In our to-day culture obeying has become a very difficult matter. Many people get upset when they have to obey somebody. The whole community seems to be soaked by: I will decide for myself, I will go my way. Even many Christians think this way! Let us see what the Bible is telling us about obedience.


Jeremiah 7:21-28 These are the words of the Lord of armies, the God of Israel: Put your burned offer-ings with your offerings of beasts, and take flesh for your food.

For I said nothing to your fathers, and gave them no orders, on the day when I took them out of Egypt, about burned offerings or offerings of beasts: But this was the order I gave them, saying, Give ear to my voice, and I will be your God, and you will be my people: go in all the way ordered by me, so that all may be well for you. But they took no note and did not give ear, but were guided by the thoughts and the pride of their evil hearts, going back and not forward. From the day when your fathers came out of Egypt till this day, I have sent my servants the prophets to you, getting up early every day and sending them: But still they took no note and would not give ear, but they made their necks stiff, doing worse than their fathers. And you are to say all these words to them, but they will not give ear to you: you will send out your voice to them, but they will give no answer. And you are to say to them, This is the nation which has not given ear to the voice of their God, or taken his teaching to heart: good faith is dead and is cut off from their mouths.

James1:19-25 You have knowledge of this, dear brothers. But let every man be quick in hearing, slow in words, slow to get angry; For the righteousness of God does not come about by the wrath of man. For this reason, putting away all dirty behaviour and the over-weight of evil, take into your souls without pride the word which, being planted there, is able to give you salvation. But be doers of the word, and not only hearers of it, blinding yourselves with false ideas. Because if any man is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man looking at his natural face in a glass; For after looking at himself he goes away, and in a short time he has no memory of what he was like. But he who goes on looking into the true law which makes him free, being not a hearer without memory but a doer putting it into effect, this man will have a blessing on his acts.

OBEDIENCE. That is the title I want to give to this sermon.

It is not only a matter of hearing the message, but also a matter of doing the message. In other words: To bring into practice in your own life what you have heard from the Bible.

I want to start this sermon with a testimony about myself. It is not long, but I want to share with you what I did with obeying in my life and what I still do.


I was born and raised in a Christian family. My parents were member of one of the big traditional churches in the Netherlands. I was baptised as a baby, which is a custom in this church, and in our family I got well known with the word of God, the Bible. I had my education in Christian schools and also from that side I learned from the Bible and with Christian songs.

For this reason I never had any doubts about the existence of God. It never raised any questions in my life. I always have known that God is real and that God is there. But at the same time, many things from the Bible I did not understand. But that never did made me have any doubts about the being of God.

When I was 19, I underwent a special ceremony in the church, the public confession of my faith in God and in the Lord Jesus. That was and is a tradition in most of the traditional churches. And a few years later I married my wife Aukje.

Aukje was also raised in a Christian family, but they were members of a Pentecostal Church. She was baptised when she was a teenager.

This all might give the impression that everything went very well with us. But in the following years, our faith in Jesus was pushed to the background. We still believed, but we did not do much with our faith. We lived our own lives and did not give any account to Jesus. May be the main cause of this was, that I did not read the Bible and also did not pray much. I had the idea that I was very well able to handle my own business.

And for some time it seemed to be right, I seemed to be able to take care of my own business. But in the end, I landed into a very deep crisis in my life. I stepped over the boundary, I mean: I was not able anymore to resolve the problems I met in my life. Therefore at the age of 39 I made a new and fresh choice for Jesus. There was no other way. I myself was not longer able to find my way out of the crisis, I realised that only Jesus could do that. And Gods love manifested itself in my life in a very powerful way. The Holy Spirit convinced me, that I had to return to God. I remembered that I made a promise to God: The promise to do whatever God would ask from me!

At the same time I knew and realised that our Lord is speaking through his Word, the Bible. In the time following this crucial decision, I began to understand more and more what the Bible was saying. And while understanding all this, I also began to implement them in my life. I began to practice in my life what the Bible was telling me. For instance I never understood the text in James 1 that we just read. I never was aware of the significance of this word. But God showed me in a very simple way what faith is about.

The Holy Spirit did a lot of work in my life and is still doing! I am not telling this to show you what a good man I am, on the contrary. I am telling this to show you how I have struggled with my faith and sometimes still do. We all have these periods in our lives.

Acknowledging every time again, that Gods love is working in my life by the mighty works of the Holy Spirit. Acknowledging also time and again, that everything I receive from the Lord is by grace. His mercy. Not because of my own works.


