Obedience is our Obligation

Bible Book: Acts  5 : 29
Subject: Obedience; Christian Living

Obligations are something that most of us take very seriously. Most people feel that once they’ve committed themselves to something, such as a monthly payment or a promise of another kind, they should do everything in their power to fulfill that commitment. Fulfilling one’s responsibilities is simply a matter of positive personal pride on the part of most people. And so it should be.

We as Christians not only have our secular obligations, but also spiritual obligations. One of those obligations is obedience to Christ. Though we are commanded to live in obedience to Christ, that obedience should be the result of more than just a command to do so. I believe we are doubly obligated to obey Christ because of what He has done for us. If for no other reason, we should serve Him obediently out of gratitude for His mercy and grace demonstrated in salvation. However, gratitude alone will not enable us to obey Christ; only depending on His power daily, by faith, will accomplish that. But obedience is our Christian obligation just the same.

Using an acrostic on the word “obey,” I want to deal with some areas in which we need to commit ourselves to obedience to Christ.

Theme: Our obligation to obey Christ involves being:


John 12:26b “…if any man serve me, him will my Father honor.”

A. We Need To Be Occupied With Bearing Fruit.

John 15: 8 “Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples. 16a Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain…”

Not only should we bear fruit for Christ, but our service must also be rightly motivated.

Self-righteous service comes through human effort. True service comes from a relationship with the divine Other deep inside.

Self-righteous service is impressed with the “big deal.” True service finds it almost impossible to distinguish the small from the large service.

Self-righteous service requires external rewards. True service rests contented in hiddenness.

Self-righteous service is highly concerned about results. True service is free of the need to calculate results.

Self-righteous service picks and chooses whom to serve. True service is indiscriminate in its ministry.

Self-righteous service is affected by moods and whims. True service ministers simply and faithfully because there is a need.

Self-righteous service is temporary. True service is a lifestyle.

Self-righteous service is without sensitivity. It insists on meeting the need even when to do so would be destructive. True service can withhold the service as freely as perform it.

Self-righteous service fractures community. True service, on the other hand, builds community.[1]

B. We Need To Be Occupied With Broadcasting The Gospel Without Fail.

Acts 1:8b “…and ye shall be witnesses unto me…”

Luke 24:46 “And said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day: 47 And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. 48 And ye are witnesses of these things.”

Here is a good definition of a witness: A witness is someone who by explanation and demonstration gives audible and visible evidence of what he has seen and heard without being deterred by the consequences of his action.[2] Folks, we have the greatest news of all time—the news of forgiveness and redemption for all people. What a tragedy; yea, what a crime, if we fail to tell others of Christ.

George Sweeting, in his book The No-Guilt Guide for Witnessing, tells of a man by the name of John Currier who in 1949 was found guilty of murder and sentenced to life in prison. Later he was transferred and paroled to work on a farm near Nashville, Tennessee. In 1968, Currier’s sentence was terminated, and a letter bearing the good news was sent to him. But John never saw the letter, nor was he told anything about it. Life on that farm was hard and without promise for the future. Yet John kept doing what he was told even after the farmer for whom he worked had died. Ten years went by. Then a state parole officer learned about Currier’s plight, found him, and told him that his sentence had been terminated. He was a free man. Sweeting concluded that story by asking, “Would it matter to you if someone sent you an important message—the most important in your life—and year after year the urgent message was never delivered?” We who have heard the good news and experienced freedom through Christ are responsible to proclaim it to others still enslaved by sin. Are we doing all we can to make sure that people get the message?[3]

C. We Need To Be Occupied With Being Faithful.

We must be faithful Christian servants.

1 Corinthians 4:2 “Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful.”

Folks, keep one thing in mind: It’s our job to be faithful, not produce results.

An elderly preacher was rebuked by one of his deacons one Sunday morning before the service. “Pastor,” said the man, “something must be wrong with your preaching and your work. There’s been only one person added to the church in a whole year, and he’s just a boy.” The minister listened, his eyes moistening and his thin hand trembling. “I feel it all,” he replied, “but God knows I’ve tried to do my duty.”

On that day the minister’s heart was heavy as he stood before his flock. As he finished the message, he felt a strong inclination to resign. After everyone else had left, that one boy came to him and asked, “Do you think if I worked hard for an education, I could become a preacher - perhaps a missionary?” Again tears welled up in the minister’s eyes. “Ah, this heals the ache I feel,” he said. “Robert, I see the Divine hand now. May God bless you, my boy. Yes, I think you will become a preacher.”

