The Christian Walk: Lesson 6 Walk in Obedience

The Christian Walk: Lesson 6 Walk in obedience

The biblical authors use a variety of expressions to describe the same idea: obedience. All the below expressions are essentially equal in meaning. God clearly expects his people to obey him.

  1. Expressions
    1. Walk after the Lord (Deut 13:4; 2 Kings 23:3)
    2. Walk in his way/in all his ways (Deut 5:33, 10:12, 11:22, 28:9; Josh 22:5; 1 Kings 2:3, 3:14, 8:36; Ps 119:3; Jer 7:23; Hos 14:9)
    3. Walk in/after/according to the law/statutes/judgments/ordinances/commandments (Exod 16:4;Lev 18:4; Deut 13:4; Ps 119:1; 1 Kings 6:12; 2 Kings 10:31; 2 Chron 6:16; Neh 10:29; Ps 89:30; Jer 26:4; Ezek 37:24; 2 John 6)
    4. Walk as taught by him (1 Kings 8:36; Isa 2:3; 30:21)
    5. Walk according to this rule (Gal 6:16; Phil 3:16)
  2. Definitions
    1. Law (torah) – direction, instruction, code, custom, manner, body of teaching. Law may be defined as “the revealed will of God with respect to human conduct.”[1] The vast majority of the occurrences of the word ‘torah’ in the Bible refer to God’s instructions to Moses at Sinai that were transmitted to Israel. These instructions or commandments became Israelite law and the stipulations of the covenant. They were all-important, since they were the specific manifestations of God’s will. Since they were God-given, they were obviously good, and obedience would result in long life, prosperity, health, and happiness. Disobedience would be punished with harm, barrenness, exile, destruction, and death.[2]
    2. Ordinance (chuqqah) – statute, limit, something prescribed
    3. Commandment
      1. mitsvah – law, ordinance, precept
      2. peh – lit. “mouth,” signifying the source of the command
    4. Statute (choq)  – appointment, allotment, ordinance, limit, something prescribed, due, conditions, decrees
    5. Judgment (mishpat) – decree, justice, ordinance, verdict, decision, privilege, right
    6. Rule (kanon) – lit, a rod or straight piece of wood to which anything is attached to keep it straight; a measuring rod, carpenter’s line, measuring tape; any rule or standard, limit, boundary line, fixed area of influence


  1. Principles
    1. Obedience is very important to God. The sheer number of admonitions to obey and the variety of expressions calling for obedience shows us how vital obedience is to God. Thus, the Christian walk must entail strict obedience to God’s revealed will. Sincerity or good intentions do not justify disobedience. Biblical examples show us this truth repeatedly—e.g., Saul (1 Sam 15), Uzzah (2 Sam 6:6-7), Ananias and Sapphira (Acts 5:1-11).
    2. To walk in/after/according to the law/statutes/judgments/ordinances/ commandments signifies doing/keeping/executing/performing/observing/ hearkening to God’s commandments. Just as there are many synonyms for “law,” so there are many synonyms for “obey.”
    3. To “walk after the Lord” seems to refer to the totality of a right relationship with God—reverence, obedience, service, and commitment. The phrase indicates mature, committed faith and the resulting performance of covenant obligations.
    4. Believers are obligated to obey God’s direct commands/laws/statutes/ ordinances—the “thou shalts” and “thou shalt nots” contained in Scripture. Such directives leave little flexibility; one either obeys them or does not. God presents a particular “way” in which he wants his followers to walk. The Christian walk demands that we follow the direct commands that pertain to us.
    5. Obedience, especially in the OT, was directly related to physical prosperity and success (cf. Deut 28:1-14; 1 Kings 8:36). Failure to obey resulted in cursing and removal from the land (cf. Deut 28:15f; Jer 6:19).
    6. The repeated admonition to “walk in all his ways” implies obedience to all God’s commands. However, the “ways” of God would seem to extend beyond the commands and encompass any behavior that would be pleasing to God. Mere obedience is not enough; we should be striving to do that which is well-pleasing to God in every area of life (2 Cor 5:9).
    7. Are NT Christians obligated to obey all the OT commandments? No, Christ “abolished in His flesh the enmity, that is, the law of commandments contained in ordinances” (Eph 2:15). Paul repeatedly affirms “…you are not under law but under grace” (Rom 6:14). The author of Hebrews explains how the levitical priesthood and its ordinances were temporary and have been superseded by the work of Jesus.[3]

This does not imply that the OT has no continuing value for the NT believer. The OT contains much we can learn from (cf. 1 Cor 10:11; 1 Tim 3:16). However, NT Christians are not obligated to obey the particular stipulations prescribed for OT Israel. Further, the fact that NT Christians are “not under the law” does not mean that they are lawless. In fact, John defines sin as “lawlessness” (1 Jn 3:4). Some mistakenly teach that, as long as they love others, they are not required to “keep the rules.” They misrepresent any such admonition to obey biblical commands as legalism. The desire to obey is not legalism as long as we recognize that obedience adds nothing to our salvation.

  1. Are NT Christians obligated to obey NT commands? Yes. We are to walk according to the rules and traditions (2 Thes 2:15) established by Jesus and the apostles. The “law of Christ” (Gal 6:2), which is essentially the teachings of the NT, becomes the guidebook for the Christian life. Failure to obey Christ’s commands amounts to repudiation of Christianity (1 John 2:3-4). Failure to obey the apostles’ teachings and traditions likewise verges on apostasy (Rom 16:17; 2 Thes 2:15, 3:6). Thus, obedience to the commands of Christ and the apostles is what we expect of Christians. Habitual, unrepentant disobedience marks one as an unbeliever in spite of whatever claims he may make to the contrary.
  2. OT commands are still part of the Bible and reveal much about God and his will. We may discover great insights by meditating on God’s ordinances, statutes, and judgments from the OT. But the NT supersedes the OT and becomes the standard for the Christian walk.

Note:  We must guard against imposing OT regulations on NT Christians. Some (e.g., Bill Gothard) insist that we must continue to follow the OT as much as possible. That means attempting to apply OT regulations in our current situation as best we can. Such an attitude burdens believers with a “yoke” that the apostles specifically refused to apply (Acts 15:10-19).

  1. The “rules” that Paul mentions
    1. Gal 6:16—Circumcision is insignificant for the Christian life; what’s most important is being a new creature (6:15). To “walk” according to this rule means that Christians do not make circumcision a spiritual issue (cf. 1 Cor 7:19). This was an important distinction to make given the fact that the Jews typically invested that ritual with great significance. Under NT Christianity, circumcision is a matter of indifference (adiaphora).
    2. Phil 3:16—Live in accordance with apostolic teaching (i.e., that which has already been recognized and accepted). Such an attitude develops like-mindedness and unity among mature Christians. Minor differences among believers should not hinder harmony and love in a church when everyone is affirming the same doctrine (cf. Rom 14). Nothing outside of the apostolic tradition (“sound doctrine”) should be integrated into church teaching.
    3. John defines love as walking after/in his commandments (2 John 6). Love for God and obedience to him cannot be separated. Lack of one means lack of the other. Love for God always results in obedience to his word (cf. John 14:15). Justification results in sanctification; the two always go together.

A Final Note:  An ongoing discussion among conservative Christians centers on what place personal effort has in sanctification. Everyone agrees that justification is by grace through faith without obedience to the law (i.e., works). Both sides also agree that sanctification requires effort by the believer but not merely human effort. Both recognize the danger of imposing extra-biblical man-made rules (cf. Col 2:20-23) and agree that grace does not sanction disobedience (Rom 6; Titus 2). But questions remain regarding whether obedience to laws/rules furthers one’s sanctification/growth.

  • One side asserts that sanctification occurs almost automatically as we focus on God’s love for us in salvation. As we increasingly appreciate Jesus’ work, the Gospel, and justification, we will inevitably grow in our sanctification (2 Pet 3:18). We simply need to remember that we’ve been qualified, delivered, redeemed, and forgiven (Col 1:9-14). Christian growth in this model is not measured by behavior but by a deeper grasp of God’s unconditional love for us. Our position “in Christ” means that we can cease striving to please God (Rom 3:24). God is pleased with us because of our union with Christ; we cannot be more pleasing to God by keeping rules. Sanctification occurs as we receive Christ’s work and rest in our justification. Confident that we are not condemned (Rom 8:1), we go on to live in holiness. Thus, an emphasis on obedience to rules verges on legalism. Our emphasis should not be on rule keeping but on the fact that Christ kept the rules for us. Self-effort (“moralistic activism”) amounts to a denial of God’s grace.

Summary of model #1: Don’t worry so much about obeying rules; just love God, remember your salvation, and rest your perfect position in Christ. This will naturally result in holiness.

