Here are my teaching notes for tonight. What voice are you listening to? What voice has captured your heart? Enjoy!
I was reading Perry Stone’s book Putting On Your God Gear and was intrigued by his first chapter about the greatest weapon we have against our enemy. He elaborated there are many weapons a Christian has at his disposal like prayer, faith, the Word, praise and worship, but none of these represented the greatest weapon against the Devil that he fears the most. What is this weapon? The greatest weapon a Christian has against the Devil’s kingdom is obedience to God. What God wants and what Satan fears the most is obedience. He declares in the book “we would be shocked to find out how many times we did not listen and obey.” Time and time again God is speaking or has spoken and we have missed it and failed to obey. I was intrigued with this entire truth and it has inspired me to set forth this teaching on obedience.
God is always speaking. Are you listening? God speaks primarily through His Word, the Bible, which contains the God-Breathed words and commands of God. However, God also speaks in various and sundry other ways. He speaks through creation, He speaks through others, He speaks through revelation, He speaks through His Son, and He speaks through circumstance. God is never limited in His speaking, but the ultimate question is: Are we hearing His Voice and are we obeying it? A simple formula would be: Listening-Hearing-Doing it=Obedience. Also a revolutionary truth is there is no faith without obedience and there is no obedience without faith. Obedience is faith in action. The word of God will not be released into our lives without obedience. The bottom-line is we all obey something. We always are obeying and following someone’s voice. Whose voice are you obeying? Whose voice are you following? What are you listening to? Random thoughts? The noise of the world? The accusations of men? Or the voice of God?
THIS IS THE NUMBER ONE THING YOU CAN DO FOR GOD ALWAYS ABOVE ANYTHING ELSE IS TO OBEY. We are the only creature in all of creation that does not obey. Storms obey. Seas obey. The Earth obeys. The Heavens obey. Animals obey. Sickness obeys. But we humans have a choice and most people have a real hard time in habitual obedience toward God and His words.
The Hebrew word for “obey” in Scripture is shama and it means “to hear intelligently and with attention, to listen, to hear anything that can be perceived by the ear, to obey.” The word is used to connote the idea of understanding. Its first usage in Genesis 3 sheds some interesting light on its meaning and shows that obedience is always to a voice that is heard and followed. A voice speaks words. To obey is to hear a voice and to do the words that the voice speaks. God is always speaking. The Voice of the Lord is just as powerful today as it was in the times of the Bible. The world is always speaking and its voice is becoming more dominant and powerful in our times? What voice are listening to? What voice are you obeying? The cry in our heart should always be like the prophet Isaiah: Hear (shama), O heavens, and give ear, O earth! For the Lord has spoken!” When God speaks, we listen and obey. No compromise, no arguing, no debating for we have heard the Voice of the Lord.
Genesis 3:8-10,17 (KJV): 8And they heard (shama) the voice of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God amongst the trees of the garden.
9And the LORD God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou?
10And he said, I heard (shama) thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself.
17And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened (shama)unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life;
Adam was given a choice as he could have either obeyed the voice of the Lord God or the voice of his wife. He heard both voices. Both voices spoke words. He chose unwisely to obey the voice of his wife which he had heard, instead of the voice of God which he also heard. The voice of the Lord carries the presence of God himself and the first act of the fallen Adam and Eve were to hide themselves from the voice of the Lord as it caused them fear. People still today fear the voice of God and hide from its words and would rather follow the voice of man. People today still fear obedience to God. They think it is no fun but in truth is the greatest adventure of all life and carries with it the Blessing of God. It is interesting to think of this word shama in the context of the Tower of Babel. God confused the speech at the tower of Babel so they could not understand and ultimately obey or follow each other. The word is used 1161 times in the Old Testament which indicates the important theme of obedience in the Bible. There are literally thousands of examples in the Old Testament of the blessings of obedience and the curses of disobedience.
Deuteronomy 5:32(KJV): 32 So be careful to do what the LORD your God has commanded you; do not turn aside to the right or to the left. 33 Walk in obedience (shama)to all that the LORD your God has commanded you, so that you may live and prosper and prolong your days in the land that you will possess.
One the most famous uses of this word is in Deuteronomy which sets forth the centerpiece, the heartbeat, and the fulcrum of all obedience.
