One Thing I Know

2 Timothy 4:7-8

I have fought a good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.  Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing.

There are several helpful truths we learn from Paul in this portion of scripture.

  • Finishers focus on the finish line.  Paul never lost sight of the finish line.  He knew that, beyond this short life there is a great life of joy that stretches forever into eternity, and that those who are faithful here will enter that life and get a crown of righteousness.  We have a tendency to forget that the real finish line is not in this life.  That’s the clear truth from the Bible.  The real finish line is after this life is over.  Unless you want to stagger through the gloom of a senseless existence, hold on the promise of the hereafter.  Without that hope, nothing else makes sense.
  • Finishers stay in proper spiritual shape to stay the course.  Do not waste your time arguing over foolish ideas and silly myths and legends.  Spend your time and energy in the exercise of keeping spiritually fit.
    • Are you in proper spiritual shape to stay the course?
    • Are you giving God enough time?  We live in a hurry, hurry life and sometimes God even has trouble getting through to us.  We have instant messaging on our computers, cell phones that we take with us everywhere, even to church.  We have microwaves, two jobs and instant entertainment in our homes.  Somewhere in today’s fast-paced society we must learn to slow down and listen to God and wait on Him.
  • Finishers maintain their passion.  Do you have a passion for serving the Lord Jesus Christ?  Paul had a purpose, a plan, and he maintained his passion.  He had no intention of disappointing the One who had done so much for him.  He knew he was running the race, not just to win a prize, but to bring glory to Christ.  Doing God’s will was his passion!  Is it yours?

Do you know what God’s will is for your life?  The old hymn says:

                                    I know not why God’s wondrous grace

                                    to me he hath made known,

                                    Nor why, unworthy, Christ in love

                                    redeemed me for His own.

                                    But I know whom I have believed

                                    and am persuaded that He is able,

                                    To keep that which I’ve committed

                                    unto Him against that day.

Are you persuaded?  Are you convinced you are in the race to stay?  Are you convinced you are on the right track?  Are you striving toward that goal?  Is that the ONE THING  that is first and foremost in your mind?  Is that the ONE THING that takes priority over all else.  Hang on to it and do not let it go.  Your eternal life depends on it.

  • That ONE THING could be called passion or commitment.
  • That ONE THING could be called drive or commitment.
  • That ONE THING could be called hanging on or commitment.
  • That ONE THING could be called determination or commitment.
  • That ONE THING could be called righteous stubbornness or commitment.
  • That ONE THING could be called hardheadedness or commitment.
  • Whatever that ONE THING is, hide it in your heart and do not let go.  It will get you to the finish line and help you reach the goal.

You probably need to know that finishers do not have an easier race than others.  It is easy for all of us to justify our quitting attitudes with statements like, “If only I had it as easy as so and so, I’d be successful too”  But if you read about the lives of successful people, you will find they did not have it any easier than the rest of us.

Take John Wesley, for instance, one of the greatest preachers of the last millennium.  Here is a single page from his journal:

  • Sunday AM – May 5 – Preached in St Ann’s; was asked not to come back anymore.
  • Sunday PM – May 5 – Preached in St John’s; deacons said, “Get out and stay out.”
  • Sunday AM – May 12 – Preached at St Jude’s; can’t go back there again either.
  • Sunday PM – May 12 – Preached at St George’s; kicked out again.
  • Sunday AM – May 19 – Preached at St Somebody Else’s; deacons called a special meeting and said I couldn’t return.
  • Sunday PM – May 19 – Preached on the street; kicked off the street.
  • Sunday AM – May 26 – Preached out in a meadow; chased out of meadow when a bull was turned loose during the service.
  • Sunday AM – June 2 – Preached out at the edge of town; kicked off the highway.
  • Sunday PM – June 2 – Afternoon service, preached in a pasture; 10,000 people came.

You see, finishers are not folks who do not run into difficulty.  Finishers are folks who run over difficulty.

