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Obedience

When’s the last time you made a choice that resulted in pain and grief? What about a choice that resulted in peace and joy? As we continue our series, “This is the Life,” Blake Holmes teaches us how to live a wise life marked by obedience.

Blake HolmesOct 27, 2019

Messages In This Series (10)
Perseverance
Tyler BriggsNov 10, 2019
Evangelism
Todd WagnerNov 3, 2019
Obedience
Blake HolmesOct 27, 2019
Respect
Adam TarnowOct 20, 2019
Peace
John ElmoreOct 13, 2019
Discernment
Todd WagnerOct 6, 2019
Contentment
David LeventhalSep 29, 2019
Courage
Todd WagnerSep 22, 2019
Righteousness: Part 2
Todd WagnerSep 15, 2019
Righteousness: Part 1
Todd WagnerSep 8, 2019

The following blog post contains notes and application questions from our October 27, 2019 message, Obedience. For more from this series, check out This Is The Life.

Discussing and Applying the Sermon

  • When you think about God, what’s the first thing that comes to your mind?
  • In the next 24-hours, read the “Proverb of the day” (e.g. on the 28th day of the month read Proverbs 28), and pick one proverb that you can act on...that you can obey that day.

Summary

When’s the last time you made a choice that resulted in pain and grief? What about a choice that resulted in peace and joy? As we continue our series, “This is the Life,” Blake Holmes teaches us how to live a wise life marked by obedience.

Key Takeaways

  • A wise life is marked by obedience.
  • The Book of Proverbs is one of 5 poetical books in the Old Testament. It is made up of 31 chapters, it is filled with short proverbs or wisdom sayings, and Proverbs are not promises, but concise, memorable statements expressing a general truth.
  • The Lord determines the standard by which we are to live.
  • To fear the Lord is to recognize Him for who He is and to submit to His authority.
  • We can choose to obey or disobey.
  • The wise choose to trust and obey, whereas fools choose to disobey.
  • Proverbs distinguishes between knowledge and wisdom. Knowledge is possessing information; wisdom is choosing to act on that information.
  • The goal of Bible study is not more information but transformation!
  • We will only obey God to the extent that we trust Him.
  • Who and what are you going to choose to believe this week?
  • There is always a consequence to our choices.
  • Most of the decisions we make result in temporary consequences, but there is one decision you must make that is of eternal consequence. You must answer the questions: 1) Who is Jesus?, and 2) Is He worth following.

Memorable Quotes

  • “What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us … Were we able to extract from any man a complete answer to the question, ‘What comes into your mind when you think about God?’ we might predict with certainty the spiritual future of that man. Were we able to know exactly what our most influential leaders think of God today, we might be able with some precision to foretell where the church will stand tomorrow.” -A.W. Tozer
  • “Only he who believes is obedient, and only he who is obedient believes.” -Bonhoeffer

Mentioned or Recommended Resources

  • Suggested Scripture study: Proverbs 1:8-9; Proverbs 3:1-2; Proverbs 4:10-15; Genesis 3:1-6; Romans 5:12; Proverbs 1:7; Proverbs 14:27; Proverbs 19:23; Proverbs 28:14; Proverbs 24:11-12; Proverbs 14:12; Proverbs 18:1; Proverbs 14:15; Proverbs 10:8; Matthew 7:24-27; Proverbs 3:5-8; Joshua 24:15; Proverbs 2:6-15; Proverbs 3:13-18; Proverbs 28:1; Proverbs 25:26; 1 Corinthians 1:18-24; John 14:21
  • Sermon: Extraordinary Living Marked by Ordinary Obedience
  • Sermon: Obey
  • Sermon Series: This is the Life

Good morning. My name is Blake Holmes. I want to welcome you to Watermark. We are in the middle of a little series called This Is the Life. Specifically, we are taking a look at the book of Proverbs. We have seen over the course of several weeks that Proverbs is teaching us how to live with great wisdom, and we have discovered that the life of the wise is marked by righteousness, courage, discernment, contentment, peace, and respect. Today, we're going to see that the wise live lives of obedience to God's Word.