Deuteronomy 6:4-9 (NIV)4 Hear (shama), O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one.[a] 5 Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. 6 These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. 7 Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. 8 Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. 9 Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.
We obey out of a heart of love for our awesome, good and majestic God. True obedience inspires devotion to God. True obedience brings us closer to God and allows us to increase in our intimacy and knowledge of Him. We cannot know Him if do not obey Him. We cannot have true fellowship with Him if we do not obey Him. We cannot trust Him if do not obey Him. We cannot have faith in Him if we do not obey Him. God’s blessing and favor follow obedience.
Deuteronomy 28:1-8 (Amplified) 1IF YOU will listen diligently to the voice of the Lord your God, being watchful to do all His commandments which I command you this day, the Lord your God will set you high above all the nations of the earth.
2And all these blessings shall come upon you and overtake you if you heed the voice of the Lord your God.
3Blessed shall you be in the city and blessed shall you be in the field.
4Blessed shall be the fruit of your body and the fruit of your ground and the fruit of your beasts, the increase of your cattle and the young of your flock.
5Blessed shall be your basket and your kneading trough.
6Blessed shall you be when you come in and blessed shall you be when you go out.
7The Lord shall cause your enemies who rise up against you to be defeated before your face; they shall come out against you one way and flee before you seven ways.
8The Lord shall command the blessing upon you in your storehouse and in all that you undertake. And He will bless you in the land which the Lord your God gives you.
I also want to examine the usages of the word “obedience” in the New Testament. It is interesting that one of the first things that Paul lays out in the book of Romans, which is the Magna Carta of Christianity, is the obedience of faith.
Romans opens with obedience
Closes with obedience
Romans 1:5 through whom we have received grace and apostleship to bring about the obedience of faith among all the Gentiles, for His name’s sake,
The Greek word for “Obedience” is (hupakoe from hupó = under + akoúo = hear) means literally to “hear under” which conveys the picture of listening and submitting to that which is heard. This response often involves a change of attitude in the hearer. The idea is to obey on the basis of having paid attention to. Hupakoe is used six times in Romans (Here are all 14 uses in 15 NT verses = Ro 1:5; 5:19; 6:16; 15:18; 16:19, 26; 2Co 7:15; 10:5, 6; Philemon 1:21; Heb 5:8; 1Pet 1:2, 14, 22).
Hupakoe speaks of the one hearing as being under the authority of some one else. Thus, hupakoe comes to mean compliance (disposition to yield to another) with the demands or requests of someone over us. Obedience is submission or hearkening to a command. Obedience is the carrying out the word and will of another person, especially the will of God.
Hupakoe conveys the picture of one listening and following instructions. Submitting to that which is heard involves a change of attitude, forsaking the tendency of the fallen nature to rebel against Divine instructions and commands and seeking God’s will, not self will.
Hughes adds that…
Obedience involves conscious listening. If you do not really listen, you cannot really obey.
The basic picture of hupakouo is that of placing oneself under what has been heard and therefore submitting to what is heard.
Believe and obey translates obedience of faith.
A T Robertson writes that obedience of faith in the original Greek text reflects what is referred to as the…
John Piper writes that…
True, God-exalting OBEDIENCE comes from FAITH. Any other kind of OBEDIENCE is not true OBEDIENCE at all.
Believing and obeying always run side by side. — C. H. Spurgeon
True faith commits us to obedience. — A. W. Tozer
Faith and obedience are bound up in the same bundle. He that obeys God, trusts God; and he that trusts God, obeys God. — C. H. Spurgeon
Obedience is the hallmark of faith. — C. H. Spurgeon
The threefold purpose of the Bible is to inform, to inspire faith and to secure obedience. Whenever it is used for any other purpose, it is used wrongly and may do actual injury. The Holy Scriptures will do us good only as we present an open mind to be taught, a tender heart to believe and a surrendered will to obey.— A W Tozer
The difficulty we modern Christians face is not misunderstanding the Bible, but persuading our untamed hearts to accept its plain instructions. Our problem is to get the consent of our world-loving minds to make Jesus Lord in fact as well as in word. For it is one thing to say, “Lord, Lord,” and quite another thing to obey the Lord’s commandments. We may sing, “Crown Him Lord of all,” and rejoice in the tones of the loud-sounding organ and the deep melody of harmonious voices, but still we have done nothing until we have left the world and set our faces toward the city of God in hard practical reality. When faith becomes obedience then it is true faith indeed. — A W Tozer
The man that believes will obey; failure to obey is convincing proof that there is not true faith present.
