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The Lowly Walk, Part 5

Grace To You / John MacArthur
The Truth Network Radio
December 8, 2022 3:00 am

The Lowly Walk, Part 5

Grace To You / John MacArthur

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December 8, 2022 3:00 am

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Moses was fearless in confronting Pharaoh. He was fearless in confronting the people of Christ.

We never have a reason to boast and every reason to be humble. Of course, practicing true humility is, well, difficult. But you can get there.

How? Find out today as John MacArthur continues his series titled Getting in Step with the Christian Walk. And now here's John with the lesson. And in our current study of the book of Ephesians, we find ourselves in the fourth chapter, the first three verses. Really the first six verses are a unit. We could entitle the whole unit the lowly walk of our high position, the first three chapters of Ephesians dealing with our position and now the last three with our walk. And Paul introduces that in the opening of this chapter. Paul begins, I therefore the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that you walk worthy of the vocation to which ye are called, with all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love, endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. This great text on the worthy walk really deserves our diligent, faithful study because it reveals a basic truth that we need to consider.

This is it. The Christian life is not a matter of what you do first. It is a matter of who you are. The biblical issue is not what we do apart from what we are. It is what we are that results in what we do.

And that's what God is after. So Paul says, walk worthy and he is speaking then immediately after that of the attitudes that make it possible. Now to give you the outline that we started with here, the first verse we call the call to the worthy walk. In verse 1, Paul simply gives an exhortation based on the first three chapters calling us to walk worthy. Then in verses 2 and 3, we have the characteristics of the worthy walk. If we are to walk worthy, what are the characteristics?

How does it manifest itself? And here he gives five inner attitudes. Then he closes in verses 4 to 6, this opening session, with the cause of the worthy walk, the call, the characteristics, and the cause of the worthy walk.

And I told you there are five inner graces that will manifest a worthy life, five things that lead us to walk worthy. Verse 2, all lowliness. And we said that means total humility.

The worthy walk begins with total humility. Let's go to the second word here in verse 2, with all lowliness and meekness. Humility produces meekness, proud taste from the form praus.

Praus is the word meekness. It refers basically to something that is mild and gentle. It means to be gentle-hearted, mild. It is characteristic most of all of Jesus Christ. In 2 Corinthians 10, 1, Paul spoke of the meekness of Christ. In Matthew 11, 29, Jesus said, I am meek and lowly in heart. He came riding on the colt, the foal of an ass, not a great white steed with a fanfare, but meekly, quietly riding on the colt, the foal of an ass, the dumbest beast of burden, the most common animal, emphasizing his meekness. Christ was meek.

Jesus had it. Jesus who said, I am meek and lowly at heart. Jesus of whom it was said He came riding on the colt, the foal of an ass, meek and lowly, Zechariah 9, 9.

He would come so meek. Jesus who seemed so quiet, who avoided the conflict so often. Jesus of whom, blessed Peter said, when He was reviled, He reviled not again. And when He was persecuted, He did not retaliate or seek revenge. Jesus, that quiet and meek spirit, the same Jesus who when God the Father was dishonored, walked into the temple, made a whip and started whipping men in the back and started throwing tables over and knocking over chairs and spilling money and chasing animals and said, get out of here.

You have turned my Father's house into a den of thieves and it is to be a house of prayer. Jesus, meek and quiet spirit and dealing with people who when He confronted the filthy hypocrisy of the Pharisees, blistered them from one side to the other and called them whited sepulchres whitewashed on the outside and inside full of dead men's bones. Listen, this is the same meek and lowly Jesus.

Watch it. The key is this. Jesus never spoke a vengeful word or a retaliating word or a word of condemnation or judgment against anyone for something they had done to Him. He spoke it only in reference to how they treated God. And He set an example. Peter says in 1 Peter 2, Christ has suffered, setting an example for us.

And what is the example? That when He was reviled, He reviled not again. When He was condemned, He did not become vengeful. Now you see Him with a whip in the temple and He's cleaning the temple because it is a defiling of the Father's house.

