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Discussion Forum : Articles and Sermons : Obedience: A Neglected Doctrine

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hmmhmm
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Joined: 2006/1/31
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 Obedience: A Neglected Doctrine


¨
There is what William James called “a certain blindness in human beings” that prevents us from seeing what we do not want to see. This, along with the direct work of the devil himself, may account for the fact that the doctrine of obedience is so largely neglected in modern religious circles. That God expects us to be “obedient children” is admitted, of course, but it is seldom stressed sufficiently to get action. Many people seem to feel that our obligation to obey has been discharged by the act of believing on Jesus Christ at the beginning of our Christian lives.

We should remember that “the will is the seat of true religion in the soul.” Nothing genuine has been done in a man or woman’s life until his or her will has been surrendered in active obedience. It was disobedience that brought about the ruin of the race. It is the “obedience of faith” that brings us back again into divine favor.

A world of confusion and disappointment results from trying to believe without obeying. This puts us in the position of a bird trying to fly with one wing folded. We merely flap in a circle and seek to cheer our hearts with the hope that the whirling ball of feathers is proof that a revival is under way. A good deal of praying at our camp meeting altars has the identical effect of a good cry. It releases pent-up emotions and relaxes tense nerves. The smile that follows is accepted by the eager helpers as evidence that a deep spiritual work has been done. This can be for some people a tragic error, resulting in permanent injury and loss to the spiritual life.

A mere passive surrender may be no surrender at all. Any real submission to the will of God must include willingness to take orders from Him from that time on. When the heart is irrevocably committed to receiving and obeying orders from the Lord Himself, a specific work has been done, but not until then. We are not likely to see among us any remarkable transformations of individuals or churches until the Lord’s ministers again give to obedience the place of prominence it occupies in the Scriptures.

A.W. Tozer
World: Playground or Battleground


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 2009/8/30 15:26Profile
Heydave
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Joined: 2008/4/12
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 Re: Obedience: A Neglected Doctrine

Quote:
There is what William James called “a certain blindness in human beings” that prevents us from seeing what we do not want to see. This, along with the direct work of the devil himself, may account for the fact that the doctrine of obedience is so largely neglected in modern religious circles.


This is a very important issue and as always very well put by Tozer. There has in a lot of cases been an over emphasise on faith and grace without really understanding both of these properly. Grace is God's enabling power and presence so we can be and do all He calls us to be and do (not just being forgiven). Faith and faithfulness are essentially the same and therefore imply obedience and action.

Trouble is that we Christians, when we think of obedience, we all too easily revert to a list of rules that we consider 'christian' or 'spiritual', but are only our own or our church's outward morality. These are normally much easier to keep than the ones our Lord gives, such as 'Love your enemies'; 'feed the hungry'; 'forgive someone seventy times seven times a day' etc.


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Dave

 2009/8/30 15:52Profile
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Joined: 2009/6/14
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 Re: Obedience: A Neglected Doctrine

Quote:
A mere passive surrender may be no surrender at all. Any real submission to the will of God must include willingness to take orders from Him from that time on. When the heart is irrevocably committed to receiving and obeying orders from the Lord Himself, a specific work has been done, but not until then. We are not likely to see among us any remarkable transformations of individuals or churches until the Lord’s ministers again give to obedience the place of prominence it occupies in the Scriptures. A.W. Tozer World: Playground or Battleground



I agree that obedience to God's will and to his commands is a central part of being a Christian.

1Sa 15:22-23 But Samuel replied: “Does the LORD delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the voice of the LORD? To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams."

However, to stress on obedience in and of itself might detract from the greater matter of God's enabling grace, which I believe is the reason why few teachers of the word focus on obedience alone. Obeying God is supposed to be easy, not a struggle at all.

Mt 11:29-30 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

Tozer says, "When the heart is irrevocably committed to receiving and obeying orders from the Lord Himself, a specific work has been done, but not until then."

That specific work is the miracle of rebirth, which I believe occurs when a believer has grown in intimacy with God through the Word and the Spirit, such that the scriptural admonition to "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind." (Mt 22:37) becomes true.

Through the enabling power of this love for God, obedience, sacrifice, forgiveness, and all the "difficult" expectations of God become easy.

Let me quote some portions from another post of mine:

Quote:
I believe it is this "falling in love with God" phase that constitutes true rebirth. Of all human values, virtues, or emotions, it is love that has the power to change lives. It is love that changes one from being a "taker" (self-gratification) to being a "giver" (selflessly gratifying the object of our love). Love is what makes parents die for their children; it is what makes patriots die for their country; it is what made God give up his only son for us; it is what made Jesus die for our redemption; and it is what will make us live or die for Christ. That is why scripture says in 1Co 13:13 that love is greater than faith.

Love is so powerful that one would seek to please his or her beloved even in the absence of rewards and even with the threat of punishments. Thus we see how the apostles and many Christians devoted themselves to serving the cause of Christ even though they suffered and died for it.



God bless.

 2009/8/30 17:05Profile
Heydave
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 Re:

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I believe it is this "falling in love with God" phase that constitutes true rebirth.



I know what your getting at, but this phrase 'falling in love with God' is very subjective. What that means to one person is different to another. 'Falling in love' is not a biblical expression. Love (agape) is something we do, it is sacrificial, not based on feelings.
Jesus said if you love me you will keep my commands....


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Dave

 2009/8/30 17:34Profile
Leo_Grace
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Joined: 2009/6/14
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 Re:

Quote:
I know what your getting at, but this phrase 'falling in love with God' is very subjective. What that means to one person is different to another. 'Falling in love' is not a biblical expression. Love (agape) is something we do, it is sacrificial, not based on feelings. Jesus said if you love me you will keep my commands....



I think you misunderstood my post. When I use the phrase "falling in love with God", I mean in it the biblical sense as stated in Mt 22:37, without any ambiguity or subjectivity. Further, I disagree with you when you say it is not based on feelings. It has everything to do with emotion (heart) as well as reason (mind) as well as spirit (soul).

How can a person die for another (greatest love) unless feelings play a part in it?

My relationship with God is awash, saturated, drenched and filled with emotional love. It is this overpowering feeling or emotion that makes it possible for me to obey happily regardless of the sacrifice. My deeds follow my heart and I am not ashamed of it. My relationship with God is based on faith, but fueled by love.

1Co 13:13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

1Jn 4:7-8 Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.

 2009/8/30 20:39Profile





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