Biographical Sketch of Dr. Stuart E. Lease / Bible Messages by Dr. Stuart E. Lease
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The Worthwhile Walk & The Witnesss Walk
Our FATHER We are grateful that as the years go by, You and Your love become sweeter to us. We thank you that You have called us out of darkness into Your marvelous Light. You have transformed us from death to life. You have put our feet upon a rock. You have established our goings, and You have put a new song in our mouths, even praise unto Thee, our God. We pray Father, if there would be anyone listening this evening who does not know the Lord Jesus Christ as personal Savior, having known that sins are forgiven at Calvary, that that one might turn in faith to the Son of God and find Life through His Name; and then be able to walk in Christian Light. Bless then the ministry of Thy Word in this hour. We pray in Jesus Name. Amen.
Were continuing a consideration from Ephesians chapters 4 and 5 in relation to THE WALK OF THE BELIEVER. We indicated in Ephesians chapter 4, that there is set forth The Worthy Walk in Ephesians 4:1; and then in Ephesians 4:17, The Worldlings Walk first, Walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called; and then, Walk not as other Gentiles walk... Then this morning, we want the last to be first in Chapter 5 and we considered The Wisemans Walk; and weve left for this evening the first two references to THE WALK OF THE BELIEVER in Ephesians 5, namely in verse 2 The Worthwhile Walk, Walk in love; and then, The Witnesss Walk in verse 8, Walk as children of Light. It is in those two that we want to consider this evening as we open the Word of God together, to Ephesians chapter 5.
On verses 1 and 2 for this Worthwhile Walk in love, the pattern is provided, Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children. Now there are some people who say, I dont know what God is like, and I might say that its not quite as simple as it was for the little boy who said that he was drawing a picture of God, and his teacher said, But son, nobody knows what God looks like. He said, They will, when Im finished. Now, it isnt quite that easy. However, may I say that it is possible for you to be such a follower of God [and that word follower means a mimic, an imitator of God] that when others see you, they can get a good idea of what God is like. Now you say, How is this possible? The only way that it is possible is to have Gods Life in you. We emphasized this last week from Ephesians 2 how that the unbeliever is really a walking dead person. He walks as one who is dead. Ephesians 2:1 and 2, And you hath He quickened [or made alive], who were dead in trespasses and sins; Wherein in time past ye walked according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience. So, the natural man, the man who has never met Jesus Christ as personal Savior, is a walking dead person, spiritually speaking. When we receive the Life of God, we then receive the ability to be followers of God. The old-line modernist used to teach that the way to become a Christian or to be a proper Christian is to imitate Christ. May I emphasize emphatically, that imitation, without impartation, is impossible; that is, you cannot imitate Christ or God unless and until a new nature has been imparted to you by the grace of God. And, when you have believed on Jesus Christ, as your personal Savior, then and only then, do you have Divine Life in you and the ability thereby to become followers, imitators of God.
I emphasized last week that people say that my son walks like me. Two reasons for that are: one, he has my life in him; number two, he has a day by day association with me; and both of those things are essential to imitating God having His life, in you and having a day by day association with Him, as you walk with Him. Ephesians 5:2 says, And walk in love.... May I emphasize that this love is first a love that comes from God and is imparted to us ....because He first loved us as John says in I John 4:19, We love Him, because He first loved us. We receive His love; and then in response, we return that love to Him and also shed that love abroad from our hearts to the lives of others. Walk in love! Love means to have a continual desire for oneness. God had a continual desire for oneness with the world and gave His only begotten Son. If were going to walk in love, its going to be the fact that we have Gods love in us, constraining us to love others, to have a concern for them. Walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given Himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling savour. If we are genuinely and truly to walk in love, we must walk ...as...He...walked! In I John 2:6, it indicates that we are to walk ...as He walked. Ive had the privilege of twice being to Israel, and I remember coming back after one of the trips [Someone who had been over to it about the same time said, You may not all be able to walk where He walked, but you all ought to aspire to walk as He walked! And thats a good point, to walk as He walked.]
Now how did He walk? He walked in love, and because of this love, He gave Himself; and I believe that any Christian who truly loves God, ought to give himself to God, in the explicit sense as set forth in Romans 12:1, I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And that present is in the aorist tense. It means something that you do in a point of time, once for all; and I believe that every Christian, at some point in his experience, ought to have given himself to God as a living sacrifice! Even as the Lord Jesus gave Himself, a sacrifice for us.....so we ought to give ourselves back as a sacrifice to God!
