OBEDIENCE (Lesson 6)
1. We ought to be obedient, and do "all" that the Lord tells us to do:
GOD SAID to Moses, Come up to the Lord, you and Aaron, Nadab and Abihu [Aaron's sons], and seventy of Israel's elders, and worship at a distance. Moses alone shall come near the Lord; the others shall not come near, and neither shall the people come up with him. Moses came and told the people all that the Lord had said and all the ordinances; and all the people answered with one voice, All that the Lord has spoken we will do. Then he took the Book of the Covenant and read in the hearing of the people; and they said, All that the Lord has said we will do, and we will be obedient. Ex.24:1-3 & 7 (Amplified Bible).
2. There ought to be a desire in our hearts, to do so. But, what's the cause, if there's not?:
WHAT LEADS to strife (discord and feuds) and how do conflicts (quarrels and fightings) originate among you? Do they not arise from your sensual desires that are ever warring in your bodily members? You are jealous and covet [what others have] and your desires go unfulfilled; [so] you become murderers. [To hate is to murder as far as your hearts are concerned.] You burn with envy and anger and are not able to obtain [the gratification, the contentment, and the happiness that you seek], so you fight and war. You do not have, because you do not ask. [I John 3:15.] [Or] you do ask [God for them] and yet fail to receive, because you ask with wrong purpose and evil, selfish motives. Your intention is [when you get what you desire] to spend it in sensual pleasures. Ja 4:2-3 (Amplified Bible).
3. Desire God, and not the cravings of the flesh:
Or do you suppose that the Scripture is speaking to no purpose that says, The Spirit Whom He has caused to dwell in us yearns over us and He yearns for the Spirit [to be welcome] with a jealous love? But He gives us more and more grace (power of the Holy Spirit, to meet this evil tendency and all others fully). That is why He says, God sets Himself against the proud and haughty, but gives grace [continually] to the lowly (those who are humble enough to receive it). So be subject to God. Resist the devil [stand firm against him], and he will flee from you. Come close to God and He will come close to you. [Recognize that you are] sinners, get your soiled hands clean; [realize that you have been disloyal] wavering individuals with divided interests, and purify your hearts [of your spiritual adultery]. [As you draw near to God] be deeply penitent and grieve, even weep [over your disloyalty]. Let your laughter be turned to grief and your mirth to dejection and heartfelt shame [for your sins]. Humble yourselves [feeling very insignificant] in the presence of the Lord, and He will exalt you [He will lift you up and make your lives significant].
4. We are called to be priests unto the Lord:
Now therefore, if you will obey My voice in truth and keep My covenant, then you shall be My own peculiar possession and treasure from among and above all peoples; for all the earth is Mine. And you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests, a holy nation [consecrated, set apart to the worship of God]. Ex 19:5-6a (Amplified Bible).
For many of us, the word "peculiar" in this verse has had the meaning "weird", or "strange". This is not at all the meaning of the word "peculiar". According to the Strong's Concordance, the word "peculiar" means: private property, especially possessed by God, and prized by Him.
5. God has called us to be an "obedient" people; a holy people - kings and priests unto Him (through our obedience):
The Lord will establish you as a people holy to Himself, as He has sworn to you, if you keep the commandments of the Lord your God and walk in His ways. Deut.28:9 (Amplified Bible).
If we choose to live a life of rebellion, rather than a life of obedience to God, what does His word say of this?:
Because you have rejected the word of the Lord, He also has rejected you from being king. I Sam.15:23b (Amplified Bible).
But ye [are] a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light (1 Pe 2:10 KJV).
And, from the Amplified Bible:
But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a dedicated nation, [God's] own purchased, special people, that you may set forth the wonderful deeds and display the virtues and perfections of Him Who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light. 1 Pe 2:10 (Amplified Bible).
These verses reveal, we are called to be the "people of God".
