A lot of good churchgoing people are going to be surprised. They’ve been hanging around for years, waiting for God to judge the rest of the world. They don’t pretend to be the best of Christians, but at least they’re not like all those lost people out in the world.
Ok, so they don’t come to all the services and they don’t help in the Sunday School, they don’t help with the ushering or anywhere else in the church, but at least their heart’s there, right? Well, guess what? The Bible has a big surprise for some of these folks. See, they’re waiting for God to judge the world and God says He’s going to begin His judgement with the church.
1 Peter 4:17 says it like this: “For the time is come that judgement must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?” We’ve been taught wrong. We’ve been taught that it’s a matter of just faith but anybody can have faith. In fact, the Bible teaches that everybody has faith Romans 12:3 says God has given to every person the measure of faith but we know that not every person is right with God. It’s a matter of being obedient to the faith and that’s where so many people are going to get caught.
They have faith, but they’re not obedient. They play at serving God. they half heartedly drag themselves to church whenever it’s convenient. They go from church to church, making the rounds. They’re “ever learning, but never coming to the knowledge of the truth.” (2 Tim 3:7). These are nice people. Fine people. Caring people and God has one more label for them: Disobedient people.
Disobedient because years ago, God called them to do things and they STILL haven’t gotten around to obeying Him. See, in all things, it all boils down to obedience and it’s a yes or no issue. You’re either obedient or you’re not. Period. When God saves you, it’s to obey the Gospel and to serve Him. If He calls you to a particular church and you don’t go there and get involved, you’re being disobedient, aren’t you?
If He calls you and equips you for a specific ministry or a specific job in the ministry and you never get around to doing what He’s set before you, again, aren’t you being disobedient? Judgment begins at the House of God. God first is visiting the churches.
Inspecting His people and measuring their faith by their obedience. He’s going through the Leadership first and checking out the Pastor. Is Pastor obedient and doing what God called Him to do? He goes to the Assistant Pastor, is he assisting the Pastor? Is he serving the people? He goes to the Deacons and Deaconnesses…are they faithful in the work He has given them to do? Are they obedient?
Then, He moves among the members. When He called them to their church, He knew what the schedule of services would be. He expected them to do their level best to clear their calendars and make it their priority to be in the House of God at the appointed times and not to just drop in on the occasional Sunday mornings. No, that’s for visitors and those whom God hasn’t joined here yet. When God is moving amongst His members here, it’s again to check on your level of obedience. He’s checking on whether you’ve obeyed Him in the matter of tithing.
Have you obeyed Him in the matter of doing what He has equipped you to do here? Or, are you shirking your load and leaving it for some of the newer Christians who should be getting a time of teaching and learning but instead are having to carry out your part of the load? Don’t fool yourself. Faith that doesn’t get you to obey is a faith that also won’t get you into heaven. A lot of people, and it hurts to say this, think they’re saved, but they’re not. How can you tell? Well, they just don’t have it in them to obey God.
You say, “Well, I just KNOW I’m OK, even though I’m not in church as often as I should be and I don’t give like I should…and, OK, I don’t really read or study the Word anymore like I used to…but I’m still OK.” Are you sure? Hebrews 5:19 says that Jesus is the Author of eternal salvation to “all them that obey Him.”
Titus 1:16 says that lots of people say that they know Him, but when push comes to shove, they’re “disobedient, and unto every good work, reprobate.” In other words, they talk a good Christian life but it’s more likely they’ll miss church on Superbowl Sunday than it’s that they’ll miss the Superbowl. It’s not just the Superbowl, it’s anything that might get in the way of obeying God in the place He has put you.
Disobedience can be learned from other people. Galatians 5:7 teaches this. “Ye did run well, who did hinder you that ye should not obey the truth?” These Christians HAD been obedient…at first. Then, they started picking up the bad habits of some of those who weren’t obedient to God. They stopped being faithful in their commitments and promises to God. They were no longer obedient.
Obedience must be learned and relearned. Titus 1:3 says, “For we ourselves also were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived…” There have been times when I know I’m disobeying my Savior. What do I do when I find myself in such a situation? I come back to Acts 5:29, “We ought to obey God rather than men.” I have to obey God. I have to get back on track. I have to put first things first.
I have to change my schedule and so some things that my flesh can’t stand – but my spirit loves. I have to obey and so do you. Where fulfillment comes from. The reason many Christians go from day to day with no real sense of God’s presence is because of disobedience in one or more areas of their lives. The blessing of God is withheld from the disobedient. God says in Isaiah 1:19, “If ye be willing and obedient, ye shall eat the good of the land.” Only 2 conditions: Willing; wanting to; having a ready mind and obedient and doing what God told you to do without excuses or whining.
If you’re willing and obedient, you SHALL eat the good of the land. God wants to bless you, prosper you and bring good things into your life. He wants to do more for you than you could ever do for yourself. Say “yes” to God.