Summary: Three steps to willing obedience

“A young boy was about 12 years old when a new preacher came to his church. I

would always go in late and slip out early. But one day the preacher said the

benediction so fast I got caught and had to walk out with the crowd. I could

feel every eye in church on me. Just about the time I got to the door I felt a

big hand on my shoulder. I looked up and the preacher was looking right at me.

“Who are you, son? Whose boy are you?’

I felt the old weight come on me. It was like a big black cloud. Even the

preacher was putting me down.

But as he looked down at me, studying my face, he began to smile a big smile of

recognition. “Wait a minute,” he said, “I know who you are. I see the family

resemblance. You are a child of God.”

With that he slapped me across the rump and said, “Boy you’ve got a great

inheritance. Go and claim it.” Ben Hooper would later say “That was the most

important single sentence ever said to me.” Ben Hooper would one day be elected and re-elected Governor of Tennessee. Jamie Buckingham, Power for Living.


If you take out the trash, you can go to your friends house!

God treats his believers similar to the way a father treats his son: both want

the son to obey from the heart. Both want the son to learn lessons. God does not

force us to obey; we have a will and God wants us to love and obey Him from the

heart. If God forced us to love and worship Him, it would not be love, nor would

the worship mean anything.



“Receive My words” (verse 1). This (“receive My words”) means we must “yield”

and submit to our Father/God.

We must first surrender our selfish way and learn to deny our selfish inclination.

When a soldier surrenders, he stops fighting.

In the wars between Athens and Sparta, Athens always had the larger number of

soldiers, and Sparta always had well-trained soldiers. We get the word “Spartan”

from those who are disciplined, devoted and deny self. When the Athenians had

them surrounded, they sent a note, asking for their surrender. “If we capture

your city, we will burn your homes, rape your women, and destroy everyone of


The captain of the Spartans got the note and read it to his men. It was the best

prep talk for soldiers to make them fight. Then the captain of the Spartans sent

back another note to the Athenians with just one word . . . “IF.” God sends us a

note, “IF you will receive my words . . .”


“Apply thine heart to understanding” (verse 2). This word “apply” means to


It is not enough to receive God’s Word, we must turn towards God’s Word.

When someone speaks to you, do you keep walking, or do you stop and face them? It is the polite thing to turn and face the person that’s talking to you.

After you take STEP 1 to receive God’s Word, you must take STEP 2 and face God’s Word and listen to it.


The Hebrew word apply means “to bend.” Today, many people bend the Word of God to their lifestyle, but the opposite must happen. We must bend our lifestyle to

the Word of God.


After we meet God’s conditions, we will get “understanding,” “knowledge,” and

“wisdom.” There are many great things that happen to a new Christian: his sins

are forgiven, he goes to Heaven, he gets a new nature, etc. but in this proverb,

God promises to give the new believer wisdom on how to live.

“He laith up sound wisdom.” The words “to lay up” in verse 7 is the same word to

hide in verse 4. In verse 4 God hides His wisdom. He doesn’t force it upon

anyone. However, those who seek His wisdom, will find it” (verse 7).

If two students sit in the same class and hear the same lectures, and read the

same assignments, but one learns more than the other . . . why? The one who

wants to learn is the one who benefits most from school. When a student is made

to sit in class, and made to read the assignment, but doesn’t want to learn;

that student won’t learn.


“God preserves the way of His saints” (verse 8). The word saint in the New

Testament means “Holy One,” those who are set apart to God as holy, because God has given them His nature and imputed to them His righteousness. But in the Old Testament, this word saint means “Favored One.” When you were a saint in the Old Testament, God looked after you, blessed you in the land of Israel and showered His favors upon you. The message is clear, if you obey the words of God, you become His favored one and He will shower His blessings on you.

WHEN . . . WHAT WILL HAPPEN TO US (verses 10-22).

Christian conversion involves the total person.

First, God wants you to KNOW that He is God, to KNOW that they are sinners, to KNOW that Christ has died for them.

Knowledge is not enough to save you, but you can’t get saved without knowledge.

Second, Christian conversion involves FEELING. We must FEEL guilt for our sin, we must FEEL sorrow for our sin, and we must FEEL love for God.

Emotions never saved anyone but you can’t get saved without emotions.

Third, Christian conversion involves the WILL.

We must change what we want to what He wants!