  • The other side argues that believers must “make every effort” (2 Tim 2:15) to “work out” their salvation “with fear and trembling” (Phil 2:12). Simply remembering and appreciating our justification will not automatically result in growth or holiness. We must expend effort; we must obey; we must “put off” the old man and “put on” the new (Eph 4:22f). Growth in godliness is like a fight (1 Tim 6:12), a wrestling match (Eph 6:12), and a race (1 Cor 9:24f; Heb 12:1). We must trust, but we must also obey. We must, by God’s grace and with the Holy Spirit’s enablement, put the flesh to death (Col 3:5). Christian growth occurs as we work hard to stop sinning and start living righteously. Regenerated people do not automatically know what God requires of them. Thus, exhortations to obey biblical commands, rules, and standards of behavior help believers grow in godliness (e.g., 1 Cor 6:18). We glory in the cross, in salvation, and in our union with Christ, but that’s not all we do.

Summary of model #2: Obedience and effort are necessary elements of Christian growth. Sanctification comes through Spirit-enabled obedience to God’s revealed will as expressed in commands, principles, and rules.

The first model, although having much to commend it, often results in an anti-rule sentiment that sees exhortations to obedience as legalism. On this view, laws and rules become virtually hostile to the Christian experience. Grace cannot function with law; the two are mutually exclusive. Further, the first model may lead to a passive view of sanctification in which effort plays a diminished role. Model #1 is the more popular/prevalent among evangelicals today.


[1] Unger’s Bible Dictionary, 646.

[2] Paul J. Achtemeier and Society of Biblical Literature, Harper’s Bible Dictionary, 1st ed. (San Francisco: Harper & Row, 1985), 1084.

[3] Walter A. Elwell, Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology, electronic ed., Baker reference library; Logos Library System (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1996).

The Christian Walk: Lesson 5 How to Walk

The Christian Walk: Lesson 5

Part 2: How To Walk

Walk Rooted and Built Up (Col 2:6-7)

The theme passage for this series of lessons gives us some important directives for how we are to live the Christian life. Paul exhorts (i.e., commands; the Greek verb translated “walk” is in the imperative mood) the Colossians to continue (“walk” is in the present tense) living in a manner consistent with this truth.

  1. Walk as you have received Christ Jesus the Lord.
    1. When the Colossians received Christ at the moment of their conversion (the Greek verb translated “received” indicates a past, point-in-time event), they received Him for who He really is, “Christ Jesus the Lord.”
      1. “Christ” – the anointed one of God promised in the OT
      2. “Jesus” – the Savior from sin (“he shall save his people from their sin” Mt 1:21)
      3. “Lord”—the supreme authority, owner, master

Paul wants their present and continuous conduct to conform to the doctrine taught them at the beginning, the doctrine they had committed themselves to at conversion.[1]

  1. How does one receive Christ Jesus the Lord? By faith. This is also how we must live the Christian life—by faith, “not by sight” (2 Cor 5:7).
  2. Paul’s concern is that we persevere in the faith we originally received and not become enamored with the philosophies and “vain deceit” (Col 2:8) so prevalent in the world around us. Believers are “complete” in Christ (Col 2:10) and need not partake of worldly foolishness.
  3. A faith that does not recognize the Lordship of Christ is a dubious faith indeed. Some today assert that accepting Christ as Lord is a secondary, optional step one should take at some point after salvation. To be saved, one must simply trust Christ as Savior from sin without any concern about his claims as Lord, they say. But Paul’s words here strongly assert that genuine salvation requires one to recognize that Jesus Christ is Lord at the point of salvation. Salvation entails one receiving “Christ Jesus the Lord.” One’s “walk,” that is, his behavior or conduct, must reflect the fact that Jesus is his Master.



  1. Walk “in him.”
    1. To “walk” in Christ speaks of maintaining the Christian faith, living and acting under the teachings of Christ as taught by the Savior and his apostles. True believers persevere in faith and in good works.
    2. Paul’s frequent assertion that believers are “in” Christ reflects the fact that Christians are united with Christ in his life, death, and resurrection (cf. Rom 6:4-6). We are dependent on our union with Christ to maintain the Christian walk.

Note the Quote: We were in Him before the foundation of the world (Eph. 1:4); we are in Him as we were in Adam (Romans 5:12, 21; 1 Cor. 15:22); we are in Him as the members of the body are in the head (Eph. 1:23, 16; 1 Cor. 12:12, 27, and often); we are in Him as the branches are in the vine (John 15:1–12). We are in Him in such a sense that his death is our death, we were crucified with Him (Gal. 2:20; Romans 6:1–8); we are so united with Him that we rose with Him, and sit with Him in heavenly places (Eph. 2:1–6). In virtue of this union, we are (in our measure) what He is. We are the sons of God in Him. And what He did, we did. His righteousness is our righteousness. His life is our life. His exaltation is our exaltation.[2]

  1. Jesus taught that genuine believers are like branches connected to a vine (John 15). Those who “abide” in this connection bear fruit and prove themselves to be genuine disciples. Those who fail to abide in the vine wither, are cast off, and eventually are burned, thus proving themselves to be false brethren.
  2. Walking “in” Christ suggests a life that is directly and permanently connected to Jesus, a life that abides in Christ and is nourished and strengthened by this connection.
  3. Walk “rooted.”
    1. The Greek participle here could be translated “having been firmly rooted.” The form of the word suggests an action which took place at a point-in-time in the past with ongoing effects. The moment a believer is converted, he is, so to speak, planted in the soil of salvation (cf. Ps 1:3; Jer 17:8), remaining permanently rooted therein and growing as a result. Our object is to remain “grounded and settled” in the faith, “not moved away from the hope of the gospel” (Col 1:23). “Having been firmly rooted” is a good way to describe the permanency of salvation and the stability of the Christian life.
    2. The word is in the passive voice, implying that someone else (God) has done the planting. This reflects the fact that God is the active participant in salvation. God provides for salvation; man merely receives God’s provision.
    3. It might sound a bit odd to “walk” while “rooted” securely in the ground, but Paul’s intent is clear. We live the Christian life from a position of firmness and solidity. Faith in Christ gives us secure ground for living the Christian life.


  1. Walk “built up”
    1. Paul switches from an agricultural metaphor (a plant) to an architectural one (a building). Just as a plant grows higher and stronger, and as a building grows as it is being built, so the believer should be growing and developing in his faith. A growing Christian life (sanctification) is built upon a proper relationship with Christ (salvation). Jesus is the foundation (1 Cor 3:11) and chief cornerstone (Eph 2:20; 1 Pet 2:6) upon which believers build their lives.
    2. Again, the Greek participle is in the passive voice, suggesting the fact that God is the one who is ultimately doing the building. This is a present tense verb, describing ongoing action—”being built up.” This should be the common experience of all Christians. Further, we should note that the process of being built up—what the NT called “edification”—is most commonly related to participation in the local church. Building up occurs in the context of church life.
    3. The building/edification process is reciprocal—we “edify one another” in the context of the church (1 Thes 5:11). How does this occur?
      1. Love one another (1 Cor 8:1).
      2. Admonish, encourage, warn, and support each other (1 Cor 14:3 and 1 Thes 5:14).
      3. Follow spiritual leaders as they follow Christ (2 Cor 10:8; Eph 4:12)
      4. Use the resources God supplies—the Bible, prayer, the church, etc. (Acts 20:32).
  2. Walk “established in the faith”

The word “established” means, “made firm, confirmed, strengthened.” As the believer grows in the faith, his roots go down deeper and become stronger and more stable (cf. Ps 1:2-3 and Jas 1:21).  Again, the participle is in the passive voice, suggesting that God is the one who establishes the believer in the faith—”being established” is the idea. Paul wanted the Colossians to be well-anchored, lest the winds of heresy uproot them and blow them around like waves of the sea (cf. Eph 4:14).

These three ideas—being rooted, built up and established—strongly imply that believers should be firmly grounded and secure in the faith. The whole book of Colossians is an exhortation for believers to persevere in the faith and in good works, even when confronted by false teaching and worldly philosophy (cf. Col 2:8).

These passive verbs (showing that God is doing the action) do not imply that the believer is careless in his approach to sanctification (e.g., “let go and let God.”). But they do teach that God ultimately initiates and motivates the process. God is the one who works in us “both to will and to do of his good pleasure” (Phil 2:13).  Believers are still responsible to “labor and strive” (1 Tim 4:10), to make their best efforts (2 Tim 2:15), and to work out their salvation in fear and trembling (Phil 2:12). We must cooperate in the sanctification process.

