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The Lowly Walk, Part 2

Grace To You / John MacArthur
The Truth Network Radio
November 30, 2022 3:00 am

The Lowly Walk, Part 2

Grace To You / John MacArthur

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November 30, 2022 3:00 am

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We must know before we can hear from people week after week who, by God's grace, are finding encouragement from grace to you, and as we read their words and listen to their stories, we never lose sight of the fact that it is precious friends like you.

Who make grace to you possible. And John, the generosity of those friends, the grace to you family, takes on special meaning this time of year. That for all you who want to support this ministry, this is your month. This is the most critical month of the year to support this ministry and launch us into the next year on a solid footing. Your year-end gift of grace to you is a stewardship that is critical, and we just want to remind you that the Lord will honor and bless you for your faithfulness and your sacrifice.

And not only that, it's going to continue to allow us to proclaim the Word of God with all of its power and truth across the planet in ways that only God knows, and someday maybe we'll find out when we get to heaven. So thank you so much for your support as we come to the year-end, and let's get back to our study called Getting in Step with the Christian Walk. I trust you're being challenged by these lessons from Ephesians 4.

Stay where you are and follow along. That's right, stay here, and thank you, John. Friend, if you'd like to partner with grace to you and help us reach people in your community and around the world with biblical truth, visit our website,

I'll have all of our contact information after the lesson. But for now, follow along in your Bible as John continues his series Getting in Step with the Christian Walk. Look with me, would you, in your Bible at the fourth chapter of Ephesians. The first six verses of chapter 4 introduce us to the lowly walk of our high position. The first three chapters of Ephesians have let us know that we have a high position in Christ. We are exalted to the heavenlies. We are blessed with all spiritual blessings. We are recipients of the unsearchable riches of Jesus Christ. We are one with the Lord. We are citizens of His kingdom. Tremendous realities. And because of who we are, this is how we are to live, chapters 4, 5, and 6.

And so the book is divided in the very middle, as we've seen. Now let me begin our study by reminding you of a certain truth. Paul the apostle was a beggar. And I don't mean that he was a beggar in terms of his profession, but I mean he was a beggar in terms of his passion.

Let me show you what I mean by that. Before Agrippa, in the 26th chapter of Acts, he said this, I beg you to hear me patiently. In the 12th chapter of Romans, to the Romans he said, and to us, I beg you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice. To the Corinthians he said in chapter 4 verse 16, Wherefore I beg you, be ye followers of me. To the Corinthians again in 2 Corinthians chapter 2 and verse 8, he said, I beg you that you would confirm your love toward him. In 2 Corinthians 5 and verse 20, he said, We beg you in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God. In Galatians chapter 4 and verse 12, he said, Brethren, I beg you, be as I am. And in chapter 5 verse 1, he said, For freedom Christ has set us free, therefore stand fast and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage. Be as I am is what he was saying. Now, just those few passages emphasize the fact that Paul was a beggar, that when he believed in a vital reality, when he was committed to some principle of divine truth, he didn't mind begging that people respond to it.

He didn't mind beseeching and pleading and imploring and entreating people to act. You know, I guess I identify with Paul being a beggar. Sometimes I say things to you that maybe sound a little pleading. In classic apostolic fashion, I have every right to beg you.

I cannot approach the ministry with detachment or indifference. I think I have to be wrapped up in pleading with people, begging people. I remember one time having the occasion to speak at one of the major Christian colleges of our land to be a guest speaker. I was somewhat intimidated just by the occasion because of the faculty and the student body that were there, several thousand of them. And I was assigned to speak in an expositional fashion. And so I selected the text from 2 Corinthians chapter 5 to speak on the motivation of the Apostle Paul, what motivated him to be the man of God that he was.

And I thought, you know, these people get academics all day in their class, but maybe they need a little bit of fire and passion. And so I just decided I'd just preach my heart out and I got the illustrations together and the points together and I poured out my heart and I preached the best I could. And boy, I really, I got involved and I was pleading with them to respond to the principles of the Word of God and to get out of that school and make a difference in the world.

And boy, you know, I just was very impassioned with the whole thing and I finished with prayer and I felt like I had delivered my soul. And I walked out of the side of this great auditorium and down the walk and a student confronted me and he said, May I speak with you a moment? And I said, Certainly. He said, Apparently you didn't realize to whom you were speaking. And I said, Well, perhaps not. And he said, You see, you should have been informed as to the intellectual level of the students here at this school.

I figured right away he was a freshman. And I said, Well, that's perhaps true. He said, You see, all of those gyrations and all of that activity and all those emotional stories and all that display was very unnecessary.