  • What ONE THING do you think it was that kept John Wesley going on in spite of difficulty?  Whatever it was, it worked.
  • What ONE THING motivates you to come to church?
  • What ONE THING would it take to get you more involved in serving Christ?
  • What ONE THING would the Lord have to do in your life to get your attention and cause you to do more for Him?
  • What ONE THING makes you want to keep going when trouble or opposition arises?
  • What ONE THING makes you keep pressing on when others are ready to quit?

Look at the ONE THING in the following:

Mark 10:21 – Then Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, “One thing you lack: Go your way, sell whatever you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, take up the cross, and follow Me.”

Luke 10:41-42 – And Jesus answered and said to her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things. But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her.”

Philippians 3:13-14 – Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

Psalm 27:1-5 – The Lord is my light and my salvation; Whom shall I fear?  The Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?  When the wicked came against me to eat up my flesh, my enemies and foes, they stumbled and fell.  Though an army may encamp against me, my heart shall not fear; though war may rise against me, in this I will be confident.  One thing I have desired of the Lord, That will I seek:  That I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to inquire in His temple.  For in the time of trouble he shall hide me in His pavilion; in the secret place of His tabernacle He shall hide me; He shall set me high upon a rock.

Test of Faith

James 2:19

You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe—and tremble.

What is true of biology is also true of faith:  If it is not growing, it’s probably dead.  If someone tells you, “I believe there is a God in heaven,” you can be sure that person is one of the following:

  • a Christian
  • a user of some devotional guide
  • an individual who attends church, or
  • none of the above. 

Pick an answer, and then let us look at a scripture in chapter 2.

James 2:19 – You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe—and tremble!

Do you tremble at the awesome power and presence of God when you are out of line according to the Scriptures?  Do you fall under conviction at the reading of certain verses of the Bible when you know you don’t measure up?

James speaks out strongly against a “faith of God” that merely professes with the lips without practicing with the life.  You might summarize his book this way:  “If you believe as you should, why do you behave as you shouldn’t?”  We might say, “Your actions speak louder than words”, or “put your money where your mouth is.”   True faith is more than words or even profession.  It is a vital walk that shows God has truly invaded your life.  If you have truly been changed, your life will demonstrate that change and it will show that change as it “breathes” in unmistakable ways.  And that raises a timely question….

Since you trusted Christ as your Savior, how has your lifestyle changed in the troublesome areas of some of the following categories?  You don’t need to raise your hand or say Amen to any of these areas of questionable actions: 

  • prejudice
  • profanity
  • gossip
  • argumentative
  • giving to God in time, talent and finances
  • planning for the future
  • accepting unpleasant circumstances?

What is that one area that, with God’s help, you will move from being a hearer to a doer of God’s Word?

James 1:22 – But don’t just listen to God’s word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves

Taking both of these scriptures into account, what is James trying to tell us?  I believe that he is trying to say “If you call yourself a Christian or a child of God, then you ought to act like it.  You ought to speak like it.  You ought to think like it.  You ought to dress like it.”

Does the Bible not say?

Romans 12:2 – And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.

Question:  James 2:19 states that demons tremble in the presence of Jesus. They did when He walked the face of this earth and they do when you invoke His mighty Name in prayer.  Did you know that when you are living an overcoming, consistent Christian life, you have the power to use the Name of Jesus in prayer and temptation must go?  Most who call themselves Christian, live shallow, inconsistent lives of continually falling into sins they seemingly have no control over.  The truth and answer to this dilemma is simply that they fail to obtain victory because they do not know the privilege of using the King of Glory’s Holy Name when they go to prayer.   Prayer is answered when you go to the Father in the Name of the Son and the power of the Holy Spirit within you begins to His work.  

