By Faithful Obedience to the Word

Dustin Folden December 22, 2019 Luke 2:21-24; 39, 40
Outline

Matthew 5:17 - Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill.

1 John 3:5-6 - You know that He appeared in order to take away sins; and in Him there is no sin. No one who abides in Him sins; no one who sins has seen Him or knows Him.

Hebrews 5:9 - And having been made perfect, He became to all those who obey Him the source of eternal salvation…

2 Corinthians 5:21 - He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.

3 ways to pursue Christ-like obedience

I. Understand the Rich History of Obedience and Disobedience to the Word

A. Obedience examples

1. Circumcision

2. Days for purification

3. Present firstborn in the temple

B. Disobedience examples

1. Moses’ choice to not circumcise his son

2. The book of Judges

3. The disobedience of Saul with the Amalekites

II. Understand the Practical Results of Obedience

A. It restores the soul

Psalm 19:7-9 - The law of the Lord is perfect, restoring the soul; the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple. The precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes. The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever; the judgments of the Lord are true; they are righteous altogether.

B. It leads to greater worship because it reveals how amazing Christ’s total obedience was

C. It fulfills our purpose: glorifying God by doing His will

1. Christ came to do the will of His Father

John 6:38 - For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me.

2. We find the same joy in living for Him

2 Corinthians 5:9 - Therefore we also have as our ambition, whether at home or absent, to be pleasing to Him.

III. Understand the Ongoing Implication of Obedience

A. Christ grew in all aspects

Luke 2:52 - And Jesus kept increasing in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men.

Hebrews 5:8 - Although He was a Son, He learned obedience from the things which He suffered.

“To say that Jesus ‘learned obedience’ does not mean that he was formerly disobedient any more than saying that he ‘became a merciful and faithful high priest’ means that he was formerly callous or faithless. The verse, however, emphasizes Jesus’ humanity. He learned how to obey in the anvil of human experience, as he experienced life day by day. In particular he learned obedience in his sufferings. When suffering strikes, human beings are inclined to do whatever it takes to avoid it, to find another path where there is joy and refreshment. Jesus, however, learned how to trust God and do his will in the midst of his suffering. His first aim was not his own pleasure and comfort but the will of God.” Thomas Schreiner, Commentary on Hebrews, p. 164

B. Obedience means you are focused on growing in all aspects of your life

Philippians 2:12-13 - So then, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.

2 Peter 1:3-4 - …seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence. For by these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, so that by them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust.

Even as we near the end of the year we want to continue to focus on “Growing what God has given” and throughout the month of December we have been focusing on “Responding Well to the Birth of Jesus

During this time of year, there are a lot of references to the nice or naughty list…and when you think about that from a parents perspective,…a key word pops into my mind…the word obedience.

Every parents wants their children to be obedient…to listen to them, to do what they say. It is a universal truth among parents, that obedience is the best present a child can give a parent.

But as we respond to the Birth of Jesus…how does a Christ centered view of obedience help us not just focus on our kids behavior, but focus on our relationship with God, as His child…listening to what He says, and obeying His word.

In order to dig deeper into that idea there are a few questions about God, His word and obedience to ponder during our time together….

