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The Learning Process - Part 1

In Touch / Charles Stanley
The Truth Network Radio
March 6, 2024 12:00 am

The Learning Process - Part 1

In Touch / Charles Stanley

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March 6, 2024 12:00 am

What is required of us to be obedient to God?

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Welcome to the In Touch Podcast with Charles Stanley for Wednesday, March 6th.

No one likes to be wrong, but Christians need to know that acknowledging where we messed up is the key to spiritual maturity. Today we continue the learning process. When you are in the process of making important decisions in your life and you ask yourself some questions, what kind of questions do you ask and what is the bottom line question that you ask? Is it, for example, will it be profitable to me? What will other people think about me if I make this decision?

What will be my security in that? Will it get me where I'm going? Will I accomplish my goals in life?

Well, all of us probably have questions, but the bottom line question in every decision concerning your life should be this. What is required of me to be obedient to God? What is required of me to be obedient to God? You see, that's the bottom line for the true believer. Because, you see, that's what this Christian life is all about. It's about obeying God, doing what God says do, when he says do it, and how he says do it.

And if you neglect that question, more than likely, you're going to make some wrong decisions that could be disastrous in your life. The title of this message is Obeying God, the Learning Process. And so I want you to turn, if you will, to Hebrews chapter five in verse seven. In the days of his flesh, he offered up both prayers and supplications with loud crying and tears to the one able to save him from death. And he was heard because of his piety. Now, in this seventh verse, he's referring to the time when he was in the Garden of Gethsemane and facing real, real difficulty. The Scripture says in verse eight, although he was the son, speaking of his relationship to the Father, he learned obedience from the things which he suffered.

And having been made perfect, he became to all those who obey him the source of eternal life. Now, that doesn't mean that Jesus learned obedience by trial and error. That's the way we learn it.

We make mistakes. We sin. That is, we learn by disobedience and by obeying him. What he's referring to is simply this, that he learned what obedience required. That is, remember that Jesus Christ was not only God, but he was also human. And so being the God-man, he learned obedience through his suffering. Now, I want you to look, if you will, the chapter before the last couple of verses in verse 15 and 16 of chapter four of Hebrews.

You know what he says here? For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who has been tempted and tried in all things as we are, yet without sin. Therefore, because he is that kind of a savior, let us therefore draw near with the confidence to the throne of grace that we may receive mercy and may find grace to help in time of need.

One of the most reassuring things to us is this. When we are tempted to disobey, we have a savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who is our very life. We have one who has been tempted and who has been tried and who learned obedience. Listen, he didn't learn whether to fail or not to fail, but he learned the issue of obedience. He learned the suffering that is involved in obedience going through it himself. So that when you and I are tempted and tried, we know that we bring it to him and say, God, I can't handle much more temptation.

I don't know what to do in this situation. We know that we're dealing with one who also in his humanity learned how to handle that and always obey the Father. Now, you would think that when you become a Christian, the just automatic thing to do is to obey God.

Well, I wish that were true, but it is not. There are many things that you and I have to learn once we receive the Lord Jesus Christ as our savior. I believe that the most important thing you and I learn is we learn to obey him.

If that's not right, then nothing else is going to be right. Reading the Word of God, prayer, all is essential, but you can't have obedience without both of those, and so I would include those. Well, jot this down. This is number one. I want to give you seven steps in learning to obey God.

And the first one is this. If I'm going to learn to obey God, I must learn to wait upon God in prayer. I must learn to wait upon God in prayer for the simple reason that God is not going to always show us his will or what he wants to do in a given situation or a given decision every time instantly. There are times when God delays those answers.

Sometimes he delays those answers because he wants to get our attention about some of the area in our life that he wants to clean up before he gives us clear direction for this decision. And there are different reasons that God waits. Sometimes it is a matter to build our faith, but oftentimes we don't know what to do. There are decisions that come along that affect our life, the life of our family, and so we must come to him. If you're going to be obedient to God, you must learn to wait upon God in prayer. Now listen very carefully because I'm going to ask you to say this back to me. There is one thing worse than waiting upon God. Repeat that. There is one thing worse than waiting upon God. Say it one more time. And that is wishing you had.

Let's say it all together. There is one thing worse than waiting upon God, and that is wishing you had. How many people have I talked to over the years who've said, if I'd have just waited, if I had just asked for counsel, if I had just prayed, if I'd just gotten in the Word, if somebody had just told me. My friends, sometimes we let other people rush us into making decisions in our life that are disastrous. We listen to people encourage us. We listen to all the voices of the people who think they know what's best for us. And here's what they say.

Now, if I were you, this is what I would do. And somebody tells you that, forget it. For the simple reason, because what you need to hear is you need to hear God say, this is what you must do. And you see, unless you're willing to learn to wait upon him and not let people shove you into a decision and coax you into something and force you into something and persuade you out of their reasoning.

They're all the reasons they think you ought to do it. And listen, sometimes reason is our enemy and not always our friend. There are a lot of things that are reasonable, but you remember what Jesus said? God said it this way. He said, my ways are not your ways, nor my thoughts, your thoughts.

