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The Obedient Christian
he moment you placed your faith in the Lord Jesus Christ as your Savior, a life of obedience to God became a real possibility. You've begun a life, a walk, with Christ; but, many don't finish it. It's not where you begin this walk or life that counts, but it's where you end it. Many run the race, but they don't finish the race. Paul said it's the one who finishes who gets the wreath, the crown, the prize. Through Christ's atoning death, the penalty of our sins has been removed, being placed upon him as he became the sin offering for us upon the cross. Our sins were forgiven when we placed our faith in the completed work of Calvary, in his atoning work, in his substitutionary work of salvation. And now the Holy Spirit has been sent to us to convict us of sin, to bring us to repentance, to bring us to that born-again experience of being born of the spirit of God; and, then, to indwell within our lives and give us the power to overcome and walk in the victory of the cross. And, also that the power of sin in our lives might be broken. Jesus has set us free. He came to destroy the works of Satan in our lives, it says. 2 Cor.3:17, "Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty." We have been set free from the bondage of sin and of death, the result of sin which is death, that we might walk an overcoming life in Christ Jesus and be victorious over all the powers of hell. We even did a series on it called, Reigning as Kings in This Life, kings and priests unto our God, walking in the victory and the provision of the cross. And we know what that means. We are not kings over earthly things; but we reign over the powers of hell that they don't control us any more. They do not control our lives nor have power over us. We're not under their control or authority. Jesus has given us authority over them. He said I give unto you power and authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and nothing shall by any means harm you, Luke 10:19. So that is the difference.
Romans 8:2, "For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death." Before you came to Christ, you were under a different law, weren't you? You were under sin, you were in bondage to sin. The scripture goes on to say in verse (V.3-8), "For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded is death: but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God." Now, there is a different law operating in your life. Before, you were under this law of sin and death because sin brings forth death. Man sins when he is drawn aside of his own lust and he is tempted. And lust, when it is finished, brings forth sin and the end result of sin is death. That is the rule that James told us about. But when we came to Christ, we came to a freedom and a spirit that is something different in Christ. The Bible says whosoever the son has set free, shall be free indeed. Free - free from sin, free from the bondage of sin, free from the power of sin in their life and the control of sin in their life. They've been freed, brought to a liberty, that liberty of Christ.
Romans 6:22, "But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life." Now the fruit is holiness and the end of living a holy life here is eternal life or everlasting life. Again, to put it into the words of John, Romans 6:23, "For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord." So we've been made free from sin. Why? See, before we were servants of sin. We were under that law of sin and death; we were the servants of sin. But he made us free that now we might be servants of righteousness. For every man serves a master. Every man is in one kingdom or another, the kingdom of God or the kingdom of Satan. Every man is serving one master and, no one, Jesus says, no man can serve two masters. You love the one, and hate the other; or you cling to the one, and despise the other. No man can serve two masters at the same time. Which master do we serve? You see, a lot of people don't think they serve anybody. They just serve themselves, but they don't understand. If they are serving themselves, they are in Satan's kingdom. There's a kingdom of obedience and a kingdom of rebellion. If you're not in a kingdom that obeys Christ and obeys his word and walks in obedience to his word, you're in the kingdom that rebels against the word of God, the kingdom of rebellion. So what are you obeying? You're obeying rebellion. You're not obeying truth. So you are obeying, you are a servant. You are either a servant of righteousness or a servant of sin. You're either obeying the one or obeying the other. Hallelujah! It makes no difference.
So, we're talking about the basis for obedience. For us to properly consider obedience to God, it is necessary that we first start with a foundation of who God is and what are his desires for us. Then you can say, "Oh, that's why he deserves our obedience". Let's first look at something about God and his designs for us.
POINT 1: 1 John 4:8, "He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love." Now we get the revelation that God is love. It's his very nature and character; it's a part of who he is, of what he is. God IS love. This is him, a revelation of him, one of the things he is. In one place, Hebrews says, God is a consuming fire; that's something else God is, but, to his enemies. But here it says, God is love. And yet so many think of him as a mean God that is so cruel and harsh. But he's love. If you have a concept of God that is unworthy of him, it is idolatry. If you see God as a mean old ogre up in the sky, just waiting to knock you up the side of your head, making you walk a tightrope - just one little mistake, going to throw you into hell - that's idolatry. It's the wrong concept of God. But, if you think of God as someone who will just turn his back and wink at sin and let you get by with knowing, willful sin, that is also an idolatrous concept of God.
