We live in a time where there are many issues, challenges, trialsand even relationships can keep believers from following Christ and doing His will. Jesus warned us (John 16:33) that while we are on this earth, being His disciples would not be an easy endeavor. In fact He describes it as what must be considered hard work. While many of us want to be recipients of the love, blessing, provision and grace of Christ, we are not always so willing to receive the cross of Christ as part of our daily life.
In todays passage Jesus challenges us with the basic crux of the divine-human relationship
that of obeying Him. He then gives us three prerequisites that we need to meet in order to come to that place where we would be considered to be living an obedient, Abundant Life. He then finishes with the promise of what can result when we completely give ourselves to what He wants. Lets look at this together and see what Jesus might be speaking to us as we acknowledge His Lordship in our lives.
The Challenge v46
1. There is a direct connection between our calling Jesus Lord and our actual obedience to Him.
2. In another passage Jesus uses the term Lord, Lord in describing people whom He never knew (Mt 7:21-23).
3. It really is a serious matter to call Him Lord.
a. It is more than just doing the stuff of Kingdom work or simple jargon.
b. It is true surrender of the heart, mind and will to Him. It is a bowing of the knee in submission to His will.
1. Come. The word literally means to bring oneself.
a. This is the first prerequisite and must come before anything else. I must come to Christ if I am to see my life planted on a firm foundation.
b. When I have difficulties where or to whom do I go?
i. Myself? I have the answer, I know what to do.
c. I have to come to Jesus
How do I come?
i. With all my heart
ii. With the fear of the Lord
1. A Simple Definition: God is watching and He sees everything that I do.
iii. With humility
1. Too many times we allow a worldly way of thinking to direct us.
2. Hear. To hear with understanding, to perceive.
a. I find that I dont always listen like I should.
i. I dont always listen to God or people very well.
1. There are times when I find myself in a ministry situation and I start out in my own strength instead of the strength and direction of the Lord.
2. I must be willing to ask the question, What do you want me to do?
Note: Spiritually there is a connection between the ear and eye. Hearing and seeing are two primary means with which we perceive the voice and direction of the Holy Spirit.
b. I find that I sometimes practice selective hearing with God. I seem to hear it if it is what I want to do, but not if it is something that I am unwilling to obey.
i. If I do this, I begin to harden my heart towards God (Heb 3:8, 16).
ii. If I keep doing this, my heart becomes harder and harder and then I cannot hear God when He does speak to me.
c. I look at the problem instead of the Lord.
i. The situation shouts at me and drowns out the voice of the Lord.
ii. I begin to compare myself with others, which brings absolutely nothing helpful.
a. When we have come to God and heard His voice, then we must put what He has told us into action.
b. What does this action look like?
i. A large portion of obeying Christ, perhaps 95% of Christian action, is praying, fasting, loving, forgiving, serving, helping, caring, encouraging, strengthening, listening, reading, sharing, giving, receiving, rejoicing, suffering, having answers, not having answers, not worrying, being kind, courteous, flexible, willing.
ii. The other 5% could consist of things like: entering full-time ministry, change of career, a major move, choosing a spouse, changing jobs, finding a church, starting a business, etc.
c. Partial Obedience
i. Not all partial obedience is bad. But sometimes when we pick and choose what to obey and what not to obey we find ourselves in trouble. (King Saul, 1Sa 15)
Note: On finding a church, the proper criteria for becoming part of a local church is, the will of God, not just whether we like it or not.
The Promise and Its Alternative vs48-49
1. A firm foundation takes time and the right kind of materials put together in the right order.
a. Preparation, cement, and putting up a building all take time.
b. Every time we do what God wants us to, we add to the project called our life.
2. An improper foundation or the absence of a foundation leaves any building lacking structural integrity.
a. Note: Knowledge of God and His will is insufficient.
Note: Some people come, but they dont hear. Some come and hear, but they dont put what they hear into action. If we leave any of the ingredients out, the result will be either an improper foundation, or no foundation at all.
1. Truly and honestly come before the Lord and be ready to do His will.
a. We may need to find a place to get alone with God so we can indeed hear His voice.
2. Think back to some of the things He told us to do in the past and we never did. Start with them even if they dont make sense.
3. Be open to hear and do something new and completely out of character. This is stretching.
4. Be willing to start with what might be considered the little things and the mundane, because they really do matter.
Conclusion: While hearing and obeying the Lord can, at times, seem a daunting task, we must remember that every time we obey the Lord in something great or small, our own personal life foundation goes deeper, becomes stronger, and is less and less likely to be moved or shaken by the troubles this world brings to us.
1. In light of Jesus direct question in the passage how would you assess yourself?
2. Are there areas where you need to make an adjustment?
3. Are there things He has told you in the past and you are now reminded of them?
4. What steps will you take to put yourself on a more obedient footing with the Lord?