Just as a human body that fails to breathe is labeled a “dead body,” so too a faith that fails to “breathe” is labeled a “dead faith.”  And the breath of faith in the Christian life is good works: demonstrating concern for the poor, controlling the tongue, exhibiting a spirit of humility, building up others.  If you think you have faith but there is no living demonstration of that faith in your life, James has news for you:  Your faith is worthless. True faith and good works cannot be divorced, for your life is the laboratory in which your faith is shown to be real.

James 4:2-3 – You lust and do not have. You murder and covet and cannot obtain. You fight and war. Yet you do not have because you do not ask.  You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures.

There may come a time in your life when you wonder why you are not growing in your faith.  Or you might wonder why you do not ever have the opportunity to lead others to Christ.  When you ask yourself these kinds of questions, you may be able to answer them with another question:  “Have I asked God to help me in this area?”

Understand that this passage does not advocate that you “demand” things from God as though He were some “cosmic butler” prepared to answer your every beck and call.  Yet it is equally wrong to fail to ask Him to help meet your needs.  God wants to bless your life and spiritually strengthen you.  God wants to bless you because you are His child.  Unfortunately, many of us fail to receive all of what God has for us because we do not pray. 

Take a moment to look at your own spiritual progress.  Do you want to have a better understanding of the Bible?  Are you looking for some Christian friends?  Do you want the Lord to show you what your spiritual gifts and talents are?  God wants to bless you, but He may be just waiting for your invitation to do so.

While you do not need to change your lifestyle before you come to Christ, once you do come to Christ, your lifestyle should show tangible changes.  If it does not, then one could doubt whether Christ has really come into your life.  The way you live, act, think, should reflect what you believe. 

Luke 3:8 – Therefore bear fruits worthy of repentance…

James brings out another important reason for backing up our faith with our actions in the following passage. 

James 3:13-17 – Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show by good conduct that his works are done in the meekness of wisdom.  But if you have bitter envy and self-seeking in your hearts, do not boast and lie against the truth. This wisdom does not descend from above, but is earthly, sensual, demonic.  For where envy and self-seeking exist, confusion and every evil thing are there.  But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy.

When people see that we genuinely care about them as individuals, then they will be much more open to hearing about what motivates us.  Can people see Jesus in the way you live?  If not, it is time to move Jesus into the “driver’s seat” of your life.

Walk as Children of Light

Ephesians 5:8-10

For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (for the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness, righteousness, and truth), finding out what is acceptable to the Lord.

Melody Shick, dressed as a rag doll with a teddy bear in her arms and a display of stuffed animals all about her, sat for 5 hours, 43 minutes setting a new record for the Guinness Book of Records.  Previous record was 5 hours, 32 minutes.  As this young lady sat motionless on a circular rotating display, numbers of people questioned whether she was a manikin or was real.  Imagine 5 hours, 43 minutes. 

Some church people have that record beat. The world is watching them.  They look like Christians should look.  They talk like Christians.  They even go to church, but there is no real fruit or evidence.  The world wonders, are they real or just a life-size replica of what a Christian is supposed to be.

  • Jesus has called us to be the light to the world.

Matthew 5:14-16 – You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lamp stand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.

1 Peter 2:9 – But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light;

Philippians 2:15-16 – that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding fast the word of life, so that I may rejoice in the day of Christ that I have not run in vain or labored in vain.

  • Jesus gave us the Great Commission

Mark 16:15 – Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. 

Sharing the gospel requires us to be a witness.  What is a witness?

  1. A witness is one who knows something.  We cannot share what we do not know ourself.  That is why it is so important that we study God’s Word, that we experience ourself of His love and presence.

Joshua 1:8 – This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.

Psalm 119:105 – Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.

2 Timothy 2:16-17 – All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.

  • A witness is one who is something.

Ephesians 5:1 – Therefore be imitators of God as dear children.

Romans 12:1-2 – I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.

Colossians 3:1-6 – If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory.

Therefore put to death your members which are on the earth: fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. Because of these things the wrath of God is coming upon the sons of disobedience.