But when His own temple was defiled, hanging on the cross and the nails were driven through and His body was dripping with blood and spit and sweat and they were mocking Him, all He had to say to them then was, Father...what? Forgive them. They don't know what they do. See? That's meekness. That's power under control.

This total selflessness. Jesus never reacted to that which came against Him, only that which came against the Father. In the garden, they came to capture Him in Matthew chapter 26. It would have been so easy for Jesus to have pulled off a wonder of all wonders. It says that He had the power if He wished to call the angels of heaven to His aid. Jesus said, Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to My Father and He shall presently give Me more than twelve legions of angels? Conservatively speaking, nearly a hundred thousand...seventy-five thousand angels.

You know how powerful that is? Well, look at the Old Testament. One angel slew a hundred and eighty-five thousand Assyrians.

Listen, Jesus said, I could with one word to My Father have twelve legions of angels here in a snap. But not in defense of Himself. He wouldn't do it.

Not in defense of Himself. That's meekness. Meekness will take a whip and defend God against those who desecrate His name. It'll be angry.

It'll be so angry that its eyes will be fiery. But meekness will not as much as lift its own finger for vengeance against that which comes to itself. You know, it's so easy to be tempted this way. When somebody says something about me that's critical or something, you know, you feel that inside temptation, boy, you know, I'll tell them.

Who do they think they are? Touching God's anointing, you know. You get...see? Or when somebody does something to you, you know, people keep running into our cars lately.

You know, your first reaction is, boy, I'm going to get every penny out of that bird, see? That's what you start to feel inside. Then you need to say, that's not the thing to be angry about. Not what my neighbor does to me. Not what happens to me doesn't matter. Meekness says, I only retaliate, the lion only roars when God is the issue, see?

Boy, that's when you're living right. You can't be offended. Meekness cannot be offended.

Do you get that? There's nothing to defend because we're nothing. Another illustration of meekness as power under control would be David. In 1 Samuel 24, I don't need to turn to it, I'll just wrap these thoughts up. In 1 Samuel 24, David was running from Saul.

Remember that? Saul was chasing David. David knew he was king. He was anointed king. He knew he was to be the king. And Saul was a rotten king and it was only a matter of time. It was inevitable. And David and his men were hiding in a cave. Remember the story? And in 1 Samuel 24, Saul came in their cave. What an opportunity.

You could pull off a coup rather easily. One shot in the old heart and that was it. David knew he had the right to reign. David knew that Saul had chased him all over the place, tried to kill him, tried to destroy the wonderful love relationship he had with Jonathan, tried to devastate his whole life. You know, normally a man would have been so vengeful to Saul, have hated what Saul did to him, make him run like an animal all over the wilderness, that he would have taken that opportunity and figure he had every right of God. He would have said, boy, God, you must have put him in here.

I'm going to get him while I got him. And David's men said to him, do it, David, do it. But David wouldn't do it.

David went over to Saul, took his knife and cut a piece of his robe off, just so Saul would know he was there and could have done it, but didn't do it. He had the power. He had the right. But his power was under the control of submission to God. He would never do anything in vengeance for himself. Only would he defend God. And in Psalm 69, 9 David said, zeal for your house has eaten me up.

The reproaches that have fallen on you are fallen on me. He says, God, when I get angry, it's because you are dishonored. He never defended himself. In 2 Samuel 16, David's son Absalom, that evil, rebellious, vile son, tried to defeat his own father as king and David had to run for his life. And David is running for his life out in the wilderness and Absalom is trying to put up a new government and undermine his own father. And David was the laughing stock of some people because he ran from his own son. And during that time, one of Saul's men by the name of Shimei found David and he started to curse at David. And he mocked David and he threw rocks at him. David was the king that God's anointed. But he was so humbled by this that this man was cursing him and mocking him and throwing pebbles at him. And Abishai, David's nephew, said to David, David, you just tell me the word and I'll chop his head off. David said, let him alone.

