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FOLLOWING CHRIST: Walk the Line

Following Christ: Walk the Line

According to legend her disguises didn’t work. The Queen of France was young, energetic, and immature, and she longed to be with people her own age. Resenting the limitations of royal life, she attended dances, ball, and parties in disguise. But biographer Carolly Erickson said this about Marie Antoinette: “Her swift purposeful gait was her trademark. It was said that she could never successfully disguise her identity at masked balls, for no matter how she dressed, she still walked like an Empress.” 

Our walk always gives us away. 

Your walk matters! How you live your life and the choices you make matter!
Having dusty shoes or dirty feet, suggests that you are doing something with your life. It suggests that you are engaged in the life God intended for you to live. It means that you have found your purpose in life and are living with God’s will as the focus of your life. It means that you are walking as God intended for you to walk.
It is a 24/7 walk. It is morning noon and night. We have a manual – the Bible – that gives our marching orders. The Bible has 225 verses about walking, and the word walk occurs 406 times. 

Enoch walked with God. Genesis 5:22

God told Abraham, “Walk before me and be blameless.” Genesis 17:1
“You shall keep my ordinances to walk in them.” Leviticus 18:4
“No good thing will the Lord withhold from those who walk uprightly” Psalm 84:11

Paul said we are to walk by faith, in love and as children of light. 

The Bible says that we are to walk: 

In Wisdom

“My child if sinners entice you, turn your back on them.” Proverbs 1:10 NLT
“My child, don’t go along with them! Stay far away from their paths.” Proverbs 1:15 NLT
"Don’t do as the wicked do, and don’t follow the path of evildoers.” Proverbs 4:14 NLT
“Walk with the wise and become wise; associate with fools and get in trouble.”
Proverbs 13:20 NLT

Walking in wisdom means you listen to God and live your life according to His will and not the will of your friends. You develop a backbone when it comes to your life and you don’t let anything or anybody turn you away from God. To put it bluntly, walking in wisdom means you don’t succumb to peer pressure.

You question going to an inappropriate movie, you resist the temptation to gossip about someone, you don’t skip church for just any reason that comes up, you are faithful.

The apostle Paul wrote, “Dear brothers and sisters, pattern your lives after mine, and learn from those who follow our example. 18 For I have told you often before, and I say it again with tears in my eyes, that there are many whose conduct shows they are really enemies of the cross of Christ. 19 They are headed for destruction. Their god is their appetite, they brag about shameful things, and they think only about this life here on earth. 20 But we are citizens of heaven, where the Lord Jesus Christ lives. And we are eagerly waiting for him to return as our Savior. 21 He will take our weak mortal bodies and change them into glorious bodies like his own, using the same power with which he will bring everything under his control.” Philippians 3:17-21 NLT

Think of the three people that you consider friends who could possibly encourage you in your faith and start spending time and investing in those friendships. Also think of the top three people who drag you down in your faith and begin weaning yourself away from those relationships.   Walk in wisdom. 

In the Fear of the Lord

“The church then had peace throughout Judea, Galilee, and Samaria, and it became stronger as the believers lived in the fear of the Lord. And with the encouragement of the Holy Spirit, it also grew in numbers.” Acts 13:30 NLT
 
In an effort to be appealing to those outside the faith, many churches and Christians in general,  have left this concept out of their teaching and belief systems. Do you realize that this phrase appears over 300 times in the Bible?
A.W. Tozer: “In olden days men of faith were said to walk in the fear of God. . .However intimate their communion with God, however bold their prayers, at the base of their religious life was the conception of God as awesome and dreadful.”
This is not unhealthy. There are some people here today that would be living their lives differently if they had healthy fear of God. Cultivate a sense of God. Go sit in the silence of a cathedral somewhere. Take some time to contemplate the greatness of God and the nature that He created. Sit in your yard some evening and look at the vastness of the night sky and think about God.   Walk in the fear and reverence of the Lord. 

In the Newness of Life

“Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.”
 Romans 6:4 KJV

Listen very carefully to this one. If your life and lifestyle hasn’t changed you need to reconsider your relationship with God. Coming to church is not enough. Enjoying the music or a sermon or feeling something stirring in you when you come through the doors on a Sunday isn’t enough.

When you are an authentic Christfollower you will be changed. You will walk in the newness of life. Old things will pass away from your life and you will walk with new priorities.  You will walk in the newness of life. Today in our church six adult and two kids are going to be baptized. Last Sunday several new Christfollowers were baptized from our Real Life location. They are declaring their intention to walk in the newness of life. 

In Obedience

“4 I rejoiced greatly that I have found some of your children walking in truth, as we received commandment from the Father.” 2 John 4 NKJV 

6 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.” 2 John 6 NKJV

Since the days of the Old Testament and the beginning of time, God’s standard has always been the same. Obedience matters. It always has and it always will. There is coming a day when all of us on this planet will stand before God. Time will be up. What we have done will be set and recorded as the record of our lives. 

What you are doing right now in your private life is in plain view to God. There are some folks in here today that have drifted so far away from obedience in their walk with God that this hardly phases them. You just really don’t care anymore. You are bored with your faith. You have been living hypocritically so long that you really don’t even feel conviction anymore. 

In Luke we read what Jesus told his disciples: “Jesus turned first to his disciples and warned them, “Beware of the yeast of the Pharisees—their hypocrisy. 2 The time is coming when everything that is covered up will be revealed, and all that is secret will be made known to all. 3 Whatever you have said in the dark will be heard in the light, and what you have whispered behind closed doors will be shouted from the housetops for all to hear!” Luke 12:1-3 NLT

In the last part of the book of Ephesians we read this focus: Walk worthy of your calling. Do not walk as the world does. Walk in love. Walk as children of light and don’t quit. We are told to walk with the wise, in the fear of the Lord, in newness of life, and in obedience to God all the time. 

