Sunday, 16 August 2015

Obedience. ~ Rabqa

There is more Scripture in this message than anything else, because God calls His people to obedience, & only He can tell us what obedience means to Him.

All Scriptures are from NLT unless otherwise stated.

The Greek word for obedience is hupakoe the word signifies attentive hearing, to listen with compliant submission, assent & agreement. It is used for obedience to God's commands, & for Christ's obedience.
Obedience is carrying out the word & will of another person, especially the will of God. In both the Old & New Testaments the word obey is related to the idea of hearing.

Obedience is a positive, active response to what a person hears. God summons people to active obedience to His revelation.
Man's failure to obey God results in judgement. In the Old Testament covenant between God & man, obedience was the basis for knowing God's blessing & favour (Ex 19:5;24;1-8)

Now if you will obey me and keep my covenant, you will be my own special treasure from among all the peoples on earth; for all the earth belongs to me. Ex 19:5 Then the LORD instructed Moses: “Come up here to me, and bring along Aaron, Nadab, Abihu, and seventy of Israel’s elders. All of you must worship from a distance. Only Moses is allowed to come near to the LORD. The others must not come near, and none of the other people are allowed to climb up the mountain with him.” Then Moses went down to the people and repeated all the instructions and regulations the LORD had given him. All the people answered with one voice, “We will do everything the LORD has commanded.” Then Moses carefully wrote down all the LORD’s instructions. Early the next morning Moses got up and built an altar at the foot of the mountain. He also set up twelve pillars, one for
each of the twelve tribes of Israel. Then he sent some of the young Israelite men to present burnt offerings and to sacrifice bulls as peace offerings to the LORD. Moses drained half the blood from these animals into basins. The other half he splattered against the altar. Then he took the Book of the Covenant and read it aloud to the people. Again they all responded, “We will do everything the LORD has commanded. We will obey.” Then Moses took the blood from the basins and splattered it over the people, declaring, “Look, this blood confirms the covenant the LORD has made with you in giving you these instructions.”Ex 24;1-8
We see in these verses not to trust yourself to obey God's Word but to depend on the Holy Spirit.

God Call's His people to wisdom. Wisdom is knowing how to apply truth. This book Exodus) gives principles that teach us how to live wisely &
please God. It also teaches us certain wise practices. The Holy Spirit will train us to practice wisdom as a discipline that will lead to the fullness of life.

In verses 4-6 the sealing of the covenant was complemented. Moses acted as mediator between God & the people. The dividing of the blood pointed to a twofold aspect of the covenant; the blood splashed on the alter demonstrated God's gracious forgiveness in accepting the offering; the blood sprinkled on the people bound them to God.
The twelve pillars represented the twelve tribes of Israel.

Samuel emphasised that God's pleasure was not a sacrifice in 1 Sam 15;22 What is more pleasing to the Lord: your burnt offerings & sacrifices or your obedience to His voice? Listen! Obedience is a better than sacrifice & submission is a better offering then the fat of rams.
Even the promise of a new covenant emphasised obedience as God's gift. Jer 31:33

But this is the new covenant I will make with the people of Israel after those days,” says the LORD.

“I will put my instructions deep within them, and I will write them on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people.
In the New Testament, the Obedience of Christ stands in contrast to the disobedience of Adam. The disobedience of Adam brought death, but the perfect obedience of Christ bought grace, righteousness & life. Rom 5:12- 21

When Adam sinned, sin entered the world. Adam’s sin brought death, so death spread to everyone, for everyone sinned. Yes, people sinned even before the law was given. But it was not counted as sin because there was not yet any law to break. Still, everyone died—from the time of Adam to the time of Moses—even those who did not disobey an explicit commandment of God, as Adam did. Now Adam is a symbol, a representation of Christ, who was yet to come. But there is a great difference between Adam’s sin and God’s gracious gift. For the sin of this one man, Adam, brought death to many. But even greater is God’s wonderful grace and his gift of forgiveness to many through this other Man, Jesus Christ. And the result of God’s gracious gift is very different from the result of that one man’s sin. For Adam’s sin led to
condemnation, but God’s free gift leads to our being made right with God, even though we are guilty of many sins. For the sin of this one man, Adam, caused death to rule over many. But even greater is God’s wonderful grace and his gift of righteousness, for all who receive it will live in triumph over sin and death through this one man, Jesus Christ. Yes, Adam’s one sin brings condemnation for everyone, but Christ’s one act of righteousness brings a right relationship with God and new life for everyone. Because one person disobeyed God, many became sinners. But because one other person obeyed God, many will be made righteous. God’s law was given so that all people could see how sinful they were. But as people sinned more and more, God’s wonderful grace became more abundant. So just as sin ruled over all people and brought them to death, now God’s wonderful grace rules instead, giving us right standing with God and resulting in eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Adam was characterised by disobedience, while Christ is characterised by obedience. We are in Adam by birth but in Christ by faith. In Adam we are commended to die, but because of Christ's redemptive work we can be justified & live if we are in Him by faith.

One purpose of the law was to make sin obvious & so to make evident the need for redemption.

Heb 5:8 NKJ Though He was a Son, yet He learned obedience by the things which He suffered.
We should be studying Jesus' life as our model for suffering & obedience.
He who is devoted to Jesus recognises his fleshly tendency to become lackadaisical & studies to avoid it.

The Scriptures shape his thinking & he devotes time to prayer, to waiting upon the Lord & to praise & thanksgiving.

