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The Big "O"

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The Big “O”

Good Friday Service

April 14, 2006

Obedience – not something we like to talk about much.  What are some of the images or ideas that come to mind when you here this word?

The greatest miracle in the Bible is when Joshua told his son to stand still, and he obeyed him.
-"The Bible According to Kids," The New Jersey Fox.

Christ’s example of obedience to us:

Hebrews 10:9  9 Then he said, “Here I am, I have come to do your will.” He sets aside the first to establish the second. 10 And by that will, we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.

ü   It is in the act of Christ’s obedience that we find salvation – His obedience to God’s will lead Him to the cross!

Romans 5:19  19 For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous.

John 14:31  30 “I don’t have much more time to talk to you, because the prince of this world approaches. He has no power over me, 31 but I will do what the Father requires of me, so that the world will know that I love the Father. Come, let’s be going.

ü   It is in the example of Christ’s obedience that we live out our salvation.

Luke 22:39-46  39 Then, accompanied by the disciples, Jesus left the upstairs room and went as usual to the Mount of Olives. 40 There he told them, “Pray that you will not be overcome by temptation.”

41 He walked away, about a stone’s throw, and knelt down and prayed, 42 “Father, if you are willing, please take this cup of suffering away from me. Yet I want your will, not mine.” 43 Then an angel from heaven appeared and strengthened him. 44 He prayed more fervently, and he was in such agony of spirit that his sweat fell to the ground like great drops of blood. 45 At last he stood up again and returned to the disciples, only to find them asleep, exhausted from grief. 46 “Why are you sleeping?” he asked. “Get up and pray. Otherwise temptation will overpower you.”

God calls us to this same type of obedience:

ü   To His Word:

o       Obedience to God’s Word is wise: (Matt. 7:24-27)

24 “Anyone who listens to my teaching and obeys me is wise, like a person who builds a house on solid rock. 25 Though the rain comes in torrents and the floodwaters rise and the winds beat against that house, it won’t collapse, because it is built on rock. 26 But anyone who hears my teaching and ignores it is foolish, like a person who builds a house on sand. 27 When the rains and floods come and the winds beat against that house, it will fall with a mighty crash.”

Practice is the best evidence of faith. Because Abraham had faith in God, he left his own country. Because Moses had faith in God, he refused to stay in the luxury of Pharaoh's palace, choosing instead to suffer with God's people (Hebrews 11:25-26). Because others had faith in God, they were stoned, sawn in two, executed by the sword, mocked and tortured, thrown in prison, and forced to wander about in animal skins, poverty and torment (Hebrews 11:32-38).

o       Obedience to God’s Word moves us into God’s presence: (John 14:21)

21 Those who obey my commandments are the ones who love me. And because they love me, my Father will love them, and I will love them. And I will reveal myself to each one of them.”

There is an old rabbinic story of Rabbi Joshua, walking along the street one day when he suddenly met Elijah. Stunned, but seizing the moment, he buttonholed Elijah with the obvious question: "When is the Messiah coming?" Elijah responded quickly: "Why are you asking me? The Messiah this day is at the gate of the city. Go ask him."

So Rabbi Joshua did as Elijah had told him. And sure enough there at the gates of the city was the Messiah healing the sick, bandaging the wounded, loving the children.

"Master, when are you coming? We have been waiting so long." The Messiah replied: "Today, my son, I am coming."

Rabbi Joshua ran into town and proclaimed at the top of his lungs,"The Messiah is coming. The Messiah is coming." But at the end of the day, the Messiah had not appeared. Everyone ridiculed Rabbi Joshua, and Rabbi Joshua never made that mistake again.

One day, many years later, the rabbi stumbled upon the prophet Elijah once again. "You misled me, Elijah," the rabbi cried out. "You said the Messiah was here. But he never came."

Elijah said, "You are a rabbi. Surely you ought to know that the Messiah comes only when we hearken to the voice of God."
-From, The Babylonia Talmud.

ü   To His Will:

o       Defines us as a part of God’s family (Matt. 12:48-50)

48 Jesus asked, “Who is my mother? Who are my brothers?” 49 Then he pointed to his disciples and said, “These are my mother and brothers. 50 Anyone who does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother!”

Only certain costumes suit Christians. To be otherwise dressed is inappropriate. The clothes we wear are what people see. Only God can look on the heart. The outward signs are important.They reveal something of what is inside. If charity is there, it will become visible outwardly, but if you have no charitable feelings, you can still obey the command. Put it on as simply and consciously as you put on a coat. You choose it; you pick it up; you put it on. This is what you want to wear. Do you want to dress like a Christian? Put on Christ. The act of honest obedience -- the fruit of love for Christ -- is your part. Making you Christlike through and through is his part."
--Elisabeth Elliot

o       Gives us a clear purpose: (John 17:16-18)

16 Jesus answered, “My teaching is not my own. It comes from him who sent me. 17 If anyone chooses to do God’s will, he will find out whether my teaching comes from God or whether I speak on my own. 18 He who speaks on his own does so to gain honor for himself, but he who works for the honor of the one who sent him is a man of truth; there is nothing false about him.

ü   For Salvation: 1 John 3:16-24

16 We know what real love is because Christ gave up his life for us. And so we also ought to give up our lives for our Christian brothers and sisters. 17 But if anyone has enough money to live well and sees a brother or sister in need and refuses to help—how can God’s love be in that person?

18 Dear children, let us stop just saying we love each other; let us really show it by our actions. 19 It is by our actions that we know we are living in the truth, so we will be confident when we stand before the Lord, 20 even if our hearts condemn us. For God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything.

21 Dear friends, if our conscience is clear, we can come to God with bold confidence. 22 And we will receive whatever we request because we obey him and do the things that please him. 23 And this is his commandment: We must believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and love one another, just as he commanded us. 24 Those who obey God’s commandments live in fellowship with him, and he with them. And we know he lives in us because the Holy Spirit lives in us.

God calls us to this same type of sacrificial obedience:

21 From then on Jesus began to tell his disciples plainly that he had to go to Jerusalem, and he told them what would happen to him there. He would suffer at the hands of the leaders and the leading priests and the teachers of religious law. He would be killed, and he would be raised on the third day.

22 But Peter took him aside and corrected him. “Heaven forbid, Lord,” he said. “This will never happen to you!”

23 Jesus turned to Peter and said, “Get away from me, Satan! You are a dangerous trap to me. You are seeing things merely from a human point of view, and not from God’s.”

24 Then Jesus said to the disciples, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must put aside your selfish ambition, shoulder your cross, and follow me. 25 If you try to keep your life for yourself, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for me, you will find true life. 26 And how do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul in the process? Is anything worth more than your soul? 27 For I, the Son of Man, will come in the glory of my Father with his angels and will judge all people according to their deeds. 28 And I assure you that some of you standing here right now will not die before you see me, the Son of Man, coming in my Kingdom.”

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