Obedience Requires Change

Preached by Andrew Smellie, November 18, 2007

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It takes changing our lives to follow Jesus.

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Are you hard and brittle or soft and moldable like clay?
“Obedience Requires Change”
Preached by Andrew Smellie
Sunday, November 18, 2007

Matthew 18:1-4
Question: How bold or assertive are you to change?
• The word change describes the essence of obedience.
• You cannot obey God unless you change.
• The motives behind the actions speak louder than the actions themselves.
• Repentance before baptism is not the end of change in your life.
• The only thing that matters is the Word of God.
Question: Are you really obeying God if you do not change?
• There is no spiritual plateau.
• You need constant revival to stay sharp.
• You can become so satisfied with the status quo that change can become threatening.

i. Change threatens your comfort.
ii. Change interrupts your routines.
iii. Change challenges your priorities.
iv. Change introduces anxiety.

• If you do not change, then you will never be with God.

Psalm 55:19
• If you do not change, then you do not fear God.
• You can become so lukewarm that the life of the first century Christian seems abnormal to you.
Question: Why do you resist change in your life?
• You resist change in your life because of a lack of faith in God and a lack of humility.
Question: Are you dependent on God like a baby is?
Question: Where is your faith?

1. Your relationships are from God and are for God.
Acts 13:1-3
• Change prepared Paul for the challenges that he had to face as a disciple of Jesus Christ.
• Paul had accepted constant change because he trusted God wholeheartedly.

2 Timothy 2:12

Acts 9:1-8

Galatians 1:17-18

Acts 9:29

• Saul had done all of those things before he began his first missionary journey.
Question: How willing would you be to move for the sake of the gospel?
Question: Has the first century Christian lifestyle become too abnormal for you?
Question: Who are you to tell God who can go out of or into your life if He brought them to you?
Acts 16:1-5
• Paul called Timothy and Timothy was circumcised.
• Timothy had to change and suffer for the sake of the gospel.
• Timothy had the faith to trust Paul and to trust God.
• Timothy had the humility to obey God.
• Timothy left his family and friends and traveled with Paul.

Acts 16:6-10
• Paul had the vision.
Question: Do you have the faith and the humility to follow God’s plan?
• Change in your life reveals the superficiality of your relationship with God.
• Change in your life reveals the reality of your relationship with God.

2. The church is an organism not just an organization.
• The church is healthier and stronger than it was because of God.
• People were willing to take leaps of faith for God.
• If you do not take leaps of faith, then the church will stagnate.
Question: Do you want to be in stagnation or do you want to be a flowing river?
• Without faith, the church will stagnate.
• If you do not step up, then the church will stagnate because of you.
• If disciples of Jesus Christ are disciples of Jesus Christ, then the church will regenerate.
• God has and will always take care of Syracuse.
• Planting churches in pillar cities has always been God’s plan.
• You cannot evangelize the world without a plan.
• You cannot win the world without the organization that is within the biblical framework.
• In 1993, the Syracuse church was planted.
• Ron Drabot told Steve Johnson to plant a church in his hometown after the loss of Ron’s child.
• The planting of the Syracuse church could not have been done without the unity.
• The planting of the Syracuse church was due to the worldwide movement of churches.

1 Corinthians 4:14-21
• Centralized leadership.

Titus 1:5
“Sadly, the norm in the ICOC is autonomy. Why? Because I believe everyone wants their own kingdom. It is noteworthy that autonomous churches have autonomous disciples, because the members, like the leaders, do not want to give an account to anyone.” – Raul Moreno

“Some churches say that they are not autonomous because their leaders have influence from outside churches. They seek input and advice from other leaders so they think that they are not autonomous. Yet they are, because all final decisions are made locally even though they seek advice.” – Raul Moreno

3. Be the change you want to see in the world.
• You need to be ready to obey and focused on eternity.
• Imagine if you did every act under the light of judgment.
• Imagine if you could see hell for a day.
Question: How different would your life be?
• There are three classes of people:
i. Those who are afraid.
ii. Those who do not know enough to be afraid.
iii. Those who know their Bibles.
Question: Why do you not obey God?

2 Corinthians 13:5-6
Question: How do you test yourself to see if you are faithful?
• Change brings adventure and adventure stretches your faith.
• Adventure brings growth.
• Growth happens when you face risk.
• Faith and risk go hand and hand.
• You have to stop waiting to get the answers.
• Your willingness to take risks is the true measure of your faith.
• When you take all of the risks out of living your life it becomes boring.
Question: How willing are you to take risks?
Question: Do you really have faith in your life?

Psalm 25:1-5
Question: Where is your hope?

Psalm 31:1-5

Proverbs 16:9

Proverbs 19:21
• Change and a total surrender to the plans of God – that is the heart God calls you to have.
Question: How do you get that heart?
Question: How do you change?

Jeremiah 18:1-6
• Your will needs to be like clay in God’s hands.
• Change is inevitable.
• Obedience requires change. (Acts 14:9)
• You have to really look at your heart.
• Only you and God know the condition of your heart.
• There are three people inside you who are:
i. The one you think you are.
ii. The one other people think you are.
iii. The one who God knows you are.
Question: Is your heart soft and pliable clay that God can mold?
Question: Are you willing to take a risk for God?