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Discussion Forum : General Topics : Why do we obey Christ?

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dann
Member



Joined: 2005/2/16
Posts: 239
Winnipeg, Manitoba Canada

 Why do we obey Christ?

The Lord has blessed my wife and I with three wonderful children (and another one on the way!)

One of my great joys is spending time reading the bible to my children (ages 7, 5, and 2). To be fair, the two year old doesn't get as much out of it as the other two - but that is beside the point - it is still a great joy.

As I was reading from the gospel according to Luke, I came to the parable combo that Jesus tells of the new patch and the old/new garments and the new wine and the old/new wineskins.

As a father, I could tell that the nuances of this parable were not being mined very deeply by my little ones, so we discussed what we thought Jesus was talking about.

I wanted to show from the parable that grace and works do not mix in the way that people sometimes think - so I asked the question of my son, "Why do we obey Christ?" - now, my son gave his life to the Lord two years ago, and on his own began to read the bible (a -real- bible, and not one of those children's picture books). At first he was reading three chapters a day, but this year he opted to double that, and is reading six chapters a day. He reads one book of the bible each month - for instance, this month he is reading 1 Corinthians. That works out better for me, because I don't always have time to discuss everything he is reading with him each and every day - but over the course of a month we find enough time to go over his reading - and at the end of the month he has a pretty good handle on what he has read. I mention this so that it is understood that my son (the seven year old) has a sincere interest in the things of the Lord, and the ensuing conversation wasn't way over his head, but rather the result of a young heart willing to plumb the depths of God.

Anyway, the question we got into was why should a Christian obey Jesus Christ? My daughter, the five year old, bless her heart, is about as free from guile as you can imagine, so her answer was exactly what one would expect - "To get to go to heaven!" My son knew that was wrong, but couldn't articulate why we listen to Jesus, satisfying himself with the answer, "Because I want to please Him!"

So together we examined whether the bible taught us that our obedience was pleasing to God. We looked at the parable found in Luke 17:7-10

Quote:
And which of you, having a servant plowing or tending sheep, will say to him when he has come in from the field, "Come at once and sit down to eat'? But will he not rather say to him, "Prepare something for my supper, and gird yourself and serve me till I have eaten and drunk, and afterward you will eat and drink'? Does he thank that servant because he did the things that were commanded him? I think not. So likewise you, when you have done all those things which you are commanded, say, "We are unprofitable servants. We have done what was our duty to do."'



I explained after looking at this parable, that our obedience is expected and not meritorious. I didn't use the word meritorious of course, but I did show from this parable that while God is certainly displeased when we sin, that it wasn't correct to imagine that obedience is necessarily pleasing to God. To make the point stronger, I took them to Isaiah 64:6a where we read:
Quote:
But we are all like an unclean thing, And all our righteousnesses are like filthy rags;

Here I showed that our own righteousness - that is, the good things we do that we imagine are pleasing to God - are actually considered "unclean" by God - that is, however decent and good our obedience may seem to us, it is not "good enough" to please God.

I took them then to Hebrews 11:6 where we read
Quote:
But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.



Knowing also that Jeremiah 29:13 tells us
Quote:
And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.

I questioned them again - Can we expect to seek God and find him if we seek him with less than our whole heart? The answer was "no" - kids are so easy to teach.

Then I asked them, how does one go about seeking the Lord? Do we wait for him to come to us, or do we go to Him? James 4:8 gave us the answer:
Quote:
Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded.



Likewise, the thought is reinforced by Psalm 15:
Quote:

Lord, who shall abide in thy tabernacle? who shall dwell in thy holy hill? He that walketh uprightly, and worketh righteousness, and speaketh the truth in his heart. He that backbiteth not with his tongue, nor doeth evil to his neighbour, nor taketh up a reproach against his neighbour. In whose eyes a vile person is contemned; but he honoureth them that fear the LORD. He that sweareth to his own hurt, and changeth not. He that putteth not out his money to usury, nor taketh reward against the innocent. He that doeth these things shall never be moved.



I then had enough information to answer the first question. Looking at the verse in James and the fifteenth psalm, we could see that in order to seek the Lord, one had to "obey" the Lord.

