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The School of Obedience - Part 1

In Touch / Charles Stanley
The Truth Network Radio
October 22, 2022 12:00 am

The School of Obedience - Part 1

In Touch / Charles Stanley

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October 22, 2022 12:00 am

Be rewarded with blessings when you trust and obey your heavenly Father.

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Welcome to this weekend's In Touch Podcast with Charles Stanley. Believers in Jesus need the Word of God so we know how to live according to God's design. Here's part one of The Joy of Obedience. And over and over again, He promises us to bless us if we simply obey it. So what I'd like to do is to begin by taking you through some Scriptures just to give you a little idea of His promises when you and I are obedient to Him. Because I want us to learn how to obey God, to make that our lifestyle, and not just something that we do once in a while. And when you and I develop the spirit of obedience and it becomes a way of life for us, then what you're going to discover is a lot of pressure is all gone. Because when you're committed to being obedient to God, there are a lot of decisions that you've wrestled over.

You won't have to wrestle over anymore. You just know that's the way of the Lord. That's the will of God and that's the purpose of God. So I want you to turn, if you will, to Deuteronomy chapter 28 to begin with.

And the title of this message is The School of Obedience. Turn, if you will, to Deuteronomy 28 and look, if you will, beginning in verse one. And we'll read through several of these verses. Turn, if you will, to Isaiah chapter one. First chapter of Isaiah and here Isaiah the prophet is speaking to those who are not believers and listen to what he says. Beginning in verse 18 of this first chapter. He says, Come now and let us reason together, says the Lord. Though your sins are as scarlet, they will be as white as snow.

Though they are red like crimson, they will be like wool. If you consent and obey, you will eat the best of the land. But if you refuse and rebel, you will be devoured by the sword true to the mouth of the Lord who has spoken it. Then if you'll turn to Jeremiah chapter seven, just over one book. You should notice, if you will, in verse twenty-three. Jeremiah seven, verse twenty-three. He says, But this is what I commanded them, saying, Obey my voice, and I will be your God. And you will be my people, and you will walk in all the way which I command you, that it may be well with you. Verse after verse after verse is what? God says, You obey me and I'm going to bless you.

Remember this. It is absolutely impossible to obey God with that blessing because God has chosen to bless obedience. And we as His children, as we learn to walk in His ways and walk in His will, then we're going to be blessed over and over and over again. Somebody says, Well, what is obedience in a way? Obedience is doing God's will, God's way in God's timing. It's doing what God says when He says it and the way He says do it. So when you think in terms of obedience, that's really simple. Doing what God says when He says it.

Doing what He says and how He says do it. And so when we think in terms of obedience and we think in terms of the fact that that's what God requires of us, what I'd like for us to do, I'd like to take a few moments to talk about some principles here that will help you in obedience. For example, obedience isn't something that you and I just know automatically since we trust that Jesus Christ is our Savior. And we know certain things would certainly be obedience to God and certain things would not be. And so therefore, what we want to talk about is how do we learn to obey God, the school of obedience? And I can tell you over these years, I have certainly learned that obeying God is a process.

It isn't something we just automatically know. But one thing I'm also certain, and not only reading the Scriptures and watching how God worked in the lives of individuals in the Scripture, but also of observing how He has worked in the life of people who've obeyed Him and people who've disobeyed Him. And there's a great lesson to learn for all of us in watching obedient people and watching disobedient people. Because when you watch the lives of those who are obedient, you see sometimes suffering and heartache and trouble, but you see blessing after blessing after blessing. When you watch the people who are unbelievers, who do not want to walk in the ways of God, you may see sometimes affluence and wealth and prestige and prominence and all these other things.

But the truth is, what you do not see the consequence oftentimes immediately of what's going on in their life, though sometimes it's going on inside, not on the outside, but ultimately you're going to see it. The consequence of disobedience for the believer is the discipline, the chastising hand of the Lord. The promise of the result of those who are unbelievers is the punishment of Almighty God. When I think about what He promises, if I were a person who not necessarily was a Christian and I didn't think I was very interested in that, then I may be interested in reading Romans chapter 2 verse 8 which says, But to those who are selfishly ambitious and do not obey the truth, He says, But obey unrighteousness, wrath, and indignation. There will be tribulation and distress for every soul of man who does evil of the Jew first and also to the Greek. So if I were not a believer and I looked at the Scriptures and I'd asked myself the question, well, now according to the Bible, what does it say I can expect? Here's what you can expect. If you live your life in disobedience to God, you can expect the punishment of God, you can expect loss, you can expect to miss all the blessings that God had in store for you had you trusted the Lord Jesus Christ as your personal Savior. To those of us who believe in Him and who desire to walk in His way, who've committed ourselves to be obedient to Him no matter what, there is blessing upon blessing upon blessing. You say, but now wait a minute, but isn't there suffering in the life of the believer and isn't there pain and heartache? Yes, yes, yes. But you know what the difference is?