Jer.31:3, "The Lord hath appeared of old unto me, saying, Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee." So in God's lovingkindness, he has brought us to himself that he can love us and show us his love for all eternity. Now, think of that in light of John Bunyan's vision of heaven, in that it's just a part. But God says that he wants to show us and shower his love upon us for all eternity. That's why he's revealed himself to us and brought us to himself, that he can show us his love for all eternity. Now here for a while on this earth, we go through things and it's hard to understand his love sometimes. In his love, he has to take us to the woodshed and spank our little bottoms when we do wrong. But, it's out of his love because he is trying to bring us to an eternal reward in heaven and trying to keep us from sin and deliver us so that we don't end up in hell. It is his love being expressed! But, thank God, one day we're going to know that love and see it in a way that today we can never understand or even dream. He wants to give us an everlasting love, show that love and his kindness to us for eternity. Hallelujah. John 3:16 is a verse everybody knows and can quote, but yet, we take it for granted. We don't really think about it, that love of God, that God is love, that he so loved us. That's the extent of his love, that he loved this human race, mankind, that he gave his only begotten son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. Whoever would believe, believe in Christ. And the Bible tells us what it is to believe. To believe is to obey. Believing is an act of faith; it does something; faith acts. And to truly believe is to obey. And God compares those as one and the same. He calls disobedience as unbelief; because we do not really believe him. For if we believed, we would obey.
Romans 5:8, "But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us." That's his love - his love! That when we didn't love him, didn't want anything to do with him, he gave his life. Look at the Jewish nation: he gave them the gospel. Christ came through the lineage of the Jews; they were his own people; he came for them. And, yet, John 1:11 says he came to his own and his own received him not. They didn't want him! So, to whoever wants him, would accept him or receive him, that as many as received him to them gave he the power, the authority, to become sons of God unto these that believe upon his name. Ephesians 2:4-5, "But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved." Such a love! He sought us out; we didn't seek him out. Such is the heart of God.
So now you know, when you understand this and know the real heart of man, that Christianity and the Bible teaches us that God is seeking man and that this is a revelation of God to man; and that he came to us and drew us to himself and is trying to do that because we do not seek him. Now you can easily understand what religion is all about. God says men do not seek him. We didn't seek him. There's none righteous, no not one. Religion is man. It's man's thing, man's ideal, man's way to justify himself - to be worthy of eternal life - to earn his own salvation through works, church membership, and a hundred other things. But it's always been this way. When Adam sinned, he hid from God. God sought him out: Adam where art thou? Anything contrary to that is dead religion. It's religion when man is seeking God. It's nothing but religion. Jesus said we have to be drawn to him. He said that no man can come to me unless the Father draw him (John 6:44). Unless we are drawn to him, he said, no man can come to me. So it's men who are supposedly religious on their own, we know it's not God, don't we. They don't walk with him. Jesus said that they have to be drawn to me. And, yet, you see all kinds of religions that don't even believe in Christ or accept him, so what are they? It's something of man. It has nothing to do with God because they have nothing to do with Christ! It's obvious! By Jesus's own words in John 8:44: "For if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins." Believe not what? That He is the Messiah, the redeemer of mankind, the one who would die for our sins. But they were not only not seeking him, they didn't even believe in him. That's religion. Religion's got a substitute for God seeking man and drawing us to himself and then us coming into obedience to him. Their substitute is man doing his own thing his own way.
