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Walk this Way, Part 2

Summit Life / J.D. Greear
The Truth Network Radio
February 20, 2023 9:00 am

Walk this Way, Part 2

Summit Life / J.D. Greear

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February 20, 2023 9:00 am

You can find plenty of instruction in the Bible on how you should walk as a Christian. As he continues this message from Ephesians 5, Pastor J.D. helps us see that we don’t just need to know how to walk. We need to know how to get the power to walk with Jesus. When we are transformed by the gospel, the wonder of it fills our hearts, and we are compelled to walk in love, light, and wisdom.

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Today on Summit Life with J.D. Greer. There's a difference in struggling with sin and the practice of sin. Struggling with sin means falling back into things that you've repented of, that you've turned your back on.

Practicing sin means that you keep intentionally doing those things because you've never taken Jesus' lordship that seriously. Welcome back to Summit Life with Pastor J.D. Greer.

As always, I'm your host, Molly Vitovich. You know, you can find plenty of instruction in the Bible on how you should walk as a Christian, and there's lots of lists of dos and don'ts that we can follow. But today, Pastor J.D. helps us see that we don't just need to know how to walk. We need to know how to get the power to walk with Jesus. And when we are transformed by the gospel, the wonder of it fills our hearts and we are empowered to walk in love, light, and wisdom.

Sound like a good plan? Let's join Pastor J.D. in Ephesians, chapter five. Ball says, wake yourself up because the world you live in is sleeping in death. Don't go with the flow.

You've got to wake up. And so we highlight in those verses a couple of really specific areas that we need to shine the light on. First one was sexual immorality. But sexual immorality and all impurity, or covetousness, we'll come back to that in a minute, must not even be named among you as is proper among saints.

So let's ask the question, why is sexual immorality not proper or fitting with being in the light? Well, the world's attitude towards sex is it's physical desire. And in that way, it's not unlike other physical desires.

You get hungry, you eat. So when you desire sex, it shouldn't be thought of that much differently. And the Bible calls that darkness. Because the Bible, by contrast, shines a light on what sex is supposed to be. And when you have sex outside of marriage, you're taking physical oneness from that person without giving them the rest of yourself. You say, well, we're just not in a place where we can get married right now.

Fine. Then stop having sex. Having sex outside of the bonds of the covenant places you in darkness. See verse five, listen to how strong the language is. You may be sure that everybody who is sexually immoral or impure or who is covetous, again, we'll come back to that, has no inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. Let me translate that for you in really plain English. If you're sleeping with your boyfriend or girlfriend, you have no inheritance in the kingdom of God.

And I know that that's making some of you nervous and maybe even feel a little awkward because right now you're sitting next to somebody you're living with or sleeping with that you're not married to. Is the word of God not clear there? Second thing that Paul says, we should not even be named among us. Go back to verse three, covetousness. Covetousness is not proper among saints. Now, what is covetousness? Well, another word for that is greed, right? Or craving something that God has chosen to not give us at the time.

Never being satisfied. By the way, do you notice how balanced the Bible is culturally? See, I start talking about sexual immorality being wrong and all the conservatives start nodding their head. Tell them. And then you switch over to greed and all the liberals start nodding their head.

You get them. I've told you the Bible is like an equal opportunity offender. It offends both left and right just in different ways. You show me a Christian that's actively fighting both sexual immorality and covetousness in their life and I'll show you somebody who is most likely a genuine believer and not just a product of their parents or their particular Christian culture. Now, why is covetousness not proper for a believer? Why would covetousness not be proper for a believer? Well, Paul says, verse five, go back to that, because it is a form of idolatry.

Now you say, well, that didn't make sense. How is not being satisfied with what you have and always wanting more, how would that be a form of idolatry? Well, an idolater is somebody who worships something in the place of God. And you worship, listen to this, you are worshiping whatever you think is absolutely necessary in order to have a happy life. God is supposed to be the only thing that you feel like you absolutely need to be content in life. Doesn't mean you don't want other things. It just means that the only thing that you need in order to be happy in life is the presence of God.