It was offensive. We are mature, intellectual people. You, and I'll never forget the statement, You just lay out the facts, my friend, and we'll judge whether they're relevant or not for our lives.

Then I knew he was a freshman. You just lay out the facts and we'll judge whether they're relevant for our lives. Listen, you can't do that when your heart is involved in your ministry. You can't detach yourself like that in the first place.

You don't believe for a minute that's really true. Well, I got his name and later I began to think about it. So I wrote him a note and I said to him, I think his name was Phil.

Dear Phil, Phil somebody, I never saw him again. I said, Thank you for confronting me again to make me think about my ministry. But I must remind you that my ministry is not an intellectual exercise. It's something deep down in my heart. And if I'm a beggar and a pleader, then you'll excuse me, but I stand in the apostolic succession to the Apostle Paul himself. I tried to point that out to him, love him. Paul was a beggar and you've got to be that.

Not because of anything external, but because it's in your heart to do that. Paul pleaded with people. He begged people. As I showed you in Acts 26, 3, these are the things, first of all, running back to those scriptures that he begged. First of all, he begged for a man to hear the gospel.

There's nothing wrong with you this week looking forward to next Sunday night finding somebody and begging them to come. And pleading with them to come. He begged Agrippa to hear. And secondly, as we saw in 2 Corinthians 5, 20, he begged people to be reconciled to God. He pleaded with them to come to Jesus Christ. And thirdly, in 1 Corinthians 4, 12, he begged Christians to pattern their lives after his life which was patterned after Christ. And then in 2 Corinthians 2, 8, he begged believers to love each other. And in Galatians 4, 12, he begged people to stand in the liberty that Christ had granted to them. You see, when it came down to the real issues of the spiritual world, he didn't mind begging people.

He didn't mind pleading with people. And I can't make an apology if I get a little bit exercised about some of the things that have concerned me about you. I don't need to make an apology if I pour out my heart in a pleading fashion imploring you to respond to the things of God.

It isn't a matter of just laying out some intellectual information and assuming that you're going to respond to it if you determine intellectually that it's logical and reasonable for you to do that. The prophet of God of the Old Testament was a passionate man. The Lord Jesus Christ was a passionate man. He cried out.

How many times do you read that Greek verb at Kratzen? He cried out. And you see him weeping over the city and you hear him and you know that he cared and you see Paul and the tears are running down his face most of his ministry because he cares. And he's pleading and he's begging and he's crying out in the agora, the marketplace for people to respond. You cannot approach the ministry with intellectual indifference. And as you look at Ephesians 4, 1, you hear him begging all over again.

Look at it. I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beg you that you walk worthy of the vocation to which you're called. He doesn't just coldly say it is essential that you walk worthy. He begs them. And beloved, the reason is this, that until you walk worthy, God is not glorified in your life. You are not fully blessed. The church cannot fully function and therefore the world cannot really see Jesus Christ. The worthy walk.

Paul begs for it and so do I. Now remember last time we talked about the fact that first we must know and then we can do, right? You have doctrine and then what? Duty. You have position and then what?

Practice. You have theology and then comes right living. And we said last time that that's why the Word of God again and again says you must know. You must know.

You must know. You must be renewed in the spirit of your mind. You must put on the new man that is renewed in knowledge that the eyes of your understanding would be enlightened. In other words, we must know before we can do. You cannot function on what you do not know. And so we emphasized to you last time how important it is for us to know the truth of God.

Now I want to say two things about that. First of all, if you don't know the Word of God, you can't protect yourself from sin. Thy word have I hid in my heart that I might not sin against thee. The protective, the preventative, the defense against sin is the knowledge of the Word of God.

It is the Word of Christ dwelling in you richly. Let me illustrate it to you just in one simple illustration from the seventh chapter of Proverbs. Proverbs chapter 7. Now Proverbs is all about wisdom. Proverbs was a book that was taught from fathers to sons. And Father, you can do no greater favor for your son than to teach him Proverbs. Proverbs is all about wisdom. And you must have wisdom before you can live it. You must know before you can do.

But watch what happens here in this illustration. Where there is ignorance, there is sin. Where you don't know the Word of God, you have no defense. You cannot fulfill your Christian life. You cannot walk worthy. You cannot glorify God. You cannot adorn His nature. You cannot manifest Christ.

You cannot function in the church in the manner you should, therefore the church is harmed. But let's see as an illustration Proverbs chapter 7 verse 6. Verse 5 introduces the strange woman.

