by CVC Founding Pastor, Rick Duncan
In this past week’s message, Pastor Chad challenged us to not only hear what Jesus says, but to actually do what Jesus says. The one who hears and does not obey is building his house in a wadi. When the floods – trials and troubles in life – come, that house will fail and fall. The one who hears and obeys is building his house on a solid foundation. When the floods come, that house will stay and stand!
Just calls us to obedience again in John 14.
“He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him.” John 14:21
Sometimes, followers of Jesus have differing emphases on two aspects of discipleship. Some emphasize learning the Word of God as the key to effective discipleship. Others emphasize living the Word of God as the key to discipleship. We believe that both are necessary. It is information plus application that equals transformation.
There will never be a time when a believer does not need greater knowledge of the Word of God. And there will never be a time when a believer does not need greater obedience to the Word of God. But the emphasis on each is different in the stages of spiritual growth.
To be sure, early in the process of discipleship, the emphasis for the new believer is learning the Word of God. New believers need a radical reorientation of their minds in order to develop a Biblical worldview. Gaining information from the Bible is absolutely critical all throughout one’s spiritual journey. But it is especially vital in the early stages of spiritual growth. When we first begin the Christian life, we grow by learning lots and lots of new information.
But we must never forget that as a believer grows, more and more emphasis needs to be placed on living the Word of God – on the application of the Word of God. Growth is more than gaining knowledge about Jesus and His Word. Growth is a result of a maturing relationship with and obedience to Jesus.
With our present-day access to the internet and with the availability of teaching via podcasts and videos on You Tube and Vimeo, getting information about the Bible is easier than ever. While we recognize that there is an alarming lack of Biblical knowledge in the church, we must see that it is possible for believers in America to be in the midst of an information feast and an application famine.
As we begin to master some of the content of the Bible, the emphasis in our growth process must become trusting and obeying, or applying what we know.
The reason many Christians fail to be transformed is because they do not ask God for the grace to “keep” the commandments. If you want your Christian life to be exciting and exhilarating then focus on obeying. Be a radical, revolutionary doer of the word! Getting knowledge without the corresponding application only leads to pride. “Knowledge puffs up” (1 Corinthians 8:1).
As you live out the Christian life, expect God to challenge you to obey Him more and more. He’ll be asking you to step out in faith to actually do what He is teaching you in His Word.
Go out on a limb for God! Step out in obedient faith. That’s where the fruit is!