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rocklife
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Joined: 2004/4/1
Posts: 323
usa

 what defines obedience?

How obedient do we have to be if Jesus is our Lord?

Are we to take His words and teachings simply and literally?

When I bring up some of His teachings, sometimes, people tell me I'm being judgmental, but truly I'm not.

I know the poke your eye out if it causes you to sin is a spiritual teachings-meaning get yourself away from tempting sin as hard as you can. What about the other teachings? Like allow people to steal from you, give to everyone who asks, love your enemies, etc.

Aren't we supposed to literally follow Him and do what He says, because Jesus says, "why do you call me Lord, Lord, and do not the things I say?" Luke 6:46.

I thought we are supposed to, and I am going to whether people say we shouldn't follow Him or not, but I am a little down that some others think I am so judgmental everytime I quote Jesus.
Can anyone encourage me about obedience to Jesus's words? ?


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Jina

 2004/5/3 23:34Profile
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 Re: what defines obedience?

Brother Jina, I fully agree with you that we need to really live out the gospel that Jesus taught and gave forth. But sadly this can lead into a sort of legalism quite easily thinking we are doing better than others because we follow the words of Jesus better than others. It is the normal Christian experience to walk in [b]full[/b] obedience to the call of the gospel anything else cheapens the grace that God extended to us in his Son. It costed Jesus everything he was and it should then in turn cost us all we have, to buy this pearl of great price.

One book that has really given me a spiritual balance on this issue is: "True Discipleship" by William Macdonald. I just actually sent a copy of it to a brother that is one this site in macedonia, and he is translating it into his language. I read it 4 years ago and it did spiritual revolutions in my life. here is a short description of the small book: [i]This book explains the principles of New Testament discipleship. Nothing less than unconditional surrender could ever be a fitting response to His sacrifice at Calvary.[/i] Another great book that really touches on this issue is: "The Cost of Discipleship" by Dietrich Bonhoeffer


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SI Moderator - Greg Gordon

 2004/5/3 23:51Profile
rocklife
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Joined: 2004/4/1
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 Re:

Thank you, I am encouraged by that. Yes, only the blood of Jesus makes wicked sinners righteous before a holy God. It takes the power of God to even draw us close to Him.


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Jina

 2004/5/4 0:06Profile
KeithLaMothe
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Joined: 2004/3/28
Posts: 354


 Re: what defines obedience?

Quote:
How obedient do we have to be if Jesus is our Lord?

One of the most convicting statements I ever read was made by Dr. James Kennedy: (this is a paraphrase) "You cannot say 'No, Lord' and mean both words, they are mutually exclusive."

Quote:
Are we to take His words and teachings simply and literally?

Yes. We needn't be irrationally literal, if something's a parable it's a parable, but I don't think any of us here exhibit excessive literalist tendencies.

Quote:
When I bring up some of His teachings, sometimes, people tell me I'm being judgmental, but truly I'm not.

What do they/you mean by "judgmental"?

A friend of mine has a good tract on Biblical judgment, I'll borrow from it here. There is a sense in which we are not only permitted, but commanded to judge:

Psalm 37
30 The mouth of the righteous speaketh wisdom, and his tongue talketh of judgment.

Psalm 119
13 With my lips have I declared all the judgments of Thy mouth.

Proverbs 31
9 Open thy mouth, judge righteously, and plead the cause of the poor and needy.

Luke 7
43 Simon answered and said, "I suppose that he to whom he forgave most. And He said unto him, "Thou hast rightly judged."

Ezekiel 22
2 "Now, thou son of man, wilt thou judge, wilt thou judge the bloody city? Yea, thou shalt show her all her abominations.

1 Corinthians 2
15 But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged by no man.î1COR 2:16 "For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct Him?" But we have the mind of Christ.

1 Corinthians 6
2 Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world? And if the world shall be judged by you, are ye unworthy to judge the smallest matters?

1 Corinthians 6
3 Know ye not that we shall judge angels? How much more, things that pertain to this life?

John 7
24 Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment."

There is also Scripture that tells us how not to judge, some of which is often misconstrued to mean we should not judge at all. Matthew 7:1 particularly, I've noticed we (when we preach open-air) get that almost every single day.

Matthew 7
1 "Judge not, that ye be not judged.
2 For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged; and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.
3 And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?
4 Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, `Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye,' and behold, a beam is in thine own eye?
5 Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye, and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother's eye.