  • Question: What is the relationship between the Law (both OT and NT) and the believer?
  • Question: What is the relationship between the Law (both OT and NT) and Christ?
  • Question: What are the reasons that Christians should consider obeying and doing what God says?
  • Doctrine of the Impeccability of Christ
    • Legally we should not drive our cars and do donuts on our neighbors lawn and destroy their property…that is one way we are to interact with our neighbors…
    • but that is not all…For example it is not a part of the written law in IN, but it is a common curtesy that if your neighbor is stuck in the snow you help push them out, or maybe you shovel their drive for them, or get their mail if they are out of town….The Law is good…but there is more.
  • Doctrine of Imputed Righteousness of Christ
    • We can think about Abraham obeying God in offering up His son Isaac
    • We can think about Noah building the ark when it had never rained
    • We can think about King Josiah who after discovering the book of the Law sought to worship Yahweh alone.
    • Even when you see a prophet being told by the Lord to go somewhere, we see obedience in the text when they get up, saddle their donkey and go….
    • Every time you see in the word of God someone obey, we should celebrate because God’s righteousness is on display.
      • This person is saying, God is right and good and I am going to listen to Him.
    • That is personified in this text with Joseph and Mary.
      • Circumcision
        • In the OT it was commanded that any son of Abraham should be circumcised on the 8th day
        • In Gen 17, it is stated that circumcision is a sign of the covenant God has entered into with the Israelites.
        • This happens when they are a child, and it is a sign of the covenant that is private, but the way they obey God is to be a public sign that they have been set apart as the people of God.
        • In Deu 10:16 God says to His people “circumcise the foreskin of your heart and be no longer stubborn”….so we see this removal of flesh is really pointing to something greater…that I want to honor the authority of my God in a public, visible way, that reflects my love and trust of Him at the private heart level.
        • Romans 2:29 says that in the new covenant, circumcision is a matter of the heart….being set apart to the Lord as you trust and obey Him.
      • Days for purification
        • Mary and Joseph also obeyed the law of Moses according to the days of purification.
        • Based on Leviticus 12…After a mother gives birth she is ritually unclean for 7 days…then on the 8th day a male child is to be circumcised, this would be a special time for an Israelite family where they recognize this child is to be set apart for the glory of the Lord. By God’s grace the 8th days is also when a child’s blood has the enzymes at a high level for coagulation.
        • The purification ceremony lasts for 40 days in total, so after the circumcision there is another 33 days where the mother cannot enter the sanctuary of God.
          • In other words they are to recognize God is holy, and they are to wait and go to the Temple based on the commands of God, and guess what…they obey.
          • This reminds us about the Garden of Eden, where Adam and Eve disobeyed and were separated from God’s presence…and all the purification laws remind the people over and over that God is holy, and we rebel against his righteous rule and are separated from Him…and so we must come into His presence with fear and awe and trusting His provision of Holiness for us….and so there is a whole sacrificial system for God’s people to understand His holiness…
          • With a newborn all those truths are to be focused on….and so Joseph and Mary….
      • Present firstborn in the temple
        • After the 40 days they go to the temple
        • They go to present the firstborn to the Lord
          • Based on Lev 12 they are to offer a sacrifice of a lamb and a turtledove.
          • The lamb was to be a burnt offering
          • The turtle dove was to be a sin offering.
          • A burnt offering is an offering where the whole sacrifice (except the hide) is burnt up…literary it reads an ascending offering…to go up in smoke to God.
            • Many offerings the people and priests would eat a portion of…the Burnt offering was totally burned up….this is to signify our relationship with God is such that he deserves all of us…our whole life….a life that Obeys Him.
          • A sin offering is when someone sins either intentionally or unintentionally.
          • In this case these offerings recognize our lives are to be fully devoted to the Lord, but we also recognize we are going to fall short and that God has made provision for us to be forgiven.
          • God also provided for those who can’t afford a lamb, to offer 2 turtledoves.
            • The more you look at the law of the Lord, we see he makes provision for us to be able to obey Him…it really becomes a matter of the will, if we will trust and obey Him based on His provision, not something we must do on our own based on our resources.
        • The first born is to be dedicated to the lord
          • IN exodus 13 it is detailed that the first born both of people and of animals is to be set apart to the Lord.
          • This is to remind them of the Exodus…how Pharaoh killed the Israelites newborn Children, and how God preserved the Firstborn of the Israelite through the blood of the Passover lamb and also brought the curse back on Pharaoh head to kill the first born of the Egyptians….so that God’s people would be set free.
          • This is to recognize that not only does the Lord open the womb and bring Life, but He rescued His people from death…and he is ultimately going to do that with the sacrifice of His son.
  • God commands me to serve and use my gifts to build up the body of Christ…how am I doing obeying that this week.
  • God commands me to speak words of Grace that are better than people deserve…how am I doing obeying Him in the way that I speak.
  • God commands me to think of others as more important than myself…how am I doing obeying Him in the way that I think.
  • Thank you for all the examples of obedience and disobedience to warn us and point us to our need for the perfect obedience is Christ
  • Thank you how you make provision for us to be able to obey…thank you for the perfection of Christ and the imputed righteousness of Christ.
  • Thank you for how practical your word is.

What this is not going to be is a message just telling everyone to obey more….obey better….we want to understand why Faithful obedience to the Word of God is the proper response to the birth of Jesus…..We want to understand the doctrine, the truth that God wants us to learn, so that we obey from a heart that Knows, loves and trusts God, and is thankful for the gift of eternal life provided through the perfect obedience of Christ.