I then used an example to illustrate the point - I said, if my older daughter had a dollar, and I wanted it - I might try and "earn" it by doing things that I thought would please her. Perhaps I cleaned her room for her, or made her a special treat - all the while I wasn't doing it because I loved her, but because I wanted her dollar. Likewise, I said, a person can obey the Lord - not because they love God, but because they want God to give them something, and they mistakenly imagine that they can sway God's generosity by their obedience. I showed them that the Christian must not be like this - that our great reward isn't the dollar - it is the person of Jesus Christ, and the path to knowing Christ is through faith in what God says. In this case, God says that we -will- find Him if/when we seek him with all our heart - a search that begins with and depends upon our own personal holiness and obedience.

We obey, I explained, because we want to know and experience God as opposed to just knowing about God. That everything we do will be an act that demonstrates that we are either seeking God Himself, or seeking our own pleasure.

They got it - and I was quite edified to have shared it with them. So much so, that I thought it may be edifying to share it here. My son looked at me afterwards and said, "Dad, how do you get so much out of such a small portion of the bible?" My reply was, that I read the -whole- bible, and that as I know more of the word of God, I see more of the whole picture in every one of it's pieces. It was a great encouragement to the kids.

Dan
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_________________
Daniel van de Laar

 2005/7/13 12:32Profile
JaySaved
Member



Joined: 2005/7/11
Posts: 1131
Kentucky

 Re: Why do we obey Christ?

Thank you for sharing that. I myself get into the mindset of obeying the Lord just to get some reward or blessing.

I must keep reminding myself that I SERVE God. He is Lord of my life and I follow him because he has been so gracious and patient with me.

Thank you again for that word from the Lord.

 2005/7/13 14:22Profile
dann
Member



Joined: 2005/2/16
Posts: 239
Winnipeg, Manitoba Canada

 Re:

Like so many things, we often come to this lesson in a spiral - that is, the last time around we weren't quite as deep into this truth as we are this time, and we are this time not so deep as we will be the next time the Lord brings the truth across our path.

I too am learning this lesson - praise the Lord, for his mercy endures! I marvel and rejoice at out patient and loving heavenly Father!

I am glad to hear that this has been edifying to someone.

Dan
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_________________
Daniel van de Laar

 2005/7/13 16:14Profile
aeryck
Member



Joined: 2005/1/11
Posts: 234
United Kingdom

 Re: Why do we obey Christ?

'And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.'
Jeremiah 29:13

Hi Dann,

Good to see you posting. Whew, you certainly like the long posts. Well, now the above verse probably is one of the verses that motivated me in my prayer life. Seeking in that way is the kind of seeking that really is rewarded, I do testify that as a result I laid hold of the Lord in prayer in ways that were personally satisfying beyond my wildest expectations.

Jesus is alive!

There is so much more that is just not fair to tell, you gotta get some a that.

My youngest made me laugh the one day when our Pastor was questioning Josh who was going to be baptized. He asked Daniel if he heard the Lord, and while Daniel was answering he gave the standard line about reading the Word. Daniel's reply was, 'You have to really listen quietly and you can.' I sat back an roared.

In Jesus,
.A.
:-P


_________________
Eric John Sawyer

 2005/7/13 17:35Profile









 Re: Why do we obey Christ?

Quote:
It was a great encouragement to the kids.

Me too! :-) I was truly edified. Thank you. Bringing up your children to understand these things is a privilege for both them and you.

Just one question arose in my mind when you said
Quote:
In this case, God says that we -will- find Him if/when we seek him with all our heart - a search that begins with [b]and depends upon our own personal holiness and obedience[/b].

... Do we have personal holiness before we have found Him?

 2005/7/13 20:02
dann
Member



Joined: 2005/2/16
Posts: 239
Winnipeg, Manitoba Canada

 Re:

Quote:
Just one question arose in my mind ... Do we have personal holiness before we have found Him?



We often use the term "finding Christ" or "finding God" as a metaphor for our salvation, and I want to be careful here not to mix that metaphor in my reply :-)

You ask if we have personal holiness before we find him - If I understand you correctly, you are asking if it is possible for a Christian to have 'personal holiness' before he or she is mature in their faith.

My answer is 'Yes, it is not only possible, but expected.'

I would qualify that of course, my original post would have been clearer had I said:
Quote:

Dann should have said:
In this case, God says that we -will- find Him if/when we seek him with all our heart - a search that begins with and depends upon our continual and unfeigned pursuit of personal holiness and obedience.



Let me know if that clears it up!


Dan
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_________________
Daniel van de Laar

 2005/7/14 12:26Profile





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