Sentence Sermons (Christian Inspiration) #81 --- Obedience

Quotations on Obedience (Set No. 3)

"To him that knoweth to do good and doeth it not, to him it is sin." (James 4:17.) The meanest man in the world is the man who won't do what he knows he ought to do. The cowardliest man in the world is the man who is afraid to do it. ...

This text applies to the man who not only knows to do good, but professes to do it, but whose life is a deliberate denial of his profession. ... A bad man is always bad, but he's worse when he pretends to be a saint. ...

This text applies to the man who is delaying his decision for Jesus Christ. ... The fearful thing about this text is that it deals with people who are sinning against light. ...

This text applies to the man who once knew God and once professed to love Him, but who has been untrue to his profession and is walking with the world today. This means what we call in the religion the backslider. ... Backsliding is one of the worst and most hideous sins and God uses his strongest language about it to picture His disgust for this sin.

—William Edward Biederwolf, Austin Daily Statesman, Austin, Texas, Nov. 19, 1913.

Can one ignore or violate the written word of God, and rightly and certainly claim to be “led by the Spirit"? While it is not true that "God's word is all the Holy Spirit there is," it must be that they are never in conflict. This surely emphasizes the importance of knowing well the very wording of the Word and also the precise meaning of the words in the connections where they are used. That we "may not sin," let us "hide that word in our hearts." God means what He says.

—Ben J. Elston, DeRidder Enterprise, DeRidder, La., June 10, 1949.

One who knows that life is everlasting, and that merit and achievement count in the next world just as they do in this, lives accordingly today. ... Men will be merited for their actions, not for their statements of belief. “Not every man that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven, but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.”

The Savior outlined the way of life to make men happy here and happy in the life to come where they may be not only saved from the bonds of death but also exalted to a position of merit. Christ [is] a wise counselor and guide, someone who desires me to live and be happy in life. To me he is no remote figure to be talked about. Rather, He is a friend, and it is in that light that I look upon Him. To me He is a personality. And what strength there is in the knowledge that one has for a friend the Son of God!

The Savior Himself has said, “I am your advocate with the Father.” He, I am sure, expects me to do my full part in the world, to make the world a better place in which to live and to make of myself a better man with whom to live.

—Gordon B. Hinckley, Deseret News, Salt Lake City, Utah, May 29, 1937.

Self-expression is indicative of development.

This theory finds illustration in the method of Jesus. He held that men should declare by an outward service the faith that they professed toward God. One read His scathing denouncement of those who claimed a religious life, but did not let that life express itself in good deeds. Picturing the misfortune of the naked, the poor, and the prisoners whose neglect had been so glaring in His day, He said, "Inasmuch as ye did it not," joining thereto to His condemnation. The life within must show itself by good acts. Creed must translate itself into conduct.

Obedience to the truth was made known by Him the condition of further knowledge, "If any man willeth to do His will, he shall know of the teaching, whether it is of God, or whether I speak from Myself." (John 7:17.) A later apostle of Jesus set forth this same truth of the Master, "To him, therefore, that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin." "Be ye doers of the Word and not hearers only." (James 4:17.) Failure of self-expression is declared to be a sin and the method of acquirement of truth is through obedience to the truth already known. It is not difficult to discover the basis of this modern doctrine in the method of Jesus.

—Albert R. Bond, Baptist Education Bulletin, Birmingham, Ala., January 1921.

Departure from God is always a downward course. No man is rising to the plane of a higher life when he has left God out of his calculations. Men may assume a higher standing in the world, a standing of high moral worth, but there real standing can be determined only from their attitude towards God. ...

The devil always attacks at the weakest point. And be it remembered that a man is just as strong as his weakest point. No chain is stronger than its weakest link.

The world is full of idolatry today, though it may be in a more subtle and refined form. Whatever gets between the heart's loyalty to Christ and real obedience to Him amounts to idolatry.

—Charles T. Alexander, The Baptist Chronicle, Alexandria, La., June 15, 1911.

The great test of love is obedience. God says: "If you love me you will keep my commandments." (John 14:15.) The maximum of love is obedience. When you get to the point where you love God with all your heart and all your mind and all your strength, and love your neighbor as yourself, you are right where God wants you to be. We should strive to get right there.

—Theodore F. Brewer, Dallas Morning News, Dallas, Texas, April 28, 1913.

The Master learned obedience through suffering. Do you expect a cheaper price?

—Hugh B. Brown, Millennial Star, London, England, April 1946.

Obedience is the mother of happiness.