  • A witness is one who tells something.

Matthew 28:18-20 – And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.

1 Peter 3:15 – But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear;

2 Corinthians 5:18-20 – Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation, that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation.  Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God.

The Good Fight

1 Timothy 6:11-14

But as for you, O man of God, flee from all these things; aim at and pursue righteousness (right standing with God and true goodness), godliness (which is the loving fear of God and being Christ like), faith, love, steadfastness (patience), and gentleness of heart.  Fight the good fight of the faith; lay hold of the eternal life to which you were summoned and [for which] you confessed the good confession [of faith] before many witnesses.  In the presence of God, Who preserves alive all living things, and of Christ Jesus, Who in His testimony before Pontius Pilate made the good confession, I [solemnly] charge you  to keep all His precepts unsullied and flawless, irreproachable, until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ (the Anointed One), (The Amplified Bible)

  • Flee from all these things “O man of God” – talking to the church
  • Pride
  • Conceit
  • Controversy
  • Disputes
  • Strife
  • Envy
  • Jealousy
  • Quarrels
  • Dissension
  • Abuse
  • Insults
  • Slander
  • Suspicions
  • Wrangling
  • Weary discussion
  • Perpetual friction
  • Greed

Galatians 5:1 – Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage.

Galatians 5:16 – I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.

Romans 8:1 – There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.

  • Aim at – pursue – strive toward – grasp with all your might
  • Right standing with God
  • True goodness
  • Godliness (the loving fear of God and being Christ like)
  • Faith
  • Love
  • Steadfastness (patience)
  • Gentleness of heart
  • Fight the good fight of faith (spiritual warfare)
  • Lay hold of the eternal life to which you were summoned (called)
  • Lay hold of the eternal life to which you have made a good confession (declared openly that Christ is your Lord and Master
  • I urge you – implore you – give it all you have got
  • Keep your commitment to God
  • Without spot
  • Blameless
  • How do we accomplish all this?  Through the power of prayers and fasting

1 Timothy 2:1-2 – Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence.

Requirements of the Christian

1 Timothy 1:3-4

As I urged you when I went into Macedonia—remain in Ephesus that you may charge some that they teach no other doctrine,  nor give heed to fables and endless genealogies, which cause disputes rather than godly edification which is in faith.

  • Know what you believe

2 Timothy 2:15 – Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.

  • Be a person of prayer

1 Timothy 2:1 – Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men.

  • Be an example

1 Timothy 4:12 – Let no one despise your youth, but be an example to the believers in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity

  • In speech – in all you say, be godly
  • In conduct – in all you do, be godly
  • In love – in the way you love, be godly
  • In spirit – in attitude and behavior – be as God would be
  • In faith – always trusting and believing in God’s Word
  • In purity – in all areas of life be pure and innocent
  • Exhibit positive qualities

1 Timothy 6:11 – But you, O man of God, flee these things and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, gentleness.

  • Pursue righteousness – right standing before God
  • Pursue godliness – walk according to the Word
  • Pursue faith – continue to trust in the things of God
  • Pursue love – strongly desire to love as God loves
  • Pursue perseverance – be obedient to what is right
  • Pursue gentleness – be calm and peaceful toward others
  • Continue onward

1 Timothy 6:12 – Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, to which you were also called and have confessed the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.

  • Fight the good fight of faith
  • Grasp firmly, lay hold, do not let eternal life slip away
  • Maintain your confession of faith, do not give in to sin
  • Continue to be a witness of God’s grace

The New Man

Ephesians 4:17-24

So I tell you this, and insist on it in the Lord, that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking. They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts. Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, and they are full of greed.  That, however, is not the way of life you learned when you heard about Christ and were taught in him in accordance with the truth that is in Jesus. You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.