A true Christian not only believes God’s promise–but obeys His command.
Obedience must have the Word of God for its rule. This is the touchstone.
Even our thoughts are to be obedient-II Corinthians 10:5
Obedience from a new heart, motivated by love (not cowering fear) is the by-product of the sanctifying work of the Spirit. Immediately after explaining to the Ephesians that they were saved by grace through faith apart from works (Ep 2:8, 9–notes) Paul declares that believers are (God’s) workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works (see study of Good Deeds), which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. (Eph 2:10)
Salvation calls us to a life of obedience.
John 5:8,9(KJV): 8Jesus saith unto him, Rise, take up thy bed, and walk. 9And immediately the man was made whole, and took up his bed, and walked: and on the same day was the sabbath.
The response of the previously crippled man was immediate obedience. Blessings always come from a rapid, positive response to God’s commands. How many people have missed out on blessings because they were too slow to obey? In this case, the sooner the crippled man obeyed, the sooner he realized his healing.
Romans 5:19 For as through the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, even so through the obedience of the One the many will be made righteous.
Christianity began with the obedience of the One, the Second Adam and God’s only begotten Son.
Romans 6:16 Do you not know that when you present yourselves to someone as slaves for obedience, you are slaves of the one whom you obey (present tense = habitually), either of sin resulting in death, or of obedience resulting in righteousness?
Phillips: Just think what it would mean. You belong to the power which you choose to obey, whether you choose sin, whose reward is death, or God, obedience to whom means the reward of righteousness.
Wuest: Do you not know that to whom you put yourselves at the disposal of as slaves resulting in obedience, slaves you are to whom you render habitual obedience, whether slaves of the sinful nature resulting in death, or obedient slaves [of Christ] resulting in righteousness?
You know that in effect there is no middle ground between being a slave to sin and a slave to obedience to God. Jesus clearly taught that
“No one can serve two masters” (Mt 6:24)
God has set believers free, to serve Himself. The only other master is sin. Bondage to sin results from serving sin.
Slaves (doulos from deo = to bind) In Paul’s day were those individuals who were bound to their master in servitude. Doulos in Paul’s writings thus conveys the picture of a slave’s close, binding tie with their master, of belonging solely to him and of being obligated to and desiring to do his will. In sum, the will of the doulos is completely consumed in the will of the master.
A bondservant therefore is one who has surrendered wholly to the master’s will which in the present passage is submission either to “Sin” or to “Obedience“. As believers we are no longer our own but have been bought with the price of the blood of Christ (1Cor 6:20, 1Pe 1:18, 19; Titus 2:14). We are now the property of our Lord Jesus Christ and are to conduct ourselves in this present evil age (Gal 1:4) as His “love” slaves (we obey because we love the One Who first loved us – 1Jn 4:19, 2Co 5:14 NLT). No man or woman (no exceptions!) can serve two masters (Mt 6:24–note). We are all born into servitude to Sin for we are all born children of Adam’s (Ro 5:12), but now we are slaves of the Lord Jesus Christ by our new birth (2Cor 5:17). As believers we now are (ideally) to have no will of our own, no business of our own, no time of our own. Instead we are to be continually yielding to and serving our Master, the Lord Jesus Christ, in complete dependence upon His enabling power.
Romans 15:18 For I will not presume to speak of anything except what Christ has accomplished through me, resulting in the obedience of the Gentiles by word and deed,
Paul’s preaching resulted in the genuine obedience of the Gentiles. The gospel not only calls men to faith in Christ as Savior but to obedience to Him as Lord.
Romans 16:19 For the report of your obedience has reached to all; therefore I am rejoicing over you, but I want you to be wise in what is good, and innocent in what is evil.
Phillips: Your loyalty to the principles of the Gospel is known everywhere, and that gives me great joy. I want to see you experts in good, and not even beginners in evil.
