Dealing with Disobedience
April 25, 2021
Pastor Clint Ziemer
Audio of the sermon preached on April 25, 2021 at Cable Community Church, Sherrard, IL
Dealing With Disobedience
There once was a man who wanted to steal a goat. He took his four children and said to them: "You hide there, you hide by my left, you hide at my back, you hide by my right. If you see anybody coming, give me a sign that I will quickly stop whatever I 'm doing.”
But as he moved to catch the goat, one of the children exclaimed, "Papa, wait, wait.”
The man said, "What is the matter? Is someone coming?”
The child said, "No, who is watching this way?" He pointed to the sky. In other words the father had taken care of the north, east, south and west but the small child pointed up and asked about heaven?
How about God? Does He not see you?
The man left the goat.
Those of us who think we can hide anything from God deceive ourselves.
Today we come to the classic text on the power of the Word of God and our response to God's Word. Basically, we have two ways to respond to His Word: we can obey or disobey. There is no middle ground.
Our text today from Hebrews chapter 4 deals with disobedience. We see how hardness of hearts tripped up Old Testament believers and then we are warned that something similar could trip us up on our walk of faith. So, if you have your Bibles, open up to Hebrews 4 where we find....
Disobedience Defined (vv. 1 - 11)
Disobedience Discerned (vv. 12-13), and
Disobedience Delivered (vv. 14-16)
- Disobedience Defined (vv. 1 - 11)
- failing to reach "God's Rest" -- there is a rest available.
- Two young children presented their mom with a poinsettia for her birthday but they wanted to get her something more. The older of the children said with a sad face, “There was an arrangement we wanted to give you at the flower shop. It was really pretty, but it was too expensive. It had a ribbon on it that said, ‘Rest in Peace,’ and we thought you would like it since you’re always asking for a little peace so you can rest.”
- OT example of disobedience
- David is writing of a future rest
- David defines disobedience as "hard heart"
- This author has encouragement for us today
- God's Word leads us to His rest. William Bradford, the governor of the Plymouth Colony of pilgrims, insisted, "Those who believe in the Holy Scriptures are bound to observe its teachings. Those who do not are to be bound by its consequences."
- The rewards are great, the consequences for failure to obey are also great! Those who call themselves "Christians" but fail to live according to God’s Word will not enter God’s rest!
- Israel’s sufferings were the result of their own disobedience and lack of faith in God’s Word even though God Himself was present in the very midst of their camp by the fire by night and the cloud by day!
- God’s rest is available, but only through faith and obedience to His Word!Disobedience Discerned (vv. 12-13)
- God's Word is living and active
- God's Word exposes thoughts and intentions
- Obedience to God’s Word can bring us into God’s rest, disobedience will leave us outside without rest!
- ILLUS: C.S. Lewis, in Mere Christianity says “The real problem of the Christian life comes where people do not usually look for it. It comes the very moment you wake up each morning. All your wishes and hopes for the day rush at you like wild animals. And the first job each morning consists simply in shoving them all back; in listening to that other voice, taking that other point of view, letting that other larger, stronger, quieter life come flowing in.
- Elisabeth Elliot, at Urbana 76, told of her brother Thomas Howard. Their mother let him play with paper bags she’d saved if he put them away afterwards. One day she walked into the kitchen to find them strewn all over the floor. Tom was out at the piano with his father singing hymns. When confronted, he protested, “But Mom, I want to sing.” His father stated, “It’s no good singing God’s praise if you’re disobedient.”
- It has been said by one of the old mystics (Julian of Norwich) ‘This is the reason why we have no ease of heart or soul, for we are seeking our rest in trivial things that cannot satisfy, and not seeking to know God, almighty, all-wise, all good. He is true rest. It is his will that we should know him, and his pleasure that we should rest in him. Nothing less will satisfy us. ‘Disobedience Delivered (vv. 14-16)
- You have a Great High Priest
- unlike others
- tempted yet without sin
- Draw near to God's Throne
- for forgiveness for past sins
- and gifts to help in the future
- In a Dennis the Menace cartoon there was a vivid picture of mercy. Dennis was shown walking away from the Wilson’s house with his friend Joey. Both boys had their hands full of cookies. Joey then asked, “I wonder what we did to deserve this?”
Dennis delivered an answer packed with truth. He said, “Look Joey, Mrs. Wilson gives us cookies not because we’re nice, but because she’s nice.”
- Do you remember the story Jesus told about the prodigal son, the one who “squandered his wealth in wild living” and then sheepishly returned home. What happened? Did he get a lecture, a reprimand, a punishment? No – he got a kiss, a party, and a welcome. That is what is waiting for us at God’s throne. Forgiveness. Mercy. Grace. None of which we deserve or have earned or can claim to have brought about ourselves. But only because of who God is, and because of what Jesus has done for us.
Sometimes people are uncomfortable with grace. They get worried that too much of it will lead to more sin. Robert Farrar Capon writes:
You’re worried about permissiveness--about the way the preaching of grace seems to say it’s okay to do all kinds of terrible things as long as you just walk in afterward and take the free gift of God’s forgiveness. . .While you and I may be worried about seeming to give permission, Jesus apparently wasn’t. He wasn’t afraid of giving the prodigal son a kiss instead of a lecture, a party instead of probation; and he proved that by bringing in the elder brother at the end of the story and having him raise pretty much the same objections you do. He’s angry about the party. He complains that his father is lowering standards and ignoring virtue--that music, dancing, and a fatted calf are, in effect , just so many permissions to break the law. And to that, Jesus has the father say only one thing: "Cut that out! We’re not playing good boys and bad boys any more. Your brother was dead and he’s alive again. The name of the game from now on is resurrection, not bookkeeping.
- “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30)
- And do it, “Today when you hear his voice, don’t harden your hearts.”
Content Copyright Belongs to Cable Community Church