Sunday, April 25, 2010

The 7 Points of Valour: #6 - Obedience



John 14:16-27 “I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever; that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you and will be in you.
I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. After a little while the world will no longer see Me, but you will see Me; because I live, you will live also. In that day you will know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you.
He who has My commandments and keeps them is the one who loves Me; and he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and will disclose Myself to him."
Judas (not Iscariot) said to Him, "Lord, what then has happened that You are going to disclose Yourself to us and not to the world?"
Jesus answered and said to him, "If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our abode with him. He who does not love Me does not keep My words; and the word which you hear is not Mine, but the Father's who sent Me. These things I have spoken to you while abiding with you.
But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you. Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful.”

OBEDIENCE: A man who knows how to obey will be better able to lead others. John 14:21 “He who has My commandments and keeps them is the one who loves Me; and he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and will disclose Myself to him.” Obedience has a couple elements. You have the voice or command. Then you need to hear the command, and we need to hear God's voice. We need to know it intimately. We need to let it sink deep into our soul so that His desires become ours. We need to put our faith into action.

I have a bad habit. I tend to change what my children say as if I heard them wrong. They repeat what they said, so I change it to something else. Why I find that funny, I have no idea. “Can we go outside to play?” turns into “You want to eat mice and clay?’ After they repeat it turns into “You want to tan hides today?” This kind of thing doesn’t help my case when Bonnie says I am half deaf. I went for a check-up at a doctors some 15 years ago and they did a hearing test. They found my upper and lower ranges of hearing were fine, but my middle  range was poor for some reason. The problem I have is if there are a lot of other noises going on it can be hard to focus on someone specific. When I was young my dad lost part of his hearing at a large fire when he was a fire fighter. A gas main had blown and the roar of the burning gas was quite loud until they got the main gas valve turned off. Like father like son, we both struggle to hear the quiet sounds.

Hearing is so important. You don’t realize how much you rely on it until you lose some of it. Hearing is important to obedience. How often have you told a child to clean up or do something and when it doesn’t get done the excuse is “I never heard you.” Maybe, once in a blue moon, a spouse has tried this one. One of the reasons you see and hear drill sergeants yelling at the new recruits is so that there are no mistakes – everyone hears the sergeant! Can you imagine the rookie using ear plugs so he doesn’t have to listen? A couple years ago there was a ladies night out in our backyard. It was a lovely time until the plane went over - all conversation stopped because hearing was impossible. We are called to obedience to God, to Jesus, but that is impossible if we can’t hear Him.

There is that picture Jesus shares with us - the one of the Shepherd and His sheep. The sheep hear the Shepherd’s voice and follow, and are safe. They know his voice. So how can we here Jesus? How can we get to know His voice?

Be Quiet: Where was the Lord; in the powerful display of nature? No; God spoke in the gentle blowing.
Elijah 1 KIngs 19:4-15 But he himself went a day's journey into the wilderness, and came and sat down under a juniper tree; and he requested for himself that he might die, and said, "It is enough; now, O LORD, take my life, for I am not better than my fathers."
He lay down and slept under a juniper tree; and behold, there was an angel touching him, and he said to him, "Arise, eat." Then he looked and behold, there was at his head a bread cake baked on hot stones, and a jar of water. So he ate and drank and lay down again. The angel of the LORD came again a second time and touched him and said, "Arise, eat, because the journey is too great for you." So he arose and ate and drank, and went in the strength of that food forty days and forty nights to Horeb, the mountain of God.
Then he came there to a cave and lodged there; and behold, the word of the LORD came to him, and He said to him, "What are you doing here, Elijah?" He said, "I have been very zealous for the LORD, the God of hosts; for the sons of Israel have forsaken Your covenant, torn down Your altars and killed Your prophets with the sword And I alone am left; and they seek my life, to take it away."
So He said, "Go forth and stand on the mountain before the LORD " And behold, the LORD was passing by! And a great and strong wind was rending the mountains and breaking in pieces the rocks before the LORD; but the LORD was not in the wind. And after the wind an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire; and after the fire a sound of a gentle blowing. When Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his mantle and went out and stood in the entrance of the cave And behold, a voice came to him and said, "What are you doing here, Elijah?"
Then he said, "I have been very zealous for the LORD, the God of hosts; for the sons of Israel have forsaken Your covenant, torn down Your altars and killed Your prophets with the sword. And I alone am left; and they seek my life, to take it away."
The LORD said to him...

