Sunday, October 5, 2014

Healthy Christians exercise Instant obedience

Luke 6:27 “But I say to you who hear, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you."

Luke 6:37 “Do not judge, and you will not be judged; and do not condemn, and you will not be condemned; pardon, and you will be pardoned."

Luke 6:47 "Everyone who comes to Me and hears My words and acts on them, I will show you whom he is like"

Today's post is all about identifying the marks of a healthy Christian. Jesus' teaching in Luke 6 is a parallel account of His first ever public sermon in Matthew 5-7, the Sermon on the Mount. In that inaugural sermon Jesus lays out what will be the necessary foundations for the Apostle's New Testament teaching. We could in effect say that what we gather from the Sermon on the Mount constitutes the foundations for the Christian life. Every child of God should desire a healthy Christian walk. Thus in the opening above three verses (Luke 6:27,37,and 47), we see depicted those three marks, which are listed below:

1. Healthy Christians love their enemies. Luke 6:27

2. Healthy Christians exercise right judgment.  Luke 6:37

3. Healthy Christians exercise instant obedience. Luke 6:47

For the past couple of days we have looked at the first and second marks of a healthy Christian: Loving one's enemies (Luke 6:27-36) and Exercising Right Judgment (Luke 6:37-45). Today we will consider the final mark of a healthy Christian as expounded by Jesus in Luke 6:46-49: Instant obedience.

Healthy Christians exercise instant obedience. Luke 6:47-49
We have a saying around our home: "slow obedience is no obedience". In the scripture, the only obedience is that which is instant obedience. Whenever you study the life of Abraham, you mostly see a man who instantly obeyed God nearly every time. Whenever he was called to leave his homeland in Genesis 12 - he did so without hestitation. Likewise we as Christians ought to instantly obey our Lord whenever He addresses us from His word. 

Jesus poses the question in Luke 6:46- "Why do you call Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say?" What Jesus then does is express the valuable lesson He is going to teach, and also the meaning of the little parables that will accompany his lesson on instant obedience. In Luke 6:47 we read - "Everyone who comes to Me and hears My words and acts on them, I will show you whom he is like". 

I'm almost certain someone reading this blogpost today recalls the famous Sunday School song: "The wiseman built his house upon the rock". That song is based upon Jesus' short little parable here in Luke 6:48-49 and its parallel Matthew 7:24-27. The contrast is plain: the man who instantly obeys the Lord is reinforced by the known will of God. The wonder of this parable is two fold. For one thing, instant obedience to the Master does not render one immune to trouble. However the second lesson is expressed in the promise of the parable that such a man will not be shaken. The Greek word translated "shaken" can be used to refer to that which is easily toppled or of a mind that is easily agitated. 

Healthy Christians are able to withstand the storms of life because they know Whom they have believed in and know that He is able to keep that which has been committed unto Him against that day. (2 Timothy 1:12). Unhealthy Christianity and in reality, unbelief, operates like a foolish man building his house upon the sand. Having lived in Florida for some time, I have witnessed what happens when a beach is eroded by the ocean. Whenever a hurricane makes landfall, many many feet of walkable shoreline slides into the ocean due to the relentless waves. I am sure you have seen it on the news where million dollar homes are reduced to worthless heaps of wood. Why? Improper foundations. The Christian's health depends upon the promptness of their obedience.

Closing thoughts:
These past several days have been dedicated to unfolding Jesus' teaching on the marks of a healthy Christian. We noted three of them from Luke 6:26-49, namely healthy Christians:

1. Love their enemies
2. Exercise sound judgment
3. Instantly obey their Lord