SOMETIMES I LACK BOLD OBEDIENCE

Sometimes I Lack Bold Obedience

When I was a young Christian – I had a young family and I made very little money each month

In fact – the amount I earned was totally inadequate to meet the rapidly increasing needs of my young family

The man through whose ministry I was healed and born again was in the area still and so I went to listen and receive

The time for the offering came and I asked God what I was to give – He said $100.00

I had $150.00 in the bank and it was still three weeks till pay day and that in itself was inadequate but take away $100.00 and it was past seriously inadequate into dangerous

So I’m thinking – no way Hosea

So, I turned to my wife – more spiritual – and asked her what God had told her we should give – $100.00

We wrote a cheque for $100.00 boldly trusting God

The next day – went and picked up the mail and there was a letter from another town – where I also had a small church which I was working with

From a man I did not know and had not met YET

Inside the envelop was a cheque for $1,000.00 and a note saying it was something he promised God he would do the year before and God reminded Him about it a week before and told him to send it specifically to me

A week before I obeyed the prompting of the Lord He was already blessing me because of my yet-to-be obedience to His prompting and giving of $100.00

“Your Heavenly Father knows what you have need of before you ask” 

I want to talk about BOLD OBEDIENCE today…

We have been looking at the early Church and their walk with God out of the Book of Acts – chapters 4 and 5

We have seen:

Being Bold Believers

Boldness is behaviour born out of belief

Bold Prayers

How you pray reflects what you believe about God

Bold Speaking

We speak boldly about what we believe deeply

LET ME TELL YOU ANOTHER STORY… 

As a new believer I discovered I was to tithe so I went to my local Credit Union and spoke to the manager…

$6,000.00 worth of debt on a $5,600.00 annual salary

I was planning to down my monthly payments so I could tithe

Tithing is a direct command from the Lord to those who follow Him… and I wanted to be obedient – boldly obedient

The manager thought I was crazy but could see I was determined

One year later – I had never missed a tithe … and I had totally paid off the $6,000.00 loan on a $5,600.00 salary and raised my young family…

Don’t need a 4 year university business degree (which I have) to know this was God

He rewards bold obedience…

Today: Let’s look at bold obedience

I believe that God wants to speak to us and He wants us to respond to the promptings of the Spirit

OR respond to the teachings in His Word (Bible)

And I do know that when you boldly obey you will experience His presence in a new and very real way

The context for our text in Acts, chapter 5…

Peter and John were being seriously bold 

They were preaching Jesus – His resurrection

The religious rulers – the Sanhedrin – did not believe in the resurrection of Jesus and said they had to stop

They boldly kept doing it

God gave them the power and the faith to bring healing to a man in his 40’s who was born unable to walk

They prayed boldly – acted boldly – and the man was healed

This put the religious leaders in a bind because they wanted to keep a lid on this Jesus stuff

A trial – a warning — and they were released

Prayer meeting was held and they prayed for increased boldness … and kept on boldly witnessing and obeying the Lord’s command to “go into all the world and make disciples…”

So, the religious leaders felt increased pressure to shut this down because many were turning to the Lord and leaving religion

They knew that if they didn’t shut this down that Rome (the powerful empire of the day) would come in and take away their power and deal harshly with everyone – the whole nation

The religious rulers were jealous and they were fearful and they felt this political pressure…

Acts 5:17-20 Then the high priest and all his associates, who were members of the party of the Sadducees, were filled with jealousy.  They arrested the apostles and put them in the public jail.  But during the night an angel of the Lord opened the doors of the jail and brought them out.  “Go, stand in the temple courts,” he said, “and tell the people the full message of this new life.”  

The apostles now have to decide if they will obey – more than that, be boldly obedient

Acts 5:21 “And when they heard this, they entered the temple at daybreak and began to teach.”

Let’s look briefly at three principles that you will experience should you chose to be boldly obedient in your Christian faith

Principle #1 – Bold obedience usually triggers opposition

Verse 18 They arrested the apostles and put them in the public jail.  

If you are keeping track – this is the second time they have been in jail in a very short period of time

The problem is that in the culture we live in today we would say that this is unacceptable and seriously not fair…

Any inconvenience is simply unacceptable — AND opposition when I’m doing God’s will is totally unacceptable and often unexpected

I am heading to Prince Albert to do an evening service with 300 people in attendance

You drive through 3 weather zones … Regina, Watrous, and Melfort / Prince Albert

I run into a blizzard in the second weather zone and lose about 30 minutes…

Now I am going to be late for a service I am preaching at so I pick it up a bit and I am driving 115 (well, maybe 120) on a single lane highway – speed limit 100

Sunday night – no traffic – usually no RCMP

Just about to Prince Albert … and it looks like I am going to be on time… I see this red and blue light flashing behind me

So, I am praying – Lord God, I am YOUR servant Lord and I am on my way to a service where YOUR people are waiting to hear YOUR Word to glorify YOUR Son Jesus – Let me find favour with this police woman…

She comes to the window of my car – calls me by name – she is a believer and recognizes me as the preacher at her church… Yes Lord – thank you for answering my prayer

Very pleasant and we talk about Jesus and her local church where I am going to preach ON TIME if she hurries

She writes me a ticket for speeding and tells me she will be praying for me…

Totally unfair – close to cruel

The problem is that in the culture that so many of us live in today we would say that this is unacceptable and seriously not fair…

I mean is there no give-and-take

Where is the mercy in all of this

Never mind the mercy – Where is God in all of this?

