So Walk Ye In Him
1. We have in Col.2:6 the simplest and most concise explanation in the Bible on HOW TO LIVE the Christian life.
2. This is a Christian life course in a little nugget. If you can get this in your head, you’ve got it in a nutshell!
The Christian Life as a Walk
A. Walk Defined
1. Peripateo: to make one’s way, progress; Hebrew for, to live; to regulate one’s life; behave; to conduct one’s self.
2. This is an extremely common New Testament term which comes into the Greek from a Hebrew concept.
a. To the Hebrew, life was a journey… a pilgrimage…
b. To the patriarchs, life on earth was a sojourn… dwelling in tents… looking forward to our final rest in that heavenly city. (Heb. 11:9-10)
3. The concept of a walk is a good illustration for life.
a. It pictures movement and progress forward. (Putting one foot in front of the other.)
b. It implies forethought… thinking about one’s steps. (Prov. 4:26 – ponder the path of thy feet.)
c. It implies direction. (You ought to know where you are walking TO.)
d. It implies a pre-set course… a well worn path that others have traveled… following in the steps of others who have gone on before. (A great cloud of witnesses who have walked in faith and finished their course!)
e. It implies potential danger along the way.
f. It implies various road conditions. (Uphill; rocky; smooth; slippery; gentle paths; etc.)
g. It implies the possibility of stepping out of line and heading off course. (Prov. 4:27)
h. It implies diligence needed along the way. (More effort, more progress; less effort, less progress.)
i. It implies the possibility of growing weary and tired… and even quitting!
j. It implies a final destination… an end of the road.
4. Repeatedly the New Testament speaks of the Christian life as a particular KIND of walk:
a. II Cor. 5:7 – we walk by faith.
b. Rom. 4:12 – walk in the steps of that faith of our father Abraham.
c. Rom. 6:4 – walk in newness of life.
d. Eph. 2:10 – good works, which God hath before ordained? that we should walk in them.
e. Eph.4:1 – we are to walk worthy of our high calling.
f. III John 3 – ?I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth.
g. Gal. 5:16 – Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.
h. Eph. 5:2 – ?And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us.
i. Col.4:5 – Walk in wisdom toward them that are without, redeeming the time.
j. I John 1:7 – we walk in the light, as He is in the light.
k. Acts 9:31 – walking in the fear of the Lord.
Walking By Faith
A. So Walk Ye AS Ye Have Received Christ Jesus
1. We are commanded here to WALK. But HOW do we walk? How are we to live as a Christian?
2. All kinds of various groups have devised their own theories about HOW to live the Christian life.
a. The 7th Day Adventists say, “You are saved by grace, but once saved, you must then keep the law. Walk according to the law.”
b. The Covenant Theologian says something quite similar:
• Dr. Martin Lloyd-Jones: “The Christian must never say farewell to the law. Thank God, we are no longer under it as a way of salvation; but we are to keep it, we are to honor it, we are to practice it in our daily life.”
• J.C. Ryle: “Genuine sanctification will show itself in habitual respect for God’s law, and habituation effort to LIVE in obedience to it as a rule of life.”
c. The Roman Catholic Church has devised a rather complicated system of “how to live” the Christian life… including keeping the 10 commandments, holy days, church traditions, memorizing catechisms, keeping the sacraments, reciting prayers, rosary beads, going to confession, keeping the Mass each week, fasting, going through the stations of the cross, etc… live that way—and hope you don’t slip up and die with a mortal sin on your soul, or you’re going to hell!
d. Wesleyanism developed its own brand of sanctification… how to live the Christian life. He proposed that perfection was possible in this life… and in a moment of time! He taught that we can arrive at a place where we no longer sin. (Charles Wesley: “Love Divine all Loves Excelling” = “take away our bent to sinning”!!)
3. The church at Colossae was faced with a similar confusion concerning how to live the Christian life.
a. Col. 2:8 – the false teachers were offering their views: walk according to their philosophy of life; walk according to the tradition of men; walk according to the rudiments of the world!
b. Col. 2:16 – they seemed to include a mixture of Jewish legalism too.
c. Col. 2:22 – walk according to the commandments and doctrines of men.
d. Col. 2:23 – pagan asceticism…
e. The Gnostic like cult taught that they and they alone contained special divine secrets for life… and only the initiated would be able to partake of these special secrets… which were an integral part of their mystery religion.
f. The early church faced a whole host of corrupted views of Christianity.
g. Today, we face much more! 2000 years worth of corruption! Virtually any crazy doctrine you can imagine, and some church/denomination teaches it somewhere!
