Now you're going to walk worthy and all of us are saying, okay, I want to walk worthy.
How? He says, all right, here's five ways. Five keys, lowliness, meekness, long-suffering, forbearing love, and unity. Those are the five characteristics of a worthy walk. And the goal of it all, verse 3, is the unity of the Spirit.
Talking about humility, Charles Spurgeon said whenever you get one inch above the ground in your own esteem, you're an inch too high. The famed preacher knew that to be truly humble, you have to have an accurate view of your own sin. John MacArthur is going to help you cultivate that accurate view of yourself today on Grace to You as he continues his current study titled, Getting in Step with the Christian Walk.
It's a series of lessons that will show you what it means to be a Christian, the basic attitudes and actions that should mark your life as a follower of Jesus Christ. So turn in your Bible to the book of Ephesians as John begins. We're looking at the fourth chapter of Ephesians and talking about the worthy walk. I want to share with you the characteristics of the worthy walk. The characteristics of the worthy walk. Now I want you to realize something as we look at this verse 2 and 3. He says, now you're going to walk worthy and all of us are saying, okay, I want to walk worthy.
How? He says, all right, here's five ways. Five keys, lowliness, meekness, longsuffering, forbearing love and unity.
Those are the five characteristics of a worthy walk. And the goal of it all, verse 3, is the unity of the Spirit. Now the most important thing Paul wants us to know is that God wants unity in the church. He wants unity in the church. The unity of the believers is critical. The first three chapters of Ephesians emphasize it. We are one new man, one body, one family, one household, one habitation of the Spirit. This tremendous emphasis that Jew and Gentile are one in Christ, we're all one, very important.
And it's important because of this. In John 17, verse 21 to 23, Jesus prayed to the Father and He prayed a very explicit prayer. This is what He said, Father, I pray that they all may be one as Thou, Father, art in Me and I in Thee that they also may be one in us.
Why? In order that the world may believe that Thou hast sent Me. Verse 23, I in them, Thou in Me that they may be made perfect in one that the world may know that Thou hast sent Me. In other words, the whole concept that Christ is the Son of God is wrapped up in the unity of the church.
Do you see it? That as we are one, we manifest Christ to the world. You know, the world is all discord. The world is all disharmony. The world is all animosity and antagonism and bitterness and resentment and rugged individualism and every guy for himself. And if in the midst of that there is an oasis of beautiful unity, there is an oasis of beautiful oneness, there is a harmony of peacefulness among a body of people, the world is going to look and say, What's that? And that's when we can say, This is what Jesus Christ can do. And they're going to say, Then He must be somebody from somewhere else than this world because nobody in this world could ever do that. And the Bible says there's no peace to the wicked. Peace, peace, and there is no peace.
There's no one in the world who's ever been able to do it. That's why the world is going to grab on to the coat strings of the Antichrist. He's going to come along and He's going to appear to be the greatest peacemaker. But you see, we can manifest to the world that Jesus is the peacemaker if we have a community of peaceful, loving, united people in one mind.
Right? This is a heart of our testimony that the world may know that He is sent from God. He's not just another man. No man has ever been able to make that kind of peace. No man has ever been able to relate people to each other like that. He's got to be divine and that's the heart of it all.
But the world isn't going to know that unless we have that unity, we maintain that unity and we'll never maintain it without following these steps. Let's look at one, the first step, with all lowliness...with all lowliness. The word pasa in the Greek means all, total, and the word simply means total humility. I mean nothing else, no exception, total humility, not just lowliness, but all lowliness.
In everything, in every relationship, in every attitude, in every act, in every deed, you always manifest lowliness. Now the Greek word comes from two words. The first one, tapinas, means low. It's just the word that means low as opposed to high.
But it has a metaphorical use. It means it's used sometimes to speak of poor. We talk about low classes. Well that's the way it's used.
Poor people. It's used to speak of unimportant. If something is low priority, we mean it's unimportant. It's something ignoble or useless. It means something base, something unimportant, something poor, something cowardly, ignoble. Now the second part of the word is froneo which is a verb that means to think or to judge. The combination then means to think of yourself as lowly, to think of yourself as unimportant, to think of yourself as base, to think of yourself as poor, to think of yourself as ignoble.
