Sunday at Victory Church I began a three sermon series titled: "Walking in the Favor of the Lord." At Victory we have entered into a congregational fast from the first week of January until the last week of February. During this fast we are asking for "God's favor!" Well, if God gives us His favor, then it is going to require us to "walk" in that favor. Therefore, there are three areas we must walk in every day:
1. We must walk daily in Christ
2. We must walk daily in the Scriptures
3. We must walk daily in Prayer
Sunday I shared seven ways we can "walk in Christ."
Below is my sermon outline for "Walking Daily in the Favor of the Lord."
Eph 4:1 (HCSB) I, therefore, the prisoner in the Lord, urge you to walk worthy of the calling you have received.
God's Word tells you how to live and walk in Christ day by day.
* Consistency, obedience, faithfulness—this is what God is after.
* Following Him—doing exactly as He says—bears the most fulfilling and fruitful life and ministry imaginable.
* For this reason, you must be diligent in living and walking exactly as God says.
* Again, God's Word stresses that consistency, obedience, and faithfulness must be the hallmarks of your life.
As a disciple of Christ walking in the favor of the Lord, you must walk in three things every day of your life: in Christ, in the Scriptures, and in Prayer. These three things are absolute essentials as you live and minister for Christ in the midst of a broken and hurting world.
This morning I would like to focus on “You and Christ” – Your walk in Him
YOU AND CHRIST – Your walk in Him!
1) YOU MUST MAKE SURE THAT YOUR BELIEF IN CHRIST IS THE RIGHT KIND OF BELIEF!
John 3:16 (HCSB) For God loved the world in this way: He gave His One and Only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life.
Romans 10:9-10 (HCSB) If you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 With the heart one believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth one confesses, resulting in salvation.
Hebrews 5:9 (HCSB) After He was perfected, He became the source of eternal salvation to all who obey Him,
Hebrews 11:6 (HCSB) Now without faith it is impossible to please God, for the one who draws near to Him must believe that He exists and rewards those who seek Him.
Thought: As a believer in Christ, you must have the right kind of faith—a true saving faith in Christ.
o You are saved by believing in Jesus Christ. But what does believing mean?
o How can you know that your belief is the right kind of belief, a true saving faith?
The right kind of faith, saving faith, is not:
o Saving faith is not head knowledge, not just a mental conviction and intellectual assent.
o Saving faith is not just believing the fact that Jesus Christ is the Savior of the world.
o Saving faith is not just believing history, that Jesus Christ lived upon earth as the Savior just as George Washington lived upon earth as the President of the United States.
o Saving faith is not just believing the words and claims of Jesus Christ in the same way that a person would believe the words of George Washington.
The right kind of faith, saving faith, is two things.
A. Saving faith is believing in Jesus Christ, who and what He is, that He is the Savior and Lord of life.
o You must believe in Jesus Christ with your heart, believe to such a degree that you give your whole life to Him.
o You must confess Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord and turn your life over—completely and totally—to live for Him (Romans 10:9-10).
B. Saving faith is commitment—the commitment of your total being and life to Jesus Christ.
o It is the commitment of all you are and have to Christ.
o Saving faith gives everything to Christ; therefore, it involves all of your affairs.
o You trust Christ to take care of your past (sins), your present (welfare), and your future (destiny).
o You entrust your whole life, being, and possessions into Christ's hands.
o You lay yourself upon Jesus' keeping, confiding in Him about your daily necessities and acknowledging Him in all the ways of life.
o You follow Christ in every area and in every detail of life, seeking His instructions and leaving your welfare up to Him.
o Saving faith is simply commitment of your whole being, all you are and have to Christ.
You must make sure—absolutely sure—that your belief in Christ is the right kind of belief, that you have a true saving faith.
Your life and Christian walk will come up short—very short—if you do not know Christ yourself, know Him personally and intimately.
2) YOU MUST MAKE SURE THAT YOU ARE A NEW CREATION IN CHRIST JESUS!
2 Corinthians 5:17 (HCSB) Therefore if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation; old things have passed away, and look, new things have come.
Ephesians 4:22-24 (HCSB) You took off your former way of life, the old man that is corrupted by deceitful desires; 23 you are being renewed in the spirit of your minds; 24 you put on the new man, the one created according to God’s [likeness] in righteousness and purity of the truth.
Colossians 3:9-10 (HCSB) Do not lie to one another, since you have put off the old man with his practices 10 and have put on the new man, who is being renewed in knowledge according to the image of his Creator.