As most of you will know, the Old Testament is full of stories of the struggle of Israel. For Israel the main problem was: Obeying God. We can read in many places about small and big mistakes of the people of Israel. It was a continuing struggle to obey the Lord Jaweh. And we can also read what the consequences of this disobedience were. And many times the Lord used special appointed man, the prophets, to show Israel the way to go. Prophets like for instance Isaiah and Jeremiah.

Their main task was, to correct the way the people of Israel was living and to bring them back to the right way of living, which is a life in dependence on God.

In the story we have just read, the Lord is speaking to his people very clearly. He starts with saying: For you it is better to make you burned offering part of the offering of beasts. Why is He saying this?


Normally burned offerings were completely burned before God, nothing but ashes were left. But with the offering of beasts the Israelites were allowed to keep part of the meat for them selves to eat. God noticed that the offerings were not given by heart, therefore they did not have any value for the Lord. And if a offering has no value for God, the only one that can have a profit of the offering is the person doing the offering. Therefore He said, it is better for you to offer beasts, because then it has some significance for you. You will have some extra meat to eat. Saying in other words: This offering is not a real offering, it has no value for me, because you are not giving from your heart.

Then God says by the prophet Jeremiah: I never ordered you to offer in this way. I ordered you to listen to my voice and I promised you to be My people. And He also said: Go all the way ordered by Me, so that all may be well for you. And that was exactly the big problem. Going Gods way.


Time and again the Israelites went there own way. Time and again they fell back to idolatry. And time and again the Lord send them prophets, to correct them and to warn them for the serious consequences of their behaviour.

The people of Israel had get used to all these other gods. Gods which you had to satisfy all the time. Gods you had to offer to make them think good about you. You had to buy off their wretch and their anger.

Offering to these gods is mainly based on fear. Sometimes this kind of offering is also considered to be a magical way to achieve things. Many times in the way of: If I do this offering, the god has to do that for me. It is like buying your freedom and your inner peace. But our God does not want us to do this kind of offering. Not in the past and not in the present.

What He wants from us in the first place is our heart and not our possessions. By the way do we really possess anything? My opinion is that we all are stewards of what God has given us as a loan.

The Bible is very clearly stating: Go My way! Going Gods way means we are on the move. It is no matter of sitting back in your chair. No, you have to go the way of the Lord, all of it! On the move to Him, on the move to meet Him someday! What a wonderful day that will be!


Going all the way with Him means also: Do not take side roads or shortcuts. No only go His way. He gives us a promise at the same time: So that all may be well for you!

What is the meaning of all being well for us? Does it mean that God is giving to all his people nice houses and big cars and lots of money? Looking at being well in this way is a very unspiritual way. In Biblical terms being well means first and for all: I am with God and the Lord is with me. That is being well. Having the continuing assurance that the Lord our God is with you and with me. That gives peace in your life, whatever happens. That gives us the assurance that some-time we will be with Him and live with Him for eternity! A life without pain, without sin, without sickness.

But despite all the warnings of the prophets, Israel did not listen. The powerless people and the influence of satan were a disaster for Israel. Therefore the Lord said: If you are not going my way, things will not go well for you. You will create a gap in your relationship with God, which is a very dangerous situation. Because this can lead to a complete turning away from God. We have seen many examples of this through history.


But fortunately a lot of things have changed since the prophet Jeremiah lived. Although also in the Old Testament God emphasised the significance of the situation of your heart, it has even become much more clear by the coming of our Lord Jesus. Because of his offering, because of his work, there is no need any more to offer animals but we only have to give ourselves. Because of his suffering, his death and his victory over death, He opened up the way for us to the Father.

Before it was almost impossible for the Israelites to go Gods way, but now we can! We do not need the offering of animals anymore. The perfect offer was given by Jesus Christ, once and for all!

But what is God asking from us? Or can we just do, what we like to do?

Of course not. But while in the old testament it was only possible to receive reconciliation by way of an outerly ceremony, the offering of animals, we now just have to give our self to Jesus. By accepting Him as our Lord and Saviour. That is what happens when you turn to Jesus. To be completely aware and acknowledge that we are weak and need the Lords help in our life. That is what I hope you have also experienced in your lives. That is also something that is expressed in the baptising ceremony, the complete surrender to Jesus!


Every time again it is important to know where your heart is. At the time of our conversion we were born again by the mighty work of the Holy Spirit. This was Gods work, not ours. And after completing this the Holy Spirit did not depart from our lives, on the contrary! He has taken residence inside us. And by His influence and inspiration we learn how to grow spiritually. And in this way slowly but surely the Bible shows us each personally what God is asking from us.