Now you've got it. In everything you do, think of yourself as low. Paul said to the Romans, For goodness sake, a man should not think more highly of himself than he ought to think. And how ought he to think?
Lowly. But, you know, we're always told that we ought to think of ourselves as something great. You know, that we ought to take care of...we ought to really put it on. The commercials tell us that. Man, if you're not rich and beautiful, you can hardly stand to watch television. You can hardly stand it. It frustrates you. And, you know, we're constantly being told that we are to be proud. Well, that's not what the Bible says.
You want to know something interesting? This word never appears in classical Greek because it was coined by Christians, because the world didn't have this concept. John Wesley said, quote, Neither the Romans nor the Greeks had a word for humility. They didn't have a word for it. And the reason they didn't have a word for it was because they despised that attitude. They just used a derogatory word.
This is a word that was given some character. They had words that meant poor and ignoble and cowardly and so forth. And by the way, even this word, when it was coined by the Christians, came to mean poor, cowardly, unimportant and the pagans in the first two centuries, every time we find this word in pagan writings, use it in a derogatory way.
Even when the Christians coined a word for a good kind of virtuous humility, they couldn't fit it into their lifestyle. They despised anybody like that. They looked down on anybody like that.
They mocked anybody who was weak and cowardly and faint-hearted and had a servile mind and thought of himself poorly. Well, you know, we need to be humble. And it grieves my heart, you know, to have people standing up and preaching as if it's the message of God that we've got to think we're great and think we're great and we've got to parade ourselves and parade all of the things we've done and be honored for everything we've done. That's just not what the Bible teaches at all.
Pagans have done that and they always do it. And they always look on humility as a pitiable weakness. But in Christ, humility became a beautiful virtue and without it you can't walk worthy.
There's just no way. Total humility, total humility, a basic ascension. Jesus knew it. Jesus...I mean, what did He have? What could He say He was proud of?
He never said that. Jesus, what an example of humility. He was acquainted with grief, Matthew 26. He gave Himself, John 6. He was hated without a cause, John 15. He was homeless, Matthew 8. Persecuted, John 15. Betrayed, Matthew 26. He was condemned, Matthew 20 tells us.
Again, it tells us He was delivered up. In Luke 18 it says He was despised. In John 12 He was lifted on a cross. In Mark 10 it says He was mocked.
In Luke 22 He was numbered with the criminals and Matthew 16 says He was killed. He was humbled and we must walk as He walked. It is said that when the story of West India slavery was told to the Moravians, it was told that it was impossible to reach the slave population of the West Indies because they were separated from the ruling classes and they were just outcasts and you couldn't reach them. Well, a biographer says two Moravian missionaries offered themselves and said, we will go and be slaves on the plantations and we'll work as slaves and we'll toil as slaves.
If need be, we'll take the lash to get beside the slaves and teach them Christ. And these two missionaries left their homes, went to the West Indies, went to work on the plantations as slaves and by the side of other slaves they were close to the hearts of those slaves and the slaves heard them and their hearts were touched because they had received them, humbled in their own condition. It was glorious and yet Christ's example was infinitely greater than that, wasn't it? He humbled Himself and became one of us. He encircled us in the embrace of His loving arms. He drew us into His own fellowship who were slaves of sin. Even though He was God and even though you're something in God's eyes and even though you are a marvel of marvels by grace redemptively, you still walk humble. Listen to this, Psalm 138 6. Listen, this is great. Though the Lord be high, yet hath He respect unto the lowly.
Isn't that good? Though the Lord be high, yet hath He respect unto the lowly, God make us humble. Oh God, preserve me and you from ever exalting ourselves in our own mind thinking we've succeeded, we're big time and everybody below us is to be looked down on. Paul knew this kind of humility. He said in Acts 20 19 that we serve the Lord with all humility of mind, with all humility of mind, with many tears and trials by the plotting of the Jews.
He says we serve the Lord with humility. Even if you don't have a servant's heart, you'll never walk worthy. You're a servant.
You're a third level galley slave, a hooper et teis, nothing more than an under rower on a ship. You have no significance other than you make a contribution to the place you're going to. And as a Christian, all you have is a contribution by virtue of your effort to make to the goal that God is attaining and that is His own glory. Paul said, the only thing I ever boasted, I boasted in the gospel of Jesus Christ, that's all. You say, but Paul, you have a wonderful education. No, I'll just boast in Jesus Christ. Paul, you've traveled all over the world? No, I'll just boast in Jesus Christ. Paul, your adventures are incredible.
