“Are We Following God’s Instructions?”
“And He gave them instructions…” Luke 9:3a
This past Sunday I preached from Luke 9:1 - 9 on Jesus sending out the twelve to proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal. The title of my sermon was “The Profile of the Gospel Messenger.” One of those profiles comes from verse three. Jesus gave them instructions to follow and they did.
It is so important for us to follow instructions. Men, of course, are notorious in not doing that. We open a box and begin to put something together and our wives say, “Aren’t you going to follow the instructions?” To which we answer, “I’ve got this. I don’t need instructions.” Then a couple of hours later when they look in on us, we are sitting there reading the instructions trying to figure out where we when wrong. I remember spending most of a night (from 11 p.m. to 5 a.m.) trying to put together a doll house for my daughter’s Christmas present because I thought I could do it without the instructions. It looked simple enough, but boy was I wrong.
Not following instructions can even have more serious consequences. While I was in the military we were doing a training (instruction) exercise with some new troops. This particular exercise dealt with hand grenades. We had three concrete bunkers side by side and we would bring the new recruit into the bunker and teach them how to pull the pin of a hand grenade, throw it down range and all the implications of safety in doing so. You would think these instructions, since we are using live grenades, would sink in, be important to these guys, right?
Well, I called a recruit into the center bunker and handed him a grenade. I told him to get in the ready position, pull the pin, drop the pin and throw the grenade over the front wall of the bunker DOWN RANGE! Seemed like simple instructions to me. BUT, here is what happened. He takes the grenade, ready’s himself, pulls the pin, drops the grenade at our feet and then throws the pin over the wall down range. NOT GOOD!!! He didn’t follow the instructions. Well, you know that I didn’t blow up since I’m writing this article. Here is what happened next. I had 7 seconds before the grenade exploded. I quickly threw him over the wall into the next bunker, picked up the live grenade and was able to throw it over the front wall of my bunker, while yelling at the same time for everyone to “Get Down!” My ears rung for a few days after the grenade exploded just on the other side of the concrete wall. I will say, I never ever saw that recruit again. I’m not really sure what happened to him, but I can tell you my commander was not a happy camper.
Folks, God has given us instructions to follow. His entire HOLY WORD is our instruction to a life in Him, a life that gives joy and peace in the midst of heartache and in a lost world, in fact, a life different than the world. His instructions leads to eternal life with Him. If life in Christ leads to peace and life, why wouldn’t we follow it? That is a question that could be for everyone, but I am posing that to us, the believer. Why wouldn’t believers follow God’s instructions? I think there are two major reasons.
First, we still haven’t surrendered all to Him. His instructions do not line up with our instructions. Or another way to put it is, “I know better. I live into my way of doing things.” Folks, that does not line up with God’s way, God’s plan. He has given us the perfect plan and when we deviate from it, we are just hurting ourselves and others. Surrender ALL to His instructions for life!!!
The second major reason I believe believers don’t follow God’s instructions for life is because they don’t know them. Not because God has lacked in His instruction, but we don’t know them because we haven’t read them. We are not intent on learning them through study of His Word, through instruction in worship/preaching, and through Bible studies. You have to know the instructions to follow them.
So let me give you one example of God’s instructions. In Ephesians 6 we are given these instructions. “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.(10-11) Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests.” (13-18a) How are we doing believer in following God’s instructions?
Pastor Marty - HOPE Church Raleigh
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