Immediate Obedience

Take a step of obedience, what you know you should do to obey God; and He’ll lead you.

Scripture: Colossians 1:9, I Thessalonians 4, Acts 16:9-10, Proverbs 3:5-6


Hello radio friends! How in the world are you? You doing Alright? Well, I’m fine, thank God, I have no complaints, feel great. The way we I feel today, I’m going to live to be hundred. As a matter fact, just between you and me, I’m going to live forever, how about you? “He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life”, Jesus said. He also said to His disciples, “Because I live, ye shall live, also. I go to prepare a place for you, where I am there ye may be also”. Paul the apostle says in first Thessalonians four, after the second coming of Christ and the resurrection of believers, he said, “And so shall we ever be with the Lord”. I’m going to be around a while, how about you believer? Isn’t that good, to have that blessed hope? Yes it is.

Arthritis may have tied you down, rheumatism, or just plain passing of the years, don’t call it old age, just the passing of the years may have tied you down a little or slowed you down, but you can look up with a twinkle in your eye and fire in your heart and say, “Thank God, I’m going to be around in a million years, you’ll see me, I’ll meet you at the corner of Halleluiah Avenue and Amen Street, yonder in the glory, ever with the Lord, halleluiah!”

Well we’re looking at Colossians chapter 1, you and I, and we got to verse nine where this concept of being filled with the knowledge of God’s will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding, has come into focus. Last time we got together, you’ll remember I mentioned to you that we start with the concept that God does have a plan for your life, “Known unto God are all His works from the beginning of the world”. Said of our Lord Jesus He, himself knew what He would do. In another place John the gospel writer remarks, “Jesus needed not that any should tell Him of men for He knew what was in man”. The psalmist remarks that, “God is equated with all our thoughts”, He knows what’s in our, “There’s not a word of my tongue”, he says”, but lo, oh Lord Thou knowest altogether that art acquainted with my down sitting and uprising, and I Thou hast beset me behind and before ,and laid thine hand upon me”. It’s a pretty thorough knowledge God has of your life and He is laid his plans for you. “I know the thoughts that I think toward you God”, says, “thoughts of good and not of evil, to give you a desired end”. So, we start with that concept that God has a plan for your life. Now, it’s true that He allows you to make decisions within the framework of His own sovereign planning He allows you to make decisions.

That’s the miracle of God’s gracious inter-working with our lives. At the same time, we are free, not simply to make decisions, but free to submit to the will of God, “If any man will do the will of God he shall know of the doctrine”, Jesus said. and we read and in Proverbs 3:5 and 6, I suppose if anyone has a life verse that would be mine, “In all thine ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct thy paths”, “He shall”, it’s definite isn’t it, not maybe, “He shall direct thy paths”. “Commit thy works unto the Lord and thy thoughts shall be established”, says the scripture. Now, with all of that background, knowing that God knows me, that He loves me, that He has a plan for my life, that He is made me free to choose, but also free to yield to Him so that I can get His perfect provision, I go forth into life then praying, acknowledging Him, seeking His will and being willing to do His will as He reveals it to me.
I asked Pastor Ward Potts, my precious pastor friend in the Cleveland, Ohio area, said, “Why do you think that God has given you all of these different, blessed, thrilling ministries”? He said, “Well, I, I was talking to the father about that one day”, you know, he has that that blessed, direct contact with God that is, is a conversational father-son connection that just thrills my heart. He said, “I was talking to the father about that one day”, and, and he said to me, said, “The reason I ask you to do these things is because I know you’ll do them. I know you’ll obey”.

Well beloved, I want to be that kind of person, don’t you? I want to be the kind of person who obeys what God says. That, it seems to me, is the key to knowing more of the will of God. The all-time holiness people had a good thought when they said, “Walk in the light you have and God will give you more light”, any of you old-timers remember hearing that? “Walk in the light you have and God will give you more light”. The path of the just is as the shining light that shineth more and more under the perfect day, so walk in the light you have and God will give you more light. Very true. So he says, “Filled with the knowledge of His will”. Now, how do you go about that? First of all, you realize that there is an objective truth known as the will of God for you. Second, you seek that in prayer and in surrender of your own will and prejudices and biases. Third, you settle the matter of whether or not you are willing to obey what God tells you.

