Biographical Sketch of Dr. Stuart E. Lease / Bible Messages by Dr. Stuart E. Lease
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The Wisemans Walk
Our FATHER We do acknowledge our love to Thee, not because of anything that you can do for us, but basically because of what You have already done for us in and through the Lord Jesus Christ. We pray that our love for Thee shall be demonstrated through a life of consistency and a life of obedience to Thy Word. Bless then, the ministry of Thy Word in our midst this hour. We ask in Jesus Name. Amen.
Turn with me again to Ephesians, chapter 5. We are considering together in these four opportunities of ministry, THE WALK OF THE BELIEVER. In Ephesians 4:1, we talked about The Worthy Walk. In our last service, from Ephesians 4:17, we talked about The Worldlings Walk. In the first part of chapter 5:2, you have The Worthwhile Walk. In verse 8 of chapter 5, you have The Witnesss Walk, and then beginning at verse 15, you have The Wisemans Walk. Now I have deliberately reversed to this morning the last, rather than dealing with the third and fourth, which I plan to do Lord willing, this evening. In a sense in this chapter, the last shall be first in a Biblical fashion. One of my friends was eating out this week, and they were taking his order last and he got served last, and he said to the waitress, You arent Biblical. The last should have been first. Well, were going to do that now. Im doing that for a number of reasons, not the least of which is that I do want to address some remarks to fathers, and Im not so sure how many fathers will be here tonight, but at least we have you this morning. So, I deliberately want to speak concerning The Wisemans Walk. Now the portion of scripture that I read this morning from Ephesians 5, verses 15 through Ephesians 6:9 is in the structure of the original, a paragraph. In other words, it begins at verse 15 of chapter 5, and the paragraph does not break until you come to verse 9 of chapter 6. [The chapter division is not in the original or anything like that.] Now this says something to me. In other words, all that is embraced in this portion is meant to be held together. Now I wont have time to go into every detail of each of these verses, but I do want you to see immediately that all of these things do belong together; and Im convinced that what we have in this total portion that I read for our scripture, embraces what we might call, The Wisemans Walk. It begins with what I think is the Manner of that walk, in verses 15-18; the Marks of that walk, in verses 19-21; and then the Manifestation of that walk, which begins in the home and then moves down to the children and then moves out to your place of employment and in those areas is the Manifestation of The Wisemans Walk.
Now notice first the Manner of this walk, See then that ye walk circumspectly [That word circumspectly is an interesting one. Its from the Latin that means, to walk while youre looking around. The Greek word there means to walk carefully. See then that ye walk [carefully], not as fools, but as wise. Gilbert Hyatt in his book, The Art of Teaching indicates that a father teaches his child just as carefully when he stays away from home every night and visits the bar, as he does when he stands over him to teach him with the strap. What is he saying by that? Hes saying that the child will watch the walk of the father. Indeed, someone somewhere is always watching the way you walk. I dont just mean physically. I mean your spiritual walk, your dedication to the Lord. I indicated last week, and Id like to say it at the outset again today, that you cannot walk the Christian life without having Christian life. You can walk as a dead person, spiritually dead, as Ephesians 2 indicates; but if youre going to walk the Christian life, you must have the life of Christ within you which comes by personal faith in what He has done for you on the Cross of Calvary. Then having received the life of Christ, having received the ability to walk, spiritually; we have this admonition to walk as wisemen; for it says, ....walk circumspectly [or carefully], not as fools, but as wise. The word wise in the Greek is the word, SOPHOS. It means to have the ability to use knowledge. Now knowledge is essential, but more than that is to use it carefully and accurately. The Manner of our walk will be shown as to how wise, in one way....how we use our time. Notice verse 16, Redeeming the time [or buying up each opportunity], because the days are evil. God gives to each of us a certain allotment of time. Someone has said that everybody receives the same amount of time, but thats not technically true. You receive the same amount each day, but some of you may only live to be thirty-some [some in your forties, some fifties, some sixties, seventies, eighties, ninety; but whatever time limitation God gives you, He knows what it is. Be careful to use wisely the time that He gives you, ....because the days are evil [and may I say that theyre becoming, I believe, increasingly evil. We need to be careful in the use of our time].
I want to say a word to fathers this morning, because it is Fathers Day. There are a lot of people that think that the way to really walk spiritually, is to walk alone; and they say that the Christian walk is a lonely walk and you have to walk it all alone. I think I know what theyre driving at, but Im not sure that I agree with them. You say, Why? Theres one man in the Old Testament that stands out because of his walk with God. All of you who know your Bible ought immediately to be able to tell me who that was. Who was it?....Enoch! Enoch walked with God. Have you ever noticed something about Enoch, back in Genesis 5? We usually quote the first part of the verse, and dont say too much about it. Genesis 5:22, And Enoch walked with God. .....Enoch walked with God! We like those words, and its good. But notice, it says something more than that. It says, He walked with God after he begat Methuselah three hundred years, and begat sons and daughters. Do you know what Ive done in my Bible? Ive underlined Enoch walked with God, and then I drew a line down to the word and begat sons and daughters. One thing that I discovered in having children, is that while they are a delight, they are also disruptive. Havent you discovered that? You cant do the things you did before they came along.
