Pleasing God through Obedience Luke 3;21-38 012807

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Pleasing God through Obedience (Luke 3:21-22)

Intro: “I'm quitting,” my friend said.  He had held that job two whole days and now was walking away.  “They want me to work in an office with unbelievers and I just can't function in that kind of atmosphere.”

I suspect it's not that at all.  Jack's problem is he cannot take a job and stay with it.

You and I live in a culture of quitting.  People try marriage, find it hard, and quit.  They try jobs, find them difficult, and walk away.  They take up diet and fitness programs for a few weeks, then quit.  They start going to church and they quit. Half the members on many church rolls rarely darken the doors of the church.  What happened to them?  They quit. We, as a culture seem so shortsighted.

I love the phrase coined by one of the most infamous philosophers of the 20th century. “A long obedience in the same direction.” Fredrich Nietzsche, who is famous for having announced the death of God and is now long dead himself, is the German philosopher who wrote these words. Nietzsche recognized a culture that desired to live an easy life and an easy faith. These are his exact words: “The essential thing in heaven and earth is… that there should be a long obedience in the same direction; there thereby results, and has always resulted in the long run, something which has made life worth living.” (A Long Obedience in the Same Direction, p.17).

A church member told his pastor that he was going to the Holy Land.  He said that it was his intention to visit Mount Sinai.  “In fact,” he told the minister, “I plan to climb to the top of that mountain, and read the Ten Commandments aloud when I get there.” 

Thinking this would please the pastor, he was surprised to hear, “You know, I can think of something even better than that.”  The man responded, “You can, Pastor?  And what might that be?” 

    He replied rather bluntly, “Instead of traveling thousands of miles to read the Ten            Commandments on Mount Sinai, why not stay right here at home and keep them?” 

    Give Background. The Jewish people of Jesus’ day had the word of God and the promise of God’s messiah, but there hearts were far from God. Some came to be baptized, yet many did not. Time: Jesus was approximately 30 (vv. 23).. Setting: This marks the peak of John the Baptist’s ministry and we see John the Baptist and Jesus together. John the Baptist’s ministry will now fade to make way for the Messiah, Jesus.  We have in the baptism of Jesus one of two incidents where Jesus as a man is confirmed as being the Son of God and God’s Messiah or anointed in a supernatural way by God the Father. Read Luke 3:21-22 (with v. 23 and 38)


1. Jesus Was God (vv. 21-22 - Triune Manifestation)

a.        Baptism – Of the Son

              i.      Why was He Baptized? He did not need to repent.

             ii.      John’s baptism was of repentance and symbolized the needs of ones who were out of relationship with God and unacceptable to Him in spite of their Jewish ancestry.

           iii.      Jesus was baptized in obedience to the Father to fulfill all righteousness, and to be identified with the sinners He came to save, and to be identified as the Promised Messiah.

b.       Confirmation – From the Holy Spirit – Anointed, Christ, Messiah

c.        Revelation – From the Father

2. Jesus Obeyed the Father (v. 21)

a.        No competing wills- He said,“I and the Father are one.”- in divinity and purpose

b.       Surrender and Submission to God.

3. Jesus Pleased the Father (v. 22)

a.        Jesus was unique. – Only Begotten; One and only. (Genealogy)

b.       Jesus was perfect. – Sinless; completely obedient.


1.       Pleasing God through our obedience has nothing to do with our worth/ value or salvation

a.        NOT, Perfectionism. Perfectionism – is trying to prove my worth by following certain rules or doing certain activities.

b.        Pleasing God is responding to God’s love for us, by surrendering our will to Him, obeying His commands, and trusting God completely with the results.

APP: Don’t be a perfectionist. Don’t try to twist the hand of God with obedience. Find joy in God and obey God out of love for Him. We obey to please God not to make ourselves right with God. We obey God in response to what He has done for us and in us, not so we will be saved. Our value is to be found in that we were created in the image of God and if we have been saved. Our value is not based on our sinfulness or our good performance, but on Jesus righteousness and the cross.


2.       We exist to please God and enjoy God 

APP: Enjoy God and you will please Him. We get enjoyment out many earthly things. We take too little joy in God and what He has done for us in Christ.

ILL: Trust and Obey – Read lyrics verse 1 &4

Verse 1:                When we walk with the Lord

In the light of His word                                    Chorus:                 Trust and obey

What a glory He sheds on our way                               For there's no other way

While we do His good will                                               To be happy in Jesus

He abides with us still                                      But to trust and obey         

And with all who will trust and obey

Verse 4:                But we never can prove

The delights of His love

Until all on the altar we lay

For the favor He shows

And the joy He bestows

Are for them who will trust and obey

3.       We cannot please or enjoy God without obeying God

a.        Obeying the Gospel-You cannot please or enjoy God if you don’t know Him.

              i.      Obeying the gospel is not obeying a set of rules -- Do you know why so many people who profess to be Christians are disobedient to God? They often do not really know God. They never had a life-changing experience with God. They are not obeying God because they know and love God, but they are trying to obey certain rules taught in the Bible to try to get to heaven. Obedience to a set of rules never got anyone to heaven.

             ii.      Obeying the gospel is personal faith in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord -- WE can only be saved when we turn from our sin and trust in Jesus Christ alone. We trust in his sacrificial death on the cross. We believe that He was our substitute, taking our punishment for our sin on the cross with Him. We believe He rose again to give us new life. Then, we obey Him.

b.       Pleasing God through obedience starts with the gospel, but continues with increasing obedience to God – Growing/ maturity.

c.        Disobedience never pleases God

ILL: I heard about a fellow whose friend bought a 19-foot jet boat and invited him along for her maiden voyage.  They put the boat in the North Fork of the Snake River (Idaho, Wyoming, Washington, Oregon).  The water was low because of a drought.  The friend, who owned the boat, eased the throttle up until they were racing across the surface at 35 m.p.h.  Suddenly they hit a sandbar, and the boat stopped.  They stepped out, into one inch of water.  Another boater came along, and after three hours of digging and pushing, they freed the boat.  The rescuer knew the river well and offered to lead the friends to the landing.  “Follow exactly behind me,” he said, “to avoid hidden obstacles.”