Heb 11:8-10
It was by faith that Abraham obeyed when God called him to leave home and go to another land that God would give him as his inheritance. He went without knowing where he was going. And even when he reached the land God promised him, he lived there by faith—for he was like a foreigner, living in tents. And so did Isaac and Jacob, who inherited the same promise. Abraham was confidently looking forward to a city with eternal foundations, a city designed and built by God.

Abraham demonstrated his faith by obedience in leaving Ur & journeying to unknown land, in living long years in the promised land as a foreigner in temporary quarters Acts 5:7) & patiently waiting his permanent abode.

1 Pet 1:2
God the Father knew you and chose you long ago, and his Spirit has made you holy. As a result, you have obeyed him and have been cleansed by the blood of Jesus Christ.
It is imperative that we understand that we know that we are chosen by God & set apart by the Holy Spirit in order to live obediently to Jesus Christ.

God call His people to obedience. As Jesus was absolutely obedient to His father's will. so His Church is to be obedient to His.
Obedience is to characterise the lives of the saints. This means they do God's will & deny the desires that formerly controlled them. Faithful
obedience purifies God's people.

Is 1:19 If you will only obey Me you will have plenty to eat. But if you turn away & refuse to listen, you will be devoured by the sword of your enemies. I the Lord have spoken.

We need to understand that repentance & obedience are reasonable to a willing & obedient heart, but folly to one with a resistant & rebellious attitude.

We may believe that if we sin we will be be immediately be made aware of it; but sin is subtle, & our hearts may not perceive or acknowledge our guilt.

So those most in need of repentance & cleansing may have no awareness of their spiritual state. Therefore, we must continually examine ourselves before the Lord, asking Him to enlighten our hearts to any unacknowledged sin & to cleanse us of all unrighteousness.

Acts 6:7 NKJ

Then the word of God spread, and the number of the disciples multiplied greatly in Jerusalem, and a great many of the priests were obedient to the faith. 

Rom 15:18,19 For I will not dare to speak of any of those things which Christ has not accomplished through me, in word & deed, to make the Gentiles obedient In mighty signs & wonders by the power of the Spirit of God, so that from Jerusalem & round about to Illyricum I have preached the gospel of Christ.

In verse 18 where Paul says "not accomplished" he is saying that he will not speak of things that Christ has not accomplished through him in Word & deed, that is by the proclamation of the truth, by demonstration of miracles & powerful answers to prayer, & in his own example of a Christlike life.

Signs & wonders accompanied Paul's preaching to authenticate it in the eyes of those who heard.

Eph 6:5
Slaves, obey your earthly masters with deep respect and fear. Serve them sincerely as you would serve Christ.
Do not be merely a people – pleaser at work! Serve the Lord in all you do. Recognise that it is He who has signed you to that post of responsibility.

Ephesians has much to say about building Godly relationships. This is one of the major themes in the New Testament. Our relationships are to be loving, truthful, & selfless, & submissive. In other words Ephesians exhorts that we relate to others as Jesus relates to the Father & to us.

Phil 2:8 He humbled Himself in obedience to God & died a criminals death on a cross.
Paul describes in majestic terms the three-step process of Jesus humbling Himself in verse 7 he emptied Himself, became a servant & became a man. His obedience unto death made possible eternal life for all who place there trust in Him.

Titus 2:5
To be discreet, chaste, home-makers, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be blasphemed.
Older women are to assume the responsibilities of their new position in the gospel. These include providing a proper example to the younger women & teaching them Christian character & domestic responsibilities least they bring disgrace on the faith by abusing their new found freedom.

1Pet 1:14
So you must live as God’s obedient children. Don’t slip back into your old ways of living to satisfy your own desires. You didn’t know any better then.

We must become Characteristically obedient! Do not let former desires to continue to shape or direct your life.

God calls His people to obedience. As Jesus was absolutely obedience to His Fathers will. So His Church is to be to His. Obedience is to characterise the lives of the saints. This means they do God's will & deny the desires that formerly controlled them. Faithful obedience purifies God's people.

Ex 5:2
And Pharaoh said, “Who is the LORD, that I should obey His voice to let Israel go? I do not know the LORD, nor will I let Israel go.
Pharaoh was considered to be divine. So he had a difficult time believing that a God of enslaved people, even if He did exist, could present a threat to him as long as that God & His people stayed captives.

1 Sam 15:22 NKJ So Samuel said: "Has the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings & sacrifice, AS in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold to obey is better than sacrifice, & to heed than the fat of rams".

Do not substitute religion for obedience to God's Word. Know that disobedience & rebellion are witchcraft in God's sight. Understand that to hear Gods Word & not practice or obey it, is to reject it.
Belief results in obedience; what we practice provides evidence of our faith. Faith is not merely a propositional affirmation. It determines action, produces obedience & through overcoming, becomes fruitful. Acts5:29 tells us that we ought to obey God rather than man.

Rom 6:16
Don’t you realise that you become the slave of whatever you choose to obey? You can be a slave to sin, which leads to death, or you can choose to obey God, which leads to righteous living.
Obey Christ your new Master not sin your old master.

The book of Romans reveals a new victorious

method for dealing with sin. Living free of sin's rule is now possible because we are no longer slaves to sin, but have become slaves of God, & able to choose righteousness rather than being bound to the old nature. Obedience to the Word of God gains a new nature of holiness.

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