Like many kids who were brought up attending a non-institutional church in the ‘80s and ‘90s, I heard a lot of sermons about strictly obeying God’s word. In fact, I think it’s fair to say that it was the favorite topic for a sermon or a Bible class. The elders back then were men who had been through the big brotherhood blowups in the ‘50s and ‘60s, and they came away from that saying “Never again.” As it should, the preaching reflected the elders’ concerns.
Those elders and preachers were good men to whom I owe a debt, but there was one thing that always bothered me about those sermons. They were very clear about what we should do, but they were less clear about why we should do it. When they did provide reasons, they provided reasons like, “Because it’s what the Bible says,” or “Because God will blast us if we don’t.”
Now, I think those things are true, but they also provide a woefully incomplete picture of the Scriptural witness on the subject. Why should we care about measuring our work here by the standard of the Scriptures? Why should it be important to us to do all things in the name or the Lord? Let’s answer these questions by taking a look at the why of obedience. Continue reading