Tag Archives: Obedience

“Are You Going There Again?”


John 11:1-10

I. THE CONTEXT

    A. The Jews sought to stone and seize Him (John 10:22-39)
    B. “Let us go to Judea again” (John 11:7)
    C. Do we take the Father’s commands as seriously as the Messiah did? (John 11:9-10; James 4:13-17)

II. IS THERE ANY EXCUSE TO DISOBEY GOD OR AVOID HIS WILL?

    A. The apostles feared for their lives and for the life of their Master, but that was no excuse (Mark 8:34-37; John 11:16)
    B. Do we look for a way of escape from obedience?

      1. “I don’t feel the need to do that” (Proverbs 14:12; 16:25; Jeremiah 10:23; Acts 23:1; 1 Timothy 1:12-13)
      2. “I’ve done too many bad things” (1 Timothy 1:12-13; 1 Corinthians 6:9-11)
      3. “God just wants me to be happy, no matter what!” (Matthew 5:3-10; Romans 12:1-2)
      4. “I’m not ready for that level of commitment; I’ll worry about it later” (Acts 24:23-25)
      5. “I’m a good person and I love Jesus, but I don’t need organized religion”

        a. Romans 3:23
        b. John 14:15
        c. Acts 20:28; Colossians 1:24; Ephesians 5:23; Ephesians 4:4; Acts 2:47

Watch a video of this lesson.

Obedience Requires Humility

Paul, Silas, and their fellow workers in the Lord encountered a great number of people on their missionary journey. Some of those people received their teachings, while others rejected the message of God. When they arrived in Philippi, the missionaries went to the riverside where a group of spiritually-minded women were praying on the Sabbath.

One of those women was named Lydia. As Paul taught the truth of Jesus Christ, Lydia’s heart was opened and she heeded his words. “And when she and her household were baptized, she begged us, saying, ‘If you have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come to my house and stay.’ So she persuaded us” (Acts 16:15).

What a precious response to the Word of God. Luke does not record any arguing over the doctrine. Lydia did not make excuses for her shortcomings, nor did she “agree to disagree” with what Paul taught. She heard, she believed, and she was baptized.

How do you feel when you find out you have been wrong about something? Perhaps your boss showed you a more efficient way to do your job. Do you resist the change just because you have been doing it your way for years? Or do you recognize that there is a better way, and adjust accordingly?

Spiritually speaking, the new covenant of Jesus is “a better covenant” than the old Law of Moses, offering “a better hope” (Hebrews 7:19,22; 8:6). Christianity is better than any other religion, because it is the only path to salvation. Jesus Christ, and only Jesus Christ, is “the way, the truth, and the life.” He said, “No one comes to the Father except through Me” (John 14:6).

The church must follow the Word of God, and only the Word of God. No denominational creeds, no catechisms, nothing more and nothing less than the inspired Word. It is not arrogance, but rather humility, to recognize that we cannot improve upon His revelation. The Father said of Jesus, “This is My beloved Son. Hear Him!” (Luke 9:35).

Saving Faith

There can be no denying that faith is essential in God’s plan of salvation. Jesus says, “He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned” (Mark 16:16). Paul writes, “So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Romans 10:17).

The Hebrews writer identifies the marks of the faith that saves in Hebrews 11:6: “But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.”

Before anything else, we must believe that God exists. This is the very foundation of saving faith. We can be certain of His existence through the evidence of His creation (Psalm 19:1; Romans 1:20; Hebrews 11:3), as well as through His Word (2 Timothy 3:16-17).

Second, we must believe that God is a rewarder (Hebrews 10:35-39). Peter calls it “an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you” (1 Peter 1:4), and that the “end of your faith” is “the salvation of your souls” (1 Peter 3:9).

Who does God reward? The Hebrews writer says that “He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.” God desires men to seek Him and find Him (Acts 10:26-27). The Savior said that we are to “seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness” (Matthew 6:33).

The logical result of these things—believing in the existence of God, believing in a rewarding God, and seeking Him—is obedience. If we truly believe what He has revealed, we will submit to Him. We will not try to make excuses or find loopholes, but quickly do what is necessary to please Him. We can avoid struggling with submission and obedience by spending more time in His Word, further developing and strengthening our faith.