Quick To Obey
Delayed obedience is disobedience — there's no way around doing what God tells you to do.
Alright, thank you very much. And hello again, radio friends. How in the world are you? You’re doing all right? Well, this is your friend, Bob Cook, and I’m glad to be back with you to share from the Word of God. What I try to do is to put a handle on this, God’s inerrant, infallible, eternal, inspired Word, the Bible. Try to put a handle on these passages so that you can get hold of it for yourself.
The last time we got together, we remarked that it’s important just to tell God about things. The mother of Jesus, Mary, just told Him, said, “They haven’t any wine.” How long has it been since you just told God about things? Something to remember, oh, yes it is. Now, there was a rather rough answer from our Savior. He said, “Woman… ” If we were to use that word today it would be a term of derogation to look at some lady and say, “Woman.” [chuckle] But in those days it was used as a term of general address and oftentimes of affection. And it’s not so long ago that, in our own culture even, people would address each other by their generic term. My father oftentimes would speak to my sister, he’d say, “Woman,” this or that or the other. And he meant no disrespect, that was just the way he talked. He called me “boy.” [chuckle] I guess he couldn’t remember my name, Victor Borge says. [chuckle]
So, there wasn’t any disrespect in the way our Lord Jesus spoke here. What He actually was saying was, “This isn’t really my business.” He said, “My hour to reveal myself to the world has not yet arrived.” That’s what He was saying. This really isn’t my time. But the need was greater than any other consideration and so we find Mary saying very quietly to the servant, you can just hear her saying it out of the corner of her mouth, “You just do whatever He tells you. Just do whatever He tells you.” Her faith was greater than any other consideration there. She believed that this man whom she had cradled in her arms as a babe and whom she had seen as He grew up in Joseph’s carpenter shop now coming to know that He was indeed the Son of God. She believed in her heart that He was gonna meet the need.
Now, I’m fairly conservative and I do differ with people who have the easy believism approach that you just say something and God does it. “The affirmations of faith, just name it and claim it,” someone has said. I think I differ with that. I think it’s a kind of presumption to approach Almighty God with that sort of thing. At the same time, beloved, I think there’s a truth here that we ought to get hold of. Faith risks the situation on God. I’ve told you that numbers of times before. Let me repeat it once again. Faith risks the situation on God. She didn’t say what, she just said who. She said, “You do what He tells you.” And it is not ours to tell God what to do. It is ours to commit ourselves to Him so that He can do whatever He wants to do. You see the difference?
No, don’t… Well, the mother was listening to her little boy praying when he was saying, “God do this and God, do that.” She tapped him on the shoulder and interrupted his evening prayer and she said tenderly, “Sonny boy, don’t bother giving orders, just report for duty.” Not my will but thine be done must always be the attitude of the believer. I’m sure you agree with that. Having said that, however, real faith envisions an answer. Pray toward the answer, don’t pray toward the problem. The problem is already there.
I read a little booklet once that said you can tell God what’s wrong in 17 words or less. I don’t know where they got the 17 words, but it’s pretty close to the truth. It doesn’t take many words to describe the problem to God. Then pray toward the answer, believing God for His wonderful answer to your need.
She said, “Just do what He tells you.” Now, of course, that’s a great motto for you and for me. “Whatsoever He saith unto you, do it.” I met a speaker at the NRB Convention a couple years ago who made a short speech, the essence of which was, “Don’t talk about a thing, do it.” He was a consummate salesman, the executive of a large insurance company, and so he was telling, from his point of view, what was important. Don’t talk about getting more sales, just do it. Don’t talk about making more calls, just do it. Don’t talk about reaching your goal, just do it. That was what he said for a few minutes and I think he made his point, made a few people a little irritated because he wasn’t religious enough for some of us. [laughter] But he was awfully practical.
