Is God's Obedient Child
James R. Davis
1 Peter 1:13-16
Therefore, prepare your minds for action;
be self-controlled; set your hope fully on the grace to be given you when
Jesus Christ is revealed. 14 As obedient children, do not conform to the
evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. 15 But just as he who
called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; 16 for it is written: "Be
holy, because I am holy." (NIV)
A. It is heartbreaking to see mankind following
his own will rather than that of God. This still happens today, perhaps
for the following reasons:
1. We think God is keeping something from
And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall
not surely die: For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then
your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.
2. We began to think that our ideas are as
good as God's laws.
Gen 3:6 And when the woman saw that the tree
was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to
be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat,
and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.
The results of this are:
a. Man finds himself and centers his world
on himself. ( Gen.3:6).
b. Man loses the foundation of God's law and
has no reference point to establish right and wrong.
c. Man loses fellowship with God, and therefore
loses purpose and peace.
B. A Christian does not follow his/her own
self seeking ways because he/she is God's obedient child.
1. "Only those who obey can believe, and only
those who believe can obey." --Dietrich Bonhoeffer
2. "The God of the Bible is not the product
of human imagination and His nature is not changed by our opinion of Him.
So it really doesn't matter very much what kind of God we would like to
believe in. Yet people keep talking about "the kind of God I believe in..."
It's all part of our culture's search for a permissive God. People today
do not want a God who makes demands and interferes with our personal business,
especially in the areas of sex and money. Many say they believe in a God
of love, not a God of law. However attractive this concept may be, it is
simply not Scriptural. When Jesus called His disciples, He did not ask
them what kind of God they believed in or even if they loved God; He just
said, "Follow me." It was a demand that involved their giving up some things.
The Bible as a whole never separates faith from obedience. Love is no longer
love if there is no obedience. Rather than being some sort of penalty,
obedience is what makes faith strong. Far from being oppressive, the commandments
are blessings. God's love is His law. Without the law, God's love becomes
meaningless and God Himself is merely a dead abstraction. Those who live
as though God's law does not matter are guilty of promoting atheism and
unbelief". ("God lite" by James Edwards. Christianity Today, Apr 29, 1991.
3. The central issue of the Christian religion
is whether or not we will be subject to God and others.
4. Peter calls Christians "Obedient children".
Meaning of obedience: Subject -- owing obedience or allegiance to the power
or dominion of another ; subjection -- to bring under control or dominion.
The apostle Paul spoke of his obedience.
"No, I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached
to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize." (1 Cor 9:27)
Bringing oneself into subjection, being subject, and submitting one's will
to the will of God is obedience.
5. Guy Woods definition of obedience to the
will of God requires:
a. Doing what God said.
b. Doing what God said do in the way that
God said do it.
c. Doing what God said do, in the way God
said do it, and for the reason that God said do it.
6. Peter encouraged the brethren to be obedient,
to be submissive to God's will. Paul indicated that the Romans had obeyed.
But thanks be to God that, though you used
to be slaves to sin, you wholeheartedly obeyed the form of teaching to
which you were entrusted. 18 You have been set free from sin and have become
slaves to righteousness. (NIV)
I. Why Is Obedience Important?
A. In order to understand why obedience is
important maybe we should first think of the reasons many do not obey what
we find in God's Word.
1. We don't want to. We want to do things
2. We don't know how and are embarrassed to
3. We may think that God's word is just for
study. So we go throughout the Bible underlining and memorizing and for
some reason we don't think the instruction really applies to us personally.
B. Christ taught that God's Word is for obeying,
not just for study, underlining or memorizing Jesus taught that only the
obedient will enter heaven.
Luke 10:16 "He who listens to you listens
to me; he who rejects you rejects me; but he who rejects me rejects him
who sent me." (NIV)
Mt 7:21 "Not everyone who says to me, `Lord,
Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will
of my Father who is in heaven. (NIV)
1 Peter 2:21 To this you were called, because
Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow
in his steps. (NIV)
C. Obedience shows our love for the Lord.
Keeping the Lord's commandments becomes both the proof & test of our
love. It is true that we may through weakness, ignorance, or other human
frailty, fall short of perfect obedience, but love for the Lord prompts
us to do the best we can under the circumstances involving us.
Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he
is the one who loves me. He who loves me will be loved by my Father, and
I too will love him and show myself to him." 22 Then Judas (not Judas Iscariot)
said, "But, Lord, why do you intend to show yourself to us and not to the
world?" 23 Jesus replied, "If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching.
My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with
him. 24 He who does not love me will not obey my teaching. These words
you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me. (NIV)
D. Obedience necessary in order to escape
2 Thes 1:7-9
And to you who are troubled rest with us,
when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels,
In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey
not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall be punished with everlasting
destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power;
Brethren, if any of you do err from the truth,
and one convert him; 20 Let him know, that he which converteth the sinner
from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall hide
a multitude of sins. (KJV)
II. What Is Involved In Obedience?
A. Christian obedience involves more than
1. Peter exhorted Christians to be subject
to rulers, and servants to be subject to masters even though they were
2. Paul cites the example of Christ.
Let every one of us please his neighbour
for his good to edification. 3 For even Christ pleased not himself; but,
as it is written, The reproaches of them that reproached thee fell on me.
B. Christ example of subjection is clear in
at least four areas.
