What Is Obedience To God?
Comparing disobedience in a life to obedience to God is saying, "not my will but Yours."
Alright, thank you very much. And hello again dear radio friends. How in the world are you? Well this is your friend Bob Cook, Wishing You a ‘Happy Labor Day’ if that’s the day when you happen to be listening to this broadcast — most of you will I think. We used to say at our house, “You have to labor on ‘Labor Day’.” One year I remember I laid the linoleum floor on the kitchen and our, our back porch in our house in Chicago when we lived there. Never stopped talking of it. Like a man you know, you brag about something you did. (Laugh) Well whatever you’re doing today, may it full of the blessing of the Lord.
“The blessing of the Lord, it maketh rich and it addeth no sorrow therewith, therewith.” You know when you’re, when you’re blessed of God you don’t have any regrets. Have you found that out? There’s’ lot of things that a person can do that are enjoyable, fun even, or thrilling, or whatever. But oftentimes they’re tinged with regret. And after you get a way’s, away from them, you wish that something’s had never happened, isn’t that true? Well, when you’re walking in the ‘will of God’, filled with the, ‘Spirit of God’, obeying the ‘Word of God’, my beloved you don’t have any, not any that is, regrets.
“Godly sorrow worketh salvation, never to be regretted,” Paul says. Well that’s, I threw that in free, it’s not part of the sermon today. We’re in 1 Peter, gonna walk around in that wonderful epistle for a while. Been a while since you and I were together in that passage — some years in fact, I think. And so we got into the second verse of Chapter 1 the last time we got together.
Paul is writing to people whom he calls “Elect,” and that is literally ‘called out’. “Eclectois” the, the people who are called out for God’s special purposes. And I pointed out to you that before you experience the scattering, before you experience the pressure, before, in their case, they experienced the tribulation, there were people whom God had specially called for Himself. And you also, beloved, can be sure of that. Long before you ever go into anything that is a pressure situation, or a heartache situation, or a situation tinged with need, you can be sure that God Almighty has marked you as one of His called ones. That’s good to know, isn’t it?
Now why? He said, “According to the foreknowledge of God the Father.” God has the right to make His plan based on the fact that He knows everything; just as parents and grand parents time their actions and their efforts based upon how they know their small fry are going to act. You do that everyday don’t you, mothers and dads? You know that junior or his sister are, are going to act in a certain way because that’s just how they are. And so you, you make plans in that direction. Well, God is far smarter than you or I. And He has made His eternal plans based upon His absolute knowledge of everything — “the foreknowledge of God.” Then it says, “Through sanctification of the Spirit,” we talked about the last time we got together, “being set aside for God’s special use.”
“Unto,” now here we go into something new for us today, in verse 2, “Unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ, grace be unto you and peace be multiplied.” Unto, that is, this is the purpose of it, this is the purpose of it all. What is it? God wants to set you aside for His very own, a people for His own possession, we read in that verse in Titus — Greek word periousion, people to be around Him, to be His very own. That’s what He wants. Sanctification of the Spirit, He sets you apart to be His very own. All right?
Well then, what else? The result of it, the direction in which God is moving is the direction of obedience. Now take a trip with me back to the Garden of Eden. God said, “Of every tree of the garden ye may freely eat, but of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, the tree of the knowledge of good and the evil ye may not eat it, for in the day that thou eatest of it thou shall die”. That’s what God said to Adam and to Eve when he placed them in the Garden of Eden.
Now they chose then to disobey God. And they partook of that forbidden fruit. It says their eyes were open, they knew that they were naked, they sowed themselves fig leaf aprons together, and then they hid among the trees of the garden, hid from the presence of God. Poor, futile, effort to escape from the God whom they had now disobeyed.
So disobedience based upon the threefold approach, which the devil incidentally has never changed — ‘the lust of the eye, the lust of the, the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eye, and the pride of life,’ that John calls it. When they saw that it was good for food, and pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise,” the Bible says — there’s your threefold approach. Satan has never had to change it, it still works today tragically in millions of lives. And so they disobeyed God.
Sin came to this world, and Paul centuries later then could write, “As by one man sin came into this world, entered into the world. And death by sin, so death passed upon all men for that all have sinned.” And you and I live then into a, in a sin-cursed environment, with hearts that are bound up in sin. And so the psalmist had to write, “Behold I was shapen in inequity and sinned, and my mother conceived me, sinning right from the very beginning.” A sin nature, and deliberately disobeying God, as every one of us has done until that time when we opened our hearts to the Lord Jesus Christ and were born again through the Holy Spirit of God.