4. The Colossian believers, once saved, then had to face another important question: now that I am saved, HOW shall I therefore LIVE?
a. Other than “What must I do to be saved?” this is perhaps the next most important question one should ask.
b. Unfortunately, after asking “What must I do to be saved?” many believers stop asking and start assuming!
c. They are told to DO THIS and DO THAT. Get busy serving… oftentimes without knowing HOW to live!
d. The Colossians (like us) were bombarded with all kinds of voices offering various answers on “how to live.”
e. It is an honest question. An excellent question. One that needs answering – soon after a person is saved. (Why waste valuable months… years… struggling to walk with God the wrong way?)
f. If you’ve ever struggled with that question, you’re in good company. So has every other honest believer!
5. Rom. 7:14-24 – Even the apostle Paul himself STRUGGLED trying to the live the Christian life… before he was taught of God HOW.
a. Paul was saved out of Judaism.
b. He was groomed his whole life to live under the Law of Moses. He was trained as a Pharisee.
c. Once Paul was saved as a Christian, he continued to live as he did before as a Jew—trying to keep the Law of Moses.
d. It would have been quite natural for him to ASSUME that he was to live under the Law. After all, it was God’s law!
e. Thus, as a new Christian, ignorant of the rule of life for the believer of this age, Paul attempted to keep the law and produce good fruit.
f. Vs. 22 – We know that this section describes Paul as a believer, because in his struggle he states that he DELIGHTS in the law of God after the inward man. The old man does not delight in God’s law! He hates it!
g. Vs. 19 – Paul discovered that he desired to do good, but was incapable! He also discovered that he did not want to do evil, but found himself powerless to prevent it!
h. Vs. 22-23 – He wanted to do what was right before God, but ended up behaving like a slave to sin!
i. Vs. 24 – trying to be good seemed hopeless. He saw himself as a useless wretch… and desperately wanted someone to SAVE him from himself! He is looking for a Savior… a Deliverer, but not a Savior from the PENALTY of sin. That was settled. He was now looking for a Savior from the POWER of sin in his daily life.
• When a man first gets saved, he seems to be living on cloud 9 for a while… enjoying the new life in Christ… everything is fresh, new, and exciting.
• But eventually that bubble breaks… and he discovers that although he knows that he has new life, he is not quite sure on how to LIVE the life!
• He soon discovers the awful nature of indwelling sin: his biting tongue; his unholy thought life; wrong attitudes; anger; lustful thoughts; covetousness; jealousy… Those issues don’t disappear just because we are saved!
j. Paul too wanted to know HOW TO LIVE as a Christian. On his own, he continually failed.
k. Finally, defeated, deflated, and discouraged, he cried out to God for help… for Deliverance.
l. WHO shall deliver me? (Notice that Paul was not looking for some new theological scheme… or a new philosophy of life… He was looking for a PERSON… a Person outside of himself! Someone with the ABILITY to deliver a sinner from the power of daily sin.
m. Vs. 25 – he finally turned to the Lord Jesus Christ… the Savior from sin!
n. God brought Paul to a place of learning… some important lessons that are NECESSARY to learn BEFORE we can ever know HOW TO LIVE as a Christian.
• Paul had to learn the hopelessness of trying to live a Christlike life in the flesh. (vs. 18) This is a painful but necessary lesson.
• Paul had to learn that the rule of life for the believer was not the Law of Moses, but a PERSON.
• Paul had to learn not to RELY upon self… not to TRUST in his own strength… but to rely upon and put his total TRUST in Another… even Jesus Christ!
• Putting one’s total trust in Another, namely, Christ is called FAITH.
• Jesus Christ said that He was the TRUTH. Paul had to learn that to live the Christian life, he had to learn to TRUST in the TRUTH.
• How was he to live? By faith resting upon and relying upon Jesus Christ… the Truth. He is the WAY of life. He is the TRUTH we rest upon. He is LIFE itself! To live is Christ!
• In other words, Paul had to STOP relying upon his own efforts and works… and TRUST in Christ and Him alone!
• That’s how we are to LIVE the Christian life… by FAITH.
B. As ye have received Christ Jesus the Lord
1. AS you received Christ… this answers the question, “How should I walk?”
a. We are to walk in Christ in the same way that we received Christ.
b. We are to continue living the Christian life in the same way we began.
2. How did you receive Christ?
a. John 1:12 – Here John defines receiving Christ as BELIEVING on His name… believing on Him.
b. Acts 16:31 – BELIEVE on the Lord Jesus Christ!
c. Of course, first we had to hear the FACTS of the gospel (who Christ is; what He did).
d. Then BELIEVING, we received Christ as our personal Savior.
e. By BELIEVING Christ becomes ours… and we become His.
f. Through faith, Christ comes to dwell within us.
g. Through faith, we appropriate Christ into our personal lives. He is no longer just the Savior of the world, He becomes MY Savior! He lives in me! And I am now in Him.
h. All of this is by FAITH.
