What does the word “obey” mean to people? Nowadays, people usually only obey at gunpoint. I hear and read many professing Christians stating, “The Lord used (or uses) me.” They also remark, “The Lord told me,” and “the Holy Spirit led me.” Afterward, they do or say what is clearly not of God. Why do they only engage in what brings attention and honor to them? Why don’t they ever just obey and bring honor to God?
The fact is, one cannot obey unless he or she knows God’s word, or He speaks to him or her via the Holy Spirit. He cannot get through to most people because they are too busy and interested in what someone else claims God told them. Do they ever hear Him speak something that requires saying or doing what the majority rejects?
God spoke and His Son obeyed. He spoke and Paul obeyed. Jesus spoke to the wind and waves and they obeyed. God spoke to Jonah and he disobeyed and ran away. He speaks to people today and they do not obey like Paul but run away like Jonah. They crave words of encouragement and other positive words, not a call to duty. The majority has hardened themselves to the Holy Spirit’s voice so they no longer feel compelled to obey. They become irritated by exhortations to obey God.
God’s Word declares that obeying is better than sacrifice. However, obedience often requires sacrifice. That is a negative and unacceptable word to most professing Christians.
We hear God by sensitivity to the Holy Spirit. Think about God the Holy Spirit dwelling in you. Selah! He is not the spirit that comes and goes in a church meetings, according to the ebb and flow of music. He indwells every genuine Christ follower. No one can cajole the Holy Spirit to do anything but people can quench the Holy Spirit by their untoward behavior.
“Quench” in the Greek text is sbénnymi, which means to extinguish, as in putting out a fire. The prophet Jeremiah said:
“Then I said, ‘I will not make mention of Him, Nor speak anymore in His name.’ But His word was in my heart like a burning fire Shut up in my bones; I was weary of holding it back, And I could not.” — Jeremiah 20:9
When Jeremiah spoke, people mocked and derided him. Some of them threatened to report him. He lived every day under that abuse. In the last half of the 20th chapter, he pours out his pain of being treated as an utter fool, despicable in the eyes of everyone around him. He begins by saying:
“Cursed be the day in which I was born! Let the day not be blessed in which my mother bore me!” — Jeremiah 20:14
Despite all the rejection and pain of derision, his mind and soul remained sensitive to the Holy Spirit. Not to obey God and speak would be to subdue God’s word that like holy fire was straining to be released from his mouth.
Professing Christians fear the Holy Spirit’s fiery presence today. That is why they settle for a false Holy Spirit. They run to the poisoned fountains of the false prophets and prophetesses, to the heretical teachers and preachers, read demonic books such as “Jesus Calling,” and watch religious TV projecting the fantasy of empty, swept, and garnished liars spewing diabolical nonsense. They avoid suffering by indulging in apostasy that agrees with their pampered flesh.
They seldom pray or pray with reverential fear of God. Thus, they are not sensitive enough to hear and obey the Holy Spirit. Their disobedience has extinguished His fiery influence in their souls. Thus, He departed their defiled temples. They are barren of godliness and rife with carnal desires. They crave for fake “love and peace merchants” to soothe them. They lust for entertainment and every other thing that soothes and pleases their flesh. “Right” is measured by popularity and wealth. Most of the Holy Spirit’s work is rejected as boring drudgery. The marketing protocol of Christianity is built on the craving of carnal professing Christians. Conviction is unacceptable.
Obeying in this period thick with apostasy and utter rejection of God will not be a fleshly rewarding experience. One will lose friends. He or she will drop connection to the World System, thus to the majority of professing Christians. Some connections will end because people mark the obedient ones as weird and unsociable. Their minds cannot be rooted in the World System and remain sensitive to the Holy Spirit. Other connections will end because the Holy Spirit counseled the obedient ones to end them.
“That sounds like legalism,” someone might say. Everything of God that repulses modern carnal “Corinthians” is called legalism. They do not know what legalism is. By their definition, the apostle Paul and every other example of a fully surrendered individual in the New Testament, even Christ, would be labeled a “legalist.” The decade and godly Believers throughout history would branded as “legalism.” Hiding flagrant disobedience and rebellion behind a false accusation does not change one’s spiritually decrepit status. If the Holy Spirit impressed such a disobedient individual (It’ll never happen.) to witness to a lost soul, he or she would likely run to a heretic and asked to be delivered from “demonic oppression.”
God’s Kingdom operates by obedience. Christ is the Vine and we are the branches. We cannot do anything pleasing and honorable to God unless it is initiated by Him. People are so accustomed to living autonomously in this Nation that they do not understand theocracy—government by God in authority over their souls. Thus, the majority of professing Christians are subject to religious trends. Whatever is approved by the masses and their body’s desire and lust, they accept and do. What the majority decides is of God, including books, movies, and music, their leaders like dutiful hirelings acquiesce. Have they ever end the day with gratitude in knowing that they obeyed God’s will?
In conclusion, it is essential to understand the biblical fact that disobedient people will not enter God’s eternal Kingdom. It does not matter which type of hell-exemption salvation doctrine one has. God’s word on the subject is not altered or rendered benign by soteriology that permits rebellion and wickedness without eternal consequences.
“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven.”
One must be connected to the Vine, Who is Christ, to bear acceptable fruit.
“I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned.” — John 15:5-6
Can the necessity of obedience be made any clearer? It may begin as a duty, but it will become a joy. It may evoke insults, rejection, and social demotion to an outcast but in God’s Kingdom the obedient ones will be filled with joy unspeakable and full of glory. Obedience is worth whatever it costs.
“For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.” — Romans 8:18
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