Expositional commentary on Scripture using an inductive exegetical methodology intent upon confronting the lives of Christians with the dogmatic Truths of God's inspired Words opposing Calvinism and Arminianism, Biblical commentary, doctrine of grace enablement, understanding holiness and wisdom and selfishness, in-depth Bible studies, adult Bible Study books and Sunday School materials Dr. Lance T. Ketchum Line Upon Line: Teaching Our Children to Walk

Monday, June 18, 2018

Teaching Our Children to Walk

Teaching Our Children to Walk

          Children are versatile and imaginative.  They learn to speak by listening.  Most children learn everything they learn by observation and copying.  This aspect of learning is ingrained into their beings by God.  This is how God designed us to learn and develop as spiritual beings.  Yet, children are incredibly fragile creatures.  As spiritual beings they require spiritual models from which to learn how to be spiritual.  Sadly, there are very few spiritual models for them to observe.  In most cases, even their parents are incredibly inadequate spiritual models because they grew up with poor spiritual models themselves, if any at all.  

In most cases, most people have no idea what genuine spirituality looks like.  Genuine spirituality is humble, transparent about failures, faults, and weaknesses. Genuine spirituality understands the need for constant repentance and continual renewal.  Genuine spirituality understands the warfare against the flesh and one’s own natural propensity for lusting after the worst of the worst.  Genuinely spiritual people are engaged in the battle for their own spirituality knowing that in the battle they are fighting for the spirituality of every person they love.  This engagement is in fact what defines his love for others.  The priority of the spiritual person is to deal with the desires of his “flesh” in the brutal manner it deserves.  Crucify the “flesh”!  That is where the Christian life begins in repentance from sin.  It is also within this fertile soil of constant and continual repentance where the Christian life of spirituality grows. 

24 And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. 25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. 26 Let us not be desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another. 1 Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted. 2 Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ. 3 For if a man think himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceiveth himself. 4 But let every man prove his own work, and then shall he have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another. 5 For every man shall bear his own burden. 6 Let him that is taught in the word communicate unto him that teacheth in all good things. 7 Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. 8 For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting. 9 And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not. 10 As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith” (Galatians 5:24-6:10).

          I sat in my family room watching the rain drops hit the glass on our French doors as I was thinking about the truths of this text.  I thought that God might view the preaching of His truths to His children like I saw those rain drops hit the glass.  Rain has the potential of satisfying our thirst if we would drink it in.  It could cool us on a hot day if we would stand in it.  It will cleanse us of the sweat and filth of our toils if we would but give ourselves to its downpour.  Yet, so often we are like the guy sitting in his family room watching the rain bounce off the glass of his patio doors.  We appreciate all that God’s truths promise.  However, we take truth so for granted that we never really appropriate its benefits to us.  We never involve ourselves in living truth because we do not allow those truths to really touch our lives.  As a result, we are only spectators, while God intends us to be full participants.  Because of that, we never fully grow to the spiritual maturity that God intends. 

          God’s Word is like an apple orchard with trees so heavily laden with fruit their branches are about to snap from the load.  Christians drive by.  They wonder at the bounty on those trees.  They admire the beauty they present to their eyes.  Yet they never realize that the fruit of those trees is provided by God for them to eat and be nourished by if they would only reap the harvest.  God’s truths are to be taken, eaten, and enjoyed.  However, until they are acknowledged as God-truths and that they are best for us, they will always be bitter in our bellies.  God-truths benefit us only when they are BELIEVED and LIVED.  

          Modeling how we want our children to live is the primary method for successful parenting.  This modeling is summed up in Galatians 5:25, “If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.”  Modeling Christ involves teaching children HOW TO “walk in the Spirit.”  It also involves teaching children what is necessary in order to correct spiritual deficiencies evident in the lives of other professing believers.  Galatians 6:1-10 deals primarily with the process of spiritual discipline and teaches what is necessary to implement spiritual discipline in our own lives and the lives of those under our influence.  

          What do we do when someone we know refuses to recognize that his life is out of control?  What do we do with the person who manifests obvious symptoms of out-of-control anger, fear, or desires, but seems blinded to them?  How are we supposed to maintain our relationship with such people?  It will be very difficult, if not impossible, to do so.

