PUTTING FEET TO YOUR FAITH
Ephesians 4:1 (NIV, NIRV, TNIV, KJV)
PUTTING FEET TO YOUR FAITH
Ephesians 4:1-16 (NIV)
Unity in the Body of Christ
4 As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. 2 Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. 3 Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. 4 There is one body and one Spirit— just as you were called to one hope when you were called— 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism; 6 one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.
7 But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it. 8 This is why it says:
“When he ascended on high,
he led captives in his train
and gave gifts to men.”
9 (What does “he ascended” mean except that he also descended to the lower, earthly regions? 10 He who descended is the very one who ascended higher than all the heavens, in order to fill the whole universe.) 11 It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, 12 to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up 13 until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.
14 Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming. 15 Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ. 16 From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.
INTRO: We have often heard the expression “Put feet to your prayers.” As I studied Ephesians that expression took on new meaning. The apostle Paul would have us put feet to our faith.
In Ephesians 1-3, Paul explained the salvation we have in Jesus. When he comes to chapter 4, he switches from salvation to service. Five times Paul exhorts us to walk in a manner befitting the gospel we bear (4:1; 4:17; 5:2; 5:8; 5:15). Paul was deeply consistent with the gospel we profess. I want to take these five usages of the word walk and describe five ways we can put feet to our faith.
I. WE MUST WALK IN THE FELLOWSHIP OF THE BODY OF CHRIST (4:1).
We must Be a Part of His Church. Here, Paul discusses the Christian’s place in the church. As we endeavor to live in the church we must endeavor to sustain the church. In verses 1-6, Paul encouraged us to keep the unity of the spirit. The church is like a finely tuned instrument. It involves our best effort. If it gets out of tune its message is unclear.
We must Also Endeavor to Support the Church. In verses 7-16, Paul talked about spiritual gifts and encouraged us to use our gifts to support the church. The church is sort of like a ball team.
ILLUS: A ball team has a coach, a quarterback, a fullback, linemen, a trainer, even a water boy. Every player is essential. Any part that does not support the whole diminishes the whole.
II. IF YOU ARE TO PUT FEET TO YOUR FAITH YOU MUST DISPLAY A NEW CHARACTER (4:17).
Paul challenged us to “henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk.” Verse 22 explains it well: “Put off your old nature...”
Paul listed some of the things we are to put off: lying, v. 25; anger, v. 26; stealing, v. 28; filthy communication, v. 29. Thus we can see the necessity of a new character.
One of the foundational truths of the gospel is that Jesus gives us a new character (see 2 Cor. 5:17).
The reason many of us are not putting feet to our faith is because we are not displaying a new character. In 4:22, Paul said we are to put off our former manner of life. Jesus gives us new life but we must do our part in cleaning up our act. We must put on the gospel fruit as if we were putting on our clothes. Our testimony is often killed by actions which are inappropriate to gospel conduct. Do you practice what you preach? Does your life support your profession?
III. IF YOU ARE TO PUT FEET TO YOUR FAITH YOU MUST BE MOTIVATED BY LOVE (5:2).
Paul tells us to “walk in love.” We are challenged to walk “as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us.” Jesus loved us enough that he was willing to lay down his life for us. If we are to have impact on other people and the world, we must walk in love and be motivated by love.
Many times we do not put feet to our faith because love is missing. In 1 Cor. 8 and 9, Paul laid down a principle that should guide our lives. He spoke of eating meat. He advised that there was nothing wrong with it, however, if such practices caused a weaker brother to stumble, you abstained.
Let love guide you is the principle Paul taught. We are not faced with the thing Paul talked about, but we are faced with many controversial issues. We must always weigh our actions by the measure of love.
IV. IF YOU ARE TO PUT FEET TO YOUR FAITH YOU MUST WALK CONSISTENTLY (5:8).
In 5:9 Paul stated, “The fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth.” Fruit trees are expected to bear fruit consistent with their nature. Failure to do so creates many questions. Even so, a child of God is expected to bear fruit consistent with the character of God. Many times our inconsistency betrays us.
Does your life reflect fruit that is consistent with the character of God? On one occasion a group of Jews came to John inquiring about his preaching and seeking to be baptized by him. John challenged them to “bring forth therefore fruits worthy of repentance” (Luke 3:8).
In Galatians 5:19-22, Paul compared fruit of the Spirit to fruit of the flesh. The fruit of the flesh consists of such things as adultery, jealousy, wrath, and the like. The fruit of the Spirit consists of love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, and the like. There is a clear difference between the two.
V. IF YOU ARE TO PUT FEET TO YOUR FAITH YOU MUST WALK CAUTIOUSLY (5:15).
Paul says: “See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise.”
ILLUS: When I first started to college, I tried wearing contact lenses. On two or three occasions I lost a contact lens on campus. When that happened, my friends and I had to get down on our hands and knees to find the lens.
We tried our best to prevent anyone from stepping on the lens. But sometimes, even over our best efforts, someone would step on one.
Even so, you and I should try our best to prevent ourselves from walking on weak Christians and unbelievers.
CONC: Have you put feet to your faith? Many of us have amputated the feet from our Christian lives. Paul called for a walk that would make our faith come alive. We must practice and show what we believe.