1. First, he was subject to God.
John 6:38 For I have come down from heaven
not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me. (NIV)
Mt 26:39 Going a little farther, he fell with
his face to the ground and prayed, "My Father, if it is possible, may this
cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will." (NIV)
Although he was a son, he learned obedience
from what he suffered 9 and, once made perfect, he became the source of
eternal salvation for all who obey him (NIV)
2. Second, Jesus was subject to his parents.
Thirty years of the Lord's life hidden in these words.
Luke 2:51 Then he went down to Nazareth with
them and was obedient to them. But his mother treasured all these things
in her heart. (NIV)
3. Third, Christ was subject to his enemies.
1 Peter 2:23 When they hurled their insults
at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead,
he entrusted himself to him who judges justly. (NIV)
But I tell you, Do not resist an evil person.
If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also.
And if someone wants to sue you and take your tunic, let him have your
cloak as well. If someone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles.
42 Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who
wants to borrow from you. (NIV)
4. Fourth, Christ subjected himself to all
mankind and to all our needs. He relinquished his equality with God. He
took the form of a servant. He came to minister not to be ministered to.
He washed his disciples feet, leaving us an example that we should in like
manner serve our fellow man, His entire life was spent in unselfish service
C. Obedience to God involves more than primary
obedience to the gospel plan of salvation.
2 Cor 2:9 The reason I wrote you was to see
if you would stand the test and be obedient in everything. (NIV)
D. Subjection to elders.
1. The elders are to be the leaders, are to
rule or take care of the church of God.
2. Paul teaches our responsibility to elders.
1 Peter 5:1
To the elders among you, I appeal as a fellow
elder, a witness of Christ's sufferings and one who also will share in
the glory to be revealed: (NIV)
1 Thes 5:12-13
Now we ask you, brothers, to respect those
who work hard among you, who are over you in the Lord and who admonish
you. 13 Hold them in the highest regard in love because of their work.
Live in peace with each other. (NIV)
Hebrews 13:17 Obey your leaders and submit
to their authority. They keep watch over you as men who must give an account.
Obey them so that their work will be a joy, not a burden, for that would
be of no advantage to you. (NIV)
E. Subjection to law and government. We are
admonished, "To be in subjection to rulers to authorities, to be obedient.
1 Peter 2:13-14
Submit yourselves for the Lord's sake to
every authority instituted among men: whether to the king, as the supreme
authority, 14 or to governors, who are sent by him to punish those who
do wrong and to commend those who do right. (NIV)
The only modification:
Acts 5:29 Peter and the other apostles replied:
"We must obey God rather than men! (NIV)
F. Subject to one another. Christ subjected
himself to our needs, so we must subject ourselves to the needs of others.
1 Peter 3:8-9
Finally, all of you, live in harmony with
one another; be sympathetic, love as brothers, be compassionate and humble.
9 Do not repay evil with
evil or insult with insult, but with blessing,
because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing. (NIV)
Phil 2:3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition
or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves.
Eph 5:21 Submit to one another out of reverence
for Christ. (NIV)
1 Peter 5:5 Young men, in the same way be
submissive to those who are older. All of you, clothe yourselves with humility
toward one another, because, "God opposes the proud but gives grace to
the humble." (NIV)
1. There are many relationships that we sustain
toward one another and in which we are to be in subjection.
Submit to one another out of reverence for
Christ. 22 Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord. 23 For the husband
is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body,
of which he is the Savior. 24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also
wives should submit to their husbands in everything. 25 Husbands, love
your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her
2. Children are to be in subjection to parents.
Children, obey your parents in the Lord,
for this is right. 2 "Honor your father and mother"-- which is the first
commandment with a promise-- 3 "that it may go well with you and that you
may enjoy long life on the earth." (NIV)
3. Servants are to be in subjection to their
masters or employees to their employees.
1 Peter 2:18 Slaves, submit yourselves to
your masters with all respect, not only to those who are good and considerate,
but also to those who are harsh. (NIV)
4. In a general sense masters or employers
should be subject to their employees and their needs.
Paul warned both masters and slaves that
the way they treated each other would affect their relationship with God.
Slaves, obey your earthly masters with respect
and fear, and with sincerity of heart, just as you would obey Christ. 6
Obey them not only to win their favor when their eye is on you, but like
slaves of Christ, doing the will of God from your heart. 7 Serve wholeheartedly,
as if you were serving the Lord, not men, 8 because you know that the Lord
will reward everyone for whatever good he does, whether he is slave or
free. 9 And masters, treat your slaves in the same way. Do not threaten
them, since you know that he who is both their Master and yours is in heaven,
and there is no favoritism with him. (NIV)
5. The younger are to be subject to the elder.
1 Tim 5:1-2
Do not rebuke an older man harshly, but exhort
him as if he were your father. Treat younger men as brothers, 2 older women
as mothers, and younger women as sisters, with absolute purity. (NIV)
1. The least shall be the greatest or the
most submissive shall be the greatest or the most obedient shall be the
Lk 14:11 For everyone who exalts himself will
be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted." (NIV)
Lk 9:42 Even while the boy was coming, the
demon threw him to the ground in a convulsion. But Jesus rebuked the evil
spirit, healed the boy and gave him back to his father. (NIV)
2. "Certain it is that the reason there is
so much shallow living, much talk but little obedience, is that so few
are prepared to be, like the pine on the hilltop, alone in the wind for
God." ( --Amy Carmichael quoted in Clergy Journal, Apr 1993)