Where is God — I’m doing His work so He should be helping me

I am obeying God’s call on my life and nothing bad should happen to me 

Really poor theology but my thinking nonetheless

I have given my life to God and Jesus is my Lord and so He should be guarding and guiding my every step and protecting me from these stupid inconveniences…

We tend to think this – whether you will openly admit it or not…we expect God to act in our favour in all the little and big issues of life

After all, I am a believer!

That night – the amount they paid me for the service paid the speeding ticket I received and so I worked for nothing

Totally unjust and simply not fair

The apostles are in jail for the second time in as many days… Definitely unjust and not fair

Here is what you need to know:

If you are not ready to face opposition for your obedience to God – you are not ready to be used by God

That is good preaching by-the-way

You are way to quiet – so let me say it again in case it did not register the first time…

Here is what you need to know:

If you are not ready to face opposition for your obedience to God – you are not ready to be used by God

Because – when you obey God opposition comes

Every single time – I mean, every time – that God uses my obedience to advance His Kingdom in a significant way – there is opposition – opposition – opposition

I could go through a list: – but, most likely, you have a list of your own

Every bold act of obedience will bring about serious opposition – often from other believers

Don’t worry when you meet opposition for obeying God

Worry when you don’t see opposition because it often means you missed God somewhere

I don’t know what it will be for you:

Maybe you will hear God clearly about being in debt and begin to live differently to get out of debt

God will lead you to do something others consider crazy as you change your lifestyle

Opposition will be there

Maybe you will downsize everything and live with less so you can give more to those who have nothing

Kingdom living leading to Kingdom giving

Opposition

Maybe deciding not to put your children in sports because it will mean missing church on the weekends and make you too busy as well

Teaching your children how important worshipping God really is

Opposition

Maybe not taking that new job or that promotion because it means having to work Sundays and you want to obey God’s command to assemble and worship

Opposition

Maybe you decide that you are going to stop dating so you can establish a pure lifestyle and then wait on God to bring the right person along

Bar scene night comes along and all your friends are going to the latest hot spot but not you

Are you stupid or something – Opposition

When you obey God you will see opposition

Don’t worry when you do

Worry when you don’t

Principle #1

When you boldly obey – you will usually trigger opposition

Principle #2

When you boldly obey – you will often release God’s power and His miracles

When you obey – you can expect God to show up and work supernaturally in power

Acts 5:19 – remember it is Luke the doctor who is writing the book of Acts

Luke writes just a statement – no emotion, just a plain fact stated…

“But during the night an angel of the Lord opened the doors of the jail and brought them out.” 

That’s it – just a statement

If that was me and I saw an angel my statement would be just a slight bit different

You are not going to believe what just happened – I mean – wow, awesome, ah, ah, ah…

This angel – he was nine feet tall with flowing robes and he glowed and…

He had this sword and he could kill an elephant with it and..

Just a statement…

But during the night an angel of the Lord opened the doors of the jail and brought them out.”

Questions to ask regarding the angel:

Did he laser beam his way through the bars?

Did a bolt of lightning hit each bar individually? 

Can I take a selfie with you?

But here’s the thing – to Luke this was no big deal … expected because Church was being bold in obedience

Normal for him as a believer who is boldly obedient

“But during the night an angel of the Lord opened the doors of the jail and brought them out.” 

You see – he had come to expect that:

When you boldly obey – you will often release God’s supernatural power and miracles

When you walk in bold obedience to God you are not surprised by the miracles of God

And if that does not cause you to get excited – I would check your spiritual pulse and see if you are still connecting with God

Really exciting folks… when you walk in obedience to your God you are not surprised when your God shows up and does something supernatural

I am not saying that nothing ever goes wrong – they were in prison and that is not good

But in the middle of that bad situation – God appears and God provides what they need

Don’t be surprised when this happens to you as you walk in obedience…

I see it all the time in my ministry and my life

Bold obedience:

Triggers opposition

Releases God’s supernatural miracles

Principle #3:

Bold obedience always requires faith

Every single time God prompts you (commands you) to do something it will require faith to rise up in you so you will step out and do it

Every time God prompts you to do something it is going to take faith to obey Him

Acts 5:20 “Go, stand in the temple courts,” he said, “and tell the people the full message of this new life.”  

Basically the angel is saying – “Go back and do what got you thrown in jail twice already”

THIS is going to take faith on their part

“Go back and do what the people who have the power to kill you told you not to do ever, ever, ever, ever again…”

This is going to take faith

When God prompts you to do something it is going to take faith to obey boldly

If you are like me – at least as I was a few years ago – as I learned this truth I am teaching you…

I want some details

I want to know how this is going to work

I learned that He will not share the details about how this is going to happen – because I won’t be able to handle the details

If I told you everything – you would not do anything 

Or, I would try to organize it for Him

Or, I would run very fast in the opposite direction 

Where do you start this bold obedience?

