Share This Episode
Grace To You John MacArthur Logo

The Lowly Walk, Part 6

Grace To You / John MacArthur
The Truth Network Radio
December 9, 2022 3:00 am

The Lowly Walk, Part 6

Grace To You / John MacArthur

On-Demand Podcasts NEW!

This broadcaster has 966 podcast archives available on-demand.

Broadcaster's Links

Keep up-to-date with this broadcaster on social media and their website.

December 9, 2022 3:00 am

Click the icon below to listen.

Family Life Today
Dave & Ann Wilson, Bob Lepine
If Not For God
Mike Zwick

We'll be right back.

I'm your host, Phil Johnson. Have you ever been ridiculed because you're a Christian? Maybe a classmate accused you of intolerance, or a co-worker mocked you for going to church.

Perhaps you know the pain of a loved one's insults. When that happens, when your biblical convictions are under attack, how should you respond? Consider that question here on Grace to You as John MacArthur looks at some practical steps that you can take today to develop character that stand strong for God even when others oppose you. It's part of John's study titled Getting in Step with the Christian Walk.

And here now is John MacArthur. We're learning these days the standards for Christian living. We're learning the basic principles of the worthy walk.

And we have been seeing the truth that the heart of the issue is a series of inner attitudes. The first one is in verse 2, all lowliness. That's total humility. And total humility leads to something else. Total humility leads to meekness. Meekness is a manifestation of true humility. Now, humility leads to meekness. Meekness leads then, thirdly, to long suffering. Long suffering, what is this? Macrophobia for you Greek students. Beautiful word.

It literally means long tempered. And you know what comes out of this? A fourth, inward grace in verse 2, forbearing one another in love. Let's call it forbearing love. Forbearing love is a product of patience, which is a product of meekness, which is a product of humility, forbearing love. You know what kind of love this is?

Listen, this is so good. This is the kind of love, the concept of forbear, that word means to suppress with silence. It's the idea of throwing a blanket over sin. It's 1 Peter 4, 8, love covers a multitude of what? Sins. It's Proverbs 10, 12, hatred stirs up strife, but love covers all sin. It's the thing that says, hey, not only can I endure it, not only can I take it from you, but I can love you in the middle of it.

There's the test. Humility produces meekness, produces endurance with love. You say, well, I know my enemies give me a lot of trouble. I can take it. I'm grittin' my teeth and I can take it.

That isn't the point. Can you take it and love them? Can you love them back?

Nothing to give but love. This is the love that has room for failures. And by the way, your love ought to have room for failures.

You know that? Because everybody else is trying to love you has got to have love that has room for failures. This is forbearing love.

Boy, this is the kind of love that just... Let me give it to you this way. You all know there are different Greek words for love. There aren't just three, there are more than that. But I'll just call the three that you know. Eros, phileo, agape.

And just in a general sense, this is the way they're used. Eros is a love that takes, okay? That's taking love.

I love you because I get what I want out of you. That's the world's kind of love, sexual, lustful, whatever. That's the take kind of love. That's the drive that makes us want to get satisfaction.

That's eros. Then there's phileo, love that says I love you because of give and take. I love you because of what I get from you and what I give to you. It's the give and take of friendship.

The world knows about this, too. But then there's agape and that's the love that says I give, period. No take, no get, just give.

Eros, get. Phileo, give and get. Agape, give. And that's the word here. And this is the kind of love that can only think of the highest good of the other person. If you want the best definition of agapao, what that high word of love means, it means the love that seeks the other's good at any price.

That's it. It's selfless, absolutely selfless. It's God so seeking the highest good of us at any price that He gave His only begotten Son.

See? It's greater love or greater concern for the highest good of another person can no man have than that He...what?...lay down His life. See, it's totally selfless. It is the obliteration of the self. No matter what anybody does to me, I'll never seek revenge.

No matter what anybody does to me, I'll accept it and I'll love them in the middle of it because my kind of love only gives. It has nothing to do with the give and take. So what I get means nothing, be it good, bad or indifferent. It just throws a blanket over evil. It is unconquerable benevolence. It is invincible goodness. And I guess the greatest illustration of forbearing love, and I just have to show you this, you know it, Matthew 5.43, Jesus said this, listen, you have heard that it hath been said, thou shalt love thy neighbor and hate thine enemy.