And when you are dissatisfied with what you have, you are saying God is not enough and that is improper in the same way as if I stood up here week by week and talked about somebody else's wife all the time. Oh, it is, he is so lucky to have her. She is so beautiful and so pleasant and so talented. Can you imagine the joy of being able to come home to her all the time?

And it must be awesome, but you know what? In God's sovereignty, he assigned me to Veronica and I will accept my lot. I mean, you would think like, well, what's wrong with Veronica? She must not be much of a woman or a wife if JD is always complaining about her like that. That would dishonor her. It dishonors God when our happiness is contingent on something besides him.

So let's just get real, all right? What is it that makes you dissatisfied about your life? What are you looking to in the future and say, well, when that happens, then I can finally be happy and feel secure. Is it when you make a certain salary? When you graduate from a certain school?

Maybe when you have the approval of a certain circle of friends? Maybe it's when you get married or when you get married to somebody else or when you have kids or when you lose 20 pounds? We shouldn't feel that way about anything in our lives except God.

Now again, we might want to make another $10,000 a year or we might want to be married or we might want to lose 20 pounds. There's nothing wrong with that, but our soul should depend on nothing for security and joy beside the presence of God. And so he said, if you really understand who you are in Christ, then you won't walk in the covetous. You'll walk in light, the light of who you are and what you have. Here's your third way to walk, verse 15. Look carefully then on how you walk, not as unwise, but as wise. Number three, walk in wisdom.

He goes on to tell you what that means, redeeming the time because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. Listen, listen, wisdom means learning to think correctly about those things that are not spelled out in Scripture. Wisdom means learning to think correctly about those decisions that are not spelled out in Scripture. A lot of the decisions that you make in life, a lot of big decisions are not directly spelled out in Scripture, right?

Like what job you take or how you spend your money or what you do with your time or who your best friends are or what you watch on TV or who you hang out with or who you marry. Walking in wisdom means making decisions in those areas in ways that fit well with an understanding of what God is doing in the world and what he's trying to do in you. I think that word redeeming there is a really, really important word in that sentence because the context is the age that you live in. The days are evil in and of themselves. The culture we live in is evil, which means that if you want to grow closer in your relationship with God, you got to be intentional about it. You simply cannot coast in the closest with God. And when you understand that, it'll change how you look at some of that, listen, neutral things in your life. Paul says a lot of things are allowed for me as a Christian, they're just not helpful in advancing God's purposes in my life.

Take an obvious example. What you do with your time? Watching TV all the time for five hours a night may not be morally wrong, but is it helpful for growing you spiritually? I would suggest it's probably not growing you spiritually at all. So one of the ways of redeeming the time is to have some intentionality and say, I'm not just going to do what I feel like every night.

I'm going to actually reserve a little bit of time so that I can be progressing in my walk with God, right? Or you could apply it to certain relationships. You might have relationships in your life that are not wrong. They're not wrong, but they're just not helping you grow spiritually.

Listen, I say this, not just to teenagers and college students, but especially to teenagers and college students. I always say, you need to look at that circle that you put closest to you, because that is going to determine the shape of what you become spiritually. Your friends are the future you. You show me your friends, I'll show you your future, because you will become like those people you have put closest into your life.

And there's a lot of friendships that may be allowed. They're not wrong, but they're just not helpful for the purposes of what God's trying to do in you in light of what you know that God's doing in the world and what the gospel teaches us about the lostness of the world is what you're doing with your time. Would it be considered wise? Doesn't the gospel teach us that we're on a rescue mission?

I mean, that means certain things may not be morally wrong in themselves, but they're just not wise in light of what we know about the world. Y'all, this is one of the reasons I went into ministry. There were a lot of different career paths I could have chosen, but in light of what I knew about eternity and the talents that God had given me, my question was, what's the best use of my time with the short life that I have? If you know that people around you are dying without Christ, what should you be doing with your time? I knew that God had given me a gift to teach and lead, and I thought, well, I feel like the best use of those are going to be doing what I'm doing right now. Is it right to play around while people perish? God had given me that gift, so I decided to pursue that as a way of redeeming the time with the short life that I have.