Can two walk together , except they be agreed” (Amos 3:3)?

          The Word of God does give us exhaustive instruction in dealing with these people.  However, they have a free will.  You can never change them.  All you can be is a “ROAD SIGN” for God.  In this text God gives us four ways to do that.

          Galatians 5:24 says to be a stop sign.  Be the right kind of example in dealing with your own flesh.  Galatians 5:24 is a statement of fact.  “They that are Christ’s” are those who have openly confessed to be His followers (disciple).  This person recognizes the sovereign right and authority of Jesus Christ to expect His disciples to live and act as He directs them.  In both of Paul’s epistles to the carnal Corinthian Christians, he had to remind them that they belonged to Christ.  This is a common problem for people who continue to live out of control lives.

“What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own” (I Corinthians 6:19)?

“Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates” (II Corinthians 13:5)?

          If a person professes to be a follower of Christ, he is morally obligated to crucify “the flesh with the affections and lusts.”  Ritual (water) baptism is all about testifying to this crucifixion of the flesh.  This is a predominant characteristic of those who seek to live under the control of the Holy Spirit.  This means they see their “flesh” (sin nature, all those “works of the flesh” in Galatians 5:19-21) nailed to the cross with Christ.  The metaphor does not mean that we crucify our “flesh,” but that our flesh has already been nailed to the cross.  We are to live within the practical reality of that new position in Christ.  That means, even though the “old man” still lives within us, he is restrained by the enabling grace of God through the empowering of the Holy Spirit.  We must see the “flesh” on the Cross and daily die to its “works” before we can be yielded to the Holy Spirit’s control.  There is such shallow teaching regarding the purpose of water baptism and the sanctified life to which it is intended to represent that the ritual is meaningless. 

1 What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? 2 God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein? 3 Know ye not, that so many of us as were {Spirit} baptized into Jesus Christ (the New Genesis in Christ as the ‘last adam’) were {Spirit} baptized into his death? 4 Therefore we are buried with him by {Spirit} baptism into death: that like as {water baptism is a physical semblance representing our understanding of the spiritual} Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. 5For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death {immersion; if the spiritual reality has taken place}, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection: 6 Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin” (Romans 6:1-6).

          Galatians 5:25 says to be a yield sign.  If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.”  Be the right kind of example by living your life yielded to and under the control of the Spirit.  If there is a profession of faith, there should be a walk of faith that backs up the talk.  If we say we live by the Spirit’s guidance and empowering, then we should change the way we live and act. 

          “Live by the Spirit” means that the Holy Spirit is the only One able to put the God-life into these “dead in trespasses and sin” bodies of ours.  That life is available to every believer who has been “born again” and indwelled by the Holy Spirit.  The “old man” was crucified with Christ (Romans 6:6).  We need to keep the “old man” on the cross, which frees us to serve the Lord (body, soul and spirit).  If we are going to help others get victory over their carnality, we must “walk” under the control of the Spirit ourselves.

11 Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin {the ‘flesh’ or sin nature}, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord. 12 Let not sin {the ‘flesh’ or sin nature} therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof. 13 Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin {the ‘flesh’ or sin nature}: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God. 14 For sin {the ‘flesh’ or sin nature} shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace {inward spiritual enabling of the indwelling Spirit}. 15 What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace {inward spiritual enabling of the indwelling Spirit}? God forbid. 16 Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness” (Romans 6:11-16)?

          Walking “in the Spirit” means to live the “Christ-life” by His help and with His assistance, through the direction of the Word of God.  It means allowing Him to take us by the hand through the Word of God and lead us through difficulties and trials, even trying to live with out-of-control people.

16 This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. 17 For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would. 18 But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law” (Galatians 5:16-18).

          Galatians 6:1 says to be a direction sign.  When a brother or sister in Christ is out of control, make sure you are under control and working towards restoring him/her to the Spirit’s control.  This means confrontation.  Understand two qualifying statements about this confrontation before you attempt it.

1. Make sure you are under the Spirit’s control (“spiritual”).  This control will be evident by an attitude of “meekness,” which is a “fruit of the Spirit.”
2. Take into consideration how you might respond under various circumstances so that you can ACT instead of RE-ACT.  Prepare yourself so that your “triangle for failure” (fear, anger and desires) doesn’t get out of control.

