Obedience is the Willingness to go all out in Faith!
Matthew 3:1 -12
Obedience, willingness to go all out in faith, and a willingness to endure extreme persecution for the Lord characterized John the Baptist. He was the road builder, laying the path for the Lord. He removed the rocks of sin by tearing them up and exposing them, without fear of reprisal by the arrogant and prideful hypocrites. He was indeed extreme, and was needed to show a corrupt religious system its errors and point to the truly Righteous Messiah. I wonder if such a person would be welcomed in a church today? Such extreme commitment is considered foolish amongst the "world," and even among many Christians. We may not be called to eat bugs and curse pious frauds, but we are called to obedience in our hearts, minds, and actions! In addition, this does force us to take an extreme stand!
· Repentance was not just sorrow or emotion, but an actual change (Matt. 4:17; 27:3)! This change would then allow us to feel the sorrow of the hurt we caused, not only to ourselves, but also to the people around us, and even God (2 Co 7:10-11)! When one serves the Lord or has repented, the fruits will be manifested. If not, something is very wrong. Therefore, if a leader is gossiping, or a Christian is acting one way on Sunday and another on Monday, something is very wrong! (Gal 5)
· All that you do in life must be a reflection of a life surrendered to Christ. If you are so self-willed there can be no room for the living Christ, this may mean that others will use you, take advantage of you, get mad at you, ignore you, go around you, ridicule you, and persecute you! But, remember, what they do to you, they do to Him! Make sure you are not the one persecuting the Lord!
· Keep your eyes on God, not on people! If you only seek God for your "felt" needs, you will never understand or rely on God for your "real" needs! Neither will you understand yourself, or His wonderful plan for you (John 17:22)! Your faith will be on your terms only. How sad that would be! How much you will lose (Gal. 2:20-21).
· Our motives, obedience, and persevering will be the keys! Be in love with Him. Seek His presence, and be persistent in your prayers. If you fear you will ask Him for the wrong thing, remember, we all do that. As you draw closer to Him, you will learn the right things to ask. Prayer is persistence and learning!
· Obedience is not in words, but in deeds that demonstrate our words through practice and action (James 1:22-25)! When we read and/or hear the Word of God, we will have the desire and heed the call to put it into action. There will be times we do not feel like it, but our obedience will override our feelings so we do remain steadfast and secure (1 Thess. 2:23).
· By our obedience in faith, we may suffer temptations, trouble, persecution, and condemnation from the world. It may seem our foundation has shifted by that constant beating, but He will remain steadfast in us when we remain steadfast in our faith! Keep your faith real, valuable, and practical on His solid Rock. He will not leave you, nor forsake you (1 Cor. 3:11; 10:4; Eph. 2:20; 1 Pet. 2:4-6; Heb. 13:5). So, let Him be the Rock-solid foundation of your life (Matt. 7)!
1. Do you think that John's message is still needed and required today?
2. What does obedience mean to you?
3. How have you been obedient?
4. Is the Word of God sharp, and is it penetrating you, so that your life shows it?
5. We are called to obedience-in our heart, mind, and actions! Moreover, this does take an extreme stand! Have you heard His call, and have you responded to it? Have you made a stand?
6. Are you showing true acceptance of Jesus as your Lord? You can know this by…. (Luke 6:46)?
7. Prayer is persistence and learning! What does this mean, and how do you put this into your life and your church?
8. How can you speak and model to others so they might be inclined to accept the authority of Jesus Christ?
9. What needs to happen in your life to keep your faith real, valuable, practical, and squarely on His solid Rock? What needs to happen in your church?
10. God's desire is for all Christians to have-and use-great faith. What do you need to do to make this more of a reality in your life and in your church?