Introduction: Did you know that Jesus learned obedience? “He learned obedience in the sense that He learned to obey His father’s will as a human.” Constable (Hebrews 5:8) “Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered;” Jesus had a perfect, sinless nature, yet in his human body, He had to learn to obey when His flesh did not want to.
One of the most difficult things for a human to learn is obedience. The same is also true of creatures in nature. A puppy that is not trained to obey will grow up to be a self-willed, useless, and possibly dangerous dog. The same is true of every human baby.
Transition: While Colossians 3:20 focuses on children obeying their parents, adults also struggle to obey God. This evening, we are going to examine three reasons that obedience is so difficult.
The first reason that obedience is so difficult is because …
1. You have Inherited Rebellion
a. You were born a sinner.
1) Adam passed his sinful nature on to every human. (Romans 5:12) “Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:” (Romans 5:19) “For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners...“
2) During King David’s confession of sin, he admitted that he had been born a sinner. (Psalms 51:5) “Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me.“
b. You are not naturally obedient.
1) There is nothing in the human heart that makes him naturally obedient. We were born sinful rebels.
2) As a sinner, you are going to struggle to obey. However, your lack of natural obedience does not give you an excuse to be feral. God clearly commands children to obey their parents and other authorities.
c. God has ordained biblical parental discipline.
1) The Scriptures give a clear mandate.
a) (Proverbs 13:24) “He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes.“
b) (Proverbs 19:18) “Chasten thy son while there is hope, and let not thy soul spare for his crying.“
c) (Proverbs 23:13-14) “Withhold not correction from the child: for if thou beatest him with the rod, he shall not die. Thou shalt beat him with the rod, and shalt deliver his soul from hell.“
d) (Proverbs 29:15) “The rod and reproof give wisdom: but a child left to himself bringeth his mother to shame.“
2) Why did God give these mandates? It is because biblical discipline leads to obedience. Learning obedience helps a child obey the Gospel. Obeying the Gospel helps a child to live a happier and more fruitful life. Ultimately, obeying is well pleasing unto the Lord.
The second reason that obedience is so difficult is because …
2. You Likely Have an Unstable Foundation
Colossians 3 identifies four essential foundations for obedience.
a. Salvation (v.1-4)
1) The #1 key to obedience is trusting Christ for salvation. Only after you obey the Gospel, will you have God’s help to obey your parents.
2) If you struggle to obey your parents, you need to ask yourself if you have truly obeyed the Gospel by repenting of your sins and trusting Christ to change your life.
3) Sadly, children who have not learned to obey the first time, every time, will have a more difficult time obeying the Gospel.
b. Separation (v.5-9)
1) You must separate from things you know to be sin.
2) If you allow unconfessed sin to remain in your heart and life, you will lack motivation to obey in other areas.
c. Sanctification (v.10-15)
1) God wants you to put on godly virtues like kindness, humbleness, patience, forgiveness and love. This is part of sanctification (being set apart for God’s use).
2) When this foundation block is missing in your life, you will struggle to obey.
d. Saturation (v.16-17)
1) God wants your heart to be saturated every day with the Bible. The Bible must dwell in you richly.
2) If you do not daily study the Bible on your own, your foundation for obedience is crumbling.
a) Parents, teach your children how to study the Bible.
b) Insist that they daily study the Bible.
c) Inspect their daily progress.
d) Remember, what God tells us in Romans 10:17. “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” When your child daily studies God’s Word, it will help to build saving faith in his heart.
3) When your heart is right with God and guided by His Word, the Lord will help you to obey.
If any of these foundational blocks are missing in your life, you will struggle with obedience.
The third reason that obedience is so difficult is because …
3. You Probably Have Internal Problems
a. You may not fear the Lord.
1) Fearing God is recognising His authority over you, respectfully desiring to please Him in all things, and not displease Him in anything.
2) God promises that daily Bible reading teaches the fear of the Lord. (Deuteronomy 17:19) “And it shall be with him, and he shall read therein all the days of his life: that he may learn to fear the LORD his God, to keep all the words of this law and these statutes, to do them:“
3) Those who do not fear God see no reason to obey their God or their parents. They think that as long as they do not get caught, obedience is not all that important.
b. You may be selfish.
1) We are all plagued by selfishness to an extent. We naturally want our own way. We care about ourselves more than we care about our parents, others or God.
2) If you accuse others of being selfish because they won’t give you what you want, you are being selfish.
3) This is a character flaw that parents must work at weeding out of their children by identifying it and training them to respond selflessly instead. Teach them to be givers.
4) Selfish people struggle to obey God and others.
c. You may be stubborn.
1) Stubborn people, whether children or adults, are like stubborn animals. As a boy, I learned that pigs can be very stubborn about doing what you want them to do. That is likely where the term “pigheaded” originated. A pigheaded person is one who is obstinate and stubborn.
2) Stubborn people do not want to yield their will to obey others.
d. You may be proud.
1) Proud people are unwilling to admit that they need to obey. They see obeying others as humiliating.
2) If you are a proud person, you will struggle to obey.
Conclusion: Obedience is difficult, but with God’s help and a humble spirit, you can learn to obey. Our verse says that your obedience pleases the Lord. This is similar to what God promised Israel. (Deuteronomy 11:26-28) “Behold, I set before you this day a blessing and a curse; A blessing, if ye obey the commandments of the LORD your God, which I command you this day: And a curse, if ye will not obey the commandments of the LORD your God...” In Ephesians 6:1-3, God tells children that obeying their parents will lengthen their lives. Obedience acts like a fence around those who obey to give them God’s blessings and protect them from sins that will shorten their lives.
If you have not yet repented of your sins and trusted Christ, you need to. Once you are His child, God can help you learn obedience. Obeying your parents is difficult, but not impossible, with God’s help.