Now watch this. But I say unto you, love your enemies. You know what that means? Seek your enemy's highest good no matter what it costs you. Get this one, bless them that curse you. Do good to them that hate you. Pray for them who despitefully use you and persecute you.

Watch this one. That you may be the sons of your Father who's in heaven. That's the way He does. You're His Son, that's the way you do. See, the ones who hate Him He loves. The ones who curse Him He loves. The ones who persecute Him He loves.

Now you're His Son, so you do that. That's the standard. And He goes on to say in verse 46, if you love those who love you, what reward do you have?

The tax collectors even do that. That's no high standard. And if you greet your brethren only, what do you more than others? Even the heathen do that. But be ye perfect as your Father who is in heaven is perfect. And how is His perfection manifest? Because He loves His enemies. He loves the unlovely. He loves the unlovable. No matter what they do to Him. It's Jesus hanging on a cross, loving the people, spitting on them.

It's Stephen lying beneath the rocks as they crush his life out of his body and looking up and saying, God, lay not this sin to their charge. It's that, you see, it's that forbearing. It's accepting anything and returning only love, only love, only concern for the other's highest good. Now, beloved, look at this. What is the Holy Spirit saying to us? He's saying, get it on with the Christian life.

Walk worthy. And where does it all begin? Right down inside of you with this commitment to be humble and meek and long suffering and loving the kind of love that just seeks somebody else's good no matter what they do to you.

So even their sins, you just throw a blanket over them and they hide. This is what He's having. By the way, you want to sit in the corner and try to produce this and the flesh will never do it. All this stuff is a fruit of the Spirit, right? It's only produced by the Holy Spirit as you yield to Him.

So God wants to produce in us humility which leads to meekness, which leads to long suffering, which leads to a forbearing kind of love. And you know when it's all said and done, beloved, when you've got those things, you know what you're going to have? You're going to have verse 3, endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. That's the finale, unity. This is the goal. As I said at the very beginning, this is what God is after in order that Christ may be made manifest, in order that the church may be seen as not just another social club but a divine institution of God, supernaturally born, supernaturally sustained with a supernatural and eternal destiny. But when we are humble, when we're meek, patient, loving, then you know what?

Then we're really working on unity. The word endeavoring from the Greek verb spodazo means to work at it, to hurry, to be in a hurry. In fact, that same verb Paul uses two times, once in 2 Timothy, once in Titus, and he says, do thy diligence to come to me in a hurry. I mean, get it on. This is for now, he's saying.

He is used also by Paul in 2 Timothy 2.15, be diligent to show yourself approved unto God, a workman that needs not to be shamed. It then carries two ideas, the idea of zeal, the idea of hard effort, and the idea of do it now. It's a hurry up and let's get at it, and let's get at it with real commitment. Listen, we've got to work on unity. And you say, boy, I'll head the committee, I'll make the posters.

No, no. You don't work on unity that way. This is a personal passage.

If you're going to hurry up and work on unity, it's going to have to be a hurry up and start in your heart kind of a campaign. Remember the little poster that said, how do you feed a hungry world? And then the bottom said, one at a time. How do you get church unity? One Christian at a time.

One at a time, committed in his heart to walk worthy, to balance his life with his theology. We've got to work at it. We've got to make haste. Kittle, great commentator on the Greek language, says the word means a holy, zeal, demanding, full dedication. We've got to get at it.

It's time to do it, people. You know, I grieve and I look around the world and I see all the disunity in the church of Christ and I see all the discord and all the...and then I hear somebody get up and announce denominational distinctives. You know, I'm not interested in denominational distinctives, I'm interested in biblical distinctives. I'm not interested in what divides us, I'm interested in what ought to unite us. I'm not talking about sentimentalism. I'm not talking about ecumenism.

I'm not talking about any of that stuff. I'm talking about the reality of the fact that we are to learn in humility to love each other. And it isn't by starting some kind of an ecumenical movement across the globe, it's simply by me being in my heart what I ought to be so that I can love the ones around me and then they become what they ought to be and they love the ones around them and pretty soon, you know, something that goes like a wildfire. Working at unity is a full-time task, demands full effort by every Christian. And, you know, you'll hear people say, well, we're going to do all we can to create unity. We're going to do all we can to build unity.

