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Fit for the Master's Use

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TEXT:  I Samuel 15:1-23

TOPIC:  Fit for the Master’s Use

Pastor Bobby Earls, First Baptist Church, Center Point, Alabama

March 19, 2006

          Years ago I learned the importance of adding an important phrase to my prayer life.  It’s a phrase I learned from Peter Lord and his Agape Ministries 2959 Devotional Plan from Titusville, Florida.  It’s this simple phrase, “fit for the Master’s use.”  I pray “Lord, make me fit for the Master’s use.”

          I hope there will never come a time in my life and ministry when I am no longer fit for the Master’s use.  I don’t want to become disqualified. 

Paul said, “I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified. 

(1 Corinthians 9:27, NKJV). 

And in 2 Corinthians 13:5-6, he challenged the Corinthians to “5Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you are disqualified. 6But I trust that you will know that we are not disqualified

Finally, in Titus 1:16, the Bible says, “16They profess to know God, but in works they deny Him, being abominable, disobedient, and disqualified for every good work.

I don’t want to become a castaway or a stumbling block.

          In 1 Samuel 15 we are told of a man who professed to have a relationship with God yet time after time, he failed to live up to his profession.  He was chosen by God to an esteemed position, to be the first King of Israel. 

Can you imagine the honor, the dignity of the office, the prestige, and the power granted to this one man?  Saul forgot that the honor was not in the position of appointment alone, but in the privilege of the selection.  That Saul was selected by Almighty God is the amazing thought.  Saul was a clumsy, backward, shy, introvert.  But God placed His mantle of grace on him.

          This morning, I want to share with you ten principles of obedience from 1 Samuel 15 that will make you fit for the Master’s use.

1Samuel also said to Saul, “The Lord sent me to anoint you king over His people, over Israel. Now therefore, heed the voice of the words of the Lord. 2“Thus says the Lord of hosts: ‘I will punish Amalek for what he did to Israel, how he ambushed him on the way when he came up from Egypt. 3‘Now go and attack Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have, and do not spare them. But kill both man and woman, infant and nursing child, ox and sheep, camel and donkey.’ ” 4So Saul gathered the people together and numbered them in Telaim, two hundred thousand foot soldiers and ten thousand men of Judah. 5And Saul came to a city of Amalek, and lay in wait in the valley.

6Then Saul said to the Kenites, “Go, depart, get down from among the Amalekites, lest I destroy you with them. For you showed kindness to all the children of Israel when they came up out of Egypt.” So the Kenites departed from among the Amalekites. 7And Saul attacked the Amalekites, from Havilah all the way to Shur, which is east of Egypt. 8He also took Agag king of the Amalekites alive, and utterly destroyed all the people with the edge of the sword. 9But Saul and the people spared Agag and the best of the sheep, the oxen, the fatlings, the lambs, and all that was good, and were unwilling to utterly destroy them. But everything despised and worthless, that they utterly destroyed.  10Now the word of the Lord came to Samuel, saying, 11“I greatly regret that I have set up Saul as king, for he has turned back from following Me, and has not performed My commandments.” And it grieved Samuel, and he cried out to the Lord all night. 12So when Samuel rose early in the morning to meet Saul, it was told Samuel, saying, “Saul went to Carmel, and indeed, he set up a monument for himself; and he has gone on around, passed by, and gone down to Gilgal.” 13Then Samuel went to Saul, and Saul said to him, “Blessed are you of the Lord! I have performed the commandment of the Lord.” 14But Samuel said, “What then is this bleating of the sheep in my ears, and the lowing of the oxen which I hear?” 15And Saul said, “They have brought them from the Amalekites; for the people spared the best of the sheep and the oxen, to sacrifice to the Lord your God; and the rest we have utterly destroyed.” 16Then Samuel said to Saul, “Be quiet! And I will tell you what the Lord said to me last night.” And he said to him, “Speak on.”

17So Samuel said, “When you were little in your own eyes, were you not head of the tribes of Israel? And did not the Lord anoint you king over Israel? 18“Now the Lord sent you on a mission, and said, ‘Go, and utterly destroy the sinners, the Amalekites, and fight against them until they are consumed.’ 19“Why then did you not obey the voice of the Lord? Why did you swoop down on the spoil, and do evil in the sight of the Lord?” 20And Saul said to Samuel, “But I have obeyed the voice of the Lord, and gone on the mission on which the Lord sent me, and brought back Agag king of Amalek; I have utterly destroyed the Amalekites.   21“But the people took of the plunder, sheep and oxen, the best of the things which should have been utterly destroyed, to sacrifice to the Lord your God in Gilgal.” 22Then 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 heed than the fat of rams.

23          For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft,

And stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry.

Because you have rejected the word of the Lord,

He also has rejected you from being king.”

