Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Sabbath School Insights No. 10, Qtr 4-05

Special Insights No. 10

Fourth Quarter 2005 Adult Sabbath School Lessons

“Ephesians: The Gospel of Relationships”

(Produced by the Editorial Board of the 1888 Message Study Committee)

“The Christian Walk”



For most of us we learned how to do it in the first year of life and have not stopped doing it since. From the time we get out of bed in the morning until we lie down at night we walk. Some more than others, but we walk. One foot in front of the other, one step at a time. We do it every day and give little thought to how it is done or what life would be like if we couldn’t. Until, that is, some tragedy strikes. A physical change, like a mangled limb from a war wound, paralysis from a stroke, pain from a broken hip, or weakness from progressive multiple sclerosis, now hampers what came so naturally.


We might find ourselves with a limp unable to move so quickly, or a shuffling gait prone to trip and fall, or worse yet unable to walk and confined to a wheel chair or imprisoned in a bed never to know that freedom of mobility we once knew. To some who have lost this precious ability life may seem not worth living. Though many, like Joni Erickson Tada, have come to realize that life is worth living even without the ability to walk physically. In this week’s passage, however, we learn from Paul that for the Christian who cannot walk (spiritually speaking) there is no life at all. It is death. [1]


Paul in his letter to the Ephesians first makes it clear what the Christian walk is NOT: stealing, corrupt communication, grieving the Holy Spirit, bitterness, wrath, anger, loud quarreling, evil speaking, malice, walking in the futility of your mind, darkened understanding, hardened heart, licentiousness, greed, deceitful lust, fornication, uncleanness, covetousness, filthiness, foolish talking, course jesting, idolatry, disobedience, darkness, unfruitful works, and being unwise. [2]


It therefore follows that the Christian walk is (but not limited to): giving instead of taking, up lifting conversations, saying yes to the Holy Spirit’s leading, kindness, peacemaking, speaking well of others, following God’s will instead of our own, enlightened understanding, humble heart, self denial, purity of thought and motive, integrity and faithfulness in relationships, contentment, single mindedness toward God, obedience, forgiving, fruitful works, and wisdom. Paul simply summarizes it with these words, “goodness, righteousness, and truth.” [3] The 1888 message contribution is this: If one understands and believes how powerful is this “most precious message,” faith motivates one to walk “even as Christ” walked.


Is this part of the good news that Paul has for us in this passage? Yes, it is good news that there is a right and a wrong and that Paul is not afraid to point it out. A right and wrong that when made known to us again or for the first time awakens in our heart conviction that brings to light areas of our life that are out of harmony with our heavenly calling, and expose our weakness and need. But the good news is not just a list that brings conviction. Paul has better news for us.


The better news is how the love of Christ constrains one in the Christian walk. “Be followers of God, as dear children.” “Walk in love, as Christ Himself also has loved us and given Himself for us.” “You are light in the Lord, Walk as children of light.” “Awake, you who sleep, arise from the dead.” [4] These words are not just an exhortation to simply aim higher nor are they an optional accessory for the Christian to add to the purchased pardon of Christ’s blood. The Christian walk is the very salvation that Christ gives. [5] It is as much a part of and inseparable from salvation as is forgiveness of sins, and eternal life. In these passages, Paul is delivering the very word of God to us that makes the Christian walk a reality and also a delight.


These words are no different than the words of Jesus to the paralytic at the pool of Bethesda in John 5, “Rise, take up your bed and walk.” After 38 years of failure using the faulty religious methods of his day, the miraculous good news came to him in these words from the Lord. Take note that the paralytic could not add anything to the Lord’s miracle. He simply used what the Lord had given him, faith and the ability to walk. He heard the word of the Lord to him, believed, stood up, and walked.


In the same manner the word of the Lord has come to us through Paul, “Walk in love as Christ Himself also has loved us and given Himself for us.” Can we ever fathom what it is to give ourselves for Him in like manner as He gave Himself for us? Before we think that this cannot be done we must put ourselves in the paralytic’s shoes. We are the paralytic and the Lord has just now spoken to us after many years of trying to walk by the faulty religious methods of our day. What is needed for us to “walk in love as Christ Himself”? Believe His word, stand, and walk. Choose to use that which He has given us.


In The Glad Tidings, the 1888 “messenger,” E. J. Waggoner, wrote:


“Love, joy, peace, long-suffering, patience, kindness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control—these must come forth spontaneously from the heart of the true follower of Christ. They cannot be forced. But they do not dwell naturally in us. It is natural for us to be angry and exasperated instead of gentle and long-suffering when opposed. Note the contrast between the works of the flesh and the fruit of the Spirit. The first come naturally; therefore, in order for the good fruit to be born, we must be made completely over into new creatures..... Goodness comes not from any man, but from the Spirit of Christ continually dwelling in him” (p. 121).


“Arise, shine; For you light has come! And the glory of the Lord is risen upon you..... But the Lord will arise over you And His glory will be seen upon you, the Gentiles shall come to your light and kings to the brightness of your rising.” [6]

Kelly Kinsley



1. Eph. 5:5, 6, 14.

2. Eph. 4:17-19, 22, 25, 28, 29, 30, 31; 5:3, 5, 10.

3. Eph. 5:9.

4. Eph. 5:1, 2, 8, 14.

5. Luke 4:18.

6. Isaiah 60:1-3.


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