Obedience is a key factor here. Disobedience beloved, is the basic problem of the human heart. You don’t, and I don’t, naturally want to do what God tells us to do. So what is the direction then of God’s loving work on our behalf? He’s called us out, and He did that based on His knowledge of how we would react to that call. And He worked through His blessed Holy Spirit to set us apart specially for his own use. What then is the thrust of it? You have the little Greek word ‘eis’ — e-i-s — which means ‘unto’, ‘in the direction of’, ‘into’ — in the direction of obedience. What God wants is a person who will say as did the Savior, “Nevertheless not my will but thine be done.”
When our Savior taught the disciples the model prayer on which all praying may well be based, he said, “When ye pray say ‘Our Father, which art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name. Thy Kingdom come,” what’s the next phrase? “Thy will be done, in Earth as it is in heaven.” To get the obedient heart.
The writer to the Hebrews talks about bringing every thought into captivity due to the obedience of Christ. So you start with your thoughts and then you go on with your body, “I beseech you therefore brethren, by the mercies of God that you present your body, a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God,” And then you go on with your concepts of life. “Not that we are sufficient or ourselves to think anything as of ourselves, but our sufficiencies of God who hath made us the ministers of the new covenant,” says Paul in 2 Corinthians 5.
Yes this whole matter of obedience means submission to the will of God in thought, in word, in deed, and in action, unto obedience. Now that’s a big order. And inevitably you and I bump up against the fact that we are fallible, we are faulty, failing human being with our full share of shortcomings. At least I know that’s true of me, may not be true of you. Your halo may be perfectly adjusted this morning, but I doubt it. (Laughs) We have our share of shortcomings and sins, don’t we? Now what you do with all this concept? Well, the ‘Word of God’ makes a difference in people’s lives. “Thy word have I hid in my heart that I might not sin against Thee,” said the psalmist.
“Before I was afflicted, I went astray then I turned,” he said, “to Thy precepts.” The word of God makes a difference. “Now ye are clean,” Jesus said, “through the Word which I have spoken unto you.” Paul the apostle spoke of the washing of water by the Word.
So the Word of God is the beginning place if you want to develop a life characterized by obedience. Begin to store in your heart and mind and memory, and then in your unconscious mind — the computer portion of your mind — portions of scriptures that bear upon this matter of living the Christian life and, and obeying God. And the faithful indwelling Holy Spirit will bring those things to your attention just at the moment when they are needed. This has happened to me many, many times, too often to be coincidence. I know this is the way God works. You hide God’s word in your heart and mind and memory, and the faithful Holy Spirit will, will bring it to your attention just when you need it.
Jesus said so. “He will bring all things to your rememberance whatsoever I have spoken unto you.” You can’t remember something unless you first forgot it. And so what you do is you read it, you, you meditate on it, you memorize it. And then you chuck it back into the unconscious mind, the computer portion of your mind, so the Holy Spirit of God can crank it out just when it’s needed.
That’s the beginning step if you want to learn to obey God. It sounds very simple doesn’t it? But don’t stumble over its simplicity, because beloved that’s where the action begins. Action begins in your mind. “As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he. Out of the heart proceed evil thoughts adulteries, fornications, murders,” and so on, and so on and so on…” Jesus said. “As a person thinks in his heart…” So what you think about becomes the basis for what you do. Well, we all know that. But now apply it, apply it in your life, and start. Let every day be marked by the insertion of one more Scripture into the software, let us say, of the big computer that lies in between you two ears — your brain.
Let the Holy Spirit of God have something on which He can work in bringing to your attention portions of the Word of God which will guide you in obeying God’s Word. Now the other thing that’ll be helpful is to pray over the things that you’re, that you’re memorizing. I have found that, that it makes a great deal of difference in my attitude, daily living, if I pray over the Scripture that God is, is putting into my mind from the Word. My motivation is not just mental; it has also to be spiritual and emotional. Pray over the truth of God and commit yourself to it, and then the Spirit of God will guide you. We’ll get back to this the next time we get together.
Dear Father, help us obey today for Thy glory 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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