You ought to write a book. No, I'll just write a book about Jesus Christ. That's the right spirit. Paul said, I am what I am by the grace of God. He said, I was a blasphemer and a persecutor but God counted me faithful and that He put me into the ministry.
I who am the chief of what? Sinners. He knew what it was to suffer. You know, the Bible gives us some great examples of humility. I think of John the Baptist. You know what Jesus said about him and Matthew 11, 11, he was the greatest man that ever lived?
Among them that are born of women, there hath not risen a greater than John the Baptist. The greatest man who ever lived. Now certainly he should have been the recipient of some award. The greatest man who ever lived award. Maybe we could have it, the Matthew 11, 11 award. Well, he said, he must increase and I must...what?...decrease.
And the latchet of his shoe I'm not worthy to unloose. Mary, how humble was Mary, the sister of Martha. We see her three times sitting at the feet of Jesus. And you get the picture that Martha was busy trying to put on a real hot deal, great meal. Because everybody would say, Martha, you've done it again. Jesus says, Martha, Martha, you've got the wrong priority.
Pride can manifest itself in that way. I think of the writers of the gospels. Have you ever noticed how the writers of the gospel record could have said, and then, of course, I was there with Jesus and really played themselves up. But you know, there's almost a beautiful hiding of themselves in their gospels. For example, Matthew, when Matthew introduces himself in his gospel, he's the only one that says Matthew the publican.
He plays up the despised character that he was. And he makes no mention of himself having made a tremendous feast and invited all of his friends to come and meet Jesus. He put on a big evangelistic feast when he was going to go and follow Jesus, but he never mentions it. Luke writes about that. Matthew never writes about that.
Everybody's going to say anything about the things he's done. And then Mark. Mark wrote, no doubt, under the tutelage of Peter. Mark reflects Peter's perspective. And it's always been interesting to me that Mark does not include two of the greatest things that ever happened to Peter. Number one, the walking on the water, and number two, the incident about thou art the Christ the Son of the living God and I give unto you the keys to the kingdom and all of this. Those are absent from Mark. But you know what's present in Mark? Peter's rebuke, Peter's fall.
And I think of John, John who writes a twenty-one chapter gospel and never one single time mentions his name. Humility...humility. Guthrie has written, The grandest edifices, the tallest towers, the loftiest spires, rest on deep foundations. The very safety of eminent gifts and preeminent graces lies in their association with deep humility. They were dangerous without it.
Great men do need to be good men. Look at the mighty ship, he says, a leviathan of the sea with her towering masts and carrying a cloud of canvas how she steadies herself on the waves and walks erect upon the rolling waters like a thing of inherent self-regulating life when the corn is waving and trees are bending and foaming billows roll before the blast and break and thunders on the beach. Why is she not flung on her beam's end, sent down foundering into the deep?
Why? Because unseen beneath the surface, a vast well ballast hull gives her balance and takes hold of the water, keeps her steady under a press of sail and on the bosom of a swelling sea. Even so, he says, to preserve the saint upright, to preserve the saint erect and safe from falling, God gives him balance and ballast, bestowing on the man to whom he has given lofty endowments the attendant grace of a proportionate humility," end quote.
That's right. And what is humility? What is it? You say, I know it's right, John.
What is it? I'm going to give you three things. First of all, self-awareness. First of all, humility begins with self-awareness, so important. God said, quote, the virtue by which a man becomes conscious of his own unworthiness. Humility starts with really looking at yourself honestly.
You know what I believe that involves, people? Daily...now mark it...daily, every day of your life, an open, honest confession of sin before God. You can mask who you really are. You can play games and convince yourself that you're something wonderful. And never be honest with yourself. But we are the ones, 1 John 1-9 says, that are constantly confessing our sins.
We are like Paul who said, I am the chief of sinners. We who never attain but press toward the mark but never get there must realize it. Remember you're tempted to be proud. Remember who you are. You haven't arrived.
Don't kid yourself. You're not there. You haven't done it all.
You haven't fulfilled it. Proper self-awareness. And you know what the problem gets to be every time? You know when we get all fouled up about who we really are, when we compare ourselves with other people, because we can always find people worse than us.