Thought: The message of the gospel is this: a person can become a new creation in Christ Jesus!
o A person can be changed, truly changed, and become a better person—just like a new man.
o As a Christian, you proclaim this gospel, the gospel that a person can be changed and start life all over again—by the power of Christ. You must, therefore, make sure you yourself are a changed person, that you are what you proclaim to be:
a) You must make sure you are a new creation in Christ (2 Cor. 5:17) …
o that old things have passed away.
o that all things are become new.
b) You must make sure you have put off the behavior of your old man and have put
on the behavior of the new man (Ephes. 4:22-24; Col. 3:9-10) …
o that the spirit of your mind has been renewed.
o that you are living a life of righteousness and true holiness.
o that your knowledge (mind) is being renewed and conformed to the image of Christ more and more (Col. 3:10).
As a Christian walking in the favor of the Lord, you must be a new creation, a new man, a new woman in Christ.
You cannot be His representative nor adequately proclaim that a person can be changed by Christ, that he can start life all over again, unless you have been changed.
To proclaim one thing and live something else is hypocritical. You must, therefore, make sure you yourself are a new creation, a new man, before you can represent Christ and teach others.
3) YOU MUST CONSTANTLY EXAMINE YOUR WALK IN CHRIST!
2 Corinthians 13:5 (HCSB) Test yourselves [to see] if you are in the faith. Examine yourselves. Or do you not recognize for yourselves that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless you fail the test.
Thought: As a Christian walking the in the favor of the Lord, you must make sure you are genuine—constantly examining your life.
Living in sin makes your faith suspect, especially since you are a professing Christian.
o There is no place for sin in a professing believer’s life.
o There is no excuse for a Christian to continue practicing some sin.
o You must constantly examine yourself and make sure there is no known sin in your life.
o When you find sin, you must repent, turn away from it, and confess it to Christ, asking forgiveness. And He will forgive you.
o But note: if you find sin in your life and do not turn away from it, then you are what Scripture calls "reprobate." (KJV)
o Reprobate means to be disqualified and unfit for the ministry.
o Reprobate means you are disapproved and rejected by God.
As a Christian walking in the favor of the Lord, you must constantly examine yourself and make sure you are genuine—make sure you continue in the faith, that you are living a righteous and godly life.
4) YOU MUST ALWAYS WALK IN CHRIST AND SEEK HIM FIRST AND HIS RIGHTEOUSNESS!
Matthew 6:33 (HCSB) But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be provided for you.
Thought: As a Christian, you are always to walk in Christ: you are to seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness.
o You are not to be preoccupied with material possessions, not even with the necessities of life such as food, clothing, and housing.
o Your first duty and preoccupation is to seek God first.
o God gives you the greatest promise in all the world: your necessities—all of your needs—will be met if you will seek His kingdom and His righteousness first.
There are two ways you can go about taking care of yourself in this world.
a) Working and seeking in your own strength:
o Depending upon your own ability and energy alone, fighting and struggling to make it through life, and fretting and worrying about succeeding and about how to keep what you have secured.
b) Working and seeking in both God's strength and your own strength:
o Trusting and acknowledging God while doing all you can;
o Putting your hand to the plow and plowing;
o Working diligently and not looking back, and
o While working, trusting the results to God.
o God says He will see to it that such a trusting person will always have the necessities of life.
God is your heavenly Father, and He knows your needs. You are very, very special to Him.
Just do one simple thing and He will take care of you and meet all your needs: walk in Christ, always seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness.
5) YOU MUST LIVE A CRUCIFIED LIFE IN CHRIST—A LIFE OF SELF-DENIAL AND SACRIFICE!
Luke 9:23 (HCSB) Then He said to [them] all, “If anyone wants to come with Me, he must deny himself, take up his cross daily, and follow Me.
Romans 6:6 (HCSB) For we know that our old self was crucified with Him in order that sin’s dominion over the body may be abolished, so that we may no longer be enslaved to sin.
Romans 6:11 (HCSB) So, you too consider yourselves dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus.
2 Corinthians 4:10-11 (HCSB) We always carry the death of Jesus in our body, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. 11 For we who live are always given over to death because of Jesus, so that Jesus’ life may also be revealed in our mortal flesh.
Galatians 2:20 (HCSB) I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the flesh, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.
Galatians 5:24 (HCSB) Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.
Thought: You must count yourself—consider yourself—crucified with Christ.
What does this mean? It means this:
o When Christ died upon the cross, He denied Himself—sacrificed Himself totally—for us.
o To be crucified with Christ means just this: You sacrifice yourself—deny yourself, count yourself as dead—and live for Christ (Galatians 2:20).
o You treat yourself as though you are dead to self, but alive to God (Romans 6:11).
o You sacrifice yourself—deny yourself completely and totally—to Christ and His cause: to follow Him (Luke 9:23).
Note Luke 9:23: the verse tells you what you must do to follow Christ.