THE NEW MAN WALK

  • The Way Not to Walk as a New Believer.
  • Do not walk as a follower of men or women of the world.  In this passage of Scripture we see the non-believer referred to as a Gentile.  This is a carry over from the Jewish thinking into the Christian thinking.  To the Jew anyone who was not a Jew was a heathen.  Gentiles were therefore classified as heathen.
  • The Ephesians were all gentiles by birth and this passage is a bold declaration but it is not obvious to most.  In the original texts the word “other” Gentiles or the “rest” of the Gentiles is not there.  It simply says. “Do not walk as Gentiles.”  Paul was saying as a Christian you are no longer a gentile or, as he was a Jew, he was no longer a Jew but that they and he alike were Christians.  They no longer walked like they used to.  Galatians 3:28 tells us “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”
  • The Way to Walk as a New Believer.
  • As a new believer, you are a new creation, having been born again.  (John 3:1-8)  You are part of a new body, the body of Christ.  As a part of that body, the body of Christ, you must not allow, you cannot allow your body to be involved in any activity or thinking that would             defile the body of Christ.  Romans 6:1-2 states, “What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? Certainly not!  How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it?”

I Peter 2:5,  “You also as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.”  

  • As a holy priest in the household of faith we ought to be holy.  We ought to be honest.  We ought to be believers with integrity.  We ought to be trustworthy.  We ought to treat others in an open and fair manner.  We ought to offer up our lives as a daily spiritual sacrifice acceptable to God.  If we have to ask whether or not we should do something, or rather or not we should involve ourselves in an activity or conversation; if we have a question in our own mind, then it probably is not acceptable to God.  Therefore leave it alone.  Let it be.  Don’t contaminate your life with it and since you are a part of the body of Christ do not in any manner contaminate the body of Christ.
  • The new believer is to put off the old man, to be renewed in the spirit of his mind, and to put on the new man. Note that there is both a taking off and a putting on.  This is more than just turning over a new leaf or making a New Year resolution.  Our very minds (our way of thinking) is to be changed.  We can only do this when we turn to Christ and allow His Word, His Spirit to fill our own spirit.  

THE OLD MAN WALK

  • The old man, or the unbeliever, walks in the vanity of his mind.  The mind includes the ability “to will” and “to do the truth” as well as “to know the truth”.  Jesus said “You shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free.”  The mind has the ability to reason and understand.  This seventeenth verse says that the unbeliever (Gentile) walks in the vanity (or in vain) of their mind.  This simply means that the unbeliever walks empty minded, futile, senseless, aimless, unsuccessful, and worthless.      This does not sound like anybody having an enjoyable life.  Their minds are void and empty of God and of His truth and morality.  God is not in their thoughts.  Their minds are ready to be filled with some other god or supremacy, that is, with the things of the world:  worldly pleasures, worldly possessions, worldly power, worldly position, worldly religions, worldly ideas, worldly honor, and worldly gods. 

Gen. 6:5 – “Then the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.”

Psalm 10:4 – “The wicked in his proud countenance does not seek God; God is in none of his thoughts.”

Psalm 94:11 – The LORD knows the thoughts of man, that they are futile.”

 Proverbs 15:26 – The thoughts of the wicked are an abomination to the LORD, but the words of the pure are pleasant.”

  • The mind of man, the unbeliever, walks after these things, neglecting, ignoring and rejecting God.  The believer must never return to the walk of an empty mind; he must never allow his mind to become empty of God.  Unbelievers walk with their understanding darkened.  They are blind to the things of God. 

Psalm 82:5 – “They do not know, nor do they understand; they walk about in darkness; all the foundations of the earth are unstable.”

Proverbs 4:19 – “The way of the wicked is like darkness; they do not know what makes them stumble.”

Acts 28:27 – “For the hearts of this people have grown dull.  Their ears are hard of hearing, and their eyes they have closed, lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, lest they should understand with their hearts and turn, so that I should heal them.”

