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The Worldling’s Walk

Our FATHER— We thank You for the victory that is ours in Jesus Christ. We thank You that You have made us to be more than conquerors through Him that loved us. We pray tonight that we might enter into and experience more deeply the victory that is possible in Him. Bless then the ministry of Thy Word to each of our hearts, we pray in Jesus’ Name. Amen.
We’re continuing a ministry in Ephesians, chapters 4 and 5 in relation to THE WALK OF THE BELIEVER. We have already looked at the first part of chapter 4 in relation to “The Worthy Walk,” referred to in verse 1, “Walk Worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called.” Now we want to move on to the second expression in regard to THE WALK OF THE BELIEVER— Walk not as other Gentiles walk. This is found in verse 17 of Ephesians 4, and I call this, “The Worldling’s Walk.” The other three references, the other in Ephesians 5:2, Walk in Love, which is “The Worthwhile Walk;” and then in Ephesians 5:8, Walk as children of Light which is “The Witness’s Walk;” and then in Ephesians 5:15, See that you walk circumspectively, not as fools but as wise which is “The Wiseman’s Walk.” Now we’re going to concentrate on the second of the five references to walking, in the book of Ephesians 4:17.
Notice the context of the passage, having spoken to believers in regard to the ministry of edification which should be the end result of a consistent Worthy Walk, that it will edify the person himself....he will be built up, and at the same time he himself will edify others in the body of Christ, building them up. Now the Word of God is not just only a positive book. Some people say, “Well, I don’t like to hear anything negative. We hear so much negative all the time. Can’t you tell me something positive?” Well, it has been wisely said that the teachings of the Word of God are like electricity. You have to have both the negative and the positive or you don’t get any real charge out of it; and I think that there is both the negative and the positive in regard to the teaching of the Word of God; and it’s interesting that having spoken rather positively in the first part of Ephesians 4, he now goes on to, as it were, a negative and contrasting the walk of the believer with “The Worldling’s Walk,” the walk of a person of the world. Notice, “This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk...” Now I do believe that the Christian should be different from the world, not only in appearance [We have people in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania that make their appearance completely different. They don’t even drive automobiles. They have horses and buggies, as you know; and they make themselves completely different in outward appearance. The interesting thing, however, is that if you read the newspapers, you find that they have some of the conflicts and problems that the rest of the world has. In fact, the suicide rate among the Amish is much higher than that of the other people of the population; and there are other problems too.] So, while the outward appearance may be a little bit different and it is, the inner heart problem is just as real with them as it is with anybody else....and what we’re talking about here is an inner change demonstrated by an outward attitude and expression when someone receives Jesus Christ as his Savior, he should become different. His perspective should be different. His whole outlook on life should be different.
I’m sure that I pointed this out to you on other occasions, that coming to Christ is very much like getting married. You get married, you commit yourself one to the other. When you receive Christ as your Savior, you commit yourself to Him, and He commits Himself to you. It’s for better or for worse, richer or poorer, in sickness and in health, so long as you both shall live. And, since He gives you eternal life, and He is Eternal....It’s an eternal relationship of commitment to Christ! But, some people say, “Well, I’m going to get married, to do as I please [and this is the month of marriages, of course the month of June, and people are thinking about this]; and I’ve had students come and say, “You know, President Lease, we’re going to get married so we can do as we please!” Well now friends, love is blind but marriage is an eye-opener. What they find out is that you’re not free to do as you please. You’re free to do as he or she pleases.
I may have shared this with you before that the young lady gets the idea that she is going to change her husband-to-be when she stands at the back of the church just before she is about to come down the isle to marry him. She see the isle, and she sees the altar, and she sees him; and those three words go through her mind and become an obsession with her: Isle, altar, him!....I’ll alter him!