Proverbs is made up of 31 chapters. It's a common practice of many of us around here to take a proverb for the day, just because it lines up with the days of the month, and to read that. They are short chapters filled with pithy sayings, general truths about life, and observations about how we are to live. They're not necessarily promises.

This book doesn't communicate to us, necessarily, how to have a right relationship with God, how to be made right with God, but it's written to those who already have a right relationship with God, telling them, "This is how we can live, how we can live in a way where we can experience life as God intended, how we can avoid some of the foolish mistakes people make."

It was written by a man named Solomon. The reason that's important is because God said Solomon was the wisest person to ever live. I want to read the book of the man about whom God said, "This man is the wisest man to ever live." He's one of the kings over Israel, and he wrote specifically to his children.

If you're anything like me… I have four kids, and there are so many times I sit down with them, and I'm like, "Hey, because I love you, just listen to me. Listen to me. Don't make the same mistakes I made. Don't peak in high school. It's not worth it." But I have four teenagers, and they all look at me like, "Oh, here goes one of those Dad talks again." So I can only imagine how Solomon must have felt when he wrote this book to his kids, going, "Son, listen to me." In fact, over and over and over again he says, "Listen to me, son."

Proverbs 1:8-9: "Hear, my son, your father's instruction, and forsake not your mother's teaching, for they are a graceful garland for your head and pendants for your neck." Proverbs 3:1-2: "My son, do not forget my teaching, but let your heart keep my commandments, for length of days and years of life and peace they will add to you." Proverbs 4:10-15: "Hear, my son…" This is about when you call that family meeting. "Another family meeting." And your kids are rolling their eyes. "Another Dad talk." What does Solomon say?

"…accept my sayings and the years of your life will be many. I have directed you in the way of wisdom; I have led you in upright paths. When you walk, your steps will not be impeded; and if you run, you will not stumble. Take hold of instruction; do not let go. Guard her, for she is your life. Do not enter the path of the wicked and do not proceed in the way of evil men. Avoid it, do not pass by it [don't even go by it] ; turn away from it and pass on."

This sounds like the speech I just gave my daughter, my firstborn child, dropping her off at college this last summer. "Hey, listen to me, please. I'm not going to be around anymore. Because I love you, I'm reminding you that God's Word is true. This world is going to tell you that life is found in all sorts of places, but remember life is found in God and God alone and that the wise heed instruction and trust God. Believe me."

We're going to see from our study today that, first of all, the Lord determines the standard by which we are to live. It is the Lord who determines the standard by which we are to live. This is such a significant, foundational truth, but it is one we forget so often. Solomon begs his children to understand, "You have a choice. You can either choose to obey or you can disobey, but just understand this: there are consequences to your choices."

This is an effort of a father who loves his children to say, "Hey, this is the life. This is what I'm telling you. This is where you're going to find peace. This is where you're going to find rest if you just listen to me." We have a God in heaven who is a good Father, who wants us to experience the life and peace he intends, and he has shown us the way.

The first point is that he is the one who establishes the standard by which we are to live, yet so many of us choose to reject that standard, and that's why Solomon says in Proverbs 14:12, "There is a way which seems right to a man, but in the end, it leads to death." We've all experienced that before. Right? In the moment, we're sitting there, and this seems to make sense to me.

This just seems to make sense by my reason, by my experience, by how I feel, so I proceed, and I reject the standard, the authority of God's Word in my life, and I travel at my own peril, and then I experience the regret and the pain. Solomon says there are going to be times it just seems right to you, but in the end, it leads to death, it leads to loss, it leads to despair. So he says, "Don't forsake my teaching. Don't trust in yourself; trust in God's standard. Don't trust in yourself. Don't isolate yourself, but listen to wisdom, to the counsel of others."

Proverbs 18:1: "Whoever isolates himself seeks his own desire; he quarrels against all sound wisdom." How many of us have done that before? People in a way in which they're trying to love us…maybe it's our parents, our friends, our Community Group, other believers around us…are going, "Hey, listen to me. I want to help you as you're processing these decisions." What do we naturally do when we want to go our own way? We isolate ourselves from the counsel and the instruction of others at our own peril. We do it all the time.

