Recently, Pastor Craig Baxter concluded his message entitled “The Church on Display” from Ephesians 3:8-13 with these challenging words:
Go out, and walk worthy of Christ!”
As part of God’s body at Hills Bible Church, we continue together to sit under the preaching from the book of Ephesians and are being challenged about our witness, to the lost world around us, to each other, and to our family and friends. Indeed, we are challenged about our witness to all, as we walk with our Lord. In this world that we live in, we are also experiencing the growing unbiblical developments in our society, in our schools and by some of the legislation that our political leaders seem to think we need.
We are encouraged that God’s purpose was to create a world in which His glory could be manifest in all its fulness, and this includes His allowing evil to exist. The universe was created by God to display God’s glory. There is much guidance in God’s Word to believers, God’s church, Christ’s body, on how they should behave and witness to others in all such challenges that they meet.
One such instructive and encouraging Biblical area for us is the “Beatitudes”, found in Matthew 5:1-12:
1 Seeing the crowds, he went up on the mountain, and when he sat down, his disciples came to him.
2 And he opened his mouth and taught them, saying:
3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
4 “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
5 “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.
6 “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.
7 “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.
8 “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.
9 “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.
10 “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
11 “Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. 12 Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
In the Beatitudes Jesus taught His disciples and also the crowd listening there on the mountain, indeed us too, as He preached His “Sermon on the Mount”, recorded in Matthew 5 to 7.
All believers, God’s church, can take these 8 sayings of Jesus as His guidance on the characteristics His saved people have and should exhibit. These characteristics are also a challenge to us in our witness. They are not what we need to do or be to be saved, but what all believers should be and be seen to display. Martyn Lloyd-Jones notes: “None of these descriptions refers to what we may call a natural tendency. Each of them is wholly a disposition which is produced by grace alone and the operation of the Holy Spirit upon us.”
However, do others see these characteristics in us? Do they see you walking worthy of Christ in whatever circumstances you are in? Let’s consider some challenging questions from the Beatitudes:
- Do people see and experience you as a person poor in spirit, bound for eternity in heaven? Sinclair Ferguson notes: “Poverty of spirit and mourning over sin have a pervasive influence on our lives. The immediate effect is to make us meek.”
- Are you merciful to others … as first, God has been merciful to you in saving you?
- Do you mourn that you have and do sin? Consider David’s words in Psalm 51.
- Is your walk and witness as one who shows a hunger and thirst after righteousness?
- Are you one who seeks peace in conflicts and seeks to help others in making or reaching peace?
- When you are persecuted or reviled for your Christian faith, would others see you standing on the promises of God, as a sure witness of God and His keeping and enabling, and a person looking to the Kingdom of Heaven?
The preaching from Ephesians and the reading of the Beatitudes in Matthew 5:1-12 should encourage us to persevere in our faith and witness, and not lose heart. We have learned, too, that prayer is so important as we seek to be God’s church and witness in this sinning world around us.
So let us seek to honour our Lord and care for and witness to the lost world around us and to go out and walk worthy of Christ!