6. As some falsely believe, Jesus did not come to set us free "from" being obedient to Him, but to make obedience "to" Him possible:
Because we couldn’t live His commands ... keep them in our own strength (Old Covenant), Christ came that He might live them "in" and through us (New Covenant). He didn't come to undo, or change the laws, but to "fulfill" or "complete" them "in" us:
THEREFORE, [there is] now no condemnation (no adjudging guilty of wrong) for those who are in Christ Jesus, who live [and] walk not after the dictates of the flesh, but after the dictates of the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life [which is] in Christ Jesus [the law of our new being] has freed me from the law of sin and of death. For God has done what the Law could not do, [its power] being weakened by the flesh [the entire nature of man without the Holy Spirit]. Sending His own Son in the guise of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, [God] condemned sin in the flesh [subdued, overcame, deprived it of its power over all who accept that sacrifice], so that the righteous and just requirement of the Law might be fully met in us who live and move not in the ways of the flesh but in the ways of the Spirit [our lives governed not by the standards and according to the dictates of the flesh, but controlled by the Holy Spirit]. Rom.8: 1-4 (Amplified Bible). Matt.5: 17-20 (Amplified Bible).
He wants us to live in (or obey) His Spirit;
THEREFORE, [there is] now no condemnation (no adjudging guilty of wrong) for those who are in Christ Jesus, who live [and] walk not after the dictates of the flesh, but after the dictates of the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life [which is] in Christ Jesus [the law of our new being] has freed me from the law of sin and of death. For God has done what the Law could not do, [its power] being weakened by the flesh [the entire nature of man without the Holy Spirit]. Sending His own Son in the guise of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, [God] condemned sin in the flesh [subdued, overcame, deprived it of its power over all who accept that sacrifice], so that the righteous and just requirement of the Law might be fully met in us who live and move not in the ways of the flesh but in the ways of the Spirit [our lives governed not by the standards and according to the dictates of the flesh, but controlled by the Holy Spirit]. For those who are according to the flesh and are controlled by its unholy desires set their minds on and pursue those things which gratify the flesh, but those who are according to the Spirit and are controlled by the desires of the Spirit set their minds on and seek those things which gratify the [Holy] Spirit. Now the mind of the flesh [which is sense and reason without the Holy Spirit] is death [death that comprises all the miseries arising from sin, both here and hereafter]. But the mind of the [Holy] Spirit is life and [soul] peace [both now and forever]. [That is] because the mind of the flesh [with its carnal thoughts and purposes] is hostile to God, for it does not submit itself to God's Law; indeed it cannot. So then those who are living the life of the flesh [catering to the appetites and impulses of their carnal nature] cannot please or satisfy God, or be acceptable to Him. But you are not living the life of the flesh, you are living the life of the Spirit, if the [Holy] Spirit of God [really] dwells within you [directs and controls you]. But if anyone does not possess the [Holy] Spirit of Christ, he is none of His [he does not belong to Christ, is not truly a child of God]. But if Christ lives in you, [then although] your [natural] body is dead by reason of sin and guilt, the spirit is alive because of [the] righteousness [that He imputes to you]. And if the Spirit of Him Who raised up Jesus from the dead dwells in you, [then] He Who raised up Christ Jesus from the dead will also restore to life your mortal (short-lived, perishable) bodies through His Spirit Who dwells in you. So then, brethren, we are debtors, but not to the flesh [we are not obligated to our carnal nature], to live [a life ruled by the standards set up by the dictates] of the flesh. For if you live according to [the dictates of] the flesh, you will surely die. But if through the power of the [Holy] Spirit you are [habitually] putting to death (making extinct, deadening) the [evil] deeds prompted by the body, you shall [really and genuinely] live forever. For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For [the Spirit which] you have now received [is] not a spirit of slavery to put you once more in bondage to fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption [the Spirit producing sonship] in [the bliss of] which we cry, Abba (Father)! Father! The Spirit Himself [thus] testifies together with our own spirit, [assuring us] that we are children of God. And if we are [His] children, then we are [His] heirs also: heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ [sharing His inheritance with Him]; only we must share His suffering if we are to share His glory. Rom.8:1-17 (Amplified Bible).
This is to be accomplished by His power, because of what Jesus did. It is not that of ourselves ... not by our own abilities.
O unhappy and pitiable and wretched man that I am! Who will release and deliver me from [the shackles of] this body of death? O thank God! [He will!] through Jesus Christ (the Anointed One) our Lord! So then indeed I, of myself with the mind and heart, serve the Law of God, but with the flesh the law of sin. Rom.7:24-25 (Amplified Bible).
We must never think we can follow Jesus, and seperate oursleves from His word. Once again, He "is" the word, so to follow Him, is to follow (obey) His word.
