One of the things I am sure most of if not all of us have heard at some point in our Christian lives from the unsaved, from those that we try our best to be a witness to, to see accept the Lord Jesus Christ as Lord and as Saviour, is, “well, why should I become a Christian, I see no real difference between them and me”.
We wonder why so many Christians get fed up with the church and with fellow Christians, leave never to be seen again, and the reason we hear and are given is the un Christian like way that person was treated by those that claim the name of Christ yet show no difference between themselves and this sinful world!
Folks, as Christians here tonight, there must be a difference in us that this world can see! We must be found walking worthy of our calling, of naming the Lord Jesus Christ as our Saviour! And that is what the Apostle Paul is dealing with in our text here tonight. Paul here gives his heartfelt and perhaps his final request before his death, his final urging to the Christian to walk worthy of their calling!
The word translated as walk (peripatew peritpateo) here in this verse literally means exactly that. However, it is used as a metaphor of day-to-day living. The word live could aptly be substituted. The word translated as worthy (axiwv axios) here is in fact an adverb with the sense of ‘worthily’ or ‘suitably.’ The “vocation wherewith ye are called” literally has the sense, ‘the calling wherewith ye are called.’ That calling folks is our salvation. It goes back to Christ’s call, when He said “come unto me.” Therefore, we have been instructed, urged in this passage to live worthily of the salvation wherewith we have been called.
Now, please do not ignore the tone of urgency in Paul’s letter here. It is not just some mere request to us as Christians, but a plea filled with something imperative! Walk worthy of the Salvation Christ has provided you! That’s the challenge, that’s the instruction, that’s the exhortation, and that’s the need! We must walk worthy! We must be different, we are different! Therefore, we must show it! How? Paul gives that instruction as well; let’s look at it and how we walk worthy.
1. With All Lowliness
This word lowliness refers to humility. Folks, as a Christian we must be humble! Nowhere in the Word of God will you ever find a Christian called to be high minded, haughty, filled with pride, etc, etc. Every servant that ever did a work for God in the Bible or in the history of time was one that was humble! God will not use a Christian that is filled with pride! Pride hurts the work of God and the cause of Christ! Humility is such an important aspect of the Christian life that even the Lord Jesus Christ Himself gave us the greatest act of humility known to man recorded in the Word of God.
Let’s break these verses down. Notice the very first verse and instruction for us; let this mind be in you. The thought literally is, “Have the same opinion of yourself as was also in Christ Jesus.” The word translated as reputation (kenow kenoo) literally means to ‘make empty,’ or to ‘make void.’ Though He was in all points God, He willingly emptied Himself of the regalia of that pinnacle. He temporarily and voluntarily laid aside some of the attributes of Deity to become a man. He willingly left the courts of heaven to be born a man in the poverty of a manger. The Great Creator utterly humbled Himself. He who was God took upon Himself a human body. “The word was made flesh and dwelt among us.” He thus became a man; the God man.
In so doing, verse 7, He took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men. He who was King of kings and Lord or lords, the Almighty, willingly humbled Himself and took upon him the form of a servant. That contrast folks is inconceivable. The word translated as servant is (doulov) doulos. Of the several Greek words used for servants, this was the lowest. It had the sense of a bond-slave. Jesus went from the highest rank to the lowest but did so willingly. He became the likeness of man. He, the great Jehovah, humbled Himself to become a human infant, helpless and dependent. He became the God man who would in His own body bare our sins on the cross, thus providing eternal salvation and victory over sin, death, and the devil.
Thus, verse 8, He was found in fashion as a man. The word translated as fashion (schma schema) has the sense of ‘essence.’ Jesus thus was found in the essence of humanity. He became one-hundred percent man. He who was the mighty God at the same time became a man, the God man (the hypostatic union.) Therefore, he humbled himself. The word translated as humbled (tapeinow tapeinoo) has the sense to ‘make low’ or to ‘lower oneself.’
He thus became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. The final step of His humiliation was death. A man can go no lower than that. Moreover, the death He suffered was the most cruel, humiliating death ever designed in being crucified. Jesus therefore willingly went from the highest pinnacle of the universe, the throne of God, to the lowest estate, death by crucifixion.
So yes folks, mark it down, God will never use a person that is high minded with a haughty spirit! We walk worthy when we walk in humility!
Proverbs 13:10 Only by pride cometh contention: but with the well advised is wisdom.
Proverbs 16:18 Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.
Isaiah 57:15 For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones.
James 4:6 But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble.
James 4:10 Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up.