Luke 9:23 (HCSB) Then He said to [them] all, “If anyone wants to come with Me, he must deny himself, take up his cross daily, and follow Me.
a) You must deny yourself.
o Man's nature and tendency is to indulge himself, to do what he wants, to do his own thing.
o But you are not to indulge yourself: you are not to seek more and more of this world and its things and comforts.
o You are to deny yourself by discipline and control, by loving and caring for others, by sacrificing and giving to others, and by helping and ministering to others.
b) You must take up your cross.
The cross does not mean merely bearing one's particular hardship in life, such as poor health, abuse, criticism, gossip, opposition, persecution, unemployment, invalid parents, spouse, a wayward child.
o The cross is always an instrument of death, not just an object to carry or bear.
o Therefore, to take up your cross means that you die to self daily—die mentally and actively.
o You let the mind of Christ, the mind of humbling yourself to the point of death, be in you and fill your thoughts every day (Phil. 2:5-8; 2 Cor. 10:3-5).
o You put your will, your desires, your wants, your ambitions to death.
o In their stead, you follow Christ and do His will all day long.
Now, note a crucial fact: this is not negative, passive behavior.
o It takes positive, active behavior to will, to deny self, to take up one's cross, to follow Christ.
o You have to act, work, get to it, and be diligent, consistent, and enduring in order to die to self.
c) You must follow Jesus.
Man's tendency, however, is to follow someone else and to give his first allegiance to something else. Within the world, there are many things available for you to serve and put first. There are …
service organizations * profession * social acceptance * houses * humanitarian needs * pleasure * religion (institutional) * livelihood * fleshly stimulation * family * self (fame, honor) * appearance * recreation * clubs * sports * hobby * comfort * health * education * clothing
As a follow Christ and walk in the favor of the Lord, you must live a crucified life in Christ, a life of self-denial.
You must walk day by day dying to yourself—your own desires and wishes—and live for Jesus Christ and His kingdom.
6) YOU MUST BE INWARDLY RENEWED DAY-BY-DAY—CONSTANTLY BEING CHANGED INTO THE IMAGE OF CHRIST!
2 Corinthians 4:16-18 (HCSB) Therefore we do not give up; even though our outer person is being destroyed, our inner person is being renewed day by day. 17 For our momentary light affliction is producing for us an absolutely incomparable eternal weight of glory. 18 So we do not focus on what is seen, but on what is unseen; for what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.
2 Corinthians 3:18 (HCSB) We all, with unveiled faces, are reflecting the glory of the Lord and are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory; this is from the Lord who is the Spirit.
Thought: Your walk before the Lord is a day-by-day affair.
o You must struggle day by day to be inwardly renewed, to be changed more and more into the image of Christ. (Note five significant points in 2 Cor. 4:16-18 above):
a) You must not faint in your call and ministry.
This means you must not give up or quit; you must not lose heart or become discouraged; you must not allow anything to defeat you: not people, circumstances, events, fatigue, exhaustion, or even persecution and severe opposition.
Nothing, absolutely nothing, must be allowed to drive you from your service for Christ nor keep you from sharing the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ.
b) Your outward man perishes every day.
The "outer person" is the earthen vessel (2 Cor. 4:7), the human body (2 Cor. 4:10), the mortal flesh (2 Cor. 4:11), and the earthly house (2 Cor. 5:1).
The word "destroyed" (diaphtheiretai) means to age, wear out, waste away, deteriorate, decay, corrupt, and die.
Your "outward man" or body is wearing out and wasting away every day.
o It is in the process of perishing and dying.
o As you age your body will become weaker and weaker, less able to go on: it will ache, slow down, need more rest, and most likely develop some serious problems or diseases.
o In addition to the normal wear and tear upon the body, people may put enormous demands and pressure upon you and even persecute you.
c) The "inner man" is renewed day by day.
The inner man is …
o your spirit that has been "born again" or created anew by the Spirit of God (John 3:3, 5-6).
o your spirit that was dead in trespasses and sins until it was quickened and made alive by Christ (Ephes. 2:2, 4-5).
o the "new creature" (2 Cor. 5:17) and the "new man" (Ephes. 4:24; Col. 3:10).
o the highest and deepest part of your being where the Holy Spirit dwells.
o the "hidden man of the heart" (1 Peter 3:4).
You are renewed day by day when you draw near God for strength and growth, for relief and deliverance.
o But remember: it is the presence and power of God within your body that renews you.
o You must seek His presence and power, His renewal, day by day.
o Seeking Him is your duty.
o When you fulfill your duty—seeking Him—then He renews and conforms you into the image of Christ day by day.
d) Your afflictions are light when compared to the glory you shall receive in heaven.
