THE LIVING WORD TRANSCRIPT

Program Air Date - 12-23-12

LESSON TITLE: “WALKING IN LOVE, LIGHT, AND WISDOM.”

WELCOME

I hope you all are having a great holiday season thus far and that you are enjoying the wonderful time spent with family and friends. So, let me again say, Happy Holidays and a happy coming New Year to you and yours!

Well, I hope Santa will be good to everyone in a few days and I hope you continue to enjoy all the festivities and excitement of this time of year. Let me as well thank you for choosing to join us this morning in giving this time to God - our most wonderful creator. You have certainly made the right choice to put Him first!

As we begin our worship before Him this day, let me encourage you to bow with me in prayer at this time.

(PRAYER)

Our first song of the morning rejoices in the fact that our Lord is ever there for us throughout every walk of life. So won’t you join in with the congregation at this time as we sing together, “Will Your Anchor Hold!”

(SONG # 1)

DEVOTIONAL THOUGHTS

Can you believe that we are only two days away from Christmas? I’m sure your kids, if they’re like mine, are anxiously awaiting this exciting day and the fun they will have with family and friends. Also, how neat it will be to exchange gift and to see the glow of joy on the faces of all who receive presents. I do love this time of the year, and even more so as a parent, because we all loving spoiling our kids just a little.

The other day my son told me about a conversation he had with a friend at school. Yes, it was about Christmas, but consider with me the statement that his friend made. The young boy said that “Jesus was born on Christmas day!” Now let me ask you a few questions about this statement. First, is this an accurate and true statement based on what we know from God in His Word? Second, where do you think the young boy learned this information? Third, what should our focus as Christians always be if we are to be right with God?

Now as I get into this discussion, don’t get me wrong, “I love the holidays and I am thankful when my God is acknowledge and glorified.” However, isn’t accuracy and truth important in all we do and say as those who follow God?

So let’s consider, “was Jesus born on December 25th, Christmas day?” May I first state that this Holiday called Christmas has been celebrated for hundreds of years from both a religious and secular standpoint. And as this is a holiday instituted by man, we still find that from its conception until today - the majority of scholars still cannot agree on when our Lord Jesus Christ was actually born. However, I might state that one thing they all tend to agree on is the fact that it could not have and did not take place in the month of December. The evidences show that Jesus was not actually born on December 25!

Secondly, consider with me where the young boy learned this information. No doubt from many! Probably his parents have taught him this, as well as those of the religious group where his family attends. Have they not misled this young boy to believe something that is not actually true, even in the name of God? Furthermore, even if his family is not religious, he has seen such teachings all around town, on signs and banners. Even as I drove along the other day I saw several big signs and big banners which said, “Jesus is the reason for the season!” They then had a manger seen or other statements concerning Christ birth being on Christmas day. Again we must ask, is this really an accurate truth from God?

Our third question dealt with God’s will for the faithful, “What does He truly want from us?” What does the Bible teach us about those who chose to reject His Will? What about those who choose to add to His precepts? And how about those who chose to do it their own way or even to follow the will of men? Are we to add to the Word of God or to take away from it? I think you know the answer!

So I might appeal to all of us who are God fearing people, especially during this holiday season, to remember to speak those things that are true and only represent what is found in God’s Word. Realizing, that following God is not about one holiday a year or about one event in the life of Christ, rather it is about everything that Jesus did for the lost of this world. Isn’t it true, that as the faithful of God, we celebrate the birth, life, sufferings, death, burial and resurrections, every first day of the week when we assemble to worship God? What a privilege we have to regularly remember those things that offer us life eternal. For the reality is, my God is not about a specific day of the year set up by man – He is much, much more! “My God is the reason for everyday, every blessing, and every aspect of my life.” “He is why I have the very breath in my bodies, as well as the physical ability to do the things I do. In fact, our God must be our everything, the all important object of our lives and thus He should ever be before us. So let me ask, “How often do you demonstrate your love for God?” Once a year, or with the whole of your life?

Today we will be continuing our series entitled, “That You May Walk Worthy Of The Lord!” Our next lesson concerning this topic is: “Walking In Love, Light, and Wisdom.” So please stay with us this morning and after our next song together, I will return and lead us in our main thoughts of the day. But for now let’s join together in our second song of the morning. The name of this hymn, “When We All Get To Heaven.”