Clearly, this is speaking of hypocritical judgment, i.e. judging others for something you yourself are guilty of (and in a more general sense, e.g. if a man is a wanton sinner that happens to not steal, he would not be particularly qualified to judge thieves even then). If you are guilty of sin, wholeheartedly repent and seek God, and only when God has cleansed you of whatever it was, should you consider yourself fit to judge.

Romans 14
3 Let not him that eateth despise him that eateth not; and let not him that eateth not, judge him that eateth; for God hath received him.
4 Who art thou who judgest another man's servant? To his own master he standeth or falleth; yea, he shall be held up, for God is able to make him stand.
5 One man esteemeth one day above another; another esteemeth every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind.
6 He that regardeth one day, regardeth it unto the Lord; and he that regardeth not that day, to the Lord doth he not regard it. He that eateth, eateth to the Lord, for he giveth God thanks; and he that eateth not, to the Lord he eateth not and giveth God thanks.
7 For none of us liveth to himself, and no man dieth to himself.
8 For whether we live, we live unto the Lord; and whether we die, we die unto the Lord. Whether we live therefore or die, we are the Lord's.
9 For to this end Christ both died, and arose, and revived, that he might be Lord both of the dead and living.
10 But why dost thou judge thy brother? Or why dost thou set at nought thy brother? For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ.

This is about things like dietary preferences, not willful known sin, if people are walking in darkness or otherwise committing grave errors, I don't think this passage applies directly.

Romans 2
1 Therefore thou art inexcusable, O man, whosoever thou art who judgest; for wherein thou judgest another, thou condemnest thyself, for thou that judgest doest the same things.
2 But we are sure that the judgment of God is according to truth against those who commit such things.
3 And thinkest thou this, O man, who judgest those who do such things and doest the same, that thou shalt escape the judgment of God?

Again, it's against hypocritical judgment. Again, [b]live what you preach[/b] or be prepared for a very unpleasant Judgment Day.

James 4
11 Speak not evil one of another, brethren. He that speaketh evil of his brother and judgeth his brother, speaketh evil of the law and judgeth the law. But if thou judge the law, thou art not a doer of the law, but a judge.

If someone is in right relationship with God (i.e. a "brother") and without willful sin in their life, we have no grounds to judge them harshly. If they're living in willful known sin, they're not in right relationship with God.

In all this we should obviously seek and pray to God that He give us the proper (loving, discerning, not too soft, not too severe) spirit in judging (or anything else, for that matter). This is very non-trivial, at least for me, as at times I have a dangerously sharp tongue. That's not necessarily bad (and if we are too soft we may not be able to cut even when it's the right thing) but it requires very careful wielding or great harm can be done. Oh, that the Lord would keep my spirit clean of any impurity...

Quote:
I know the poke your eye out if it causes you to sin is a spiritual teachings-meaning get yourself away from tempting sin as hard as you can.

Clearly Jesus wasn't advocating self-mutilation, but I think it's safe to say that if (somehow, I can't imagine it) one were literally in the situation where the only way they could avoid falling into sin (and thus being thrown into hell) was cutting off their hand or plucking out their eye, it would obviously be the better decision for them to cut off/pluck out the offending part. Again, I can't imagine what situation would entail that, but if the situation is literal than the teaching is literally applicable.

Quote:
What about the other teachings? Like allow people to steal from you, give to everyone who asks, love your enemies, etc.

If it's just oneself (no family or other dependants) I'd say those apply literally. If you've got children, a spouse or other people in your care I'm inclined to think a bit more protectively, but I think that's fueled more by my sense of duty and sentimentality than Scripture.

Quote:
Aren't we supposed to literally follow Him and do what He says, because Jesus says, "why do you call me Lord, Lord, and do not the things I say?" Luke 6:46.

Yes. He's referring to a general obedience of His commandments, so there might be cases where we might, for example, take extra precautions against theft in order to supply some dire need of the impoverished, but the point is to obey Jesus.

Quote:
I thought we are supposed to, and I am going to whether people say we shouldn't follow Him or not

Good. Let the others mull over the question of whether it is right for you to please them or to please God.

Quote:
but I am a little down that some others think I am so judgmental everytime I quote Jesus.

We have a mighty and weighty responsibility, as ambassadors of Christ. If God has given us the purity, knowledge, discernment and so on to judge, we have the right (and responsibility) to do so when it is according to His will, but we must be [b]completely[/b] obedient; meaning that we must obey not only in judging when it is right, but also in the manner that is right, in terms of attitude, spirit, etc.

