Summary: This sermon is a call for obedience and to be aware of envy and jealousy in our lives.
Do What God Tells You To Do
Has anybody here ever gotten into trouble because you decided to change the rules on your own, because you thought you had a better way of doing things? How many of you have ever had to explain to your parents why you did not do exactly what they told you to do? Is there anyone here who if they could go back and do it over again, they would do exactly what they were told to do the first time.
Now there are many reasons we do not follow the rules. Sometimes we do not like the rule. Sometimes we do not like where the rules have placed us. Sometimes we are afraid to follow the rules. Sometimes we think that we can get by without keeping the rules.
Let’s meet John. John really needed a job. His friend Jeff owned a business, and John begged him to hire him. His friend said “okay, but expect to be treated like all the other employees. “John said no problem, “I’m cool.” It was not long before John, was coming in late. John was missing days. John was taking longer breaks.
The other workers told him,” man you better get it together or you will get fired.” John’s response was, “hey I’m cool with the boss. He and I are friends, and we go way back.” That same day Jeff called John into the office. He told him John, I really like as a friend, but you’ve taken advantage of my friendship. Your work has been terrible, you’re fired.” John said, “But I need this job.” Jeff said, “Funny thing is, you never acted that way.”
What was it that John lacked in the position other than he had poor work habits. He lacked a healthy fear or respect for the position his friend had over him. He thought he was really in charge of the circumstances on the job. You know God has called us to work in His kingdom. Many of us have thought of God as a friend, a buddy, a pal, someone to get us out of jail or trouble.
We have reduced God to the Big Guy, the Man Upstairs, the Higher Power. God is there for us at our beckoning call. Somehow we have misplaced and forgotten that verse that says, “Proverbs 1:7The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and discipline. We need a healthy dose of the fear of God.
Jesus talks to us more about the love of the Father than anyone else in the Bible, and yet even Jesus reminds us that God is awesome, powerful, and to be respected and feared. Jesus said in Luke 12:5 “But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear him who, after the killing of the body, has power to throw you into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him.” Why did Jesus have to tell us this? Because if you’re anything at all like me, I tend to forget that ultimately God is in control, and God can change my plans in an instant. I only look like I’m in charge, because God allows it.
In our Scripture reading, we saw a couple who wanted to love God, but did not want to fear God. They thought they could lie about their giving. They claimed to be giving all of the profit they had made off the sale of a piece of property, when in fact they had skimmed some off for themselves. If they had of just said, we’re giving 75%, that would have been cool with God. But it would not have been as impressive to those around them, so they lied.
God struck both of them dead that day about two hours apart in the church. They came at different times and told the same lie. When it happened, great fear fell upon the whole church. They would have had much longer lives if they had of just did what God told them to do, which was to be honest in their giving. So often we choose to impress others, rather than to fear God.
In our Old Testament Reading, God had used Moses and led the people right to the border of the promised land. God told them to follow Moses and go take it. But there were a group of people who said, “no way can we go and take it. The people in it are too strong. We will be wiped out by them. It will be a suicide mission.” These were the same people whom God had delivered out of the most powerful nation on earth, the same people who saw God split the Red Sea for them to walk through, and the same people who saw God destroy the entire Egyptian army.