Many years later an aged missionary returned to London from Africa. His name was spoken with reverence. Nobles invited him to their homes. He had added many souls to the church of Jesus Christ, reaching even some of Africa’s most savage chiefs. His name was Robert Moffat, the same Robert who years before had spoken to the pastor that Sunday morning in the old Scottish kirk. Lord, help us to be faithful. Then give us the grace to leave the results to you.[4]

We must be faithful to avoid worldliness and sin.

1 Thessalonians 5:22, “Abstain from all appearance of evil.”

James 4:4, “Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? Whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.”

It’s amazing what passes for being a Christian these days. George Gallup gives the following sad facts:

Addressing a national seminar of Southern Baptist leaders, George Gallup said, “We find there is very little difference in ethical behavior between churchgoers and those who are not active religiously...The levels of lying, cheating, and stealing are remarkably similar in both groups. Eight out of ten Americans consider themselves Christians, Gallup said, yet only about half of them could identify the person who gave the Sermon on the Mount, and fewer still could recall five of the Ten Commandments. Only two in ten said they would be willing to suffer for their faith.”[5]

We must be faithful to let our light shine.

Matthew 5:16 “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.”


Mark 9:23b “…all things are possible to him that believeth.”

A. Faith Gains God’s Favor.

Romans 5:1 “Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.”

Hebrews 11:6 “But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.”

Faith brings glory to God, and glorifying God is the duty of every child of God. Faith does not operate in the realm of the possible. There is no glory for God in that which is humanly possible. Faith begins where man's power ends.[6]

B. Faith Wins The Fight.

1 John 5:4 “For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.”

Ephesians 6:16 “Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.”

C. Faith Rests On God’s Faithfulness.

Hebrews 11: 11 “Through faith also Sara herself received strength to conceive seed, and was delivered of a child when she was past age, because she judged him faithful who had promised.”

God has never made a promise He could not keep, for He is absolutely faithful.

During an especially trying time in the work of the China Inland Mission, Hudson Taylor wrote to his wife, “We have twenty-five cents—and all the promises of God!”[7]


2 Thessalonians 1:4 “So that we ourselves glory in you in the churches of God for your patience and faith in all your persecutions and tribulations that ye endure.”

A. We Are Commanded To Endure Like Soldiers.

2 Timothy 2:3 “Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.”

B. We Are Commanded To Endure The Weariness Of Service.

Galatians 6:9 “And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.”

Hebrews 12:1d “…let us run with patience (endurance) the race that is set before us.”

John Stowell has an interesting comment about endurance.

The Greeks had a race in their Olympic games that was unique. The winner was not the runner who finished first. It was the runner who finished with his torch still lit. I want to run all the way with the flame of my torch still lit for Him.[8]

C. We Are Commanded To Endure The Onslaughts Of Satan.

Ephesians 6:13 “Wherefore take unto you the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all to stand.”

Child of God, remember: Though we are to be on our guard concerning the devil, never forget that Jesus has already defeated him. Christians must not fear or ignore the devil. Both positions are dangerous. The hog nosed snake is an evil looking reptile which responds to the threat of danger with two ruses. First, it impersonates a pit viper, coiling and striking and hissing viciously. If this fails to intimidate the attacker the snake turns belly up, opens its mouth and lolls its tongue out, playing dead. If it is picked up and placed right side up it simply turns over and resumes the death ruse again. It seems to realize that if it cannot bluff, it has to mimic death.[9]

D. We Are Commanded To Endure By Reliance On The Savior.

John 16:33b “…In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.”


Matthew 6: 10b “…Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.”

A. The Lord Makes Yieldedness A Requirement.

Romans 6:13b “…yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God.”

James 4:7a “Submit yourselves therefore to God…”

B. The Lack Of Yieldedness Is Rebellion.

1 Samuel 15:22b “…Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams. 23a For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry…”

C. The Lack Of Yieldedness Brings God’s Resistance.

1 Peter 5:5b “…for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble. 6 Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time:”

[1] Richard Foster, Celebration of Discipline, "The Discipline of Service."

[2] S. Briscoe, Getting Into God, p. 76.

[3] Our Daily Bread, November 6, 1994.

[4] Source unknown.

[5] Erwin Lutzer, Pastor to Pastor, p. 76.

[6] George Muller.

[7] Warren W. Wiersbe, Wycliffe Handbook of Preaching & Preachers, p. 242.

[8] J. Stowell, Fan The Flame, Moody, 1986, p. 32.

[9] Richard Lovelace, Demon Possession, ed. J. Montgomery.