The difference is this. We respond in the fashion of knowing that God has allowed it for a purpose and then we look for the blessing and look for the lesson that we're to learn so that we can get on God's right path and walk in obedience to Him and be blessed with the very best that God has to offer. So I want us to think about some of these things. And when I think about how do we learn? How do we learn to be obedient? Well, one of the first principles is simply this. That is, first of all, you must trust Him. You will not obey a God you do not trust.

You just will not. And so the real truth is that I would say that most disobedience is a lack of trust in God. Well, I know that's what He said. But whenever you put a but behind something God has said, you're just about to head out in the wrong direction because God doesn't make any promises that He either cannot or will not fulfill. So one of the first things I must learn to do is to trust Him. I want you to turn to a very familiar passage of Scripture.

That we've caught over and over and over again. But I want you to see something here. I want you to turn to Proverbs chapter three, if you will. And I want us to look at a couple of verses that most of us know by heart.

Certainly the anchor verse of my soul. And listen to what he says. He says in verse five, trust in the Lord.

Now watch this. Trust in the Lord with all your heart. Do not lean on your own understanding in all your ways. Acknowledge Him.

That just doesn't mean that God's up there. But acknowledging Him means in all your ways. Acknowledge Him. Obey Him. And He will make your path straight.

Now what did He place first? He didn't say obey and then trust. He said trust the Lord. Don't lean on your own understanding.

It'll be things you don't understand. Obey Him. And He says what? He'll make your path straight. So if I'm going to be obedient to God and I'm going to learn to walk in obedience, I have to settle this issue of who God is. That He's the sovereign rule of this universe.

I have to settle this issue. That He is trustworthy. That He's reliable. He doesn't make any promises. He doesn't make promises He does not fulfill. And that every promise He makes He will fulfill. He's the same yesterday, today and forever. I can rely upon Almighty God to be the faithful God that He is.

So step number one in the school of obedience is simply this. And that is trust Him. He's faithful, reliable. No one has ever been able to point out to anyone else how God was unfaithful. God by His very nature and character is a faithful God. He's trustworthy.

You can rely on Him. The second lesson I think in the school of obedience is this. And that is learning to wait upon the Lord. Go back if you will to Psalm 27.

A very important verse along this line. Because we're in such a rush in every aspect of our life. This is I got to have it now. I got to do it now.

Can't wait. I mean waiting is something in the past. But listen to what he says. Psalm 27 the last verse, verse 14. Let your heart take courage. Yes, wait for the Lord.

I'm glad he put that middle part of that. Because sometimes, listen, it does, we have to be strong and we have to be courageous and take heart. Because sometimes everything in us says move, move, move. And somehow in our spirit we know we have no business taking the move yet. You don't move until God tells you to move.

Here you've got a decision to make and you don't know what to do. And so somebody says, well, listen, man, just buckle up and do it. That's the admonition of the Lord. The admonition of Scripture is if you don't know what to do and don't know how to do it and don't know when to do it, you wait for God to show you what to do. Now look at that verse. Psalm 27, verse 14. Wait for the Lord.

That is to give you instruction. Be strong and let your heart take courage. That is, listen, why do you say let your heart take courage? Because oftentimes, listen, here's what happens. We are afraid we're going to miss something. We're afraid we're going to lose something. We're going to be fearful of being left out.

So we want to hurry up and do it. When he says, wait for the Lord. He says, listen, take heart. Be courageous. Stand strong.

Stand firm. Don't move until God tells you what to do. Learning to obey God is the absolute essential lesson of the Scripture.

And all through the Word of God, what is His Word to us? I'm going to bless you. Trust me, I'll bless you.

Trust me, I'll bless you. He says He's stored up goodness for those who trust Him, who believe Him, who are waiting upon Him. And so the third lesson that you and I want to learn in the school of obedience is this. Learning to meditate upon His Word.

Now I want you to watch something very carefully here. Learning to meditate upon His Word. We are committed to showing you His will. God is responsible to show you His will. God assumes full responsibility for giving us direction in our life because He has a will and a plan and a purpose for our life.

He has the best stored up for us. And because He does, He assumes responsibility to show us which way to go. Therefore, He says we are to meditate upon His Word. Go back, if you will, to Joshua chapter one, one of my favorite passages of Scripture.

And they're all favorites for a specific reason, sometimes situations that we've walked through. Listen to what he told Joshua. He said to Joshua, now Joshua, Moses is dead, you're in charge.

You not only have been the general of the army, now you're the president, you're the leader. And here's what he said to him, knowing that there would be lots of questions, lots of times of possible fear, lots of times of not knowing for certain what to do, here's what he said to him. Beginning in verse six, he said, Joshua, be strong and courageous for you shall give this people possession of the land which I swore to their fathers to give them. Listen to this, only be strong and very courageous, watch this, be careful to do according to all the law which Moses my servant commanded you.