I Peter 5:5-6 Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble. Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time:
We walk worthy when we walk in humility and we walk worthy when we walk;
2. With Meekness
Meekness here in this verse means not only mildness of nature, but being even-natured. It suggests having a discipline of emotions or a disciplined temperament.
Webster’s 1828 Dictionary defines meekness as Softness of temper; mildness; gentleness; forbearance under injuries and provocations.
Easton’s Bible Dictionary defines meekness as a calm temper of mind, not easily provoked.
As Christians, we are to be a gentle people, a people not looking to provoke others for the sake of provoking others, a people ourselves not easily provoked. Not easily offended. Opposed to angry resentments and bitterness in our hearts towards others.
James 3:13 Who is a wise man and endued with knowledge among you? let him shew out of a good conversation his works with meekness of wisdom.
Matthew 11:29-30 Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.
We walk worthy when we walk in humility, we walk worthy when we walk with meekness, and we walk worthy when we walk;
3. With Longsuffering
As Christians, it is important to be longsuffering. Once again we see this word defined as; long endurance; patience of offense. We’re going to face a lot in this old world but we must endure all for the sake of Christ and His cause. In context this verse has that twofold meaning; first, steadfastness and perseverance and second, forbearance and slowness to avenge wrong.
It goes back to the idea of being meek. In our human nature, when someone does something wrong against us, we want to get them back and get revenge on them but if we follow this verse, it tells us no, endure, be longsuffering. Easier said than done, I know, but a must nevertheless.
We walk worthy when we walk in humility, we walk worthy when we walk with meekness, we walk worthy when we walk with longsuffering, and we walk worthy when we are;
4. Forbearing One Another In Love
In other words, it is putting up with one another in a spirit of love. Forbearing one another; supporting one another, bearing the burdens of others, so as not to cease from loving them, to do them good. In love; not out of any carnal affection, or for our own advantage, but out of love.
And as Christians, I think this is sometimes the one where we fail the most. We know what’s going on with one another on Sundays and on Wednesdays but folks that should not be the extent of our interaction with one another!
As a family of believers, we need to know one another in a way that we can help one another, not just with physical needs but Spiritually as well! Get to know those in your church, their needs, their likes, their dislikes, their hurts, their burdens. Be there for one another. Support one another. Encourage one another. Pray for one another. Guide and lead one another in the ways you should be going.
Don’t simply be an in the door, out the door, clock watching type of a Christian and church attender. A handshake and a “how ya doing?” on Sunday morning should not be the extent of your interaction with those in your church family. Call, write, visit, and do whatever it is you have to do to forbear one another in love!
We walk worthy when we walk in humility, we walk worthy when we walk with meekness, we walk worthy when we walk with longsuffering, we walk worthy when we are forbearing one another with love, and fifthly and finally here this evening, we walk worthy when we;
5. Endeavor To Keep The Unity Of The Spirit In The Bond Of Peace
The final way in which we walk worthy of our Salvation is seeking to keep unity amongst God’s people and within the church. Endeavoring here in our text has the same meaning as “diligent” or “diligence.” Hence, the thought is of being diligent to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. The thought simply is to be careful to maintain unity and peace amongst God’s people and in the church. And in verses 4-6, Paul gives us the seven unities that must be kept, that must be agreed upon in order to keep unity and peace amongst God’s people and in the church.
The reason being and again we saw this a few months ago when we studied I Corinthians chapter 1, there are many different ideas in this world when it comes to God and what He wants for us to believe, do, etc. And if we don’t have sameness in what we believe and in what we do, there won’t be peace, there won’t be unity, but rather there would be chaos and disunity. And that’s why Paul makes it clear as possible for us in these verses that in order to walk worthy, we must have unity.
We see in these verses that there is one body, undoubtedly referring to the body of Christ; the church. There is one Spirit; the Holy Spirit. There is one hope that we’ve been called to; the hope of glory which is Heaven above. There is one Lord. There is one faith in Christ. There is only one baptism. Finally, there is one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all. Notice the four prepositions which Paul used to describe God’s relationship to us. He is Father of all, who is above all, through all, and in all. The greater point is that God’s working is unified and never disunified. That example is for our benefit so that we can keep the unity of peace in the church.
Walking worthy of our salvation involves humility, meekness, endurance, forbearing, loving one another, and having peace amongst God’s people. May it never be able to be said of you or of I as a Christian that we’re not walking worthy of the Salvation Christ has provided us! When we go to witness to that unsaved person, may they be able to say that they do indeed see a difference. When it comes to a wounded sheep that has been hurt by a fellow Christian or a church, may we still be a shining example of what a true Christian should be, by loving them, helping them, guiding them and walking worthy our Salvation! Christian, walk worthy!