Now this strange woman, this foreign woman, is a woman who would come along in the society of Israel to seduce Israel, to seduce some Jewish man. Verse 6, For at the window of my house I looked through my casement. He looks out the window and what does he see?

Had I beheld among the simple ones... Now here we are introduced to a simple person. The word is naive. He doesn't know. He has no information. He's devoid of knowledge. He has no understanding. Now watch what happens to a simple person who doesn't know. And I discerned among the youths a young man void of understanding.

Now this is a desperate situation for a person to be in. He doesn't know. He's simple. He has no understanding.

Passing through the street near her corner, he went the way to her house. You know what happens to a simple person? In this case, he fell into the clutches of a harlot.

Here's the story. In the twilight, in the evening, in the black and dark night, and behold there met him a woman with the attire of a harlot. And subtle of heart, though she is loud and stubborn, her feet abide not in her own house, and now is she outside in the streets and lieth in weight at every corner. So she caught him and kissed him, and with an impudent face said to him, now here comes the pitch, I have peace offerings with me. This day have I paid my vows.

Apparently there was going to be something to eat. Therefore came I forth to meet thee diligently to seek thy face, and I have found thee. What a song and dance. I have decked my bed with coverings of tapestry, with embroidered works, with fine linen of Egypt. I have perfumed my bed with myrrh and aloes and cinnamon. Come let us take our fill of love until the morning. Let us solace ourselves with love.

Sounds like a contemporary song, doesn't it? Here's the real issue, for my husband is not at home. He's gone on a long journey. He's taken a bag of money with him and will come home at the day appointed.

It's got business to do. With her much fair speech she caused him to yield. With the flattering of her lips she forced him. He goeth after her straight way. But notice the next line, as an ox to the slaughter, a fool to the correction of the stalks, till an arrow strike through his liver as a bird hasteneth to the snare and knoweth not that it is for his life.

You can stop there. You see, not knowing and being simple and being void of understanding means you are defenseless. And that's the negative way to say what I said in the positive, to know the truth of God, to know the Word of God in its deepest sense, to have it dwelling richly in you, to know it experimentally becomes the defense that enables you to say no to sin and yes to righteousness. To be simple and naive and void of understanding is to put yourself in the place of absolute vulnerability. And so, beloved, I say to you this, we must know before we can do. If we do not know, we will be victimized. And even a person who has put his faith in Jesus Christ and come to Christ, if he remains in his life in biblical ignorance, if the Word of God is not constantly running through the front of his mind, if he is not ever conscious of the deep and rich reality of God's eternal truth, will find himself entrapped in sin again and again and again and again. And so we must know. But there's a further thing to say to you. There is an element of danger in knowing.

That's right. Even though we must know to defend ourselves against sin and to fulfill God's will, there is a danger in knowing because once we know, we become accountable for what we know. Second Peter chapter 2 and verse 21, speaking here of an apostate who had the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, but went back to his former life, never really committing himself to Christ.

It was in his head, not his heart. Commenting on that, it says in verse 21, listen to this. And here is a divine principle. "'For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness than after they have known it to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them.'"

Did you get that? He says, "'It is better that you never know than that you know and you turn away from it.'" People, that is a powerful statement with unending ramifications. Somebody might say, well, call all the missionaries home.

Call them home. It's better that those people never know than that they know and reject it. Yes, yes, that's true.

But on the other hand, the Lord Jesus Himself said to go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. Because better yet than knowing and not responding is knowing so that you can respond, okay? Listen, it's better not to know it than to know it and not do it. But it's best of all to know it and do it.

That's the point. And so we say to you, seek to know and seek to do. That's how you fulfill God's plan in your life.

And by the way, the other alternatives are misery. To not know it and therefore not do it is never to know the blessing of God. To know it and not do it is ever to know the chastening of God. But to know it and do it is to constantly know His blessing. And so we say to you, learn the truth and obey the truth. That's what Paul is saying. You know it. It's here for you in the first three chapters.

Now apply it. So Paul invites us then to walk. No, he begs us to walk worthy because this is the standard and the only standard. Colossians chapter 3, listen, if you then are risen with Christ, seek the things that are above. If you're living in the heavenlies, set your affections on things above and not on things on the earth.

If you have been exalted to be up there with God, then put to death the things on the earth. You say, well John, Paul's begging us to walk worthy. Is it possible?

I mean, 1 John 2 says, if we believe in Christ, we ought to walk as He walked. Can we do it? How can we do it? My position is exalted in heavenly. My position is in Christ. It's so high. It's so lofty. It's so wonderful.