  • Unbelievers walk alienated from the life of God.  They are spiritually dead.  They are doomed to eternal death.  They are alienated, estranged, separated, detached, cut off from God. 

Matthew. 15:8 – “These people draw near to Me with their mouth, and honor Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me.”

John 3:18-19 – “He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.”

  • Unbelievers can reach a point in life where they no longer have feelings for God and His standard of morality.  They become callous, insensible, hardened.  The more an unbeliever walks in this manner, the more callous his conscience becomes to righteousness.  Sin becomes more and more acceptable.  The person’s conscience no longer bothers him.  He reaches a point where he is past feeling.

Walking in Christ – in Unity

Ephesians 4:1-6

I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called, with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love, endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.

THE CHRISTIAN MUST WALK WORTHY

  • Worthy means “of sufficient weight” a quality that comes from acknowledging what Christ has given us, not what worth we may feel we have or not have. 
  • With lowliness.  Lowliness means “with modesty, a sense of moral insignificance and a humble attitude of unselfish concern for the welfare of others.  A total absence of arrogance, conceit.  The word is a combination of  tapeinos – “humble” and phren – “mind.”
  • With gentleness.  Gentleness means “a disposition that is even-tempered, tranquil, balanced in spirit, unpretentious and that has the passions under control.  The word is best translated “meekness,” not as an indication of weakness, but of power and strength under control.  The person who possesses this quality pardons injuries, corrects faults and rules his own spirit well.
  • With long-suffering.  Long-suffering means “patient endurance, forbearance, fortitude.  It describes a person who has the power to exercise revenge but instead exercises restraint. 
  • With love.  Forbearing or bearing with one another means “to hold up.  It carries the idea of tolerating, bearing with, putting up with, and not losing courage under pressure. 
  • In unity.  The bond of peace speaks of the relationship in which all believers stand.  When the Holy Spirit enters a life at the point of salvation, they are bound together with other believers.  Endeavor means “to exert oneself, make every effort, be zealous, straining every nerve.  The word combines thinking and acting, planning and producing.  It sees a need and promptly does something about it.”  We are to exert ourselves, make every effort, and strain every nerve to keep unity among ourselves. 

SEVEN BASIC REASONS TO WALK WORTHY

  • One Body – There are many different denominations and many different churches, but Christ is creating only ONE body. 

1 Corinthians 12:13 – “For by one Spirit we were baptized into one body, whether Jews or Gentiles, whether bond or free; and have all been made to drink into one Spirit.”

Romans 12:5 – “so we, being many, are one body in Christ…”

  • One Spirit – The Holy Spirit is given to all Christians.

1 Corinthians 12:4 – “There are various kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit.”

Romans 8:14 – “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.”

  • One Hope – We all are striving for the same reward.

Titus 2:12-13 – “Looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ.”

1 Peter 1:3 – “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to his abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.”

  • One Lord – We all serve the same Savior.

1 Corinthians 12:5 – “There are different administrations, but the same Lord.”

Philippians 2:9-11 – “Therefore God has highly exalted him…that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow…every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”

  • One Faith – We all have the same message – “Jesus Saves”

Jude 3 – “Beloved…I found it necessary to write to you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints.”

  • One Baptism – All believers give public witness to their faith by submitting to water baptism.  Each is identified with the same body. 

Galatians 3:27 – “For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.”

This could also refer to the believer’s baptism into the body of Christ by the work of the Holy Spirit.

1 Corinthians 12:13 – “For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body…”

  • One God and Father – If there is only one God and one Father, then there cannot be two believers in opposition to one another.  If they are, then either one or both are not following God, but rather are following their own carnal ways. 

Mark 12:19 – “And Jesus answered him, ‘The first of all the commandments is, Hear O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one.”

Stand Fast

2 Thessalonians 2:13-17

But we are bound to give thanks to God always for you, brethren beloved by the Lord, because God from the beginning chose you for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth, to which He called you by our gospel, for the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, brethren, stand fast and hold the traditions which you were taught, whether by word or our epistle.

