Summary: obedience to God is more than just doing

What do you look for in obedience? What do you see?

Text: Mt. 22:34-40


1. “Good teacher what must I do to get eternal life?”

2. This question reflects the thinking of many when it comes to considering obedience to God

3. Obedience is when a command is issued and effort is made to carry it out; you do what you’re told


A. I’m obedient, I’m good if/when I:

Pay my taxes, vote

I’m polite to others

I go to church

I contribute

Sing, pray, try not to go to sleep during the sermon

Etc. etc. etc.

If I can check 75-80% I’m good

“I’ll do my best and God will cover the rest”

The thinking is: “I’ve done my duty, fulfilled my obligation

B. What’s wrong with this picture?

1. it is external, superficial; all this can be done with no

engagement of the heart

2. it is also a mindset of “I can do it myself” thus there is no

real need for God or the sacrifice of Jesus.

3. Ultimately is guts the heart and soul of Christianity and

nurtures the opinion of many that the church is full of



A. God had given Saul instructions to destroy the Amalekites

15:2-3—do not spare any, totally destroy everything

B. Saul attacked and destroyed all—but the animals

C. Samuel, God’s prophet confronted Saul 15:13ff

1. Saul joyously said—I’ve carried out the Lord’s instructions

2. What is this sound of sheep and cattle I hear?

3. the soldiers brought back the animals but we totally

destroyed all the rest

4. Samuel asks: why didn’t you obey?

5. I did, I destroyed everything the soldiers brought back the

animals in order to sacrifice them to the Lord your God at


a. Notice: I obeyed—to a point, i.e. partially, mostly…

b. I disobeyed for a higher purpose—to sacrifice to God

c. the truth emerges later: v. 24—I was afraid of the people

D. Samuel’s famous response, v. 22 obedience is better than


E. Obedience is more than just “doing” it is a heart that is aligned

with God and his purpose and his reasons

1. When Samuel told Saul his kingdom was being taken away,

he was then told it was being given to one better than him

2. when Samuel went to anoint David, God told Samuel he

looks at the heart of man

3. We can very clearly see that Saul’s heart was not right with



A. He is asked what is the greatest command Mt. 22:34-40

1. a lawyer wanted to test Jesus

2. he wanted to catch Jesus in the categorizing of obedience

i.e. “doing what is most important”

B. Jesus responded “love God with all your heart…..”

1. Jesus returns to the Shema of Deut. 6:4-5

2. The core, the foundation of relationship with God is the love

for God with the whole being, not just outward action

3. “love” here has nothing to do with emotion, but rather

covenant loyalty and obedience—from the inside out

4. Very much like Paul in Rom. 12:2—offer your bodies as a

living sacrifice to God…

C. Jesus tells his disciples this very thing:

Jn. 14:15: if you love me, you will obey my commandments

Jn. 15:12: my command is this: love each other as I have

loved you

D. Obedience in God’s eyes is doing the right things for the right

reasons, it is a lifestyle of walking with God

1. Rom. 6:4—walk in newness of life, a life restored with God

through the forgiveness found in the cross of Jesus

2. Eph. 2:10—walk in doing good works that God has created

us to do.

3. Eph. 5:2--walk in love, just as Christ loved us and gave

himself up for us.

4. Col. 4:5—walk in wisdom

5. Eph. 4:1—walk worthy of the calling you’ve received

6. Col. 2:6—just as you have received Christ Jesus as Lord,

continue to live/walk in him, rooted and built up in him…

E. Jesus mentions this later when talking about judgment, Mt. 25

If you’ve ministered to the least of these, you’ve ministered to


F. Loving one another is obedience to God because it reflects the

very nature and essence of God –God is love

1. it is this very love with which he loves us and prompts his

actions toward us.

2. As we do the same, we show our love for and obedience to


3. God moved toward you; he pursued and still pursues you

4. John later presents the obvious conclusion in this matter:

I Jn. 3:11, 14-16, 18, 22-24; 4:7-12, 19-21

G. If you want to know what love looks like:

Rom. 12:9-15:13

I Cor. 13:4-8


1. Don’t be deceived by the world’s concept of obedience

2. God demands more

3. Do you obey?

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