You know that? Well, I'm not so bad, look at him. I used to use that on my mom. She was always concerned about my grades in school. I'd come home with a C and she'd say, Johnny, you should not get a C. You did not put out your best effort. Why did you get a C?
And I, well mom, 10 kids got a D. See, that's typical. You see, there's always a lower standard. You can always find one. You know, it goes on in the home too.
Your wife's giving you, you know, nagging you a little bit about something and you say, Well, you know, if you don't like it, go marry the drunk next door, see how you like that. You can always find a...you can always find something worse than you. You can always find somebody to make you look good.
And that's the problem. You know what you've got to do? You've got to deal with yourself honestly before God. Second Corinthians 10 gives you the principle in verse 12. Paul says, listen, we dare not...listen now...we dare not make ourselves of the number or compare ourselves with some that commend themselves. Say, boy, aren't we wonderful? You know, boy, they commend themselves. They are the number who commend themselves. And you know how they do it? They measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves among themselves, see?
They use their own self-made criteria to evaluate what they are and they're never really honest. Humility is taking off the rose-colored glasses of self-love and seeing that you're nothing but an unworthy sinner. That's humility.
That's where it starts. And these false apostles in 2 Corinthians 10, these false apostles were coming into town and saying, We got the greatest truth. We're the new breed.
Listen to us. We're the big heroes. They were even apparently calling themselves super apostles.
They were the big shots. And Paul says, Well, they compare themselves with themselves. That's why they think they're so great.
They got the wrong standard. So to begin with, true humility springs from self-awareness. People, you've got to be honest with who you are. You're never going to know humility.
By the way, I'm talking about a worthy walk. If you want to walk worthy and be blessed by God in your life, then you're going to have to walk in humility. And if you're going to walk in humility, you're going to have to be honest with who you really are.
You've got to see your faults and confess your sins and deal with those things daily. It's the second thing. Not only self-awareness, but let's call it Christ awareness. If you're not the standard, who is? Well, it's Christ. It's Jesus Christ. It's when we compare ourselves with ourselves that we get proud. It's when we compare ourselves with ourselves that we feel like we're all right. But we are to compare ourselves with Jesus Christ, 1 John 2.6, He that says He abides in Him ought even to walk as He walked.
That's the standard. Now when you can stand up and say, I am happy to announce to everyone that I now walk as Jesus walked, then you have a right to be proud. You're not going to get anybody to believe you.
As you begin to see Jesus Christ, you see Him in His humanness. You say, He was a perfect man. I mean, He met everybody, gave all the right answers and you feel so inadequate.
I give so many dumb answers. He said just the perfect word for the perfect time. I don't do that. He had the perfect attitude for every single situation, every single person He ever met. I don't make it on that. He knew exactly how to help everybody that needed help in just the way they needed the help.
I can't do that. It's the third thing. Self-awareness, Christ awareness and ultimately God awareness. You see His deity and you begin to realize this is God. And when you compare yourself with God, I mean, it's just, you know, staggering how puny pusillimous you really are, how absolute zilch, zero nothing. You know, people often ask me this, what is the most humiliating experience you ever had? And you know, you always think about something that was embarrassing, you know, like the time I was preaching and my pants ripped and the choir was all giggling at me. You think about things like that, you know.
But when I think about something, the most humiliating experience I ever had, it's very easy for me to answer that. It took two years and it was the two years that I taught the Gospel of John, 96 sermons, about 100 hours or more of preaching, somewhere between two and three thousand hours of study that I did. And you know what? As you study the Gospel of John over two years, week after week after week, every paragraph presents the deity of Jesus Christ. And you know, you live with the deity of Christ day after day after day after day.
And you know something? When you compare yourself constantly with Jesus Christ, that's the healthiest thing you could ever do, because you see who you really aren't, see, you're nothing. Listen to this one, Isaiah, he compared himself with God one day. This is what it says, Isaiah 6, in the year that King Uzziah died, I saw also the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lifted up and His train filled the temple. Isaiah says, hey, one day I saw God, I saw God. And above it stood the seraphim and each one had six wings with two he covered his face, with two he covered his feet and with two he did fly. And one cried unto another and said, Holy, holy, holy is the Lord, the whole earth is full of His glory.
