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The Requirements of Obedience

In Touch / Charles Stanley
The Truth Network Radio
December 30, 2022 12:00 am

The Requirements of Obedience

In Touch / Charles Stanley

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December 30, 2022 12:00 am

Discover the freedom that comes from putting aside rebellion and living in obedience to God.

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Welcome to the In Touch Podcast with Charles Stanley for Friday, December thirtieth. Refusing to do what God says is rebellion. Today, we wrap up the series on God's guidance with a reminder of the importance of doing exactly what He says, when He says, do it. All of us need guidance in our life, no matter who we are. Guidance, for example, in whatever our calling may be, whatever our work may be. Guidance in our family and our relationships in the family. Guidance in our finances. And certainly guidance in our health. Guidance in our relationships with other people.

And certainly guidance in our relationship to God. I wonder who's giving you guidance today. There are a lot of strange voices out there clamoring for your attention. Who are you listening to? Who's guiding you?

Who's making the suggestions? Who wants to influence and impact your life? And if you follow those voices, where will it lead you? Well, the Heavenly Father's promised to guide us. And if we're wise, we'll listen to His guidance.

If we're unwise, we won't. There are many people who miss God's best, miss His plan for their life, because they're unwilling to listen or to trust, and unwilling to obey. I pray in Jesus' name that as you listen to this message, you will look at your life and ask yourself the question, Who's guiding me? Is this myself?

Is this a strange voice of the world? Who's really guiding me? And I want you to turn, if you will, to one simple passage of Scripture. And I want you to look, if you will, at Psalm thirty-two.

We've read this before. God says, I will instruct you and teach you in the way in which you should go. I will counsel you or guide you with My eye upon you.

The second one is Proverbs three, five and six. Listen to what He says, Trust in the Lord with all your heart. Do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your path straight. Do not be wise in your own eyes. Fear the Lord, turn away from evil.

It will be healing to your body and refreshment to your bones. So, when I think about this and think about how God does work in our lives and how He speaks to us. He speaks to us throughout the Word of God, throughout His servants, He was always speaking and giving them guidance. There's not a time in our life when we don't need guidance.

And think about this. If you have small children, you need to teach them very, very early in life to listen to Almighty God. And parents, the only way they're going to do that is when you learn to listen and you teach them how to pray and how to listen to God, because they need desperately to know how to listen to Him. Now, there are three requirements if I'm going to follow the Lord. I must listen to Him, I must trust Him, and I must obey Him. So, somebody says, well, okay, I know what obeying my parents means, what does it mean to obey God?

Some will give you a very simple definition, simple as it can be, but it is absolutely the truth. How do you define obedience before God? It is doing what God says to do, how He says do it, and when He says do it. That absolutely encompasses all of obedience.

If you do what God says do, to do it the way He says do it, and to do it when He says do it, all three of those are important. If you don't do what He says and you don't do it, for example, the way He wants it done, and you just do it any way you want at any time, that's what you call disobedience. But disobedience is a pretty good word, but let me tell you what that really means. If I do not do what He says do, the way He says do it, and when He says do it, I am rebelling against Almighty God. Disobedience is a pretty good word. Rebellion has more weight to it. In other words, rebellion says I am purposely, willingly doing what I want to do when I want to do it, how I want to do it, in spite of what God may say, which says I am saying to Him, I am doing what I want to do, and I reject your sovereignty over my life. I reject your control over my life. I'm rejecting, for example, what you want to do for what I want to do.

And so, people like to excuse it and call it all kind of things. Well, I made a mistake. No, you rebelled against God. I'm not saying you never make mistakes, but to deliberately And so, if I refuse Him, then I choose to live in rebellion rather than being led by the Son of God. And so, I'm going to allow you to deliberately know what to do and you don't do what He says, how He says it, and when He says do it, is rebellion against God. And so, either I'm going to allow the sovereign God of the world to go through this battle and I'm going to ask you to live in rebellion rather than being led by a God who loves me and knows me perfectly.

Life at its best is a life lived in obedience to Almighty God because He knows what's best. He created you. Having created you, He knows exactly how you think. Your personalities, your gifts, and all the rest. Your weaknesses, your frailties, your strengths.

That's the best. It's the best that a sovereign, all-loving God can possibly do. So, for me to turn my back on Him is to rebel against truth, rebel against the best that God could possibly provide for me. So, in thinking about that, there's certain requirements that God has for us if we're going to live an obedient life. So, these are the ones I want you to jot down, and I hope you will.

