In the first post on becoming a useful vessel, I identified six things we need (minimum) to be a useful vessel for the Master. In the last post, I address the point that we must be born again. In today’s post, I will expand on the second of those: We must be obedient to Christ.
While we would all like to believe that we suddenly just stop having sin in our lives and start obeying Christ as we should, that just isn’t the way it tends to go. While part of the reason is obviously what we talked some about last week – the battle between our flesh and the Spirit – I am convinced that much of it has to do with the lax attitude most churches and professing Christians have toward discipleship and Scripture in general. Not many of us can say that we were immediately encouraged to get involved in discipleship after our conversion. Truthfully, not many can say they have ever engaged in any serious discipleship. Many professing Christians have never experienced believer’s baptism or been told they need to. On the other hand, many have been baptized and that was the end of their obedience to Christ.
Baptism should be one of the first steps of obedience we take as newly born again believers, but no where near the last (apart from some unexpected and sudden death immediately following our baptism). Not only is baptism an act of obedience by the new convert, but it is an act of obedience by the local church performing the baptism. It is part of fulfilling the Great Commission (Matthew 28:19). But the obedience shouldn’t stop there. It should continue as we are being sanctified, purified, and prepared for good works.
Because We Love Him
Three times in John 14:15-24 Jesus says that those who love him will keep his commands/words and the fourth time He says that those who do not keep His words do not love him. In John’s first epistle, he says it this way:
“This is how we know that we know him: if we keep his commands. The one who says, “I have come to know him,” and yet doesn’t keep his commands, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoever keeps his word, truly in him the love of God is made complete. This is how we know we are in him: The one who says he remains in him should walk just as he walked.” (1 John 2:3-6)
That is an EXTREMELY high calling! We are to walk as Jesus walked. We are to keep His commands and His word. If we love Him and we have the Spirit through being born again, this will be a desire in us which the Spirit will guide us towards. So, because we love Him, we must obey Him.
To Be a Witness to Others
We will also obey Christ to be witnesses to others. Further along in John’s first epistle, he says this:
“This is how God’s children and the devil’s children become obvious. Whoever does not do what is right is not of God, especially the one who does not love his brother or sister.” (1 John 3:10)
It is how we are recognized as those who are God’s. We turn away from sin and obey His commands. This is not some type of self-righteous law keeping by which we make ourselves better than those who are not born again. This is the result of being born again and winning the battle over the flesh. We aren’t of God because we keep His commands. We keep His commands because we are His. The result of obeying Christ is that we are recognized as those who are of God.
To be Qualified and Prepared for Service
We also obey Christ to be prepared and qualified for His service. You wouldn’t hire someone to work for you who doesn’t obey what you tell them to do. The same is true with God. He tells us in His word that He is preparing us through various trials and the testing of our faith to produce endurance which will mature us so that we are complete in Him. (James 1:2-4)
In Paul’s first letter to Timothy and his letter to Titus, Paul explains the requirements for those who would serve as elders and deacons in the church. Most of the requirements could be summed up with one statement: They must obey God. To be useful to God in service, we must be obedient. These requirements are not something that get fulfilled during service to God. These are requirements that God’s word says must be fulfilled prior to serving God. That’s not to say that we won’t grow in the Lord during our service and usefulness to Him. What it is saying is this: if you aren’t obedient to Christ where you are, you won’t be obedient to Christ someplace else. The only and rare occasion that would not be true is if you are acting like Jonah and your disobedience is your refusal to go where God told you to serve.
Because He is Holy
Because God is holy, we are called to be holy. Being holy requires obedience to God. Consider what Peter said:
“As obedient children, do not be conformed to the desires of your former ignorance. But as the one who called you is holy, you also are to be holy in all your conduct; for it is written, Be holy, because I am holy.” (1 Peter 1:14-16)
God tells us to be like him. He tells us to follow Christ (himself). Christ acted in obedience to the Father and took on flesh to fulfill the law and the promise. Christ learned obedience from what He suffered (Hebrews 5:8). We too must learn obedience to be like Christ and to be useful to Him.
So, my friends, are you being obedient to Christ in your life today where God has you? Are you walking in a way you would be okay with a news crew filming your entire day? At the end of your day, can you say to God, “I have obeyed you today, Lord.”? If you aren’t, what are you doing to change that? Have you been born again? Have you taken Christ’s death for granted? When are you going to start obeying Him? Do you need to start with being baptized?
Wherever you are in all this, please contact me if you need help with starting today to obey Christ. I will do my absolute best to provide you with resources and connections that can help you get connected to fellow believers who will help you learn to obey Christ.
If you have been born again and you are being obedient to Christ, then you will definitely have a desire to be getting discipled. That will be part four of this series and I hope you will come back to read it and be blessed by it. Until then, I pray you are being blessed by God and that you each are striving to be obedient to Christ.
If you have been encouraged by this page, please be sure to scroll all the way to the bottom and follow this page to get email updates when new posts are published. You can also provide feedback through rating this post, adding comments, or contacting me at firstname.lastname@example.org.