  1. Walk “as you have been taught.”
    1. We must strive to hold fast the traditions the apostles taught (Acts 2:42; 2 Thes 3:6). Churches face the constant temptation to adopt the latest fads and innovation in doctrine or practice in an effort to stay “relevant.” We must staunchly retain our commitment to the fundamentals of the faith without modification. Christianity is a received faith, not one subject to haphazard change. Any significant movement away from the fundamentals is likely a corruption, not an improvement.
    2. Teaching must be a significant element of a church’s ministry. Christ himself commissioned the church to teach (Mt 28:20), and Paul urged Timothy to teach those who could in turn teach others (2 Tim 2:2). Every believer should be committed to learning and spiritual growth.
    3. Teachers are an important part of the growth and stability process. Teachers both convey the content of the faith and provide an example for the congregation to follow (cf. 1 Cor 11:1; Phil 4:9). Thus, congregations must insure that their leaders fulfill the biblical qualifications given for them (1 Tim 3; Titus 1). Too often, churches focus on a preacher’s communication or personal skills and neglect evaluating his moral character.
    4. Those working hard in teaching the Word deserve the respect that accompanies the position (1 Tim 5:17).
  2. Walk “abounding therein with thanksgiving.”
    1. The Greek word translated “thanksgiving” is eucharistia, the root of which is charis, which means, “grace.”  Any recipient of grace should be grateful because he has received something good he does not deserve. Gratitude is an attitude Paul commends several times in Colossians (1:12, 3:15, 16, 17, and 4:2).
    2. In light of God’s work of rooting, building and establishing us, gratitude to God should be abundant in our souls to the point of overflowing.[3] And the present tense of this verb indicates that this attitude of thanks should be a continuing experience in every believer’s life. Those lacking such gratitude may be susceptible to doubt and spiritual delusion (of which Paul warns us in Col 2:8).[4]


[1] Expositor’s Bible Commentary

[2] Charles Hodge, vol. 3, Systematic Theology (Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc., 1997), 127.

[3] The word “abounding” often pictures a river overflowing its banks.

[4] Expositor’s Bible Commentary 

The Christian Walk: Lesson 4 How Not to Walk cont

The Christian Walk: Lesson 4

Part 1: How Not to Walk


  1. Do not Walk in Vanity/Foolishness
    1. Texts: Job 31:5; Ps 39:6; Jer 2:5, 8; Eph 4:17, 5:15
    2. Principles:
      1. Avoid the emptiness and futility of the false religion.

People who walk after vanity become vain (Jer 2:5). Vanity in this case is literally “breath, vapor,” but figuratively refers to anything empty or useless. Jeremiah records God’s thoughts about the vain, profitless idols and false gods of the heathen. The people had “gone far” from the Lord by adopting the idolatrous worship practices of the heathen. Those worshipping false gods become like them—useless and stupid (cf. Ps 135:15-18). Christianity has nothing in common with the falsehood and error of counterfeit religion, and Christians must “come out from among them” and separate from such unclean things (2 Cor 6:14-17).

  1. Avoid the foolishness of secular human thought.

a)                  The word “vanity” in the NT means “emptiness, futility.” Paul is referring to emptiness and futility of thought so common among the “Gentiles,” i.e., the unsaved. Whatever unbelievers think and do ultimately ends in futility and disappointment. From God’s point of view, whatever the unbeliever’s mind/intellect conceives is worthless. Peter uses the same word when describing false teachers who speak “great swelling words of emptiness” (2 Pet 2:18). Unbelieving Gentiles failed to attain the true purpose of the mind, namely, to receive God’s revelation which would guide them in their conduct.[1] Instead of thinking God’s thoughts after Him, unbelievers fill their minds with worthless, meaningless, foolish thoughts.

b)                  Paul describes what the futility of the unbelieving mind looks like  (Eph 4:18-19):

(1)               Having their understanding darkened—both intellect and emotions are corrupted by sin.

(2)               Being alienated from the life of God—they have no spiritual life due to their separation from God.

(3)               Ignorance and blindness of heart—they do not know and do not see (cf. 1 Cor 1:18f).

(4)               Hardening of heart—a medical term signifying callous hardening (cf. John 12:40; 1 Tim 4:2)

(5)               Given over to lewdness, uncleanness, and greed—voluntarily yielded themselves up to the power of their own sensuality and lasciviousness, so as to be commanded by it, without resisting it.[2]

Quote:  Indulgence in vice destroys the intellect as well as the body, and unfits a man to appreciate the truth of a proposition in morals, or in mathematics, or the beauty of a poem, as well as the truth and beauty of religion.[3]

c)                  The unwise are those who, having no insight into things that pertain to God and salvation, are not aiming to reach the highest goal and therefore do not know and do not even care to know what are the best means to reach it. They regard as very important what is in reality of minor value or may even be harmful, and they do not appreciate what is indispensable. They conduct themselves accordingly.[4]

d)                 The NT repeatedly warns believers not to adopt the philosophies and vain traditions of unbelievers (cf. Rom 1:21-22; 1 Cor 1:19-20; Eph 5:6; Col 2:8, 18). The wisdom of unsaved man is empty foolishness compared to the wisdom of God. Believers must reject any man-made philosophy or rule that contradicts God’s word (cf. Acts 5:29; 1 Cor 1:20, 3:19).

Note: Christians are frequently guilty of seeking approval from the unsaved crowd. They strive for recognition and respect from mainstream society (i.e., media, politicians, entertainers, educators). They try to merge Christian thought with secular philosophies. This is exceedingly dangerous and unbiblical. Gaining approval and recognition from the unsaved world is not a biblical value; far from it. We should have no interest in gaining appreciation or support from those who hate God. In fact, when a professing Christian gains worldly approval, he has made himself an enemy of God (James 4:4). Beware of following any Christian leader who gains approval or respect from the unsaved world.

e)                  Theologians refer to the negative consequence sin has upon the mind as the noetic effects of sin (based on the Greek word for mind, nous). The carnal (fleshly, i.e., unsaved) mind is hostile to God and refuses to subject itself to the law of God (Rom 8:5-8). The result is blindness to the truth and foolishness of thought. Regeneration reduces some of the noetic effects of sin, yet the believer still must strive to bring his thoughts under the Lordship of Christ (cf. 2 Cor 10:5).

  1. Avoid the externalism and superficiality characteristic of the unsaved world.

a)                  To “walk in a vain show” (Ps 39:6 KJV) likely refers to living according to external appearances. The Hebrew word for “vain show” is literally “image or shadow” and suggests something imaginary instead of real. Such people “make an uproar for nothing” (Ps 39:6b NASB). That is, they make much of what is essentially trivial, inconsequential, and insignificant.

b)                  Unsaved people often emphasize appearance/image over substance, costume over content. Outward show becomes important while the content of one’s character has little value. What they are so proud about is worthless and empty from God’s perspective. Examples: TV/movies/video games, sports fanatics, celebrities.

c)                  Christians must be careful not to adopt this heathen characteristic of valuing what is essentially worthless (cf. Isa 44:14-20). Our thoughts should be focused on “things above,” not vain, earthly concerns (Col 3:1-3). Man looks on the outward appearance, but God looks at the heart (1 Sam 16:7). The “hidden man of the heart” (1 Pet 3:4) is of true value; that is where our focus should be.

Good quote: “There is nothing wrong with frivolous activity for one whose life is not committed to frivolity. There is no harm in superficial pleasures for one who also has a knowledge of the tragic and of the transcendent. The subjectivism of popular culture is impotent for someone whose life is characterized by rootedness in objective reality. Christians should not fear the idols and myths of our day, as long as they have no reverence for them.”[5]

  1. Do Not Walk in Craftiness
    1. Text: 2 Cor 4:2
    2. Principles:
      1. “Craftiness” in this case is not a positive attribute. The word connotes the trickery or cunning treachery necessary to deceive others. Satan deceived Eve by employing craftiness (2 Cor 11:3), and he continues to use this strategy. God promises to catch the “wise” (i.e., fools) “in their own craftiness” (1 Cor 3:19). So the idea seems to be cunning deception.
      2. Craftiness is in the same category as “hidden things of dishonesty.” Paul refused to deal with people dishonestly or deceptively. He was honest and full of integrity. This should be particularly true of Christian ministry (2 Cor 4:1). One need not use underhanded or deceitful means of convincing unbelievers to be saved or of exhorting believers to be holy. Simply preach the Gospel and trust God for the results (Rom 1:16; 1 Cor 3:6-7; 1 Thes 2:3-5).

Quote:  Trickery is an attribute of the devil, not of the apostles and their helpers.[6]

Much ministry these days is tainted by man-pleasing flattery rather than God-honoring truth. The church marketing and seeker-sensitive models are guilty of pandering to the sensibilities of the unsaved mind.

