INTRODUCTION TO THE 5 ESSENTIALS OF DEVOTIONAL OBEDIENCE
The life to be received from Jesus is to be lived for Jesus, and to be lived for Jesus, it must be learned from Jesus.
7 In the days of his flesh, Jesus offered up prayers and supplications, with loud cries and tears, to him who was able to save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverence. 8 Although he was a son, he learned obedience through what he suffered. 9 And being made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation to all who obey him, 10 being designated by God a high priest after the order of Melchizedek. (Hebrews 5:7–10)
28 “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” (Jesus, Matthew 11:28–30)
In the last study, we looked at the amazing truth that the Divine God the Son came to earth as the human Son of God and learned obedience in real-time, real-world submission to His Heavenly Father’s will. Having perfectly learned and lived His own obedience, He became the perfect Savior of all that will obey Him, and, so, we want to understand what it means to obey Him.
Let’s be clear about the statement made in Hebrews 5:9: He became the source of eternal salvation to all who obey him. That is a conditional statement. To those who obey Him, He is the source of eternal salvation. To those who do not obey Him, He is not the source of eternal salvation. Receiving Jesus as Savior is not simply an emotional exercise in sentimentality, in which one suddenly feels right about Him. Receiving Jesus as Savior is an emotional, devotional, volitional, unconditional surrender to Him as Lord, in which one suddenly becomes right with Him.
From conception, we have been on the natural curve of disobedience against God. (Think about Psalm 51:5: Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me. Now, David is not saying that his mother conceived him out of wedlock. He is saying that as a woman with a sinful nature, with his father having a sinful nature, she conceived him with a sinful nature.) Disobedience in the impulses of our flesh, apart from Jesus, has always been the natural outflow of our rebellious hearts, not as children of God but children of wrath—not sons (and daughters) of obedience, but sons (and daughters) of disobedience:
1 And you were dead in the trespasses and sins 2 in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— 3 among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. (Ephesians 2:1–3)
However, from our new conception, we have been on the learning curve of obedience to God, having been born again by God into new life in Christ, to live for Christ, and it stands to reason that we must learn how to live from Christ. The author of Hebrews tells us that Jesus learned obedience, and to all who will repent from disobedient, self-willed, self-determinism, Jesus gives this invitation: “Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me” (Matthew 11:29). The life to be received from Jesus is to be lived for Jesus, and to be lived for Jesus, it must be learned from Jesus.
6 Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him, 7 rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving. (Colossians 2:6–7)
1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. (Hebrews 12:1–2)
I don’t think it’s enough to say that we must learn to obey God in general. Generalities are dangerous, glossing over issues that need our intentional attention. We must learn how to obey specifically, learning what obedience actually is in its essence for everything in our lives. Jesus learned obedience to give us life, so, we must learn obedience from Him to live His life. To this end, I want to share with you, and explore with you in the studies to come, five essential elements of obedience we can see from Jesus in His own walk with the Father while He was here on earth:
EMBRACE THE FATHER'S WORD
Receive what the Father says and accept what He says should be.
INTEND THE FATHER'S WILL
Decide that what the Father wants will be.
INVOKE THE FATHER'S WILLPOWER
Ask for the Father’s help to make His will be.
ENDEAVOR THE FATHER'S WAY
Act on the Father’s help to make His will be.
ENJOY THE FATHER'S REWARD
Be glad in the Father’s goodness that you will see.