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The Walk - Eph 4.1 - for LCC Graduation Jun 2004

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§         Good Evening, please join me as I pray.

·        Graduates, CONGRATULATIONS, you have reached a milestone in your life’s journey. 

○       You are well on your way to becoming a contributing member of society

○       Soon, all of your life’s dreams will be coming true. 

○       You will be making college plans, setting career goals, looking for a husband and after finding him starting a family. 

○       Being a math teacher, I pulled out my calculator and did a little math to share with you tonight, assuming that you are over 18 years of age.  You have lived over 6,570 days. 

○       Considering that the average life span is 25,550 days this means you’ve basically lived out one quarter of your life. 

○       This first quarter has been the preparation, and now you get another 18,980 days to leave your mark upon the world.

·        I have sat in your seat, not one, not two, but three times, well almost three times. 

○       I first sat in your seat in June of 1995 when I graduated from Central Valley Christian High School.  I was planning on entering the business world, making a lot of money, and raising a family.  

○       Then in May of 1999 I sat in you seat when I graduated from Bethany College.   This time I was planning on going to graduate school, earning both masters and doctorate degrees in order to become a college professor and write books. 

○       I would have sat in your seat a third time, in June of 2003 when I graduated from Fuller Theological Seminary but Uncle Sam had called me to active duty and I was training to be a Chaplain in the United States Army. 

○       Each step along the journey that I have taken has been joyous and grand, but with each new step God has revealed more of my life’s plan and I’ve discovered that new opportunities to serve God. 

·        Graduates, I am sure that you are dreaming big, making plans, and are excited about what the future will bring. 

○       While at the same time you are probably a little fearful of leaving the safety and security of the last few years behind.  Throw off this fear, step out in faith and see where God will lead you.

·        I have recently heard of a wonderful new job, well it’s not a job, it’s a profession involving Catapoultry.  If I was starting out again, as a recent graduate, I would seriously consider training for it.  In order for you to understand just how cool this profession is, I need to explain it to you.

○       In a recent issue of Meat & Poultry magazine, editors quoted from Feathers, the publication of the California Poultry Industry Federation, telling the following story.

○       It seems the US Federal Aviation Administration has a unique device for testing the strength of windshields on airplanes. The device is a gun that launches a dead chicken at a plane's windshield at approximately the speed the plane flies. 

○       The theory is that if the windshield doesn't crack from the carcass impact, it'll survive a real collision with a bird during flight. It seems the British were very interested in this and wanted to test a windshield on a brand new, speedy jet plane they're developing.

○       They borrowed the FAA's chicken launcher, loaded the chicken and fired. The ballistic chicken shattered the windshield, went through the engineer's chair, broke an instrument panel and embedded itself in the back wall of the engine cab.

○       The British were stunned and asked the FAA to recheck the test to see if everything was done correctly. The FAA reviewed the test thoroughly and had one recommendation: "Use a thawed chicken".

·        Now, wouldn’t that be a cool new job?  Launching thawed chickens at airplane windows? 

○       It would involve all the skills you have learned so far in your education: reading, writing, and arithmetic. 

○       You’d have to read the instruction manual, calculate the bird’s speed, and then write up a report of what happened.

·        Whether you are headed for Catapoultry or some other profession, tonight’s theme taken from Ephesians 4.1, The Walk, pertains to you. 

                          

·        Tonight’s theme is very appropriate, especially considering the man who wrote Ephesians has been coined The Walkabout Apostle

○       The Apostle Paul used the verb, walk, more than 30 times in his letters to the New Testament church.

○       Studies from the book of Acts suggest that during his ministry Paul traveled more than 10,000 miles[1] with the vast majority being on foot, walking. 

○       Precisely because he spent so much time walking, it became a dominate metaphor in his vocabulary.[2]  

○       Australian Professor Robert Banks coined the name The Walkout Apostle while teaching a group of Aborigines in Australia.  The Aborigines became quite excited with Paul’s life when they were able to connect his walking metaphor with their own yearly walkabout.  The yearly walkabout took place as the entire tribe moved following the food chain.  They used this time of walking to visit sacred sites, to induct younger members of the tribe into the basic stories governing the community’s life, and to teach their young what a proper “walk” entails.

·        Walking took on a new dimension for Paul, it was not simply going from one place to another, it was about the quality of the walk being taken. 

○       A walk begins with a single step.  But when many steps are strung together, the walk becomes a journey whose process is much more important than the destination.[3] 

○       As believers, we know the end of our journey will bring us to the right hand of God in heaven.  It is the process of our journey here in this life that mattered to Paul. 

○       Life is not made up by grand mountain top experiences.  It is made up by the steps we take along the path of daily duty. 

