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Summary: Part 13 of a 13 week series Hearing Jesus Again. This message looks at the key to the Christian life which is obedience.

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Jesus On Obedience

Part 13 in series Hearing Jesus Again

Wildwind Community Church

David Flowers

August 16, 2008

In 1887 there was a testimony meeting and evangelistic crusade in Brock¬ton, Mass¬a¬chu¬setts, featuring the famous evangelist D.L. Moody. A young man stood to speak, and it soon be¬came clear he knew lit¬tle Christian doc¬trine. But he fin¬ished by say¬ing, “I’m not quite sure—but I’m go¬ing to trust, and I’m go-ing to obey.” A man named Dan¬iel Town-er, was in that meet¬ing. He jot¬ted down the words “trust and obey” and built a melody around them and then gave them to John Sam¬mis, who then developed the lyric to the popular hymn Trust and Obey.

Trust and obey, for there’s no other way

to be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.

Then in fellowship sweet, we will sit at his feet, or we’ll walk by his side in the way; what he says we will do, where he sends we will go; never fear, only trust and obey.

Trust and obey, for there’s no other way

to be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.

Isn’t that what it’s all about? We can come here to church week after week and listen to sermon after sermon, share story after story, sing song after song. But when it’s all said and done, what must we do when we walk outta here? We must trust God, and we must obey him.

Obedience. Obedience is passé in our time. Obedience is not often talked about. The notion of obedience to God in our culture, is in fact kind of frowned upon. Because the popular idea of God is that God only wants what you want. That God only wants you to feel good, and that God only wants you to be happy and feel good in whatever ways you choose. It is not at all a popular belief that we are to come at this from the other end, asking the question, “What does GOD want from me. How does GOD define happiness and wealth and success, and how can I be happy and wealthy and successful according to God’s standards? Many people today are hooked on spiritual pornography. Know what I mean? Spiritual pornography – using God, using faith, using religion, to gratify themselves, only seeing value in it to whatever extent it makes them feel good, or inspires them, or gives them peace about the afterlife. We’re living in one of the most spiritual times in history. People are open to spirituality, to notions about the spirit realm. More people today will tell you they are “spiritual” than perhaps in any other age. But the idea of obedience is not part of it. Squishy spirituality, spiritual pornography does not feature men and women and children acknowledging a sovereign, living God who is the rock, the truth, the anvil, the standard for all value and all worth, and then laying down on that anvil and allowing this Sovereign and powerful God, through trials and testing, to hammer us into his image as we trust him and obey him.

Obedience is the key to the Christian life.

We do not sing:

Trust and obey, it is optional I say –

To be happy in Jesus –

Just go your own way.

And at the end of the day

Everything will be okay

No. The most distinguishing aspect of Christ-followers is that they are following Christ. Christ-followers are most wrong when they are not following Christ.

Today we bring to a close our series on the Sermon on the Mount. It is my hope that in these weeks you have been challenged, provoked, moved, stirred, and encouraged. Most of all, I hope you have heard Jesus in a new way – understood more clearly than ever before the kind of life he has called you to. And we wrap up our series (week 13) with the linchpin – the most important thing you must do. As we have said, in Christ’s Sermon on the Mount, one thing builds upon the thing before it. That has held true all the way through Christ’s sermon, and this is no different. Any good sermon will end with an emphasis on the most important thing – the thing the speaker most wants you to remember. And so Jesus brings to a close his Sermon on the Mount with what matters most in following him, with four illustrations on obedience. I will treat each one separately tonight.

Matthew 7:13-14 (NIV)

13 "Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it.

14 But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.

This series is called Hearing Jesus Again, and what I mean by that is considering that maybe what we have heard before may not be correct, or at least that there may be more to it. Typically when this passage has been taught about in the church, it is assumed that the narrow gate is doctrinal correctness. In other words, the narrow gate would consist of things like believing in the death and resurrection of Jesus, understanding Christ’s atonement for our sins, and perhaps having “correct” views on issues like baptism, “eternal security,” Calvinism, and things of that nature. If you didn’t understand any of what I just said, you are probably no worse for it, so that’s okay. But this is what is usually taught. The narrow gate is considered to be doctrinal correctness – having all the right views about all the right things.

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