the streets ...
* We will not panic ...We will not fear ... for our trust is in God. He is with us and promises never to leave or forsake us. His promises stand forever.
And yes, we will need that extraordinary, mountain-moving, Hebrews 11 faith we talked about last Sunday ... because our faith will be tested. Each of us will be tested.
But, even in the midst of the fire, like Shadrach, Meshech and Abednego, we will not be burned.
Yet, should we be put to death at the hand of man for our faith, we are appointed to salvation through Christ. So, why should we fear? Jesus already conquered death for us.
And as Paul says in 2 Cor 5:8, to be absent from the body (upon taking our last breath), is to be with the Lord.
No more pain, no more heartache, no more suffering, no more worry, doubt, or fear.
As believers, we are destined to live with the Lord throughout eternity; and to dwell in the house of the Lord, forever.