Share This Episode
Truth for Life Alistair Begg Logo

Walk in Love (Part 2 of 2)

Truth for Life / Alistair Begg
The Truth Network Radio
August 10, 2022 4:00 am

Walk in Love (Part 2 of 2)

Truth for Life / Alistair Begg

On-Demand Podcasts NEW!

This broadcaster has 1306 podcast archives available on-demand.

Broadcaster's Links

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


August 10, 2022 4:00 am

Christians are commanded to walk in love. So how do we do that? What does that look like in practical terms? Continuing the ‘Encore 2022’ series, Alistair Begg explains how we can affect the culture by following Christ’s example. Listen to Truth For Life.



Listen...

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE
Matt Slick Live!
Matt Slick
Matt Slick Live!
Matt Slick
Truth for Life
Alistair Begg
Truth for Life
Alistair Begg
Delight in Grace
Grace Bible Church / Rich Powell

As Christians we are commanded to What does that look like in practical terms? Today on Truth for Life, we'll learn how we can make a difference in our culture by following Jesus' example. Alistair Begg is teaching from Ephesians chapter 5. We're studying verses 1 and 2. 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. It's wonderful, isn't it? 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, what would it involve? Well, just look at verse 32. It's 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 Christ has treated you. So in other words, Paul is not giving a little phrase here for people to pour into it whatever they want, so that you can have a little conversation over coffee.

So what does it mean to you to walk in love? Well, I was thinking this, I was thinking that. No, I was thinking the next thing. No, there's nothing vague and sentimental about this.

It's not about trying to get a feeling in your tummy. No, it's gonna 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. That's the start of 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 it's 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 them, Now, look, 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 party's over, you thank them again, and then you come home. Now, can you do that? The child says yes.

And then you've got no control over it at all. Because your family honor is now at stake on the shoulders of that little rascal that you've just sent 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. It 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 leave it hanging. Beloved children, walk in love as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us.

This is 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.

Check it. Paul defines the love of God almost always in terms of the cross of the Lord Jesus Christ, so that he says, if we're going to think about what it means for God to love, then it is impossible for us to take our eyes away from the cross itself. For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, so that the whole focus of the love of God is there.

Augustine says the cross is the pulpit 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 fifties, James S. Stewart, the Presbyterian preacher from Edinburgh, talked about a harmlessly vague and a hopelessly accommodating Christianity. A harmlessly vague and a hopelessly accommodating Christianity. And he 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 us and gave himself up for us.

Plural. What he's doing there in Ephesus is essentially what he has done in writing to the Galatians. Because remember, in the Galatians, he speaks in very personal terms. And he says, The Son of God loved me and gave himself up for me. And that was a great wonder to Paul.

And if you're in Christ, it will be a wonder to you as well. You see, the true testimony of a man or a woman in Christ is this—that if we were to ask another, What about the love of God? Where is the love of God expressed?

What does it actually mean to you? Or, let's say—let's put it in more generic terms—you go to a congregation, you go to a church, and you ask them along these lines. You find out, What is the drumbeat of the church, if you like? You want to go to a church where the response is… The corporate response is this. The Son of God loved us and gave himself for us.

In other words, they define themselves, the gospel, the church, and the compassion and love of God in terms of the cross of the Lord Jesus Christ. Remember that hymn? We sang it one night not so long ago. I think it had about twelve verses.

People were asleep before we finished. But it is a wonderful hymn. It begins, It is a thing most wonderful, almost too wonderful to be, that God's own Son would come from heaven and die to save a child like me.

I think it might have been written as a children's hymn. My favorite verse is this. I cannot tell how he would love a child so weak and full of sin.

His love must be most wonderful if he would die my love to win. You see, again, this is the answer of the believer. If a man or a woman feels themselves to be very good, or even quite good, as they drive in the car and they think about themselves, they go through their own checklist. Well, I have never really harmed anyone.

I'm living a good life. I try and help my neighbor. I did hang one of those things on their door, and so on. Then that individual will not be surprised that God would love them. They would take it for granted. I mean, I'm such a nice person. There's no surprise that God would love me. You see, that's why the gospel—and why we often pray as we read the Bible—"show me myself and show me my Savior." Because until the gospel shows us ourselves, the way it showed Paul, for example, himself—because, remember, Paul was exactly that kind of individual. He says, you know, I went to good schools, I had a good background, I was a fastidious lawkeeper, and so on—I regarded myself as virtually flawless.

And what changed? Well, he met Christ. And when he met Christ, he realized, The Son of God loved me and gave himself for me. A self-righteous religious freak. The same wonder that grips those as we read through the pages of Scripture, and as we look out on one another and we tell our story.

