Preacher: Pastor Ray
Main text: Heb 5:7-8; 6:11-12, 18-19
Summary: Jesus learned obedience through 30 years of patiently waiting, and we, too, must learn obedience. Faith mixed with patience leads to hope and this hope is an anchor for our soul.
Good morning, everybody. If you’re free, hopefully, we ‘ll get a chance to visit Dongyoon and Elaine at the hospital sometime after service to welcome the little one, Lilianna. Please pray for me. I’m still a little cloudy about today’s sermon. Let’s pray,
Father, we thank you for the gift of life and for being the Author of Life, for knitting Lilianna in Elaine’s womb. We thank you that we can all rejoice as a family and welcome this wonderful gift. We pray for Lilianna to grow up in the discipline and the instruction of the Lord. We pray that she would become a woman of faith for her generation. We pray that she would have an excellent Spirit upon her, the Holy Spirit, that out of reverence for Christ, she will submit and have a beautiful, gentle and quiet spirit. I pray that she would build up and edify those around her and that she herself would flourish and bear much fruit for Your glory.
Father, we pray for today’s service. I ask that You would clarify Your thoughts and Your words given to me. I give you this time. I ask that You would speak only what You want to say. Thank you, Lord. In Jesus Name, Amen
7 In the days of his flesh, Jesus offered up prayers and supplications, with loud cries and tears, to him who was able to save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverence. 8 Although he was a son, he learned obedience through what he suffered.
So is obedience easy or hard? Anyone think it’s easy? It depends. I think obedience is impossible until you learn how to do it. And if you learn how to do it, then it’s easy. Before you learn it, obedience is impossible. But once you learn it, it’s easy.
Jesus, as the second Person of the Trinity, before He became a man, He did not have to learn obedience. Obedience was not on His radar. He was God, fully God. Everybody obeyed Jesus. But because He became a man, He had to learn obedience.
And what was His main learning? And what did that learning entail? What did it look like? His learning was basically — not My will, but the Father’s will. And we also must learn — not our will, but the Father’s will be done.
Obedience requires the right person who obeys what God says at the right time in the right way. Obedience requires the right person who obeys what God says at the right time in the right way. Imagine you were asked to do what Ezekiel was asked to do? To sit on his left side for 390 days as a sign of judgment against God’s people. And then, 40 days on his right side. God asked Ezekiel to do crazy things. Like even with the day that his wife died, God says, you’re not allowed to to weep even though she was the delight of his eyes. This act would be a sign for the Israelites, whose delight of their eyes was the sanctuary, their precious temple would be profaned.
Just incredibly difficult obedience. Can you do what Ezekiel did? It’s doubtful because we’re not the right person for the task. Ezekiel was the right person. Obedience also requires the right timing. God will ask you to do something, and it has to be at the right time.
If you look at people in Scripture, there was a timing for Abraham. He was 75. He received a word from the Lord. But what was the timing to receive that which was promised? 25 years goes by. And then finally at age 100, Isaac was born.
We need to be the right person who obeys what God says at the right time and also in the right way. Imagine someone like Moses, who at age 40 received a burden that he wanted to be a deliverer for God’s people. And we learn from Acts 7 that the people were not ready to be delivered. Who made you a judge? The people were not ready. Also, I would say that Moses was not ready. We know that God needed 40 more years to train Moses to obey. Moses had to learn obedience. Even then, the anger was still in there. And then in a moment of frustration, he strikes the rock and we know this Rock is Jesus. He strikes the rock two times. Moses did not obey in the right way in that moment.
Imagine if we were the right person and we were ready to obey God when He asks at the right time, we would probably also obey in the right way. Because during the waiting, there is a learning process, a sanctification process. But if we skip the timing, it’s likely that we will obey God in the wrong way. And so obedience requires the right person obeying God and what He says, at the right time, in the right way.
And the perfect example of this is Jesus Christ. Did Jesus learn obedience only in His public ministry? No. Did He learn obedience only at the last week of His life when He was obedient to death on the cross? Was that the only time when He learned obedience? No. When did He learn obedience? From Day one. From Day one, He learned obedience, and for 30 years He learned it through patiently waiting.
That’s how it’s described in Hebrews 6:15 that Abraham, having patiently waited obtained the promise. And Jesus is the perfect example of obedience. He patiently waited until God said, It’s your time now. And what was he doing for those 30 years? I think every day, He asked His Father, is today the day? He knew who He was. He knew what He was capable of doing. He knew the mission that was before Him to save the world. And I think every day for 30 years, He asked, is today the day? And His Father said, no, not today.
