2018 – The Year of Obedience

2018 – The Year of Obedience

I have often preached on the Roman Centurion (Matthew 8:5-13) who came to Jesus pleading for the healing of his servant.  The man understood authority.  He knew that to be in authority, one must also be under authority.  In that place under the authority of his superior, the Centurion had complete authority to command his solders.  With that understanding, he knew that Jesus, under the Father’s authority, had complete authority to speak healing to the servant from wherever He was…

Jesus was amazed by the man’s grasp on authority—but also on his grasp of OBEDIENCE.  Because the centurion was obedient to his superior, his superior entrusted him with great authority.  Because the Centurion expected obedience from his solders, they, too, enjoyed a sense of security and authority…

God has given you and me authority. But that authority flows from and to and through obedience.  Rebellion on our part cripple’s Godly authority on and through our life.  Disobedience to our Commander not only blocks His authority from flowing to us; it confuses and damages those God entrusted to us to lead with Godly authority…

Jesus was amazed—and disheartened—that Israel lacked such an understanding of Obedience and Authority.  I suspect He is equally dismayed by the American Church’s lack of faith…

I am sure of this:  While Obedience is the only right response to our King and Lord and Savior, obedience is costly.  The centurion no doubt had stories of solders who disobeyed him, or of communities who resented him simply for carrying out his responsibilities…

Jesus—more than anyone in history—knows the cost of Obedience.  He also knows better than any the ultimate reward.  We are wise when we both count the costs and look forward to the eternal “well done!”

The Cost of Obedience—up close and personal 

Let me tell you a bit about Don and Jackie Ragland’s embrace of obedience as they head toward Mexico.  About 15 years ago, Don shared with me that he and Jackie were called to foreign missions.  Over the years, I saw the Lord clarify and refine that vision through amazing twists and turns of life.   Last May I saw first hand how they have grown in authority as they have walked in obedience.  While we were in Honduras, I saw the Lord use them in ways that were startling—even to me, their close friend and Pastor—as authority and obedience flowed together.  Don and Jackie are right where they are supposed to be!  But my, how it has cost them…

Though they are well respected by those currently in this congregation, they have paid a great price.  They are misunderstood—often by church folks—who can’t understand trading financial and emotional security here in the USA for the very real uncertainties of where they are now.  Their embrace of real Biblical Christianity has offended more than a few souls over the years who have bought into the “American Church Dream” of light and easy and comfortable “faith.”  They have chosen to live modestly in order give their all for the Kingdom.  They are willing to “pray the price,” even if it costs them their lives…

Obedience will cost you and me everything.  That isn’t a possibility; it is a Biblical promise.  It is also the only real way to be a Christian.  If we are truly under authority, then we must embrace obeying the One who is perfectly and eternally our King, knowing that our obedience will confuse and infuriate the fallen world around us…!


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