You know friends, that’s what happens when you come to Jesus Christ as your Savior. II Corinthians 5:17, “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature [a new creation]: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become [literally, are becoming] new.” And if things are not new with you and to you as a believer, maybe you’re not a believer! Maybe you’ve never really been committed to Jesus Christ, in an act of belief and faith in Him.... because your walk is going to be different! Now I don’t know, I guess the walk of a married man is a little different from the walk of a single man [especially if he has a ball and chain....but that makes a difference I guess]; but it’s not really that when you become a Christian..., you’re not bound so that you can’t do what you want to do. You’re set free to do what you ought to do, and that makes a world of difference. You see, before you became a Christian, your whole perspective was obscured and blinded by your mind. Paul says, “....walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind. [Vanity has to do with the puffing up of one’s self, self exaltation.] Verse 18, “Having the understanding darkened....” [and the mind of the unbeliever is darkened]. II Corinthians chapter 4 makes this very clear in its teaching in the Word of God. It say, beginning in verse 3, “If our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: In whom the god of this world [and that’s Satan, our adversary] hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, Who is the image of God, should shine unto them. For we preach not ourselves. but Christ Jesus the Lord [or the better reading there is....We preach Christ Jesus as Lord]; and ourselves your servants for Jesus’ sake. For God, Who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.”
You probably heard about the little boy who had a dog that had puppies, and they had just been born; and I don’t know how to couch this story here in the South, but the way it was told to me, was told by a Republican. And so he said that the Senator that saw the little boy with his puppies was a Democrat, and he said to the little boy, “What do you call those puppies?” “Oh, I call them, “Democrats.” “Well...,” the Senator was quite pleased with that, because they were cute little things. A few weeks later as he was walking by and he saw the little boy, and he said, “How are the Democratic puppies?” “Well,” he said, “Sir, I don’t call them “Democrats” anymore.” He said, “Well, why not?” “I call them “Republicans.” He said, “Why do you call them that?” He said, “Their eyes have been opened!” Well, maybe today, you ought to tell it the other way around. May I say this friends? When you come to Christ, your eyes would have been opened! Previously in darkness, the mind blinded so that you could not see or understand spiritual things. But, when Christ comes in, He opens up your spiritual eyes....your eyes of faith, so that you can see. In I Corinthians chapter 2, Paul indicates that the natural man just does not have the inner equipment of himself to understand spiritual things. He says in I Corinthians 2:14, “The natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.” And unless and until you have been born again, by personal faith in what Jesus Christ has done for you on the Cross of Calvary, your eyes are blinded. You cannot see, and your mind is clouded so that you cannot perceive and understand spiritual things, “Having the understanding darkened [Ephesians 4:18], being alienated from the life of God [Not only can you not see the light of God, you do not have the life of God. You’re alienated from the life of God] through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart.” You see, the life of God is bound up in the Son of God; and it is through Him and through Christ alone that we receive life. “In Him was life; and the life was the light of men.”
We indicated in our last message that you cannot walk unless and until you have life. You cannot walk as a Christian the spiritual life unless you have spiritual life within you. You cannot see spiritually without spiritual light, without your eyes being opened. You cannot live and enjoy spiritual things, unless and until the life of God is in you.
Notice that they are inalienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them. [That’s true. There’s a lot of knowledge in the world today. In fact, they say that there’s a lot of knowledge in every college. The reason for that, they say, is that the Freshmen brings so much in, and the Seniors takes so little out.] But there’s a considerable residue of knowledge that has been built up through the use of computers and other means of technology, and there has been, as it were, a knowledge explosion in the world. But tragically, the world for the most part is abysmally ignorant concerning the knowledge of God; and the reason for that is that they have closed their eyes to the Source of Light which is the Word of God. I find today that people are far more interested in the words of man than they are in the Word of God, and yet the words of man are going to pass away; but “....the Word of the Lord endureth for ever.” And this Word is a life-giving Word! You’re born again by “....the Word of God, which lives and abides for ever,” and if you’re ignorant of this Book, you are ignorant of the Life and the Light of God. May I say that even as a believer, you can unfortunately be ignorant of the Life of God and the Light of God, because you do not meditate on the Word of God.