And He waited for 30 years, not His will, but the Father’s will. Instead of going out and rounding up disciples and obeying the will of God, He built shelves as a carpenter. He built tables. I don’t know what kind of carpentry He did, but He was silently, patiently waiting for the Father, and that is what learning obedience looks like.
What is your concept of obedience? Is it just obeying whatever seems right to you? Is it just looking at Scripture and reading commandments and saying, I should obey all of these things? I mean, some things you don’t have to ask the Lord. A husband does not have to ask the Lord, should I be a good husband to my wife? You don’t have to ask for permission. You don’t have to ask for for a sign from God. It’s in Scripture. You should just do it.
A child does not have to ask the Lord, should I obey my parents in everything and honor them in everything? Should I respect them in everything? Kids don’t have to wonder, what is God’s will for me? Kids should just know. You should honor your parents, obey them in everything, at least while you’re under their care.
Do students have to ask, should I be a good student? Am I allowed to take it easy and be lazy in school? No, for a student, your job is to obey the Lord and work hard. What about if you’re a worker? Are you allowed to be a lazy worker who is unmotivated and just puts in time here and there, but is looking forward to leave work as soon as possible because you dread work and that’s your attitude? Does the Lord want that kind of a worker?
The Lord wants workers who are diligent, who are doing it not for promotions. They’re not doing it for money. They’re not doing it for the praise of their boss, but because of praise from God who sees what you’re doing. So there’s a lot in Scripture we just obey because it’s clear. But in terms of obeying the will of God for you, that is something you must wait for and you must learn.
Probably one of the hardest things in my life is waiting. When I was a younger Christian, every good idea was a green light. Every Bible study was something I wanted to go to. Every chance to go on a mission trip was a green light. Every chance to serve and evangelize was a green light. Every person was a person that I should spend time discipling.
Everything was a green light. Even in terms of a job, in terms of money and how I would spend money and make decisions, just whatever it was, instinctively what I wanted to do, I just did it. And we’ve learned in Scripture that when it comes to finances, God owns 100%. So we might think, just tithe. I’m obeying and 90% is mine to do as I please. But we what we learned from Scripture is that we need to be a steward of God’s money. There’s a basic level. Obedience, yes, give the tithe.
But what’s harder is knowing what to do with the other 90% which is not yours. And it is God’s money that He loaned to you, and He’s looking at how you steward it. And if He sees you handling His money, He will entrust true riches. And even beyond that, is God after the money? No, He’s after bodies. He’s after a mind that is renewed. He’s after eyes that are sanctified. He’s after ears that are sanctified. He’s after a heart that is softened. He’s after a body, a son or a daughter who will listen to Him and do what He says.
And if we are to learn from Jesus, it’s not just doing whatever we want whenever we want, just because it’s in Scripture. Doing what He says specifically at the right time and a specific assignment and doing it in the right way, this is obedience and we must learn it.
If you were Jesus, what might you be struggling with in those 30 years of waiting? Presumably, He’s not healing every day. He’s not raising the dead. He’s not casting out demons. He’s laying low. What would Jesus have to possibly struggle with during those 30 years of waiting? I think people’s opinion of Him. Okay, you’re just Mary’s boy, you’re just a carpenter. You’re just a nobody. I’m sure Satan tempted Him.
And to me, waiting is probably the hardest thing that I’ve had to do in my Christian life. For the last few years, it’s been waiting. Because early in my Christian years, I did not wait and I thought I was obeying the Lord. But I did not learn obedience, and I just did things because it felt right and I prayed and God was not clear so I just felt like I should do it.
If you think about obedience in the Bible, it’s always clear. There is not a case where the person who is being told by God to do something, where it’s not clear. Do you think it was not clear for Abraham that God spoke to him at age 75 to leave your country and to step out in faith? Do you think it was unclear for Him to know that he had to wait for an indefinite period of time?
Do you think it was unclear from Moses when he saw the burning bush? Do you think that was unclear for Him? When God told him, now it’s time to go to Egypt and to demand the release of the people from Pharaoh, do you think it was unclear?
For Ezekiel at age 30, five years into the exile, God appears to him in a vision, and He sends angels over and over. Do you think it was unclear the assignment and the timing? Do you think it was unclear for David when he was a young boy probably in his early teens being anointed as the future king? And then he had to wait 10 to 15 years before that day.
