THE COURSE WE WALK!

SUNDAY SCHOOL LESSON FOR: SUNDAY, MARCH 27,2022

Ephesians 2:1

WHEREIN IN TIME PAST YE WALKED ACCORDING TO THE COURSE OS THIS WORLD, ACCORDING TO THE PRINCE OF THE POWER OF THE AIR, THE SPIRIT THAT NOW WORKETH IN THE CHILDREN OF DISOBEDIENCE:

This is one of my favorite verses in scripture and I refer to it very often. In this verse and in verse three we see the phrase (in times past). That means that if you are a member of the Church, the body of Christ something has happened to you! Something has caused you to do a turnabout in the way you walk.

Although the Church at Ephesus was an actual place, a place the Apostle Paul started a Church; in this book he is revealing the true Church. It goes far beyond just what a local Church is but all it should be! I feel compelled here to make one point that is often missed as we speak of the true Church. Just as in any Church or family there are people that are mature and, from that place we can find members all the way down to newborn babies.

So, as we consider this; let’s look at it from a family standpoint. My dad and mom had four children, three girls and one boy. When my oldest sister was born; can you see how the maturity of my mom and dad had to be in place to bring about growth in my sister? As each child was born and grew to a place to become some help to my mom and dad, even in aiding the in education of the younger; that’s what each child did.

What if my mom and dad just began to act like children, babies when each child was born? That’s exactly what happens often in a spiritual sense in our local Churches. The Bible, in Ephesians shows us just how it’s supposed to work.

Look at these verses:

Ephesians 5:25-27

HUSBANDS, LOVE YOUR WIVES, EVEN AS CHRIST ALSO LOVED THE CHURCH, AND GAVE HIMSELF FOR IT; (26) THAT HE MIGHT SANCTIFY AND CLEANSE IT WITH THE WASHING OF THE WATER BY THE WORD, (27) THAT HE MIGHT PRESENT IT TO HIMSELF A GLORIOUS CHURCH, NOT HAVING SPOT, OR WRINKLE, OR ANY SUCH THING, BUT THAT IT SHOULD BE HOLY AND WITHOUT BLIMISH.

The last wedding, I had the privilege to preside over, I believe the bride’s dress cost fifteen hundred dollars. That was probably cheap compared to some dresses. But why? Why would any young woman spend that kind of money to buy one dress for one event? Can’t we say they would be just as married if they both, husband and wife simply wore their work uniforms? It all has to do with how we desire to present ourselves to the people around us and, to our husband to be!

I went to a Wednesday night service at a Church once. I was dress in a white shirt, a tie and Khaki pants. As I sit there waiting, one of the deacons came in, a friend of mine dressed in a pair of shorts and a tee shirt. I looked at him and said, man what’s wrong with you, look how you are dressed? He replied, God doesn’t care how I dress. To that I replied, when’s the last time you asked him? If you think for one minute you can lower your spiritual standards in any way and, your children do not drop theirs lower, you’re badly mistaken!

Now, I suppose you or we can argue about that but, what if Jesus would have lowered his standards? We now look at every aspect of our Churches as being a symbol of this world, seeking to draw people into that building. We rarely if ever even consider how God sees all that we do! I suppose that I’ve done some of my best preaching in my work uniform, even while I was working. However, there’s a stand of spiritual excellence I sought to put out even in my work uniform.

I often see pastors of Churches preaching in a tee shirt. I understand that the message is just the same. However, do you realize that as he stands behind that pulpit, he is standing where only Jesus Christ would be standing if he were here? I once made a statement using a canal as an example. I said that it doesn’t take much to lower a ship down from one water level to another, all you have to do is pull a plug. However, if your desire is to raise a whole ship to a higher level, it takes power?

Isn’t it the same way spiritually? Anyone can lower the spiritual standard of any Church. No problem! All you have to do is simply set low standards in all, you do! Have we allowed the (course of this world) to set our standards in the place we call Church? The verse we are looking into says that we (walked) being in the past tense (according to the course of this world)! Have we allowed (the course of this world) in every aspect to become a part of our Churches?