This is the story. Paul's perspective radically changed, so that when he writes to the church at Rome, he says, And the wonder is this, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Now, notice also that he doesn't just say that Christ loved us but he gave himself up for us. We'll look at this, and then we're finished. And he gave himself up for us. Notice that that is not passive.

That is active. Let me give you three words that I've given you before, and I'm not going to tease them out. This can be your homework as well. Let me say three things about this phrase that he gave himself up for us. Number one, Christ's death was voluntary. Was voluntary.

Okay? Remember when he is speaking? It's recorded for us in John, and he says, I am the Good Shepherd. He says, The Good Shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. He says, Then nobody can take my life from me. I have the power to lay it down, and I have the power to take it up again. Indeed, he says, I lay it down in order that I may take it up.

So when we think about the cross of the Lord Jesus Christ, when we think about what is happening there on the cross, we need to realize that when Paul says, And gave himself up for me, Jesus Christ willingly went to the cross and offered himself up as a sacrifice of atonement. That's the second word. It's not only voluntary, but it is propitiatory. Oh, you say, Dear, oh, dear, some of the children are here, and there's no S-H in it.

That's all I'll tell you. And you know this word, and you know what it means, because we sing it all the time. And on that cross, as Jesus died, the wrath of God was satisfied. In other words, he was a propitiation for our sins. By nature, we are alienated from God on two fronts. On our side, because we're sinful and rebellious.

On God's side, because he is absolutely holy. Because his justice has to be settled, and his love has to be revealed. Both justice is served, and love is displayed when on that cross Jesus died. Voluntary, propitiatory, and substitutionary.

Substitutionary. The Lord Jesus is dying there in the place of sinners. That's why many people have… They've got no idea why we would have an emphasis on the cross. Because their view is that the cross is just a sort of dreadful disaster that happened to a really nice ethical teacher for apparently no reason at all. And if there is any message in it, it is, you should not be like that to nice people, and you should try and be nice to people the way he was nice to people. Then the cross is just a crass, mysterious disaster.

It means nothing. So what does the Bible tell us? Well, you read your Old Testament, and it says, the sacrifice, and the altar, and the blood, and a sacrifice, and a sacrifice. You're reading through that all the way through Mary McShane, and you're saying to yourself, why all these sacrifices?

Because they're all pointing forward to the sacrifice once for all time, made by the Lord Jesus Christ, who was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before its shearers is dumb. So he opened not his mouth, but he was given up for us all. How then, since he was given up for us all, shall we not then freely give him all things? Shall we not then walk in love? In other words, our walking in love must flow from and correspond to that of the Lord Jesus. That of the Lord Jesus. Now, we will come back to this. But at least we know this—that the expression of God's love was, in Jesus, forgiveness to those who did not deserve it. And it was a sacrifice, taken up the bearing of a curse, that justifiably would fall on those who did deserve it.

Okay. Therefore, this walking in love is expected of us because God commands it, and it is possible because God's Spirit enables it. Therefore, when we walk out into our community—small community immediate, larger community of state, larger community nation—and into our world, it's hard to conceive of all that has ensued in these last months in America. And once again, the church and the representatives of the church are pulled hither and yon by all kinds of agendas. And it may seem simplistic to say, but it is valid to say, that if we as a church will ask God to show us in really practical terms what it means to walk in love as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, then I believe we have a unique and compelling opportunity and responsibility to impact the culture at this point in time.

But it's gonna take all of that. You see, because then our Christian life is expressed not simply in a series of maxims or beliefs or principles. It is more than that. It is not just that we believe in an orthodox way. It is not just that we're committed to these things.

It is that the Holy Spirit of God has invaded our lives, has placed us in Christ, and now, as children of God, beloved children of God, we have the opportunity to represent the family, to deal with men and women the way Jesus dealt with men and women. So that a community that is galvanized by this will not be arrogant. We can't be. We mustn't be.

It mustn't be self-sufficient. It mustn't be that we gather together just to reinforce ourselves all the time. If we're gonna talk seriously about inviting people in, then when we invite them in, we are not to talk about them or at them but to them and say, You know, you're probably here this morning, and you don't really make much sense of this at all. I understand that. Why would you?

But we are so glad you're here, and we hope you'll come this afternoon and bring your children with you as well. Why? Because we've got a great story to tell to you. And the story is this.

Instead of it being, Excuse me? You should be careful about her. Why? I've known her for a while.