You want to know something? You can't create unity. You can't do it. You cannot build unity, you cannot make unity.

All you can do is destroy it. You say, what do you mean? The Holy Spirit already did it. Look at verse 3. Endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit. In other words, the Spirit has already made us one. It's just a matter that either we keep it or we destroy it, you see? Isn't it great to know you don't have to create it?

You just have to keep it. He made us one. After all, He baptized us all in one body and He came to dwell in all of us, didn't He? 1 Corinthians 12, 12 and 13. For by one Spirit were you all baptized into one body and were all indwelt by that same Spirit. Romans 8 and 9, every one of us has the Spirit of Christ. We have the common Holy Spirit. We're in the one body.

He has made us one. The unity of the Spirit is ours. All we are to do is to work hard to keep it, to maintain it.

And it's not organizational and it's not ecumenical. It is personal and it is spiritual. And the key, of course, is humility. And the thing that is beautiful, he closes verse 3, the thing that holds it together is the bond of peace.

And the word bond means a belt. He pictures the body of Christ standing there and the belt is peace, just pulls it all together. Peace, the beautiful peace that is born of love. That's what Paul was talking about in Philippians 2. He said, I wish you had the same love. You can't have the same love if you be like Christ.

Humble yourself, think not on your own things but the things of others. That's the bond of peace. So, true peace based on true love, based on true patience, true meekness, born of true humility. That makes us one.

Now listen, this is so basic. It involves the obliteration of self. It is so basic that we be one, that Paul goes on thirdly after the call to the worthy walk and the characteristics of the walk to give the cause of the worthy walk, look at verse 4 to 6. This will go by real quick.

The impact of it needs to be taken in total. He says, look, as long as self is at the center, as long as your feelings, your prestige, your rights, your place are the chief concern, you'll never know unity. But as you humble yourself, you will know unity.

And then he says, look, there isn't any other way to go. This is the only way to go because this is the design of God. After all, there is one body, one Spirit, one hope of your calling, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all who's above all through all and in you all. In other words, he says, you have enough sense to know that everything God ever designed into the church is all based on a one concept. There are seven ones there, the number of perfection. One is the key and that's the whole design of God. This is behind the worthy walk. This is the cause. This is the reality that stands behind this practical oneness, the cause, the reason, the basis. And this is a tremendous passage. How many bodies of Christ are there?

How many? One. There isn't the Presbyterian body and the Baptist body and the Methodist body and the Episcopal body and the body in Panorama City and the body in Utah and the body in Kansas. It's just one body, one body.

There's neither Jew nor Gentile, bond or free, male or female, you're all one in Christ. There's one body. There is one church. There is one head of that church.

Just one body, that's all. Ephesians is based on that whole concept. Whatever race, whatever creed, whatever culture, whatever nationality, whatever language, whatever temperament may be in your background, you become a Christian and you are instantly made one with every other Christian. Listen, 3.15 of Ephesians says there is one family in heaven and earth, just one.

And we've got to realize it. Instead of celebrating our differences and instead of trying to create unity out of superficial ecumenism or anything else, we've got to start in the heart. You know, I believe if all Christians were right with the Holy Spirit, we wouldn't have any discord. It would purify our doctrine to start with.

Secondly, to purify our relationships. Only one body. Second thing, only one spirit. There's one body and one spirit. How many holy spirits are there? Just one. And every one of us possess Him.

What? Know you not that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit? That is said of every Christian. And the totality of the church, Ephesians 2 says, is built together for an habitation of that one spirit. We are all individually the temple of the Spirit. We are collectively the habitation of the Spirit. There's only one Spirit, folks. We are all one.

There's no way around it. In fact, what is it called in verse 3? The unity of the Spirit. There's only one Spirit, only one body. And then at the end of verse 4 He says, you're called in one hope of your calling. We only had one eternal calling and that concept there is we're only called to one destiny. There's only one eternal destiny, one hope of our calling. And by the way, the guarantee of the hope of our calling is the Holy Spirit, right? Ephesians 1, 13 and 14, we have the earnest of the Spirit. The Greek word is arabon, it means engagement ring. The proof that God's going to bring us to the marriage supper is the engagement ring of the Holy Spirit. He's the down payment, He's the installment. It is the Holy Spirit given to us that guarantees our eternal inheritance.