They fell in line, skimming the water at 35 m.p.h.  Then, the man’s friend steered just a few feet to the right of the lead boat's path.  In seconds they hit a gravel bar, and the friend was thrown into the windshield.  When he returned, the lead driver said, “I told you to follow me.”  Source: David Gibson, Idaho Falls, Idaho

Don’t be surprised when your disobedience causes problems for you and those around you. If you don’t follow Christ, you will make a mess of your life and others, too.


4.       Start obeying god, Keep Obeying God 

a.        Start now – confess past sins and failures and move forward.

b.       Keep obeying

              i.      Don’t give up- There are no quick results. There are difficult times, as well as, times of blessing, but don’t stop obeying. Don’t give up.

ILL: A New York lawyer went duck hunting in the mountains of Eastern Kentucky recently.  He shot and dropped a bird, but it fell into a farmer's field on the other side of the fence.  As the lawyer climbed over the fence, an elderly farmer drove up on his tractor and asked him what he was doing.

    “I shot this duck, and it fell in this field, and now I'm going in to retrieve it.”

“This is my property,” the old farmer replied.  “And you are not coming over here.”

    “I'm one of the best lawyers in New York,” said the lawyer.  “And if you don't let me get that duck, I'll sue you and take everything you own.”

   “Apparently, you don't know how we do things in these parts of Kentucky,” said the farmer.  “We settle disagreements like this with the Kentucky three-kick rule.”

   “And just what is the Kentucky three-kick rule?”

   “Well, first I kick you three times, and then you kick me three times, and so on, back and forth, until someone gives up.”

   The attorney quickly thought about the proposed contest and decided that he could easily take the old-timer.  He agreed to the local custom.  The old farmer slowly climbed down from the tractor and walked up to the city slicker.  His first kick planted the steel toe of his heavy work boot in the lawyer's shin.  The man fell to his knees.  His second kick nearly put a hole in the man's stomach.  The old man then quickly delivered the third kick to the side of the attorney's head.  Slowly, the disoriented lawyer managed to get to his feet.

“OK, you old codger,” he said, “now it's my turn.”

The farmer smiled and said, “Naw, I give up.  You can have the duck.”

Dave Stone, KEEPING YOUR HEAD ABOVE WATER (Loveland: Group Publishing, 2002)

             ii.      If you fall down, get up.

Proverbs 24:16 (HCSB) Though a righteous man falls seven times, he will get up, but the wicked will stumble into ruin.

ILL: "Ninety percent of those who fail are not actually defeated.  They simply quit."    Paul J. Meyer- Entrepreneur and writer Cited in BITS & PIECES

Mack and Melissa were new believers.  They were baptized and were bringing their infant daughter to church.  And they were making an effort to read their Bible together.  “It's hard,” Melissa said.

Mack agreed, “A lot of the time we read things in the Bible that we don't understand.”  Melissa said, “I just tell him, 'Keep on reading.'“  Great counsel.

When Carole decided she wanted to begin tithing her income to the Lord through her church, she said to her friend, “But I don't see how I can afford it.”  She was quiet a moment, then said, “But I'm going to do it regardless.”

That is how the Christian life is lived: regardless.  Regardless of circumstances, opposition, feelings, discouragements and hardships.  Regardless of emotions, put-downs, doubts and obstacles.  Day by day, one step at a time, persevering to the end.

So, you're reading your Bible, are you?  And trying to get started going to church?  But so far, you're not getting much out of it?  Of course not.  This is a foreign to you.  Give it time.  Stick with it.  Maybe your struggling with tithing or serving in the church. A long obedience is what you are looking for and what you need.

Conclusion: Obeying God is about a daily relationship with Jesus Christ. If we are daily walking with God, then we are trusting Him and we will obey Him. We need to be reading God’s Word everyday and praying to God. WE need to meet with God’s People for worship and fellowship and study more than just once a week. WE need to give faithfully of our tithes and offerings, and our time and talents. WE need to serve and share with others consistently. WE need to be concerned about the souls of other people enough to invite them to Church, to Sunday School, but more importantly, Invite them to know and follow Christ.

Invitation: What about you today? Are you living a life of obedience to God? Do you enjoy and love God so much that you obey regardless? Is your life marked by long obedience in the same direction?

Perhaps you are not even sure if you are indeed saved. Why be uncertain, when you can turn to Christ today. He is a friend of sinners. He longs to save the lost, the broken, the uncertain, the worried, the anxious, the fearful. Is God speaking to you today? Will you come to Him? Set aside all of your own goodness and attempts to save yourself. Be saved by the one who died to take the wrath that you and I deserve.


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