Key Passage: Genesis 2:15-16: Supporting Scripture: 1 Samuel 12:15; John 14:15, 21, 23-24; Ephesians 6:1-3
Subject: Obedience in the Life of the Believer:
The first lesson on obedience is found in the very beginning of the Bible.
Adam and Eve lived in a perfect environment, surrounded by beauty and abundance. If they had obeyed God, they would have continued to live in the midst of all His blessings; but since they disobeyed, they suffered the consequences of violating His command.
POINTS TO LEARN:
This same principle of obedience still applies to us today. Blessings come with obedience, but disobedience brings problems, heartaches, and burdens.
Obedience is the first lesson we should teach in the home.
Just as almighty God is our authority and we are to obey Him, so children are to honor and obey their parents. Our obedience to the Lord includes faithfully teaching our children to be obedient. (Ephesians 6:1) says, "Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right."
Obedience starts in the morning.
Each day should begin with prayer asking God for a sensitive spirit. We need His help to rightly interact with people and deal with the circumstances we encounter. When we begin the morning with a sincere desire to obey the Lord, we'll be reminded to continually turn to Him for guidance and strength throughout the day.
An obedient life is not one of perfection.
We won't always make the right choices and do what God wants, but a godly person who desires to obey will immediately feel the conviction of the Holy Spirit. When we are filled and controlled by the Spirit, our first response to sin will be confession and repentance. And if we've offended someone else, we will quickly go to that person and ask forgiveness. But if we delay, thinking, "I'll take care of this tomorrow," we may end up putting if off for weeks, months, or even years. And that is disobedience.
The opposite of obedience is rebellion.
Since God is our ultimate authority, any time we choose not to heed His commands, we rebel against Him. Then we shouldn't wonder why we're experiencing trouble and conflicts. Samuel told God's people, "If you will not listen to the voice of the LORD, but rebel against the command of the LORD, then the hand of the LORD will be against you, as it was against your fathers" (I Samuel 12:15). This is a valuable lesson that we need to pass down to our children. Sometimes the anger and conflicts in the home are the result of parents not following the Lord, and children not obeying their parents.
Obedience is doing what God says, how he says, and when He says to do it.
Oftentimes we'd prefer to redefine these terms, but the elimination of any one of these results in disobedience. Partial obedience is still rebellion against the Lord. For example, suppose we believe that God wants us to give a certain portion of our income to Him, but instead of giving Him the full amount, we decide to give less. Or maybe He calls us into ministry, missions, or some other area of service, but we delay or alter our response to the call. Instead of becoming a missionary, we decide to focus on becoming financially successful so we can give more money to the Lord's work. Or maybe we sidestep God's clear call to preach the gospel and opt to teach Sunday school instead. Anytime we dictate the terms of our obedience, we are not doing what the Lord has told us to do. We may think that offering an alternate form of obedience ought to please Him, but it won't. Because God loves us, He wants us to follow His commands so we can receive the blessings that follow. This is the only way to spare us from the negative consequences that inevitably come with disobedience.
Obedience is the proof of our love for Christ.
Three time in the fourteenth chapter of John, Jesus equates loving Him with obedience (John 14:15, 21, 23). Many of us claim to love Christ, yet we'd have to admit that our actions don't always support our assertion. Our love for Him should motivate and prompt us to keep His Word and please Him in all we do.
Obedience is not only the will of God, but it's the best way to live.
The Lord gave us His commands for our own good. Any time we try to manipulate or maneuver around them, we are settling for second best. We can never improve on God has said. Like a loving Father, He protects us by giving us rules to guide our lives. And if we go astray, He provides stinging consequences, which motivate us to return to the path of obedience. When we follow the Lord's instructions, they influence every area of our lives. Each day as we encounter various situations, we'll ask ourselves, "What has God said about this?" For instance, if someone wrongs us at work, we'll remember that Jesus said to forgive others. Although we may not be able to quote a verse, we'll know what's right and wrong. Furthermore, we have the Holy Spirit living within us who prompts us to do what's right. And if we sin, He convicts us with deep sorrow over our disobedience so we will repent and change. In our own strength, we can't overcome our sins, but the Spirit give us the power to develop godly attitudes, actions, and habits.
What is our motivation for obedience?
· A reverence for who God is.
He deserves our obedience because He is our holy, sovereign Lord who gave His only begotten Son to die on the cross so we could be forgiven.
· A desire to please Him.