—Phil H. Armstrong, Florida Times-Union, Jacksonville, Fla., Sept. 26, 1924.

Our conception of ourselves and of others deals largely with the phase of human weakness. God who shows no favorites but makes His rain to fall on the just and unjust deals with us all as His children. He sees us apart from our sins and therefore calls all alike to arise to the worth of His fatherhood and follow Him. You think of your unworthy past. Christ thinks of you and calls you to follow Him. With that call is implied the ability to follow and the grace to endure. That clamant call is ever recognition of our ability and worth.

—John Edward Carver, Ogden Standard-Examiner, Ogden, Utah, Feb. 3, 1941.

Good works are commanded in the Bible. Paul's charge to Timothy, concerning them that are rich is, "that they do good, that they be rich in good works." (2 Timothy 6:18.) Paul to Titus says: "These things I will that thou affirm constantly, that they which have believed in God might be careful to maintain good works." (Titus 3:8.) ...

The exhortations to good works are all addressed to those to whom God gives life. God's method is first give life and then command obedience. The disposition and desire to obey God arises out of hearts into which the love of God has been shed abroad by the Holy Spirit. Good works consist of the activities of the minds and bodies of God's Saints in their ministrations to their fellow beings, all for the glory of God. It is working out a salvation inwrought by the Holy Ghost. ...

In performing good works we assist and encourage our fellowmen. In doing this we obey our Lord and thus glorify His name on earth. We shall be rewarded both in time and eternity, in proportion to our labor of love. In performing these good works we are laying up for ourselves treasures in heaven.

—T.D. Bush, The Baptist Chronicle, Alexandria, La., July 5, 1900.

No truth is understood until it is obeyed.

—Henry F. Cope, Chicago Tribune, Chicago, Ill., April 18, 1909.

He who misses the spirit of the law always makes the most of the letter.

—Henry F. Cope, Chicago Tribune, Chicago, Ill., July 25, 1909.

The only way to build on the rock is to do the right.

—Henry F. Cope, Chicago Tribune, Chicago, Ill., Aug. 1, 1909.

It is only when we do religious duties in the spirit of love that they become delightful. Love is the life of true obedience.

—J.B. Cranfill, Baptist Standard, Waco, Texas, Nov. 5, 1896.

"I cried with my whole heart, hear me, O Lord: I will keep thy statutes." (Psalms 119:145.) That is the cry that gets response. Our whole hearts. He has said, "When ye seek me with all your heart ye shall find me." With our cry for help must also come the determination that we will keep His word.

—H.B. Dean, Morning Advocate, Baton Rouge, La., July 14, 1954.

The Lord has a way of making things work out for those who work for Him.

—H.B. Dean, Morning Advocate, Baton Rouge, La., Feb. 14, 1956.

“Make thy ways straight before my face.” (Psalms 5:8.) If you are sincere about going straight, the Lord will give you many signs to show that you are on the right road. “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path.”

—H.B. Dean, Morning Advocate, Baton Rouge, La., March 27, 1957.

The dignity of obedience, in the moral realm, is the supreme dignity. Closely analyzed, there are just two groups in the world--the first composed of those who obey the law and the second composed of those who disobey law. The last group is composed of anarchists and they are the ones who trouble the world. There can be no quiet, no peace, no safety, no righteousness, no moral dignity without obedience to law, and this, whether the individual likes the law or not. Every disobedient citizen is a bad citizen, an undesirable citizen. He may do this or that, he may hold this or that position, but if he will not obey law, he is a bad citizen. ...

Disobedience is anarchy. It is revolt against supreme authority. No man can honor himself more than to walk humbly in the ways marked out for him by divine wisdom. The highest possible dignity in this world is the dignity of obedience to rightly constituted authority.

—J.B. Gambrell, Baptist Standard, Dallas, Texas, Oct. 26, 1916.

The Savior [said], "If ye love me, keep my commandments." (John 14:15.) Love is the constraining power in a life of obedience, and obedience is the test of discipleship. His commandments are not grievous when love rules the heart. ...

Obedience in Christ's Kingdom is a principle, a law enforced by the noblest spiritual motives. ... Obedience is the universal law of Christian conduct. Disobedience is always unChristian, no matter what the circumstances may be. This is only saying that Christ's commands are never to be appealed to the court of any human opinion for revision. Nor can any human opinions reverse them. People may rebel--that is all. ...

Obedience is always the condition of peace, joy and growth. ...