(SONG # 2)

LESSON

By Ray Sullins

Thank you so much for continuing with us this morning as we now go to God’s word and consider a lesson concerning those things again that pertain to us walking worthy before God. You might recall that we have taken our discussion from Colossians 1 when really we are challenged there by Paul through the church at Colosse to walk worthy of those things that are before us concerning the will of God. In fact what I really love about the text there is he goes on to say those things that are fully pleasing to God. So what we are trying to understand through our time together is the fact that when we really please God we are considered as those who walk worthy of His calling.

This morning we are actually going to look at Ephesians 5, and amongst all the passages that talk about walking concerning the things of God, this passage actually deals with specifically 3 different aspects of the Christian walk and all of them are big ideas. In fact we really could spend a week on each of these discussions, however there were so many passages that dealt with the idea of walking with God or being those who walk worthy before God that really we decided to put a few of these concepts together. So go with me there first of all to Ephesians 5 and notice as Paul speaks to the church at Ephesus what he begins with in verse 1. He challenges them to be imitators of God, but then he says imitators of God as dear children. You see one of the things that we really try to do as Christians is to imitate our Father, the same way that our children will imitate us. And frankly whether we like it or not sometimes they imitate things we would rather them not imitate or would rather not maybe see us do but then they imitate those things. So what are we to do as a child of God? Well, we are to look to the Father who was and is perfect and who leaves us a great example through His son Jesus in the Bible. Then we are to be imitators as children of God of that Father and as well as of God the Son. In fact even Peter said that we are to walk or follow in the footsteps of Jesus, that being the case then we can tie that directly in with what we are discussing those who walk worthy and fully please God by walking worthy of God’s will or the plan of God. We know that to be the case because even in this text after he says to be an imitator of God as dear children. Then as I’ve already stated he mentions three specific ways that we walk worthy before God in order that we are considered as the children of God and imitators of God.

Notice with me then what those things are the first is mentioned there in verse 2, he first says, “And walk in love.” You see love is certainly a big issue in relationship to Christianity, why, for all that we know is based on love. In fact the Corinthian writer Paul again spoke there about the greatest of all things is love even over faith and hope. We not only see this there but also in the book of 1 John we see the idea that God is love. So if God is love and he showed us love first by creating us, and blessing us, and even giving us His son to die on the cross, if God first showed us love what are we suppose to do? Well, we are supposed to walk in love. Now doesn’t that again tie beautifully again with what we are considering there from verse 1; imitate God, God is love, God has shown love, and we must walk in love. Notice with me what He goes on to clarify as far as an example in verse 2 as well, after he says, “And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us…” Too what extent? “…and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma.” Now if you think about that certainly the ultimate love, the ultimate love that God showed man, or that one man the Bible says can show for another man is that he would lay down his life even for a friend. You know if I were to say would you lay down your life for family you might even question that it might be a very difficult thing. But what about to lay down your life for a friend? You see that’s what Jesus said the standard was because Jesus not only laid down His life for a friend but as we can learn there in for instance Romans 5, again we find in Philippians 2, that even while we were still sinners Christ died for us. Even when He knew that we being born into this world would engage and involve ourselves in the sins of this world and many would actually choose to deny Him and not follow Him, He still died for all of His creation. So what love, what love, what manner of love has been bestowed on us that the son of God, God in the flesh would die for all of mankind and set an example that we in turn might imitate God and walk in love. If I want to fully please God I have better learned how to walk in love.

