We say the DNA of Three Rivers Church is KDSC. The gospel of the (K)kingdom makes (D)disciples in domains of (S)society, and from those domains of society that are local and global (glocal), the ( C)hurch will multiply. This DNA makes the entire church relevant and necessary to the completion of Jesus mission of discipling the nations.
We unpacked Kingdom.
Now, lets take a quick look at Disciple.
We have often thought of discipleship as the assimilation of information. Make no mistake that information is important, but information isolated to itself is a false indicator of discipleship. In fact, knowing without doing is called “dead” by the Apostle James. So, knowing the right information is no guarantee of Christian maturity.
In the ESV the phrase “hear the word of the Lord” shows up 3,742 times.
In the ESV the phrase “obey the voice of the Lord” shows up 5,930 times.
It appears God cares that that we hear him and obey him.
One of the best illustrations of this in Scripture is the story of Saul, Israel’s first king. 1 Samuel records from chapter 10-15 this situation in which Saul is given clear instructions from the Lord on two occasions. Saul disobeys the instruction both times. Then we get God’s judgment through Samuel:
“Has the LORD as great delight in burn offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to listen than the fat of rams. For rebellion is as the sin of divination, and presumption as the sin of idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the Lord, he has also rejected you from being king.”
Jesus then gives us Matthew 7:24-27 in which he tells us that the one who HEARS AND OBEYS is the wise one whose house stands, and the one who hears and does not obey is the foolish one whose house falls.
What can we conclude?
- Maybe discipleship can be defined very simply as “hear and obey”. In fact, we say at TRC that discipleship is the discipline of learning to hear and obey. Not discipline(s). The discipline of hearing and obeying. These two go together. We can’t separate hear from obey. God wants them both.
- God would rather we hear him and obey him than bring our offerings to him. Offerings from a disobedient person are not really offerings. Maybe they are our attempts at soothing our own consciences rather than a true offering.
- God told Saul that the failure to hear and obey (he obviously didn’t hear right if he didn’t obey) is rebellion and rebellion is like the sin of divination. Really? Divination is the seeking of a deity’s will through ritualistic methods. It’s to gain insight through the occult. So, to rebel is like saying you will find the way through another “god” and denying the only God. That’s how serious it is that we obey. Eve failed to hear and obey well, and that is the pattern set in the fall, and it’s the pattern we live out today.
- It’s vital to learn to hear. We will talk about later how to hear, but for now, try reading Scripture, understanding the message in its proper context. That means not applying Philippians 4:13 to my next dead lift personal record attempt. Right? That passage is addressing the ability of women in the church at Philippi to get along with each other. God enables us to love each other and get along not go get our worldly goals that may or may not be seeking his kingdom.
- We have to learn to obey, instantly, completely. The phrase the Holy Spirit keeps bringing to me is “obedience is life”. My spiritual vitality is tied to my obedience to the Lord. If I don’t obey, I’ve learned to quench the Spirit’s voice. I’ve learned to confuse the Spirit with other voices that come at me during the day. To obey is to know the voice of the Spirit and to build the habit of hearing him and doing what he said. My greatest spiritual growth has been when I heard and obeyed. When I hear and don’t obey I tend to get stuck in the spiritual mud.
So, if you need to grow in discipleship, start by hearing and obeying. It’s worked for thousands in Christian history. It’ll work for me too.
May you be quickened to hear and obey today!