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3rd November 2013
You only have to observe a toddler to realise that no one needs to be taught how to be disobedient! It's built in; we were all born into it (see Ephesians 2). But when God's love, grace and mercy breaks into our lives, we become part of the Church – a people who love and obey Jesus.
Obedience is an issue of the heart. God is not a harsh task-master, driving us to obedience. No, rather draws us to want to obey Him because we love Him and understand how much He loves us.
In Exodus 32, we read about the disobedience of the Israelites. They had just been rescued in the most amazing way from the Egyptians – God had parted the Red Sea for them! But when Moses spent time up a mountain with God, the people grew impatient. We can be impatient, too, for various things – healing, job opportunities, ministries we want, seeing friends come to Christ, many different things – but the key is in how we act while we wait. The Israelites quickly turned to disobedience.
Their impatience lead to weak leadership. The Israelites turned to Aaron, a senior leader, but he doesn't put up much resistance! He pleases the people, rather than pleasing God, and when Moses confronts him about it, he blames everyone else! But a leader cannot please everyone – as Joel Virgo, who leads the Church of Christ the King in Brighton, said: "If you're a leader and everyone is happy with you, you're probably not leading anyone anywhere!"
We all have influence; we are all ambassadors for Christ, called to reflect Him to a dying and broken world. As we do this, we can lean towards being people-pleasers or God-focused. We're not to focus on people, but we're not to be disrespectful, inconsiderate or uncaring either! We are to be like Jesus.
Weak leadership leads to idolatry, which is making a god that suits you. This can affect us today just as much as it affected the Israelites back then. We can have any number of potential idols – food, sex, TV, sport, relationships, drugs, even traditions in our church life.
Idolatry leads us away from God, separating us from Him. God won't share His glory with any other; He demands exclusivity from His people. We are not to 'two-time' God. He is to be the only One we worship. His anger burned against the Israelites. What about us? God is still a jealous God. He still wants an exclusive relationship with His children. But the difference is that all of God's anger at our sin burned at Jesus, when He became sin for us (2 Corinthians 5:21).
Perfect obedience is seen in Jesus, who went to the cross in our place. God's anger and wrath was poured out on Jesus; all of our sin and disobedience was dealt with by Him on the cross. When we keep our focus on Jesus, we become more like Him. We become a people of radical obedience to our Lord and Saviour!
To download the sermon and life application PDF, click here.
Posted by Santino Hamberis