Now, hear me clearly. I am not telling you that you should leave your career and go into ministry, but I'm asking you, are you leveraging that career in ways that would be considered wise in light of what you know about the world? Are you using that career to spread the gospel?

Your career is going to put you face to face with people I can never get close to. Are you using that to share the gospel with them? Have you started a Bible study on your team, in your campus? Have you started a Bible study in your workplace? Are you going on mission trips instead of just using all your vacation time to take trips?

You ought to put on your schedule. Next year, I'm going to take part of my vacation time, and I'm going to go on a mission trip. Maybe God's given you a job that could be used as a platform for gospel expansion into an unreached people group. Maybe that's a way that you could redeem the the talents that God has given you for his ministry. If you know the ship you're on is going down, what should your attitude be?

Is it not to make sure that people know where the rescue boats are? Here is Wisdom's question a thousand years from today. A thousand years from today will I be glad that I live my life the way that I'm living in now. This is Summit Life with Pastor JD Greer. We'll return to our teaching in just a moment, but I wanted to tell you about our featured resource this month meant to help you take this study of Ephesians further. What we've been learning together is that the strength that we need to overcome oppositions, obstacles, and spiritual oppression is found in the amazing love that God has for each of us and the unchanging purposes of God for us. We have a study guide to share with you that travels right alongside us through the book of Ephesians. It's called Your Place in God's Plan, and it's from our friends at The Good Book Company. Commit to growing in the gospel right now by digging deeper into this most important book of the Bible and see what God can do.

It's yours when you support Summit Life with a generous gift to the ministry, so give us a call at 866-335-5220 or check it out at jdgreer.com. Now let's get back to the conclusion of today's teaching. Here's Pastor JD. Paul says three ways that you should walk based on what you know about the gospel and your identity in Christ. Three ways. Walk in love. Walk in light.

Walk in wisdom. Now before we close this, let me show you a couple of things that Paul warns them about that he knows could trip them up in this walk. Since the theme of the chapter is walking, you might call these potholes in the Christian life. That's not the word that Paul uses, but I think it serves as a metaphor. Pothole number one is back in verse six.

He says, here's one thing to trip you up. False assurances. Let no one deceive you with empty words for because of these things. He's talking specifically about sexual immorality and covetousness, which we covered. Because of those things, the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience.

Empty words. One of the oldest lies in the book, hear me, is that God really doesn't take sin that seriously and that you can be a Christian and not take it that seriously either. In the church today, you hear it in preaching, that sounds like this. Just pray this prayer and accept Jesus and you'll go to heaven. Just get baptized.

That's kind of the main thing. Or just go to confirmation class or go to confession. And it's okay to maintain a few sins on the side as long as they're not that bad.

I want to tell you as clearly as I possibly can, that is not true. You cannot claim Jesus as your Savior until you surrender to him as Lord and you cannot say you've surrendered to him as Lord when you openly and intentionally pursue those things that put him on the cross. So you say you're a Christian. Is he the Lord of your life?

That's the other way of asking that question. I don't mean does your mouth confess that he is Lord? Does your life demonstrate that he is Lord? Because if what your mouth says you believe about the Lordship of Jesus and what your life demonstrates you believe about the Lordship of Jesus are different, God looks at the life that you live as a better indicator of what you actually believe than what your mouth says you believe.

Does your life demonstrate the Lordship of Jesus? Now hear me. Let me be clear again. I am not saying that you cannot be a Christian and still struggle with sin.

I do. But there's a difference. Listen, there's a difference in struggling with sin and the practice of sin. Struggling with sin means falling back into things that you've repented of, that you've turned your back on. Practicing sin means that you keep intentionally doing those things because you've never taken Jesus's Lordship that seriously.

I think the walking imagery is really helpful here. You can walk toward Jesus and still stumble into sin. But what will happen when you do that is you will get up and you will keep pursuing the Lordship of Jesus. What you cannot do is say you belong to Jesus and intentionally walk the other direction in a bunch of different areas.

I struggle with indwelling sin constantly. But I can tell you there is nothing in my heart about which I say, no, Jesus, you cannot have your way in that area. That's my way.

