If you took the weight of the Gospel and placed it on one side of a balance scale and your life on the other side, would your life equal the weight of the Gospel?
I realize that it is difficult to measure the weight of the Gospel because it is immaterial. However, this is a concept that is not too unfamiliar to us. If you receive a diagnosis of cancer, I suspect you would say something to this effect, “This is heavy upon me.” You might say, “I am not sure I can carry this burden.” The idea of the immaterial being heavy is a familiar concept.
How heavy is the Gospel?
Jesus praying in the garden prior to the events of the last days of His earthly life gives us an indication of the heaviness of the Gospel. As He was praying, His sweat became as great drops of blood. Why? Because the weight of the Gospel was upon Him. I suggest that the weight of the Gospel is a direct result of the weight of the holiness of God.
It was in Jesus’ humanity that He prayed, “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me (Matthew 26:39).” The weight of laying down His life to satisfy the holiness of God was heavy upon Him.
The Apostle Paul understood the weight of the Gospel. He expresses this in his admission as “a prisoner for the Lord (Ephesians 4:1).” Paul is an example of the call that he is issuing to the Ephesians, “to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called (Ephesians 4:1).”
Are you a prisoner?
You are a prisoner to someone or something. You may be a prisoner to an addiction. You may be a prisoner to financial debt. You may be a prisoner to lust. There is no doubt that you are a prisoner in some way. But, are you a prisoner for the Lord? It is the realization of the holiness of God and the weight of the Gospel that leads you to become a prisoner of the Lord. Does everything about your life testify to the Gospel? Do people around you see Jesus in you? Do they recognize that there is something different about you that sets you apart from them?
How do you walk worthy of the calling of the Gospel in your life?
Paul lists five characteristics of the worthy walk. It is important as you consider this list that Paul is concerned with who you are more than what you do. Who you are determines your behavior. Therefore, these characteristics should lead you to become a person of holiness.
- Humility is the absence of pride. All sin is rooted in pride and manifested in rebellion. Jesus was humble (Philippians 2:8) in giving Himself to the will of God the Father.
- Gentleness is power under control. This is synonymous with meekness. Gentleness (or meekness) is not weakness. This is best seen in a horse that has been broken. When a horse is in the wild, his power can be very destructive if it is out of control. But, if that power is brought under control, it can be profitable. We are not to live with our power out of control. We are to live with it under control.
- Patience is the ability to hold one’s temper for a long time. I am not going to quantify how long your temper should be held. Except to say, that it should be held long enough to walk away from the situation so that you do not do harm.
- We are to bear with one another in love. This is the idea of forbearance. It means to hold up against. If we are going to hold up against others, it will be because we love them. A parent forbears with their rebellious child because they love him. An employer forbears with an under productive employee because she loves her. We are to forbear with one another because we love each other.
- Finally, the worthy walk is one in which we eagerly maintain unity. Unity is not uniformity. Unity is not making others conform to us. Unity, in its basic form, is to agree. Note that we are not to create unity. Unity is already present in Christ. But, we must work to maintain it.
These characteristics are focused on who you are more so than what you do. This is seen in their progression. You will not be gentle if you are not first humble. You will not be patient if you are if you are not first humble and gentle. The progression takes you all the way to unity. There is no unity where there is no humility, gentleness, patience, and forbearance.
So, back to the original question, does your life equal the weight of the Gospel? It can only equal the weight of the Gospel if these characteristics are present in your life.
Sermon: The Worthy Walk
Blog Post: Worth the Weight