ObedienceHandbook 1: Article 21 - How's Your Kingdom Coming?

Many Christians assume that repentance and rebirth are the only requirements for entering the Kingdom of God and that from then on grace covers every other contingency and they are "home free". Scripture, however, lists at least three other basic requirements: obedience (Matthew 7: 21), humility (Luke 18: 16, 17; Matthew 18: 3, 4), and tribulations (Acts 14: 22).

To call Jesus, "Lord", does not make Him our Lord. Only obedience can do that. Obedience is obeying whatever the one in command orders us to do with no variation on our part - no additions, subtractions, corrections, interpretations, and imaginings. And obedience is silencing within ourselves the "what ifs", "but Gods", and "whys". The Lord speaks and His followers obey. It is as simple and as complicated as that.

Everything we need to be obedient is found in Jesus Christ. He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. With all our reasoning powers, our earthly know-how, our church activities, we will not find the way. For we have been called into a personal relationship with Jesus. "And discipleship without Jesus Christ is a way of our own choosing. It may be the ideal way. It may even lead to martyrdom, but it is devoid of all promise. Jesus will certainly reject it." (Bonhoeffer) Even if we prophesy in His name, cast out demons, perform works of power, He will say, "Depart from me, I never knew you, you who practice lawlessness."

In all of obedience only one thing is necessary -- "to rely on Christ's word, and cling to it as offering greater security than all the securities in the world." (Bonhoeffer)

True obedience today is hidden and obscure just as it was in Jesus' day. For Christians are taught to be obedient to the traditions, doctrines, and precepts of men, not to the words of Jesus. Then how does a Christian know what to do? Jesus said, "My sheep hear My voice and I know them and they follow Me."

"My child, hear my voice and give no heed to the voice of the stranger. My paths are straight, and they are narrow, but you shall have no difficulty in finding them if you watch me. I am guiding you. You need not look to man for direction. You may learn much by fellowship with the saints, but never allow any to take the part that is rightfully Mine -- to direct your steps. As it is written, 'The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord,' -- not by the preacher, not by some Christian worker, but by the Lord. Trust Me to do it, and give Me the time and opportunity. Be not hasty, and lean not upon your own intelligence. Rest in Me. I shall bring to pass My perfect will in your life as you believe and live in faith." (Frances J. Roberts)

If you will be obedient today then learn to recognize the voice of Jesus. He called you individually and you must follow Him alone. He will tell you what to do and where to go. Search the Scriptures for His word to you. Sit at His feet everyday and learn of Him. When He speaks to you, underline what He says, hide these words in your heart, and then when the moment for obedience arrives, act them out according to His instructions. "Discipleship is not limited to what you comprehend -- it must transcend all comprehension. Plunge into the deep waters beyond your own comprehension, and Jesus will help you to comprehend. ...Not to know where you are going is the true knowledge. Thus Abraham went forth from his father not knowing whither he went. He trusted himself to God's knowledge, and cared not for his own, and thus he took the right road and came to his journey's end. Behold, that is the way of the cross. You cannot find it yourself, so you must let Jesus lead you as though you were a blind man. Wherefore it is not you, no living creature, but Jesus who instructs you by His word and Spirit in the way you should go. Not the work you choose or contrive or desire -- that is the road you must take. To that Jesus calls you and in that you must be His disciple." (Martin Luther)

"Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord!' will enter the Kingdom of Heaven but he who does the will of my Father who is in Heaven." You see, you do hold the keys to the Kingdom in your own hand. Just like Peter.

MC

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