I’m sure that I shared this with those of you who have heard me before, when I went to Bible School my brother and I went together. My dad gave us some very good advice. Dad had never had too much education [to fifth grade, I think, until he went to work on the farm], but he said to us, “When you go to Bible School, get all you can and “can” all you get.” He meant by that to “store it up” so we could give it out. The tragedy of our day is that so few believers are doing any “canning” of the Word of God. They’re not really “storing it up,” and the thing that amazes me is that as I go from church to church [and I’m in 40 to 45 different churches in the course of a year] is to find that Christians in churches that are so ignorant of the Word of God! [I know one man that found real comfort when his son was killed, and someone told him that God wanted another angel in heaven....and this was a born again believer.] Friends, if you don’t know from the Word of God that angels are a separate and distinct class of beings, and that people never become angels....it shows something of the ignorance of people. Of course, there are all sorts of evidences of the ignorance; but this will be demonstrated in your life as well. I believe that many Christians do not witness effectively, because they do not have confidence in their knowledge of the Word of God....that is, they have not studied it sufficiently and memorized it and laid it up in their hearts, so that with freedom they can give it out to others; and in that respect they end up walking very much like the worldling.
[Now it’s interesting to notice in verses 17 and 18 you have the intellect referred to, the mind that is darkened. Here you have the emotions, in verse 19], “Who being past feeling [the worldling] have given themselves over unto lasciviousness [That’s the vilest sort of activity], to work all uncleanness with greediness.” Now how tragic that this is a characteristic of “The Walk of the Worldling.” But, sometimes it is also characteristic of the child of God who walks like a worldling. He wants to have his so-called “good times,” and he wants to have what he wants “....with greediness.”
This week we have had two insurance men who made an appointment with my wife and me to discuss the matter of estate planning and all the rest of this, and they asked me a question....they said, “What do you feel that you want to accomplish with your life?” [Now you’re talking from an estate planning viewpoint.] I said, “Well, number one, we want to give .....We want to give! Number two, we want to live! We want to do both, for the glory of God!” Now I don’t think that they have heard too many talk that way, but that’s the way we feel. Do you know what we found out, friends?....that as we give, we more effectively and more bountifully live! Some others put the others first, in fact....they never get around to giving. All they want is to live; but if you put giving first [giving yourself to the Lord, giving yourself to others, giving of your things and substance], I think that you’ll find that God returns in bountiful measure to you! But, the way of the world is to get all you can and keep all you get without sharing with anybody....but friends, that is a dead end street! The way of enjoyment is the way of giving; and in turn, that returns the more bountiful living!
Paul says to these believers and to us as well, “But ye have not so learned Christ.” Christ is not One Who promotes ignorance and blindness of heart! Christ is not One Who encourages believers to go in for things that will corrupt their minds and their bodies, “If so be that ye have heard Him, and have been taught by Him, as the Truth is in Jesus.” I hear some people say, “Oh, the trouble with that church, is that they’re always emphasizing doctrine.” Well friends, we need to emphasize doctrine. If we’re going to walk in the Truth, we have to know the Truth; but we also have to demonstrate the reality of doctrine in our lives! The whole emphasis, of the second part of Ephesians here, is that decorum will demonstrate practical and true doctrine so that you will do what you believe!
Now this will involve an act of the will. Verse 22, “That ye put off concerning the former conversation [or manner of life] the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts...” You see, the teaching of the New Testament is that we have been “crucified with Christ,” and that we have been “buried with Him [Not too much has been said about that.],” and we’ve been “raised “ to walk in newness of life with Him. The tragedy of so many believers is that they resurrect the old nature and parade that stinking corpse around. Put off that old way of life, “And be renewed in the spirit of your mind!” I find that in the people that work for us, as well as our students, the greatest problem usually are what we call attitudinal problems....the problem of attitudes. And I find that this is very much the problem in the churches....a problem of attitudes; and so many times the old ways of the old nature are brought into the assembly of believers, rather than being buried as they ought to be and as positionally declared that they are; and instead of that, then to “....be renewed in the spirit of your mind; And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.” The new man is the life of Christ, .....the life of Christ lived in and through you!
