Undivided connection between obedience and revival:
If we pray for revival and plead with God to bless, and yet in our lives refuse to submit to His will, we are hypocrites. Before revival comes, perhaps God will either have to remove some of us or break us. Both the outward and the inward look reveal that the will of God is not being done. Because it is not being done in the Christian, there is no blessing in the church. And because there is no blessing in the church, the world is unreached, untouched, going to hell, lost for time and eternity. May He have mercy upon us and help us to see this awful sin in the church of Christ today! We say we care about lost souls; we say we are burdened for the need of men who have never heard the gospel; we say we long to see our cities reached for Christ. Yet all the time in our hearts there is a big capital “I” which has never been broken and is standing in the way.
Alan Redpath, Victorious Praying: Studies in the Lord’s Prayer (Grand Rapids: Revell, 1993), 3.
Cliff McManis offers several biblical strategies for obedience in his book Christian Living Beyond Belief (pp. 211-14):
- Don’t make excuses
- It will take time… a life time, as a matter of fact
- Don’t isolate yourself
- Become accountable
- Recognize patterns of wrong behavior
- Put off sinful patterns of behavior
- Practice the spiritual disciplines
I attempted to unpack Matthew 7:21-23 this evening in a message entitled “The Danger of Orthodoxy Without Orthopraxy.” You can read it here or listen here.
In my study for Matthew 7:21-23, I came across the following words (sobering thoughts) from D.A. Carson:
No man enters the kingdom because of his obedience; but it is equally true that no man enters the kingdom who is not obedient. It is true that men are saved by God’s grace through faith in Christ; but it is equally true that God’s grace in a man’s life inevitably results in obedience. Any other view of grace cheapens grace, and turns it into something unrecognizable. Cheap grace preaches forgiveness without repentance, church membership without rigorous church discipline, discipleship without obedience, blessing without persecution, joy without righteousness, results without obedience. In the entire history of the church, has there ever been another generation with so many nominal Christians and so few real (i.e., obedient) ones? And where nominal Christianity is compounded by spectacular profession, it is especially likely to manufacture its own false assurance.
D.A. Carson, Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount and His Confrontation with the World (Toronto: Global Christian Publishers, 2001), 139-40.
Bible teacher H. A. Ironside once wrote:
The very same sun that softens the wax hardens the clay; and so the very same gospel message which breaks down honest hearts and leads to repentance, hardens the hearts of the dishonest and confirms them in their path of disobedience.
“Today if you hear His voice, do not harden your hearts” (Hebrews 4:7).