My wife and I were married over seven years before our first one came along, and there were lots of things we could do together, and she was able to go with me and be with me; and then Tim came along, and all that was disrupted. I found that my time schedule was somewhat disrupted by having a child in the home. It so happened that he had colic, and he would cry until two in the morning; and it seemed that the only one who could calm him down was his father. So, his mother went to bed, and Dad walked him! And I tell you, I had classes at five of eight in the morning. Im still not sure what I told them in those classes.
But I tell you, I gained a lot of respect for Enoch, who walked with God,....and begat sons and daughters. This puts the lie to all of the emphasis on aestheticism, that says the way to really be a wonderful Christian, is to go off somewhere away from everybody else and cultivate the spiritual experience. The one man probably above all others in the Old Testament who walked with God was Enoch, .....and [he] begat sons and daughters!
You know, it wasnt until I was sitting here this morning that I thought about Enochs son, Methuselah, in a respect that I had never thought of him before. You know, over here in Ephesians 6:2 and 3, where it says, to Honor thy father and mother; which is the first commandment with promise; That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth. Whos the man that lived the longest on the earth?....the son of Enoch, Methuselah! Methuselah, I cant help but believe, must have honored his father. Maybe thats why he lived so long. I never quite thought of that before, but you might think about that too, because thats what it indicates here. And I believe that probably one of the wisest men in the Old Testament was Enoch.....He walked with God!
Now I like what the book of Hebrews says about him. In Hebrews 11:5 and 6, By faith Enoch was translated [taken out of this life into the very presence of God] that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him.... [By the way, Herbert W. Armstrong in his cult emphasizes that Enoch didnt see death, but during his life, God moved him from one place to another so he wouldnt get killed. Isnt that ridiculous? Thats among some of the other heresy that he teaches. I hope that none of you are fascinated with that which he is teaching.] Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him [and thats into His very presence]: for before his translation he had this testimony, [Notice this!] that he pleased God. My, what a testimony to have!.....that he pleased God. But without faith it is impossible to please Him; for he that cometh to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him. May I emphasize immediately that THE WALK OF THE BELIEVER is, initially and continuously, a walk of faith! .....of confidence in God! In spite of any and all circumstances, no matter how many children you have.... [Of course its not fashionable to have very many today, and my parents didnt know anything about that when they had the thirteen of us]; but Im thankful that I had a Mom and Dad that walked with God and we knew it. Oh, they didnt come around us and tell us that they were walking with God, today. You could tell it in the consistency of their lives and that the Lord was first with them! Thats a Wisemans Walk. .....walking [carefully], not as fools, but as wise, Redeeming the time, because the days are evil. I may have shared this before, but mark it down as something to remember. Your view of the hereafter will be shown in what you go after, here. Got that? Your view of the hereafter will be shown in what you go after, here! And, if you just going after the things of this world and of this life, and not after the things of God, youre going to leave that impression upon your children, Mom and Dad.
My parents never traveled much. They were of the old school....we didnt even have an automobile all the days of my life, until my brother became seventeen [and then it was during World War II and you couldnt get very good cars....so we had thirteen in the course of a year. We just kept wearing one out after another.] But they never took any trips, much to speak of; but I tell you, there was one trip that they looked forward to. Do you know what it was?.....going to Glory! My dad had a stroke when he was almost 74 years old. I was out in Chicago at the time. I got called back, and I went to his bedside and I said, Dad, it looks like youre laid low. He said, Stuart, I tried to get going, but I couldnt get going. I said, Where were you going? He said, I was going to Glory! You know, I tell you, when youre raised in a home where your parents are more interested in Heaven than on earth, but they take care of you on earth....you know where their heart is. The tragedy of our day is that most of our parents are so earthly minded, theyre no Heavenly good. Now you say, Well, you can be so Heavenly minded that you are no earthly good. Not if you have your sight set on the right One in Heaven, namely the Lord Jesus Christ .....Whom they loved and sought to serve in their own simple way.
Walk wisely, ....Redeeming the time. Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is. And [I believe that the will of the Lord is set forth in verse 18] be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit. You see, an alcoholic beverage, such as wine, is a substance from the outside that comes into your body and takes control. Now this is what the Holy Spirit is and does. He is a Person Who comes in and takes control, as we allow Him to control our bodies. Now when you are drunk with wine, you do things in excess. You do things that afterwards youre ashamed of. But when you are filled or controlled with the Spirit of God, you do things that afterwards youre glad youve done. You do the right things, rather than the wrong things. May I say, youll do the wise things. Youll do what is correct, rather than what is wrong.