"I don't want you living in authority over me. Who are you to tell me what I can and can't do?" Sound familiar? "I don't need your counsel. You're not my dad." Careful. When we go our own way and do what we think seems wise and isolate ourselves, we are on the path of destruction. Proverbs 14:15: "The simple believes everything, but the prudent gives thought to his steps." You can hear Solomon looking at his boy, going, "Don't believe everything you hear." Did you ever hear that from your parents? "Don't believe everything you hear."

That's right out of Proverbs 14:15. It's the simple who believes everything, but the prudent gives thought to his steps. The prudent seeks God's will, God's counsel, doesn't isolate himself. He's the one who determines the standard by which we are to live. We are to fear God. This whole concept of the fear of the Lord is something we may say a lot, maybe we've heard in church, but I'm not sure everybody understands what that really means.

That's central throughout the whole book of Proverbs. It is the main foundation to the book. It's the key to understanding it. Proverbs 1:7: "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge…" If you want knowledge, it starts with fearing God. "…fools despise wisdom and instruction." Proverbs 14:27: "The fear of the Lord is a fountain of life, that one may turn away from the snares of death."

Do you want to find knowledge? Do you want to find life? It starts with fear of God. Proverbs 19:23: "The fear of the Lord leads to life, so that one may sleep satisfied, untouched by evil." That sounds good, doesn't it? Sleep. A good night's rest. Proverbs 28:14: "How blessed is the man who fears always, but he who hardens his heart will fall into calamity." It's the theme throughout the whole book. You can't miss it. But what does that mean?

What does it mean to fear the Lord? Does it mean we fear him, like Halloween is coming up and we fear ghosts, we fear the boogeyman we thought might live under our bed when we were a child? Is that what it means? No. The fear of the Lord quite simply means you recognize him for who he is and you submit to his authority. To fear God is to recognize him for who he is and then to submit to his authority.

In other words, we have to get the God question right, the most core foundational truths of Scripture: that the Lord is our Creator, that we're not here because of time plus chance plus matter, but there is one God over heaven and earth. He is our Creator who made us in his image. He alone is good, he alone is holy and perfect, and he alone is great and sovereign, powerful, fully in control. Nothing can thwart his will, and his Word is true.

You have to get the God question right. You have to understand, Solomon would say, that there is one God who's Creator, sovereign, good, and his Word is true. A.W. Tozer was right, the pastor, theologian, and writer. He said, "What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us." When you think about God, what do you think about? Is he some cold, unrelational, distant landlord who doesn't desire any relationship with you? Is he angry and vindictive and just looking to spite you when you do wrong?

Do you have a deistic notion of God, that he's a blind watchmaker who just wound up the clock and has left the earth spinning on its own, never to intervene? That's deism. Or do you understand God, as I said, as our Creator, a loving Father who desires a relationship with you, who has made a way for us to know him, who has revealed himself through his Word, whose intentions are kind and good for us, who's providentially at work in our lives, who's writing our story and has our best intention in mind?

Tozer goes on. He says, "Were we able to extract from any man a complete answer to the question, 'What comes into your mind when you think about God?' we might predict with certainty the spiritual future of that man." Hear what he's saying? Tell me what comes to your mind when you think about God, and I will tell you the spiritual direction of your life.

He goes on and says, "Were we able to know exactly what our most influential religious leaders think of God today, we might be able with some precision to foretell where the Church will stand tomorrow." You have to get the God question right. See, we have an Enemy who wants to undermine our way of thinking; who wants to create doubt; who wants desperately for you to believe that God doesn't care, that he's not good, that he's not providentially at work in your life; who wants to rob you of the blessing of walking with him.

We see that most clearly at the very beginning of Genesis, chapter 3. I want you to listen to the lie of the Enemy who appears in the form of a serpent. His name is Satan, which in Hebrew is literally satan, which literally means adversary. He is our adversary. Notice there's Adam and Eve living in perfect relationship with one another and relationship with God, just as God intended, where there is no experience of sin or death in the world, and along comes the Adversary.

"Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the *Lord * God had made. He said to the woman, 'Did God actually say, "You shall not eat of any tree in the garden"?' And the woman said to the serpent, 'We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden, but God said, "You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die."'" That is a distortion of what God said.