In the book of Romans, Paul speaks about this similar Truth [in Romans chapter 13 beginning at verse 12] he says, “The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light. Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying. But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not [or make no] provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof.” [Romans 13, verses 12 through 14].....”put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ!” I wonder as you review your day, each day and think back to the way you have lived that day, can you honestly say that someone has seen Christ in you that day? If not, the next morning as you are putting on your clothes, say, “Lord, help me to put on Jesus Christ as a practical reality in my life, so that others as they look upon me will see....Him! Now this will be demonstrated in a very practical way as follows here: In Ephesians 4:25, “Wherefore putting away lying [One way people will see Christ in you is that they will trust what you say], speak every man truth with his neighbour: for we are members one of another. [Then,] Be ye angry, and sin not....[I believe that there is a place for anger. Sometimes we call it “righteous indignation,” a good key to see whether it’s righteous or unrighteous, is to see whether it affects you personally. Usually if it affects you personally, it’s not righteous indignation; but if it affects the matter of principles of righteousness or if it affects the person of Jesus Christ and His work, then I do believe that there is a place for righteous anger; but you have to keep your perspective proper in regard to that. Now even if you get stirred up about somethings and maybe there’s some things that you ought to get stirred up about. In fact, I’m convinced that you can tell an awful lot about a person by the thing that makes them angry. Did you ever notice that? In fact, I’ve advised some young people when they’re courting [Now I don’t encourage them to stir up the other person, but I do tell them this. Watch very carefully what it is that makes your mate unhappy; because that’s the thing that really means a lot to them. Think about that. There’s a lot of truth about that. What is it that makes you angry?
I’ve a message that I preach on Jonah, and I call it THE DISPLEASED PROPHET. Chapter 1, “He’s “Displeased with His Call.” Chapter 2, “He’s Displeased with His Crisis.” Chapter 3, “He’s Displeased with the Corruption of Ninevah.” Chapter 4, “He’s Displeased with the Consequences of His Preaching.” It’s only in Chapter 3, that he’s displeased with the right thing, he’s displeased with the corruption of Ninevah....displeased with sin! And, I think that we should be displeased with sin, folks in the land in which we live, and in our homes, in our churches! “Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath [Clear up matters of difficulty, day by day.]: Neither give place to the devil [to the adversary....and we give place to him by not taking care of things that ought righteously to be taken care of. Then the matter....] Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands [This brings out the point that I emphasized earlier today.....that in your vocation, your work, you should demonstrate the reality of your witness, “....working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth. [Then] Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of [Here we come to that word we emphasized earlier, the use of] edifying [upbuilding], that it may minister grace unto the hearers.”
Then the chapter concludes with an admonition, “And grieve not the Holy Spirit of God....” [We grieve the Spirit of God by doing those things that are displeasing to God and contrary to the Word of God.] Grieve not the Holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.” When you believe on Jesus Christ as your personal Savior, then God, by the Spirit of God, seals you. We talked about “canning” a few moments ago. You’re sort of “canned” in the proper sense when you believe. “You are sealed unto the day of redemption.
[Now as a result of all that], “Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice [or hatred. You see, Norman Vincent Peale wasn’t the first one to stress The Power of Positive Thinking. The Word of God stresses this! It says, “And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.”
Years ago I read this little statement, “If you have been saved by grace, be gracious!” And, if God has forgiven you, which if you believed on Christ, He has....then, you ought to be forgiving in your relationships to others. Now I ask you, are you walking as a “worldling,” tonight? Are these things that are set forth here characteristic in any way of your life? Maybe you need new life. Maybe you’ve never believed on Jesus Christ as your personal Savior. I challenge you to believe on Him, tonight.....whether you’re in this place or reading this message now....to receive Christ as your personal Savior, and He’ll give you new life. He’ll give you new perspective. He’ll give you new Light, so that you can see the Truth of God. And then, having the life of God, let’s demonstrate it in our walk, day by day! God enables us to walk in a manner that is pleasing to Him, as we are obedient to His Word. Walking in the will of God is walking according to the Truth of the Word of God.
Sometimes I go to new places, and I need a map; because I haven’t been there, and I have to follow the way of the map. This is the map for the believer, and as you are conversant with the Truth of the Word of God [this Book, the Bible], you will walk [You will follow through...] in the way that you should; and you will go the way that you ought to go, and you will do what you ought to do; and your life will be well-pleasing to God....and may I say, it will also be well-pleasing to you! Shall we pray?

Our FATHER— We commend to Thee Thy precious Word. We pray that if there is anyone who has heard this message who has never believed on the Lord Jesus Christ, that the Spirit of God will do a work of conviction and convincing of sin and of the need of the Savior in the life; and that individual shall receive Jesus Christ and then receive His life and be able to walk in Him. Bless then, Thy Word, to each heart, we pray in Jesus’ Name. Amen.

Dr. Stuart E. Lease
Message shared at Immanuel Baptist Church
Richmond, Virginia

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