○       What we see in these everyday steps will determine the character of our walk.  And what we are in these steps will become the color and value of our lives in the verdict of eternity.[4]

·        Paul writes about The Walk seven times in Ephesians.  There are only two choices for The Walk, you can either walk The Walk of the new creation or the walk of the old creation, there is no middle ground.  He carefully balances his argument with the first four references to the Walk in an A,B,B,A pattern, and the last three references further describing the New Creation.

○       The entire structure of Ephesians hinges on the worthy walk of 4.1.  Everything Paul has said prior and everything he says later is all dependent upon the character of the walk.

○       Paul first tips the scales in a negative direction, bringing up the Old Creation in Ephesians 2.1, “1And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, 2in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience.” 

○       He then balances scales out with a positive remark concerning the walk of the New Creation in 2.10, “we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.”

○       God has made plans for your life, he has planned good works for you to walk in. 

○       So as you are making plans for your life, realize that God has already made some plans for you.  He has created good works for you to walk in.  Walk in these good works

·        This brings us to tonight’s slogan.  The next reference to The Walk is Ephesians 4.1, tips the scales positively toward the New Creation, “Therefore I, the prisoner of the Lord, implore you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called,” 

○       Graduates, you are to walk in a certain manner.  You are to walk with a certain dignity.  Your steps are to be a little different.  Your smile is to be a little brighter.

○       Luckily, Paul did not leave us guessing as to what a worthy walk would look like. 

○       In Ephesians 4.2 & 3 a worthy walk is characterized by 5 great Christian concepts: humility, gentleness, patience, love, and peace.

○       But then Paul balances the scales out with the Old Creation in Ephesians 4.17, “17So this I say, and affirm together with the Lord, that you walk no longer just as the Gentiles also walk, in the futility of their mind,”

·        Graduates, at this point, we are left to wonder, is the walk between the New Creation and the Old always going to be balanced out?  Are we always going to struggle to walk worthily? 

○       The answer is a resounding NO!!!.  For you see, the last three instances where Paul speaks about The Walk all positively tip the scales in favor of the New Creation and further describe The Worthy Walk.

○       In Ephesians 5.2 Paul states that a worthy walk is to be done in love.

○       In Ephesians 5.8 he instructs us to walk as children of Light. 

○       And finally, in Ephesians 5.15, he gives a final admonition, we are to walk not as unwise but as wise.

·        Graduates, I urge you tonight to set your mind before God. 

○       Take Paul’s words here and decide for yourself that no matter what the world throws at you, you will walk worthy of your calling.

○       This walk will be recognized by love for others, it will bring God’s shining light into the world of darkness, and it will be characterized by wisdom. 

○       God is not concerned with the distance you cover in your walk, He is concerned with the quality within which you cover this distance. 

○       We live in an ever increasing darkness, therefore, you must be the change you wish to see in the world.[5] 

○       It seems that no matter where we turn in society what is wrong is being hailed as right and what is right is being condemned as wrong.  However, you can make a change. 

○       You can leave Landmark Christian Academy and make a difference. 

○       You can be a child of Light, one who bravely walks with love into darkness of this world. 

○       You can be God’s shining light in the world around exposing the darkness and spreading God’s love. 

○       So Graduates, I urge you tonight to walk The Walk of the New Creation.  Walk worthy of your calling. 

○       May the next 18,980 days of your life be characterized by a Walk in love, a walk as a child of light, and a walk in wisdom.

§         Remember that each morning is the beginning of a new day.

§         You have been given this day to use as you will.

§         You can waste it or use it for good.  What you do today is important because you are exchanging a day of your life for it.  Will you walk the walk of the New or the Old Creation?

§         When tomorrow comes, this day will be gone forever.

§         In its place is something that you have left behind … let it be something worthy of your calling.[6]

·        Graduates, You have climbed a great hill, but only to find that there are many more hills to climb. 

○       Take a moment to rest here, steal a view of the glorious vista that surrounds you, look back on the distance you have come. 

○       But you can only rest for a moment, children of light have a mission of ministry to the world. 

○       Do not linger long, for your walk is not yet ended.[7]

Meyer, F.B. Ephesians: Key Words from Paul’s Letter. Fort Washington: Christian Literature Crusade, 1982.

Williams, David. Paul's Metaphors. Peabody: Hendrickson, 1999.

 


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[1] David Williams, Paul's Metaphors (Peabody: Hendrickson, 1999), 207 n. 54.  Williams cites R. Hock, The Social Context of Paul’s Ministry: Tent Making and Apostleship (Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1980), 27.

[2] Williams, 198.

[3] Williams, 208 n 58..

[4] F.B, Meyer, Ephesians: Key Words From Paul’s letter (Fort Washington: Christian Literature Crusade, 1982), 101.

[5] Taken from Mahatma Gandhi.

[6] Adapted from a short poem taken from the internet, author unknown.

[7] Adapted from a quote by Nelson Mandela.

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