"But the serpent said to the woman, 'You will not surely die.'""Come on! You're not going to die." Verse 5: "For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil." Do you hear what he's saying? "You can't trust God. He's not the one who establishes the standard by which you're to live. You are your own authority, Adam and Eve. You get to choose. God only intends to rip you off. He knows that when you eat of it you're going to be like him. He's keeping good from you. You're not going to die."

Verse 6: "So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate." I think of this story often, because I happen on my route when I go jog… Not as often as I should, but when I do, there's a corner house with a huge magnolia tree. Huge. It reaches the sky, and its limbs literally go down to the ground and kind of pop up. It is the kid's ultimate dream of a climbing tree.

There's a little sign in front of the tree: "Please do not climb the tree." Do you know what comes immediately to my mind every time I see that tree? "Who says I can't climb that tree? Why can't I climb that tree? What's going to happen if I climb that tree? I bet you nothing is going to happen. Could I come here in the middle of the night and just climb the tree and not get caught?" There's something in all of us.

If you own a shop with little figurines, things that are fragile, and you don't want kids to touch them, don't put a sign up, because how many of us when we were little would walk up and see, "Don't touch the figurines," and just wanted to walk up and touch them? It's innate in all of us. We don't naturally want to obey. It's called a sin nature.

Adam and Eve made a choice, and because of their choice, we now have been separated from God. We now live in a world of sin and rebellion. We experience pain and suffering and death. Incidentally, just to be really clear, if you think, "Well, that's not fair. Adam and Eve made that choice," well, guess what. We make the same choice every day, which just validates if we were in their shoes we would have done the same thing.

Paul says in Romans 5:12, "Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned…" The decision they made has led to not only a physical death but a spiritual death, where we no longer enjoy intimacy with God and one another but experience the pain and heartache of living in a broken world. Largely, any notion of the fear of God has been lost. It just doesn't take much. Right?

Open up a newspaper, turn on the news. There's no mention of the fear of God. We've rejected the fact that he has established a standard by which we are to live, that he has our best interests in mind. We've rejected his authority over our lives, his goodness, his sovereignty, and that his Word is true, and we're experiencing the consequences of that. I'm not talking about in a far-off land or topics that are just general. I'm talking about basic headlines.

You look in the news today. We've rejected the most foundational truths regarding the sanctity of life, the definition of marriage, the purposes of sex, the norms of gender, the equality of every race. All of these are up for debate now in our world. Again, not in some far distant land. I mean, just this week, in the state of Texas, a dad was denied the right to stop his 7-year-old son from transitioning to a girl; in fact, by court order was instructed that he could not use male pronouns when speaking to his son. By court order in the state of Texas.

There are those in Virginia and New York right now who are fighting for legislation that you can deliver a baby, and then, if the mother should so choose, after delivery, can end the life of a child. That's infanticide, and it's heartbreaking. We've rejected the sanctity of life, that all of us are made in the image of God, and that every life is valuable in the womb and outside of the womb…young, old, sick, healthy, black, white.

We've rejected the definition of marriage. Marriage is no longer defined between a man and a woman in covenant relationship with one another before God. We've rejected the purposes of sex, that sex is to be enjoyed within the confines and context of a marriage relationship. The norms of gender. We're told today that gender is a decision, not determined by God. You get to choose what gender you want. It's absurd. It's crazy. We've lost our way.

The equality of every race. Somehow, some races are elevated above the other. It's contrary to God's Word, and our world is experiencing the consequence of that. To even speak on these things and to describe them is crazy and wrong. It makes you an enemy of many. Well, we have an Enemy who is lying to us. You have to see that.

Jesus tells us in John, chapter 8, " [Satan] was a murderer from the beginning…" Which is what we just read in Genesis 3. "…and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies." Paul tells us in 2 Corinthians 4, even currently, "In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God."

Solomon is telling you, the Lord is telling you, "I am imploring you to consider that there is a standard by which we are to live, and it's not determined on how we feel or what society says or our reason or our experiences, but it's determined by what God says and rooted in his character." Because we've gone our own way, it has led to disaster, and when we continue to stiffen our necks and demand that we want to climb the tree and eat of the fruit, it just leads to more pain and suffering.