Look at this verse:

Ephesians 5:21

SUBMITTING YOURSELVES ONE TO ANOTHER IN THE FEAR OF GOD

The Bible, even here in Ephesians uses an example of a man and his wife as it relates to our relationship with Christ. There’s even going to be a marriage supper of the Lamb that we as believers will be attending one day. The verse we see here tells us to submit ourselves one to another. So, is there any other standard that we see set in that verse? It says, (IN THE FEAR OF GOD).

Let’s say that all is now said and done. We as the Church, the body of Christ is just before marrying Jesus Christ, God in flesh. Everything is now set. Jesus Christ is standing at the altar; he’s waiting for his bride to walk down the aisle to stand beside him for the marriage to take place. How do you suppose he will be dressed? He represents all the Godhead bodily. He is complete perfection!

(IN THE FEAR OF GOD) is a very powerful statement! I realize that the way we dress might not be as important as our actual spiritual life but, don’t we often relate how we dress to certain aspects of our lives? All I’m saying is that the Church is supposed to set a standard that is seen as not a part of the world. It’s supposed to set a standard that prepares us to walk down the aisle for marriage to the most perfect man that ever lived one day.

In a wedding ceremony often the father of the bride will walk his daughter down the Asile. The pastor will ask who gives this woman to be warried to this man? In a spiritual setting, I believe that we can call the Apostle Paul the Father of the Bride in this case. He will be the one that presents the bride to Jesus Christ.

Look at this verse:

2 Corinthians 11:2

FOR I AM JEALOUS OVER YOU WITH GODLY JEALOUSY: FOR I HAVE ESPOUSED YOU TO ONE HUSBAND, THAT I MAY PRESENT YOU A CHASTE VIRGIN TO CHRIST.

Any father that has a daughter, if this man understands the spiritual aspect of marriage with love for his wife and for his daughter desires to present his daughter to a spiritual man that will lead her unto righteousness just as he, the father has sought to teach her spiritual values all her life.

The responsibility of doing just that to the body of Christ, the Church was laid by Jesus Christ on the shoulders of the Apostle Paul. Even from the very beginning Satan has sought to destroy the spiritual beauty of the Bride of Jesus Christ. So, what happened to the Church that the Apostle Paul started at Ephesus?

Revelation 2:1-4

UNTO THE ANGEL OF THE CHURCH OF EPHESUS WRITE; THESE THINGS SAITH HE THAT HOLDETH THE SEVEN STARS IN HIS RIGHT HAND, WHO WALKETH IN THE MIDST OF THE SEVEN GOLDEN CANDLESTICKS; (2) I KNOW THY WORKS, AND THY LABOUR, AND THY PATIENCE, AND HOW THOU CANST NOT BEAR THEM WHICH ARE EVIL: AND THOU HAST TRIED THEM WHICH SAY THEY ARE APOSTLES, AND ARE NOT, AND HAST FOUND THEM LIARS; (3) AND HAST BORNE, AND HAST PATIENCE, AND FOR MY NAME’S SAKE HAST LABOURED, AND HAST NOT FAINTED. (4) NEVERTHELESS I HAVE SOMEWHAT AGAINST THEE, BECAUSE THOU HAST LEFT THY FIRST LOVE.

John the revelator is looking at this from a purely spiritual aspect. For instance, the first love of any person that makes this statement is the world. (Wherein in times past ye walked according to the course of this world). In that respect, that was your first love. However, now being born-again and now separated spiritually from this world by the blood of Christ; you love is completely toward Jesus Christ. He’s saying to the people of Ephesus that they have left that love they had for Christ!

Personally, I don’t believe that today the average Church member ever feels that true loving relationship with Jesus Christ. This is a burden on my heart! I believe many join a Church, a group of people, never even truly seeking to know Christ! In that, we never truly turn from this world and the world actually becomes a part of the Church.

The Church that the Apostle Paul is speaking of is totally separate from any aspect of this world. While we as born-again believers live in this world, we are not of this world. That line has to be clearly drawn, if not then there is a problem within our Churches.