  1. Those guilty of craftiness may also be guilty of “handling the word of God deceitfully.” Some have falsified God’s word to suit their own agenda. They “lie in wait to deceive” through their “cunning craftiness” (Eph 4:14). We must not be among those who “corrupt the word of God” (2 Cor 2:17). Genuine Christians must retain their commitment to “rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Tim 2:15) by speaking sincerely and honestly.
  2. Do Not Walk in Sin
    1. Texts:  1 Kings 15:3, 26, 34; Col. 3:5–7;Jer 6:28, 9:4, 23:14; Mic 2:11;Rom 13:13; 1 Pet 4:3; Dan 4:37; 2 Thes 3:6, 11
    2. Principles:
      1. Avoid the sins of your ancestors or predecessors. The fact that your family behaved in a certain way does not guarantee that such behavior was right or proper. The Christian rule of life must come from the Bible, and especially from the NT. We can learn much from our forebears, but we must be careful to avoid their errors and sins.
      2. Avoid lies, slanders, speaking evil, false stories, gossip, etc.
      3. Avoid rioting, drunkenness, lewdness, lust, fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, covetousness, strife, envy, etc.
      4. Avoid pride (an over-inflated estimation of oneself). See Rom 12:3.
      5. Avoid disorder.
        1. Disorder is forsaking the apostolic tradition taught to the churches. Christians are to behave themselves properly in God’s house, the church, “the pillar and ground of the truth” (1 Tim 3:15). The church in particular should be characterized by good order—”Let all things be done decently and in order” (1 Cor 14:40).
        2. Disorder is departing from the rule of life as given in the Bible. The apostles and their contemporaries exemplified a pattern of Christian living that we should emulate (Phil 3:17). Paul specifically mentions idleness and gossip as evidence of a disorderly lifestyle.

[1] John F. Walvoord, Roy B. Zuck and Dallas Theological Seminary, The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1985), Eph 4:17–18.

[2] Poole

[3] Barnes Notes

[4] William Hendriksen and Simon J. Kistemaker, vol. 7, Exposition of Ephesians, New Testament Commentary (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1953-2001), 237.

[5] Kenneth Myers, All God’s Children and Blue Suede Shoes, 87.

[6] Simon J. Kistemaker and William Hendriksen, vol. 19, Exposition of the Second Epistle to the Corinthians, New Testament Commentary (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1953-2001), 137.

The Christian Walk: Lesson 3 How Not to Walk cont

The Christian Walk: Lesson 3

Part 1: How Not to Walk


  1. Do Not Walk Contrary to God
    1. Texts:  Lev 26:21, 23, 27, 40; Ps 78:10; Ezek 20:16; Gal 2:14; Phil 3:17-19
    2. Principles
      1. Walking contrary to God amounts to flagrant disobedience to God’s commands as found in his word. The term “contrary” implies not merely passive neglect of God and his word, but active opposition, resistance, and refusal. One walking contrary to God is hostile to the things of God; he’s an active opponent of God. Walking contrary to God implies a stubborn refusal to obey God’s law.
      2. Even believers can be guilty of failure to walk “uprightly according to the truth of the gospel” (Gal 2:14). Paul had to rebuke Peter over his hypocrisy in this case. The words “walk uprightly” (KJV) is a single word in the original language (used only once in the NT) which means “walk in a straight course; i.e., to act uprightly.” Paul discerned that Peter’s conduct was not proper or honest. It contradicted “the truth of the gospel” and thus opposed it. Christian behavior must be consistent with the gospel and sound doctrine (cf. Titus 2:1).
      3. Paul describes “enemies of the cross of Christ” (Phil 3:18-19) with the following expressions.

a)                  “whose end is destruction” – They are on the highway to hell.

b)                  “whose god is their belly” – Their highest desire is to satisfy their own corrupt, evil desires.

c)                  “whose glory is their shame” – Instead of being ashamed of their wicked behavior, they glory in it (much like today’s media stars; cf. Rom 1:32).

d)                 “who mind earthly things” – Their focus and attention is on the physical instead of the spiritual. Many are secularists or even atheists.

Obviously, these descriptions fit the unsaved crowd, those who are on the broad road leading to destruction. The Christian walk contains none of these anti-Christian lifestyle choices.

  1. Any professing Christian who walks in opposition to God brings his spiritual state into question. Christians ought to be obedient to God and strive to promote God’s cause in the world, not stand in opposition to it.
  2. Do Not Walk According to the Course of This World
    1. Text: Eph 2:2
    2. Principles
      1. Prior to salvation, unbelievers live in harmony with the unsaved world in its opposition to God. Unbelievers feel perfectly comfortable in an environment of alienation from and opposition to God (cf. Rom 1:22f).
      2. The word “course” (KJV) is literally “age,” and describes the world viewed from the standpoint of time and change.[1] The “course” of this world is the spirit or sensibilities of this corrupt world. Paul asserts that “God has made foolish the wisdom of this world” (1 Cor 1:20).
      3. The “world” is that evil system of secular society set up in opposition to God, i.e., the wicked, ungodly world under satanic control. The world represents all that is opposed to God and his children. The world, the flesh, and the devil are our sworn enemies. They seek to entrap us, tempt us, and divert us from the right path.
      4. Pagans behave in accordance with the spirit of this wicked world because they are “dead in trespasses and sins” (Eph 2:1), children of wrath, and without God. This is perfectly reasonable; unsaved people behave like unsaved people. They walk “in” trespasses and sin.
      5. Clearly, walking according to the course of this world describes the lifestyles of spiritually dead, hopeless, Godless, lust-filled pagans. Those walking this way fully embrace the spirit of the wicked world in its opposition to God. For Christians to walk in this way would amount to treason against their Lord and repudiation of the Gospel.
      6. Unfortunately, many professing Christians today seem to find the course of this world very attractive. Instead of rebuking the world for its “unfruitful works of darkness” (Eph 5:11), worldly Christians adopt many of the practices their pagan neighbors enjoy. They may even attempt to bring elements of this evil world into the church and into their families, much to their shame and eternal regret.
  3. Do Not Walk According to the Prince of the Power of the Air
    1. Texts: Deut 8:19; 1 Kings 11:33; Jer 7:6, 9, 8:2, 13:10; Ezek 11:21, 20:16; Eph 2:1-2
    2. Principles
      1. Forsake satanic false gods.

a)                  To “walk after other gods” is to recognize them as legitimate, to serve them, love them, seek them, or worship them. The Israelites were constantly tempted to “forget the Lord [their] God” (Deut 8:19) and walk after the local pagan deities—Baal, Ashtoreth, Chemosh, Milcom/Moloch, etc. Besides the local false gods, some of the Israelites took up worship of the sun, moon, and stars. People who turn from the true God to serve idols are evil and good for nothing (cf. Ps 135:15-18).

b)                  Walking after false gods is incompatible with serving the true and living God (Ex 20:3-5). You must forsake the true God to walk after false gods. God will not share his glory with anyone else (Isa 42:8).

c)                  Walking after other gods always results in “hurt” (Jer 7:6). God will recompense idolaters for their evil deeds. The history of Israel testifies to this fact.

d)                 Walking after other gods is often mentioned in conjunction with other heinous sins like theft, murder, adultery, and lying. The false religions of the heathen permitted all manner of wicked behavior for their adherents.

e)                  Can a Christian forsake the true God and worship false Gods? Strictly speaking, no, he cannot. To apostatize in this way indicates that one was never genuinely saved in the first place. However, Christians may walk after false “gods” like money, popularity, career, sports, recreation, and the like. Anything that usurps the place of God in one’s life may be considered an “idol of the heart” (cf. Ezek 14:3-4; 1 John 5:21). We must be very careful that our hearts are not drawn away toward idols, whatever they may be (cf. Ezek 20:16).

  1. Forsake Satan, “the prince of the power of the air” (Eph 2:2).

a)                  Ultimately, those walking after false gods are following Satan (cf. 1 Cor 10:20-21). Prior to salvation, those dead in trespasses and sin live according their father, the devil (cf. John 8:44). All those disobedient to the Gospel are ensnared in the trap of the devil and are held captive by him to do his will (2 Tim 2:26).

b)                  The only means of rescue from Satan and his way is regeneration, the quickening wrought by the Holy Spirit upon believers in Christ. Once a person is saved, he can no longer walk according to the spirit of the world or according to the world’s “prince.”

c)                  Christians must “put on the whole armor of God” to withstand the wiles of the devil and his associates (Eph 6:11f). We must “wrestle” against such spiritual opponents and employ all the resources of the Christian life to overcome them.

[1] William Hendriksen and Simon J. Kistemaker, vol. 7, Exposition of Ephesians, New Testament Commentary (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1953-2001).