That's my area. Don't touch it. I'm going to do what I want there. Paul said don't be deceived by empty words. God takes us seriously. Don't have a false assurance if you're not surrendered to the Lordship of Christ. Pothole number two, he says false comforts. False comforts might be my favorite part of the whole chapter. False comforts, verse 18. Do not get drunk with wine.

Right? And all the Baptist said, amen. There's another part. That is debauchery. But be filled with the Spirit.

Now, let me ask a question. You see how these two phrases are parallel? It means that one is kind of compared to the other. Why do you think he compares being drunk with wine and being filled by the Spirit?

Is it because you act the same giddy, silly way when you get drunk with wine that you are filled with the Spirit? Not necessarily. Some people take that to mean that.

That's not what that means. Here's why he puts them back to back. Listen, because both alcohol and getting drunk on alcohol and being filled with the Spirit are two ways of dealing with life's pressures and disappointments. But they do it in entirely opposite ways.

Watch this. Alcohol is a depressant that dulls your senses to reality. And so it makes you happy by making you less aware of your surroundings. The Holy Spirit, by contrast, is a stimulus that makes you more aware of reality and it makes you happy and joyful by giving you a clearer picture of what's happening, not a duller one.

Let me use this example. Imagine that you're with 10 other soldiers and a foxhole and you get news that there's a group of 200 enemy soldiers 10 miles away headed your direction coming to destroy you. You feel panic. You feel afraid.

You are depressed. There's nothing you think you can do about it. So how do you remain happy for the next three hours or so until they get there and destroy you? Well, one way is you can get drunk on alcohol and then you can just be happy and giddy until they come and kill you. That's one way. The other way is what if you sent out some reconnaissance and you found out that only one mile away there were 2,000 friendly soldiers and they were coming to surround you so that when the 200 enemy soldiers got there they would never be able to touch you. You're going to feel the same sense of joy and confidence and giddiness and peacefulness through two entirely different strategies.

You follow that? So what alcohol does is it makes you less aware of what's going on and dulls your senses. The Holy Spirit makes you more alert and both of them are ways of dealing with fear and stress. The Holy Spirit helps you cope with difficulty by opening your eyes more widely to the promises of the Gospel. Alcohol gets rid of worry by making you forget. The Spirit gets rid of worry by helping you remember.

Alcohol gives you courage by making you less aware of the dangers around you. The Spirit gives you courage by showing you how much larger God is and whatever it is you're afraid of. So Paul continues to be filled with the Spirit addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs. Now again notice how these two things connect because watch this is the way to be filled with the Spirit. Being filled with the Spirit is this new reality and one of the ways that you're going to know this new reality is by addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs. Now what does that mean? Does that mean you walk up to each other you're like, hello how are you today?

No that's he's not what he's talking about. That'd be weird. Think of that right there as like a soundtrack going on in your heart. A soundtrack. You know how like when you're watching a tv show or a movie you kind of know what you're supposed to be how you're supposed to be interpreting a situation based on the music that's playing in the background.

So if there's like perfectly timed I love it. So if there's like scary music that's coming in you're kind of like something bad's about to happen. But if it's like you know high light chipper music then you're like oh nothing's bad is going to happen. What happens is you go through things in life and you start to interpret them and you start to sing a song of despair and what you need is you need somebody that knows the gospel that is close to you they can say oh no no that's not the song of despair. You need to sing in your heart the song of God works all things together for good to them who love him and his eyes on the sparrow and he's watching you and he's watching you and he's eyes on the sparrow and he's watching you and not one hair falls out of your head without your heavenly father knowing. Or you start to sing the song of I'm overwhelmed and I can't do this and they start singing the song of I know all things through Christ who strengthens me and you start singing the song of I'm hopeless and I'm abandoned and they start countering that with a good chorus of I will never leave you or forsake you. He's saying change the soundtrack in your heart to the soundtrack of the gospel.

What that means is you've got a few things. One you got to know the Bible. You got to have the Bible bouncing around in your heart so that it becomes the soundtrack which means you got to read it every day.

