Question for you this morning: Do we speak for the Bible or does the Bible speak for us? No, it’s not the same thing! Folks, believe this or not, it doesn’t matter one single iota! The church today has a serious problem–when it comes to the answer of this question. In my own Tribe, the United Methodist Tribe, the given answer by leadership is literally ripping us apart. But before you Baptists gloat over our split, look at the beam sticking out of your own eye. And this isn’t just a 21st Century problem. It’s plagued the history of The Body Of Christ. The disease is speaking for the Bible rather than the Bible speaking for us–and thus–to us!
It was even a problem back when Jesus walked this earth as one of us. The Pharisees and Sadducces saw their job was to speak for The Word Of God. They thought it was their job description–but it wasn’t. And today, it isn’t in anyone’s job description to speak for the Bible. In my own Tribe we have those who are doing just that. Speaking FOR the Bible means it’s up to us to determine what it means and how it applies to daily life!Mishegas! Oy vey, nosh, klutz! It’s pure schlock! Pure bupkis! I love Yiddish words and phrases. Here’s some examples of speaking for the Bible.
Torturing and killing anyone NOT a “christian”–by their definition
Judging others based solely on their race
Justification of slavery
Making women as second class citizens by saying they can’t do certain things
Jesus only died for certain people (predestination)
The blood of Jesus wipes away every sin and gives us all a new beginning–except when it comes to divorce
Jesus came to show us how to love, so this eliminates the long-standing sexual ethic, so it’s OK to be how you feel, sexually speaking
On that last example–Oy, Oy Vey, Oy Gevalt! It’s Dreck! Our Tribal leaders feel it is their job description (remember how Jesus felt about the Pharisees and Sadducces?) to tell the world that the tried and proven sexual ethic from the Bible is outdated. It takes an enlightened person, like them, to straighten out what the Bible got wrong. And if we don’t agree with them, then we’re mean, ugly, phobic, and hateful. What a bunch of schmucks!
looking at 2 Greek words that translate time, Chronos and Kairos. We have only 1 word for “time”, but the Greek
has these 2 words. Let’s give this
simplified way to describe the 2 Greek words.
is the unchanging ticking of the clock—a measured duration that consumes all.
Kairos Is The
Wonderfully Unique Moments Where God Steps Into Our Space And Time—To Renew And
Restore Human Hearts And Lives. Chronos Is Ordinary Time—Kairos Is Holy Time.
we can recognize Kairos Time and insure that we are living in Kairos Time,
there are certain steps we need to take. First, we need to remember that God is in
control of Kairos, not us. We simply
need to be involved where God is involved in order to see it. Then we need to listen to God, not just hear
Him—by being alert, sensitive and ready to move with God.
is another step for us to take. It’s by Being
Obedient. Obedience is a word
that isn’t well received in our Chronos Culture. Our culture has replaced Obedience with
holding onto views, beliefs and opinions that confirm whatever it is we want to
believe. It’s designed to relieve people
of responsibilities for their choices and actions.
even in the Church Culture, obedience is seen much in the same way. I want to introduce you to a new word, a word
I picked up from fellow blogger InsanityBytes.
That word is Churchian. A Churchian
is someone so deeply entrenched in the status quo of church that they reject
everything contrary to what they believe and want. They look for confirmation for what they
already believe and typically—what the average Churchian believes is something
that makes them comfortable and is easy to follow. For example, “The Lord wants us to help those
who are worthy of our help.” Or, “The
Lord never puts more on us than we can bear.”
But you won’t find those anywhere in the Bible.
is a word that is presented by both sides in a negative way. But it’s a word that we cannot avoid if we
are going to seriously follow Jesus in life.
It’s a missing word that we need to reclaim—but reclaim it the right
way. Let’s look at today’s passage from 2 John 1:5-6 (TPT)
5 Dearest woman, I have a request to make of you. It is not a new commandment but a repetition
of the one we have had from the beginning: that we constantly love one
another. 6 This
love means living in obedience to whatever God commands us. For to walk in love
toward one another is the unifying commandment we’ve heard from the beginning.
If you can remember only 1 thing today, this is it: Obedience That Honors God—The Obedience God Demands From The Followers Of Jesus—Must Come From The Relationship, Not From The Rules.
Thanks to the Legalists and Modern Day Pharisees, obedience sounds harsh, difficult, and quite honestly, it is unfulfilling. Modern day Legalists and Pharisees present obedience in such a way that it puts more emphasis on the external than the internal—and all at the expense of the heart.
to God doesn’t mean that we give up the freedom of the heart. To the contrary, there is a real freedom that
we find in the new heart—and this new heart calls us to obey. It’s this freedom that draws us in the
direction of what Eugene Peterson once called in a book he wrote, A Long Obedience In The Same Direction.
Obedience Is Not The Relationship God Offers. But You Cannot Have The Relationship God Offers Without Being Obedient. And here in John’s letter, we have the way obedience works the way God has designed it—obedience that develops both maturity—and a life of holiness that pleases God.
