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Walk in Love (Part 1 of 4)

Truth for Life / Alistair Begg
The Truth Network Radio
January 13, 2022 3:00 am

Walk in Love (Part 1 of 4)

Truth for Life / Alistair Begg

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January 13, 2022 3:00 am

How will our neighbors and coworkers know that we’re Christians? Discover the impact we make by the way we live our lives. Join us as we learn how to reflect Christ’s love, light, and wisdom. That’s our subject on Truth For Life with Alistair Begg.


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Would your neighbors and coworkers know that you're a Christian, how would they know that today on Truth for Life Alastair Begg looks at how God wants us to make a difference in our communities. By the way we live our lives were beginning a new series titled love, light wisdom, I invite you to turn with me to Ephesians and to chapter 5 and we look just at the first two verses let me read them and then I'll pray therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children and walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.

Father, we humbly pray for the help of the Holy Spirit to speak and to listen to understand, to trust and believe to obey your word into be brought into life-changing encounter with you the living God. As a result of our turning to the word itself. Help us to this end, we pray for Jesus sake.

Amen. While as we come back to our study in Ephesians. Let me commend to you the possibility of our reading through, for example, in acts chapter 19 and into chapter 20 as well to give you a little bit of a reminder of something of the context of Ephesus itself will. It's very important for us as we study the Bible and as we read, for example, a letter like this to remind ourselves that it was written to real people in a real place at a real point in history and the environment of Ephesus into which Paul went as a proclaimer of the gospel was a really daunting environment. I think were sometimes tempted to believe that if we just go back to the first century, it would really be quite tranquil and inviting.

In actual fact. Ephesus itself was a city that was fascinated with magic. It was drawn into all kinds of cultish practices and it was a city where sexual immorality actually abounded and was virtually unrestrained and so it's important that we have that is a context to remind ourselves that Paul is calling on these people to live radically different lives in a framework that challenges them just about every point that when you read acts chapter 19.

For example, are you realize that Demetrius, who was head of the sort of guild of the silversmiths that guild, making little effigies of the Temple of Diana or the Temple of Artemis and he was clever enough to realize that if this message of the gospel were to take hold in Ephesus and it would shut down their business because their business was directly related to reinforcing the notion that the great mother of the earth, mainly Diana or Artemis as she is variously known that egg is great mother of the earth was supreme and needed to be paid attention to, and along with that other deities and divinities and into town comes this individual who says no, none of these things have any value are valid. It's all there is only one God and he has made himself known supremely in the person of the Lord Jesus Christ and as a result of that.

A complete variety on unfolds and that Demetrius is at the heart of it under sort of sensible Tyrone Clark finally gets it all stabilize for the little was a great record and I encourage you to read. It is quite funny and parts as it describes the fact that that one group were shouting. One thing another grocery another thing. And most of the people didn't even know whether they were shouting about as tall so when you see this on TV and you say wow are you realize that there's really nothing quite new under the sun know what port Paul is actually doing here is he is saying to these individuals and he's been doing this largely since the beginning of chapter 4 is saying to them, to those to whom he writes you are in Christ and you are in Ephesus now I want you to live differently because you are different.

I want you to live differently because your different so he has begun. Chapter 4 urging them to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which they've been called in other words, the conduct of their life is really going to make an impact in the community.

In verse 17 of chapter 4. If you recall, and he says I I testify in the Lord that you must no longer walk as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their minds.

In other words, you are going to make an impact by the very way in which you live your life into chapter 5 and he's on the same story.

He's going to say to is now walk in love, down in verse eight walk in light down in verse 15 walk in wisdom so love light wisdom, truth, and so on, so that the community might realize that Jesus is alive and well. Now I speak really really clear that this is not just kind of passing advice that can be buried in antiquity something of relevance to these folks who are around a long time ago, and a long long way away from here.

If that were the case, why we even studying know what we understand is this because this Bible is God breathed, what we have here is not simply the pattern for the believers in Ephesus, but for all believers in all circumstances and for all time and IUE this morning gather in a context that confronts as a culture that is increasingly fragmented, increasingly alienated from one another increasingly broken up and broken heart and in that context, the message of Ephesus, and not least of all these next two chapters speaks with a compelling urgency. We will if God spares us in the next few weeks and months be looking at what the Bible says concerning what it means to be a man and a woman husband-and-wife a parent of the child. What it means to live within the civil jurisdiction of law what it means to live our lives in the awareness of the fact that the real battleground is not physical but it is with spiritual wickedness in the heavenly places, and so on and so I say to you read ahead read, think, pray and let's anticipate all that God has for us in one of Robert Harris's novels conclave. One of the characters Cardinal scar VC makes an observation in the context of meeting with a group of priests a and he says to these priests. We do not need a church that will move with the world. But a church that will move the world.

We don't need a church that will move with the world. But a church that will move the world.