Being controlled by the Spirit is a sort of a controversial subject today. There are people that say, The sign and evidence of being filled with the Spirit and controlled by the Spirit is that you speak in tongues or you exercise this gift or that gift or another gift. Well friends, there are three Marks of The Wisemans Walk being filled with the Spirit set forth in that which immediately follows verse 18. Please notice that even in your text, verse 18 begins a sentence that does not conclude until you get to the end of verse 21. Do you see that? Thats all one sentence, and it indicates that these three things that follow ought to be the very natural evidences of the control of the Spirit of God. First, there will be, Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord [There will be a joyful attitude in life. Im thankful that I was raised in a home where both my mother and dad loved to sing, not only sang in church but they sang at home. They sang as they went about their work; and to me this was evidence that God had done something in their life and was doing something. Now maybe you cant sing very well. But we can sing and make a joyful noise, and Jesus loves to hear us make a joyful noise unto Him. [So], Speaking to yourselves [Maybe others wont appreciate it too much] in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord; [My mothers grandfather had been turned away from the things of the Lord when he was a young man. My mother and dad moved into his home to take care of him in the declining years of his life. He had not been interested in spiritual things all of his life, but he married a woman who was a Christian and loved the Lord and had gone home to be with the Lord. My mother, while she worked around the house as she always did, sang; and among the hymns that she sang was O Bear Me Away to My Home, Sweet Home; Come angels, come and then bear me away. And this was a song that his wife had sung, and it brought conviction to his heart; and two weeks before he died, he called for the leaders of the church [because he was a mans man and he wouldnt have a woman lead him to Christ; and he called for the men of the church] and they led him to Jesus Christ. He died two weeks later. He had one word on his lips when he died. The word was fellowship....... fellowship. But Mom was a witness, not only to herself, but to others round about, by singing in the home.
Secondly, a second Mark of the control of the Spirit of God is a thankful attitude, Giving thanks always for all things [Over in I Thessalonians chapter 5 and verse 18 it says, In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. Someone had heard about that verse, and she said, I guess I can do that. I can give thanks in everything, but not for everything. I can give thanks in everything, because I will get out of it eventually. Well, the pastor with whom she shared that said, Im sorry. Youll not only have to give thanks in everything, but you have to give thanks for everything. She said, Where does the Bible say that? He said, Ephesians 5:20, Giving thanks always for all things!] unto God and the Father in the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ; [You say that there are some things that come into my life I dont see how I can give thanks for them.] Well, if youre controlled by the Spirit of God, no matter what comes into your life, no matter how dark or difficult, you can give thanks for all things, because of Romans 8:28 and 29 because, ....all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose [and His purpose is that we might] .....be conformed to the image of His Son...
A couple of years ago, I was called to minister in the place of a young man who had just lost his leg in an accident, in a motorcycle accident. His name is Bill Shade [He directs a youth work in York, Pennsylvania] and I ministered in his stead on the Lords Day in York; and I was constrained to speak from Romans 8:28 and point out how I believe that even in spite of this tragic circumstance, God would use this to bring greater glory to Himself than any other thing that had happened in Bills life. You know, its amazing [I dont have time to tell you this morning all the things that God has done through that young man....primarily because of that accident.] He later wrote a tract entitled, One Foot in Heaven, and has circulated literally thousands of these, and people have gotten saved through reading this tract. They had a Day for Christ in York and Bill was the head of it, of which they had a parade, and they stopped right in the middle of the Square and preached the gospel, and then went out to a large stadium where they had a huge rally there. Just a couple weeks ago by the York Bar Association, the attorneys of York selected Bill as Man of the Year [last year] for his work among youth. Romans 8:28....because he kept going on, in spite of the fact that what had happened. God will allow difficulties to come, but you can give thanks even for them. ....unto God the Father in the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Now thirdly, the third Mark of The Wisemans Walk is submitting. Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God. You know, in this day of the emphasis upon each one doing his own thing, this runs counter to todays culture, because our young people are instructed, Do as you see fit, and dont let anybody else tell you what to do. We even have problems with young people who go to the mission field today because they want to tell the mission executives how to run the mission and all the rest of this. Friends, a Mark of the Spirit-controlled life is that youre willing to submit to those in authority over you! And, weve lost much of this today, probably because we dont have too many Spirit-controlled believers to emphasize this which needs to be emphasized. Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.