Now when we do this, its going to be a different life that we live. Purity will be the key word of the life that is yielded back to God! Verses 3 and 4, Purity in Conduct, in verse 3; Purity in Conversation, in verse 4. But fornication [or immorality], and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints. It is tragically true that the believer still has within him the old nature and has this conflict of the old and the new natures. Its like the two dogs dwelling in the same household, the black dog and the white dog. You feed the black dog and exercise it. That will win. You feed the white dog and exercise that. That one will win in the showdown. Feed the old nature. That one will win. Feed the new nature. That one will win. The one that you feed and exercise is the one that will be the victorious one within you. It is tragically true that the believer because of the fact that he still has the old nature within him, is capable of just as despicable sin as any unbeliever, including these things that are mentioned here. But, it is not to be the characteristic of the believer, and I believe, will not be of one who is genuinely yielded to the Lord! ....fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness [intense desire to have], let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints; Neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting [not only in conduct, but in conversation; these characteristics] which are not convenient: but rather giving of thanks. As we indicated and as you go on in the passage, you see that one of the signs of the Spirit-filled believer is in verse 20, that he will be Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
And then Persons Prohibited, verses 5 and 6, For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. [Now some people say, Suppose somebody was like that? Well, when they are saved, this is changed. You say, Suppose somebody slips into that. Does that mean that they are lost? What this means is that for that individual, it is a way of life; and I personally believe that if something like this becomes a way of life or demonstrates itself as such, I am personally in doubt that that person was ever genuinely, really was saved. Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience. You see? These are the characteristics of the unsaved person and should not be the way of life of a child of God; and if they are, we have every reason to question whether that person was ever genuinely saved in the first place. In fact, even such practices are prohibited as verse 7 indicates, Be not ye therefore partakers with them. You see, John emphasizes in I John 2:15, that as believers we are to Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And [Notice!] the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever. The walk in love, in obedience to God and in shunning the wrong is indeed a Worthwhile Walk, for it has promise not only for the life that now is, but for the life that is to come! You may walk in the ways of the world, but ....the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: [but when you walk in the will of God, youve got something to look forward to!].
I dont know if I shared this with you before, but when Bill Pierce was interviewed on MOODY Presents Broadcast, he was asked, What kind of people write into you? And he said, Well, there are up-and-outers, down-and-outers, rich and poor, lonely and those who have many friends. And he said, There are some people who write to me who have climbed the ladder of success and found that it was leaning against the wrong wall! Theres a lot of truth in that! Some people have climbed the ladder of success and have found that it was leaning against the wrong wall. And I tell you what the wrong wall is. The wrong wall is the ways of the world.
The right wall is the will of God, For he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever! One of my favorite verses is back in Proverbs 4 and verse 18 where it says this, But the path of the just [or the righteous] is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day! I had a pastor-friend that used to say concerning the Christian life, It just gets gooder and gooder. [Now if you were saying it correctly, you would say that its getting better and better, as the choir sang this evening, Its Sweeter as the Years Go By!] Its The Worthwhile Walk of the believer.....walking in love!
Now The Witnesss Walk, beginning in verse 8 of Ephesians 5, For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of Light.... Remember, your eyes have been opened when youve come to know Christ as your personal Savior. Satan who had blinded your eyes, his powers overcome in your life, and youre able now to see spiritual things. Not only are you able to see spiritual things [that is, that the light has been turned on and youre able to see]. May I add, you also then are able to radiate the Light of God; and to that extent, you will be a witness for Christ; and The Witnesss Walk is the walk of Light! For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth. Now we emphasized that a person is not saved by his own efforts, nor is he kept saved by his own efforts. It is the work of the Lord Jesus Christ alone that saves us, for His was a perfect work on the Cross of Calvary. However, there are some who seem to emphasize therefore that after youre saved [since you cannot save yourself by your own efforts, since you cannot keep yourself by your own efforts therefore] it doesnt matter what you do after youre saved. It does matter what you do, because if you belong to God and God is Light, then you ought to reflect and radiate the Light of God in your life!