The next thing that we would like to look at as obedient Christians is the idea that is found in verse 8. Not only are we to be those who walk in love but he next mentions in verse 8 another concept of the Christian walk. He says, “For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord,” but then he adds, “Walk as children of light.” Do you see where we started? Imitating God as dear children, walk in love, now in verse 8 he adds the idea walk in light as Children of God. But to really understand this walk of light there is something that we further need to know. The same text that we went to a moment ago in 1John 3-4, chapter 4 specifically dealing with the fact that God is love, guess what 1John 1 says. Well, there in verse 5 it says God is light, there is the Father again, God the Father is light and Jesus is the light and we are His dear children who are to imitate Him. If God is light what must we strive for? Well, we strive to be in the light. Now what does that mean? If you’ll notice he also added there the idea they were once, that even we once were in darkness. If you are not in light you are in darkness. If light is God perfection then righteousness, purity, and holiness darkness is the opposite. We even have it defined for us well here because it goes on to actually clarify some things in for instance verse 12-13 that are shameful He says for those of the light to be involved in what would that be, sin. In fact we also see it further if we back up to verse 3-4 where the same writer Paul to the Ephesians church after he says walk in love as God is love he then warns them to stay away from fornication, uncleanness, covetousness, and anything that is filthy or ugly. There is a whole list of things that are mentioned there that would be classified obviously as sin or sinful. God is love; sin has no part in God. God is light, sin has no part in light it is darkness. Back to our text a moment ago in 1John 1, it not only clarifies for us if you read the context for instance verses 5-7. It not only clarifies the idea that God is light but it goes on to speak about the fact that in Him there is no darkness at all. What does that tell us? There is no sin in God. God does not take part in, He cannot rejoice in, He cannot dwell with, He cannot be within the sinner, or the one who chooses sin. So what must we do? We must as the God of love be those who walk in love and we must as the God of light be those who also walk in light for sin has no place in relationship to those things that are of God. In fact in verses 10-11 of Ephesians 5 it actually says this, “Finding out what is acceptable to the Lord. And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness but rather expose them.” So there is a further extreme not only do we acknowledge who God is and what God wants but we acknowledge that which separates God as well as those who follow God in love and light from those things that are evil or wicked and thus we expose such. So he says find out what is right according to the will of God then do it but stay away from sin because if one is in sin he is in darkness and darkness has no place in the light and certainly darkness has no place in the love of God.

Now there is a third idea that is found here not only that dear children of God imitate God by walking in love and walking in light but if you drop down there to verse 15 he mentions another concept. And the challenge here is in relationship to a careful walk, in fact the word he actually uses in the New Kings James is to walk circumspectly. This means that we are carefully walking, that we are you know walking on egg shells in an easy way or easy manner we don’t want to break any of them if we don’t have to. Well, we are so careful that we walk in this way that we are able to accomplish, what, wisdom. Now he doesn’t actually use the word wisdom but what he says that we are to walk carefully not as fools but as those who are wise, so what does that entail, wisdom. So what is this third idea? The third idea is that walking with God is a wise walk, a walk of wisdom. Now why is that important? Because what wisdom tells us is not only that we know God and are aware of the Father, wisdom dictates to us not only do we study and understand what it is that he says to us but wisdom is that next step. The steps where we actually begin to act upon those things that we know have been declared by our God. Now if that be the case, guess what, we are walking wise. So what does that mean? It means if God has told me to do this then I do this, if God has told me to do that then I do that. No matter what everyone else is doing, no matter what the world says, no matter what feels good to me, or what I like wisdom means I not only understand what God wants but I do what God wants. Which sometimes as Romans 12 tells us means that we will not be like the world but we will be different from the world, we will be not only unique from the world but even in the eyes of the world sometimes we will be like weirdos, they won’t even like us, they will think we are strange. But we have to choose God, we must walk worthy because as he goes on in verse 16 to say is that is the only way we can redeem the time. That is the only way we can look back and understand that even though I have made all of these mistakes in my life and I have done these things that are against the will of God, I now as one who walks worthy before God will give Him my very best that I might in some way buy back that time and again show God now that I am willing to make a full commitment to even cover those wrongs that I have engaged in in the past. Buy back the time, redeem the time, because the days are evil.

You know all of us realize that our walk here on earth is short so that means we have got to make the most of everyday. Are you doing that? Are you making sure that as you are a child of God, a dear child, that as you imitate God your walk is a worthy walk? And as God is love you strive for love, as God is light you strive to be in the light, and as God shows you what you should do through His word and gives us all things pertaining to life and Godliness you then also in a wise way walk in the things of God. So that you might prove to God today that your walk is not only worthy before Him but that when the world looks to you what do they see? They see that your walk is with God. And when they world sees that we are doing the will of God the Great Sermon on the Mount there as Jesus spoke in Matthew 5 says, that it glorifies our Father in heaven. So I might ask you, are you willing to find out what is acceptable to the Lord verse 10? And are you willing as well to understand what He wants so that you might do and be found acceptable at all times in His sight? Knowing that not only will you be blessed today but blessed eternally because of your faith and what you have proven before your almighty God.

(BREAK FOR SONG # 3 - “I’ll Fly Away!”)

CLOSING COMMENTS

Let me thank you again for choosing to be with us today, in this offering to God. I hope our time together has been an encouragement and blessing to all of us. We invite you back every Sunday morning at 7:30, as we commit ourselves to this worship to God!

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How blessed we are as God’s Children to give Him glory and praise every day of life. May we never forget the wondrous God we serve and may we always give Him our very best in every aspect of life.

(Program closing)