The Christian Walk: Lesson 2 – How Not to Walk part 1

The Christian Walk: Lesson 2

Part 1: How Not to Walk

We’ll begin our study of the Christian walk with an examination of how not to walk. The Bible tells us both how to live and how not to live. We’ll start with the negative first—how not to walk as a Christian. The Bible presents many examples and admonitions to avoid walking in certain ways.

  1. Do Not Walk in the Way of the Ungodly
    1. Texts: Lev 18:3, 20:23; 1 Kings 16:31; 2 Chron 28:2; Ps 1:1; Prov 1:10-15; Isa 8:11; Ezek 11:12
    2. Principles
      1. A significant difference should exist between the walk of the Christian and the walk of the surrounding pagans. Christians are not supposed to imitate the lifestyle of the wicked. Believers must not adopt or adapt to the “statutes” or rules of living the heathen follow. God abhors the corrupt behavior of the wicked, and we should, too.

Jer 10:2Thus saith the LORD, Learn not the way [lit. “path, road; i.e., manner of life] of the heathen …

  1. It is not a trivial thing to live like the pagans. God hates idolatry, which is what Jeroboam promoted in Israel. The idols of the heathen should hold no attraction for us. Cf. 2 Cor 6:14-18
  2. The person who wants God’s blessing must reject the lifestyle of the wicked. He does not go to them for advice, participate with them in their sinful activities, or become like them in their attitude. Those who accept the counsel of the wicked eventually start living like them and end up being one of them. This is the danger of trying to adapt secular thinking into a biblical/Christian worldview (cf. how evolutionary and psychological ideas slowly creep into Christian thinking). Conformity to the wicked world leads to corruption (cf. 1 Cor 15:33).
  3. Christians must not yield to the enticements that the wicked use to entrap the unwary. Wickedness may look appealing, but the Christian must keep his foot from that path. Those who follow the wicked into their sin will find that “the way of transgressors is hard” (Prov 13:15).
  4. The ungodly world seeks to conform everyone to its own viewpoint and lifestyle. As our society becomes increasingly pagan/heathen, we must progressively distance ourselves from its evil influence and refuse to be forced into its mold (cf. Rom 12:2). Our delight should be in the law of the Lord (Ps 1:2), not in the lifestyles of the rich and famous (and wicked).

Question: Are we advocating Christian isolationism or a fortress mentality where we separate ourselves completely from unbelievers? No, we are to be separate from sin yet still be salt and light, in the world but not of the world. We have to shine as lights in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, holding forth the word of life (Phil 2:15-16). Jesus never avoided contact with sinners and neither should we. However, we must not allow the ungodly to influence us for evil.

  1. Do Not Walk in Darkness
    1. Texts: Ps 82:5; Prov 2:13; Ecc 2:14; John 8:12, 11:10; 1 John 1:6; 2:11
    2. Principles
      1. Darkness in the Bible is a metaphor representing sin, corruption, and falsehood. Light, of course, signifies truth, godliness, and the presence of spiritual life. Darkness is the absence of light and the opposite of light.
      2. To “walk in the light” implies living in fellowship with God (i.e., spiritual life [regeneration]), leading a godly life, seeking to follow Christ, and living righteously.
      3. To “walk in darkness/night” implies living in sin and/or believing error (i.e., failure to walk in light and truth). Rejecting the truth leads to accepting falsehood. Those walking in darkness do not understand; their eyes are blind and they fail to see reality. Walking in darkness results in “stumbling” (John 11:10), i.e., error, falsehood, and destruction. Essentially, walking in darkness implies spiritual death (“no light”) because of rejecting the light of the world, Jesus Christ (cf. John 3:19-20).
      4. Paul affirms that “the god of this world has blinded the minds of them which believe not” (2 Cor 4:4). “Our adversary, the devil” (1 Pet 5:8) is doing everything he can to keep unbelievers shrouded in the darkness of sin and enslaved to sin (Rom 6:16). Unbelievers walk in darkness because they are ignorant and deceived.
      5. Those professing faith in Christ, yet habitually walking in darkness, are deceived and do not possess genuine salvation. The biblical expectation for believers is that they walk in the light (1 John 1:5f) and produce good fruit (Mt 7:17). If one continues to live like an unbeliever (i.e., in darkness), he is not converted, no matter what he may profess about Jesus.
      6. Those professing Christ must not live like unbelievers. The darkness of sin, ignorance, and error must not characterize the life of a Christian. John mentions the particular sin of hating one’s brother (1 John 2:11) as an evidence of walking in darkness (i.e., spiritual death). Hatred for others is incompatible with genuine Christianity. A lifestyle of unrepentant, habitual sin denies “the light of the glorious gospel of Christ” (2 Cor 4:4).
  1. Do Not Walk After The Flesh
    1. Texts: Deut 29:19; Job 31:7; Ps 81:12;Isa 65:2;Jer 7:24, 13:10,18:12; Rom. 8:1, 4; 1 Cor 3:3; 2 Cor 5:7; 2 Pet 2:10, 3:3; Jude 16, 18
    2. Principles
      1. Do not walk according to the sinful inclinations of the flesh.
        1. The “flesh” in the Bible can signify the natural human body, but in many cases, the reference is to the sinful human nature, i.e., “unredeemed humanness.”[1] The flesh is the nature of humankind, apart from the supernatural influences of the Holy Spirit.[2] Walking according to the flesh, then, means allowing one’s corrupt, selfish, unredeemed human appetites to control his behavior. Living according to the flesh signifies an immoral lifestyle (often with connotations of sexual sin).

b)  Paul lists the “works of the flesh” in Gal 5:19-21 and describes what it means to live according to the flesh in Rom 8:4-6, 12-13. No one habitually living according to these descriptions is saved.

c)  Is it possible for a Christian to live according to the flesh? In certain ways, yes, at least temporarily. Scriptural admonitions not to live according to the flesh would be meaningless otherwise. Anytime we behave according to the lusts of the “old man” instead of the godly inclinations of the “new man” (Eph 4:22-24), we are walking according to the flesh. If we persist in living according to the flesh, it proves that our salvation is invalid (cf. Rom 8:7-9).

Note: Some conceive of three categories of human existence:[3] 1) Unbelievers are “natural,” i.e., without spiritual life; 2) New believers or immature believers are “carnal”; 3) Mature believers are “spiritual.” Those living in carnality have never matured as Christians and should not be held to the same standards as those who have become “spiritual.” They continue to live much like the surrounding pagan world, yet they should be thought of as genuine believers.

In reality, only two divisions exist among people. Men are saved or lost, sheep or goats, wheat or tares, light or darkness, etc. The true division is between spiritual man (saved) and natural man (unsaved). To describe a group of bickering, bitter Christians as “carnal” is not to establish a new sub-category of Christian existence. Christians may behave like unbelievers in certain cases, and for that they deserve sharp rebuke. But we should not see “carnal” as a label excusing Christians from biblical standards.

By describing believers as “carnal,” Paul is using strong language to force his readers to face up to the inherent inconsistency of their position. They have the Spirit, but at this junction they are neither thinking nor acting as if they do.[4]

We certainly acknowledge that among believers, some are “babes” while others are spiritually mature in the faith. We expect to see different degrees of progress in believers’ Christian experience (i.e., their walk). But those living a habitually ungodly lifestyle must not excuse themselves with the thought that they are merely carnal Christians. If someone exhibits no evidence of regeneration, his condition is not “carnal,” it is “natural,” i.e., unsaved.

d)  Walking “after the flesh” is contrasted in the Bible with walking “in/after the Spirit” (cf. Rom 8:4). You can’t do both. You either follow your own depraved heart or follow the Holy Spirit. Christians strive to bring greater areas of their lives under the Spirit’s control and to give in less frequently to the lust of the flesh.

  1. Do not follow your corrupt heart.

a)                  The biblical writers describe this error as walking after the imagination of your own heart, walking in your own counsels, walking in your own thoughts, and walking after your own devices. In each case, the error is following the counsels of your own mind (rationalism) without considering God’s instructions.

b)                  What’s wrong with following your own heart? Jeremiah tells us that “the heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked” (i.e., terminally ill, Jer 17:9). The psalmist concludes, “He who trusts in his own heart is a fool” (Pr 28:26). One sign of a lost spiritual condition is the determination to go one’s own way like a dim-witted sheep (cf. Isa 53:6).

c)                  When one refuses to “retain God” in his knowledge, God in response gives him over to a reprobate mind (Rom 1:28). The natural inclination of a mind darkened by sin is to reject the Gospel as foolishness (1 Cor 1:18-21).

d)                 Following your own way amounts to rejecting the way of the Lord. One listens either to God or to the counsels of one’s own heart. One’s own way is the wide road that leads to destruction (Mt 7:13f). Believers are those who have left their own way, entered the narrow gate, and now walk along the narrow way that leads to life. Cf. Prov 3:5-6.

e)                  The Christian’s duty is to bring every thought under submission to the Lordship of Christ (2 Cor 10:5). The corrupt human heart will lead us astray. Our primary source of truth and wisdom is God’s Word.