Do not turn from it to the right nor to the left so that you may have success wherever you go. Now the law of Moses is all that they had in those days. You and I have the whole Scriptures. Now, listen to what he says. He says, this book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. Then you'll make your way prosperous, then you'll have success.

What did he say? He said, look, Joshua, I want you to succeed. You're going to succeed and you'll prosper in your way, but here's what you must do. You must listen to me very carefully. You must obey me in every circumstance.

Listen, don't turn from it to the right, don't turn to the left, then you'll have success. Meditate on it day and night so that you may be very careful to do according to all that is listened. To walk in obedience to Him does not mean that I pick and choose where I want to obey God. It doesn't mean that I have a variety of choices. I don't remember God ever saying to me, now, here are about seven choices you have, which one do you want?

I don't remember that any time. God speaks in specifics. Now, let me just say this. God isn't interested necessarily on little things like whether you wear brown socks or blue socks, whether you wear a green tie or blue tie. In other words, there's some things God leaves up to us, decisions in life that affect His will, His purpose, His plan, His goodness, His, listen, His blessings in our life, all of those God is interested in, intricately interested in, personally involved because He has a plan for your life. He has the best waiting for you and He wants you to have it. God desires that we reap every blessing He has in store for us.

So, how am I going to do it? If I know the Word of God, how am I going to know His Word? Now, listen carefully. For example, let's go back to, move over to Psalm 119 for a moment. And I want you to look, if you will, in a verse of Scripture here that most of us know, but I want to show you something so you won't forget it. Psalm 119, verse 105, Thy word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.

He says the Word is a lamp to my feet and light to my path. So, if I want to walk in the right way, then I've got to keep God's Word before me in my heart, in my mind, looking to see what sense of direction I should take. God usually, watch this, God usually shows us His will one step at a time. If I want to know what's around the corner on God's will, I will never find out as long as I stand here because God gives us one step at a time.

Listen, now I want you to turn left. Well, as long as I'm saying, God, I want to see what the end result is. God's not obligated to show me the end result of anything. He's only obligated to show me enough of the path that I can walk on. This is why you cannot walk in obedience to God with a closed Bible. That's like walking in the woods in the pitch black dark and no batteries in your flashlight.

You can have a flashlight, but if you don't have any batteries and no bulbs, it's not going to do you any good. You have a Bible and if you just lay it up on the table somewhere, on the shelf somewhere and say, oh yes, I have a Bible. Well, what good is it doing you? He says, meditate on it day and night. That is, learn the ways of God, learn the ways that God operated in the lives of His Old Testament saints. And I can tell you through these years, probably one of the greatest blessings that I've had in searching God's Word is reading the Old Testament, reading how did He work in Abraham's life, how did He work in Joseph's life, how did He work in David's life, how did He work in Daniel's life, how did He work in Isaiah's life, how did He work in Paul's life, Peter's life, David's life, all of these men. Listen, however God, the principles He used in, the same principles He uses today. You want to walk in obedience to God, you've got to meditate upon His Word.

When I say meditate, what am I talking about? I'm talking about reading it and asking God to speak to your heart and praying it back to Him and saying thank you, Lord. And I understand what you're saying and what's going to happen is this. You'll be trying to make a decision, you're reading God's Word, He's going to bring a verse to you. A simple verse to you that you'll think, just like it's got my name on it. And sometimes I've said that, had my name, social security address and telephone number. Absolutely could not be anybody but me when it was written 2,000 years ago.

Absolutely the answer to exactly what I needed to hear. Now, if the Bible is a stranger to you, in other words, if this is a strange book, you say, well, you know, I just don't, I'm not very familiar with it. How do you get familiar with it?

Looking at it on the shelf? You get familiar with it by opening it and beginning to read. You say, well, I don't understand all that. You know what?

Join the crowd. Because there are things at times when we think, now, Lord, what in the world are you saying here? You keep studying it long enough, you keep reading it long enough, He's going to show you. Sometimes God will bring you to a verse or to a passage of Scripture. He won't let you get away from it. Why? Because He's trying to rivet that into your soul to help you understand He's trying to say something to you. Here's what I want you to do.

Here's how I want you to do it. And oftentimes it'll conflict with human reasons. So you have to decide, am I going to be obedient to God or not? Now remember this. We have the Holy Spirit living on the inside of us to help us and guide us. But He has given us a light. Listen, we don't have to walk in darkness. In fact, walking in darkness is not what God's people do. But remember this. This is my light. This is the compass.

This is going to show me where to go. You can't think of a single solitary question, any decision that you have to make, but you can't find an answer somewhere in God's Word. Now it may not be the very incident that you're talking about, but the principle is there somewhere to help you find out exactly what God's up to in your life. So if we can learn obedience, we must learn to meditate upon God's Word.
Whisper: medium.en / 2022-11-14 02:15:21 / 2022-11-14 02:23:40 / 8

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