Leaning on Jesus

Ephesians 5:1-2 ESV

“Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.”

It is God’s will, as followers of Jesus Christ, that we should emulate him. We should be like him in our thinking, in our attitudes, in our values and in our behaviors. We are to be Christlike in all that we do. We are to be holy in all our conduct as he is holy. We are to live our lives separate (unlike, different) from the world, because we are being conformed to the image of God.

And, we are to walk (conduct our lives) in (agape) love, which prefers what God prefers, which is what is holy, pure, upright, godly, moral, and honest. And, it considers what is in the best interest of others, i.e. what is for their good, for their well-being both physically and spiritually, as Jesus did for us.

And, we are to give our lives to God as living sacrifices to him, holy and pleasing to him, which is our acceptable worship of him. We are to no longer be conformed to the ways of this sinful world, but we are to be transformed of the Spirit of God away from sin to obedience to Christ (Rom. 12:1-2).

And, we are to give up our time, our talents, our desires, and our reputations, too, in order to love others as Jesus loved us and gave his life up for us. And, why did he do that? In order that we might be delivered out of our slavery to sin and so we might walk in his holiness in his power.

Ephesians 5:3-5 ESV

“But sexual immorality and all impurity or covetousness must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints. Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving. For you may be sure of this, that everyone who is sexually immoral or impure, or who is covetous (that is, an idolater), has no inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God.”

So, in order to emulate our Lord and to walk in his love, we must first forsake our former lives of living for sin and self. There shouldn’t even be a hint of sexual immorality among us. We should no longer be walking according to our flesh, doing what we desire, living to please self. But we should be those who are surrendered to Jesus, living to please him.

Nonetheless, it seems these days that not many people are taking this to heart. And, so there is not much of a distinction between the people of the world and the people of the church. For, many who profess faith in Jesus Christ are not growing to maturity in Christ, but they are going backwards, continuing in or returning to their old ways of living for the flesh.

They are spiritually immature, and/or they are childish and self-indulgent, looking to do what pleases their flesh, and not seeking to please God with their lives. For, they are following their sin nature. They are spiritually lazy – apathetic to the matters of the Spirit of God. For, they are resting in their own authority, not the authority of God. They are still the ones on the throne of their lives. And, they are still the ones in control, not God.

And, the more that they live to please the flesh, while claiming Jesus as Savior, and the more that they keep going back to their old sinful ways, even though the Lord has told them to “Stop!” over and over again, the more that they quench and grieve the Holy Spirit, and they trample the Son of God underfoot, and they insult the Spirit of grace (Heb. 10:29).

But this isn’t just against God that they are sinning, but it is against other humans. Thus, they are trampling underfoot those they sin against, and those who give their lives to them for their deliverance. For, they are ignoring the cries to “stop” the sin and to live in purity and in truth. And, they are trampling on the gospel of Jesus Christ and its messengers, too.

So, they are not walking in love. They are not loving their neighbors as themselves, nor are they loving their spouses, their children, their friends, their co-workers and the people of their communities. For, how they are living is the opposite of walking in love, for it cares nothing for who it hurts.

Ephesians 5:6-10 ESV

“Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. Therefore do not become partners with them; for at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true), and try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord.”

Yet, there are many liars and deceivers out there who are wolves in sheep’s clothing who are out to deceive the church and potential believers in Jesus. And, they are teaching a gospel of salvation absent of repentance, obedience, and surrender to Christ as Lord. They speak empty words that are not of the power of God, but are of the flesh, but that sound good.

For, they are convincing people by the thousands, and perhaps millions, that they can believe in Jesus, have heaven guaranteed them, but that how they live doesn’t matter. For, they claim God’s grace covers it all. And, so they tell people outright or they imply to them that they have free license to continue living in sin without guilt and without punishment, for God loves them just the way they are, they say, even though they do not revere him.

But we are to walk in the light (in truth, in righteousness), according to the Spirit of God, and not according to our flesh, if we want salvation from sin and eternal life with God. So, we are to be discerning here of this error of doctrine which tries to convince us to retreat to living by our flesh rather than by the Spirit of God. And, we are not to partner with those who are spreading these lies. But we are to be those who follow the truth.

Ephesians 5:11-14 ESV

“Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them. For it is shameful even to speak of the things that they do in secret. But when anything is exposed by the light, it becomes visible, for anything that becomes visible is light. Therefore it says,

“’Awake, O sleeper,
and arise from the dead,
and Christ will shine on you.’”

So, rather than cave to the pressure put on us to accept this cheap grace gospel, and to live according to our flesh, in a false sense of freedom, we are to be those who expose the fruitless deeds of darkness. We are to be those who call out these liars and deceivers and who show their deceptions for what they are. And, we are to be those who then proclaim the truth of God’s word for all to hear, so that blinded eyes will be opened to the truth.

We must remain faithful to our Lord and stay grounded in the word of God, so we are not led astray. We must be firm in our faith without wavering. And, daily we must die to sin and self and put on the armor of God with which to fight off Satan’s evil attacks against us. For, he is truly against those of us who are walking in holiness, who are exposing the lies and who are proclaiming the true gospel which sets people free from slavery to sin.

Nonetheless, not many people are listening to the calls to stop sinning against God, to repent of their sins, and to turn to follow the Lord in obedience to his ways. And, the pressure is increasing regarding getting everyone to accept the cheap grace gospel as the “real” gospel and to reject the real gospel by calling it “fake.” Thus, persecution against those who are standing on the Word of Truth is also increasing, and it is getting even more painful, and the enemy is not letting up, either.

But, even if the persecution gets more severe, we have to keep speaking the truth in love, and we have to keep warning people against following the lies, and we have to keep calling them to repentance and to obedience to Christ. And, then we must lean on our Lord for strength and endurance, and for the grace we need to keep loving our enemies, and for the wisdom to know how to answer our opposition, too. For, they need to hear the truth that will set them free. And, then they need to obey the truth so they will be free.

Be with Me, Lord

By Thomas O Chisholm

Be with me, Lord – I cannot live without THEE,
I dare not try to take one step alone.
I cannot bear the loads of life, unaided,
I need THY strength to lean myself upon.

Be with me Lord, and then if dangers threaten,
If storms of trial burst above my head,
If lashing seas leap ev’rywhere about me,
They cannot harm, or make my heart afraid.

Be with me Lord! No other gift or blessing
THOU COULDST bestow could with this one compare –
A constant sense of THY abiding presence,
Where’er I am, to feel that THOU ART near.

Be with me, Lord, when loneliness o’ertakes me,
When I must weep amid the fires of pain,
And when shall come the hour of “my departure”
For “worlds unknown,” O Lord, be with me then.

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