Know the Bible: Life, people, work, the pursuit of pleasure or leisure - all kinds of noise, physical, emotional or spiritual can plug our ears.
Jesus Luke 4:1-14 Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led around by the Spirit in the wilderness for forty days, being tempted by the devil. And He ate nothing during those days, and when they had ended, He became hungry. And the devil said to Him, "If You are the Son of God, tell this stone to become bread."
And Jesus answered him, "It is written, 'MAN SHALL NOT LIVE ON BREAD ALONE.'"
And he led Him up and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. And the devil said to Him, "I will give You all this domain and its glory; for it has been handed over to me, and I give it to whomever I wish. Therefore if You worship before me, it shall all be Yours."
Jesus answered him, "It is written, 'YOU SHALL WORSHIP THE LORD YOUR GOD AND SERVE HIM ONLY.'"
And he led Him to Jerusalem and had Him stand on the pinnacle of the temple, and said to Him, "If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down from here; for it is written, 'HE WILL COMMAND HIS ANGELS CONCERNING YOU TO GUARD YOU,' and, 'ON their HANDS THEY WILL BEAR YOU UP, SO THAT YOU WILL NOT STRIKE YOUR FOOT AGAINST A STONE.'"
And Jesus answered and said to him, "It is said, 'YOU SHALL NOT PUT THE LORD YOUR GOD TO THE TEST.'" When the devil had finished every temptation, he left Him until an opportune time. And Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit...
Psalm 119:9-11 How can a young man keep his way pure? By keeping it according to Your word. With all my heart I have sought You; do not let me wander from Your commandments. Your word I have treasured in my heart, that I may not sin against You.

Don't give up: How long will you wait? What is more important in your schedule than hearing from your Creator?
James 5:16  The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.
Hebrews 11:39-12:2 And all these, having gained approval through their faith, did not receive what was promised, because God had provided something better for us, so that apart from us they would not be made perfect.
Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
Matthew 26:36-45 Then Jesus came with them to a place called Gethsemane, and said to His disciples, "Sit here while I go over there and pray." And He took with Him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to be grieved and distressed. Then He said to them, "My soul is deeply grieved, to the point of death; remain here and keep watch with Me." And He went a little beyond them, and fell on His face and prayed, saying, "My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; yet not as I will, but as You will." And He came to the disciples and found them sleeping, and said to Peter, "So, you men could not keep watch with Me for one hour? Keep watching and praying that you may not enter into temptation; the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak." He went away again a second time and prayed, saying, "My Father, if this cannot pass away unless I drink it, Your will be done." Again He came and found them sleeping, for their eyes were heavy. And He left them again, and went away and prayed a third time, saying the same thing once more. Then He came to the disciples and said to them, "Are you still sleeping and resting? Behold, the hour is at hand and the Son of Man is being betrayed into the hands of sinner."

Surrender: You will not hear if you don’t turn your ear towards the One speaking.
Matthew 26:39 My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; yet not as I will, but as You will.
Romans 12:1  Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship.
Romans 6:22-23 But now having been freed from sin and enslaved to God, you derive your benefit, resulting in sanctification, and the outcome, eternal life. For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Colossians 3:1-5 Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth. For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory. Therefore consider the members of your earthly body as dead to immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and greed, which amounts to idolatry.
Ephesians 4:17 So this I say, and affirm together with the Lord, that you walk no longer just as the Gentiles also walk, in the futility of their mind

Be Rea:l God wants authenticity above all else. Bring who you are and He will speak.
Not like the Pharisees, more like the disciples - ordinary men and women
Peter - fisherman, quick tempered, impulsive, emotional, loyal
John - fisherman, ambition, temper, intolerant
Andrew - fisherman, brings others to Jesus, 2nd banana
Thomas - courage, bewildered, doubter, devotion
Matthew - tax collector,

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