That's power under control. Never vengeful for himself, sought nothing for himself. He would act with his army to fight for God's causes.

He wouldn't touch one person for his own sake, not one. That's meekness. Now you know as well as I do that Saul would have killed this guy, Shimei, if he'd have been throwing rocks at him. The difference is this, they both had the power, one had it under control, one had it out of control.

One was like a fortified city, according to Proverbs, one was like one with no walls. That's meekness. You know, at one time Saul was so out of control, at one time, according to 1 Samuel 14, Saul was going to kill his own son on a minor issue just to prove his power. On the other hand, when David's son rebelled against him, David said he would rather die for Absalom's sake, 2 Samuel 18.33. That's the difference. Saul wouldn't let himself be offended by anybody, even his own son. He'd kill him first. David could be offended by everybody, even his own son and lose his own life first.

That's the difference. Power under control. The spirit that makes a man bow low before God, think nothing of himself. The greatest Old Testament illustration of meekness is Moses. And I want you to see this as we wrap up our thoughts. Moses. Listen to this statement. I'm going to read it to you. Numbers 12, 3.

You don't need to turn to it, just listen. Numbers 12, 3 says, the man Moses was very meek above all the men who were on the face of the earth, end quote. Isn't that great? The meekest man that ever lived. He was meek.

Now when you think of Moses, you don't think of Casper Milktoast. You don't think of some puny little character going around mumbling under his beard. You think of fearlessness. You think of boldness. You think of combativeness.

You think of a confrontive, courageous man with conviction of a great, dynamic, powerful leader. You see that man with explosions of anger from one end of his career to the other, don't you? Why, his whole career came when he saw an Egyptian person abusing a Jew and he killed him.

Remember that? He blew up on him and he just took his life. He was so furious. You see him in the fifth chapter of Exodus after he's been refined by God in the wilderness and he walks right in there into the presence of Pharaoh, the greatest monarch existent in the world. He faces Pharaoh face to face, looks him in the eye and says, Pharaoh, let my people go. And he wasn't afraid to face him and he wasn't afraid to command him and he wasn't afraid to make a demand. Godly fearlessness, godly boldness. In Exodus chapter 32, he finds Israel in idolatry.

He finds them in debauchery and in absolute fury. He smashes the law of God and he scaves and rebukes, fearless man, bold, combative, confrontive. We see him in the outburst of righteous anger, certainly not timid cowardice. Listen, Moses was fearless. He took a life of an Egyptian. He was fearless in confronting Pharaoh. He was fearless in confronting the people of God and their sin. He went through his life exercising authority over a couple of million people. He was a bold, strong man. Yet the Bible says he was the meekest man that ever lived. Why? Because his strength was always amassed in reaction to God's honor, never in defense of himself.

You see? In fact he had no confidence in himself, none at all. In the third chapter of Exodus when God came to him and called him, he said, Who am I that I should lead this people?

Who am I? And in Exodus chapter 4, God says, You can't but I can. And he gave him a rod and he had the rod of God in his hand and he was nothing but the rod of God was everything. And from that time on, the rod of God is always in his hand and when he does something with the rod, things happen, right?

It was like a constant symbol of the fact that Moses was nothing and the rod was everything. Paul was somewhat the same way. Paul said in Philippians 3, 3, I cannot trust the flesh. But he said in Philippians 4, 13, I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

He was saying what Moses said, I can't but you can. Listen, meekness never reacts for its own sake but only for God. Paul never defended himself. Paul never rebuked anybody for what they did to him. He never retaliated. He never fired back in vengeance only when God was dishonored.

And so it was with Moses and so it was most of all with Jesus Christ and he did it as an example to us. It is his meekness that we must emulate. Let me ask you some questions in closing. How do you know if you're meek? How do you know if you're meek?

I'll give you some practical questions. Ask yourself this. Do you experience self-control?