And then, the Manifestation of this comes right into the home where it indicates that wives are to do this very thing in regard to their own husbands. Now I know that this isnt a popular truth anymore, with the womens liberation movement in the forefront that it is; and Im not saying that women do not have a place in employment and this sort of thing where there ought to be a greater degree of equality than there has been. But what we have here is the domestic situation in the home; and from the very beginning God ordained that the man should be the head of the home. All the way back in the book of Genesis 3. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the Head of the Church: and He is the Saviour of the body. May I emphasize men and fathers, we have as it were the greater responsibility, for we stand as Christ in relation to the Church; and we are to take care of our wives as Christ takes care of the Church. I dont know if I spoke on this passage before here, but women always like when I say this and men dont like it Ive come up with a practice that other women envy. When my wife asks me for five dollars, I always give her ten; and if she asks for ten, I give her twenty. You say, Where do you get it? Well, some of it comes from my wifes inheritance. But, thats OK. She lets me handle all that, but one reason that I do that [that is, I try to do exceeding abundantly] is because [and I say it sincerely] I found that the Lord has dealt that way with me....that He has done exceeding abundantly for me! And, if Im to be in His place in the home, Id like to do exceeding abundantly above what my wife could ask or think. [Now I will say that when she needs ten, shell ask for five; but when she forgets, then I give her double and shes very much surprised; but thats OK.] Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the Church, and gave Himself for it. How much did He give for the Church? He gave all. He gave all for the Church! I think men, if we would give our all for our wives and be to them what we ought to be, wed have wives that delight to submit. Of course, you all know that old jingle: My wife submits and I obey, She always lets me have her way. Well, were not talking about that kind of submission, and I do believe that we are heirs together of the grace of life; and before the Lord, man is no greater than the woman, that is, if we stand before Calvary, as we stand before the Throne of Grace. But in the home, He has placed the man in charge, and I believe that the man should assume that responsibility; and I believe that husbands and wives should not criticize each other before their children, anymore than I think that as members of the Church of Jesus Christ, we should criticize each other before the world. I think that we should exalt each other, and I believe that God will honor that in the home relationship.
I want to get into chapter six, Children, obey your parents... Husbands and wives should have a right relationship to each other. The husband and wife, loving each other and seeking to do for each other what they can, because this is an example on earth, of the relationship of Christ to His Church. Now, children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right. Honour thy father and mother; which is the first commandment with promise; That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth. I cant help but believe folks, that the Word of God is true! I believe that Methuselah honored his father, and he lived long on the earth. I say it without apology, that I always sought to honor my father and mother while they lived, and I honor their memory now. I tried to do for them as much as I possibly could. I ended up being the last, the youngest one of the family. I ended up having to take care of the affairs of my mother, seeing that she was financially provided for and all the rest of this. And, I have no regrets for any of this. In fact, friends, and I dont say this boastingly, of all the children in our family from material, physical viewpoint, there is none well-off than I am today! Now I think that this is just one factor, but I tried all my life to honor my father and mother; and God has honored me! Im not boasting about that, but I believe that hell do the same thing for children today and in future days....as children honor their fathers and their mothers.
Now, ....fathers, provoke not your children to wrath [and here is a word to fathers]: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. You see, men, it is technically not your wifes primary responsibility to see that your children are properly raised. Its your responsibility. According to this, it says, ye fathers! Not only negatively, dont provoke them to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, which is a positive thrust of your life for Christ; and I warn fathers, that if your children are not what they ought to be, it is not your wifes fault. It is your fault, first of all. Turn back to Psalm 127. I want to just present something very quickly from that. For mothers and fathers, in regard to their children, verses 3 and 4, Lo, children are an heritage of the Lord: and the fruit of the womb is his reward. As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are the children of the youth. See those first two words in verse 4, ....as arrows! I got to meditating on that one time, and the Lord seemed to show me something that I hadnt seen before. You see, in the day when they used arrows, back then, you couldnt go down to the sports store and buy arrows. You had to make them yourself. Now children are as arrows. When you make an arrow, what do you do with it? Well, number one, I tell you, you straighten it out. You straighten it out. Thats number one. Second, you sharpen it up. Third, you balance it. Fourth, you aim it properly. And fifth, you let it go. Now I wish I had time to develop all of those; but I just present them to fathers this morning. You got them? You straighten them out, you sharpen them up, you balance them, you aim them properly, and you let them go.....as arrows! Im afraid that there arent too many fathers that are doing that to the extent that they should. If they were, there would be more of their children hitting ....the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus! Now I do know that after you let an arrow go, there is sometimes forces that hit it afterwards; and I dont say that youre responsible for that, but I do believe that youre responsible while youre here.
Now the latter part deals with employment, and you can read that for yourself; but even in that, The Wisemans Walk will be demonstrated by the way you work, as well as by the way you function at home.
I hope that yours is a Wisemans Walk. When I use man in the generic sense, it includes men and women; and that you walk consistently; and also joyfully, thankfully, and submittingly....for these are Marks of The Wisemans Walk!
Dr. Stuart E. Lease
Message shared at Immanuel Baptist Church