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The Christian and Public Life

by Bud Ridgeway

July 25-29, 2011 saw the coming and going of the KY/IN Fellowship Week, which I believe was a great success. I was privileged to speak one day in the absence of my son Jason Ridgeway. (He came down with Bells Palsy and was not able to speak).

Just as God is ‘love, light, and wisdom’ personified, so we should try to imitate our Father.

We start this with a ‘Walk in Love’. Jesus certainly loved us and gave Himself for us and that is an example to truly follow. He offered Himself to God as an offering and sacrifice on our behalf. He was a ‘fragrant offering or sweet-smelling aroma’ to God. We too, as Christians, are a fragrant offering or sweet-smelling aroma to God as we walk in our communities. In II Corinthians 2:15 Paul tells us; “For we are to God the aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing.” (NIV) Just as Christ is a fragrance that still can be smelled, so we too must have a fragrance that can be smelled by the world.

Remember that Jesus gave His life for us and we must give our lives for the brethren. We have no problem saying, ‘I would give my life for my wife, parent, child’, but what about just a brother or sister in Christ? Notice what John says in 1 John 3:16 (NIV): “This is how we know what love is. Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers”. This is hard to do, but necessary to do, as a Christian.

Our love must be a pure love and void of any hint of greed or immorality. Even words or jokes suggestive of immorality or greed are unbecoming of those who are ‘saints’ (holy, set apart for God’s purpose). This a serious concern, for immoral or greedy persons have no inheritance in the kingdom of Christ, but instead will experience the full wrath of God. (Ephesians 5:3-7)

Next, we must ‘Walk as Light’. This is a walk as a light in a world of darkness. This is the same darkness we have all come out of according to Ephesians 2:1-3. We must recognize that as lights we bear a fruit of ‘goodness, righteousness and truth’. By bearing such fruit, we fulfill our role as ‘light’ by ‘proving’ (demonstrating) what is well-pleasing to the Lord. We must stand as a force that no one could help but see. (Ephesians 5:9-10)

As ‘light’ we must necessarily expose ‘darkness’ in the world around us. We are not to have fellowship with ‘unfruitful works of darkness’ – e.g., fornication, uncleanness, covetousness. (Ephesians 5: 3-4) Instead our task is to expose them as we walk as lights in this dark world. People around you must see something different in you that is not in the world and that is “light”. Thus there is a great need to be ‘light’ ourselves, and this is something that comes only from Christ. (Ephesians 5:11-14)

As we ‘walk in love’, and ‘walk as light’ we have to be ‘walking as wise’. Paul uses a word here ‘circumspectly’ which means ‘exactly, accurately, or diligently’. In other words, we must do it right. If we use the wisdom of the world, how are we different? If we take an attitude of indifference of how we worship, how we sing, or how we live our life as a Christian, how are we different? There is no wisdom or walking ‘exactly, accurately, or diligently’. There is only a walk like those around you.

To ‘walk as wise’ requires being filled with the Spirit. While those who ‘walk as fools’ delight in being filled with wine, those who ‘walk as wise’ will endeavor to be filled with the Spirit! Paul describes the evidence of one ‘filled with the Spirit’.

One indication is singing praises –Ephesians 5:19.

Another indication is giving thanks. This giving of thanks is for everything –Ephesians 5:20.

A third and final indication in the passage is submitting to one another in reverence for Christ – Ephesians 5:21.

As children of God, and ‘filled with the Spirit’, we are able to walk in a manner worthy of our calling, as we… ‘Walk in love’, ‘Walk as light’ and ‘Walk as wise’. As Christians doing – let’s make our public life an example to the world.

(Much of this was taken from the Online Bible and Mark Copland)

Bud Ridgeway lives in Fisherville, KY and is the Minister for the Buechel Church of Christ in Louisville, KY

 




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Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.

2 corinthians 1:3-4