We often think of obedience as the “down side” of being a Christian–something that’s hard and vaguely unpleasant to think about. But obedience is often God’s way of releasing hope in our lives. This sermon shows how hope arose when God’s people simply did what He asked. Bottom line: Obedience is our friend!
The Hope of Obedience
The concept of obedience can be seen as demanding and difficult
But call to obedience is really call to hope!
Obedience changes lives….Luke 17:11-17
Lepers were required to live outside the city in leper camps (Numbers 5:2-3) and had to cry out to warn others to keep away.
Note: They cried out for mercy–not healing. This tells us how they viewed Jesus! And how they viewed themselves. You know you need mercy when you know you’re deserving of nothing. And that’s how they viewed themselves–honestly. (Remember Jesus’ parable in Luke 18 about the Pharisee and the tax collector? The one that received from God that day was one who cried out for mercy!)
How many of us position ourselves before God this way when we pray?
The lepers were told to go show themselves to the priests. A good hint of healing to come! Priests could certify that a leper was cured. Could also offer appropriate sacrifices to end ritual defilement–to declare them able to rejoin society.
So this was their trial–a test of obedience–to go in a certain direction without proof of what they were hoping for.
Would they go simply at God’s word? They were willing to do whatever He said, with hopes in His mercy (Psalm 147:11), hopes in His wisdom (Proverbs 24:14), and hopes in His power (I Corinthians 2:5)!
Similar story in Jeremiah 32: Jeremiah the prophet has heard that the enemy of Judah, is going to defeat the Jews and send many away into exile for 70 years. God tells him to buy a field. Sounds crazy. But it was a sign of hope that God confirmed after Jeremiah obeyed the Lord.
Then there is the great OT story of Naaman, who didn’t trust in God’s mercy or wisdom or power–at first! (I Kings 5)
Hope sometimes needs to be expressed, and often requires humility and a decision not to live by our own understanding.
Proverbs 3:5 When are we going to get this? Some of us are spiritually crippled because things have to make sense for us to move forward.
God’s words to lepers and to Naaman show us that following His words is following Him.
Do other parts of the Bible address this issue! Absolutely!
James 1:22–Don’t just listen, but do!
Also, John 14:15 and John 15:14 –getting to know Jesus more deeply and personally through this process.
We have to change our entire lives to include the element of obedience. We don’t throw out our love for Him, or His love for us, or our being His child. But some of us have to fold in the element of obedience to our spiritual lives: “Lord, I want to hear Your voice, and I am committed with Your help to do what You ask me to do.”
OK, where do I begin to find out God’s will for my life? Easy! Read God’s word! Most of God’s will for our lives is found here, and the rest of what we need to hear is based on what’s in there!.
“Yeah, but I need a specific answer right now! OK, in that case…read the Bible!”
Obedience isn’t about making ourselves right before God…. It’s what we do because of the love and mercy He’s shown us, with the added benefit for us of releasing hope as we obey!
What does obedience do? It pleases God, and He often kicks off great moves through people’s personal obedience.
But if you’re struggling with hope,obedience is your friend…it’s God’s love to you, releasing blessing and hope.
Obedience–Just do it!