PRINCIPLES OF CHANGE: OBEYING THE LORD PART 1

INTRODUCTION

THE CHRISTIAN LIFE IS MEANT TO BE A LIFE-CHANGING EXPERIENCE. Romans 8:29 tells us that we were predestinated—that is, long before we were even conceived or born, God chose us to be His children. And when He chose us to be His children He decided that we all should look like Christ. For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.

Jesus, in essence, tells us the same thing in Matthew 10:24-25, The disciple is not above his master, neither the servant above his lord. {25} It is enough for the disciple that he be as his master, and the servant as his lord. In other words, the Christian life is all about growing and becoming more and more like Christ. THE LONGER WE LIVE THE MORE WE SHOULD BECOME LIKE CHRIST.

God, brethren, doesn’t want us to be the same ole person we’ve always been. Several months or years from now we’re not supposed to be the same person that we are today. I pray that all of us here today can honestly say that many areas of our life have been changed in the years since we first became a Christian.

Chances are, however, there are still one, two, or a handful of  areas  in  our Christian life that have defied change. I’m talking about the nagging habits, the addictions, weaknesses, flaws, imperfections, the sin that we’ve kept hidden in the deepest, darkest recesses of our heart, that have heretofore dodged our half-hearted efforts at self-remediation or improvement. Even after all these years, there are still some aspects of our mindset, personality, emotions, behavior, lifestyle, and conduct that have remained unchanged.

THE PRINCIPLE

So how do we change what needs to be changed? WE MUST DIE OUT AND OBEY GOD’S WORD. In the words of James 1:22, we must not only be hearers of the Word, but doers also. Brethren, in order for us to change   we  must listen to the voice of God speaking to us, showing us what to do. And once He shows us what to do, we need to die out to our own desires, will, or way; and give heed to God’s Word. We need to obey God. CHANGE REQUIRES OBEDIENCE.

Hearing the Word and hearing good, convicting sermons is good. But it’s not good enough! HEARING ALONE CANNOT AND WILL NOT CHANGE US. KNOWLEDGE ALONE CANNOT CHANGE US. THE CHANGE IN US COMES WHEN WE APPLY THE WORD TO OUR LIFE AND PUT IT INTO PRACTICE.

It’s like having a table, refrigerator, or pantry full of food. The food doesn’t do you any good if you don’t eat it. In like manner, hearing, having, and knowing the Word doesn’t change us until we eat the Word—that is, get it in our heart, take it to heart—and start putting that Word into practice.

THE WORD HEARD AND OBEYED CHANGES US. THE WORD UNOBEYED LEAVES US UNCHANGED. Brethren, could it be that the reason why we haven’t changed some areas of our life is because we’ve not obeyed the Word? Without obedience, we cannot, we will not, change.

NOW, AS WE KNOW ALL TOO WELL IN SO MANY INSTANCES OF LIFE, OBEDIENCE REQUIRES SELF-CRUCIFIXION. Why is that? Because THE FLESH WILL NEVER CHOOSE TO OBEY GOD. WE NEED TO CRUCIFY OUR SELFISH INTERESTS AND DESIRES IN ORDER TO OBEY GOD.

This, brethren, is the principle. Now let’s look at how this principle changed a real life person in the Bible.

BIBLE TEXT AND BACKGROUND

Jesus has chosen twelve men to be His apostles,Luke 6:12-16. He is greeted and surrounded by a whole multitude of people—many of whom were healed and set free from demonic oppression,Luke 6:17-19. Beginning with verse 20 Jesus preaches what has come to be known as His sermon on the mount. Among the many themes that He touches on is the need for His disciples to love their enemies, verses 27-36.

But I say unto you which hear, Love your enemies, do good to them which hate you, {28} Bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you. {29} And unto him that smiteth thee on the one cheek offer also the other; and him that taketh away thy cloak forbid not to take thy coat also. {30} Give to every man that asketh of thee; and of him that taketh away thy goods ask them not again. {31} And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise. {32} For if ye love them which love you, what thank have ye? for sinners also love those that love them. {33} And if ye do good to them which do good to you, what thank have ye? for sinners also do even the same. {34} And if ye lend to them of whom ye hope to receive, what thank have ye? for sinners also lend to sinners, to receive as much again. {35} But love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest: for he is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil. {36} Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful (Luke 6:27-36).

This Word of love was a very radical and unheard of approach to the treatment of one’s enemy. But Jesus nonetheless insists that all those who follow Him must be loving, forgiving, non-resistant, and kind towards their enemies.  He  closes  His  sermon with the now-familiar analogy of hearing and doing the Word.

And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say? {47} Whosoever cometh to me, and heareth my sayings, and doeth them, I will show you to whom he is like: {48} He is like a man which built an house, and digged deep, and laid the foundation on a rock: and when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently upon that house, and could not shake it: for it was founded upon a rock. {49} But he that heareth, and doeth not, is like a man that without a foundation built an house upon the earth; against which the stream did beat vehemently, and immediately it fell; and the ruin of that house was great (Luke 6:46-49).

Having finished His sermon on the mount, Jesus goes back to Capernaum. He is greeted by a delegation of Jewish officials who petitioned Jesus on behalf of a Roman centurion. The story is recorded inLuke 7:1-10, but I would like to read Matthew’s rendition of this encounter between Jesus and the Roman centurion.

And when Jesus was entered into Capernaum, there came unto him a centurion, beseeching him, {6} And saying, Lord, my servant lieth at home sick of the palsy, grievously tormented. {7} And Jesus saith unto him, I will come and heal him. {8} The centurion answered and said, Lord, I am not worthy that thou shouldest come under my roof: but speak the word only, and my servant shall be healed. {9} For I am a man under authority, having soldiers under me: and I say to this man, Go, and he goeth; and to another, Come, and he cometh; and to my servant, Do this, and he doeth it. {10} When Jesus heard it, he marvelled, and said to them that followed, Verily I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel…{13} And Jesus said unto the centurion, Go thy way; and as thou hast believed, so be it done unto thee. And his servant was healed in the selfsame hour (Matthew 8:5-13).

Coming Up On My Next Blog Post, Part 2. I’ll look at how obedience changed the life of Simon Zelotes. Stay tuned. I guarantee it’ll blow you away.

2 Comments

  1. May 16, 2011 at 2:34 PM

    I always enjoy your posts, Gaylord! I have missed you dearly in church. My prayers are with you and your family.

    • gaylorddiaz said,

      May 17, 2011 at 7:28 AM

      Thank you Jamie. It’s my great privilege & honor to share with others the many things God has taught me. We miss you too and pray God’s manifold blessings upon you, your family, and your businesses.


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