If you’re not willing to obey, you’re, you’re not going to get very far with the Lord. Right? And then, if you’re willing to obey you do what you know is God’s will for you at this time. One of the great, dynamic elements in Christian experience grows out of this matter of immediate obedience. Paul the apostle was trying to go through some doors that were closed, couldn’t going to into Phrygia, couldn’t go into some of these other areas; you remember that in Acts chapter 16? He said, “They’d gone through Phrygia and the region of Galatia and forbidden of the Holy Ghost to preach the word in Asia, come to Mysia, they tried to go into Bithynia, but the spirit allowed then not, and they passing by Mysia, came down to Troas, and the vision appeared to Paul in the night, there stood a man of Macedonia, saying, ‘Come over into Macedonia and help us’, and immediately, after he had seen the vision, immediately we endeavored to go into Macedonia, surely gathering that the Lord had called us to preach the gospel unto them, therefore loosing from Troas, we came with a straight course to Samothrace and the next day to Neapolis and the next to Philippi, the chief city of that part of Macedonia”. “Immediately we endeavored”. You want to be filled with the knowledge of God’s will? Start doing what you know to be the will of God, instead of wasting time on the closed doors and the negatives, do what you know is God’s will in any given situation. There’s always, one of my, one of my guiding principles in life has been, there is always something constructive that can be done in the presence of a problem, you know, so simple a matter.

Let me take a ridiculous illustration; you’re sitting in a room with a friend and all of a sudden a storm blows up, and it’s raining in, and you say, “Oh how terrible it’s raining in”. Well your friend says, “Silly, get up and close the window”. And so, you get up and close the window and it stops raining in because the windows closed, you closed it. Now, that’s a very simple, homey illustration of doing something in the face of a problem, isn’t it? There’s always something that can be done.

I remember the day I had a committee of students waiting on me. They were all angry and I was apprehensive about it. I thought perhaps we were in for some kind of a, of a confrontation. I said, “What seems to be the trouble?’, and the spokesman for them stood forth and said, “There’s a dead mouse in the kitchen”. I thought, “Oh dear Lord, now how can I be blamed for the fact that some dumb mouse chose the kitchen as a place to go to glory”, you know, I just, I heaved a sign and said, “Oh , boy”, but it occurred to me that there was something that could be done to break the tension, and I said, “Well has any, anybody given this mouse a Christian burial?”, “No, he’s still there lying in the hallway”. So, I said to one of the boys, I said, “John, you go down and pick him up gently and, and, and deposit him in the ashcan, give him a Christian burial and then come back”, and they all sort of chuckled a little, and the tension was broken. What developed of course, was that the mouse was only the, what we call, the aggravating cause. There were some other things they had in mind, and we could do something about them, it developed, all the way from a light fixture that wouldn’t work, to a torn shower curtain that wasn’t replaced, and I don’t know what all. We could do something about it. I think that’s a good working principle beloved, and I wish you would take it for yourself. In the face of any problem as you pray and as you seek God, there is always some constructive step of obedience that you can take at that time.

Don’t wait around worrying about what’s going to happen 10 years from now when you’re considering the will of God. Saul of Tarsus, later Paul the apostle, Saul the Tarsus lying prostrated there on the road to Damascus, raised his sightless face to heaven and said, “Lord what wilt Thou have me to do?”, and our blessed Lord said, “Go into Damascus and it’ll be told you there what to do”, and so now sightless, he had to be led into the city, and for three days he was seeking God, praying, waiting on God until brother Ananias came to lay his hands on him and heal his eyes, and give him the fullness of the Holy Spirit of God. “What wilt Thou have me to do”? “If any man will do His will, he shall know in all I ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct thy paths. When He putteth forth His own sheep, He goeth ahead”. Oh, can you get hold of that today and, and bring it with you onto Main Street, into the office, into the shop, into the community, right there at home, dear homemaker, with three million things facing you that you scarcely have strength enough to think about, let alone do? Can you put that to work, that principle in your life? Take a step of obedience, what you know you should do to obey God and He’ll lead you. Step by blessed step, filled with the knowledge of His will. Now, what is the essence of this experience? Paul goes on to say, “Filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and in spiritual understanding”. Wisdom is the quality of knowing what to do with the knowledge you have. A little boy of seven knows how to start his father’s car, turn the key, start the motor, press the accelerator, make the engine go vroom, vroom, vroom, knows where the horn button is, he fell on it at age three has been blowing it every since, every time he gets a chance, knows how to turn on the lights and turn on the windshield wiper and he knows all about that. He’s pretty knowledgeable, this little seven-year-old. If it were legal, which it’s not, but he doesn’t have the wisdom to go with his knowledge, see what I mean? Wisdom is knowing what to do with what you know, Do your homework. God will never do your homework for you, I tell the students, but God will give you wisdom, yes He will, and when you get to the end of your abilities and your knowledge, the faithful Holy Spirit of God will guide you and tell you what God wants you to do.

Dear Father today, help us to act on what we know to be Thy will, I ask in Jesus’ name, Amen.

Till I meet you once again by way of radio, walk with the King today and be a blessing!

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