Remember Cain and Abel? Abel was the Godly one. He came God's way, he obeyed God, he had a right heart, a pure heart. He came God's way and offered the blood sacrifice. Cain didn't! He was religious. He's your religious man. He did it his own way and came on his own terms. He tried to offer God a sacrifice of vegetables. How can an inanimate, dead thing, atone for sin? God told us that blood had to be shed. There is no other way to cleansing for sins. Cain hated his brother Abel because of his righteousness and obedience to God, and because God accepted Abel's sacrifice, while rejecting his own. Even after God warned him, saying sin is crouching at the door of your heart, but you must master it. It's desire is for you, but you must master it. He didn't do it. He still went out after being warned of God and killed Abel. After God rejected his sacrifice, he said in Genesis 4:7; "If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted?" Will I not accept you, too? God is no respector of persons. He was telling him: I accepted your brother's sacrifice because he's done what is right - his heart is right. If you do what is right, I'll accept you, too. But, he didn't do what was right. Instead, he killed his brother for doing what was right. That's religion. That's what they have been doing ever since. That's what the Jews did; they killed the prophets; and they killed Jesus. That's what they are still doing to this day. Religion hates God and God's way! They want to do it their way. And because God says no, they are willing to kill God's people to have their religion. The day they can't kill you physically, they'll just kill you with their mouth. They hate you in their heart. Jesus said so: If you are of the world, the world would love you. Because you are not of the world, they are going to hate you. He said if they did it to me, they are going to do it to you. They are not going to obey God. They are not going to walk in obedience to him. Why? They don't belong to him. That's what he told the Pharisee's, the most religious people on the face of the earth. They were very religious, outwardly very righteous. They memorized the Penatud, fasted weeks every month, did all kinds of religious things, ceremonial washings, cleansings, and sacrifices. And Jesus said, you are of your father, the devil. His works you will do because you belong to him. And that's religion. They will do that which is religious and their law. Look at them: because they will reject the truth, they will reject Jesus because they do not want the truth. Jesus even told some of them because they've got the word of God, they study it. He said, Search the scriptures, go ahead keep on, searching the scriptures, you know them. There are they which testify of me. But you will not come to me that you will have life (John 5:39-40). That's religion! That's just religion! What was the problem? They trusted in their knowledge of the scriptures for eternal life. "For in them ye think ye have eternal life." Based on their head knowledge of God's Word. But that is not enought. It's not head knowledge, but heart knowledge that counts.
That's the difference between religioin and the life of Jesus Christ - what we call Christianity. It's a big difference. And most of the world doesn't know that difference. Most who call themselves Christians don't even know it. They don't know the truth; they don't love the truth. They love something that pleases their flesh; they love something that allows them to live the way they want to live - something that they are happy with, contented with. Our sister told us that before she met us and came to the truth, while they were going to these other harlot churches, they went for a while to this harlot "Oasis of Love" church on the other side of town. And while going there, she invited her father, who is a real devil, a warlock. He hates Christ; he considers himself Jesus; he's the savior of his family; he's god. He does witchcraft. Oh, he went to that church. He not only went to the church, not only hugged the pastor, but was baptized by the pastor. He hates Christ! I gave him the gospel. I tried to tell him about Jesus. He didn't want it. He said, I don't believe that. That ain't God. I'm the savior of my family. But he liked that church, he liked that church! He was baptized by the pastor, went up there and hugged him. He's full of devils! He sells drugs, breaks every law in the book, lives like a dog. He hates God! Yes, and the pastor loved him, too. All they care about is that you go up there and go along with them and give them some money and play their game. Do you understand? That's religion! The pastor and his flock; he's leading them all to hell. When the blind lead the blind, they all fall in the ditch, the pit - and it's hell (Matt.15:14). I'm not judging nor condemning any man; God's word will do so. He said this word will judge you in the last day. And we've got to stand for this word. God told us in His word, you stand and preach the truth. You contend for the faith, once delivered to the saints (Jude 3). In authority, you rebuke and speak against all wickedness and all evil. Paul himself even named people who withstood them in the gospel and were their enemies. Think about it! And you say, Oh, look at this wickedness, and dare to stand up and say something and mention their name! Paul did it! It's written in the Bible; everybody gets to see it. 2000 years those people have been in the grave, but their names are still here. They are enemies of the gospel. And those who went back into sin and loved the world more than they loved God, their names are here in the Bible.
1 John 3:1-9, "Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not. What manner of love he hath bestowed upon us. We are still talking about that as the basis of obedience and the love of God. We are looking at these scriptures on his love for us. You see, what the harlot churches have forgotten are the next couple of verses, "Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure. " You're purifying your life; you're getting it ready to meet Jesus. For "Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law. And ye know that he was manifested to take away our sins; and in him is no sin. Whosoever abideth in him sinneth not: whosoever sinneth hath not seen him, neither known him. Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous. He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil. Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God." So much for all the garbage and religiosity about being acceptable to God because you go to church, and that it is going to save you and get you to heaven. But yet I've had it. I've had people in all kind of sin and wickedness and bondage setting there telling me "My pastor told me as long as I come to church and put some money in the offering that I was going to heaven". Oh, really?! Now they are going to buy God . And that's what they are doing in a lot of churches - buying God, or so they think or presume.