Try obeying God’s written Word

Find out what God’s Word says about the various aspects of life and start boldly obeying even without knowing the details – step out in faith

Principle #3:

Bold obedience always requires faith

The Bible states that God’s Word is a “light onto our feet” (Psalm 119:105)

What does that mean?

It means you may be able to see a step or two ahead of where you are but nothing more

If you obey step by step, God, through His Word, gives us light for the next step and then the next… but you must step out in faith not seeing the whole picture – all of the details

He will continue to reveal things as you obey Him step by step

So, if things have stalled in your walk with God

Do the last thing God told you to do – and obey by faith

“Without faith it is impossible to please God.” (Hebrews 11:6)

God told me that this little international ministry that I have would impact nations

Sorry – I was 50 years old when he said that and I just could not see a way that was going to happen

Today, I could share nation-changing testimonies

God told me we would be reaching all 15 nations of the former Soviet Union when I was working in two of them

Sorry – I was 60 years old and did not have what I thought it would take:

A mailing list

A financial support base – financial partners

Contacts in those countries

Time to develop the structure

I now minister in all but two of the former Soviet Union nations

Never received details as to how this will work

Principle #3:

Bold obedience always requires faith

“Without faith it is impossible to please God.” (Hebrews 11:6)

So, I simply say “yes” and get ready as best I can to walk through the door of opportunity in faith as they open – no details

“With God all things are possible” (Matthew 19:26)

Bold obedience

Triggers opposition

Releases God’s supernatural miracles and power

Always requires faith

It takes faith to:

Begin to tithe

Step out and talk to others about Jesus

Go overseas and minister in the power of God

To begin a business

To be reconciled to someone who now hates you

To remain pure until marriage 

It takes faith when God calls you – It takes faith to obey – It always takes faith

Acts 5:21a At daybreak they entered the temple courts, as they had been told, and began to teach the people. 

They did not delay

They obeyed fully

Delayed obedience is disobedience

Partial obedience is disobedience

 

Whenever God prompts you – you obey promptly and you obey completely

No matter what

If it is big – you obey

If it seems small – you obey

If it appears insignificant – obey

A friend of mine is in Hawaii teaching at a leaders’ conference – I mean, I know, but someone has to suffer and do these things..

He has his wife with him and it is a really busy week and they simply don’t get any time off and to themselves

I understand completely – I work in many conferences for leaders overseas

They end up with a half day away from the conference and they rush down to the beach

They think – finally time at a beach in Hawaii

God prompts the guy – and he feels a serious burden for a good friend who lives the other side of the world

He knows his wife is not going to be happy but he tells her he knows he must call this friend – she agrees because she too senses it is God

He obeys immediately and completely – he runs back to where they are staying, finds his cell phone and calls his friend

His friend answers and says – “Why are you calling and why now”

My friend is thinking – I forgot about the time difference and it is almost midnight where he is…and goes to apologize 

Instead he answers, “Because God put you on my heart and prompted me too”

His friend says, “No, why now?”

“Like I said, because God told me to”

“No, why NOW?”

And it dawns on my friend that the guy is about to take his life

My friend says, “You have a gun in your hand, don’t you?”

“Yes I do…why now?”

“Well obviously God prompted me to call you because He loves you a great deal and does not want you to do what you are planning to do”

“Put the gun down and listen to me”

He does so and listens to my friend talk for a few minutes

My friend talks him into going next door, and regardless of how late it is, ringing the doorbell and inviting himself in to stay there with them for the night

He does so

Two years later this man has worked through all of the issues that were driving him to contemplate suicide and is just on fire for Jesus…

Instant, immediate and complete obedience to the promptings of God

The apostles did just this and they end up being rearrested and facing the same religious rulers…

Acts 5:28-29 “We gave you strict orders not to teach in this name,” he said. “Yet you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching and are determined to make us guilty of this man’s blood.” Peter and the other apostles replied: “We must obey God rather than men!    

In other words:

You don’t know what we have seen, heard and experienced

When you have experienced the living, resurrected Jesus like we have…

“We must obey God…”

We simply cannot help but talk about Him

BECAUSE: Boldness is behaviour born out of belief

We speak boldly about what we believe deeply

This is not an option

It is not an if

It is not a maybe

It is not a whim

“We must…”

Church – when you fall madly in love with Him you will not care what anyone else thinks 

You will not care what anyone else says

You could care less how foolish it makes you look

You become a “Must” servant of Christ and you cannot stop obeying instantly, immediately, and completely

You “must” obey…

You can threaten to kill us

You can hate us

You can threaten to lock us up

You can beat us

But we are not going away – We “must” obey

Why?

Because “we must obey God rather than men”

Being bold believers

Boldness is behaviour born out of belief

Bold believers praying bold prayers

How you pray reflects what you believe about God

Bold speaking

Because we speak boldly about what we believe deeply

Bold obedience

We obey fully and immediately who we follow ‘completely’ with our whole heart