She's had four husbands, and she's living with a guy. Oh, really. Perfect opportunity. Unless you're a Pharisee. Jesus didn't start there, did he? We're gonna have to clean you up, ma'am. I can add you to my discipleship group, but I could add you as the first female member, but it's not gonna work like this.

No. He knew she was looking for love in all the wrong places. So he said, Can I have a drink of water? Paul doesn't go into Ephesus and take on Demetrius and the silversmiths. He goes into Ephesus and proclaims Jesus Christ in the gospel. He tells them about a love that will transform all loves. He tells them about one who has died in the place of sinners. He tells them about one the essence of which is sacrifice and forgiveness. That's our message. But then what Paul is saying is, Unless my actions match my professions or my protestations, then it's gonna be hard for the culture of Ephesus or the culture of Cleveland to actually believe what I'm saying.

So where are you gonna go out from here? And God the Father says now, My beloved children, you're gone out into community day. Remember, treat people the way I told you. I made my sun shine on the righteous and on the unrighteous.

I don't have a special category. So make sure that you look for the wanderers, that you greet them, that you welcome them, that you serve them. And in so doing, they may discover the love that is beyond every love, that is found in Christ Himself. We have been listening to Alistair Begg, UnTruth for Life, with the message about how we are to imitate the sacrificial love of Jesus.

Alistair returns in just a moment to close today's program with prayer. If you'd like to learn more about Jesus' sacrificial love and what it means to follow Him, you can visit our website and watch a helpful video presentation titled The Story. This video explains how Jesus' sacrifice on the cross frees us from sin and grants us the gift of eternal life.

You'll find the video online at truthforlife.org slash the story. At Truth for Life, we often invite you to open your Bible. That's because our mission is pretty straightforward. It's to teach God's Word without adding to it or taking away from it. It's teaching grounded in Scripture that you can trust to be true. Whether you're new to reading the Bible or you've been reading for decades, it can be challenging to fully understand all that you're to learn from what you've read. Well, the book Read This First can help with that. It's a little instruction book. It will guide you through practical examples of how to study the various books of the Bible, how to make sure you're applying the lessons to your life.

It's a great way to bring a fresh perspective to these ancient texts. Request your copy of Read This First when you give a donation today. You can visit us online at truthforlife.org slash donate. Or feel free to give us a call.

Our number is 888-588-7884. Now here's Alistair to close with prayer. We humbly pray again, as we prayed at the beginning, that you will so teach, train, change, and equip us that we might do exactly what your Word says. Help us not to turn your commands into optional extras. Help us not to turn them into externalism, either. Help us to realize that the wonder of it all is that in the provision that you make in the gospel there is the very power to become all that you desire for us to be.

This kind of love is amazing, and it is divine. And we rest in it. In Christ's name. Amen.

Just one PS. I want to take a leaf out of Paul's book and just say one thing as we conclude. I recognize that our congregations Sunday by Sunday are made up of all kinds of people from all kinds of places, and we're all at different stages as we listen to the Bible. But I want to speak just finally and in a sentence or two to those who have actually never believed in the gospel, who have never believed in Christ. And I fear that some of you are still where you are simply for that very reason that you have not believed. And it may be because either I or others or yourself have created all kinds of hurdles and obstacles on the way. I was struck again this week by the reaction of the apostle Paul to the Philippian jailer when he asked the question, What must I do to be saved?

And he said, Well, you need to get in the membership class. If you have heard of Christianity Explored, if you go through the doors to my right or your left or whatever. No, he said, Believe. So if you have not believed, why not believe today? Believe. That Jesus is the Savior that you actually need, because you've broken his law, you're gonna stand before him, you're gonna answer, and he has given himself up for you. Believe. And then tell somebody, You know what? I actually believe.

And then you know what? Then you're a believer. Father, forgive us when we complicate what you make so straightforward. Lord, we understand that the very inclination of our heart is away from you, but we thank you that not only do you enable us but that you save us. So, as we look out on the coming days and weeks together in your providence, we pray that the love of the Lord Jesus will draw us afresh to himself, that the joy of the Lord Jesus will enable us and quicken us as we seek to serve him, that the peace of Christ will guard our minds when they are unsettled and fearful, and that grace, mercy, and peace from Father, Son, and Holy Spirit may be the abiding portion of all who believe today and forevermore. Amen.

I'm Bob Lapine. Thanks for listening. Does God's sovereignty excuse us from taking responsibility for our actions? Hear the answer tomorrow when you join us for another listener favorite called Mercy, Blessings, and Character. The Bible teaching of Alistair Begg is furnished by Truth for Life. Where the Learning is for Living.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-03-13 12:50:52 / 2023-03-13 12:59:08 / 8

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