Christ in making an order for His people dealt in no trivialities. Everything commanded is essential to the thing for which it was commanded and the reverent, devout and obedient soul will lovingly obey. Every command in its place and for its purpose. If there be first a will to obey Him whose we are and whom we serve, learning will be easy and obedience joyful.

—J.B. Gambrell, Baptist Standard, Dallas, Texas, Sept. 30, 1920.

Many people give but a discretionary obedience to God. ... We sometimes think we know better than God. ...

Many give God a hesitating obedience. ... If we are tired by the lack of prompt obedience on the part of our children, is not God also tried by our listlessness, indifference and inattention to His commands?

Many are coerced into obedience. .. It [is] the self-life, the life of disobedience, the attempt of man to run away from God. .. If we do not obey Him willingly He will force us by trials and hardships to do so. He will make even the wrath of man to praise Him.

Some offer inconsiderate obedience to God. They do not count the cost. Let us look clearly at the consequences before making professions. Sit down and count the cost of the tower of character; then start in manfully to build it.

The right kind of obedience is intelligent obedience. Jesus is the great example of this. He knew what was to befall Him, yet He advanced to His lifework and went on even to the cross The courageous man is he that sees the danger and yet goes forward. The obedient man is he who does his duty with his eyes wide open.

The highest form is uncommanded obedience. ... The Christian should do whatever he knows will please God whether there is a command for it or not. He should try to anticipate God's wishes. It is pitiable to hear one saying: "Can I go into the world without being defiled? How near can I drive to the precipice without going over?" Better it is for us to try to please God in every word we speak, every action we do, every moment we live.

—W.J. Harsha, Dallas Morning News, Dallas, Texas, March 9, 1901.

He who believes has life; he who obeys sees it.

—Christopher G. Hazard, New York Observer, New York, N.Y., Aug. 19, 1897.

Our love to Christ will be manifested by our cheerful obedience. The wicked world does not love Jesus Christ, hence it does not obey Him. No obedience to Christ can be rendered by the wicked because they do not love Him.

The wicked do not only not love Christ, but they hate Him. The world hates Christ as much today as it ever did. If Christ were on the earth today, the cry of "Crucify Him, crucify Him," would be heard all around the world. All those who do not love Him would clamor for His death.

The obedience we render to the commands of Christ will be in proportion to our love for Him. And the disciples of Christ should obey Him not because it is their duty, but because of their love for Him. Obedience prompted by love is the only acceptable service we can render to Christ.

Love is a higher motive than duty. [People are] governed too much by the principle of duty. Many people seem to pray and to read the word of God, to attend upon the preached gospel and to give to the cause of Christ as a matter of duty. This is a great mistake. Such service is merely mechanical and halfhearted and, therefore, not acceptable to Christ.

There are others who profess to be followers of Christ who are not governed even by the motive of duty. The commands of Christ are grievous to them--they are a burden. ...

Where there is a sincere love for Christ there will be the willing sacrifice of everything to Him.

—A.R. Holderby, The Atlanta Constitution, Atlanta, Ga., March 3, 1902.

Obedience is a glad and trustful recognition that the will of Him whom we obey is right and just and good. Only obedience to Christ can produce stable and convincing Christian personality. Here is the stability and strength of "rock-like" character. Obedience is also the avenue to spiritual truth. Jesus said, "If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God . . ." (John 7:17.) Furthermore, it is only in obedience that we know the full power of Christ. The vision on the road to Damascus got Paul's attention, obedience to the heavenly vision brought such power to Paul that he could say, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." (Philippians 4:13.) In the final analysis, obedience is the acid test of discipleship. Jesus said, 'If you love me, keep my commandments." (John 14:15.) He also said, "Not everyone who calls me Lord, Lord, shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he that doeth the will of my Father." (Matthew 7:21.) What Jesus asks of us is loyalty to Himself; to trust Him and obey Him who says, "Come, follow me." We will rediscover the secret of Christian power when we discover and walk in the way of obedience.

—Edward B. Hollenbeck, The Louisiana Methodist, Little Rock, Ark., Sept. 24, 1964.

Obedience is the condition of realizing Christ.

—J.B. Hunley, Christian Standard, Cincinnati, Ohio, Nov. 20, 1937.

Obedience to God depends upon the spirit of a willing mind. The key is found in Galatians 5:5: "For we through the Spirit by faith wait for the hope of righteousness." ... The spirit of obedience is the spirit of the New Testament. There we find love, willingness, good cheer. The winds of the Holy Spirit are blowing, and obedience comes from the heart.

—J.B. Hunley, Christian Standard, Cincinnati, Ohio, May 27, 1939.

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