Summary: Obedience is inherit in the relationship of man (as a created being) with God, the Creator. The New Covenant does not do away with the need for obedience to God. In fact, it supply the strength to live that way. Heaven will be a place of obedience to God.
The most important issue in your life right now is your obedience to God.i Every problem you face is in some way related to this issue. Every solution in your life is ultimately found in obedience to God. My subject today is the power of obedience. Obedience opens to you the infinite wisdom of God. You don’t have to know all the ins and outs of your problem. All you need to know is what a loving, omniscient, Heavenly Father tells you to do about it. God has made life simpler than we make it. We analyze, theorize, and agonize trying to figure out what to do, when all we really have to do is hear His voice and do what He tells us to do. That takes faith because it takes us out of the driver’s seat, and we have to trust the wisdom and love of God for the outcome.
There is only one thing God backs up, obedience. Obedience is better than sacrifice.ii Obedience is better than religious activities. Obedience opens the resources of heaven. Nothing else will.
To understand the power of obedience we need to first understand:
I. Obedience is the designed relationship of man to God.
God did not design man to act alone without His divine guidance and care. If an automobile is going to function effectively you have to use it according to its design. Combustible engines are designed to run on gasoline. The power train in your car is dependent upon gasoline being in the tank. If there is no gasoline, you can crank the engine over and over and over and it will not start. You can get mad and scream at it and it still won’t go. The only way that car is going to function is if you operate it the way it’s designed to work.
God designed human beings to work in relationship with Him. That relationship is one in which the creature submits and obeys the Creator; and the Creator protects and provides for the creature. By design man is dependent upon God. There is only one source of life and that is God. Man cannot produce life independent of God. The way people thrive is to draw upon God’s life and that happens as they submit to Him and obey Him. Man is ontologicallyiii dependent on God. This is why obedience is not an issue of which covenant relationship a person has with God. Regardless of all else, man is designed to submit and obey God. He cannot function successfully any other way.
The electrical system in your home does a lot of amazing things. It runs your refrigerator so that your food does not spoil. It runs the fan that delivers heat in the winter and air conditioning in the summer. It makes your computer work. Our electric oven provides a way to cook our food. Our TV is electrical. And at night it is very nice to flip a switch and suddenly there is light in the room. All of that is dependent upon a connection that runs from my house to the utility poll behind my house. Without that connection nothing works. All the wonderful electrical devises in my home are dependent upon the power center at City Utilities where the generators are. If I am unwilling to plug into that power source, none of the potential benefits in my home will work.
God created man to benefit from His infinite resource of love, wisdom, and power.iv It only happens in the context of obedience. Obedience is absolutely essential.
When God created Adam He placed him in a perfect paradise. The Garden of Eden was a perfect environment for Adam to enjoy. The one thing that Adam was required to do was to simply obey God. God provided all the rest. So in Gen 2:16 God gave Adam a command, “Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; 17 but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die."v I want you to notice the relationship God has with Adam: God has the right to command; Adam has the responsibility to obey. This was before man had ever committed even one sin. It was long before God gave the Law to Moses. It was the Creator/creature relationship inherent in the way man was to operate.
What was the one thing that worked havoc in Adam’s life? It was his disobedience to God’s command. Adam was designed to reflect God’s glory through his obedience to God. Adam was designed to receive God’s provision through his submission to God. From the beginning obedience was required.
When God was about to destroy the world with a flood, the survival of the race depended upon one thing: a man’s obedience to God’s command. God told Noah to build an ark. He gave him specific instruction on how the ark was to be made. And the Bible says Noah did exactly what God told him to do. Twice we are told that Noah did “all” that God commanded him to do.vi Obedience is a central theme in the story.