If we revere and love Him, we won't want to displease Him in any area of our lives. Furthermore, disobedience never gives us what we truly want-peace, joy, and happiness. Even if the path of obedience is painful, it is still the best option.
Obedience in the Bible
Unfortunately, it is natural for most to not want to obey any authority. Often, it is a challenge to humble ourselves to submit to a power over us. In many lives a power struggle rages as children do not want to obey parents, employees resist obeying employers or even citizens refuse to obey laws. To some, obedience is no longer a struggle; as they have made up their minds a long time ago not to obey anyone but themselves, and certainly not to let anyone have any rule or reign over them. Like it or not, all of us have to obey someone or an authority over us for the rest of our lives. If there is not order, there will be anarchy and disorder. Ever since the Garden of Eden, man has struggled with whom he will obey. Someone pointed out that a main theme of the Bible is government; who will govern whom. Will it be God that rules and reigns in our lives, or will we not even obey Him, and instead be our own master? No matter what we have convinced ourselves to believe, or what has been drummed into our head, there is a godly command to obey many things. Here is some of what God's Word has to say about obedience: All have a command to submit to God's law. "Thou shalt therefore obey the voice of the LORD thy God, and do his commandments and his statutes, which I command thee this day." Deuteronomy 27:10 Also: Psalm 18:44
Obedience to His commandments is very important to God.
"And Samuel said, Hath the LORD as great 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." I Samuel 15:22
"For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous." Romans 5:19
Many of the things in this world obey God. His word mentions that the weather, waves, animals, and the rest of His creation obey Him. It is a shame when we, who are created in His image, do not obey Him at all times. "… for with authority commandeth he even the unclean spirits, and they do obey him." Mark 1:27Also: Matthew 8:27, Mark 4:41
Whether one admits it or not, he is obeying someone all the time. All are servants to one master, be it the Master of the universe, or master of our own selfish desires.
"Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof." Romans 6:12 Also: Romans 6:16
God reminds us throughout the Bible, that life will be a lot easier and more blessed by Him, if we simply obey what He tells us to do.
"A blessing, if ye obey the commandments of the LORD your God, which I command you this day: And a curse, if ye will not obey the commandments of the LORD your God, but turn aside out of the way which I command you this day, to go after other gods, which ye have not known." Deut. 11:27-28 Although the context is a command to Israel, the principle applies to the believer today, when he obeys the Lord. Also I Sam. 12:14-15
All people will have to obey someone in the future. If they do not learn obedience at a younger age, they may have a problem obeying authority in the future. That is one reason why God commands children to submit to the authority of their parents.
"Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right." Ephesians 6:1 Also Colossians 3:20, Prov. 30:17, Exodus 20:12
Men should obey God. This is part of God's plan of the hierarchy of leadership.
"But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God." I Corinthians 11:3
Wives are to obey their husbands.
"Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything." Ephesians 5:24 Also: I Peter 3:1
We need to obey our employer.
"Servants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh; not with eye service, as men pleasers; but in singleness of heart, fearing God:" Colossians 3:22 Also: Titus 2:9
We are to obey authorities over us. This includes teachers, police, and government. Not obeying the authority over us is disobeying God.
"Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you." Hebrews 13:7 Also: Titus 3:1
However, when the commands and laws of the government or our authority contradict what God commands us to do; we should always obey God first.
"… We ought to obey God rather than men." Acts 5:29 The local church should obey God's commands.
"Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ …" Eph. 5:24
Again, no one wants to obey anyone. It is a very difficult thing to do. God, however, has laid out a hierarchy of leadership that will work. We may not like the order of people that we are to submit to, but it is God's plan. His plan works. Choosing whom we will obey usually does not.
God's commands are for our benefit. Father knows best! As Israel told Joshua, after they learned this truth the hard way, so should our heart's desire be:
"… The LORD our God will we serve, and his voice will we obey." Joshua 24:24
"Obedience and respect at home prepare the way for obedience to the employer, and they are joined with other virtues that help assure a prosperous career; crowned with a ripe, honored old age. Disrespect for parents is often the first step in the downward track."
— D. L Moody
Because God loves us, He wants us to follow His commands so we can receive the blessings that follow. Staying in God's will by being obedient bring blessings we would otherwise miss.
A Life of Obedience: Scripture: Acts 5:14-29
How do you make decisions? Do you try to determine what will benefit you the most, or perhaps you strive to please or impress others? Maybe you let emotions take control or attempt to make a logical choice. Wise men and women learn to obey God, and leave all the consequences to Him. There is nothing more important in life than following Jesus and trusting Him to care for your needs.