Obedience is the key to the successful Christian life.  Obedience brings blessing.  Obedience brings joy.  Obedience brings fullness and meaning to life.  Obedience brings the anointing and power of God upon our lives.  Obedience is absolutely essential and non-negotiable for any believer to fully know God’s touch upon his life.        

          Saul had lost his best friend.  He had lost the Lord’s blessings and he had lost the kingdom.  For the rest of Saul’s life, it will be a dark and winding road that leads to disqualification and eventually, his death at the hands of the very Amalekites Saul refused to kill.

1.     OBEDIENCE IS DIRECTLY RELATED TO OUR RELATIONSHIP TO AND EXPERIENCE WITH GOD,                   1 Samuel 15:1

1Samuel also said to Saul, “The Lord sent me to anoint you king over His people, over Israel. Now therefore, heed the voice of the words of the Lord.

It all begins with a relationship, a relationship with God!

J. Vernon McGee says, “We are saved by grace, we are kept by grace, we grow by the grace of God. We are going to get to heaven by the grace of God. When we’ve been there ten thousand years, it will still be by the grace of God. But, my friend, there are great spiritual blessings today which you are going to miss if you are not obedient to Him.” 

Jesus told us, “If ye love me, keep my commandments” (John 14:15). Obedience offers a personal, wonderful, glorious relationship with God.

2.     OBEDIENCE DOES NOT REQUIRE AN EXPLANATION FROM GOD, 1 Samuel 15:3-4

2“Thus says the Lord of hosts: ‘I will punish Amalek for what he did to Israel, how he ambushed him on the way when he came up from Egypt. 3‘Now go and attack Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have, and do not spare them. But kill both man and woman, infant and nursing child, ox and sheep, camel and donkey.’ ”

Now we’ve seen this before.  There are some parts of the Bible and some aspects of God that we can never fully comprehend.  God says His ways are past finding out, in other words, we can never, at least in this lifetime, understand everything there is to know about God.  If you could completely understand God, or if I could completely understand God, then we wouldn’t need God to be God.  We would be God.

God says, “My ways are not your ways and my thoughts your thoughts.  As high as the heavens are above the earth so are the thoughts of Almighty God.”

 

3.     OBEDIENCE DEMANDS INSTANT RESPONSE, 1 Samuel 15:4-5

4So Saul gathered the people together and numbered them in Telaim, two hundred thousand foot soldiers and ten thousand men of Judah. 5And Saul came to a city of Amalek, and lay in wait in the valley.

At least in the beginning, Saul obeyed.

4.     PARTIAL OBEDIENCE IS STILL DISOBEDIENCE, 1 Samuel 15:7 – 9

 

7And Saul attacked the Amalekites, from Havilah all the way to Shur, which is east of Egypt. 8He also took Agag king of the Amalekites alive, and utterly destroyed all the people with the edge of the sword. 9But Saul and the people spared Agag and the best of the sheep, the oxen, the fatlings, the lambs, and all that was good, and were unwilling to utterly destroy them. But everything despised and worthless, that they utterly destroyed.

 

5.     WHEN OBEDIENCE GOES, THE BLESSINGS GO,                            1 Samuel 15:11, 23b

 

11“I greatly regret that I have set up Saul as king, for he has turned back from following Me, and has not performed My commandments.” And it grieved Samuel, and he cried out to the Lord all night.

23          For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft,

And stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry.

Because you have rejected the word of the Lord,

 He also has rejected you from being king.”

6.  OBEDIENCE MUST COME FROM THE HEART AND NOT FROM THE LIPS, 1 Samuel 15:13

 

13Then Samuel went to Saul, and Saul said to him, “Blessed are you of the Lord! I have performed the commandment of the Lord.”

 

7.     DISOBEDIENCE WILL ALWAYS BE REVEALED,                     1 Samuel 15:14

 

14But Samuel said, “What then is this bleating of the sheep in my ears, and the lowing of the oxen which I hear?”

 

8.     DISOBEDIENCE ALWAYS SEEKS TO BLAME OTHERS, 1 Samuel 15:21 (compare with verse 9), Saul had substituted saying for doing, excuses for confession and sacrifice for obedience.

21“But the people took of the plunder, sheep and oxen, the best of the things which should have been utterly destroyed, to sacrifice to the Lord your God in Gilgal.”

 

9.     OBEDIENCE DOESN’T HAVE TO COVER IT’S TRACKS,        1 Samuel 15:15, 21b

 

15And Saul said, “They have brought them from the Amalekites; for the people spared the best of the sheep and the oxen, to sacrifice to the Lord your God; and the rest we have utterly destroyed.”

 

When Adam and Eve first disobeyed, do you remember where God found them?  Hiding in the bushes.  Just before Cain killed his brother Abel, do you remember what God told him?  “If you do well you will be accepted.  If you do not do well, sin lieth at the door.” 

 

10.                         OBEDIENCE IS BETTER THAN SACRIFICE, 1 Samuel 15:22

 

22Then 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 heed than the fat of rams.

 

 

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