I don't know your situation, but I get the impression you're running into problems with people who are living contrary to Jesus' commands, and don't take well to being told about it. Seek and pray to God for guidance, and for the right spirit, and that He open their ears and eyes to hear and see, and soften their hearts to His Word. But whatever their reaction, always obey God. Be theistically motivated, meaning that you do it because God wants you to, rather than humanistically motivated, doing it because humans like it.

Quote:
Can anyone encourage me about obedience to Jesus's words?

I hope I have, and I'm glad that you're seeking to do right in this matter, rather than plowing on ahead judging possibly unrighteous judgment, or just ceasing to bother in the face of discouragement. I'd quote more Scripture, but it's a bit late and I probably shouldn't put the [b]entire[/b] Bible in one post :)

 2004/5/4 0:43Profile
rocklife
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Joined: 2004/4/1
Posts: 323
usa

 Re:

Thank you, KeithLaMothe, that is encouraging. I am so glad to hear someone say take all of Jesus words as they are. Yes, I will not let discouragement let me fall, but it is nice to get encouragement from others once in a while. Even if I don't get it from others, though, God is the only one I want to please anyway. Thanks again.

The judgmental comment comes up more than I thought it would, and the last time was from my post that I have copied here, about Biblical Christian leadership. I posted it on another website, and one of the regulars there said I was going off God's path, and being judgmental. I talked to her about that, and have settled it peacefully even after I told her Jesus' teachings should not offend her, a christian, like they seemed to be. I was just surprised how "judgmental" is thrown around for even general statements and warnings made by Jesus. But Jesus words encourage me, "woe to you when all men speak well of you, for that is how their fathers treated the false prophets." Luke 6:26.


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Jina

 2004/5/4 2:10Profile
KeithLaMothe
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Joined: 2004/3/28
Posts: 354


 Re:

Quote:
I was just surprised how "judgmental" is thrown around for even general statements and warnings made by Jesus.

If someone (in their heart) thinks Jesus is "judgmental," they'll think the same of someone quoting Him.

"Legalistic" is another very common accusation when one doesn't hold back on exhortation. Interestingly, the terms "legalism" and "legalistic" do not occur in the KJV or NASB (once in the NIV). Also, as I understand it, Jesus' problem with the Pharisees is not primarily their focus on obeying the Law, but their hypocrisy in preaching obedience and not being obedient themselves. For a clearer picture, see Jesus' treatment of Nicodemus (John 3, as you all know). There is a form of legalism that deserves rejection, namely the idea that our obediance to God's Law somehow puts Him in debt to us or otherwise earns us anything, but there is a tremendous amount of room for "discipline" in the Christian life.

I'm not yet sure, but I think that those who object loudest to exhortation have a basically different faith than I do: if there's something not right about my relationship with God, or something in my life not pleasing to Him, or anything else He wants of me, [b]I want to know[/b]. If someone else believes, according to Scripture and prompted by the Holy Spirit, that I or my congregation is in need of an exhortation, [b]I want to hear it[/b]. Certainly there's the chance that they're wrong, and it's something which must be done in the right spirit and with much discernment, but I don't mind the occaisional "false positive," I certainly prefer it to not knowing about a problem.

Our God is a [b]consuming fire[/b], who chastens and disciplines us when necessary. Let us not be surprised when we discover that He wasn't kidding.

May His will be done in all of us, as it is in Heaven,
-Keith

 2004/5/4 2:31Profile
5nva
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Joined: 2003/8/15
Posts: 179


 Re:

I for one have found that the word "legalism" and the phrase "don't judge" have become very common among Christians. It seems to me that they have become the failsafe for not wanting to deal with sin, mixture and compromise in our lives. You can try to teach, admonish and exhort others with the scriptures as to why Christians should not do or be part of certain things and if they don't want to receive it then they cry legalism or say that you are being judgmental.

After I hear that there is really nothing more to say because it shows me that the person wants to hold onto their sin.

That is just from my own experiences.

In Christ,

Mike


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Mike

 2004/5/4 8:38Profile
RobertW
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Joined: 2004/2/12
Posts: 4636
Independence, Missouri

 Re:

As soon as I read this the passage came to mind that says "where there is no vision the people perish." The actual Hebrew says "Where there is no prophetic unction the people cast off all restraint!" No wonder the enemy wants us to walk in disobedience. The power is in the holiness. When people don't sense God active in the midst of the people they sin with a high hand. We contribute to this by our disobedience and secret sins as God pulls out of our midst as He did in Ezekiel 8-10. And as He pulls out due to the secret sins the congregation casts off restraint.

