Summary: "As a bagpiper, I play many gigs. Recently I was asked by a funeral director to play at a graveside service for a homeless man. He had no family or friends, so the service was to be at a pauper's cemetery in the Saskatchewan back country.
"As a bagpiper, I play many gigs. Recently I was asked by a funeral director to play at a graveside service for a homeless man. He had no family or friends, so the service was to be at a pauper's cemetery in the Saskatchewan back country.
As I was not familiar with the backwoods, I got lost and, being a typical man, I didn't stop for directions.
I finally arrived an hour late and saw the funeral guy had evidently gone and the hearse was nowhere in sight. There were only the diggers and crew left and they were eating lunch.
I felt badly and apologized to the men for being late. I went to the side of the grave and looked down and the vault lid was already in place. I didn't know what else to do, so I started to play.
The workers put down their lunches and began to gather around. I played out my heart and soul for this man with no family and friends. I played like I've never played before for this homeless man.
And as I played 'Amazing Grace,' the workers began to weep. They wept, I wept, we all wept together.
When I finished I packed up my bagpipes and started for my car. Though my head hung low, my heart was full.
As I opened the door to my car, I heard one of the workers say, "I never seen nothin' like that before and I've been putting in septic tanks for twenty years."
Sometimes we succeed at things in life only to find that we’ve arrived at the wrong place, at the wrong time, and we’ve really made a big blunder.
In The Christian life, we can worship with a full heart, come to church on Sundays, maybe even show up early for Bible study, but when it really comes down to it, we aren’t too concerned with God and his instructions for how we ought to live.
This is where the rubber meets the road: obedience. We must obey God, rather than men. This is it. Are we really gonna do it or are we full of it? This is the test. We’re called to have faith in God, and we’re called to love God with all we have. But what does it mean to actually love God? Is it a feeling? Yes, but it’s much more than a feeling. Love is a command.
The scriptures seem to indicate again and again, especially in the gospel of John, 1st John and 2nd John that love is closely related to obedience. How can you tell someone really loves you? He respects you. He listens to you. How can you tell your children have been raised well? They listen to you. They obey you. It’s the same with God.
So much so that when Jesus describes the day of the Lord, he says that to those who were obedient he will say, “Well done good and faithful servant.” But to those who did not obey his commands, and live like he lived he will say,” I never knew you, depart from me you workers of lawlessness.”
So today, I don’t want to get into anything too fancy. We’re going to dig into God’s word regarding five themes of obedience:
1. Obedience to His Commands as Love
2. Living like Jesus – love and mercy
3. Living Holy – avoiding sinful behavior
4. Carrying my Cross
5. Living to Serve – gathering fruit for eternal life
"Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and everyone who loves the father loves his child as well. This is how we know that we love the children of God: by loving God and carrying out his commands. In fact, this is love for God: to keep his commands. And his commands are not burdensome, for everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world? Only the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God." -1st John 5:1-5
I think it’s absolutely fascinating that this scripture says “This is love for God: to keep his commands.” We assume love is a feeling. But love in the idea of agape love for God is obeying his commands.
This message is a call to action today. I want to call the body of Christ to be obedient to God. Obedience is the difference between false converts and true followers.
We can’t work our way to heaven. We have Jesus for our need. But our response is vital. Faith without works is dead.