But I want to go back to the whole idea, and I want to get it deep in your heart. Disobedience is rebelling against Almighty God. God's desire is that we do what He says do, how He says do it, when He says do it.

You can't leave out any of those and have a life of obedience. So, the question is, what does it require of us to be obedient to God and to walk in His ways? Well, the first one is as simple as this, and that is that God requires of us to meditate upon His Word.

Now, listen to this carefully. You say, well, what do you mean meditate upon His Word? Listen to the hundred and nineteenth Psalm and the hundred and fifth verse. Listen to this simple verse, but it's so absolutely important. The Scripture says, Your Word, the Word of God, is a lamp to my feet.

Because sometimes we have to walk in darkness. And the light to my path, that is, God will guide us. Here's what I want you to remember. Meditating upon His Word, that is, reading it, thinking about it, asking questions, asking God to speak, what do you mean by this?

How do you apply this to me? That's what meditation's all about. If you do not meditate upon the Word of God and at your house the Word of God is closed until the next Sunday, you're not going to live a life of obedience to God.

This is a wicked, vile, ever-changing, threatening world. And what happens is when you and I meditate upon God's Word, we read a portion of it every day, it keeps me in touch. It keeps me in contact.

Now, I don't have to do that to live a life of obedience for a season, but I'm guaranteeing you, people drift away from God when they neglect the Word of God. The Word of God is, He says, it's a lamp to my feet. It's a light to my path. So, I'm walking this path, and there are times it's very dark.

There are holes in it. There are places I can trip and fall, fall off the cliff, whatever it might be. The Word of God is my light. It shows me the truth. It shows me the path.

And when I step off the path, the light is there to show me where I should be walking. When you close the book, you are shutting God out. You're saying, I can make it this week without Him.

No, you can't. So, if you're going to obey God, you've got to keep the compass with you. You've got to keep God's book, God's Word, close to your heart, and you need it every day. I want God to speak to me. So, first requirement, if you are going to follow God's leadership, it's the Word of God in your life. Secondly, is simply this, and that is, I've got to be sensitive to the Holy Spirit. Now, let me define for you what that means.

A lot of people know what that means. But you remember when you were saved, the Holy Spirit of God is the one who convicted you of sin, helped you understand the truth. Now the Holy Spirit dwells in you. Every single believer is indwelt by the Holy Spirit, the third person of the Trinity, God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit, and is there to give us guidance and direction.

Listen to what Jesus said. He said in the sixteenth chapter of John, when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, which He came at Pentecost, He will guide you into all the truth, for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak, and He will disclose to you what is to come. You and I have the awesome, awesome gift of the Holy Spirit to give us guidance in our life. And so, when you and I are reading the Word of God, we have the Holy Spirit to help us interpret it correctly. When we are living out our life at work or whatever it might be, we have the Holy Spirit to bring to our mind, to remind us of things we ought to be reminded of, to convict us of sin, for example, convict us of a wrong word, a wrong attitude, a wrong look. And so, we live an obedient life because we have these two awesome elements to help us.

The Word of God and the Spirit of God, who will interpret it for us and enable us. It's the indwelling Holy Spirit who enables us to live a godly life. We can't do it in our own strength.

We're all weak. And so, He's given us the Spirit of God to enable us to be what He wants us to be. A third thing is this, and that is, you must walk according to God's timing in your life. And be sensitive to God's timing in your life. And I think about a passage in Isaiah chapter sixty-four and one of my favorite verses, verse four. Listen to the latter part of that. He says, God acts in behalf of the one who waits for Him.

Now, watch this. This is why listening to the Word and listening to the Spirit of God, He will over a period of time train you to listen carefully and know what He wants you to do. And so, we have this awesome promise.

And the promise is for our benefit. And that is, timing with God is very important. And for example, if you were a pilot, you know how absolutely important timing is.

Not minutes, but seconds. And in the Christian's life, if I get ahead of God, I'm going to miss Him. If I lay behind, I'm going to miss it. If I want the will of God and I want best, what's best for my life, I'm going to do what He says, how He says, and when He says, do it. Many people mess up their lives by getting ahead of God. Well, I've just got to be married, so I've got to have it now. Or, I've just got to have this now.