Wuest: for your obedience has come to the ears of all. Because of you, therefore, I am rejoicing. But I desire you to be wise ones with reference to that which is good, and pure ones with reference to that which is evil.
The Greek word for obedience pictures one who listens and submits to that which is heard. It is in marked contrast to the unsaved attitude of rebelliousness and self will. The obedience of the Romans was wonderful news to Paul, because it was an indicator that their faith was genuine.
Paul is not speaking of a perfect obedience (that would be the state of glorification), nor is he speaking of rigid “obedience” to a set of rules and laws like the Pharisees which would be legalism or work’s righteousness. Instead he is speaking of that obedience motivated by love (not legalism) that flows forth from a new heart (Ezek 36:27, 2Cor 5:17; Php 2:12,13-see notes Ph 2:12; 13) that now desires and is empowered to be obedient to the Master’s voice.
J Vernon McGee adds that…
Obedience to the faith is very important to God. God saves us by faith, not by works; but after He has saved us, He wants to talk to us about our works, about our obedience to Him. I hear many people talk about believing in Jesus, then they live like the Devil and seem to be serving him. My friend, saving faith makes you obedient to Jesus Christ. (McGee, J V: Thru the Bible Commentary: Thomas Nelson or Logos) John Piper
True, God-exalting OBEDIENCE comes from FAITH. Any other kind of OBEDIENCE is not true OBEDIENCE at all. ”
It should be clear from a study of the Word that God has wedded faith and obedience so that they are related much like two sides of a coin.
Romans 16:26 but now is manifested, and by the Scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the eternal God, has been made known to all the nations, leading to obedience of faith;
2 Corinthians 7:15 And his affection abounds all the more toward you, as he remembers the obedience of you all, how you received him with fear and trembling.
2 Corinthians 10:5 We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ,
2 Corinthians 10:6 and we are ready to punish all disobedience, whenever your obedience is complete.
Philemon 1:21 Having confidence in your obedience, I write to you, since I know that you will do even more than what I say.
Hebrews 5:8 Although He was a Son, He learned obedience from the things which He suffered.
1 Peter 1:2 according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, by the sanctifying work of the Spirit, that you may obey Jesus Christ and be sprinkled with His blood: May grace and peace be yours in fullest measure.
The Geneva Study Bible has an interesting note writing that
“In the worship of the Old Testament, the death of the victim establishes a covenant, and the sprinkling incorporates the worshipers as participants, making them publicly liable for the covenant’s benefits and responsibilities (Ex 24:8).” (New Geneva Study Bible. Nashville: Thomas Nelson)
William Barclay is similar to Guzik (Note Barclay has definite liberal tendencies but his comments on culture, history, Greek words, etc are often valuable…just be a Berean and read critique on Barclay)
(a) When a leper had been healed, he was sprinkled with the blood of a bird (Lev 14:2–7). Sprinkling with blood is, therefore, the symbol of cleansing. By the sacrifice of Christ, the Christian is cleansed from sin. (Ed note: compare “how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without blemish to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?” Heb 9:14)
(b) Sprinkling with blood was part of the ritual of the setting apart of Aaron and the priests (Ex 29:21; Lev 8:30). It was the sign of setting apart for the service of God. The Christian is specially set apart for the service of God, not only within the Temple, but also within the world. (Ed note: Believers are a royal priesthood [1Pe 2:9–note] “not redeemed with perishable things… but with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ.” – 1Pe 1:18, 19–notes)
(c) The great picture of the sprinkling comes from the covenant relationship between Israel and God. In the covenant, God, of his own gracious will, approached Israel that they might be his people and that he might be their God. But that relationship depended on the Israelites accepting the conditions of the covenant and obeying the law. Obedience was a necessary condition of the covenant, and failure in obedience meant failure of the covenant relationship between God and Israel. In (Ex 24:1, 2, 3,4, 5,6 , 7, 8)
Moses “took the book of the covenant and read it in the hearing of the people; and they said, “All that the LORD has spoken we will do, and we will be obedient!” So Moses took the blood and sprinkled it on the people, and said, “Behold the blood of the covenant, which the LORD has made with you in accordance with all these words.”