She said, “Whatever He says to you, do it.” Now, you wanna bring that home to where you live? Everybody I’ve ever met has a long list of unfinished business, things that you have said, concerning which you have said, “I gotta get at that some time. I know God wants me to do this and I will some time.” Well, delayed obedience is disobedience, you know that. Junior is outside playing and you say, “Junior, come in. I want you to do this. I want you to mow the backyard grass.” And he says, “In a minute,” and the time goes on and you raise your voice, you say, “Junior, I want you to mow the backyard grass.” “In a minute.” He never does get around to it. Did he obey you? No, he disobeyed. He put it off.
Delayed obedience is disobedience, and you and I have to face up to the fact that we have a long agenda of things that still need to be done if we’re going to obey God. Do you, beloved, have the moral courage to think about that honestly? What about the things that you have been putting off? Things you know you should do if you’re gonna obey God. For some, it actually means changing jobs because you’re working with a bunch of unsaved people who are constantly impinging upon any possibility of your living a Christian life. For some, it means breaking off a love affair because you’re going with somebody who is either an unbeliever or some of you are dating a married person and it means breaking off that relationship if you’re gonna do what God asks you to do. For somebody else, it means start to be a tither, give God 10% off the top of your income, taking care of your church and your pastor first of all. If you’re gonna be a tither, start with your church and then go on to other ministries.
“Take care of your church and your pastor first of all,” I’ve said this so many times on these broadcasts and I do it with conviction because I was in the pastorate full-time for 18 years, I know how important it is to support your pastor and your church. And God may be speaking to some of you who are in business or who are making a good salary that you ought to start tithing 10% off the top for God. Well, you have to start, you have to do it. “Whatsoever He saith unto you, do it.” God may be speaking to somebody about just sharing your Lord with someone with whom you work, or a nearby neighbor, or a relative, or a friend. You’ve been putting it off because you say, “Well, I’m chicken. I can’t do that. I can’t barge into somebody’s life.” Nonsense. You talk to people every day, you talk about things you’re interested in and if you get interested enough in Jesus and thrilled enough over Him, you’re gonna spill over in conversation to somebody. Do it.
Well, I don’t have to make the list any longer, do I? Are you willing to start obeying God on something? I have to tell you something. Every major turning point in my life, where there was more blessing and a sense of God’s presence, every major spiritual turning point in my life followed an act of obedience to God’s word. I can remember a time when I became greatly burdened about my own devotional life. Mind you, as a minister ordained in 19… What was it? 31, I guess. I had been preaching to people for years that they should have a daily devotional time when they met the Lord, and God was dealing with my own soul that I really wasn’t following my own preaching very consistently. I decided to obey God on this matter. The house in which we lived at the time had a little cubby hole off the top of the stairway on the second floor, a little cubby hole that led to an empty attic space on that end of the house and I ran an electric outlet over there, and hooked up a lamp, and got a small table and a chair, and brought my Bible and my Greek New Testament, and my lexicon, and my concordance, and a few other things, brought it in there, and I began every day to spend some time with God, alone, in that place.
It was dark, no windows. Summertime it got unbearably hot, but it was a place where I could meet with God. And you know, when you’re absolutely alone with God you have to be honest, you cannot dissemble when you’re alone with Him, and so I found myself being honest with God as I read the Word and prayed about it. And I sensed, along with that action, I sensed a renewing of spiritual life and power in my own heart. Other people commented on it, said I was preaching with more power. What happened? Well, all that happened was that I obeyed God. Do you dare to obey the Lord today? “Whatsoever He saith unto you, do it.” In reading your Bible and in praying, the faithful indwelling Holy Spirit is going to suggest to you some things that you ought to do to obey your blessed Lord. Oh, for your own sake and for God’s sake, do it. “Whatsoever He saith unto you, do it.”
Now, I’m not advocating any hysterical action and I’m not saying that you should go off on some wild tangent because you happen to feel a certain way. Don’t trust your feelings, stick to the Word of God. “To the law and to the testimony for if they speak not according to this Word, it is because there is no light in them.” You stick to the Word of God. It’ll be plain enough and when it speaks to your heart, you obey.
Dear Father, today, make us people who obey thee, from the heart, promptly. I ask in Jesus’ name. Amen. ‘Til I meet you once again by way of radio, walk with the King today, and be a blessing.
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