Note the phrase "weight of glory."
This picture is that of a set of scales sitting before the believer.
o You balance your afflictions on one end and the eternal glory you are to receive on the other end.
o The afflictions may be heavy and severe, but when you place the eternal glory you are to receive on the scales, the afflictions become light. It is as though they weigh nothing.
e) Your eyes must not be focused on the physical and temporal, but on the
spiritual and eternal.
The word "look or focus" (scopeo) means to focus your eyes and attention on a set goal or end.
o The goal, of course, is spending eternity with God in the new heavens and earth.
o You must not look at the things which are seen (the physical and corruptible), but at the things which are not seen (the spiritual and incorruptible).
o The reason is strikingly clear: the things which are seen are temporal (brief, temporary, fading, passing, fleeting, and transient); but the things which are not seen are eternal (lasting, endless, forever, permanent, immortal, and glorious).
(Matthew 25:23; Matthew 13:43; Romans 8:17-18; Phil. 3:21; 2 Tim. 2:12; Col. 3:4).
The point is this: if you will keep your eyes on the spiritual and eternal—on Christ and on the great glory He has planned for you as one of His dear servants—you will be inwardly renewed day by day, changed more and more into the image of Christ.
May the Spirit of God help you to focus upon the spiritual and eternal as you serve our wonderful Lord day by day. Amen and Amen!
7) YOU MUST PUT ON THE WHOLE ARMOR OF GOD AND BE STRONG IN CHRIST!
Ephesians 6:10-18 (HCSB) Finally, be strengthened by the Lord and by His vast strength. 11 Put on the full armor of God so that you can stand against the tactics of the Devil. 12 For our battle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the world powers of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavens. 13 This is why you must take up the full armor of God, so that you may be able to resist in the evil day, and having prepared everything, to take your stand. 14 Stand, therefore, with truth like a belt around your waist, righteousness like armor on your chest, 15 and your feet sandaled with readiness for the gospel of peace. 16 In every situation take the shield of faith, and with it you will be able to extinguish the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is God’s word. 18 With every prayer and request, pray at all times in the Spirit, and stay alert in this, with all perseverance and intercession for all the saints.
Thought: As a believer, walking in the favor of the Lord, your calling is not to a life of enjoyment and ease but to a life of hard conflict, to a spiritual battle.
o There are foes within and foes without.
o From the cradle to the grave, there is constant struggle against the corruptible lusts of the flesh and the imposing temptations offered by the world and Satan—a struggle against fleshly corruptions that inevitably lead to death.
What can you do?
o Learn and know that your warfare is not human or physical, but spiritual.
o You are not struggling against flesh and blood—against another person—but against spiritual forces that possess unbelievable power.
o You must, therefore, protect yourself. How? By putting on the armor of God.
There are seven pieces to the armor of God:
a) The belt of truth: you must put on the truth of Christ and of the Word of God.
b) The breastplate of righteousness: you must put on the righteousness of Christ and live righteously as you walk day by day.
c) The sandals of the gospel of peace: you must put on the gospel of peace—make sure you possess the gospel yourself—and share the gospel wherever your feet take you.
d) The shield of faith: above all you must put on faith—belief in God and His Word. Faith—believing God and His Word and promises—will quench all the fiery temptations and trials of the devil.
e) The helmet of salvation: put on salvation. Salvation means deliverance. Put on the salvation of Christ and work out your own salvation or deliverance (Phil. 2:12).
Do all you can in saving and delivering yourself and God will deliver you. The result will be a glorious salvation and deliverance from all the temptations, trials, and corruptions of this world.
f) The sword of the Word of God: take up the Word of God—study, learn, memorize, and use the Word. Live by the Word of God and you will be protected more and more from the onslaught of the temptations and trials of the enemy. Use the Word of God to fight and win battle after battle, day after day.
g) The supernatural provision, prayer: put on prayer—clothe yourself in prayer—a constant spirit of prayer. As you enter conflict after conflict throughout the day, pray and ask God to protect and deliver you from the temptations and trials of the enemy.
As a believer, walking in the favor of the Lord, you must put on the armor of God.
You can never stand against the onslaught of Satan's temptations and trials unless you are clothed in God's armor.
A suggestion: pray for the armor of God—each piece of the armor—every morning as you begin the day. Ask God to clothe you with each piece of armor.
As you are walking daily in the favor of the Lord, make sure of seven things:
1. You must have a right belief in Christ
2. You must be a new creation in Christ
3. You must examine your walk in Christ daily
4. You must seek Christ first everyday
5. You must live a crucified life of self-denial daily
6. You must be inwardly renewed day-by-day
7. You must put on the whole armor of God daily
How is your daily walk in Christ?