So when we think about obedience we have to consider 2 key doctrines, so we don’t just drift into a man centered performance/works based righteousness, but also so that we also don’t drift into a view of God’s grace that wrongly promotes lawlessness and disobedience.

So what we want to consider is…

The Intersection of two core doctrines of the Christian Faith:

First is the…

The word impeccable we often use to define someone e who has great taste. They are impeccably dressed….the idea is faultless. Everything is in its place and not out of place.

Jesus is faultless….It is very important to understand that Jesus did not come to say the law is bad, but to fulfill it. He is not at fault of breaking any part of the Law…As Matthew 5:17 says….

Matthew 5:17 (NASB95) — 17Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill.

When you think about our relationship with the Law of the Lord, and how the law of the Lord connects to Christ, you must think about the word righteousness…..what is right.

when we think about laws in our country, we see most of the laws as what is right, how people should relate to one another….what should be done and what should not be done. The Law is a piece of how we should act…but it is a piece…. there are so many of our interactions that are not constrained by the Law….

When we consider the Law of God in the Old testament, we need to understand that by giving the law, God is God is codifying a bit of His righteousness in that historical context….There are 613 Commandments in the OT. Of those there are 10 that are a summary of How to relate to God and to your neighbors… with the first commandment setting the tone of how we are to relate to God…to have no other God’s before Him….

The Law manifested a portion of God’s righteousness for His people in that context…We must understand that God is much more righteous and holy than what can be contained in 613 commandments….all through the bible the infinite righteousness of God is revealed more and more…where in the New Testament we see the Law of Christ being the focus.

Jesus did not come to undo any of the OT law…He came to fulfill it...to fill it up….the Law is a piece of God’s perfect righteousness…and Christ came to fulfill the Law, show what is perfectly right and Good in God’s eyes…. To personify the word of the Lord in the flesh and live in accordance with all that is written in the Law and reveal the Righteousness of God on Earth….

So He is impeccable, flawless…because he never sinned, never rebelled against the law of the Lord that points to God’s righteousness.

In fact… 1 john says….

1 John 3:5–6 (NASB95) — 5 You know that He appeared in order to take away sins; and in Him there is no sin. 6 No one who abides in Him sins; no one who sins has seen Him or knows Him.

In short Christ was obedient as he was displaying God’s righteousness not rebelling against it. And that has a huge impact on us, on our salvation….

Commentator Robert Peterson says,…

His obedience was indispensable to his saving work. “For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous” (Rom. 5:19). If he had disobeyed, by deviating an inch from the path of God’s will, the devil would have gained a toehold and frustrated the plan of salvation. But Jesus obeyed; and the devil was routed…. Thus he refused either to disobey God, or to hate his enemies, or to imitate the world’s use of power. By his obedience, his love and meekness he won a great moral victory over the powers of evil. He remained free, uncontaminated, uncompromised. The devil could gain no hold on him, and had to concede defeat. (Robert Peterson, Salvation Accomplished by the Son: The Work of Christ, p. 60)

What we see here is more of God’s righteousness revealed through the person and work of Jesus Christ, particularly His obedience….not only do we see the first doctrine…

We also see the…

The Law shows us what is right, and when we studying it and try to obey it, we fall short, and then we see our need and we see even more of God’s righteousness in the birth of Christ….Because he can impute His righteousness to our account….

Hebrews 5:9 (NASB95) — 9 And having been made perfect, He became to all those who obey Him the source of eternal salvation,

[Present the Gospel - Respond to the message…Obey the message of salvation by submitting and accepting His gift of His perfect obedience in You place…, His way of salvation instead of your way of salvation based on your works]

2 Corinthians 5:21 — 21 He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.

Understanding the Intersection:

The perfect obedience of Christ is placed on our account when we placed our faith in His work as the only means to be saved.

So as we read more about the birth of Christ….we are going to see a pattern of obedience that points to Jesus’ perfect obedience, which then becomes the foundation where we can grow in obedience as well….

With that in mind, let’s read Luke 2:21-24 and 39,40 as we consider Responding to the Birth of Jesus by the Faithful Obedience to the Word.

With our time remaining let’s consider….

Three ways to pursue Christ-like obedience.

I. Understand the Rich History of obedience and disobedience to the word

Throughout the bible we have numerous examples of people’s obeying God, trusting what God says is right and wanting to represent Him and His righteousness by obeying what He says is right and good.

