Many years ago I heard a very experienced pastor and Bible conference speaker preach a sermon on the importance of obedience in the Christian life. If I could give a title to that sermon it would be It Won’t Work Without Obedience. The pastor went thru a number of things the Bible teaches won’t work without obedience such as Christian living won’t work without obedience, Christian service won’t work without obedience, Christian leadership won’t work without obedience, etc.
In the audience that day was an 80-yr-old woman, Gertrude, who attended our church regularly but had never been baptized. During the course of the sermon the pastor mentioned that baptism is a matter of obedience and not being baptized is disobedience. That really got Gert’s attention and she came under conviction. She made an appointment to see me, we looked at what the Bible says about baptism, and I later had the privilege of baptizing the oldest person I’ve ever baptized at 80-yrs-old.
What was interesting was to see the changes that simple step of obedience made in Gert’s life. It was very visible. First of all, her extended family of brothers and sisters didn’t really know for sure if Gert was even saved. But during my conversation with her I discovered she had a very clear salvation testimony and had assurance. She just had never shared her testimony with her extended family. Obeying the Lord in baptism gave her the chance to share her testimony to the great relief of her family. Next, I also observed that Gert had greater peace in her life. She initially became confused about the role of baptism thinking she wouldn’t go to heaven unless she got baptized. When she clearly saw that baptism is a testimony to salvation rather than a means of salvation, she had great peace about where she stood with the Lord and why she was getting baptized. Also, I noticed that Gert was afterwards a more active Christian. She became a member of the church and took a more vital role in the ministry. Finally, she became a better witness. She had many unsaved family members who were there for her baptism and saw the ensuing commitment to the Lord in her life. Her testimony became sharp whereas before it had been weak.
If an 80-yr-old woman could experience these kinds of blessing by simply obeying the command to be baptized, imagine what could happen in our lives if we made obedience to God our business? Here are some Scriptural points about the place of obedience for Christians.
Obedience to God is our main business, Ecclesiastes 12:13: Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man.
Obedience is motivated by love, John 14:15: If you love me, you will obey what I command.
Obedience is not an irksome thing, 1 John 5:3: This is love for God: to obey his commands. And his commands are not burdensome.
Obedience is an all-the-time practice, Philippians 2:12: my dear friends, as you have always obeyed.
Obedience is the essence of worship, 1 Samuel 15:22: To obey is better than sacrifice.
Your friend, endeavoring to obey, Pastor Brian (:-}).