Faithlife Sermons

Obey God

The Good Life  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented
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Obedience is the test of love. Jesus’ commands were not given to make us better theologians. They were given to make us better disciples, better people, so that we could have the good life. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ScJKN3uIk4U

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Let’s read our theme verse for the series together.
Psalm 34:12–14 CSB
12 Who is someone who desires life, loving a long life to enjoy what is good? 13 Keep your tongue from evil and your lips from deceitful speech. 14 Turn away from evil and do what is good; seek peace and pursue it.
Psalm 34:
We are in a message series about having the good life. How are we going to have “the good life”? We are going to fear God. We are going to deal properly with temptation. We are going to seek God. We are going to believe God.
We are in a message series about having the good life. How are we going to have “the good life”? We are going to fear God. We are going to deal properly with temptation. We are going to seek God. We are going to believe God.
Charles Swindoll wrote in his book Living Above the Level of Mediocrity,
Imagine, if you will, that you work for a company whose president found it necessary to travel out of the country and spend an extended period of time abroad. So he says to you and the other trusted employees, "Look, I'm going to leave. And while I'm gone, I want you to pay close attention to the business. You manage things while I'm away. I will write you regularly. When I do, I will instruct you in what you should do from now until I return from this trip." Everyone agrees. 
He leaves and stays gone for a couple of years. During that time he writes often, communicating his desires and concerns. Finally he returns. He walks up to the front door of the company and immediately discovers everything is in a mess--weeds flourishing in the flower beds, windows broken across the front of the building, the gal at the front desk dozing, loud music roaring from several offices, two or three people engaged in horseplay in the back room. Instead of making a profit, the business has suffered a great loss. Without hesitation he calls everyone together and with a frown asks, "What happened? Didn't you get my letters?"
You say, "Oh, yeah, sure. We got all your letters. We've even bound them in a book. And some of us have memorized them. In fact, we have 'letter study' every Sunday. You know, those were really great letters." I think the president would then ask, "But what did you do about my instructions?" And, no doubt the employees would respond, "Do? Well, nothing. But we read every one!"
This story is modern day parable which characterizes the modern church. We have all of the letters from God. We have put them together in a book. We study them and read them, but are we obeying the instructions from God’s word?
We need to realize an important fact. The Bible knows nothing of belief without obedience. Belief without obedience is a foreign concept to the Scripture. In , Jesus is giving what we call the farewell discourse. Jesus’ farewell discourse is a collection of things Jesus said just before he was crucified.
Open your Bibles to and look down to verse 18.
John 14:18–21 CSB
18 “I will not leave you as orphans; I am coming to you. 19 In a little while the world will no longer see me, but you will see me. Because I live, you will live too. 20 On that day you will know that I am in my Father, you are in me, and I am in you. 21 The one who has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. And the one who loves me will be loved by my Father. I also will love him and will reveal myself to him.”
In , Jesus is giving what we call the farewell discourse. Jesus’ farewell discourse is a collection of things Jesus said just before he was crucified. Jesus taught his disciples an important fact and it is one that we still need to be mindful of today. Obedience is the test of love. Jesus’ commands were not given to make us better theologians. They were given to make us better disciples, better people, so that we could have the good life. The Bible knows nothing of belief without obedience. Belief without obedience is a foreign concept to the Scripture. If you keep God’s commands, you prove your love for God.

Obedience is the evidence that we love Jesus.

You might think, “Well, this sounds like legalism.” Jesus is not being legalistic. He emphasizes that we need to keep his commands over and over. He says it in , ; ; and 14:24. He also talks about it in ; ; ; ; . Jesus is not being legalistic. Jesus is stating a reality. Obedience to Jesus’ commands proves you love God and truly believe God. Look at again.
Obedience implies knowledge.
John 14:21 CSB
21 The one who has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. And the one who loves me will be loved by my Father. I also will love him and will reveal myself to him.”
Obedience implies knowledge. The one who has my commands. In other word, you must know what Jesus’ commands are if you are going to obey them.
In other word, you must know what Jesus’ commands are if you are going to obey them.

1. Know Jesus’ commands. ()

“Has” means to grasp with the mind; you understand, not just to be in receipt of. You can be given facts, but not internalize them. You can know things, but not be impacted by them. You can read things, but those things do not shape your life.
What are Jesus’ commands?
Matthew 22:34–39 CSB
34 When the Pharisees heard that he had silenced the Sadducees, they came together. 35 And one of them, an expert in the law, asked a question to test him: 36 “Teacher, which command in the law is the greatest?” 37 He said to him, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. 38 This is the greatest and most important command. 39 The second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself.
Matthew 22:34-
All of Jesus’ commands are summarized in two statements.
Love God. Love others.
To know, to grasp Jesus’ commands, you need to immerse yourself in the Scriptures. Read it and internalize it until it shapes how you think about the world around you. Generally, the things we spend the most time with shape how we think. We call this your worldview. If you worldview is shaped by the culture and media, you will think it is okay to have sex outside of marriage. You will think that living together before you are married is okay. You will think that homosexual relations are normal because some people are just born that way. You will think cheating is not a problem if you are careful. You will think that lying to cover your tracks is okay. Everyone does it. If you immerse yourself in the Word of God you will discover that much of what you thought is right is wrong and many things that you through were wrong are right. If you are going to obey Jesus’ commands, you first must know them. Also, if you are going to obey Jesus’ commands, you must keep them.
John 14:21 CSB
21 The one who has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. And the one who loves me will be loved by my Father. I also will love him and will reveal myself to him.”