A. Obedience Examples

There are a number of ways Joseph and Mary obeyed the Lord, setting the stage for the perfect obedience of Christ to be on display…By God’s sovereign plan Christ fulfilled the law in every way even as a baby….we see that with…

There is One more really obvious example of how Joseph and Mary obeyed the Lord…can anyone guess what it is…..they named him Jesus, just as the angel of the Lord commanded them…just as Zacharias and Elizabeth obeyed naming their son John, so did Joseph and Mary obey in naming Jesus.

All of this obedience is not simply meaningless ritual…it is people putting the Lord at the center of their lives, and knowing and obeying what He instructs…because they want to be a part of Him displaying His righteousness through the obedience of His servants.

B. Disobedience Examples

Just as there are many examples of obedience, there are a lot of examples of disobedience. Adam and Eve are probably the greatest example of disobedience and because of their disobedience sin, death and suffering entered the world.

Here are Just a few more examples….in contrast to Joseph and Mary we see in Exodus 4

  • Moses’ choice to not circumcise his Son
  • The Book of Judges
  • The Disobedience of Saul with the Amalekites
  • This was an act of disobedience, and if it were not for Moses wife stepping in to circumcise their son, Moses would have died due to His disobedience.
  • We see in the book of Judges that there was no king in Israel and everyone did what is right in their own eyes.
  • They were not celebrating the Passover, they were not observing the law of the Lord….they were doing whatever they wanted and they were constantly attacked and oppressed by other countries.
  • Even when they do get a King. The Lord commands Saul to destroy the Amalekites, and Saul does not obey the Lord….
  • We see a long line of kings (with a few exceptions) who do not obey the Lord….and ultimately we see the people being enslaved by the Babylonians and Assyrians.
  • Disobedience leads to destruction.

But the Lord is faithful, and he redeems His people, and brings them back, restore our broken relationship with Him….We see over and over again, when you revolve your life around the Lord, seek to obey Him…there is security, protection and blessing based on His provision…but with rebellion comes discipline, humiliation and enslavement.

We want to emphasize that it is only by Christ’s obedience that we can be in a right relationship with God…but we also need to emphasize that the Lord ordered this world in such a way that obedience has practical life implications. So as we marvel at the birth of Christ and His prefect obedience…we must also

II. Understand the practical results of obedience

When we obey the word of the Lord, when we submit ourselves to the authority of God and what He says, it impacts our whole life and it starts in our inner man…it…

A. It Restores the Soul

Psalm 19:7–9 (NASB95) — 7 The law of the Lord is perfect, restoring the soul; The testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple. 8 The precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; The commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes. 9 The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever; The judgments of the Lord are true; they are righteous altogether.

When we function under God, and obey Him, we function in the way God designed things to function, and so our soul can have rest…we can learn to wisely navigate the decision in life that serve God and serve others. We can see the greater purpose of being God’s image bearers. We can look at life with an eternal perspective…trusting the one who has authority over life and death….we can understand that God’s judgment designating what is good and evil are what is true….

B. It Leads to Greater Worship because it reveals how Amazing Christ’s Total Obedience Was

When you try to obey, and you fall short and you have to cast yourself on the mercy and grace of God in Christ…you understand more and more how amazing God’s perfect obedience is….and How much you need it.

You then value and worship Christ more.

C. It Fulfills our Purpose: Glorifying God by Doing His Will

  • Christ Came to Do the Will of His Father
  • We Find the Same Joy in Living for Him

John 6:38 (NASB95) — 38 “For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me.

Obedience is about recognizing another’s authority over you. Allowing someone else to usurp your will….

Our purpose is to live out the will of our creator…to obey the Lord, you must embrace the purpose the Lord has for you…to be a part of Him revealing His righteousness...through the law, through Christ, and through his image bearers who are followers of Christ.

2 Corinthians 5:9 (NASB95) — 9 Therefore we also have as our ambition, whether at home or absent, to be pleasing to Him.

When kids obey, and you praise them and when they know you are pleased with them, and they did the right thing, they light up like glow slicks….they are overjoyed.

We need to be childlike in delighting when our heavenly father is pleased with us…knowing we obeyed and are displaying how righteous He is through our actions.

This needs to permeate our whole life more and more….when we consider the birth of Jesus we must also….

