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TYPES OF OBEDIENCE
Victor M. Eskew
A. In order for any man to be saved, he must obey the Lord Jesus Christ (Heb. 5:9).
And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him.
B. Obedience is expressed in many different statements in Scripture.
1. Keeping the commandments (John 14:15; 14:23; I John 5:3)
For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments…
2. Doing the Word of God (Matt. 7:21, 7:24; James 1:22-25; I John 2:17; Rev. 21:14)
Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock.
3. To submit to God (James 4:7)
Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.
4. To walk according to God’s rule (Gal. 6:16)
And as many as walk according to this rule, peace be upon him, and mercy, and upon the Israel of God.
5. To abide in the doctrine of Christ (II John 9)
Whoseover transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son.
6. Hold fast (II Tim. 1:13)
Hold fast the form of sounds word, which thou hast been taught, in faith and love which is in Christ Jesus.
C. As you watch people try to obey the Word of God, you find that there are many “forms” of obedience that are practiced.
1. In this lesson, we will examine four different ways people seek to obey God.
2. The title of our lesson is: “Types of Obedience.”
I. COMPLETE, WILLING OBEDIENCE
A. This type of obedience
1. Responds to all of God’s commands regardless of what the command is.
2. Responds with a heart of love, and joy, and gratitude toward God.
B. When we view the Bible “greats,” this was the type of obedience they rendered.
1. Noah (Gen. 6:22)
Thus did Noah according to all that God commanded him, so did he.
2. Abraham (Heb. 11:8)
By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place he should afterward receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not know whither he went.
3. Jesus (Luke 22:42)
Saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine be done.
C. This is the type of obedience that God desires and that God rewards. It should be the kind that all of us render to our heavenly Father.
II. FORCED, RELUCTANT OBEDIENCE
A. Those who engage in this type of obedience do the will of God, but
1. They have to be prodded to do God’s will.
2. They do not obey with a ready, eager spirit.
B. Two verses come to mind:
1. II Corinthians 9:7
Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver.
1) Strong (3077): sadness
2) Thayer: sorrow, pain, grief, annoyance, affliction
3) NOTE: Some might give but do so with a lot of griping and complaining and questioning and regret.
1) Strong (318): constraint
2) Thayer: necessity imposed by law of duty
3) Some give, but only because they know that it is a requirement of God.
2. I Peter 5:2
Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind.
1) Strong (317): compulsory
2) Thayer; by force
3) An elder should never serve because he feels as though he is forced to do so.
b. Ready mind
1) Strong (4290): alacrity (cheerfulness)
2) Thayer: willingly (eagerness, liveliness)
3) An elder is an elder and does the work of an elder because he eagerly desires it.
C. Example: Naaman’s obedience had to be prodded. It was reluctant.
1. When he was commanded to dip seven times in the Jordan River, he refused to do it at first (II Kings 5:11).
2. He was “forced” into obedience by the words of his servants (II Kings 5:13).
And his servants can near, and spake unto him, and said, My father, if the prophet had bid thee do some great thing, wouldest thou not have done it? How much rather, when he saith unto thee, Wash, and be clean?
D. This obedience does not spring from a good heart. It may bring some blessings to one’s life, but the person does not have the joy that should come from serving God.
III. EASY OBEDIENCE
A. “Easy” obedience involves doing the commands of God that are easy and neglecting the commands that are difficult.
B. Example: The church at Corinth was given a difficult command by Paul when he told them to withdraw from the fornicator.
1. I Corinthians 5:9
I wrote unto you in an epistle not to company with fornicators.
2. The church did not respond properly (I Cor. 5:2).
And ye are puffed up, and have not rather mourned, that he that hath done this deed might be taken away from among you.
C. We see easy obedience in the church all of the time.
1. It is easy to attend services. It is hard to do personal work.
2. It is easy to send a card. It is hard to restore the erring.
3. It is easy to sit as a student. It is hard to be a teacher.
4. It is easy to give money to a program. It is difficult to lead a program.
D. If obedience were only to be done when it is easy:
1. Jesus would not have died on the cross.
2. The apostles would not have taken the gospel to the world.
3. Abraham would not have offered Isaac on the mountain.
E. This type of obedience leaves parts of the will of God undone. It really amounts to partial obedience which is really no obedience at all.
IV. MY WILL OBEDIENCE
A. “My will” obedience is when I obey what God has commanded when it conforms to my will and wishes.
B. This differs from “easy obedience” because sometimes my will involves doing the difficult commands of God. There are times, however, my will will not do the easy commands.
C. Example: King Saul (I Sam. 15:1-34)
1. God’s will: Utterly destroy the Amelekites. Saul’s will: Spare Agag the king.
2. God’s will: Destroy all flocks and herds. People’s will: Spare the best of the flocks and herds.
D. Two points:
1. In doing just our will, we often disregard the will of God.
a. Our will: Do not attend Bible class. God’s will: Study to shew thyself approved unto God (II Tim. 2:15), and desire the sincere milk of the word (I Pet. 2:2).
b. Our will: Drink alcohol from time to time. God’s will: Be sober, that is, not intoxicated (Tit. 2:1-4).
2. Our will often changes.
a. It is wrong to divorce and remarry for any cause (Matt. 19:9) until we want to divorce and remarry for a cause other than fornication.
b. It is wrong to be a homosexual or lesbian (I Cor. 6:9-11) until our child comes out as a homosexual or lesbian.
E. “Our will” obedience is really not obedience to God.
F. We cannot practice “our will” obedience and be like Christ (Rom. 15:3; Phil 2:5-8).
For even Christ, pleased not himself…
A. Each of us needs to stops and analyze our obedience from time to time.
B. If we will practice complete, willing obedience to God’s will, a home in heaven will be ours (Rev. 22:14).
Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.