It's so incomprehensible. How could I ever live in that manner? Well, first of all, you've got to know the principles and then respond. You say, well, if I'm a Christian and I'm so elevated and I'm so exalted and I'm so lofty, boy, I better live an exalted, elevated, lofty life. Better stick out my spiritual chest and be somebody.

That's interesting. Jesus said, take My yoke upon you and learn of Me, for I am what? Meek and lowly at heart. Say, you mean that the high position demands a lowly walk?

That's right. Look at verse 2. With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love, endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit and the bond of peace. See it there? You're so high and you're so lofty and you're so exalted, blessed with all spiritual blessings, elevated to an eternal inheritance, possessors of Christ, possessors of the Holy Spirit, possessors of the fullness of God Himself, those who own the unsearchable riches of Christ, you're so high that you really ought to walk very low, very low.

That's what He's saying. So that the high position demands a lowly walk. Now let's look at the call to the worthy walk in verse 1. He says, I want you to walk.

I beg you to walk. The first 16 verses He says, walk in unity. The end of chapter 4 is a unique walk, walk other than the Gentiles walk. Chapter 5, it's a love walk. Chapter 5, a light walk. Chapter 5 again, a wise walk. Chapter 5 and 6, a spirit walk and finally a warfare walk. And the idea is a lifestyle.

The word walk we would translate today is daily conduct, lifestyle. Let your lifestyle be worthy of the vocation to which you're called. That's the idea of what He's saying. Now listen. You say, can I do it? Yes.

Yes, but only on this basis. Chapter 3 verses 14 to 20, as you commit yourself to the Holy Spirit to be strengthened by His might in the inner man, as Christ looks at your life and it's purified and cleansed and He settles down and is at home, and as His love penetrates your life and as a result you're filled with all the fullness of God and able to do exceeding abundantly above all you can ask or think according to the power that works in you. As all of that takes place, you are living in the resources that enable you to walk the worthy walk. You'll never do it by just knowing the theology and then trying to crank it out. You must commit yourself to the power, and that's 3.20. The power.

And when you see the power flow, as indicated in chapter 3 verse 20 in response to the yieldedness to the Holy Spirit of the sixteenth verse, when you see that begin to happen, then the power is there to walk the worthy walk. If...listen to this and I'll close. If when you became a Christian, the Lord instantly stamped on your forehead these words, watch me, I am a child of God. And you weren't allowed to have bangs or wear a hat. What would that do to your lifestyle? Well, I'll tell you one thing. If I had that on me, or if I had to wear the proverbial sandwich board, watch me, I am a child of God, and I really love God, and I really love the Lord Jesus Christ, and I knew that everybody knew that I was a Christian.

I think it might change the way I live. I wore a sign only once in my life when I was a little boy. I got upset at a neighbor kid and I bit him. I bit him good. My dad put a sign around my neck, don't play with me, I bite. He made me wear it every day for one week.

I have never bitten anyone since that time. You know something? If we wear the name of Jesus Christ, don't you think we should walk worthy of it? This is Grace to You with John MacArthur. Thanks for being with us. John is Chancellor of the Masters University and Seminary.

He's titled our current series from Ephesians chapter 4, Getting in Step with the Christian Walk. And friend, as John mentioned before the lesson, this teaching is on the air in your area and across the globe because of the support of listeners like you. To partner with Grace to You financially, which is especially important here at the end of the year, contact us today. You can mail your tax-deductible donation to Grace to You, Box 4000, Panorama City, California 91412, or donate online at or by calling 800-55-GRACE. Again, these last few weeks of the year are crucial to us, with nearly a quarter of our budget being met by year-end gifts from friends like you.

Our address again, Box 4000, Panorama City, California 91412. Or express your support by calling us at 800-55-GRACE or go online at And when you get in touch, remember, you still have time to pick up Bible study resources for your loved ones in time for Christmas. You can get our flagship resource, the MacArthur Study Bible, John's recent book titled, 40 Lives in 40 Days, or perhaps a volume or two from the MacArthur New Testament commentary series. And there's still time to use our free shipping option to get your items before Christmas. To order, call 800-55-GRACE or visit Now for John MacArthur, I'm Phil Johnson, encouraging you to watch Grace to You television this Sunday on DirecTV, Channel 378, or check your local listings, and be here tomorrow for another half hour of unleashing God's truth, one verse at a time, on Grace to You.
Whisper: medium.en / 2022-11-30 13:36:45 / 2022-11-30 13:47:08 / 10

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