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Are You Leading People To Obedience To Christ?
"The design of the gospel is to bring people to be obedient; it is not only a truth to be believed, but a law to be obeyed." - Matthew Henry
"The gospel is revealed, not to be talked of and disputed about, but to be submitted to."
"Believing the truths of the gospel is in order to our obeying the precepts of the gospel: there must be the obedience of faith."
"The gospel is given us not only to be known and believed, but to be obeyed. It is not a system of notions, but a rule of practice."
- all of the above quotes are from Matthew Henry
When you witness to someone and then have the opportunity to pray with this individual to receive Christ as his Lord and Savior, do you then emphasize obedience to him? Why or why not?
Just how important is obedience in the Christian walk?
Let's examine some Scriptures and see how often it is emphasized by the Apostle Paul, Luke, and even the Lord Jesus -
Romans 1:5 says - "By whom we have received grace and apostleship, for obedience to the faith among all nations, for His name."
Romans 6:17 says - "But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you."
Romans 15:18 says - "For I will not dare to speak of any of those things which Christ hath not wrought by me, to make the Gentiles obedient, by word and deed."
Romans 16:19 says - "For your obedience is come abroad unto all men..."
Romans 16:26 says - "But now is made manifest, and by the scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, made known to all nations for the obedience of faith."
Acts 6:7 says - "And the word of God increased; and the number of the disciples multiplied in Jerusalem greatly; and a great company of the priests were obedient to the faith."
2 Corinthians 7:15 says - "And his inward affection is more abundant toward you, whilst he remembereth the obedience of you all, how with fear and trembling ye received him."
Let's break it down a little further. What Paul was saying was that obedience was the fruit of saving faith. Faith in Christ was the mother of all true and acceptable obedience. Obedience was a necessary consequence of genuine faith. And the grace of faith was always attended with evangelical obedience.
In the early church, there were found obedient believers - not recognized believers - as we have today.
Paul gave God the praise for all the believers who yielded to the Gospel message and - in turn - allowed themselves to be cast into its mould or let it stamp its own impress upon them by their obedience.
He was called to reach the Gentiles for Jesus. He knew that he must bring them to obedience to Christ. The way he did this was through the power of the Holy Spirit and mighty signs and wonders following his preaching. This kind of ministry brought forth "the obedience of faith" - the right kind of faith that produces the right kind of obedience.
The Book of Acts relates how "a great company of priests" - who happened to be some of the greatest opposers to the Gospel - "were obedient to the faith." This proves that it doesn't matter how hardened the sinner may be - they can and will come to "the obedience of faith" when the right atmosphere is set - when the power of the Spirit and signs and wonders are evidently in operation.
What were the Lord Jesus' last instructions to the church before He ascended to His Father? They can be found in Matthew 28:18-20 -
"And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto Me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen."
What He pressed upon His disciples was the fact that they should teach, train, and make disciples of everyone they met - stressing the necessity of obedience - while teaching them to obey everything that He commanded them.
There is much talk about "Faith" in the land today. It is usually spoken of in the context of getting more money or having one's desires or dreams to be fulfilled.
But who is emphasizing the faith which leads to obedience to Jesus?
This is the kind of "faith" which saving grace produces. When one is Born Again, his faith will automatically lead him into an obedient walk - that is, if he has the right kind of faith - the genuine faith which is the mother of all obedience to God.
How important is obedience in the Christian's walk?
It was so important that Paul made it the major design of His apostleship and Gospel preaching. He was after one thing in his listeners - he wanted to bring them to obedience to Christ.
In Romans 10:16, he described all those who heard the Gospel message but did not heed it as - "But they have not all obeyed the gospel..."
The Apostle Peter asked this question concerning those who would refuse to obey - "For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?"(1 Peter 4:17).
Then, in 2 Thessalonians 1:7-8, Paul depicted the judgment that would come to all those who didn't embrace the Gospel...refused to practice its precepts in their lives...or obey it as a rule of life - "And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with His mighty angels, In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ."
God requires obedience from all those who claim to be His own.
Is your preaching, teaching, and witnessing geared toward this end? Are you stressing to your new converts a life of absolute obedience? Do you tell people that only the faith which leads to obedience to God's Word is the genuine, saving kind?
Are you - like the Apostle Paul - making people obedient through the power of the Spirit and signs and wonders following your preaching and teaching?
We close with our opening quote from Pastor Henry - "The design of the gospel is to bring people to be obedient; it is not only a truth to be believed, but a law to be obeyed."
Could our lack of proper emphasis be the reason why so many today are "talking the talk" and not "walking the walk"?
Who - from this day forward - will be bold enough to preach the Gospel the right way - emphasizing obedience as a necessity?
May God Bless His Word.