The way God is performing this in our lives is very careful and full of love. He will never give you a task, which you are not able to perform. He knows what we need and He knows our abilities. And together with the Holy Spirit we will implement all these wonderful directions God is giving us!


We have read in James 1: Do not only listen to the Word, but also DO the Word! Because if you are not doing so, you are fooling yourself! Reading Gods Word with the help of the Holy Spirit shows you things you have to implement in your live.

Have to? Yes and no. NO because God always leaves you the choice, what to do with it. YES beause only listinening to Gods Word or only reading Gods Word, is not sufficient. James is very clear about that. Because:

  • If we truly believe
  • If Gods love is really in our heart
  • If there is no hindrance between me and God

This will not be a problem at all. Then your nature will change into a nature that in a natural way will do what God is asking from you. Only reading is not enough. Letters are dead, but the Holy Spirit puts life in it.

If you give the Holy Spirit the control of your life, you don’t even think of doing wrong things! And if your inner being is in good order, people will notice it on the outside! When I committed my life again to the Lord Jesus, everybody I met could see that I had changed (although I did not realise it myself so much!)

But also in the life following this event, the nature of God became visible in my life more and more. God has changed me inside and still is working on it. When God is asking new things from us to do, we many times try to argue with Him. We get stuck if we do so.


Especially in western countries we try to understand everything with our mind and may be it is the same here. We should not do that, but simply accept what the Lord is asking from us! When He has a new task for you, people around you might think: He is a fanatic. What a strange and funny man! But at the same time you will experience Gods peace in your heart! What other people think of you is not important at all. It is a matter between you and the Lord, between me and the Lord. A matter of life and death!

But if you never made a choice for Jesus, if you never accepted Him in your life as your Saviour, this will be very difficult. Because in that situation the Holy Spirit will not have the opportunity to show the full meaning of Gods love for your life. I had the same kind of problem earlier in my life, as I told you before. I was not aware of it. But now I can also shout: Praise the Lord and Hallelujah. It was not my work, but the work of the Lord. Gods Spirit has changed many things in my life since then.


Let me give you an example: Baptising: I was baptised as a baby and always thought that was the right thing. But then after my new commitment to Jesus I read in my Bible: if you believe, you have to be baptised. No fear for family, no fear for friends. No simple obedience to what the Word of God is saying. The Holy Spirit showed me the significance of it and urged me to decide to be baptised as an adult. And so I did. I made the choice, after the Holy Spirit had showed me it.

So many things in my life have changed for the good. God taught me how to be not only a listener of the Word but also a doer. I praise the Lord for it! At the same time we are on route. On route on the Lords way. In other words: God did not finish his job in me yet, God did not finish his job with you yet. His work can not be stopped!


An other thing is that our motives are not always pure. Sometimes offering is not really a big thing for us. But God is asking EVERYTHING from us! Therefore obeying God is giving your self completely. Because when you obey it means many times that you have to do something you don’t like. In obeying you surrender your self to the other, in this case to God.

Do you know the opposite of obeying? The opposite is disobedience, the Bible is also saying in 1Sam.15:23 “For to go against his orders is like the sin of those who make use of secret arts, and pride is like giving worship to images.

It must not be a surprise for you when I tell you, that disobedience stops your spiritual growth. But on the other hand, obeying has a lot of positive effects on your life. Obeying not because you have to, but because the Holy Spirit lives in you and makes it clear to you. When we look for texts about obedience, you will find many.

Therefore, before finishing, I will mention some aspects of obeying:

• If you obey God, you will experience the deep peace of Jesus in your life.

• Before obeying it looks like it is very difficult to do, afterwards you will find out, that this is not true!

• We do not have to worry about the consequences; the Lord is taking care of that.

• Jesus will never force you to do things; He always leaves us to choose.

• The key for understanding spiritual matters is not our intellect, but obedience to God.

• Very often we know what the right thing is to do, but many times we find excuses not to do it!

• Someday we will stand face to face with our Lord. Only then we will see and understand how many others have been blessed by our obedience!

Are we willing to be doers? Are we willing to follow Jesus without keeping something for our self? Are we willing to study his Word and to ask the Holy Spirit to help us to understand what we read? Are we really willing to do what God is asking from us, without arguing? Are we willing and prepared to offer our selves completely to our Lord and Saviour, every day again?

When you become a doer of the Word, it will have great consequences for you life. The Lord will bless you for sure.