But, back to the basis for obedience. In the first point, we spoke of God's love. That's the first reason that we owe him obedience, because of his great love for us and how he has manifested that love in giving us Jesus; Jesus coming to die on the cross for us, and drawing us and giving us his Holy Spirit.
Point 2: He is God, therefor He is worthy. He deserves our obedience because he is God, and he is worthy because he created us. He is not only God, he is the God who created us and gave us life. He gave men life. Why does he deserve your obedience? Is this a good enough reason? He not only created you and gave you life, but, then, he gave his life to redeem you from sin. That's a pretty good reason. Isaiah 44:6, "Thus saith the Lord the King of Israel, and his redeemer the Lord of Hosts; I am the first, and I am the last; and beside me there is no God." All the others, the Bible says, are just idols. All other gods, little "g", are just idols. He alone is God. Religion serves false gods. The religious serve false gods. Alla, Muhammad, all this other junk - idolatry, idolatry. Mary Worship - false gods - idolatry. Isaiah 45:18, "For thus saith the Lord that created the heavens; God himself that formed the earth and made it; he hath established it, he created it not in vain, he formed it to be inhabited: I am the Lord; and there is none else."
Isaiah 45:12-13, "I have made the earth, and created man upon it: I, even my hands, have stretched out the heavens, and all their host have I commanded." God spoke, the scripture says, and the world stood. He spoke, Jesus did, and the world stood fast. "I have raised him up in righteousness, and I will direct all his ways: he shall build my city, and he shall let go my captives, not for price nor reward, saith the Lord of hosts." Jesus said I will build my church and the gates of hell will not prevail against it. I will build my church! In the old testament, many times, it uses the word city - symbolic or as a type-and-shadow of the church. Same thing. I will build my church and the gates of hell will not prevail against it. And that's what this is referring to. Not for price - you can't buy it, and God didn't intend for ministers to make merchandise of you and "sell" His salvation and the gifts of the Spirit, but many are pretending to do so. It's like the money changers that Jesus ran out of the temple with a whip. He told them they had make the house of God into a den of thieves (Mt.21:13).
Revelation 4:2-11, "And immediately I was in the spirit: and, behold, a throne was set in heaven, and one sat on the throne. And he that sat was to look upon like a jasper and a sardine stone: and there was a rainbow round about the throne, in sight like unto an emerald." See these things are symbolic. "And round about the throne were four and twenty seats: and there was a rainbow round about the throne, in sight like unto an emerald. And round about the throne were four and twenty seats: and upon the seats I saw four and twenty elders sitting, clothed in white raiment; and they had on their heads crowns of gold. And out of the throne proceeded lightnings and thunderings and voices: and there were seven lamps of fire burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of God. And before the throne there was a sea of glass like unto crystal: and in the midst of the throne, and round about the throne, were four beasts full of eyes before and behind. And the first beast was like a lion, and the second beast like a calf, and the third beast had a face as a man, and the fourth beast was like a flying eagle. And the four beasts had each of them six wings about him; and they were full of eyes within: and they rest not day and night, saying Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come. And when those beasts give glory and honour and thanks to him that sat on the throne, who liveth for ever and ever, The four and twenty elders fall down before him that sat on the throne, and worship him that liveth for ever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne, saying, Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.. . . ." We sing that in a song. So he is worthy; he has created us for his own pleasure. This is the reason why he deserves our worship! He gave us our life and then he bought us with his own blood! He purchased us back from Satan! Oh, halleujah! Revelation 5:12, "Saying with a loud voice, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing." He is worthy. Revelation 5:6-13, "And I beheld, and, lo, in the midst of the throne and of the four beasts, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes," Now this is symbolic, this is Jesus it's talking about. And what is Jesus like? He has a body, a glorified body like a man. This is what I'm talking about. Don't take all of this as literal. "which are the seven Spirits of God sent forth into all the earth. And he came and took the book . . . " The four beasts said amen and the four and twenty elders fell down and worshipped him that liveth for ever and ever. He's worthy; he's worthy. He created us, he redeemed us, he's loved us, he's given us his life, and he desires to give us eternal glory and an eternal life in his presence.