Now John is rather forthright in talking about this matter of Light, in I John 1:5-7, This then is the message which we have heard of Him, and declare unto you, that God is Light, and in Him is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth: But if we walk in the Light, as He is in the Light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanseth us from all sin. You see, the walk in the Light is a cleansed walk....a walk that comes by keeping continually confessed up to date, so that you can be clean and not foggy, as a Christian shedding forth the Light of God. The fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth. Thats doing the right things, the good things, the true things, Proving [or demonstrating] what is acceptable unto the Lord. The Explanation in verse 9, the Exhibition in verse 10, the Exclusion in verse 11, And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them. Were living in a day in which it seems to be increasingly difficult to take a stand. People dont want to stand for Truth. In fact, the problem is that many people are not sure what Truth is, and some dont think that its even possible to find Truth at all. [It is interesting that this week on the radio, one of the young men testifying at the Watergate investigation indicated that he had been greatly influenced by a prominent modernist, who indicates that there is no such thing as absolute truth but that all things are relative to various situations....situation ethics, if you please; and this testifier indicated that its rather interesting that one man who followed this, recently got completely off....set free, because they thought the situation was such that had been turned against him by the government. I wont name names. You do the figuring out yourself. But he said, I followed the same idea, and Im ending up on the other side. But friends, thats often what you have when you end up with situation ethics, and you dont have absolute standards of truth. God is Light, and God is Truth; and when you walk in Light, you will do that which is good, right, and true; And [youll] have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them. For it is a shame even to speak of those things which are done of them in secret. Ive been amazed, frankly, friends....to realize that things that just five years ago were never even discussed in public, are now openly discussed even on the airwaves. Its interesting that it used to be that no one talked about sex, but everybody is willing to talk about death. Now everybody talks about sex, but nobody wants to talk about death. Its rather strange that weve turned our ideas around...........It is a shame to speak of many things that are being done in secret, and tragically today many things are being done openly. May I add....that these things have been and are open to God. But all things that are reproved are made manifest by the Light; for whatsoever doth make manifest is Light. There is exposure; and God does and will expose the wrong. May I say, that is true not only for the unbeliever, but for the believer as well! Dont think that you can sin and get away with it. Dont think that nobody sees what youre doing. God does know. All things that are reproved are made manifest by the Light... and God is Light! ....for whatsoever doth make manifest is Light [mainly God, Himself]! The Exclamation, Wherefore He saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead [or from among the dead], and Christ shall give thee Light. May I make two emphases in regard to this verse? Number one, a challenge to the unsaved Awake thou that sleepest in death [in spiritual death, as in Ephesians 2], And Christ shall give thee Light. Apart from Christ and His revelation of God, men are in darkness and do not know the truth, and thus are not adequately able to follow the Truth. Jesus said, Ye shall know the Truth, and the Truth shall make you free. But then He goes on to say, If the Son shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.. And it is when Christ sets you free, you come to understand the Truth; and if youre listening tonight, and youve never received Jesus Christ as your personal Savior, now is the time to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ.....to receive Him as your own Savior. But for believers, Awake thou that sleepest! Its a tragic thing that in our day, which I believe is part of the end time, so many believers are asleep!
In I Thessalonians chapter 5, Paul warns concerning the times and seasons prior to the Lord Jesus return; and He says, beginning in verse 1, But of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you. For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night. For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape. [Now notice this admonition to believers!] But ye brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief. Ye are all the children of Light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness. Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober. For they that sleep sleep in the night; and they that be drunken are drunken in the night. But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation. For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation [or deliverance] by our Lord Jesus Christ, Who died for us, that, whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with Him.
I believe that in these latter days, prior to the return of the Lord Jesus for His own, the adversary is going to oppose the saints in such a way as if possible, to put them into a stupor, so that they will not be aware of all the tragic things that are taking place so that their light unfortunately becomes increasingly dim. We need The Witnesss Walk, in these latter days wherein believers will ....walk as children of Light, shedding forth the Light of the Truth of God. Standing for something, lest they fall for anything; and believers are falling for far too much today! Were allowing the world to set our standards, rather than the Word of God to be our standard of Truth. God has revealed Himself in this Book, the Bible; and one day, every man is going to give account as to what he has done with the Word of God and the Son of God revealed in the Word of God. And, I believe also, that we shall give an account for the faithfulness of our witness for Christ. There are men and women, boys and girls around us who do not know Christ. Paul says, Awake to righteousness and sin not, for some have not the knowledge of God. I speak of this to your shame. The challenge is for us, in these latter days, to hold forth the Word of Life so that we might not run in vain, neither labour in vain. Are you walking in the Light? Are you shedding forth the Light of God in your life? It is only through this Book that you will be a faithful witness for Christ and demonstrate The Witnesss Walk. Walk in love is a Worthwhile Walk. Walk in Light is The Witnesss Walk, and The Wisemans Walk is to walk filled with the Spirit of God, controlled, to be used of Him! Shall we pray.
Our FATHER We commend to Thee Thy precious Word tonight. Were grateful for the Light of the Truth in Thy Word. We pray that we shall walk in the Light of Thy Word and be obedient thereto. If there is anyone who has never received Christ as personal Savior, may that one by a simple act of faith believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and find Life through His Name; and for us who have named the Name of Christ, may we walk in Him, being obedient to Him and to Thy Word. We pray in Jesus Name. Amen.
Could we sing, Trust and Obey when we walk with the Lord, in the Light of His Word: [First, third, and the last]
When we walk with the Lord In the Light of His Word,
What a glory He sheds on our way!
While we do His good will, He abides with us still,
And with all who will trust and obey.
Trust and obey, for theres no other way
To be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.
Not a burden we bear, Not a sorrow we share,
But our toil He doth richly repay;
Not a grief or a loss, Not a frown or a cross,
But is blest if we trust and obey.
Then in fellowship sweet We will sit at His feet,
Or well walk by His side in the way;
What He says we will do, When He sends we will go,
Never fear, only trust and obey.
And now may grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit rest upon and abide with each of us now and for evermore. Amen.
Dr. Stuart E. Lease
Message shared at Immanuel Baptist Church