June 04, 2007

Teach Them to Obey

Matthew 28:16-20

"Go and make disciples ... teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you." Matthew 28:19-20


People who are devoted to the apostles' teaching are people who obey Jesus. They recognize and submit to his authority. In Matthew's account of Jesus' final words before his ascension to heaven, Jesus reminds his followers that he has been given all authority. He is Lord. As Lord, he expects that his followers will obey what he has commanded.

But we have a problem with the idea of submission. Throughout history wars have been fought to preserve freedom and to protect people from repression and tyranny. Most cultures today value individual freedom and chafe at the idea of submitting to a higher authority--and yet in our relationship with God we are called to obey Christ's commands.

But this obedience does not call for submission to a tyrannical taskmaster. It opens us to a deepening relationship with the loving Father and Creator who plans our lives and provides for our every need. Our heavenly Father knows our needs before we even ask. He knows what is best for us and will never do anything to harm us. His plan and commandments are intended to give us a way of living that's far better than anything else.

The greatest minds throughout history have never improved on God's plan. Simply obeying everything Christ has commanded will lead to a rich, abundant life.

Lord, teach us to obey. Break down our resistance, soften our hearts, and allow us to experience full life in you. Fill us with your grace, we pray. Amen.

About the author — Jerry Dykstra

Pastor Jerry Dykstra was recently appointed as the executive director of the Christian Reformed Church in North America. After a 15-year career in business, he trained for pastoral ministry and served as the pastor of Cascade Fellowship CRC, Cascade, Michigan, and Faith Christian Fellowship CRC, Walnut Creek, California. He and his wife, Linda, live in Byron Center, Michigan, and have three children and seven grandchildren.

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