Point 3: Should these facts about God's love for us and worthiness, because of having created us and given himself for us, affect our obedience to God? Should these facts, that we have just been looking at, affect our obedience to God? Look at Deuteronomy 10:12-13, " And now, Israel, what doth the Lord thy God require of thee, but to fear the Lord thy God, to walk in all his ways, and to love him, and to serve the Lord thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul, To keep the commandments of the Lord, and his statutes, which I command thee this day for thy good?" It's for your own good. Everything that God requests of us, commands of us, it's for our own good. God doesn't do any thing just because he wants to be mean - just to give us a hard time - to oppress us. In fact, we have learned that it is the opposite. The devil oppresses; the devil beats you down. Jesus does something different. He said come unto me and I'll give you rest (Matt. 11:28-30). If you are oppressed, I'll give you rest. He came to set the oppressed free. So God tells us here this is what he requires of us: fear the Lord thy God, walk in his ways, love him, serve him, with all your heart and all your soul. What's your soul? You're supposed to love God with all your soul: your mind, your will, your intellect, your emotions, your feelings. We're supposed to keep his commandments and his statutes. Why? For our own good, for our own good. Praise God!
Do these same requirements still apply to us today? And people say we don't need the Old Testament; it's a stale loaf of bread. Well, I want the whole loaf. They can have half a loaf; I'll take the whole loaf. Luke 1:50, "And his mercy is on them that fear him from generation to generation." Oh, one of the things is that we fear him. His mercy is upon them that fear him. Romans 8:1, "There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit." No condemnation! Colossians1:9-10, "..and to desire that ye might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God;" He goes on to say more, "Strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power, unto all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness." Walk worthy with the Lord unto all pleasing. God still requires that we walk worthy of him and do that which is pleasing to him. He requires that we walk not after the flesh (Romans 8), but after the Spirit. Oh, God still requires the same kind of things that he did in Deuteronomy 10! Matthew 22:37-40, "Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind." This sounds similar to Deut. 10, doesn't it? "This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets." Here Jesus is speaking to one of the Pharisees. Simply put in another place, Jesus said love is a fulfilling of the law. Why? You can take all the ten commandments which are broken down into two parts: those that have to do with man's relationship with God and those that have to do with man's relationship with man. And it's real simple: if you love God, you won't break any of those commandments that have to do with relationship with him. And if you love your neighbour, you won't break any of those commandments having to do with your neighbour. Colossians 3:24, "Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ." Oh, Sister thought she worked for Amoco! Not really, do you? You know better don't you? We serve him. The bible tells us to do everything unto the Lord. Don't work as pleasing men - don't be men pleasers. You serve them as Christ. Do it as unto him; for from him you receive the reward. The inheritance. It's of him! Colossians 3:22-23, "Servants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh; not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but in singleness of heart, fearing God: And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men." Whatever job you are doing wherever you are, do it unto the Lord, do everything unto Christ. For him, for you are his servant, not man's servant.