Now may our Lord Jesus Christ Himself, and our God and Father, who has loved us and given us everlasting consolation and good hope by grace, comfort your hearts and establish you in every good word and work.

Matthew 24:42 – “Watch therefore, for you do not know what hour your Lord is coming.”

I Corinthians – 16:13 – “Watch, stand fast in the faith, be brave, be strong.”

DO NOT GIVE AN INCH.  Nothing the devil throws against you shall in anyway harm you if you are walking in the will of the Lord.

Phil 1:27 – “Only let your conduct be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of your affairs, that you stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel.”

Phil 4:1 – “Therefore, my beloved and longed-for brethren, my joy and crown, so stand fast in the Lord, beloved.”

Phil 3:14-19 – “I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Therefore let us, as many as are mature, have this mind; and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal even this to you.  Nevertheless, to the degree that we have already attained, let us walk by the same rule, let us be of the same mind.  Brethren, join in following my example, and note those who so walk, as you have us for a pattern.  For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ: whose end is destruction, whose god is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame—who set their mind on earthly things.”

Gal 5:1 – “Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage.”

Eph 6:14 – “Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness.”

Just remember, you cannot fight sitting down.

Giving to God’s Cause

Philippians 4:10-19

But I rejoiced in the Lord greatly that now at last your care for me has flourished again; though you surely did care, but you lacked opportunity. Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content: I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.  Nevertheless you have done well that you shared in my distress. Now you Philippians know also that in the beginning of the gospel, when I departed from Macedonia, no church shared with me concerning giving and receiving but you only. For even in Thessalonica you sent aid once and again for my necessities. Not that I seek the gift, but I seek the fruit that abounds to your account. Indeed I have all and abound. I am full, having received from Epaphroditus the things sent from you, a sweet-smelling aroma, an acceptable sacrifice, well pleasing to God. And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.

THEY GAVE ONCE AGAIN

  • 2 Corinthians 9:8 indicates that the church had supported Paul in his ministry at one time.  For whatever reason, it appears their support had stopped.  Now, Paul rejoices that it has “flourished again.” 
  • Gospel must be carried world-wide
  • Missionaries and ministers must be supported to do the work

Luke 10:2 – “The harvest truly is great, but the laborers are few; pray therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.” 

John 4:35 – “Do you not say, ‘There are still four months and then comes the harvest?’  I say to you, ‘lift up your eyes and look at the fields, for they are already white for harvest!’” 

  • Jesus clearly stated that the problem is not the harvest – it is the need for laborers.  We must go and do all we can to reap the harvest.  Where we cannot or will not personally go – we must commit ourselves to support those who can and are willing to go.

GOD DOES NOT NEED YOUR GIVING

  • God has taught his servants to be content in whatever state they find themselves.

1 Timothy 6:6-9 – “Now godliness with contentment is great gain.  For we brought nothing into this world and it is certain we can carry nothing out.  And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content.  But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition.”

Hebrews 13:5 – “Let your conduct be without covetousness; bet content with such things as you have, for Him Himself has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you.’” 

  • God meets the needs of his servants.

2 Corinthians 12:9-10 – “And He said unto me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect (to complete, reach a goal, bring to maturity) in weakness.’  Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me…For when I am weak, then I am strong.” 

Psalm 28:7 – “The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusted in Him, and I am helped.” 

YOU NEED TO GIVE TO GOD

  • God wants you to be a part of His kingdom work.  When you give you are obeying God.  When you obey God, He has promised to “take up residence” in you – (John 14)

Acts 20:35 – “…And remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He said, ‘It is more blessed (supremely happy, a condition in which congratulations are in order) to give (giving an object of value freely, unforced) than to receive.’”   The Amplified Version

  • NOTE:  Jesus did not say it would more natural or easier to give than to receive, but that the giver would be more blessed than the receiver.
  • Giving to God’s work will bring God’s blessings.