1. Obedience Begins As A Decision
And the first decision we need to make
is to admit our need for The Savior. Here
are the first 3 critical decisions we must make about this need:
We Are Sinners cut-off from God. We can’t save
ourselves. If we bypass this step, we
will never be able to have The Relationship God longs to have with us. Obedience grows from the heart that knows it
is dead without being forgiven and delivered from our sin by the atoning work
of Jesus on the Cross. None of us are
exempt from it—that we are sinners. No
sinner is any worse than any other sinner.
We are equally sinners needing Jesus to deliver us from the penalty and
dominion of sin.
The Second Step Is To Confess. Confession means being
of the same mind. It means we cannot
follow Jesus into the life of holiness until we are of the same mind about what
God says about our sin—For everyone has
sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard. (Romans 3:23) Confession isn’t the same thing as admitting
you sinned. Simply admitting you’ve
sinned is like a child admitting they took a cookie from the cookie jar when
confronted by Mom, acting like they are sorry and won’t do it again. But deep down, they really want another
cookie, so when Mom isn’t looking the next time, they will get a cookie. Confession starts the process of changing how
we see ourselves in light of God’s Truth.
The Third Step Is To Repent. Repent Means That You
Turn Away From The Old Life, And Move Into This New Life. Repentance doesn’t mean you have to feel
miserable and cry your eyes out. You
might need to do that—but tears of remorse are not enough. It’s like Peter preached in Acts 3:19-20—“And now you must repent And Turn Back To God so that your
sins will be removed, and so that times of refreshing will stream
from the Lord’s presence. And
He will send you Jesus, the Messiah, the Chosen One for you.” Without turning back to God and His Ways, we
haven’t repented, we’ve only admitted we are sinners. There has been no transformation—and
transformation will NOT happen until we turn back to Him. Repentance is not repentance unless it
includes the desire to turn back to God and live like He wants us to live.
God has only one plan for Salvation, and that is in Jesus Christ, through confession and repentance for those who will admit they are sinners. We obey God’s plan because we have been saved through His grace. If we try to have a relationship with Him in any other fashion, it becomes a negotiation—and God doesn’t negotiate.
2. Obedience Becomes The Choice
Every morning and all day long obeying God is a conscious and intentional choice. Every situation we face becomes a moment where we choose to obey God or disobey God. Everything in your life, everything you face, from ordinary moments to even painful moments, are moments we choose to obey God or disobey Him.
I think about Joshua’s retirement speech to the Hebrews in Joshua 24:15—“But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living.” Once you come into the Relationship, there’s more. Obedience Is Doing What God Wants Done—More Than What YOU Want Done.
And so you make a choice, every day and all day long. That’s what Peterson meant in his book—it’s a long obedience in the same direction. Your Choices Are Based On The Values Of The Land You Are Living In OR Based On The Truth Of God.
many are making choices based on the land they are living in—a land filled with
idols and false gods. The land we are
living in has declared war on the Rule of God!
Our choice is either to surrender to the culture or to step into the
realm of God’s Rule and join in the battle against Satan by living in obedience
J.D. Walt, a powerful writer, teacher and preacher reminded me the other day of something very important. The Pharisees of Jesus’ day focused on the Rules of God because they thought God was in the Rules. Jesus came to proclaim God’s Rule! To experience Kairos, Our choice needs to submit our heart, mind, soul and life to God’s Rule over us.
3. Obedience Builds Into A
God created life to work for us and not against us. And life does work for us when we live it the way He designed it to be lived. To successfully and abundantly live this life He created, we live in His way, not our own way. Obedience Is Doing What God Says, How God Says To Do It And When God Says To Do It.
We learn to obey God’s Law—God’s ONLY Law—and that is to love the way He loves. We don’t obey so that God will bless us. We obey God because we Love Him! The difference is in these 4 words: Have To or Get To. Your heart and mindset will be the you either have to obey or get to obey! The New Heart God gives us responds with the joy of “get to”–you get to obey God because His heart and strength now lives in you.
want to close out with this quote from Eugene Peterson’s book, A Long Obedience In The Same Direction,
and it’s about obedience:
“We need roots in the past to give obedience ballast
and breadth; we need a vision of the future to give obedience direction and
must be rooted in both—the Past AND the Future.
Obedience without God’s Word is living without roots to hold us steady
and strong in the winds of change.
Obedience without the Future—that direction and goal—leaves us stuck in
the past—and we miss out on God’s future.
is about becoming whole in Jesus. It is
through obedience that we become whom God made us to be—the reflection of His
Here Are Your Next Steps:
Focus On The Relationship Not The Rules. This was where
Satan began with Adam and Eve—The Rules.
They forgot about the relationship because they were so focused on that
Rule. Had their focus been on The
Relationship, they would have made a different choice. Choose God’s Rule over the Rules of God.
Start With One Area Of Your Life Where You Know You
Are In Disobedience And Work With The Holy Spirit To Change That. Have you
become someone else’s judge? Are you
holding onto a grudge? Is there a bad
habit? Align that one area of your life with
obedience, and the others will begin to change, too.