I've got to have that now. And so, their timing is totally different from God's timing. Watch this. Since God is omniscient, that He knows every single thing about everybody, He knows what is best for us in all situations and circumstances, we don't have to worry about God making a mistake. So, if God says, don't do that. When you ignore a don't from God, you're in trouble. And when God says, this is the way I want you to walk, then you walk that way. And as I look at this passage of Scripture, trust in the Lord God with all your heart.

Lean not to your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, He'll direct your path. And He directs the timing of it. Living according to God's timing, you say, well, how am I going to know about what the timing?

We've just talked about it. You have within you the timer. And you have to do what? You have to do what? You have to do what? You have to do what? You have to do what?

The Holy Spirit who will show you when to do what. And this morning I was just praying about something totally different, it's like God just stopped me right in the middle of it and said, here's what I want you to do. Not today, but later. Here's what I want you to do. So crystal clear that I stopped thinking about what else I was going to do, and I'm going to do what I want you to do. And I'm going to do what I want you to do. And I'm going to do what I want you to do.

Yes, He will if you will be wise enough to listen to Him. If you're going to follow Him, then you must be willing to walk according to His timing. Another thing is this, you may be forced to walk where the way is not very clear. That is, it's not always as clear as we'd like for it to be. It's not always as clear as we'd like for it to be.

It's not always as clear as we'd like for it to be. Trust in the Lord with all your heart. Trust Him with all your heart.

Don't figure it out. Don't lean to your own understanding in all your ways, not some of them. Acknowledge Him, obey Him, trust Him, and He'll make your path straight, not crooked, but straight.

You save time and energy and oftentimes finances, walking His path straight. Because sometimes God won't require you to do something that doesn't quite make sense at the time. And I remember when the Lord called me from my previous church to this one.

I'd only been there eleven months. And God made it so crystal clear that I could never, never, never once doubt it, but it didn't make any human sense. The way He showed me what to do was absolutely unforgettable.

It's like a benchmark in my life. God knew exactly what He was doing and He knew the timing was right. Listen, God doesn't make any mistakes. When He says, do something, remember who's doing the talking. The sovereign God of the universe is doing the talking. And you can trust Him. So, if I'm going to follow Him, do what He says, how He says it, when He says it, then I must remember, oh, so they're going to be those times when the way may not be clear at first.

So, think about this. He's really made it simple. He says, I will guide you with my eye upon you. That is, we have an Almighty God who is committed to guiding us. Once you trust Him as your Savior, He assumes responsibility for giving you guidance in every area of your life. He has sealed you of the Holy Spirit who is living within you to give you guidance and direction. And so, what does He require? Really simple. He requires that you now listen to Him, that we trust Him, and that we obey Him.

That's it. The problem is somebody says, well, I'm not sure about this listening. Do you want to learn to listen? Then listen. You want to learn to listen to God?

It's when you say, get in the Word of God and begin to meditate upon the Word of God. He will speak to you. And when you listen to Him and trust Him and obey Him, you're going to find yourself growing in your Christian life, becoming stronger and stronger, more and more confident, more assured, and more and more able to recognize the presence of God in your life and in your relationships than ever before.

So, when I think about what God promised, He promised to guide us, we don't have to worry about whether He will or not. The issue is, what's my responsibility? So, what is our responsibility? Number one, to listen to Him. Secondly, trust Him. And thirdly, obey Him. That's it. And you know what?

If somebody had taught you that when you were about ten years of age, wonder where you'd be. Here's the three things you need to do. You need to listen to Him. You need to trust Him and you need to obey Him.

Now, anyone who will reject that is playing the fool. This is God's love. What I want you to do is just listen to me. And I want you to trust me and obey me and watch what I do. Listen, you cannot fail. You cannot fail obeying God. You cannot fail listening and trusting Him, following His leadership in your life. You can't fail. And so, we ended up with one simple statement. My responsibility is to obey God, leave all the consequences to Him.

Now, watch this. You can obey somebody else, but whether you can leave the consequences for them is something else. The only person about whom we can say that is Almighty God, because He's in control of all the consequences.

Obey God, leave all the consequences to Him. Let me ask you a question. Is there anything He can't handle? No. Anything He doesn't know? No. Anything He won't provide?

No. So, what do we do? We obey Him and leave all the consequences to Him and watch God work. Thank you for listening to The Requirements of Obedience. If you'd like to know more about Charles Stanley or In Touch Ministries, stop by, InTouch.org. This podcast is a presentation of In Touch Ministries, Atlanta, Georgia.
Whisper: medium.en / 2022-12-30 19:09:56 / 2022-12-30 19:19:29 / 10

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