Colossians 1:9-20, is one of my favorite Pauline prayers. For Paul, the power of the gospel of Christ and His doctrine working in believers, begins with prayer. Paul prayed for the saints, that you & I “walk worthy unto all pleasing, being fruitful, thankful, joyful, patient, increasing in the knowledge of God according to his glorious power.” Last week we talked about “A Proper and Positive Response to our Practical Sanctification.” (Walking (living) worthy of our Identity in Christ, in the details of our lives!)
1. Paul wrote in Eph. 4:1 “I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech (plead) you that ye walk worthy of the vocation (calling) wherewith ye are called.” The Ephesians were not spiritual babes like the carnal Corinthians. Quite the contrary, they were mature saints, understanding the hidden wisdom of God & the revelation of the mystery of Christ. So, Paul here is encouraging the mature saints (you may indeed know some things) but still “walk worthy (honorably) of the doctrine (vocation/occupation).” You & I have been called by the doctrine of the same gospel of Christ.
2. As we look at the two charts, notice our identity in Adam. We are but frail creatures of the dust Identified with the sin of Adam, & we can never, in our own strength, walk worthy of this high and holy calling. In our own strength (Adam’s strength) we will fail miserably. It is only in Christ that we can accomplish this,” to the praise of His (God’s) Glory.” First, we must understand and appreciate what we have in Christ. We have been chosen in Christ, adopted, accepted in the beloved, redeemed through his blood, forgiven, and sealed by the Holy Spirit (Eph. 1:1-14). But there is more, “much more.” Because of Christ’s finish work, we have been given a heavenly position, with the promise of being with Christ “in the Disp. of Fullness of Times” (Eph. 2:4-6) “But God, who is rich in mercy, hath raised us up together, and made us to sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus.” & (1 Thess.4:16-17) we will meet the Lord together in the clouds, air and so shall we ever be with the Lord.” That is our Exaltation, our heavenly position folks. When we acknowledge and fully appreciate these doctrines of grace, they should motivate us to live a godly life in Christ Jesus. Amen.
3. Also, to “walk worthy in the doctrine” we must learn to prove (test) all things. Here is our Practical Sanctification, where rubber meets the road! Ephesians 5:10-11 “Proving (testing) what is acceptable unto the Lord. And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove (correct) them.” This means, spiritually, we must discipline ourselves to test everything according to God’s word rightly divided, to make sure “what is acceptable unto the Lord.”
4. For instance, when we consider the matter of separation as taught in the Pauline epistles, is it right or wrong to establish partnerships with the unsaved? Is it right or wrong as believers, to date and marry the unsaved? When we put these things to the test in accordance with the word of God, the believer is instructed to have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness. In other words, we are not to be “unequally yoked together with unbelievers” (2 Cor. 6:14.)
5. Notice, Paul does not say, do not have too much fellowship, he clearly says NO fellowship!! Believers are not to be unequally yoked together with the unsaved for any reason. ILLUSTRATION : A yoke is what holds two animals together so they can pull a heavy load. Two horses evenly yoked together can accomplish a great deal for their master. However, if we were to yoke a horse and a mule together it would be impossible for them to work together. They are unevenly yoked, because the horse stands taller than the mule at the shoulder, & the mule has a shorter stride/legs.
Which means the mule is going to pull the horse both in a downward and backward direction. Therefore, defeating the task at hand. You see they are built & equipped different!
6. This is also true of the saved and the unsaved. If we fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, it won’t be very long before the unsaved begins to draw us back into the things of this worlds system. This is Satan’s Plan of Evil. He wants to corrupt the message in our minds & drag us back under the law. Satan wants to intimidate & silence the grace believer. He wants us to compromise the truth. He wants to pull us down, back into the depths of sin, and away from the message. Thus discrediting us & causing us to disgrace the name of Christ. You see, the unbeliever does not share our joy of salvation. The unbeliever does not share our love for the truth, and our desire to live according to God’s word, rightly divided.
To be accepted in the sight of an unbeliever, it will become more and more necessary for you to backdown, & say less and less about the things of the Lord. And when we back down from making known the “mystery of Christ,” you’ve just been “ensnared by the devil (POE). Satan has taken the believer captive at his own will (2 Tim. 2:26). Gradually you will find yourself slipping back into the ways of the world.
Someone may be thinking right now, how can you be so sure? Maybe I’ll have the opportunity to win them to Christ. It has been proven that just the opposite is true. The unbeliever normally draws the believer back into the evils of the world. God tells us to ”come out from among them, be ye separate, and touch not the unclean thing (religious system).” Believers are “in the world, but not of the world.” We have been called by the gospel of the grace of God, to walk worthy of our vocation, Identity, walk worthy of the doctrine.
As grace believers, we cannot put enough emphasis on the importance of maintaining a BALANCE between our DOCTRINE and our WALK! This is the Proper & Positive Response to our Practical Sanctification. They should be inseparable, like a bride and groom who have just exchanged their vows at the wedding ceremony. “Whatsoever, God has joined together let no man put asunder.”
“I beseech you brethren, that you walk worthy of the vocation/Identity-In Christ, wherewith you have been called.” WALK WORTHY SAINTS!!!