It just happens that in God's word, he ordered that if man doesn't work, he doesn't eat. That's new testament. It is ordained that if a man will not work, he should not eat (2 Thess.3:10). No work, no eat. Real simple! If a lazy bum wants to sit on his buns, well, okay. That's what you will get to eat. You will get to eat the fruit of laziness, of slothfulness. Hebrews 9:14, "How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?" To serve the living God? A while ago we said we serve the Lord Christ. See all these scriptures now? Think about that! Does God require us to still walk holy before him, to obey his commandments, to love him with all our heart and mind? Remember, we are seeing if the new testament is still saying the same thing as the old testament. My Bible says, I am the Lord, I change not (Malachi 3:6). My Bible says, his word is eternally settled in heaven (Psalms 119:89). My Bible says in the new testament, Jesus Christ didn't come to do away with the law with the old testament, but, he came to fulfill it (Matthew 5:17). So, we are showing you that actually God has never changed! And the old testament says the same thing as the new; there is really no difference! John 14:15-17, "If ye love me, keep my commandments. And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you." You get something better when you keep his commandments! Notice that? Keep my commandments, then, he said, I will send you this Comforter, the Spirit of truth. Acts told us that. He gives his Holy Spirit to those who obey him. Right? Same thing as in Acts, just different words. Deuteronomy 10:13 said that he commanded those things for us to keep his commandments for what reason? For what reason did he ask us to keep his commandments? For our own good! Now, let's look at Deuteronomy 11:8-9, "Therefore shall ye keep all the commandments which I command you this day, that ye may be strong, and go in and possess the land, whither ye go to possess it" That we might be strong and that we might possess the land, that we might walk in the provision and in the victory of Christ. Deuteronomy 11: 13-17, "And it shall come to pass, if he shall hearken diligently unto my commandments which I command you this day, to love the Lord your God, and to serve him with all your heart and with all your soul . That I will give you the rain of your land in his due season, the first rain and the latter rain, that thou mayest gather in thy corn, and thy wine, and thine oil. And I will send grass in thy fields for thy cattle, that thou mayest eat and be full. Take heed to yourselves, that your heart be not deceived, and ye turn aside, and serve other gods, and worship them; And then the Lords wrath be kindled against you, and he shut up the heaven, that there be no rain, and that the land yield not her fruit; and lest ye perish quickly from off the good land which the Lord giveth you." Notice that? He gives it to you, but there is a condition in it. He told us earlier to keep his commandments that we could be strong and possess the land; and he tells us, then, that if we don't keep walking in his commandments, even after he gives us the land, we'll perish! Well, salvation is the same way. We came to God, we came to salvation. As long as we walk now in obedience to his word, we'll walk in that salvation. If we quit walking in the commandments of God, we quit obeying the commandments of God - guess what? - he said you will perish in the way. You're going to lose your salvation! Why? When you sin, your sin separates you from God. That is Isaiah 59:2, "Your sin has separated you from your God that he cannot hear you." He can't hear your prayers or your cries - he will not until you repent of your sin and turn to obedience. Hallelujah.
Ezekiel 3:17-21, "Son of man, I have made thee a watchman unto the house of Israel: therefore hear the word at my mouth, and give them warning from me." God is saying warn all his people about these things. " When I say unto the wicked, Thou shalt surely die; and thou givest him not warning, nor speakest to warn the wicked from his wicked way, to save his life; the same wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thine hand. Yet if thou warn the wicked, and he turn not from his wickedness, nor from his wicked way, he shall die in his iniquity; but thou hast delivered thy soul. Again, When a righteous man doth turn from his righteousness, and commit iniquity, and I lay a stumblingblock before him, he shall die: because thou hast not given him warning, he shall die in his sin, and his righteousness which he hath done shall not be remembered; but his blood will I require at thine hand. Nevertheless if thou warn the righteous man, that the righteous sin not, and he doth not sin, he shall surely live, because he is warned; also thou hast delivered thy soul.." But the key thing is this: If a righteous man turns to sin, whether he is warned or not. For that sin he will die if he stays in that sin. It doesn't matter that he began the walk with God, nor that he turned at one time from sin; if he goes back to it, he is going to die in it. No "once saved, always saved" around here. No greasy grace! It doesn't exist. Ezekiel 33:11-20, "Say unto them, As I live, saith the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live: turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die, O house of Israel? Therefore, thou son of man, say unto the children of my people, The righteousness of the righteous shall not deliver him in the day of his transgression:" That is something extremely important. I want you to understand it. "as for the wickedness of the wicked, he shall not fall thereby in the day that he turneth from his wickedness; neither shall the righteous be able to live for his righteousness in the day that he sinneth. When I shall say to the righteous, that he shall surely live; if he trust to his own righteousness, and commit iniquity " There it is, that sin of presumption, that willful sin when you know better. "all his righteousnesses shall not