United Church of God

Walking the Talk

You are here

Walking the Talk

Login or Create an Account

With a UCG.org account you will be able to save items to read and study later!

Sign In | Sign Up


Being in God’s Church brings you and me a unique opportunity to know God’s plan for humanity and celebrate it on Sabbaths and Holy Days. We understand biblical prophecies and take every opportunity to share the gospel of the Kingdom of God and encourage others to keep His commandments. We can feel a sense of security from the truth we cherish and the words we proclaim.

Jesus’ parables raise an issue that you and I sometimes fail to fully realize. It’s one thing to teach and cherish this way, but quite another to faithfully live it. Remember Paul explaining that the things he so strongly believed in were things he tended to not actually do? “For I delight in the law of God according to the inward man. But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members” (Romans 7:22-23). Similarly, Jesus describes 10 virgins who all have burning lamps complete with oil. The difference was the amount of oil each person possessed at a crucial time. Again, it’s one thing to be in the Church, quite another to be practicing what we believe. All the teachers in the New Testament compel us to be Christ-like in how we live. In doing
so we become the evidence that God’s wayworks.

An example of how one can be “doing the Work of God” and failing to be ready to meet Christ at His return can involve our effective preaching of the gospel, while failing to live the life of personal service to others, which the life of Jesus exemplified. While the work of the Church involves carrying the gospel to the world, its intended purpose is to baptize people who will “observe all things that I have commanded you” (Matthew 28:18). Preaching the gospel is only the first step in a process involving each participant’s need to also live the life associated with it. “For the time has come for judgment to begin at the house of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the end of those who do not obey the gospel of God?” (1 Peter 4:17).

It helps to remember that the Israelites were once slaves in Egypt without any option, until a lamb’s blood covered their doorposts on the first Passover. When morning came they still had not moved, but they now possessed the option to follow God out of Egypt. Similarly, at baptism our past sins are removed. With the laying on of hands, God’s Holy Spirit enters our hearts and minds. We haven’t moved yet, rather we are given an opportunity to be fed and led by Christ to sonship through the Holy Spirit (Romans 8:13-17). In both cases, a journey is necessary reach the Promised Land. Merely teaching it, liking it or wanting it is not the same as making the challenging journey through Egypt and the Red Sea, or down the difficult path and through the narrow door with God.

It is through the working of our gracious God in us that we must develop the fruits of the Holy Spirit for a coming harvest (John 15:1-8). We need to grow with His daily Bread “to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ” (Ephesians 4:13). That results in a Bride made ready, clothed with white garments of righteousness. It’s a process involving the daily work of “forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead” while we “press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:13-14).

As members of the Body of Christ, we are committed to doing God’s work of preaching the gospel and preparing a people. But Jesus’ parables in Matthew 25 warn that we also must doall the things we teach. Each of His lessons contains a warning for any who talk the talk, but don’t walk the walk. Jesus warned: “Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness’”(Matthew 7:22-23)! The verses immediately following compare the doersof His sayings to a man who builds his house on a rock, while hearers only are building on sand. We are told, “But be doersof the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves” (James 1:22, emphasis added).

You and I have been called to participate in an effective preaching of the gospel to others. If we are not careful we could begin to think that it’s our act of preaching the gospel that is preparing us as a people in God’s eyes. But the apostle Paul admonished us to also be running a spiritual race and wrestling with an evil nature, “lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified” (1 Corinthians 9:27).

As God continues to bless our efforts to teach the gospel of the Kingdom of God to others, let’s be growing into bright lights and ambassadors of the way of life it represents. As God does that in us He is arraying us “in fine linen clean and bright, for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints” (Revelation 19:8). Through a focus on becoming like our Father in heaven, we grow a confidence in our salvation accompanied with a genuine expectation of joining Christ at His return (1 John 2:28-29).