Living as the Church: Walk the Talk
1 Thessalonians 4:1-2
Calvary Baptist Church
Pastor Ben Marshall
This past week, Pastor Trent, Karl, and I had the privilege of going to a conference. While we were there, one of the pastors, Mark Dever, was preaching and said this: “It is easier to look holy than it is to be holy.” How true it is, but it is not a good excuse. We are called to be holy as God is holy (Leviticus 11:45; 1 Peter 1:16).
It is easier to look like you have it all together than it is to be vulnerable, honest, and passionately pursuing Christ in and through struggle. It is easier to work hard, pray at meals, go to church on Sunday, and just make it through the week than it is to meditate on the Word, pray with expectation and power, and actually thrive as a follower of Christ. But may we not be people who do only what is comfortable and easy.
1 Thessalonians 4:1-2 (ESV) Finally, then, brothers, we ask and urge you in the Lord Jesus, that as you received from us how you ought to walk and to please God, just as you are doing, that you do so more and more. 2 For you know what instructions we gave you through the Lord Jesus.
James 1:22 challenges every person who claims to be a Christian and says But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. Going to church doesn’t save you. Church attendance will not give you what you are looking for. Obedience is God's love language (John 14:15-16)
The pursuit of a disciple of Jesus Christ is not to be a good person and try to sometimes do good things. The pursuit of a disciple is that of 1 Corinthians 10:31 So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.
We are saved by grace for good works. The outworking of our faith is supposed to produce good works and the fruit of our faith ought to be clearly seen. We have to walk the talk. Scripture calls walking the talk being fruitful. Galatians 5:22-25 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit. That means we are to be constantly growing in love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.
Here are 5 action steps to walk the talk:
One, it pleases God when you live sacrificially.
Our default is selfishness. What would happen, instead, if you realized that your life is not about you? The sum total of your life does not consist of the things you’ve accumulated, money you've made, or success you’ve attained. Have you brought glory to God through who you are and what you do?
Two, it pleases God when you love sacrificially.
You don’t always feel like loving those around you, especially those closest to you, do you? Loving sacrificially is being selfless and loving even when you don’t feel like it. It is recognizing that love is not just an emotion; it is an action. You may not be in a place where you feel like you love your spouse, child, friend, parent, neighbor, or pastor! But, choose to forgive and pursue sacrificial love. Your relationships are meant to bring glory to God. Who is one person in your life to whom you can start to show a little more love this week, even though you may not want to?
Three, it pleases God when you pray sacrificially.
Prayer is the most productive and effective thing you could do in your life. But, it is one of the things followers of Christ don’t do often enough. Prayer unites you with God and binds your heart to Him. Prayer should be the foundation and the fuel for the decisions and actions of your life. This week, spend time alone in prayer at least five minutes every day.
Four, it pleases God when you serve sacrificially.
There are many places where you could serve here at Calvary. It would be a sacrifice, and we fully acknowledge that. But, remember, your life is not about you. So, if you are going to walk as you ought, in a way that pleases God, you must be obedient to serve Him and His people. You could get plugged into the nursery, the youth ministry, the children’s ministry, the greeters and ushers, the café team, the VBS team, and many others. This week, talk to one of our pastors or ministry leaders or call the church office and volunteer to serve sacrificially somewhere.
Five, it pleases God when you give sacrificially.
Operation Replenish is starting this morning, and it will stretch you. But when we are obedient to the Lord, we trust Him with our finances and we remember they came from Him in the first place. Tithing is the beginning. When we trust God with our finances, we live in a way that our money doesn’t own us. The amount we have may determine what we are able to do or how much we are able to give, but the story of the widow in Luke 21:1-4 reminds us that it’s not about how much we give, but our heart in giving.