  1. Do not walk by sight.

a)                  Don’t judge by external human senses alone. Our senses may give us an accurate picture of the physical world, but they cannot perceive spiritual things. Spiritual things are “spiritually discerned” (1 Cor 2:14). Our physical senses/feelings give us little insight into the invisible and eternal realm. Instead of trusting in our own senses or powers of discernment, we are to submit ourselves to Christ and his word.

b)                  Don’t judge by outward appearances. Man naturally looks at the outward appearance (cf. 1 Sam 16:7; 2 Cor 10:7), but looks can be deceiving. Satan himself may appear as an angel of light (2 Cor 11:14). External appearance (grace, beauty) is far less important than inner character (cf. Prov 31:30).

c)                  Don’t be materialistic. Walking by sight amounts to following the “lust of the eyes” (1 John 2:16). Many things appeal to our sight, and many people pursue such things. The objects we can see often deceive us and provide no lasting satisfaction.

d)                 Don’t focus on the things of this world. Instead of loving the world and the things of it, we must focus on eternal realities, the “things above” (Col 3:1-3).

[1] The MacArthur Topical Bible

[2] Wesley L. Gerig

[3] Popularized by Lewis Sperry Chafer’s book He That Is Spiritual, 1918.

[4] D. A. Carson 1—WTJ 54 (Spring 1992) 1-29

The Christian Walk: Lesson 1 – Definitions

The Christian Walk: Lesson 1: Definitions

What Does “Walk” Mean?

I. Your walk describes your conduct.

A. When Bible writers tell believers how to “walk,” they are telling us how to live or conduct our behavior (thoughts, words, and deeds). The Christian walk is the Christian life or lifestyle, the believer’s direction or orientation in life. Behavior stems from belief, and the NT writers repeatedly tell us that correct belief ought to produce correct behavior.

B. The word “walk” suggests continuation and persistence. The believer is not standing or sitting; he’s walking. The verb translated “walk” is often used in the present tense in the original language of the Bible, suggesting a continued mode of conduct or behavior. The Christian walk describes an ongoing, normal pattern of life.

C. The Christian walk is an aspect of sanctification, that is, growth in godliness (cf. 2 Pet 3:18). The growing, faithful Christian will strive to walk (live) in a way that is pleasing to God. Believers should desire to “walk humbly with [their] God” (Mic 6:8).

Note the Quote: God has ever been interested in the walk of His saints, desiring that His own character might be reflected in them, and that they might in this way be for His pleasure and glory while passing through the world. To Abraham God said, “I am the Almighty God: walk before my face, and be perfect” (Gen. 17: 1). … Abraham’s life was to be in accord with the revelation that God was pleased to make of Himself to him, and nothing was to be seen in his walk that would be inconsistent with this revelation.

II. Your walk describes the quality of your spiritual life, your “walk with the Lord.”

A. To walk with God describes salvation. Those who walk in close communion with the Lord experience wonderful blessings. Examples:

1. Enoch walked with God and “God took him” (Gen 5:24). The implication is that Enoch knew the Lord very closely, walking with Him in fellowship and obedience, and God translated him directly into heaven. Enoch’s remarkable experience was both a testimony of his deep faith in God (see Heb. 11:5, 6) and a strong reminder at the beginning of biblical history that there is life in God’s presence after death for the people of God.

2. Moses describes Noah as just and perfect among his generation. Summing up Noah’s spiritual condition, the author says, “Noah walked with God” (Gen 6:9). In other words, to walk with God amounts to knowing God or being rightly related to God and enjoying close harmony and fellowship with Him.

3. When God appeared to Abraham, He said, “I am Almighty God; walk before me , and be thou perfect” (Gen 17:1). Later, Abraham described himself in the following terms: “The Lord, before whom I walk…” (Gen 24:40). Jacob stated that Abraham and Isaac walked before God (Gen 48:15). David walked before the Lord by observing (walking in) God’s law (2 Chron 6:16). The psalmist’s desire was to “walk before the Lord in the land of the living” (Ps 116:9). To walk “before the Lord” implies living in God’s presence, under his guidance, and with his approval.

4. Christians should strive to walk “after” the Lord and to walk “in” his ways.

Deuteronomy 13:4 You shall walk after the LORD your God and fear Him, and keep His commandments and obey His voice; you shall serve Him and hold fast to Him.

Joshua 22:5 But take careful heed to do the commandment and the law which Moses the servant of the LORD commanded you, to love the LORD your God, to walk in all His ways, to keep His commandments, to hold fast to Him, and to serve Him with all your heart and with all your soul.

Jeremiah 7:23 But this is what I commanded them, saying, ‘Obey My voice, and I will be your God, and you shall be My people. And walk in all the ways that I have commanded you, that it may be well with you.’

5. God sometimes describes himself as walking with or among his people (e.g., Lev 26:12; Deut 23;14; 2 Sam 7:7). God’s desire is to dwell among his people and “walk in them” (2 Cor 6:16). Christ promises to walk with his worthy people “in white” (Rev 3:4), referring to fellowship in heaven.

6. So it seems to follow that God’s people walk with God. To walk with God implies a saved (regenerate) spiritual condition. To walk with God amounts to fearing him, obeying him, serving him, and holding fast to him.

B. To walk with God describes the quality of your relationship with God.

1. The prophet Amos asked, “Can two walk together except they be agreed?” (Amos 3:3). Of course, the answer is “no, they can’t.” Walking together implies agreement, fellowship, and relationship. Cf. Prov 13:20.

2. We might describe the quality of our spiritual condition in terms of how closely we are walking with God. Our walk with God may be very close and personal, or it may be quite cold and distant. The believer may be walking closely by the Lord’s side, as it were, or far behind or ahead of him. Every genuine believer walks with God, but experience varies regarding how close to God we are walking.

C. Behavior and spiritual condition are closely related; thus, the Christian “walk” describes both spiritual life and daily conduct.

III. Your walk should be consistent.

A. Biblical writers frequently contrast the walk of the individual before coming to faith and after.

1. OT: God expected the Jews to live differently from their pagan past and from their pagan neighbors. Cf. Deut 8:19; 2 Kings 17:8

2. NT: The walk of the “old man” is significantly different from that of the “new man” (Eph 4:22-24; 1 Pet 4:3-4). Regeneration is the decisive factor in how one walks in this world. It’s only after the experience of salvation that one begins to walk with the Lord. Those crucified and raised with Christ by faith must “walk in newness of life” (Rom 6:4). See Col 3:5-10.

B. Unfortunately, some who claim to hold Christian belief deny it by their unchristian behavior—their ungodly walk (cf. Titus 1:15-16; 1 John 3:17, 4:20). One’s walk may contradict his talk. When that is the case, one’s profession of faith either comes into question or proves to be invalid.

The Christian Walk: Contents

The Christian Walk: Contents

The Bible often describes the Christian life in terms of walking or running. The Christian walk begins with a step of faith (salvation) and continues in the daily, practical walk of faith. Living as a Christian is something like a walk in that the believer should be making progress, moving forward, not standing still spiritually. The Christian life is a road or a path the believer travels, and Christians should seek to walk this path in the way that God intends.
This series of lessons seeks to explore what the Bible says about the Christian walk and to apply those principles to practical daily living. We will seek to distill principles from both the OT and the NT as we describe how God’s people ought to live.

Theme Verse: Colossians 2:6–7 As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, as you have been taught, abounding in it with thanksgiving.

William Cowper, 1731–1800
O for a closer walk with God,
A calm and heavenly frame,
A light to shine upon the road
That leads me to the Lamb!
So shall my walk be close with God,
Calm and serene my frame;
So purer light shall mark the road
That leads me to the Lamb.

Note: While the Bible contains many synonyms for “walk” (e.g., go, run, live, step, follow), this material mostly focuses on passages that use the word “walk.”