That's question number one. Is your anger, your power, your energy always under control? Proverbs 16, 32. Do you rule your own spirit or do you find yourself being victimized by flying off the handle? Boy, he can't do that to me.

Who does that guy think he is? When your wife says something to you that could start an argument, do you get right in there defending yourself? You're wrong. I'm telling you. Well, not my fault.

Do you come right back? Or are you always under control? A meek person, power, under control. The only time the lion roars is in defense of God. Rather, says Paul in 1 Corinthians, suffer wrong. Suffer wrong. Take it.

Second question. Are you angry only when God is dishonored? Are you angry only when God is dishonored?

No other time. You know, I get angry. I mean, I get hot angry sometimes.

People who know me know that. I get really angry. But you know, the things that make me angry are the things that dishonor God, that mar His reputation, that despise His name.

That's what makes me angry. I get angry over sin. I get angry over perversion of the Word of God. I get angry over false doctrines. I get angry over false teachers. I get angry over those who would claim to know Christ and do not.

I get angry over those kinds of things. Now, we ought to be careful that we exhort those who oppose us in love and in meekness. But we have every right for the lion to roar when God is dishonored.

Third question. Do you respond to the Word of God humbly no matter what it says? James 1 21 says, you are to receive the engrafted Word with meekness. Do you respond to the Word of God meekly saying, if that's what it says, I submit, I obey?

So, do you experience self-control? Are you angry only when God is dishonored? Do you respond to the Word of God humbly?

A fourth question. Do you always make peace? Meek people do.

They always make peace. Right here it says, endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit and the bond of peace. That's what meekness will do. If somebody falls, do you condemn them, gossip about them, talk about them? If they do something wrong, do you talk about it under the guise of we've got to discuss the spiritual problem? Or are you the one who it says in Galatians 6, when a brother is taken into fault, you restore such and one with meekness?

Uh-huh, that's what you're to do. Are you a peacemaker? Meek people are. They don't make fights, they end them. They don't start arguments, they finish them.

Another question. Do you receive criticism without retaliation, whether it's right or wrong? Do you receive criticism without retaliation, whether it's right or wrong? Boy, this is a practical lesson. I work on this one hard.

Somebody writes to me and just lets me have it up one side and down the other. The Spirit is teaching me to write back and say, thank you for your criticism. I know God will use it in my life. Pray for me. God love you.

Sign my name. Can you take criticism, whether it's right or wrong, without retaliation? Another question, the final one. Do you have the right attitude toward the unsaved? You know, Peter says we are to give an answer to every man that asks us the reason of the hope within us, with meekness and fear. You know what he means? It's so easy for Christians to get smug, lofty, think we've arrived, and you start thinking about sinners as if they're one. What do they know?

Stupid people. And you begin to look down on them, you get proud, and you get kind of defensive. Doesn't he know I'm a child of God? He can't treat me like that. On the other hand, meekness.

Those are some questions that might help you. Do you have self-control? Are you angry only when God is dishonored? Do you respond to the word humbly no matter what it says? Do you always make peace? Do you receive criticism without retaliation whether it's right or wrong? Do you have the right attitude toward the unsaved?

Do you look at them and say, oh God, they're probably better than I, that I should be saved? That's what meekness says. Listen, Lloyd-Jones says to be meek means you have finished with yourself altogether.

Nobody can harm you anymore because you're not important. The worst men could say of you is probably true, and most significantly, beloved, this is how Christ was. Listen, the one who made the world, the one who flung the billion galaxies into space, the one who calls every star by name, the one who preserves the innumerable orbits in their courses, the one who weighs the mountains in a balance and the hills in a scale, the one who takes up the islands as a very small thing, the one who holds the waters in the hollow of his hand, the one before whom the inhabitants of the world are as grasshoppers, this one says, I am meek and lowly.

Can you do less? And so Peter says in 1 Peter 3, 4 that we are to be adorned, listen to it, with the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit which is in the sight of God of great value. Humility leads to meekness.