Luke 18:30 – “There is no one who has left house, or parents or brothers or wife or children, for the sake of the kingdom of God, who shall not receive many times more in this present time, and in the age to come eternal life.” 

Luke 6:38 – “Give, and it will be given to you; good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom.  For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you.

Malachi 3:8-12 – “Will a man rob God? Yet you have robbed Me! But you say, ‘In what way have we robbed You?’  ‘In tithes and offerings.  You are cursed with a curse, for you have robbed Me, even this whole nation.  Bring all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be food in My house, and try Me now in this,” says the LORD of hosts,  ‘If I will not open for you the windows of heaven  and pour out for you such blessing that there will not be room enough to receive it.  And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, so that he will not destroy the fruit of your ground, nor shall the vine fail to bear fruit for you in the field,’ says the LORD of hosts; and all nations will call you blessed, for you will be a delightful land,’ says the LORD of hosts.”

WE MUST LOOK TO GOD FOR OUR NEEDS – MINISTER AND LAITY ALIKE

Philippians 4:19 – “And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” 

  • The source of our supply – God Himself
  • What needs are met – All our need
  • What is the limit of meeting our need – All of God’s riches in glory
  • Who is the one who provides the supply from heaven to us – Jesus Christ
  • NOTE:   When we speak of giving, most of the time we think about “money or material items.”  True, that is one of the main sources of giving to God’s work.  Missionaries, ministers have to eat, need clothes and a room over their head.  Their children need toys and books and an education like other children.  They need Bibles and books and supplies to reach out in ministry.  All this takes money.
  • However, we need to think of giving to the work of Christ in other ways.
  • Prayer – One of the best ways to give to God’s servants is to pray for them.  Too often we spend time criticizing, complaining and very little time praying.
  • Communicate – We need to let God’s servants know we are praying for them.  Write to the
  • missionaries – send your pastor a card.
  • Time – We need to give of our time to God’s work.  We can help in the work of God by volunteering some of our time to help in his work that needs to be done.
  • Talents, abilities – God’s servants cannot do everything.  They – like you – are limited in their skills.  You can share your skills in areas where God’s servants are lacking. 
  • Friendship – It can be lonely when you work for God.  You can be a friend to the missionaries by writing, sending magazines or newspapers from home, sending a “care” package of spices, packaged food or other items they cannot get and miss.  You can be a friend to your pastors by sharing a cup of coffee, a visit to their home or yours. 

Walk in Truth and Love

2 John 1:4-6

I rejoiced greatly that I have found some of your children walking in truth, as we received commandment from the Father.  And now I plead with you, lady, not as though I wrote a new commandment to you, but that which we have had from the beginning: that we love one another.  This is love, that we walk according to His commandments. This is the commandment, that as you have heard from the beginning, you should walk in it.

  • Walk in love

1 John 4:7-11 – Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God.  He who does not love does not know God, for God is love.  In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him.  In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.  Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.

  • Walk in truth

2 John 1:7-11 – For many deceivers have gone out into the world who do not confess Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist.  Look to yourselves, that we do not lose those things we worked for, but that we may receive a full reward.  Whoever transgresses and does not abide in the doctrine of Christ does not have God. He who abides in the doctrine of Christ has both the Father and the Son.  If anyone comes to you and does not bring this doctrine, do not receive him into your house nor greet him; for he who greets him shares in his evil deeds.

1 John 5:20 – And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us an understanding, that we may know Him who is true; and we are in Him who is true, in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God and eternal life.

  • Walk according to His commandments

1 John 2:7 – Brethren, I write no new commandment to you, but an old commandment which you have had from the beginning. The old commandment is the word which you heard from the beginning.

1 John 2:24 – Therefore let that abide in you which you heard from the beginning. If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, you also will abide in the Son and in the Father.