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Obedience leads to preaching the whole Gospel which leads to Obedience to God

Jer 7:22-24 For in the day that I brought them out of the land of Egypt, I did not speak to your fathers or command them concerning burnt offerings and sacrifices. (23) But this command I gave them: ‘Obey my voice, and I will be your God, and you shall be my people. And walk in all the way that I command you, that it may be well with you.’ (24) But they did not obey or incline their ear, but walked in their own counsels and the stubbornness of their evil hearts, and went backward and not forward.

When it comes to pleasing people, we often want to know “What is the most important thing you want?” We like to prioritize and assume that if we do the most important thing that we will be O.K. even if we don’t get the other “lesser important things” done. Sometimes though, we elevate the less important things above more important things.

In Jeremiah’s message, God reminds Judah that when He brought Israel out of Egypt, that his first words to them were not about burnt offerings and sacrifices. This is not to say that He didn’t command sacrifices. He most certainly did! However, here in Jeremiah and in other places such as 1 Sam 15:22, the message is clear that it not the Sacrifice by itself or in and of itself that God wants…..what God wants is Obedience to His commands.

1Sa 15:22 And Samuel said, “Has 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 listen than the fat of rams.

The problem in the days of Jeremiah, Moses, the Judges, most of the Kings, the days of Christ, and well….even today is that people want to offer sacrifices but not obedience.  People will spend time, money, and resources in sacrifice to God, they will do many things in the name of the Lord, even teaching people about Jesus,  but I am afraid they also forget the words of Jesus:

Mat 7:21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.

I wish to challenge everyone who reads this to be obedient to the Gospel of Jesus and, for those who preach the Gospel, to be obedient to the commission of preaching the Gospel which is God’s power to save. How will they be saved if no one preaches it and how can they obey it if no one tells them what is required?

Obedience never earns salvation. If you obey the traffic laws, you don’t get a reward but you do avoid the penalties of disobedience. Salvation is God’s gift and it is from Grace not by works but if God tells you He wants to you to write 500 times “I will not sin” to be saved, even after you do it…guess what? All you did was Obey…you didn’t earn salvation. In the same way, Obedience to the Gospel message does not EARN you salvation, it shows your faith and trust in God, it shows your obedience to Him, but doesn’t earn it. Yet, again, just because salvation is not earned by obedience, doesn’t mean you don’t have to obey!

Jesus will return to bring judgement to those who do not obey the Gospel…

2Th 1:7-8 and to grant relief to you who are afflicted as well as to us, when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with his mighty angels (8) in flaming fire, inflicting vengeance on those who do not know God and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus.

The Gospel is the power of God unto Salvation:

Rom 1:16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.

Peter preached the Gospel on the day of Pentecost and told those who believed his message what to do:

Act 2:38 And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

Those that received his word were baptized:

Act 2:40-41 And with many other words he bore witness and continued to exhort them, saying, “Save yourselves from this crooked generation.” (41) So those who received his word were baptized, and there were added that day about three thousand souls.

And notice WHY Peter told them to repent and be baptized: Jesus told him to.

Mat 28:19-20 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, (20) teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

Yes, that is right: Somewhere between the Resurrection and His ascension Jesus gave the above command.

Peter was obedient to the command to make disciples baptizing them in His name. The hearers were obedient by being baptized based on their faith in the Messiah.

So when preachers are disobedient to Christ’s command today, people cannot be obedient to the Gospel.

There is a command to make disciples by baptizing them. There is an example of a Spirit led Apostle, commanding hearers to repent and be baptized.

There is NO command, or example of anyone being told by a preacher to pray a sinner’s prayer to be saved or of anyone in the scriptures doing so.

Will you offer sacrifices? or will you be obedient?

Jesus’ view of Authority

The view that we have of Authority will shape the way we live our lives. If we look at Authority as an end in and of itself, it is likely that we will err in to one extreme or the other. Only Jesus managed to live His life, or perhaps “manages to live His existence” would be a better way to say it, without running afoul of extremes. While it is often asked “What would Jesus do?” in relationship to many quandaries we have, His relationship to Authority is an example we should follow.

“Authority” implies a right or power to command, either in a full and complete sense or sometimes, in a limited, delegated sense. The Owner of the company has the rights and powers to command within his company and even to expect things to be done the way he wants them to be done. A manager in that company has a limited authority that he can exercise in his department but he also follows the companies rules that the owner has set up. Of course, even the owner finds that he is “under” authority when the government might mandate certain working conditions or pay scales. Still, if we go high enough, we realize that God is the ultimate Authority and He is the ultimate owner/boss.

The Bible does not doubt or debate God’s existence. It simply states that He is. Jesus, as His son came to earth to show us how we should live to please God, and made it possible for us to do so. So what do we see in the life of Jesus as it relates to Authority? Changing the question a little bit: what DID Jesus Do?

Part of the impact on this question relies on our understanding that Jesus was on an equality with God. We read in Philippians 2:

Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. (Php 2:5-8)

And then again in John 1

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. (Joh 1:1-3)
And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. (Joh 1:14)

As we understand the Scriptures to teach that Jesus Christ is God in the flesh, I do not profess to understand the fulness of the Deity or humanity of Jesus, only to accept it. As one who had a hand in the Creation process, He certainly deserved honor and glory and worship, to be served and not to serve.  For that reason, it is important to see what He did while on this earth.

While on this earth, He was in submission! He submitted to God and He even submitted to His parents! We may understand the submission to God but being submissive to imperfect parents? Yes, even to that point.

Jesus said that He did not come to do His own will.

So Jesus said to them, “When you have lifted up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am he, and that I do nothing on my own authority, but speak just as the Father taught me. (Joh 8:28)
For I have not spoken on my own authority, but the Father who sent me has himself given me a commandment–what to say and what to speak. (Joh 12:49)

And toward His parents the Scripture reveal:

And he went down with them and came to Nazareth and was submissive to them. And his mother treasured up all these things in her heart. (Luk 2:51)

The Hebrew writer says this:

Although he was a son, he learned obedience through what he suffered. And being made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation to all who obey him, (Heb 5:8-9)

If I were to reword that thought, I would say this: He learned obedience in order to save the obedient.

One can hardly miss the irony of Creation’s Creator submitting Himself to His own rules. Not that we don’t expect it in our leaders but sometimes we don’t see it, at least not to the level we would like to.

In making application of this, I would ask a few questions: What does Jesus’ role in this world teach us about how we are to respond to those in Authority over us? To our Parent’s authority? To the Authority of God Himself?

Tomorrow, Lord willing, I will write about what Jesus had to say about ‘exercising’ authority and then in a later blog, draw some applications to examples we see in His life.

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