So you notice something? Verse 4 is the Holy Spirit's verse, right? One body, we are placed into it by the Holy Spirit. One Spirit, He indwells us. One hope and that is guaranteed to us by the Holy Spirit. Verse 5 is the Son's curse.

Let's look at it. One Lord, one faith, one baptism. How many lords are there?

Do we we have different lords? Oh no, neither is there salvation in what? Any other, there's none other name under heaven given among men whereby we must be saved, Acts 4 12. If anybody comes unto you and preaches any other gospel, let him be accursed. If any comes along and says, Here is Christ or there is Christ, know that it's the end time and these are false Christs, there is only one Lord, right? One Lord, just one.

Romans that beautiful 10th chapter and 12th verse, for there is no difference between the Jew and the Gentile for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon Him. It's the same Lord, it's the same Lord. There's one Lord, no other Lord. In Him is all the fullness of the Godhead dwelling bodily and you're complete in Him, He's the only one. One Lord, one faith.

What does that mean? The faith here is talking about the content of the revealed Word of God. There's only one Christianity, one Christian faith, not twenty-five hundred kinds like we have today. There's only one true faith, just one. The common faith, the faith Jude said that we earnestly contend for that was once for all delivered to the saints. The faith, the content of the revealed Word of God, one faith, that's all, just one. You say, How come we've got so much difference?

Oh, I guess it's our humanness and inadequate study and lack of diligence and unexamined tradition that we just keep living with in a lot of things. But there's only one faith, that's all, just one. And then one baptism, verse 5. We say, What baptism is that? Oh, that's water baptism. This is the Son's verse. Some people want to say this is spirit baptism, but no, that's taken care of in verse 4. One body, we were all placed into that body by the baptism of the Spirit, one Spirit and one hope of your calling, of course the guarantee of the Spirit. This is the Son's verse.

It's beautiful the way Paul has laid it out. There's one Lord and when you put your faith in that Lord, you are baptized as a public expression. You see, baptism was absolutely a central part of the early church. It wasn't for salvation, but it was for testimony's sake. But it was important.

It was important. There was only one baptism. You weren't baptized in the name of Paul, remember that? You weren't baptized in the name of Paul, Paul said. There's only one name to be baptized in, that's the name of whom?

The Lord Jesus Christ. Only one baptism. When you were saved, there was one Lord and one faith that you believed and one person in whose name you were baptized. Just one. All of those are parts of the single, wonderful, complex act of salvation.

Finally he comes to the Father's verse, verse 6. There's just one God and Father, the same God of all, above all, through all and in you all. How many gods are there?

Just one. There are no other gods. I only I am God. He said it again and again in the Old Testament. The Lord our God, what does it say? Deuteronomy 6, the Lord our God is one God.

That's all. One God. It's the same Father we all have, the one who is above all, sovereign creator of the universe, controller of the universe, through all, providential upholder of the universe, in you all, personal indwelling presence, same God.

We are God-created, God-loved, God-fathered, God-controlled, God-sustained, God-filled, God-loved, God-blessed. It's all the same God. It's all one people. Now do you see what he's saying here? Look, he's saying, listen, everything in terms of defining the Christian faith is one.

And there's a reason. Because God wants us to be one. And if we're to be one, we have to go backwards, deep down inside. We have to begin again to think of humility. And where does it come from? Proper self-awareness, Christ-awareness, God-awareness.

Remember that? Humility produces meekness and meekness produces long-suffering. Long-suffering produces forbearing love. And on that basis, we can keep the unity of the Spirit and the bond of peace and the world is going to say, hey, they're different.

They're supernatural. And maybe like Mr. Stanley, they can come to believe in our Christ with us saying hardly a word. Let's pray. Lord, it's so good and refreshing to expose ourselves to the truth of Scripture. It bends us low in Your presence. It makes us weak-kneed because we are less than we should be. God, we would ask that You would humble us, that we would not seek the exaltation of self, teach us the meaning of true humility as we examine our own sin. We know we're nothing.

