“Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.” Matthew 28:19-20
As we saw in the Discipleship series, obedience to Christ is central to the theme of being a Christian. We recently found this study from the 1970’s that shared “steps” to disciplined obedience as a follower of Jesus Christ.
[These notes are from a Bible study taught more than 40 years ago. The notes are in outline form.]
There are four things that will be true of the dynamic disciple –
- They will love God with their whole heart
- They will be obedient to every word that proceeds from the mouth of God
- They will sacrifice their life and all their possessions for the work of God
- They will serve God with all of their heart
Where Does Obedience Begin?
“And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments. He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him.” 1 John 2:3 – 5
Obedience is the key element in victorious Christian living. Webster’s Dictionary defines obedience as the “state or act of being submissive to the will of another.”
- In order to be obedient, we must have some external authority as the object of that obedience.
- Jesus Christ is the authority to whom we direct our obedience.
- Real obedience is not just an act, but is an attitude of submission in the inner man.
- True obedience is the product of an inward determination to be submissive, not being submissive against our will.
One Christian has defined obedience in the spiritual realm as “the act of following God’s will for our lives in all respects out of desire from the heart.”
It is often good when trying to understand the meaning of something to look at what it is not.
- Obedience is not serving God on our own terms.
- Obedience to God will not be a product or, or result in, asceticism.
- We don’t have to abase ourselves to be obedient to God.
- We don’t have to give up fun or possessions in order to be obedient unless God specifically requires that of us.
- Obedience to God is not simply outward conformity to His rules, commandments and law.
- True obedience comes from the heart. If we do not have a heartfelt desire to be obedient, an outward following of the commandments of God becomes nothing more than legalism.
Scriptural Insights To Obedience
- We should be obedient because God loves us and is worthy of our love and obedience in return. 1 John 4:16; 5:20; Revelation 4:11
- We should be obedient because it is a practical way to prove our love for God. John 14:21; 1 John 5:3
- We should be obedient because God clearly commands us to be. Deuteronomy 10:12-13; 1 Timothy 6:14; James 1:22; 1 John 5:2-3
Now that we looked at the what and why of obedient Christian living, let’s look at four practical steps to achieving an obedient life.
- Know God’s command. Psalm 119:11, 105, 130; 2 Timothy 3:16-17
- Look to God for power. Galatians 2:20; Ephesians 5:18; 1 John 1:9; Acts 1:8; Philippians 4:13
- Develop the right attitudes. Psalm 40:8; Deuteronomy 26:16; Luke 8:15
- Know how to deal with temptations. 1 Corinthians 10:13; Satan – Genesis 3:1-5; 1 Peter 5:8; Revelation 20:1-3; Flesh – Romans 8:5-13; Galatians 5:16-26; World – John 16:33; Romans 12:2; 1 Timothy 6:10; 1 John 2:15
Here are six conditions for victory over temptation –
- Be alert to the possibility of temptation – 1 Corinthians 16:13; 1 Peter 5:8; Revelation 3:2
- Be filled with the Holy Spirit – Acts 1:8; Ephesians 5:18; Philippians 4:13
- Be quick .. deal with temptation as soon as it begins – James 1:14-15
- Know Biblical escapes – Psalm 119:11; 2 Timothy 2:22; Matthew 4:1-11; James 4:7
- Obey by faith – Colossians 2:6
- Pray for victory – Matthew 26:41; Mark 14:48; Luke 22:40
Important steps to take –
- Make a list of several areas of definite Biblical commandments from God to us as His children and find corresponding verses of Scripture to see if we are living obediently before the Lord. Examples: witnessing, church involvement, prayer, daily Bible study and devotions, job, spouse, time management, priorities, etc.
- Honestly evaluate your moment by moment experience of obedience to God. Are we obedient to everything we know to be true from God’s Word at this moment in our life.
This is a brief examination of the principles of obedience to Christ, but I hope it will give you a place to start and some answers to your basic questions.
[Thank you for reading these teaching notes from more than 40 years ago. My prayer is they will be a blessing to you and your ministry.]