My ways are higher than your ways, and my thoughts are higher than your thoughts. You cannot go on human reasoning and obey God. God uses our human reasoning, but that is not to be the final criteria. So if you and I are going to learn to walk obediently before him, we must learn to wait upon him. That is, we must learn to pray and wait and listen until we know we have an answer from God. You say, well, God's never spoken to me.

Don't say that. You may say, I have never heard him speak to me. I don't mean audibly, but I mean from his spirit to your spirit. God does speak. He will speak to every single one of his children.

He will impress you strongly in some area. You will know that you're feeling pressure, and God does put pressure on us at times to do the right thing. And so if you're going to learn to be obedient to God, and listen, that should be the trademark of the believer, that we are bent in our heart to obeying God. We want to obey him. We choose to obey him. We desire to obey him. Even in our disobedience, we ought to be crying out to God in our forgiveness, Lord.

We thank you for your forgiveness. But God placed within my heart this yearning, hungry, thirsting, insatiable desire to obey you above everything else in life. And I'm here to tell you, God will hear and answer that prayer. So the first step is learning to wait upon him in prayer. Remember, sometimes you don't want to wait, but you'll be sorry if you don't wait.

It is much worse to hurry than to wait. The second thing I want you to jot down is this. If you're going to learn to be obedient to God, you must meditate daily upon the Word of God.

Now, I'll tell you a little test I gave myself. It was one of those weeks when I was not going to preach on the following Sunday. And I'd oftentimes wondered what happens to people who go a long time and don't read the Bible and how they get along. And I thought about all the businessmen and women who get up in the morning and have to dress or fix breakfast for their family and dress themselves and get in their car and rush down the expressway to get to work, work eight hours sometimes longer than that, come home. If it's a mom, she has to prepare dinner.

And maybe the husband works overtime or whatever, they come home and by the time dinner's all over and they watch their program, they hop in the bed and then the next month's the same thing. And when the week's over, it's whew. I don't have time to read the Bible and pray. I'll tell you what I did. I wondered what happens to people because all of my life I've read this book. I'd like to say every single day there have been some exceptions.

And I'm going to give you one of them right here. So I decided not to read the Bible for a week. I just closed it up. At the end of the week, my thinking wasn't right. My attitude wasn't right. And I felt myself growing a little cool toward God. Now listen, you cannot live obediently before God and neglect the Word of God because the Christian life just isn't that way. And you see, you're not going to be obedient to God, just sort of dabbling here and yonder and reading a verse now and then, once in a while and sort of clear your conscience. I want to take you through a few verses of Scripture that are very, very apropos of what we're talking about here, beginning in Joshua chapter one. Look at that, if you will.

Let me give you a little background while you're turning. Moses is leaving the scene and God has placed the mantle from Moses to Joshua. He has the awesome responsibility of taking the people of Israel into the Promised Land, something that Moses, after 40 long years in the wilderness and the Exodus, was not able to do.

And God did not give him the privilege of doing it. Imagine what Joshua must have felt as he thought about all the times he had walked through those periods of rebellion against Moses. And he stood by Moses' side and watched the things that happened.

And now he had the responsibility. Well, listen to what the Lord God said to Joshua in getting him ready. In verse seven of Joshua chapter one, only be strong and very courageous.

He said that to him three times in this chapter. Only be strong and very courageous. Be careful to do according to all the law which Moses, my servant, commanded you. Do not turn from it to the right or to the left so that you may have success wherever you go.

Listen to that. 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, to obey all that is written in it. Then you'll make your way prosperous and then you'll have success. You want to be a success as a mother, as a father, as a student, as a businessman, as a friend? You want to be a success?

Here's the key right here. That is meditating upon the Word of God. And so God said to Joshua, Joshua, in order for you to succeed, you've got to obey me.

But in order to obey me, you've got to have something to obey. How do I know what to do apart from the Word of God? The Word of God is the mind of God put in print for you and me. The Word of God is the mind of God. It is the statutes of God, the commands of God.

It is those principles that God wants us to live by. How in the world am I going to know what to do if I don't know what the Word says? How am I going to be obedient to a God whom I don't even know what he's thinking about?

And how he operates and the principles he's given us, how do I know what to do? You cannot walk obediently before God and neglect this book, write it down. Now I want you to turn to the longest Psalm, 119.

119th Psalm, and let's begin in verse 9. If you are going to train your children to be obedient to God, this book has to be part of the training. You can't just lay it around somewhere and expect your children to pick it up because they have the initiative. It is your responsibility, Dad. It is your responsibility, Mom, to get this book into the heart of the family if you're going to train your children to be obedient. Now listen to what he says in Psalm 119, verse 9.

Let's look at that one. How can a young man or young woman keep himself or herself pure? By keeping it, by keeping what? By keeping it according to thy word.

How can a young man keep his way pure? By keeping it according to thy word. Getting into the word of God.

Listen. With all my heart I've sought thee. Do not let me wander from thy commandments. Thy word have I treasured in my heart.

Why is that? In order that I may not sin against thee. God that I may be obedient to you. I've treasured your word in my heart. So I'll know what kind of decision to make and I'll be warned against temptation.