As we see Jesus Christ, we just can't compare. As we see You, what is man that Thou art mindful of Him? And out of our humility may meekness be born so that we are quick to defend You, quick to make a whip and drive the robbers out of Your temple, but not to lift a hand to defend ourselves.

Teach us the meaning of patience with circumstances, with people, and even with You as You mold us and refine us. And while we are enduring things, help us to love those around us, even those who persecute us, those who bring to bear pain upon us, to return blessing or cursing with blessing, no matter what the circumstance. And thus, Father, to know the meaning of unity. And as we as individuals commit ourselves to that, to the oneness that You've designed, and keep the unity of the Spirit and the bond of peace, then we will walk worthy.

And the world will see consistency between the way we live and the way we talk. And then, perhaps, they'll be drawn to Christ. Make us faithful for Your glory in Jesus' name.

Amen. You're listening to John MacArthur here on Grace To You. John is chancellor of the Master's University and Seminary, and the title of his current study, Getting in Step with the Christian Walk. Now, John, I know that you would be the first to say that the purpose of these messages from Ephesians 4, and the purpose of every message that ever airs on Grace To You, is not only to teach the content of God's Word, but also to equip people to study the Word of God on their own. And so, to that end, we always want to give people practical tools to help them understand and apply biblical truth, and we have a new study guide that fits that description. I'm really excited about it, and I'm pretty sure you are, too.

I am. In fact, this is like a resurrection. These study guides were such an influence years ago in our ministry, and to be able to resurrect them again and make them available to a new generation is thrilling. The latest study guide is titled, Benefiting from Life's Trials.

And by the way, that should pique everyone's interest. We all have trials, and we would all like to benefit from them. And this is looking at what the Word of God has to say about a pathway to benefit even in the middle of very serious trials.

Here's the good news. The study guide, Benefiting from Life's Trials, is free to anyone who has never contacted us before. And as I said, we're in the process of updating our study guide series that we originally produced in the 1980s.

We're updating them one at a time, and we're moving with these and very excited about the response up to this point. So the latest study guide is Benefiting from Life's Trials. It is a powerful look at the first chapter of James, where James says, Count it all joy when you fall into various trials because of their perfecting work. This study is designed to help you look at the pain and heartache and disappointment that comes into your life and see God's hand in all of it. Over the years, this study has generated an immense response from our Grace to You family. So Benefiting from Life's Trials is a tool that I know would make a difference in your life.

You need to be able to navigate your way through these struggles with some biblical wisdom. So here's a special offer. We'll send you a free copy of this study guide, Benefiting from Life's Trials. If you've never contacted us before, we're going to air the Benefiting from Life Trials series on radio next month.

So request the study guide today, and you'll have it in hand before the series starts in January. And again, it's free to any of you contacting us for the first time. Yes, friend, this book will strengthen you during your trials and show you how to do the same for loved ones when they experience suffering. If you have never reached out to us before, Benefiting from Life's Trials is our gift to you.

Just contact us today. You can call us at 800-55-GRACE or go to This book could be especially beneficial to go through with a new Christian.

The questions at the end of each chapter will reinforce what you are learning and will encourage practical discussions. To get the Benefiting from Life's Trials study guide for free if you've never contacted us before, call 800-55-GRACE or visit And when you get in touch, make sure to let us know how you're listening, whether it's on your local radio station or online or through the Grace To You app. Of course, we would also love to hear how John's verse-by-verse teaching has encouraged you. Email us at letters at That's our email address, letters at Or you can drop a letter in the mail to Grace To You, Box 4000, Panorama City, CA 91412. And now for John MacArthur, I'm Phil Johnson reminding you to watch Grace To You television this Sunday, check your local listings for Channel and Times, and then be here Monday when John launches a study that will help you make Christ's birth the focal point of your Christmas celebration this year. It's another half hour of unleashing God's truth one verse at a time, on Grace To You.
Whisper: medium.en / 2022-12-09 07:10:56 / 2022-12-09 07:22:08 / 11

Get The Truth Mobile App and Listen to your Favorite Station Anytime