3. How DID you BEGIN the Christian life?
a. We began with that initial step of faith.
b. How are we to walk? We are to CONTINUE taking steps of faith… continue the same way you began!
c. You began by trusting in Christ and trusting in Him alone. Continue walking by the same faith! With that same intensity!
d. Gal.3:11 – We are not only justified by faith, but the just shall LIVE by faith!
• We are not only justified by faith; we are sanctified by faith too!
• The Galatian believers were in a similar situation as the Colossians. They began well—by faith.
• But false teachers beguiled them with enticing words… and turned them back to the LAW as a rule of life.
• Hence, they were no longer living by faith.
• They started off by faith (Gal. 3:2-3)
• But they did not continue by faith. They then began to WALK by the Law… and by the efforts of the flesh.
• That’s almost like saying to God, “I needed you for salvation, but now that I’m saved, I’m all set thanks. I’ll take care of the sin problems myself. I’ll just follow the law… and DO it!”
e. We trust in Christ as our Savior from sin’s penalty and condemnation. But we are also to trust in Christ as our Savior from sin’s POWER in our daily lives!
f. We need the Savior to deliver us from BOTH (sin’s penalty and sin’s power)
4. The Christian life began with FAITH attaching itself to and resting upon Christ, who is the TRUTH… the church’s one foundation.
a. The Christian life is to continue in that same way.
b. We don’t come to the Savior once for salvation, and then go off on our own strength for the rest of our days!
c. No – we come to Christ for salvation, and then continually come to him, day by day… moment by moment… depending upon Him… constantly abiding in His presence.
d. Heb. 4:16 – we are to be continually coming to the throne of grace… because we have needs moment by moment.
e. This is faith: faith is dependence upon God; an expression of need; when we were an unsaved sinner we came to Christ because we discovered we had a need we could not meet… and realized we NEEDED a Savior. Now that we are saved, we STILL have a need… to live the life. And we are equally dependent upon the Savior for that too!
f. Keep on walking with the same kind of faith resting in the same Person. He is all we need!
g. The sinner comes to the Savior at the cross, TRUSTS in His finished work, and finds forgiveness; the saint comes to the risen, ascended, glorified Savior at the Father’s right hand in heavenly places, and finds power for living… and is thus ABLE to walk in newness of life.
h. Our own efforts were powerless and futile in any attempt to produce salvation in our own strength. Our own efforts are equally powerless in an attempt to produce sanctification in our own strength.
i. The only way to be saved is through FAITH (abandoning self effort and relying totally upon Christ); the only way to LIVE the Christian life is through FAITH (abandoning all self effort and relying totally upon Christ).
j. How did we BEGIN our Christian life? How did we get saved? How did we receive Christ Jesus our Lord?
• By FAITH we appropriated Christ!
• We chose to “cease from our own works” and “enter into rest” – resting in His finished work.
• It finally sunk in that in our flesh dwells no good thing… and all my righteousnesses are as filthy rags… and if I am ever going to be accepted in God’s sight, I need to abandon my own righteousness… and receive Christ… receive by faith HIS righteousness… receive by faith HIS life… receive by faith HIM! (Rejecting self effort and trusting in Christ alone.)
• This too is how we are to LIVE the Christian life (rejecting self effort and relying totally on Christ.)
• We were saved by faith. We are to walk by faith… not by impulses… or gut feelings… or intuition… or senses… or by circumstances… or presumption… or by sight. We walk by faith… a faith that rests upon the FACTS of God’s Word.
Walking In Christ
1. In Christ.
a. Walking IN Christ means walking in UNION with Him.
b. It means that we are to walk in the consciousness of our UNION with Him.
c. By faith we were united to Christ… baptized into His Body.
d. By faith we were united to Christ in His death and resurrection. (Col. 2:12)
e. By faith we were raised up with Him into heavenly places.
f. By faith, we have been organically united to Christ as our Head… as a branch to the Vine…
g. We have been united to the One who is the source and supply for our every need. He is our LIFE.
h. Every true believer is IN Christ. That is our position.
i. Now that we are saved, God wants us to WALK in Christ… we are to walk… conscious of this glorious union… believing that we are in Him and He is in us… and thus in Him we have all we need.
j. This is what it means to walk by faith: moment by moment believing, trusting, and resting in Christ as our all in all… and coming to Him moment by moment for those needs to be met.
k. As we by faith rest in Him—as we come to Him daily, hungry, thirsty, and needy… he DELIGHTS in meeting our every need!
