Summary: This sermon focuses on the topic of OBEDIENCE - I. Obedience - A Present Experience II. Obedience - Empowered through Our Daily Walk With God III. Obedience - Transformational
Title: The Sweet Path of Obedience
This sermon focuses on the topic of OBEDIENCE - I. Obedience - A Present Experience II. Obedience is Empowered through Our Daily Walk With God III. Obedience is Transformational
Grace and peace from God our Father and from His Son - King Jesus - Our Savior and LORD who came to take away the sin(s) of the world.
Have you ever gotten tangled up in a spider's web? It is usually not a pleasant experience. Lately, around our house the spiders have been quite busy doing their best to spin their webs and catch their prey. The other day Rebekah was walking across the porch when all of a suddenly she found herself going through a spider's web.
What do you do that happens?
Immediately, you put up your hands to try to get it out of your face. Then you do your best to make sure that you don't have any dead bugs on you. Finally, you want to make sure that you didn't pick up a passenger that can bite you - the spider. After all, no one wants to go around the rest of the day feeling a spider crawl around on their skin.
Spiders are interesting little creatures. Their ability to spin webs and catch their food is amazing. There is even something beautiful about seeing a spider's web with some dew hanging on it early in the morning. That is, as long as it doesn't end up on your face.
Father Raniero Cantalamessa of Italy ( who works in dialogue between the Catholic Church and the Pentecostal Churches) in a recent sermon describes the method that most spiders use when they spin their webs:
"Descending from the top by this thread it produces, the spider constructs a web that is perfect and taut at every corner. Once the spider's work is finished, this center thread used to construct the web is not removed but remains in place. In fact, the center thread is what holds together all the spider's weaving; without it everything collapses. If one of the lateral (sideways) threads break ( I - Cantalamessa - tested this once), the spider rushes to quickly repair his web, but if that center thread from on high is broken, then the spider moves on because nothing more can be done."
Of all the different threads in a spider's web, the center line (or thread) is the one that is essential. It is absolutely fundamental. Everything hinges on that one center line (or thread) that begins and sustains the whole web.
In all of our passages this morning there is the presence of a clear and distinct center thread - a thread that holds everything together for us as followers of Jesus and for the Kingdom of God as a whole. If you noticed, two of those passages of scripture appear in the first book of God's Word and in the last book of God's Word. All three deal with a fundamental thread that runs throughout God's Word - the Thread of Obedience.
There is nothing more important in Paradise, Paradise Lost and Paradise Anew than this central thread (theme) of obedience. Obedience is the foundation of creation. Obedience is the foundation of faith, humility and love. Obedience is the foundation of listening. Obedience is the foundation that supports and sustains all those different strands. In the life and existence of humankind, to obey is the one necessary thing. Obedience is the gateway of access to God, to the Tree of Life and to the Favor and Blessings of God.
In our story this morning, Jesus obeys His Heavenly Father, the disciples obey Jesus and the crowd obey both Jesus and the disciples. The crowds obey the leading of the Holy Spirit as they were drawn to spend some time with Jesus. We know from Mark's Gospel that they had walked for miles to get this opportunity hear Jesus' preach and teach. Jesus obeys the Father by sharing the Good News of the Kingdom of Heaven. The disciples obey Jesus as they organize the people, pass out the food and gather up the leftovers. The central thread in this story is as it is throughout the whole Bible - the thread of Obedience.
OBEDIENCE - it is such a simple yet compound word. It is such a plain and yet multifaceted idea. Scientist, medical doctors, psychologist, sociologists, military officers and theologians all tell us that in some form or fashion obedience is necessary.
-It is necessary for a body - all the organs must work towards a set direction in order to sustain a healthy life.
-It is necessary for an army to learn and practice obedience to be successful on and off the battle field.