Let's pray. Lord, we want to know these things and we want to live them. We want You to take the truths and drive them down deep into our very life so that these are not theory but life. We desire to be humble and meek. Help us to obey that we may be what we should be and we even ask You to do what You need to do to prod us to humility and meekness, selflessness, that the result may be longsuffering, forbearing love and the unity of the Spirit which will fulfill the prayer of Jesus that we be one and will manifest the beauty of the Church to the whole world. So work in our hearts to that end in Christ's name.

Amen. You've been listening to John MacArthur, Chancellor of the Masters University and Seminary, here on Grace to You. John is looking at the meekness that should mark your life as a Christian in his study from Ephesians chapter 4 titled Getting in Step with the Christian Walk.

John, the last couple of weeks you've described what it looks like to have a stable Christian walk, but now to that listener who knows he is, well, stumbling, what can he do to stabilize his walk? You know, I think David summed it up so simply, your word of I hid in my heart that I might not sin against you. The Apostle Paul said, you know, if there's any virtue, if there's any praise, think on these things. Let this mind be in you which was in Christ Jesus.

Set your affections on things above, not on things on the earth. All those are biblical calls to put your thinking under the power and authority of Scripture. There's no mystery about your life. You basically live your thoughts. As a man thinks in his heart, the Bible says so he is.

How you think is how you live. Another way that the Proverbs put it is guard your heart for out of it are the issues of life. Bottom line, you need to be regularly exposed to the rich life transforming truth of Scripture.

It needs to become your constant meditation. You need to let the word of Christ dwell in you richly. We can help you with this, and this is a great time to mention it, by getting in your hands the MacArthur Daily Bible. We're moving in on January, and the Daily Bible covers a full year, a great time to start the new year. Every day you read a section from the Old Testament, a section from the New Testament, a section from Psalms, and a portion from the Proverbs. And it moves you through the entire Bible in one year.

And along the way, not only are you building a verse-by-verse habit of Bible reading, but there is a study section offered in addition to the reading, a little section of commentary that dives down into some truth that's contained in that reading. Husbands, wives may want to commit to reading through this one-year Bible together, even out loud, as I've done with my wife Patricia. Start January 1, couldn't be a better time. Now is the time to order some copies of the MacArthur Daily Bible. Keep in mind, to get the right shipping option for pre-Christmas delivery, call during regular business hours here in the U.S. That's 730 to 4 Pacific time, Monday through Friday. Outside the U.S., contact your local office for ordering information. And call today to place your Christmas order. That's right. Whether you're looking for a resource to help jumpstart your Bible study in 2023, or if you'd like a copy of God's Word that you can read with your spouse, pick up the MacArthur Daily Bible.

And it's also a great Christmas gift. Contact us today. Our toll-free number is 800-55-GRACE.

That translates to 800-554-7223. Again, to make sure the Daily Bible reaches you before Christmas, call during regular business hours and speak to one of our customer service representatives. They can help you get the right shipping option.

And our business hours are 730 to 4 o'clock p.m. Pacific time, Monday through Friday. Or you can choose an express shipping option when you order at GTY.org. And just a quick reminder that this is an important time of year financially for Grace to You.

Close to 25% of our annual budget is met by gifts that come in the last few weeks of the year. So if you have benefited from John's teaching in 2022 and you want to help others benefit as you have, consider making a donation and help us start 2023 on a strong financial footing. You can write to us at Grace to You, Box 4000, Panorama City, CA 91412.

Or go to GTY.org. Or call us at 800-55-GRACE. Now for John MacArthur and the entire Grace to You staff, I'm Phil Johnson. Be here at the same time tomorrow when John shows you how to respond when you're attacked for your biblical convictions. John will be continuing his series from Ephesians chapter 4 with another 30 minutes of unleashing God's truth one verse at a time, on Grace to You.
Whisper: medium.en / 2022-12-08 06:27:22 / 2022-12-08 06:37:58 / 11

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