To "obey" according to the Heb. (#8085) means: To hear intelligently (often with the implication of attention, obdience, etc.); to discern; to understand. When I discern, or understand, I have been made aware, and am now
responsible to obey. I am enabled to do so, via the power of the Holy Spirit in my life.
Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth [it] not, to him it is sin. (James 4:17 KJV).
"Obey" also means to "consent": to approve, accept. To "consider’: to heed, regard (pay attention to, believe (accept as true). Obedience means to follow the guidance or command of.
7. God commands us to obey, serve, and even cling to Him
These three goes hand in hand. As long as I am self dependent rather than God dependent, I will tend to disobey. He wants us to stop being independent, and to be God dependent ... cling to, trust in, and obey Him. (Deut 13:4 Ampified Bible).
The day we become His (i.e."born again", or belong to Him, we are responsible to do so (to obey Him)!
And Moses and the priests the Levites spake unto all Israel, saying, Take heed, and hearken, O Israel; this day thou art become the people of the LORD thy God. Thou shalt therefore obey the voice of the LORD thy God, and do his commandments and his statutes, which I command thee this day. Deut.27:9-10 (KJV).
To obey is better than sacrafice:
Samuel said, Has the Lord as great a delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams. For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as idolatry and teraphim (household good luck images). Because you have rejected the word of the Lord, He also has rejected you from being king. 1 Sam 15:22 (Amplified Bible).
A great caution we should have in our lives is to be watchful against following the commands of man (mans laws), rather than God (God's word).
And Saul said to Samuel, I have sinned; for I have transgressed the commandment of the Lord and your words, because I feared the people and obeyed their voice.
1 Sam.15:23 (Amplified Bible).
As stated above, disobedience is rebellion, which is as the sin of witchcraft.
If I will obey, God's promise is mine, that "all" will be well with me.
But this thing commanded I them, saying, Obey my voice, and I will be your God, and ye shall be my people: and walk ye in all the ways that I have commanded you, that it may be well unto you. But they hearkened not, nor inclined their ear, but walked in the counsels [and] in the imagination of their evil heart, and went backward, and not forward.
And, from the Amplified Bible:
But this thing I did command them: Listen to and obey My voice, and I will be your God and you will be My people; and walk in the whole way that I command you, that it may be well with you. But they would not listen to and obey Me or bend their ear [to Me], but followed the counsels and the stubborn promptings of their own evil hearts and minds, and they turned their backs and went in reverse instead of forward.Jere. 7:23-24 (Amplified Bible)
From this reading, one can see that to disobey is to go in reverse. Only through obedience can one move ahead in Christ.
8. Obedience frees us from the bondage of sin, that we might serve Jesus in righteousness.
Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness? But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you. Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness.(Rom 6:16-18 KJV).
And again, from the Amplified Bible):
Do you not know that if you continually surrender yourselves to anyone to do his will, you are the slaves of him whom you obey, whether that be to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience which leads to righteousness (right doing and right standing with God)? But thank God, though you were once slaves of sin, you have become obedient with all your heart to the standard of teaching in which you were instructed and to which you were committed. And having been set free from sin, you have become the servants of righteousness (of conformity to the divine will in thought, purpose, and action). (Rom 6:16-18 Amplified Bible).
Please take the time to read the entire Chapter of Romans 6. Many treasures on the subject of obedience are to be found there.
9. Obedience is learned. Learning something takes practice. We must then, practice obedience, through the power of the Holy Spirit in our lives. Scriptures reveal that even Jesus "learned" obedience:
Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered; And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him; (Heb 5:8-9 KVJ).
From the Amplified Bible:
Although He was a Son, He learned [active, special] obedience through what He suffered, and, [His completed experience] making Him perfectly [equipped], He became the Author and Source of eternal salvation to all those who give heed and obey Him (Heb 5:8-9 (Amplified Bible).
Since we can do "all things" through Christ, then, this too we can do ... obey Him!
Matthew Henry commentary says: "Hereby He has become the author of eternal salvation to men. This salvation is actually bestowed on none but those who obey Christ. We must hearken to His Word, and obey Him. He is exalted to be a Prince to "rule" us, as well as a Savior to deliver us, and He will be a Savior to none but to those whom He is Prince. But to those who obey Him, He will be the Author, the grand cause of the salvation." This does not mean that we won't fail but our desire must be to please the Father, through obedience, through learning, through practicing, through living His Word.
Next: Obedience (Lesson 7)