What does the Bible say about obeying God?
A. Biblical Example: When the apostles were told to stop preaching in Jesus' name, they responded, "We must obey God rather than men" (Acts 5:29).
B. Sowing and Reaping: Galatians 6:7 says, "Whatever a man sows, this he will also reap." Every action has an impact, for good or evil. Our decisions, and the choices of others, determine the quality of our lives.
C. Disobedient Biblical Characters: The Bible says, "Be sure your sin will find you out" (Num. 32:23). Imagine how different the stories in Scripture would be if mankind knew what disobeying God would cost:
1. Adam and Eve would never have eaten the forbidden fruit.
2. The nation of Israel would have chosen to fight for the Promised Land the first time around instead of wandering 40 years in the desert.
3. After seeing Bathsheba bathing, David would have turned away and walked back inside.
4. Jonah would have willingly traveled to Ninevah to preach the Word of God.
D. Faithful Biblical Characters: The Lord rewarded those who were willing to follow His commands:
1. Noah was asked to build a massive boat—which made him the laughing stock of his community. But he was ready when the flood came.
2. Moses, a desert nomad, had to appear before Pharaoh, the leader of a powerful civilization, and demand freedom for the Israelites. Ultimately, the people were allowed to go.
3. Joshua was told to march around Jericho for seven days instead of relying on the military tactics he knew. And God destroyed the enemy.
4. Nehemiah boldly asked the Babylonian king for supplies to rebuild Jerusalem and received all he needed, including guards to help him safely reach the city.
5. In captivity, Daniel and his three friends refused to eat meat because it was not prepared according to Hebrew dietary laws. Yet they were healthier than all the other young men.
6. Peter and the apostles refused to stop preaching about Jesus, even though they were threatened with flogging and imprisonment.
E. The Requirements: As believers, we must:
1. Believe that God is sovereign—He controls all things at all times (Ps. 103:19).
2. Trust that He will work for our good in every situation and circumstance (Rom. 8:28).
3. Love the Lord. The Bible says we show our love for Him by obeying His commands (1 John 5:3)—and not just when they are convenient and desirable.
4. Listen to Him. When you pray, make time to hear what He has to say.
5. Be courageous. Obeying God takes courage because following His will often leads to conflict. You must be willing to do what is right anyway.
6. Fully surrender to Him.
F. The Results of Obedience
1. You will experience personal victory if you follow His will, even if the world does not consider you a success. (See Josh. 1:8.)
2. Obedience leads to supernatural peace and joy in every circumstance.
3. Spiritual growth and maturity results when believers continue to walk with God in the midst of suffering.
1. God may ask you to do something that doesn't make sense from a human perspective.
2. The Father may lead you to give up a hobby or donate a valuable item.
3. He may prompt you to give financially when money is scarce.
4. The Lord might want you to serve in your church or take a leadership role although you feel inadequate.
Conclusion: When you need to make an important decision, don't rely primarily on your own reasoning, the opinions of others, or even what worked in the past. Get on your knees before the Lord and pour out your heart. Spend time prayerfully reading His Word. Listen for His voice, and then follow His specific guidance for your life.
Obey God and leave all the consequences to Him. If you will take to heart this one principle, you will have the awesome privilege of watching the Lord accomplish great things in and through you.
Week # 3 Obedient Question: What event in Jesus's childhood illustrates His desire to honor His Father?
Week # 3 Application Question: How does our obedience affect others?
Week # 3 Obedience Bible Quiz: True or False Week # 3
1. Scripture teaches it is right for children to obey their parents.
2. Peter said sometimes it is better to obey the laws of the land instead of God.
3. Obedience should come from the heart.
Father God, Bless us to live a life of obedient to You, we desire to obey You in all we do. Help us to obey our parents, our employer, our spiritual leaders, and the law of the land. Father God, help us to obey You even in difficult situations. You have been with us and we always need You to be with us as we walk the walk of faith to honor You. Father, forgive us for the times we have disobeyed You. In Jesus' name be with us. Let the words of our mouth and the meditation of our heart always be accepted in Your sight as we learn to obey You. AMEN.
Week # 3 Memory Verse: I Samuel 15:22
"And Samuel said, Hath the Lord as great 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."
Week # 3 Reading Assignments: I Corinthians 1-7