Lesson 1: Introduction and Definitions

Part 1: How Not to Walk
Lesson 2: How Not to Walk, part 1
Lesson 3: How Not to Walk, part 2
Lesson 4: How Not to Walk, part 3

Part 2: How to Walk
Lesson 5: Walk Rooted and Built Up
Lesson 6: Walk in Obedience
Lesson 7: Walk in Truth and Sincerity
Lesson 8 Walk in the Old Paths; in the Ways of Good Men
Lesson 9: Walk Uprightly/Righteously
Lesson 10: Walk in the Fear of God
Lesson 11: Walk in the Name of the Lord our God
Lesson 12: Walk by Faith
Lesson 13: Walk in Newness of Life
Lesson 14: Walk in the Spirit (3 parts)

Lesson 15: Walk According to Your Calling
Lesson 16: Walk Decently/Properly
Lesson 17: Walk Humbly
Lesson 18: Walk in Good Works
Lesson 19: Walk Worthy
Lesson 20: Walk in the Light
Lesson 21: Walk in Love
Lesson 22: Walk Circumspectly
Lesson 23: As Christ Walked

© Brad Anderson, Liberty Baptist Church of Antigo, WI, Fall-Spring 2012-2013. This is the teacher’s edition of the notes. The blanks are filled in. To make a student copy, simply empty the blanks and print out the students’ copies. Resources footnoted.

Bible Boot Camp: Lesson 15: How to Get the Most from a Sermon

Bible Boot Camp: Lesson 15: How to Get the Most from a Sermon

Mortimer Adler wrote an influential book called “How to Read a Book.” Odd title—how could one read that book if he didn’t know how to read a book? Adler’s book focuses on what questions to ask and what to look for as you read, how to analyze the author’s arguments, how to mark up the book for later use. Millions have found Adler’s book very helpful.

Just like people don’t know how to read a book, they don’t know how to listen to a sermon. Millions every week find the messages they hear dull, boring and irrelevant simply because they have not learned how to enjoy and profit from a message.

What can you do to make a sermon more personally meaningful?1

  1. Prior to the sermon: prepare yourself.

Most people think that a sermon begins when the speaker opens his mouth to start preaching. But getting the most out of a sermon starts prior to the message.

    1. During the week: The more we personally worship the Lord during the week (in Bible study, prayer, song, righteous living, etc.), the more prepared we will be to corporately worship him come Sunday. If church services are the only time you spend in worship, you’ll likely not get much from the message.

Pray for the speaker throughout the week, asking for God to help him prepare and preach the appropriate messages. When we pray thus, it creates within us an expectancy and anticipation that God may use the message to directly minister to us. Congregations often get what they pray for in this regard.

    1. Saturday night: Don’t stay out so late on Saturday night that you can’t function on Sunday morning. Get to bed early enough to get a good night’s sleep. Have Sunday morning planned out beforehand (clothing, breakfast, travel plans, etc.). Begin thinking about and planning for the Lord’s Day the night before.

Here’s an Idea: Plan a special “Lord’s Day Eve” meal and family time on Saturday night to prepare for Sunday. Include Scripture reading and prayer after the meal with a focus on teaching the children different aspects of church life. Take time to get everything ready to go for Sunday morning. Create anticipation and excitement within your family for the Lord’s Day.

    1. Sunday morning:

      1. Spend time in personal worship at home (Bible reading and prayer) before leaving for church. Ask God to prepare your own heart for worship and to bless the worship service, especially the preaching.

      2. It may be wise to eat only a light breakfast to prevent lethargy.

      3. Allow plenty of time to get ready and get to church early. Plan to arrive at least 10 minutes prior to the beginning of the service.

      4. At church, prior to the service:

  • Greet others warmly. Look for visitors or new people to meet and greet.

  • Look over the bulletin. Read through the Scripture text and/or outline if given.

  • Think about the purpose of the service–to bring honor and glory to God, to worship, to receive encouragement, to be challenged and to be taught.

  • Think about God’s perfect character and attributes – wisdom, power, glory, grace, mercy, etc.

  • Spend time in silent contemplation. Prepare your heart for the service to follow.

  • Try to anticipate and eliminate distractions both with yourself and with your family members. Prepare yourself to pay attention.

  • Humble yourself before the Lord by confessing sin. Thank God for his mercy toward you and his invitation for you to come boldly before the throne of grace. Ask God to help the speaker communicate clearly and to help you understand and apply the message.

  • Think about how God might use you to encourage or challenge someone else.

Remember that the speaker has put a lot of time and effort into his message with the express purpose of helping and exhorting the audience. Show that you appreciate and value his efforts by remaining alert and showing that you are interested.

  1. During the sermon:

    1. Try to listen carefully. Good preaching appeals first to the mind, so your mind must be fully engaged. Being attentive requires self-discipline. Our minds tend to wander and daydream. But listening to the message is a part of the worship we offer to God. It’s a prime opportunity for us to hear what God is teaching us. Don’t insult the speaker (or God) by daydreaming, tuning out, horsing around or snoozing during the message.

    2. Maintain eye contact with the speaker. This gives you something to focus on and gives the speaker the impression that you are listening.

    3. Turn to the appropriate passages in the Bible and read along silently. It’s beneficial to see the biblical text the message is coming from so you can evaluate what the speaker is saying (C.f., Acts 17:11). The rustling of pages is one extra sound most pastors enjoy hearing during their messages.

    4. Respond positively with nonverbal cues – smile, laugh, nod your head, say “Amen.”

    5. Take notes or follow the outline if one is provided. Write your own outline and see how it compares to the published one. Taking notes is an excellent way to stay focussed during the message.

    6. Think about how to respond personally to the message (c.f., James 1:22). Good preaching always applies the Bible to daily life.

  • What sins must I confess and forsake?

  • What duties must I fulfill? What commands must I obey?

  • What comforts and promises can I count on?

  • How does this message encourage or challenge me?

  • How must I change my attitudes and/or behaviors?

From the Westminster Confession:

It is required of these that hear the Word preached that they attend upon it with diligence, preparation and prayer; examine what they hear by the Scriptures; receive the truth with faith, love, meekness and readiness of mind; meditate upon it; hide it in their hearts; and bring forth the fruit of it in their lives.

  1. Review after the service.

  • Talk to the speaker about your impression of the sermon, either good or bad.

  • Quiz family members or friends about the main points of the sermon.

  • Discuss the purpose of the sermon and how one should respond to it.

  • Discuss anything about the sermon that was confusing or hard to understand.

  • Discuss the other parts of the service–music, prayer, etc.

  • Avoid being overly critical of the “performance” of the preacher. Focus instead on the content of the message.

Note the quote: “Something important happens when we hear a good sermon: God speaks to us. Through the inward ministry of the Holy Spirit, He uses His Word to calm our fears, comfort our sorrows, disturb our consciences, expose our sins, proclaim His grace, and reassure us in the faith. But these are all affairs of the heart, not just matters of the mind, so listening to a sermon can never be a merely intellectual exercise. We need to receive Biblical truth in our hearts, allowing what God says to influence what we love, what we desire and what we praise.”2

Listening to a sermon requires a prepared soul, an alert mind, and open Bible and a receptive heart. But the best way to tell whether we are listening is by the way we live.

1 Some of this material from “Prepare and Participate: Practical Suggestions on Your Role in Worship at North City Presbyterian Church” in Power Preaching for Church Growth by David Eby (Mentor Press,1996)

2 Philip G. Ryken, “Tuning In” TableTalk (Ligonier Ministries), Mar 2003, pp. 14-16.

Bible Boot Camp: Lesson 14: Christian Growth

Bible Boot Camp: Lesson 14: Christian Growth

When a person gets saved, he begins a new life. According to 2 Corinthians 5:17, old things have passed away and all things have become new. At this stage, the new believer is much like an infant; in fact, Bible refers to a new believer as a baby. Like physical babies, new believers need to grow, develop, and become strong and mature. This lesson will explore the process of Christian growth.

1. Read 2 Peter 3:18. Is growth a biblical idea? yes

What are two areas Christians are to grow in? grace and knowledge

By “grace” Peter is speaking of the Christian life in general. “Grow as a Christian” is the idea. Many aspects of the Christian life are capable of growth—faith may grow exceedingly, hope abound, love increase, and patience have its perfect work, and saints may grow more humble, holy, and self-denying.

Paul said (Phil 3.10) “That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings.” He’s talking about an increased understanding of and walk with Christ. That should be our goal as well.

How can one grow in his/her knowledge of Christ? Read the Bible, read theology, talk to mature believers, formal study–Christian college, seminary. There’s also a more subjective/personal knowledge that one acquires as he experiences the Christian life.

  1. Read 2 Peter 1:5-8. What does this passage suggest about Christian growth? We are continually adding, building, getting more mature. There is no plateau, no end of the growth process.

  2. Read Ephesians 4:11-13. What goals does the author write about here? Being prepared for works of service, reaching the unity of faith and knowledge, becoming mature, attaining the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.

  3. Read 2 Timothy 3:16-17. How can one become “thoroughly equipped for every good work”? thru the Word

  4. Read Hebrews 10:23-25. What is one of the benefits of church attendance? Others provoke us to love and good works.

  5. Read Ephesians 4:22-24. This passage gives us a good outline of how Christian growth takes place. Notice the three steps involved:

  • Put off the old man. The “old man” is the previous, unsaved lifestyle. Paul is telling us to put away the former sinful way of life. The first step toward Christian growth is quitting the sinful habits and behaviors that you indulged in prior to salvation. This may require that you stop going to the places and/or being with the people associated with former sinful behavior patterns. A clean break with the old unsaved life is required.