When we are FULLY submitted to the King of the Kingdom of God- the enemy has no recourse to say to God... "Why should I obey him (God's servant)- he don't obey you!?" When we are in total obedience God can exercise total authority through us unhindered by our disobedience. Not an occasional sovereign miracle that makes us think were in like flint with God; but a perpetual burden to walk with Christ in obedience to the King of the Kingdom so that the enemy is forced to take us seriously. You do that and I guarantee you the devil will know you on a first name basis. Paul I know and Jesus I know, but who are you? Not if you have exalted Christ as genuine Lord of your life. I think of what our brother quoted concerning D. James Kennedy and wonder if instead of the damned saying "Lord, Lord"- the just must say "Yea and Amen- Lord!" Speak Lord for thy servant heareth! And then they hop to it and get about the Master's business.

When we make the King "THE KING" in our life- we begin to exercise kingdom authority as Christ's ambassadors in a very real way. The Kingdom of God is among us when there are people present who have exalted Christ as King in their life. This links with the whold concept of the 'finger of God.' God's authorty is present when we exalt Him into supreme authority. Obviously He can act sovereignly; but the Children of the Kingdom submit to the King and when that happens the finger of God is present.

That is my quest- to exalt Christ as King through my total submission to His Lordship. And if we will do that it has yet to be seen what God would do through such a yielded and obedient person. Beloved, is it possible to be overly obedient to Christ? Christ answered this himself when he said "And after you have done all that you were told to do say 'we are unprofitable servants, we have merely done our duty!" (Luke 17:10) When revival comes to our lives in New Testament fashion we will obey Christ no matter what we are told to do. We are dead. We are slaves. We have no will but Christ's when we have died to self. As Leonard Ravenhill said "May we all go to our own funeral at night and die to self..."

I on a guest to walk in such complete obedience to God that my disobedience ceases once and for all from being a hindrance to what He has long desired to do in His purchased servant's life.

God Bless,

-Robert


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Robert Wurtz II

 2004/5/4 8:51Profile
moreofHim
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Joined: 2003/10/15
Posts: 1632


 Re: obedience

Mike (5nva),

I second that! I have heard the word "judgemental" more times than I would like to recall. You're exactly right, when they say this, I just quit trying to talk to them about certain things (at least for the time being) because I know where they are and they don't want to "let go".

I just keep praying that the Lord will open their eyes and their ears to the truth- because no amount of convincing from me is going to work.

I have learned that obedience is also doing that which the Lord has opened your eyes to. Once you "know" that something is wrong for you- then it is your responsibility to follow through. (I am talking here about the minors, not the majors- the things we all know we should do)

As time goes on and we grow in Christ, if we are listening and learning, the Lord reveals little things (or big things) one by one that He wants us to obey in. It might not be for someone else at that time. And maybe it wasn't considered disobedience last year- because your eyes weren't open to that yet.

The Lord showed me last year that He did not want me to workout at a co-ed gym. Once I 'knew" that this was His will for me- I would have been disobeying if I continued to go. Now, this is not for everyone, this is not even for every woman. I cannot tell any Christian I meet that goes to a co-ed gym, that they are being disobedient because that is for me at this time. The Lord maybe working on 5 others things in that persons life that are more important for them to obey in at that time.

If we are in a place of complete surrender, we will be sensative to what the Holy Spirit is saying and in what ways/areas we are to be obedient in.

I think we all can testify that as we have grown in maturity, we have become more obedient about more and more things as time has gone on and as the Lord has revealed things to us.

My heart grieves for those who will not open up to the Lord and say "do what you will". For they will never know the smaller- detailed areas where the Lord wants them to be obedient. Actually, the chances are, that they are not being obedient in the bigger, more obvious areas either. :(

Just some thoughts...

Satisfied in Him, Chanin


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Chanin

 2004/5/4 9:02Profile
KeithLaMothe
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Joined: 2004/3/28
Posts: 354


 Re:

That's a good point: be careful to distinguish private convictions from general commands. Churches and movements have split over people with "God-told-me-to-stop-this-in-my-life-so-He-must-mean-it's-sin-for-all-of-us" type attitudes.

The key thing is "Does the Bible back this up? For everyone, or just people in certain circumstances?"

I'd ramble on about this, but I've got to study for a final.

May God guide us, that we not cut closer than we ought, that we not fail to exhort where we ought, that we always obey Him in everything,
-Keith

 2004/5/4 9:24Profile





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