          The word “restore” in Galatians 6:1 (Greek - kat-ar-tid'-zo) means to mend something that is broken or to make it what it ought to be.  Effort is expected on the part of the restorer.  We are often willing to go to extremes when a person is broken in some physical way but are unforgiving and unwilling to try to help when someone fails spiritually.  We don’t want to get involved!

          If someone has a broken leg, how would you go about setting the bone?  What carefulness would you employ to ensure that the person would be able to walk again?  Would you take into consideration the pain of it all?  Would you be as gentle as possible?  How would you participate in their recovery? 

Restoring someone has three steps (Matthew 18:15-17).

1. “Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother” (Matthew 18:15).
2. “But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established” (Matthew 18:16).
3. “And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican” (Matthew 18:17).

          Galatians 6:7-8 says to be a warning sign.  When a person refuses to repent, warn him of the consequences of his choice.

“When I say unto the wicked, Thou shalt surely die; and thou givest him not warning, nor speakest to warn the wicked from his wicked way, to save his life; the same wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thine hand. Yet if thou warn the wicked, and he turn not from his wickedness, nor from his wicked way, he shall die in his iniquity; but thou hast delivered thy soul” (Ezekiel 3:18-19).

          Christians who live their lives out of the control of the Holy Spirit, unaware of the consequences, live in mockery of God and His holiness.  God is not mocked.”  Lives lived out of the control of the Holy Spirit will eventually reap the consequences. 

          Believers who continually live lives out of the control of the Holy Spirit need to be reminded and warned of the end results of their selfishness.  Yes, their sin penalty has been paid for in the work of Christ, BUT the consequences of living under the control of the “flesh” will “reap” devastating results in that person’s life and in the lives of those who follow their bad example. 

          You harvest the crop you plant.  Once sown, weeds become self-propagating.  If you plant corruption, you will harvest corruption.  What does that mean?  If you continue to live in the “flesh” (as manifested by the evident “works of the flesh”), you will harvest a crop of misery, broken relationships, destroyed lives and lost hopes.  This is not what MIGHT happen.  This is what WILL happen.

4 Is it time for you, O ye, to dwell in your cieled houses, and this house lie waste? 5 Now therefore thus saith the LORD of hosts; Consider your ways. 6 Ye have sown much, and bring in little; ye eat, but ye have not enough; ye drink, but ye are not filled with drink; ye clothe you, but there is none warm; and he that earneth wages earneth wages to put it into a bag with holes. 7 Thus saith the LORD of hosts; Consider your ways(Haggai 1:4-7).

          Galatians 6:9-10 says don’t get discouraged by people who ignore the signs you are trying to give them.  Just be what you are supposed to be and do what you are supposed to do.  The rest is in God’s hands.  Keep putting God first in your life.  Don’t blame God for the pain that disobedient people bring into your life. 

          “In due time we shall reap.”  Sooner or later, in God’s own time, our lives will be a harvest field of what we have sown.  If we have sown righteous living, we can expect to reap the benefits of that.  If that does not happen in this life, it will happen in eternity.  Only then will we really see the eternal consequences of living under the control of the Spirit.

          “If we faint not” - persevere, don’t quit on Christ.  If you are alive and living under the control of the Holy Spirit, there is hope for change in the lives you are seeking to influence for Christ.  In every “opportunity” (v. 10) that comes along, God opens a window for those living out of His control to see you as the road sign which He intends you to be.  When that “opportunity” comes along, make sure you are living under the Spirit’s control.

1. Make sure you are a Stop Sign by making sure you have put a stop to the “flesh” in your life.
2. Make sure you are a Yield Sign by making sure you manifest a life yielded to the Holy Spirit in obedience to the Word of God.
3. Make sure you are a sign that gives the right directions for being restored to fellowship and living under the Spirit’s control by practicing the three steps to restoration found in Matthew 18:15-17.
4. When necessary, don’t be afraid to be a Warning Sign to those who refuse to repent.

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Numerous studies and series are available free of charge for local churches at: http://www.disciplemakerministries.org/ 
Dr. Lance Ketchum serves the Lord as a Church Planter, Evangelist/Revivalist. 
He has served the Lord for over 40 years.

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