And I'll know how to make wise decisions in my life. Look in verse 15. We're going to stay in Psalm 119.

Verse 15. I will meditate on thy precepts and regard thy ways. What does he mean by meditation?

Just flipping through the Bible and finding a verse here or there, no. Meditation means that I read it and I ask myself some questions. What does this mean? What is it saying to me? How does it apply to my heart?

How did it apply to incidences yesterday and times past? Is God saying something to me about what I'm going to face today? God, what are you saying personally so that I can apply this to my life so that I will be able to walk obediently before you today? That's what meditation's all about. So then if you look in verse 23, the last part of that verse. Thy servant meditates on thy statutes.

Thy testimonies also are my delight. They are my counselors. That is, the Word of God is our counselor. And if you want to know what God thinks about anything, this is the book. Now, we come to church and we worship together, we sing, we pray, we listen to the Word of God and the pastor's responsibility is to give instruction from the Word of God and to encourage you and to motivate you and to encourage you to be the kind of person God wants you to be while I'm doing that in my own life also. He says the Word's the greatest counselor. And everything I share with you, I get it from the same book you have. If you just get in the book and start reading, here's what you'll discover.

You'll discover you don't have to depend upon someone else. That doesn't mean that pastor's not important. God wants you to feed yourself. And while you are to be motivated and confronted with the truth of God's Word, you are to be a feeder yourself, meditating upon the Word of God. Look, if you will, in, let's see, verse 33. Teach me, O Lord, the way of thy statutes, and I shall observe it to the end.

I will obey it to the end. Give me understanding that I may observe thy law, that is, obey thy law, and keep it with all of my heart. Then if you will look in verse 130. Verse 130 says a little different way in the King James, but he says, verse 130, the unfolding of thy Word gives light. That is, the entrance of thy Word gives light. That is, as you and I open the Word of God, we receive the light of the wisdom, and the knowledge of God. Then we know how to be obedient to Him. Then we know how to respond to circumstances and situations in our life without always having to go to someone else. I'm not saying you should not go to counsel.

I'm simply saying that if you're going to walk obediently before God, you absolutely cannot neglect this book. Now, moms and dads, listen to me. If you want your children to grow up on the Word of God and feast on that, if you want this to be a part of their daily life, and you see so many parents, they send their children to private schools, I'm all for that. They send their children oftentimes to very sophisticated private schools and pay enormous sums of money. Those children come home, what is your homework? Have you done your homework?

And so sometimes they're pretty difficult on their kids with their homework. Have you done your homework? Let me see it.

Let me check it. I want to ask you parents a question. You are so committed that your children do their homework. How many times have you said to them, have you read the Word of God? Are you in the Scriptures? Are you meditating upon the Word of God?

Before your homework, the Word of God. What? Yes. Yes.

You know why? He said to Joshua, Joshua, if you'll meditate upon this book day and night, whatever else you're doing, he says, I'm going to see to it that you succeed. Now, parents, listen to me.

You spend all of your time being sure they get their homework done. And these students who are being trained in their own home, their parents are teaching them the Word of God in most of those, I wouldn't say it's always true, but in most of those good homeschooling programs, the Word of God is at the center of the heart. One of these days out yonder somewhere, I believe we're going to see that those students who were taught the Word of God all through their mathematics and their literature and their science and their arts and all the rest of it, the Word of God permeated and saturated all of that, those students are going to come out on the top sooner or later somewhere out there, because you can't fill your mind with the Word of God meditated upon it day and night without God making you a success at what you're doing. And I want to say again, if you really and truly are serious about obeying God, walking in obedience to Him, then this book can no longer be the dessert. It's got to be the main meal.

It's got to be the main thing. And if you neglect it, you're going to pay the consequence. Now, listen, you know how to understand the Word of God? Start reading it. You say, well, I'll read something you don't understand. That's the way you begin to understand it.

You say, I don't have a teacher. Yes, you do. If you're saved, you do the Holy Spirit. He's the one who gives instruction. He's the one who enlightens our mind, our heart and our spirit. You want to be obedient to God? You've got to get in the Word of God and you've got to stay in the Word of God.

I don't mean once a week, but I mean daily diet. That's what God said to Joshua. He said, Joshua, you want to succeed?

You want to prosper in everything you do? You get in this book, you don't turn from it to the right or to the left. You don't neglect it. You stay in it. You meditate upon it.

You do what you read. And Joshua, you'll be a success. And he was. You remember when they went to Jericho, what happened?

What a tremendous success he was. Did Joshua pull that off? God pulled that off. You know what God is willing to do to you and do in your life? God's willing to pull off some miraculous, fantastic things in your life. If you get in this book and find out what he wants and do what he says do his way, in his timing, he'll do the same thing for you. Listen, how many of us have seen Jericho walls in our life?

I've seen some. How did they get pulled out? God pulled them down. When you walk in his way, you'll have to walk in the Word. Thank you for listening to The Learning Process. For more inspirational messages like this, visit our online 24-7 station. And 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 / 2024-03-06 03:01:17 / 2024-03-06 03:10:10 / 9

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