Walk in a Worthy Manner
Walk in a Worthy Manner Sunday, February 24, 2008
"I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace." Ephesians 4:1-3
1. Paul was not afraid to call himself a prisoner for the Lord because those who love Christ follow him. They are bonded with him in the ties of love.
2. When Paul recalls his chains his intent is to encourage his hearers to rise above their own infirmities to moral excellence. It is as if he were saying: “Remember that it is in relation to you that I am in prison. Suppose I had refused to preach. I would have been free of all this.”
3. The Greek word for “worthy” (axios) refers to a balance, as on scales. Thus, believers are to live “in balance” with their calling. How they act should match what they believe. Remembering Christ’s sacrifice should cause believers to live for his glory in every area of their lives.
4. “Worthy” means to have worth or value. But it is more than that. It means to have a worth equal to one’s position. (A worthy opponent is one whose gifts equal one’s own. A workman “worthy of his hire” is one whose service merits the wages he receives.)
5. To walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called means to take the doctrine you have been taught and put it into practice.
6. But this is hard to achieve because (1) Some Christians are primarily intellectual in nature and (2) Some Christians are primarily oriented to experience.
7. Those that are intellectual in nature loves doctrine so much that they stop with doctrine. They read the first three chapters of Ephesians and delight in them; but when it comes to chapter 4 they say, “Oh, the rest is just application. I know all about that.” Then skip ahead to the next doctrinal section and neglects what perhaps they need to understand the most.
8. Then there are those that are oriented to experience. They thrive in the teaching found in the second half of this book. They want to know about spiritual gifts and their own exercise of them. They are excited about Paul’s teaching about the family and other such things. This is “where it’s at” for them; they find the doctrinal section dry and impractical.
9. Both of these positions are unbalanced and dangerous. Doctrine without practice leads to bitter orthodoxy; it gives correctness of thought without the practical vitality of the life of Christ. Practice without doctrine gives intensity of feeling, but it is feeling apt to go off in any (and often a wrong) direction.
10. What we need is both, as Paul’s letters and the whole of Scripture teach us. We can never attach too much importance to doctrine, for it is out of the doctrines of God, man, and salvation that the direction for the living of the Christian life spring. At the same time, we can never attach too much importance to practice, for it is the result of doctrine and proof of its divine nature.
11. In other words our othodoxy must meet our othopraxy. Orthopraxy is a term derived from Greek (orthopraxis) meaning "correct practice" (as orthodoxy means "correct teaching"). Thus we must take our "correct teaching" or orthodoxy and put it to "correct practice" or orthopraxy.