III. Understand the Ongoing implication of Obedience

A. Christ Grew in all Aspects

Luke 2:52 (NASB95) — 52 And Jesus kept increasing in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men.

Here we see a focus on Jesus humanity…He as the God-man, being fully God but also fully human…He grew in a variety of human ways…there was a learning process where He grew and obeyed more and more as He displayed through His life the wisdom of God more and more….

The point is if we are going to respond to the birth of Christ how are we going to seek to grow in obedience

Ask yourself,…how did I obey Christ this last week…what are some opportunities I have to obey Christ this week?

We need to pursue a life of obedience….

The implication for us as we consider the birth of Christ is…do we understand that with a focus on Christ and because of Christ we are to grow in obeying and pleasing the Lord more and more.

Sometimes that growth only comes through suffering….Hebrews says…

Hebrews 5:8 (NASB95) — 8 Although He was a Son, He learned obedience from the things which He suffered.

It is helpful to see what one commentator, Thomas Schreiner says regarding Jesus obedience…

“To say that Jesus ‘learned obedience’ does not mean that he was formerly disobedient any more than saying that he ‘became a merciful and faithful high priest’ means that he was formerly callous or faithless.” The verse, however, emphasizes Jesus’ humanity. He learned how to obey in the anvil of human experience, as he experienced life day by day. In particular he learned obedience in his sufferings. When suffering strikes, human beings are inclined to do whatever it takes to avoid it, to find another path where there is joy and refreshment. Jesus, however, learned how to trust God and do his will in the midst of his suffering. His first aim was not his own pleasure and comfort but the will of God. (Thomas Schreiner, Commentary on Hebrews, p. 164)

When you grow to choose to trust God and have joy in Him even in suffering, you become more like Christ…

you learn obedience …you submit to God’s purposes being right even if it involves His servants/servants…suffering to display His righteousness.

My hope is because of this text, because of the obedience of Christ….you want to pursue a life of obedience and follow Him and apply this to every aspect of your life….

B. Obedience means you are Focused on Growing in All Aspects of Your Life

There needs to be a recognition that the Lord deserves all of it, just like the burnt offering…as we are to be living sacrifices….Where He gets all of us…down to our desires.

Philippians 2:12–13 (NASB95) — 12 So then, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your salvation with fear and trembling; 13 for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.

After a person become saved, they are to work out their salvation….growing closer to God because we recognize He is at work in our lives…He has given us what we need to trust and obey Him…and He wants to use our obedience in following Christ to display His righteousness.

2 Peter 1:3–4 (NASB95) — 3 seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence. 4 For by these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, so that by them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust.

When we obey, we become more like Him, we share in His divine nature…His righteousness….He has given us everything pertaining to life and godliness….through the knowledge of who He is…..and as we trust and obey Him, we become more like Him.

Just as the Law is a piece of God’s righteousness on display, just as Christ is the perfect display of God’s righteousness….the knowledge of Christ and becoming more like Him is how we display the glory and excellence of the Lord….. through our obedience based on what He says about life and godliness.

So the bottom line is do you see the perfect obedience of Christ and do you recognize you need that on your account….You need Him to obey in your place because you cannot obey perfectly.

Then based on that…do you understand that the Law is a picture of God’s righteousness, and Christ fulfills that picture and we reflect that picture…and so we want to obey not just because it is right, but because we want to reflect the amazing righteous of God in the way we obey and submit to His will of what is good and right.

that is not just intellectual knowledge, but applicational knowledge where we trust and obey in real life because we are responding to the birth of Christ with love and adoration.

Let’s pray…

Help us grow in practical obedience in the way we think, speak and act for your Glory.

Dustin Folden

Roles

Pastor of Discipleship & Extension Ministries - Faith Church

Bio

B.S - Electrical Engineering, Purdue University
M.Div. - Faith Bible Seminary

Pastor Dustin Folden and his wife Trisha joined the Pastoral Staff in 2010. They have two children, Mackenna & Sawyer. They enjoy playing board games, cooking together and going on hiking adventures. Pastor Folden shepherds the 9:30 worship service, oversees the Adult Bible Fellowship ministry, the Wednesday evening Faith Community Institute as well as serves in Faith Biblical Counseling Ministries.

Read Dustin Folden's Journey to Faith for the full account of how the Lord led Pastor Folden to Faith Church.