Do you think it was unclear for Jesus when he was 30 years old? And God told him, today it is my will, Son, begin your ministry. And so I would say, most of the first part of Christian life is just learning to obey everything that’s clear in Scripture. In Scripture you have to obey about holiness, about righteousness, about your tongue, about anger, about your money.
And then the second half or the second stage of Christian life is learning to obey specifically what God has in store for you because it is not cookie-cutter. There are no two paths of the Christian journey that are identical. There is a unique journey that God has prepared for you to fulfill that He has prepared in advance, and only you can fulfill it. And He’s waiting for you to be the right person at the right time to obey Him in the right way.
Just like Jesus didn’t just learn obedience in the three and 1\/2 years of ministry. He already was learning it during the waiting. Not my will, but the Father’s will be done. And what happens during the waiting? Why is waiting so critical?
11 And we desire each one of you to show the same earnestness to have the full assurance of hope until the end, 12 so that you may not be sluggish, but imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.
18 …we who have fled for refuge might have strong encouragement to hold fast to the hope set before us. 19 We have this as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul…
And so it says in v11, faith mixed with patience equals one who receives the promises, one who endures to the end in hope. And this hope, it says in v19, is an anchor for your soul. And when you are waiting on the Lord, it can feel like you’re just drifting at sea. Aimless, directionless. It can feel that way.
But faith for today that you renew tomorrow and the next day, and you are patient for a period of time, for 10 years, 20 years, 30 years, 40 years, where you’re exercising each day your faith. That period is a period of patience where you’re just waiting. If you do that, faith mixed with patience equals hope. And this hope is an anchor for your soul.
So my encouragement to you is to be patient. It takes time to learn obedience. Be patient. It took time to learn obedience for Jesus. It took 30 years, and if it took Jesus 30 years, do you think you’re going to learn it in a day? No. Are you going to learn it in a year? Maybe. Doubtful. To learn obedience the way that Jesus learned obedience through his suffering, through His waiting, through all the mockery of, who are you? Just a carpenter?
There’s a lot the Lord deals with during the patient period of waiting. There’s a lot of pride that He deals with because if you’re a proud person and you’ve been waiting for a month already, you’re ready to throw in the towel. I’m done with waiting. I’ve just got to do something. If that’s you, you will never learn obedience.
If you’re the kind of person who loves the praise of man and people ask you, what are you doing with your life? And you say, I’m waiting for the Lord. No, look at you. You’re wasting your life. And Jesus internally, He might think what is taking so long. I am the son of God. I’m wasting my life building a shelf. And yet He said not my will, but Your will be done.
If you love the praise of man, if you think life is something you need to take hold of and you don’t want it to slip through your fingers and you’re tired of people telling you, you’re wasting your life, then you will never learn obedience and you will forfeit God’s destiny for your life.
Don’t settle for just being fairly good at obedience. Whatever you see in Scripture, try your best to obey whatever you see. But there is a different kind of obedience that requires waiting. You and I need to learn this kind of obedience. And during the waiting, God will sanctify you.
He’s dealing with your pride. He’s dealing with your desire for the praise of men. He’s dealing with your impatience. He’s dealing with your will that’s so strong, that you just want to do what you want to do. It’s your money — you just want to spend it. It’s your life — you just want to live it. You’re tired of waiting. You can’t even wait for a year. What if God asked you to wait for 40 years. Can you wait? What if all that God asks of Hill Community is to gather here in this living room for the next 40 years? Will all of us be okay? Will I be okay?
Are you somebody who has learned obedience, that whatever the Lord asks you to do, you’ll do. Like Ezekiel being told by God to lay on his left side for 390 days. Ezekiel is not allowed to bargain, or resist, or say, I don’t want to do this. No, he just has to obey no matter how ridiculously the assignment is.
Christian life is not cookie cutter. And so whatever God asks of you, will you obey? You and I need to learn obedience. And I think it is such a travesty when the church gets people to serve from day one, and to give its members a false notion that obedience is doing whatever your pastor tells you to do. And joining whatever program that you’re church is pushing. You and I need to learn obedience. You need to hear His voice, and you need to wait for Him to instruct you specifically.