2. Keep Jesus’ commands.

You must grasp them and keep them. This is very important and is ignored by so many. You can’t pick and choose what commands we obey based on our own preferences. You can’t say, “Well, I like what Jesus said about loving others, but not so much about adultery.” “I like it when Jesus teaches us to pray, but not so much when he talk about how I handle my money.” “I like it when Jesus is cute and cuddly in the manger, little baby Jesus, but when he grows up and tries to tell me what to do, not so much.”
We all have this tendency. We have our pet peeves and tend to look down on those who struggle in different areas then we do. We look down on the person who gets wasted because we would never do that, but we gossip, complain, and lie. We condemn the person who is sinning in a homosexual relationship, while we consume pornography. We are indigent about murder and abuse, but tolerate our own emotional outbursts. Jesus didn’t say, “Keep the commands you like and don’t struggle with keeping.” Jesus said, the one who keeps my commands is the one who loves me.”
Look at the benefits of knowing and keeping Jesus’ commands.
John 14:21 CSB
21 The one who has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. And the one who loves me will be loved by my Father. I also will love him and will reveal myself to him.”

Obedience to Jesus’ commands yields three benefits:

1. God will love you.

2. Jesus will love you.

3. Jesus will reveal himself to you.

The reward for obedience is the love of Jesus and the Father. Do you understand and value what it means to be loved by God? To be loved by God means that he is working everything out for your good. To be loved by God means that you are protected. To be loved by God means that he is going to take care of you. To be loved by God means that he is preparing an eternal place for you. To be loved by God means that you are his favorite. You are special. You are valuable. You are lifted from the mirey clay. Your feet have been set upon the rock and you have been cleansed from your sin. You are loved by God.
If God loves you, then Jesus is going to reveal himself to you in new, fresh, and exciting ways. You are going be reading the Scriptures and you are going to understand things that you never understood before. Your eyes will be opened to the way, the truth, and the life. You will see him working in the world around you. You will become in tune to how Jesus is working in your life. Then, you will want others to see and understand what you see and understand. Jesus will become real to you and not just a historical figure.
How does Jesus reveal himself to you? Well, perhaps you are faced with a financial difficulty, in your life, Jesus reveals himself as your provider. Perhaps you are faced with fears and anxiety; Jesus reveals himself as your protector and your peace. Perhaps you are faced with disease and sickness; Jesus reveals himself to you as your healer. Maybe you are facing an uphill battle at work or with your family and Jesus reveals himself as you victor.
Jesus wants to reveal himself to you. He is not hiding from you. He is right beside you ready to show you great and mighty things that you don’t know. Know Jesus’ commands. Keep Jesus’ commands. Be ready for Jesus to reveal himself to you because he loves you.
Let’s bow our heads together in a time of reflection.
Brothers and sisters, are you grasping Jesus’ commands? Do you know them? Are you keeping them? This is how you live out what you believe. I know each and every one of us who follow Jesus want him to reveal himself to us. We need him to reveal himself to us because it is the only way we can know him deeply and personally. If I asked you to raise you hands if you would say you love God, all of you would, but we need to be sure that we are living the love we say we have. Has your love grown cold?
Father God, rekindle in us the fire we once had to love and obey you. Don’t allow our love to grow cold. Revive in us a passion for your word, to reach those around us, and to know you. Forgive us for not knowing and keeping your commands. In Jesus’ name I pray,
As we continue praying, perhaps you are here this morning and you have never made the decision to follow Jesus. You have never made the decision to give Jesus control of your life and right now, you are just living for whatever makes you happy. You are running from one relationship to the next, one experience to the next, and one empty promise to the next. You can’t find happiness and you can’t find satisfaction because you are trying to find peace and happiness apart from Jesus. Let me tell you. You will never find what you are looking for unless you give your life to Jesus, unless you place your faith in him.
Let me tell you, you can have hope and peace. Jesus, the Son of God, took on flesh and came to earth. He lived a sinless life and then Jesus, who was without sin became sin for us. When he did, his Father God look away and He cried out in anguish, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” He never walked away while being beaten. He never called on the hosts of heaven while being tortured. He never called off the mission when he was being mocked and crucified. The Scriptures say, he endured all of this because he loved us and for the joy set before him, he endured the pain.
The joy set before him is when you come into a relationship with God. You are Jesus’ joy! Jesus endured all that pain because our sins separated us from him, but in his love and mercy God sent Jesus to endure the pain of the cross for you. When you call on his name, every sin you have ever committed will be forgiven and you will be brand new. If that is you today,
Pray with me, “Heavenly Father, forgive me for my sins, make me new. I ask Jesus to be my Savior and to be the Lord of my life, first in every way. My life is not my own, I give it to you. Thank you for new life. In Jesus’ name, I pray.”
Our deacons will be coming forward to pray with you and for you. If you prayed to receive Jesus, please come and let us pray with you and celebrate your new life in Christ. If God is dealing in your heart and life right now, don’t let this moment pass.
As you stand and we sing together.
<after closing the time of invitation>
Perhaps you didn’t come forward for one reason or another, but you really do want to talk with us about what is going on in your life. Perhaps you need help, prayer, or you just want to know more about being a follower of Jesus. I would encourage you to do one of two things. After we are dismissed, just stay where you are. One of our deacons will come and talk with you and pray with you. The other thing you can do is check one of the boxes on the Connection Card. Put it in the offering plate as it passes. We will get in touch with you this week. You see, this church exists to minister to one another. We are here to support you in your walk with God.
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