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Jan 26, 2020

Obedience is Better

Obedience is Better

Speaker: Dennis Gallaher

Category: Sunday Morning

Obedience is Better!

In the sovereign plan of Almighty God, He has strategically placed this little church in New Braunfels TX on the most traveled road in and out of one of the fastest-growing cities in the nation. God has given us a vision for transformation, holy living, and Holy Spirit anointed ministry. Now is the time to possess the inheritance and to claim the promised land through great commandment loving and great commission living. The Book of Joshua is a great book of wisdom and understanding for us from this young nation intent on possessing a promised land. 

Last week's message, Warts and All, gave us the lesson that God is intent on us clearing our hearts of lukewarm and hypocrisy laden living. This week, Obedience is Better, from Joshua 8. The Valley of Shechem was historic as the Israelites started to conquer the Promised Land. 

Joshua 8:30-35 This valley was between two mountain peaks - Mount Gerizim and Mount Ebal. Israel was to:

  • build an altar at the foot of Mount Ebal
  • sacrifice to the Lord - Worship
  • plaster the law of God on the altar
  • place the ark between the 2 mountains

Verse 34 The law was read, the blessing and the curse, with all present: leaders, women, children, men, strangers living among them. It was read to all - open to all. The strangers had a place as well - open to all who were seeking. Moses gave the order to go to this place and be reminded of their relationship with God. Here they stood between Mount Gerizim representing the blessings of God and Mount Ebal representing the curses that follow disobedience. The Ark of the Covenant as the presence of God was in the middle; the altar of stone and dirt plastered with the law of God at the foot of Mount Ebal. It was a huge object lesson. God was saying - you shouldn't sin, but when you do, there is always a way to return through the altar, through the blood and sacrifice of Jesus. The curse could be taken away by the one who was holy and was made a curse for us. We are accepted not because of what we do but by what God would do. Trust that our own good effort is not good enough and trust that we need the blood sacrifice of Jesus. 

  • Romans 3:23 All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God
  • Isaiah 53:6 All of us like sheep have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way, but the Lord has caused the iniquity of us all to fall on Him.
  • Romans 7:24 Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death?
  • I John 1:9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
  • I John 2:2 And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world.

Joshua 1:8 This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it; for then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have success. Receiving the blessings of God, receiving forgiveness, having a relational value with the Savior means we are "to do." Deut 11:26-28 See, I am setting before you today a blessing and a curse: the blessing, if you listen to the commandments of the Lord your God, which I am commanding you today; and the curse, if you do not listen to the commandments of the Lord your God, but turn aside from the way which I am commanding you today, by following other gods which you have not known.

This is not teaching the law. Matthew 7:22-23 Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles? And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.’

We have a choice. We must choose which way we will go.

  • Matthew 6:1 Beware of practicing your righteousness before men to be noticed by them; otherwise you have no reward with your Father who is in heaven.  
  • Matthew 6:5 When you pray, you are not to be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and on the street corners so that they may be seen by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full. 
  • Matthew 6:6 But you, when you pray, go into your inner room, close your door and pray to your Father who is in secret, and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you. 
  • Matthew 6:16 Whenever you fast, do not put on a gloomy face as the hypocrites do, for they neglect their appearance so that they will be noticed by men when they are fasting. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full. 
  • Matthew 6:24 No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.

We must choose. Mount Gerizim - the mountain of good religion - doing what is right... not real worship; Mount Ebal - sinners saying we can't do it with an eye on the altar and staying in place. But we have an altar that we can go to. 

Matthew 5:17-20 Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill. For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass from the Law until all is accomplished. Whoever then annuls one of the least of these commandments, and teaches others to do the same, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever keeps and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I say to you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven.

God is still looking for people who will go the distance to live in faith and holy living - who choose God's way above good works - will have revival and blessing. 

How do we win souls today? By great commandment loving modeled by great commandment lifestyle. What mountain are you living on? Are you sitting back saying "I don't belong"? Or am I moving toward worship with God? Move out and love like Jesus - great commandment loving. A great commission lifestyle of going and choosing to follow with joy and doing what God says to do!

Matthew 7:24 Therefore everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts on them, may be compared to a wise man who built his house on the rock. Everyone who hears these words of Mine and does not act on them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. Verse 27 The rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house, and it fell—and great was its fall.

God resides in the middle (the Ark of the Covenant) not on either mountain. Worship where God resides - look to the altar - it's Jesus' blood that paid the price. Make a choice to serve God. 

Make a choice to get right with God by praying: Dear Lord Jesus, I believe You are the Son of God. I believe that on that cross You took my guilt, my sin, and my shame and You died for it. You faced hell for me, so I wouldn't have to. And You rose again to give me a place in Heaven, a purpose on Earth, and a relationship with Your Father. Today, Lord Jesus, I turn from my sins to be born again. And now, God is my Father, Jesus is my Savior, The Holy Spirit is my helper. And Heaven is my home. Amen

What does great commandment loving look like?

What does having a great commission lifestyle look like?

Compare this teaching of obedience to the law.