During the waiting, while you are patiently waiting, He’s dealing with you and me. He’s dealing with our pride, with our impatience. He’s exposing our desire for the praise of men. He’s exposing the idols. But if you what if you If you get through that period and you exercise your faith mixed in with patients for one year, five year, 10 year, 40 years, however long if you have safe mixed with patients. Guess what kind of person you are. You have hope in God.
And that is like someone who was anchored. You’re not drifting, although other people may see See you and say you’re aimless. Your direction is you don’t know what you’re doing. They mean mock you. But you internal, you feel like you’re a ship with a with a heavy anchor and you are not moving. Even when the storm comes your anchor, You’re that kind of a person
Because faith mixed with patience has produced a hope. And this hope is an anchor for your soul. And it doesn’t matter the circumstances. It doesn’t matter what people say about you. You have learned obedience. You have produced a genuine hope through faith mixed with patience. And if it took Jesus 30 years, don’t be in such a rush.
Can we all just surrender our timetable to the Lord? Instead of complaining and thinking that by age 30, I’d be married and have kids. By age 40, I would be established in my career. I’d be a director of my company. By age 50, I would be reaping all the fruit of my labors. And I would have so much money, I could do whatever I wanted. And we have all these worldly markers.
But Jesus asks, can you just surrender your timetable? Because Joseph waited 13 years. For Moses, he waited 40 years. For Abraham, he waited 25 years. For Jesus, He waited 30 years. Everybody’s different. But at least when I look at this list, this is not a short period of time. That’s all I can say. It takes time to learn obedience. So we must be patient.
Allow God to prune you. Allow God to discipline you. Allow God to expose the idols during the patient waiting so that you and I can learn obedience. Start with something simple like finances. Say Lord, this is 100% yours. I want to steward this money well so that you can entrust true riches to me. Start with something simple. Anger — maybe it’s going to take more time to be rid of anger in all of its forms. Start with something simple and patiently wait upon the Lord to speak to you.
And until then, you’re off the hook. You don’t have to be restless. You don’t have to be impatient. You don’t have to listen to what other people are saying about you. You don’t have to feel like your life is being wasted. No. Are you patient? Do you have faith? Then you’re in the right place. Hope is being established in you, and it will be an anchor for your soul.
Father, everything in Scripture we want to obey, regarding finances, regarding decisions, regarding our tongue, regarding our eyes, our ears and what we say. There are so many things in Scripture that we are to obey. As husbands and wives and as parents to children, children to parents, workers, students. They’re many things that are clear in Scripture. We just have to obey you.
But the obedience that Jesus learned and that Abraham learned and that Ezekiel learned and Joseph learned and King David learned, it’s something that requires time so that at the right time we obey you in the right way.
Father, we want to learn the obedience that Jesus Himself learned through suffering, the suffering of knowing who He is and yet being veiled, not being free to exercise His powers and His gifts and His teachings, and quietly to build shelves for 30 years.
Father, there’s a training that all of us must go through if we want to be sons and daughters who will obey you. And we don’t know specifically when that assignment will come, or what that assignment will be, but when it comes, we pray that we will have demonstrated a patience of faith exercised our faith day by day that spans years. And by then, I pray that we’ve established a hope that is an anchor for our souls.
We’re not drifting. We’re not aimless. We’re not wasting our lives. We’re doing exactly what You said. We’re following the steps of Jesus who waited 30 years. Help us not to be in such a rush to accomplish things out of our pride and out of our ambition and out of our worldliness and out of a desire to be praised by men. There are so many things that we do in the church just because we want to, just because we want to be perceived and looked upon by others a certain away, just to feed our pride.
Lord Jesus, You showed us an example of utter humility. Though you’re God, you had to learn obedience because you became a man. And you’re a perfect model, an example for all of us as humans on this faith journey, to learn obedience through suffering, through waiting, through all the ridicule, through all the pride in us that is being crucified. The selfish ambition that is being repented of, the idols that are being exposed and laid down.
Your pruning is painful, Your discipline is painful, Father. Lord, it is our commitment that we’re willing to wait as long as needed to be the right person, to obey you at the right time, and to serve you in the right way. Train us, Lord. We submit to Your training. Thank you, Lord.
We pray that You would minister to us as we prepare to come to Your Table. Thank you for Your Body that was broken and Your Blood shed. We don’t take this for granted. This is how you demonstrated the full extent of Your obedience. You obeyed from day one and you continued to obey all the way to Your final day, Your final breath on the cross. This is a life of total obedience. And we also want to be obedient disciples of Jesus. Thank you. In Jesus Name, Amen