2. So walk ye in Him… (present tense)
a. Walk = continually walk in Him… constantly conduct yourselves… continually order your steps…
b. We received Christ Jesus in a moment of time. But our walk is ongoing…
c. We were saved in a moment… we were UNITED to Christ positionally by being baptized into His Body in a moment of time.
d. But our walk is conditional. Our walk… our abiding in Him… our daily conduct… living the life does not speak of our unchangeable position, but our very changeable condition.
e. It is our personal responsibility to be abiding… to be walking by faith… moment by moment.
f. The second a branch refuses to abide in the Vine, it is powerless… a branch that is not resting in the Vine by faith is left to its own puny resources… and is weak indeed!
g. Hence, our faith and confidence in Christ needs to be ongoing…
h. When our dependence upon Christ is interrupted, we are powerless… as a branch that is plucked off the vine.
i. One man put it this way: “Yesterday’s strength is of no support in today’s difficulties.”
j. We must be CONSTANTLY abiding… moment by moment… day by day… constantly filling our minds and hearts with God’s Word… constantly fellowshipping with believers… constantly praying… constantly assembling together and constantly being knit together with the saints. Therein lies our spiritual strength.
k. The same faith that saved us and gave us life, supports us and enables us to LIVE that life… enables us to walk in newness of life…
l. It is by FAITH that we receive Christ and thus experienced victory over the penalty of sin; it is the same faith that enables us to manifest the indwelling life of the resurrected Christ in our lives… and experience victory over the power of sin.
m. And because of that abiding faith, resting in Christ as a branch in the Vine, we can thus say, “I can do all things THROUGH Christ who strengtheneth me.”
n. His indwelling strength flows through the believer by faith… resting in Him. We are enabled to LIVE the life.
o. When that is the case, we are no longer struggling and striving. We are simply WALKING… how easy is that?
3. The danger the Colossians faced.
a. The false teachers were trying to lure them away from the truth.
b. The false teachers had ANOTHER plan for living the Christian life (philosophies and traditions of men; Jewish legalism; pagan asceticism).
c. All of this was designed by the devil to LURE believers away from the simplicity that is found in Christ.
d. Col. 2:3 – in Him are found ALL the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. We need nothing more!
e. How does Paul counteract the attacks of the Gnostic like cult? He lifts up the Lord Jesus Christ! (image of the invisible God; creator; sustainer; redeemer; reconciler; the content of God’s mystery; the means of our salvation, spiritual growth and maturity; the fullness of God; all we need! He is to have ALL the preeminence.
f. The Colossian believers didn’t need some new thing… they didn’t need the so called secret mysteries from the cultists… they didn’t need some special KEY for living.
g. They already POSSESSED all they need in Christ!
h. And AS they received Him by faith—they were to CONTINUE WALKING in that same faith… trusting, relying, resting upon Him…
i. Christ was the solid foundation that would hold them up. (He holds the universe together!)
j. They were justified by faith; now that they are justified, the just are to LIVE by faith!
k. Hold on to Christ by faith; abide in Him by faith; be sure that your faith is continually embracing and appropriating Christ who is the truth—and don’t be swerved away from Him for anything! He is all we need.
l. Christianity is very simple.
• He that hath the Son hath life!
• For to me to live is Christ.
m. Without Him we can do nothing. Yet we can do ALL things through Christ who strengtheneth us.
n. The moment you were saved you put your total reliance upon Christ and His finished work. Now keep on doing that! Walk that way… live that way…
o. We came to Him for salvation… now keep on coming to Him in faith moment by moment… day by day… for guidance… for strength… wisdom… for grace to help in time of need… for encouragement… comfort… for forgiveness… for restoration… and for every other need!
p. And when we stumble, we come to Christ in faith… in utter helplessness… in our need—and He supplies our every need. And He delights in doing so!
IF YOU ARE NOT SAVED: Come to Christ in faith! (John 1:12)
· Receive Him by faith and He will give you eternal life.
· It doesn’t matter what your walk has been. Come to Christ just as you are… a sinner… but a repentant sinner… a sinner who has changed his mind and now CHOOSES Christ!
· You could work on improving your walk for the next 50 years and end up in hell forever.
· HOW do we receive Christ Jesus the Lord? Not by good works… but through faith.
· John 6:37 – him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.
· If you come to Christ in faith—just as you are—He will give you new life… eternal life!
· THEN and only then you can begin to WALK the walk! Then He comes to live within you and give you new desires… new goals… a new nature… a new life… an abundant life.
· Won’t you come and be saved today?