That of course is the message of Jesus isn't Jesus said phot I do not pray that you take them out of the world by that you keep them from the evil one, so that even as I was in the world so they now are in the world. And as John picks up on that. In his letters and he essentially says that the way in which an invisible God is made known in the world is through the visibility of Christians who live in love with one another and to express that love to those who are actually the enemies of God.

Now here we are, and are Paul is right there right at the heart of all of this and he begins with a striking and unique exhortation look at it, therefore, be imitators of God it EE means exactly what it says the word in Greek is the word which gives us our English word minute may make God. He says that's what I want you to do zero.

Where did Paul come up with this while he EE understood what Jesus said at the end of the sermon on the mount.

Remember what Jesus said be perfect, as your heavenly father is perfect.

The striking exhortation it provides. If you like the conclusion to chapter 4, and it provides the foundation to chapter 5. As you know, I find to be Phillips paraphrase helpful and I usually read it alongside my other English texts and he begins chapter 5 by writing as children copy their fathers. You, as God's children are to copy him as children copy their fathers.

You, as God's children are to copy him go to the Paul Overstreet song before I'm seeing my father in me as I was meant to be, and I find I'm looking more like him.

Each day I notice I walk away he walks.

I notice I talked the way he talks and I'm starting to see my father in me. If you doubted the grandmother she will say are your dirt you're sitting across your legs in a chair just the way your father dies and find I walked into the room and I thought it was the father. How wonderful would it be if people were to say that in relationship to God is our heavenly father. That is what Paul is saying here I am going to outline for you. Lisa's certain family characteristics, and these family characteristics will provide evidence of your son ship or the fight that you are both her sons and daughters.

God's children. Let me reinforce this because otherwise if you're listening to me, this could very quickly go wrong it in in the way that I failed to communicate or you fail to hear Paul is not writing to well meaning people who are seeking to live up right and moral life's and who are glad of a little encouragement is not writing to a group of people who are operating on the Santa Claus is coming to town routine who are trying to be good for goodness sake that message abounds in pulpits across North America this morning will reveal is sitting in church and they come in the church there where the fight other that the rascals their vagabonds or their self-satisfied rascals and end as the, the vicar continues. Eventually they say I get it is the same as last week. He just says it was the same thing every time trying to do your best get out of here and be good for goodness sake, and of course they know in their hearts that they're not good and they haven't been doing very good at all.

Paul is not doing that. That's why chapter 5 comes after four which comes after three which comes after two which comes after one and he has started in chapter 1. By addressing those who, according to the immensity of the grace of God have been adopted into God's family. They were once not in that family.

By grace the of been placed in that family. By the time he gets down to about verse 13 he says them and you have Herod the that the word of truth, which is the gospel of your salvation you Herod. It you believed it.

You've been sealed with the Holy Spirit and so he says it is to you that I write these expectations. In other words, the commands are commands.

They are also made possible because of the work of the Holy Spirit in the life of the believer conforming the believer to the image of the Lord Jesus Christ. Now I suppose in earthly terms. It is possible to adopt a child and for that adoption to go through in all of its technicality, and in all of its legality and yet not yield within that relationship kind of love that one might've anticipated or hoped for.

Unlikely, but possible vital to see here that this relationship with God is neither simply legal or technical, but it is distinctly wonderful and if you like emotional you are God's beloved children, his beloved children. This is terrific. Isn't God loves his children as I have driven around this week particular. I think at the beginning of the week I saw the school buses reemerge from there. Gary just how they came lumbering out these big yellow things and they've always filled me with a peculiar sense of something.

I know that I always view the mistake my children away from me. I never I never saw them guy loved when they came back at about 4 o'clock because they deposited again. You can have them back. But as I drove around I think it was partly just media you know, sort of reading myself into circumstances. But I was at one particular stop sign and as I looked across. I could see a mother and what looked to be the first first time on the bus character just there and and so I was all like it or not I want to roll the window down sick is going to be okay and I bet but II think I think I was right at the I could see a lot of what was in there. Here's the thing you understand if you're a parent, but let me tell you this, our love for our earthly children does not even compare to the love of our heavenly father for us. It his love for us is infinitely greater than the greatest, deepest, most profound love that I can feel for anyone of my children that when he looks upon us. He does not cause as needless tears that even I read Lamentations this week. If you're tracking with Marty McShane so did you and and I was struck again by the fact that when you find that great statement concerning God's mercy which is new every morning, and his faithfulness, and so on. Where does it come it comes in the middle of just horrible passage about everything breaking collapsing falling down being opposed everything just dreadful, dreadful and says, but the nurses of God's new every morning new every morning is the love my wakening and rising proof through sleep and darkness safely brought restored to life and power and thought into everything that yourself as I drove along 306.

In the darkness this morning. What a miracle. Father, you woke me up again, thank you. He knows my name he knows my every thought he sees each tear that falls and he hears me when I call.

