Summary: If we want to learn to pray, we must learn to obey. If we want to pray well, we must obey well. If we want to become prayer warriors, we must become obedient children.
Discuss this sermon at http://prayerkeys.blog.com/obedience
“[We] receive from him anything we ask, because we obey his commands and do what pleases him,” 1 John 3:22.
Not just once again, but twice again I was reminded last Sunday that God’s timing is remarkable. When he is ready to emphasize a lesson, he will emphasize it.
Sunday night, after the excellent children’s musical, I heard about this missionary’s work, about how the girls they rescue from red light districts in India mean fewer servants for the mafia in India, and about how the mafia is now upset with them. The timing of that testimony and the presentation she will give this evening was remarkable because last Wednesday night, for a few moments, we talked about the persecuted church and how we need to pray for them. That should be high on our prayer time tonight, also. She will speak in the second half of tonight’s service, which will give us specific things to pray about.
I was reminded twice last Sunday that God’s timing is remarkable. When he wants to emphasize a lesson, God will emphasize it. In his series on faith, Bro. Jim was preaching on the passage from Hebrews that “by faith, the walls of Jericho fell.” He then went to that event Joshua 5-6. I’m not going to re-preach his sermon, but I am going to remind you of one incident he described.
God’s people, with an army of maybe a million men, were to march around the city each morning silently, no orders were to be given, no questions were to be asked, no side comments were to be made. And they obeyed.
After the service, I told him that the prayer key for tonight is “Obedience.” “[We] receive from him anything we ask, because we obey his commands and do what pleases him,” I John 3:22. Obeying his commands includes other prayer keys we have discussed, like praying according to his will and praying in the Spirit, praying as the Spirit leads us to pray. But obedience is not limited to these things.
Andrew Murray wrote that, “Obedience and faith are simply two parts of one act - surrender to God...”
Faith leads to obedience. Obedience strengthens faith. Faith leads to obedience. Obedience strengthens faith. It is a blessed cycle that should characterize Christians. All too often, I allow the cycle to break down in my life. It is still a blessed cycle. Faith leads to obedience. Obedience strengthens faith. Faith leads to obedience. Obedience strengthens faith.
The importance of obedience cannot be overestimated.
In Acts 8, Phillip is experiencing a revival in Samaria when the Holy Spirit tells him to get up and go. He gets up and goes. He eventually sees the Ethiopian’s chariot going south from Jerusalem. The Spirit says, "Go to that chariot." He runs to the chariot. You know the rest. You know that Phillip leads the Ethiopian to Christ. But think for a moment how that happens.
I don’t know where the road from Samaria meets the desert road from Jerusalem to Gaza. In my mind, I see the road from Samaria and the desert road from Jerusalem forming a “Y.” Phillip is coming down one branch while the Ethiopian is already at or past the intersection. The Spirit says, "Go to that chariot." He has to run to catch the chariot.