  • Be renewed in the spirit of your mind. We renew our minds through exposure to the Word of God. As we read, listen to, think about, and memorize Scripture, we come to a new way of thinking, which influences our way of living. Faithful attendance at church and participation in Bible studies can greatly help the renewal process.

  • Put on the new man. The new man is the lifestyle appropriate for Christians, the new way of life that accompanies new spiritual life. We must adopt those behavior patterns that the Bible commands us to pursue.

Remember that the believer has two natures, that is, two sets of characteristics: the old and the new. The old nature is that set of characteristics that is hostile to godliness and influences one toward sin. One receives a new nature, a new set of characteristics, at the point of salvation. This nature longs for the things of God–holiness, righteousness, purity, etc. The old, sinful nature still exists, but it need no longer control the believer. Believers are free from the power of sin to control their lives.

That doesn’t mean that we no longer struggle with sin. The Christian must continually strive to undercut, uproot and disable the old nature so that it has less influence, while feeding the new nature so that it has more control. Sin still dwells within the believer. He is a new creation, but not a perfect creation. He is no longer a slave to sin. With God’s help, he can overcome sin and live a righteous, although not perfect, life.

  1. Read Luke 22:40. Prayer is another key element of Christian growth. Prayer shows that we are relying upon God’s strength for the ability to make progress in the Christian life. Ask for God’s help in turning from sin and toward holiness.

  2. Read Philippians 2:12-13. The power for growth in holiness rests entirely with God. Nevertheless, the writers of the NT constantly exhort believers to work and strive toward spiritual growth. We are responsible to put to death the deeds of the flesh and to present our bodies a living sacrifice. So while sanctification is clearly God’s work, the believer must expend effort and discipline himself if he wants to grow.

What disciplines will help the believer grow? Bible reading and prayer (daily devotions), church participation, giving

Conclusion: Christian growth is a gradual process whereby believers become more and more Christlike. As a person obeys the Bible and submits himself to its principles, he will become a stronger and more mature Christian. Keys to growth include Bible intake, church participation, a clean break with past sinful patterns of life and a commitment to adopting biblical behaviors.


  1. What does Peter mean by “grow in grace”? Grow in Christian graces such as kindness, humility, mercy, love, etc. General growth.

  2. Why is church attendance so important for growth? It’s where you hear the Word taught and preached, where others encourage and even rebuke you, and where you fellowship with other believers.

  3. What is the “old man”? The sinful, pre-conversion lifestyle.

  4. How does one renew his mind? Thru exposure to the Bible

  5. Is growth primarily God’s work or man’s? God motivates it and man works toward it.

Bible Boot Camp: Lesson 13: Stewardship

Bible Boot Camp: Lesson 13: Stewardship

A steward is a manager or administrator. He takes care of other people’s property, and is rewarded or punished for how well he does his job. Jesus used the idea of stewards in his parables (e.g., Luke 12:42, 16:3). Believers are stewards in that God has entrusted to them various resources, and He expects them to use them properly. To do so requires discipline. It’s easy to squander what God has given, or to think that the things God gives are really one’s own. But believers don’t own anything. They are just taking care of God’s property.

Matthew 25:21 His lord said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.’

Luke 16:10 He who is faithful in what is least is faithful also in much; and he who is unjust in what is least is unjust also in much.

1 Corinthians 4:2 Moreover it is required in stewards that one be found faithful.

Colossians 4:17 And say to Archippus, “Take heed to the ministry which you have received in the Lord, that you may fulfill it.”

Note some important areas of stewardship:

  1. Time

Ephesians 5:15-16 Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, redeeming the time because the days are evil.

Time is not our own to be used as we see fit, but is a gift or resource from God that believers are to use in ways that would please and honor God. Paul tells us to “redeem the time,” that is, make the most of every opportunity. We don’t know how much time we have; therefore, we should use our time to accomplish the most for God as possible.

How one uses time is a telling commentary on his or her level of discipline. One who can fritter away hours doing nothing of value or merit shows a low level of discipline. While believers should carve out time for rest and relaxation, too much time spent on unprofitable activities can be destructive. There’s some truth in the old saying, “Idle hands are the Devil’s workshop.” Time on earth must be spent doing God’s business and preparing for eternity. Time is short and is passing away. Believers will give an account to God regarding how they spent their time. Discipline yourself to “redeem the time.”

  1. Money

There is no excuse for financial irresponsibility. You may not have much money, and you may wish you had more, but whatever amount you have comes from God, and you must handle it as a careful steward.

Biblical principles regarding money and its use:

  1. God owns everything. He entrusts His resources to stewards (Ps 24:1).

  2. Don’t love money or be materialistic. Greed gets one into trouble (Luke 12:15; 1 Tim 6.8-10).

  3. Being rich should not be a primary goal of life (Prov 23:4).

  4. Labor to meet the needs of your family (1 Tim 5:8).

  5. Give generously and cheerfully to support the work of the ministry (2 Cor 9.6-8). Generous giving results in generous blessing (Luke 6:38). Giving is an act of worship (Phil 4:18). Giving reflects your level of faith (Mark 12:41f). Giving should be planned and systematic (1 Cor 16:1-2).

  6. Save money now for later (Prov 6:6-8).

  1. Body

Think of your body as a tool that God has given you to serve Him. Just like any tool, it can be used for good or for evil, in appropriate or inappropriate ways. It takes discipline to use your body for the glory of God and not for your own purposes.

Remember Paul’s words: “Your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit . . . and you are not your own. Therefore, glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s” (1 Cor 6.19-20). He further tells us to “present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God” (Rom 12:1).

We may be tempted to think that if we own anything, we surely own our own bodies. But such is not the case. God owns our bodies, and He tells us very clearly what He wants us to do with them. It takes discipline to follow God’s commands regarding how we use our bodies.

Believers must discipline (“keep under” 1 Cor 9:27) their bodies. One should take care of his body. Eat the right kinds of foods, avoid destructive foods and activities, and exercise. Keep your body healthy and fit. Doing so prevents sin and allows one to be an effective tool in God’s service.

Note: Part of your body is your mind, your brain. Believers must discipline themselves to use their brains in a way that would honor God. Christianity is an intellectual, mind-intensive way of life. Christians must not be undisciplined and unguarded in their thinking. They are to renew their mind through exposure to God’s Word (Rom 12:2). Don’t be a lazy-minded person.

Philippians 4:8 Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.

  1. Gifts/talents

God has given every believer at least one spiritual gift (1 Cor 12:7). He is responsible to use whatever gifts and talents he has for the good of others. The church is the context for the use of one’s spiritual gifts. One should use his talents and abilities to enhance the ministry of his church. Believers are accountable for how well they managed and employed their gifts. For one to be gifted, and then not to use that gift in God’s service, is a great shame.

1 Pet 4:10 As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.

  1. Truth

Believers are managers of a message–the gospel and the other contents of the Bible. Individual believers, churches, denominations and other organizations are responsible to both protect and project that message.

  • Protect: defend the truth against the onslaughts of anyone who would tear it down (apologetics). Believers must stand for correct doctrine and expose false teaching.

  • Project: send the message to those who have not heard (evangelism)

Note: There is a sense in which the Bible is independent from man, and a sense in which it is under man’s stewardship. Because it’s God’s Word, which cannot be bound, destroyed or annulled, one could say that man has no power to uphold or destroy the Bible. On the other hand, because man is responsible to translate, preach and send forth the message of Scripture, there is a sense in which the Bible is under the care of believers.

Another Note: Believers will give an account of their stewardship at the Judgment Seat of Christ (1 Cor 3:11f). This judgment will be based on how well you managed the resources God entrusted to you. Those who served God faithfully and fruitfully will be well-rewarded, while those who did not will see their works go up in smoke.

Conclusion: Every Christian is a steward or manager of the things God has given him. One’s time, money, body, and talents should all be employed in God’s service. Even the Bible and its message are under the stewardship of believers in a sense. Strive to be a good steward of everything God has given you.

For Further Discussion:

  1. What is a steward? Manager, superintendent, supervisor, administrator

  2. How can one say that all things come from God? Don’t people work for their money and things? God is sovereignly permitting you to work for money. God gives us abilities and talents that we use to make money. He works it out so that you have a job or some other source of income. So everything goes back to God.

  3. When will believers give an account of their stewardship? At the Judgment Seat of Christ (1 Cor 3:11f)

  4. What resources are believers stewards of? Money, time, body, talents, truth