Every day you got to read the Bible so it's fresh in your mind and you got to memorize it so that it bounces around in there and you interpret things according to the word of God. You got to listen to it listen to looks like literally Christian music. I'm not against secular music. I like some secular music but I love listening to music that just teach a scripture to my heart because I've heard I've heard listen I've heard songs described as sermons that you can remember. Can you prove that to you?

It doesn't hurt my feelings. Watch this. About a year and a half ago I preached a series called The Name. People say it was one of the best sermon series I've ever preached. Seven messages in it. Can you name a single one? Even one.

Nope. Yet if I say what a powerful name it is you can tell me the next three lines of that song. You see there is a sense in which you got to have this scripture that's flooded in your heart so that when life brings something to you you play the right soundtrack.

And notice that it's one another here. What it means is you got to be in corporate worship like this because that's what we do is we sing the songs of redemption to each other. Hey give you one other application it's why you got to be in a small group. It's why you got to be in a small group because in order to hear somebody's heart song you got to be close enough to hear it. It's like that faint thing playing in the background that you can't hear unless you're close. So you need to be close enough that you can hear them going through this and you can say no no no no you're singing the wrong song.

Here's the song you ought to be singing. It's the promises of the gospel which is why I tell you listen for some of you over and over in this passage you in this book of Ephesians you have to get off of the sidelines of the church. The blessings of the church are not intended to come to you through one man standing on a stage. The blessings of the church come when you are deeply connected and as the spirit of God uses the members of his church to speak into your life and if you're on the sidelines you're just not in a place where the spirit of God can do what he wants in you so you need to join and you need to volunteer and you need to get in a small group and you need to get connected and you need to get your kids connected here by the way. Your kids need to be a part of student ministry.

You want to know why? Because if not the songs of their heart are going to be written by Bruno Mars and Drake and that's not the one of the songs you want them singing in the back of their heart. You want them singing songs written by the apostle Paul and King David the shepherd and other things that come from the Holy Spirit. So you got to get connected and get your family connected. Friends this all goes back to the word at the beginning of the chapter. Therefore, therefore, therefore, in light of what you have received in Christ, in light of what you've experienced, this is how you should walk. Have you experienced the transforming power of the gospel?

If not my friend you can receive it today right now. It's a free gift of grace God gives. You don't have to work to become God's child.

It's a gift that he gives that you receive. You can do it right now by surrendering to the lordship of Jesus and receiving him as your Savior. If you have received that then you need to return to the gospel and you need to let its truth saturate your soul until your heart begins to say I want to walk in love and I want to walk in light and I want to walk in wisdom. Walk in love, walk in light, and walk in wisdom. You're listening to pastor J.D.

Greer on Summit Life. J.D., we've been talking for a couple of weeks about God's incorruptible love for us and for his church. So what would you say to all of our listeners who are shouting as they hear you talk? What about my local church? It's struggling. Well the first thing I'd say Molly is we've been there. I mean you and I've been a part of this church for a long time and we've had seasons of thriving and we've had seasons where we felt like we were struggling and there's no quick you know magic bullet.

Well just listen to this, say this, start trying this. But what I can remind you is that God's intention is that we go and bring forth fruit, that that fruit be abundant and God wants a closeness with you even more than you want closeness with him and he's made that available to us in Christ and that's what the book of Ephesians is all about. We got a Bible study that we're going to offer you this month to go along with the messages here on Summit Life and that Bible study is called Your Place in God's Plan. We'd love to give it to you as a thank you gift for your support of Summit Life and it'll help you get even more out of this incredible letter that the Apostle Paul wrote under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit to the Ephesians. Let me encourage you to get a copy of this Bible study titled Your Place in God's Plan. We'll be happy to send it to you today when you donate to support this ministry or when you become a monthly gospel partner. The suggested giving level is $35 or more so join this mission today and give by calling 866-335-5220 or give online at jdgrier.com. I'm Molly Vidovich and tomorrow we're going to continue our study as Pastor JD looks at our most common relationships of marriage, family, and work so be sure to listen again Tuesday to Summit Life with JD Greer. Today's program was produced and sponsored by JD Greer Ministries.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-02-20 10:19:29 / 2023-02-20 10:30:25 / 11

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