Believers have entered into a New Covenant through the blood of Jesus Christ (Mt 26:28 = Mk 14:24), the Mediator of a “better covenant (than that described in Ex 24) which has been enacted on better promises.” (He 8:6–note).
The writer of Hebrews also reminded his persecuted potentially wavering readers, that as believers they had
“come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to myriads of angels…and to Jesus, the Mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood, which speaks better than the blood of Abel.” (Heb 12:22, 23, 24–note)
1 Peter 1:14 As obedient children, do not be conformed to the former lusts which were yours in your ignorance,
NLT: Obey God because you are His children. Don’t slip back into your old ways of doing evil; you didn’t know any better then.
Phillips: Live as obedient children before God. Don’t let your character be molded by the desires of your ignorant days
Wuest: as children of obedience not assuming an outward expression which would not be true of your inner life, an expression patterned after that which you formerly had in the ignorance of your passionate desires,
As (hos) could be rendered “inasmuch as you are” or “because” (because you are children of obedience). The point is that by virtue of the new spiritual birth the reader had experienced, they now possessed the innate ability and the inner impulse to obey the demand of God’s call to live holy lives.
Note that the Greek of “obedient children” is more literally “as children of obedience” which is a “Hebraism” or Hebraic manner of portraying something and which means simply “persons whose characteristic is obedience,” like “sons of light,” “sons of day”, “sons of the resurrection,” “sons of thunder”, etc. The OT phrase describes “sons of belial” (eg Jdg 19:22 literally, “sons of worthlessness”), a phrase that parallels “children of disobedience” (click). Believers are not children because we obey, but we obey because we are His children!
Beloved, are you obeying? If not why do you wonder that God feels far away? As our Abba, our Daddy, God the Father desires and demands our Spirit empowered obedience.
1 Peter 1:22 Since you have in obedience to the truth purified your souls for a sincere love of the brethren, fervently love one another from the heart.
When we obey the truth, it purifies our hearts and souls and enables us to fervently love one another. Obedience is the key to fervent love.
Truth has a purifying and separating power, removing all obstacles to the exercise of brotherly love, such as selfishness, obstinacy, self-sufficiency, men-pleasing, ambition, flattery, in fact, all manifestations of egotism. Because true believers are the children of God, 1Pe 1:3, 14, 17, they should act as brethren one to another. This is one of the principal commandments of Christ Himself, and consequently one of the main ends of holiness.
Since you have -Peter appeals to the genuineness of his readers’ conversions, a radical change they were well aware of. One of the radical changes of this new birth is that it brings is love for our brethren. You do have love for your Christian brethren don’t you? Remember that Christianity forged a radical relationship in Christ wherein believing Greeks and Jews, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarians, Scythians, slaves and freemen, men and women were now all one in their Lord (cp Gal 3:28, Col 3:11–note, Ep 4:3–note). Such a diverse cultural community would have continual need for emphasis on love of the brethren.
As Christians we have become brothers and sisters in the community of faith and Paul refers to them as brothers (sisters is clearly implied) some nineteen times in his first letter to the Thessalonians (and most of these believers had been rank idol worshippers so for a Jew to call them brothers requires a supernatural work). Our love is not just a passive disposition of fondness but manifests itself in overt acts of kindness toward the brethren.
Love for the brethren is an evidence that we truly have been born of God, as John explains in his first epistle…
Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. 8 The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love. 9 By this the love of God was manifested in us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world so that we might live through Him. 10 In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. 11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12 No one has beheld God at any time; if we love one another, God abides in us, and His love is perfected in us. (1Jn 4:7-21).
THE NEW STANDARD FOR CHRISTIANITY ARISING FROM OBEDIENCE TO THE TRUTH AND OUR NEW BIRTH: FERVENTLY LOVE ONE ANOTHER FROM THE HEART.
LET US COMMITMENT OURSELVES TO LISTEN AND FOLLOW THE VOICE OF THE LORD AND OBEY IT NO MATTER WHAT THE CIRCUMSTANCE, PROBLEM OR OBSTACLE. OUR FAITH, OUR REWARDS, OUR RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD AND THE BLESSINGS AND FAVOR OF GOD MANIFESTED IN OUR LIVES DEPENDS ON IT.