be remembered; but for his iniquity that he hath committed, he shall die for it. Again, when I say unto the wicked, Thou shalt surely die;" This morning we talked about Nineveh. "if he turn from his sin, and do that which is lawful and right; If the wicked restore the pledge, give again that he had robbed, walk in the statutes of life, without committing iniquity; he shall surely live, he shall not die." Notice there has to be a restitution, a turning from sin, and a correcting of the life. The robber has to quit robbing and the adulterer has to quit committing adultery. Jesus told the lady caught in the act of adultery in John 8:11, "Go, and sin no more". Don't continue in the past, but now go and sin no more. "None of his sins that he hath committed shall be mentioned unto him: he hath done that which is lawful and right; he shall surely live." So God says when the wicked turns from wickedness and starts doing righteous, and if he dies for his righteousness, he'll live. And God says I won't remember his wickedness. But, the righteous man who turns back to wickedness and dies in his sin, God says I won't remember his righteousness, but, for his wickedness, he will die. Where is once saved, always saved? It's not where you begin the walk, it's where you end it. "Yet the children of thy people say, The way of the Lord is not equal:" Saying that God is not just or fair. "but as for them, their way is not equal. When the righteous turneth from his righteousness, and committeth iniquity, he shall even die thereby." See now he is repeating himself again and again even in the same passage. He's establishing this thing. No doubt about it. "But if the wicked turn from his wickedness, and do that which is lawful and right, he shall live thereby. Yet ye say, The way of the Lord is not equal. O ye house of Israel, I will judge you every one after his ways." God has established his word here. It says in the mouth of two or three witnesses let every word be established. When God repeats himself (many times you have to go look somewhere else to get the companion verse), he wants the doctrine established. He wants no doubt or question of this. It is very clear. Praise God.
Point 4: (We're still talking about making some points for the basis of obedience.) The first one was because of God's love and the second was because he is worthy, the third one was how the facts of God's love should affect our obedience. Now the fourth point is: Can we keep God's commandments? Is it possible? Some people say it is too hard and you can't do it. The devil will tell you it is too hard and you can't do it. The way is too narrow! Why try? It's too difficult. Why live that way for nothing? Why make your life miserable? Why deny yourself and do without when it isn't going to do you any good anyway? You are just going to be worse off. It would have been better if you had not tried to learn the truth because now it's just going to make a worse judgment. The more you learn about the truth and then you don't do it, the worse your judgment is going to be - the worse hell you're going to have - so why learn it? Why bother? Why go expose yourself to that and make your own damnation worse? Has somebody heard that nonsense before?! (The Bible says that whatsoever exposes darkness is light. And I'm always trying to expose the devil. Every now and then I have to mimic him so that you understand. I love it because every time I do it somebody recognizes the voice and says, "I've heard that before!". I love it. The point is that you've got to know that it is a lie. He's a liar. Jesus said he's a liar. He's been a liar from the beginning. He always lies. He's the father of all lies. ) 1 John 5:3, "For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous." His commandments are NOT grievous!! Everything he commands is for our own good; not for our harm, but for our own good. His commands are not burdensome. He has an expected end for us: of blessing and not of cursing. If somebody says they love Christ, they love God, they are a Christian and yet they walk in sin - what do you tell them? Balony! If you love him, keep his commandments. John 14:15, "If ye love me, keep my commandments." Oh, I love Jesus. Well, then, why don't you keep his commandments? Verse 21, "He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me:" Notice that? Now he is repeating himself again, like we said awhile ago, here in the same passage. "and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him and will manifest myself to him." So, if somebody tells you that God isn't speaking to them, they don't hear his voice, they don't know what he is wanting them to do, well, that tells you why. They don't really love him and they are not keeping his commandments. Notice the relationship between loving God and obeying him. He that hath my commandments and keepeth them, he it is that loves me. There is a relationship; I told you. To believe is to obey. God says, to disobey means you don't believe Him. If you love him, you keep his commandments. There is a relationship. If you don't keep his commandments, then, obviously you don't love him. So the two go together like the two sides of a coin - heads and tails. There is no coin that has the same side on both sides. You can't have the one without the other. God won't manifest himself to you and love you unless you keep his commandments. You won't get the blessing of obedience unless you obey. That's Deuteronomy 28, "If you love me, hearken unto the voice of the Lord thy God to obey his commandments and all these things I command this day and all these blessings will come upon you. But if you will not diligently hearken unto the voice of the Lord thy God to do and observe all these things which I command you this day, all these curses shall come upon you and overtake you." So, there is a relationship. To love God is to obey him. So, you could put it this way: obedience is the proof of your love, the proof that you love God!!
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