A recent report from Duke University touted the benefits of walking a half hour every day. “As little as thirty minutes of walking a daily is enough to prevent weight gain from most sedentary people,” according to the report. The walk of a Christfollower, is a continuous walk. Thirty minutes a day or an hour a week at church won’t get the job done. We are to walk in Jesus presence 24/7 and 365 days a year.  

While most of us know where are living today in our relationship with God, I want to give you four practical ways to evaluate your walk on a consistent basis.
DNA matters.  Using people’s genetic “cell-print” has been the biggest breakthrough in the history of forensic science. Every human being leaves permanent physical evidence behind them wherever they go. DNA is used to prove the guilt or innocence of those accused of a crime. It is indisputable, permanent and doesn’t change over time. It is physical evidence. 

Despite the use of DNA, jury’s still want eyewitness testimonies. We value our own memories and find it hard to believe that a believable eyewitness would be wrong. But memories are ever changing and because they can be influenced by a lot of things. Your memory can be changed by feelings, opinions, experiences, moods and prejudices. 

I said all of that to remind you that an honest evaluation of yourself and your walk needs to be based on physical evidence not just your personal impression of yourself. You may be thinking a lot higher of yourself than you ought to think.
If you were on a crime scene today you would be looking for footprints, fingerprints, hair and fibers, tool marks and other impressions, chemical traces, blood and body tissue or fluids. How do we evaluate the evidence about us? 

Four ways to evaluate your walk: 

“In the same way, the good deeds of some people are obvious. And the good deeds done in secret will someday come to light.” 1 Timothy 5:25 NLT

Here are the questions you and I need to continually evaluate. 

Who are you? 

When people first meet you what do they think? What impression do you really make on people? Your jokes, your conversation, your flirtations, your off color humor, your double talk that can be taken different ways, all of these things matter.
Do you leave people with a desire to be more like Christ? Through the centuries many people have been won to Christ because they came in contact with a person about whom they said, “There is something different about that person, and I want in my own life whatever he or she has.” 

What do you do? 

One of the most compelling teachings of our Lord is that we are known by the fruits of our lives. Good trees bear good fruit, and bad trees bear bad fruit.

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“16 So I say, let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves. 17 The sinful nature wants to do evil, which is just the opposite of what the Spirit wants. And the Spirit gives us desires that are the opposite of what the sinful nature desires. . . .

 19 When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, the results are very clear: sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures, 20 idolatry, sorcery, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, division, 21 envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other sins like these. Let me tell you again, as I have before, that anyone living that sort of life will not inherit the Kingdom of God.
 22 But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things! 

 24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to his cross and crucified them there. 25 Since we are living by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives. 26 Let us not become conceited, or provoke one another, or be jealous of one another.” Gal. 5:16-26 NLT

What evidence can you put out regarding your life and what you do and who you are? 

Where do you go? 

The sons of Korah, who made up the temple choir in Israel, are credited with these words, “For a day in Your courts is better than a thousand elsewhere. I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of wickedness.” (Psalm 84:10)

Going to church, participating in a community or small group, attending a bible study or a community outreach all do the same thing in our life. They provide growth opportunities and the opportunity to operate as the body of Christ. 

Our society has made entertainment an idol. It is really hard for me to understand the way a godless entity like Hollywood has made it so easy to compromise our priorities and values. By and large most of today’s Christian community (in America) is living no differently than the world around them. 

When the church gathers, not to be in attendance is to leave suspicious physical evidence about your faith or lack of it. 

Who do you hang out with? 

Darkness and light cannot coexist since darkness by definition is the absence of light.  We are instructed in the Bible to be in the world but not be of the world.
 
14 Don’t team up with those who are unbelievers. How can righteousness be a partner with wickedness? How can light live with darkness? 15 What harmony can there be between Christ and the devil[d]? How can a believer be a partner with an unbeliever? 16 And what union can there be between God’s temple and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. As God said:
   “I will live in them
      and walk among them.
   I will be their God,
      and they will be my people .
 17 Therefore, come out from among unbelievers,
      and separate yourselves from them, says the LORD.
   Don’t touch their filthy things,
      and I will welcome you.
 18 And I will be your Father,
      and you will be my sons and daughters,
      says the LORD Almighty.”
1 Corinthians 6:14-18 NLT

What kind of footprints are you leaving? Your shoes may be dusty but where is the dust coming from? Are you taking Jesus with you on your journey or are you checking Him in and out at the door when you come to church? 

John Geddie, Canadian missionary to the New Hebrides, left a vivid footprint and an example of how one’s walk can influence others. Arriving on the island of Aneityum, he found a wild tribe of cannibals who considered human flesh the most savory of foods. Violence, theft and warfare were common. His journal for February 9, 1849, reads, “In the darkness, degradation, pollution and misery that surrounds me, I look forward in faith to the time when some of these poor islanders will unite in the triumphant song of the ransomed souls.” He lived to see it happen. Geddie died just before Christmas in 1872 and this tablet was afterward installed in his island church: “In memory of John Geddie. . .when he landed in 1848, there were no Christians here, and when he left in 1872, there were no heathen.”
When you walk with dusty shoes from following our Lord the world around you will change instead of it changing you. 

Prayer
Benediction: Psalm 144: “Yes, joyful are those who live like this! Joyful indeed are those whose God is the Lord.”

 

 



2009/08/30