The problem! How do you get people to see this? How can we get the members of the average local Church to see that the course they are walking is still governed by the love of this world? Look at these verses:

2 Peter 3:15-18

AND ACCOUNT THAT THE LONGSUFFERING OF OUR LORD IS SALVATION; EVEN OUR BELOVED PAUL ALSO ACCORDING TO THE WISDOM GIVEN UNTO HIM HATH WRITTEN UNTO YOU; (16) AS ALSO IN ALL HIS EPISTLES, SPEAKING IN THEM OF THINGS; IN WHICH ARE SOME THINGS HARD TO BE UNDERSTOOD, WHICH THEY THAT ARE UNLEARNED AND UNSTABLE WREST, AS THEY DO ALSO OTHER SCRIPTURES, UNTO THEIR OWN DESTRUCTION. (17) YE THEREFORE, BELOVED, SEEING YE KNOW THESE THINGS BEFORE, BEWARE LEST YE ALSO, BEING LED AWAY WITH ERROR OF THE WICKED, FALL FROM YOUR OWN STEDFASTNESS. (18) BUT GROW IN GRACE, AND IN THE KNOWLEDGE OF OUR LORD AND SAVIOUR JESUS CHRIST. TO HIM BE GLORY BOTH NOW AND FOREVER.

Here we see two completely separate groups of people. The Apostle Peter even tells us that some things written by the Apostle Paul is hard to understand. However, they can be understood. He’s saying that many people, Church people struggle with these and other scriptures. He says they are unlearned and unstable.

Which group are you in? Actually, there is nothing wrong with being born-again and struggling with scripture if we are seeking to focus on learning things as taught by God’s Holy Spirit. It’s when you are not born-again and have no desire to be taught by his spirit that makes you still a part of this world. Even if you are a Church member with no interest in spiritual teaching, you do that to your own destruction.

When we are born-again, that fact changes the course of our lives. Often, it’s someone with spiritual maturity that brings about our yearning inside to know all we can about Jesus Christ. In the spiritual mindset it’s supposed to be our pastors and teachers that inspire that desire in us. It will always come from a cleansing process in our worldly walk through the convicting power of the Holy Spirit.

It’s an established fact that I can’t work with a plumber every day if I expect to be an electrician. I must work with an electrician and also allow that person to correct me as I move toward my goal. That instruction will be just as much in teaching me where I’m wrong as I learn the things I need to do. It works in tandem, one with the other. It’s called growing toward maturity, learning to stand on our own two feet.

The truth is, you can’t continue to walk in the course of this world and expect to grow spiritually. Old things must pass away, and all things must become new. Do you remember the verse in the gospels (new wine in old bottles)?

Matthew 9:17

NEITHER DO ME PUT NEW WINE INTO OLD BOTTLES: ELSE THE BOTTLES BREAK, AND THE NEW WINE RUNNETH OUT, AND THE BOTTLES PERISH: BUT THEY PUT NEW WINE INTO NEW BOTTLES, AND BOTH ARE PRESERVED.

Spiritual learning is the very same picture. If any person is still seeking the course of this world, no spiritual truth will absorb into his being because his mind is corrupt by the things of this world We must put on the new man and, then we can learn the spiritual lessons that are taught to us. I’ll also add this. It must be new wine that is taught. Many teachers are not attempting to teach new spiritual truth. They are actually pouring old wine into old bottles, doing nothing as far as the spirit is concerned.

Don’t be deceived people. I often try my best to bring all I teach down to one individual, you! If every person around you desires to stay as they are, (come out from among them and be ye separate saith the Lord). Don’t allow pastors and teachers, even friends keep you on the course of this world. Stand up! Be heard or, allow God’s spirit to speak to you! Find that place of spiritual growth in your life even if someone gets upset with you and, often they will!

In closing, God’s desire is to use his Spirit to fill you with himself. We see where the Apostles Peter praised the Apostle Paul in the epistle he wrote. (In my opinion) it took the Apostle Peter a little time to get to the place he understood the teaching of the Church and the importance of all the Apostle Paul was teaching. Just like Paul, Peter, me or any spiritual person you know, it takes time to be spiritually educated but, we must start somewhere!

I truly believe that it’s by design that many of our Church’s desire to keep us in spiritual ignorance. Their desire is to cause you to only see their spiritual knowledge, if you can call it spiritual. Please, I challenge you to step outside their little bubble and allow God’s Spirit to direct you to his perfect will for your life, in Jesus Name! Don’t allow yourself to continue to be caught up in the course of this world! Don’t forget, (all religion is of this world and, not of God)! Learn to know the difference between the religions of this world and the leadership of the Spirit of God, choosing to walk the course laid out by God’s Holy Spirit!
Marshall Clayton

2 Timothy 1:7

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