He does need a baby monitor from one side of the house to the other. We are his beloved children. You see how vitally important it is that we allow that to settle in our minds because he's now going to work out for us something of what it will mean to be an imitator of God. If somebody immediately taken this first exhortation said excuse me Paul. How does that work. Be imitators of God as dearly beloved children. He said well let me tell you what it means. Here we go walk in love. He says as you walk around Ephesus. As you walk into the fellowship of God's people as you walk into the swimming pool walk in love.

This is how you limited God. Peterson's paraphrase, which we know if the message puts it like this watch what God does and then you do it like children who learn their behavior from their parents. Mostly what God does is love.

So keep company with him and learn a life of love, one of listen very clear, straightforward, if we wonder, then, about the nature of walking in love, we could reverse into chapter 4. That would save us from going wrong. If I walked in love it. What would it in but will just look at verse 32 is on the top of my page. It may be on the top of yours. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, because that's how God in crisis treated you so another words were not. Paul is not giving a little phrase here for people to pour into whatever they want so they can have a little conversation over coffee. So is it means you to walk in love, while I was thinking this I was thinking that know I was thinking in a safe know there's nothing vague and sentimental about this is not about trying get a feeling in your tummy know it's going to get far more demanding than that it means to walk in a manner that is worthy of the calling to which you have been called us to start a chapter 4, so there is a way that you can walk there is a way that you can talk there is a way that you can live that will then set forward the honor and glory of God and this is demanding and it is a command and it is not an option that's important for us to understand as well.

It's a command and is not an option. You see, we understand this with our children.

You send your children to a birthday party when they're small and you say to the network. When you get there. Make sure that you look the person in the eye. Make sure that you say thank you to them and make sure that when the parties over you thank them again and then you come home now. Can you do that. The child says yes and then you have no control over a little because your family honor is not at stake on the shoulders of that little rascal that the you to send off to the party and something of the nature of my family is represented in my child so God the father through the spirit via the apostle Paul says to the church walk in love. You're my beloved children and realize this is an amazing privilege to be my child, and it brings with it a phenomenal responsibility because the world now is going to make deductions about the nature of God himself on the expressions of the children of God. And so again this notion of walking in love is of vital importance and so notice that he does not believe it. Hanging beloved children walk in love, as Christ loved ours and gave himself up for us.

This is of of of crucial importance as well. In other words, the love that Paul says is to be displayed is a love which he defines. And Paul does this all the time CheckIt Paul defines the love of God, almost always in terms of the cross of the Lord Jesus Christ, so that the whole focus of the love of God is there. Augustine said the cross is the pool. From which God preaches his love to the world. Therefore, when Paul says I want you. Ephesians and all who come after him, including ourselves, to walk in love.

He defines it in terms of Christ's love for us in addressing the divinity school at Yale in the 50s. James assured the Presbyterian preacher from from Edinburgh talked about harmlessly vague and hopelessly accommodating Christianity, and Eddie said it will accomplish nothing anywhere anytime except to undermine the very Gospel itself. There is nothing hopelessly vague or accommodating in this Paul is saying I want you to walk in love, as Christ loved ours and gave himself up for us plural.

What he's doing there in Ephesus is is essentially what he is done in writing to the Galatians, remembering the Galatians, he speaks very personal terms, and he says the son of the God loved me and gave himself up for me and I was a great wonder to Paul and if you are in Christ. It will be a wonder to you as well. That is Alistair Begg encouraging us to live radically different lives so that when others look at us they see Jesus you're listening to Truth for Life. What we are just two weeks into the new year.

It's not too late for you to establish a daily Bible reading routine. We have a Bible reading calendar to help get you started. This is an easy to use daily Bible reading plan that can guide you through four Scripture passages each day giving you a roadmap for reading through the entire Bible.

Over the course of the year.

The plan is divided into two parts.

There's one for personal reading. One that can be read together as a family.

When you follow this daily plan. You'll read the entire Old Testament once you read the New Testament in the book of Psalms twice by the end of 2022. You can purchase the book.

Look for a dollar or download the reading calendar for free you'll find it on our the new year is also a great time to add the truth like mobile app to your smart phone or your tablet if you haven't downloaded it yet. The app is a convenient way for you to hear the daily program to access the daily devotional read articles on biblical topics. It's entirely free gives you access to any message in the Truth for Life archive anytime you want wherever you are. So take just a minute and download the truth for like mobile app today from your app store or visit Truth for now if you listen to truth like regularly. You probably heard me talk about our current book recommendation titled the all sufficient God. It's a book taken from sermons preached by Dr. Martin Lloyd Jones but it's only available for a couple more days, so if you've not already requested a copy sure to do so today. The book is yours. When you make a about Lapine can join us tomorrow for part two of today's message walk in love and learn how we can imitate Christ in our day-to-day lives. The Bible teaching of Alistair Begg is furnished by Truth for Life. Learning is for Living

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