And the posts of the door moved at the voice of Him who cried and the house was filled with smoke. Then said I, woe is me, I am undone, I am a man of unclean lips, I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips. Where did you ever discover that, Isaiah? How did you get that awareness, Isaiah? How did you come to that humility, Isaiah? For mine eyes have seen the King, you see?
That's the perspective. When the apostle Paul looked at himself, he said, you're the chief of sinners, self-awareness. When Peter looked at Jesus, he said, depart from me, O Lord, for I am a sinful man, Christ awareness. And when Isaiah saw God, he said, woe is me, for I am a man of unclean lips. See, that's the heart of it all. When you see God, you say, what is man that thou art mindful of Him and the Son of Man that thou visitest Him?
Who am I, humility? This is Grace to You with John MacArthur. Thanks for being with us. John has been our featured speaker for over 50 years. He's also Chancellor of the Masters University and Seminary, and our current study is titled Getting in Step with the Christian Walk.
Now to a different subject for a minute or two. Christmas is less than three weeks away, and John, people battle the store crowds in search of gifts for their loved ones, and I know you have a few timely suggestions that will help our listeners avoid the holiday frenzy and pick up gifts with spiritual value. Well, and this is kind of a regular for us when we get to this time of the year, that we like to make a suggestion that you buy something that's going to make a spiritual difference in someone's life, significant difference, and that's what I want to talk about. First of all, the greatest, the most comprehensive resource that this ministry provides is the MacArthur New Testament Commentary Series. That's 33 volumes plus a 34th volume, which is an index, and in 33 volumes it covers basically every phrase, every word, every verse in the entire New Testament, and that way you can get the full picture of what the Word of God is saying.
We dig deep into the flow of the argument. We give you all the background, all the necessary things that you need to know from the original language and history and whatever else weighs upon an accurate interpretation of every text in the New Testament. So if you're especially a Sunday school teacher or somebody leading a Bible study or just want to get it right, these would be for you. Now going in the opposite direction from 33 or 34 volumes, there's the MacArthur Study Bible, which is one volume, obviously. It's the text of Scripture and about 25,000 footnotes that bring out the theology, historical context, grammar, and a whole lot more. You can get it in the New American Standard, which is what I preach from, the New King James, and the ESV. Also it comes in a lot of different forms, hardcover, leather soft, and actually you can get high quality premium leather edition of the MacArthur Study Bible as well.
So that would be a great tool. That's a library in one book, and you've got the Word of God and all you need to rightly divide the Word. One other thing I would mention to you is One Perfect Life. It's a unique treatment of the life of Christ, who is obviously the theme of Scripture. It takes every passage concerning our Lord Jesus Christ, even starting in the Old Testament and through to the four Gospel accounts and even the rest of the New Testament and weaves them into a single continuous narrative on the person of Christ, one perfect life. This is a book for life that you would want to read over and over again so that you can know Christ in all his fullness. So as you're thinking of Christmas, place your Christmas order today, One Perfect Life, the MacArthur Study Bible, or the New Testament Commentary Series.
That's right, friend. All of these gifts make the meaning of Scripture clear and accessible, helping you dig into its amazing truths. To order the MacArthur Study Bible, One Perfect Life, or John's Commentary Series, get in touch with us today. You can call us at 800-55-GRACE, and that number translates to 800-554-7223.
Our customer service team can help you find the right shipping option for pre-Christmas delivery or choose an express shipping option when you order from our website, gty.org. And remember, right now, all MacArthur Study Bibles are 25% off the normal price, including our many non-English translations. Again, to order the MacArthur Study Bible, or the book One Perfect Life, or the MacArthur New Testament Commentary Series, call us at 800-55-GRACE or go to gty.org. And as you consider what you want to give your loved ones this Christmas, a reminder that you can help give God's people in your area and beyond the same biblical instruction and encouragement that you benefit from through grace to you. The end of the year provides an important opportunity for you to express your support. So thank you for what you can do to help us start 2023 on a strong footing.
To make a donation, visit our website, gty.org. Now for John MacArthur, I'm Phil Johnson. Be here tomorrow when John continues his look at Getting in Step with the Christian Walk. That's another half hour of unleashing God's truth one verse at a time, on Grace to You.
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