Well, I'll lighten the mood for a second. This week, for whatever reason, I've gotten more phone solicitations, complete scams, than in weeks previous. Most I just delete, but there's one I got that made me laugh out loud. I'm going to keep that one. As I was thinking about my message, I thought, "You know what? I'm going to play this message." So I want you to listen to the recording of a message I received earlier this week. Let's listen to this together.

[Recording]

Male: This is the social security administration. There is a legal case with some serious allegations filed on your name by the drug enforcement agency and the police station. Once you get this message, call back at the social security administration department at 315-203-2293. I repeat the number: 315-203-2293. Do not disregard this message, as this is a very serious matter. Once you get the message, call back immediately and share the four digits of your social security number. Thank you.

[End of recording]

I love that. "Once you get this message, call me back, and go ahead and give me your social security number." Now, we all laugh, because we sit there and we're like, "That's a total scam," but may I suggest to you, tragically, the reason we keep getting messages like that is because some people respond and do just that.

That may seem crazy and ridiculous, but may I also suggest to you that there is an Enemy who's trying to rip you off, and in ways that may not be as overt or laughable, but we're buying the lie. It's crazy when we look at God's Word and just walk away and go, "Hey, I'm going to live the way I want to live." Solomon goes, "That's foolish." He says to his kids, "You can choose. You have a choice to either obey or disobey." He says, "The wise choose to trust and obey whereas fools choose to disobey."

He makes the point that there's a difference between knowledge and wisdom. Knowledge is just acquiring information. I can hear the tornado sirens going off in Dallas and go, "I hear tornado sirens," and just sit there and keep watching TV or I can hear the tornado sirens and go, "You know what? I'd better respond to the warning I hear right now." Wisdom is responding to the knowledge.

Jesus speaks of this in the Sermon on the Mount. In Matthew, chapter 7, Jesus distinguished between hearing and obeying. He says, "Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them [who responds] will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew [like a tornado] *and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock." *

Contrast that with this: "And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it." You see, many will come into Watermark and will bring their Bibles and learn and take notes but never respond. It has no impact on our marriages, our friendships, at our work, in the way we relate to one another, and all we're doing is becoming smarter sinners.

When we study God's Word, the goal is not to become a smarter sinner; the goal is life transformation, yet our churches are filled with people who have great notes, great study Bibles, and yet little to show for it. Solomon is going, "Hey, man. You get to choose." Jesus is saying, "You get to choose." We will only obey God to the extent that we trust him. Obedience and trust are two sides to the same coin. That's why he says in Proverb 3:5-8:

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight. Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and turn away from evil. It will be healing to your body and refreshment to your bones."

When I believe that God is good and always has my best interests in mind, when I believe he is in control of my circumstances, when I believe his Word is true, I will obey. I will follow. Conversely, when I don't trust those things to be true, that he has my best interests in mind, that he can care for my every need and his Word is true, I go my own way. Dietrich Bonhoeffer, a German theologian who lived during Nazi Germany, said, "Only he who believes is obedient and only he who is obedient [truly] believes."

There are consequences to our choices. I think of Joshua, the great Old Testament leader, who gathered in front of all of the people and said, "…choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in the region beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord." I love that passage, because you have a leader who stands out in front of all of the people.

He draws a line in the sand, and he doesn't take an opinion poll. What does he do? He challenges the people. "Hey, you choose today whom you're going to serve. As for me and my house? I've made the choice. Follow me." Understand this: when we choose to follow the gods of the Amorites and of foreign lands, when we reject God's standard in our lives, there are consequences. There's always a consequence to our choice.

Those who live wisely experience blessing. Proverbs 16:20: "He who gives attention to the word will find good, and blessed is he who trusts in the Lord." When we walk with God, the blessing it is on those around us and to our kids and to our families. Proverbs 20:7:"The righteous who walks in his integrity—blessed are his children after him!"**

You want to bless your kids? You want to provide for your kids? They don't need a fortune and an inheritance. They need godly mothers and fathers who love God and walk in obedience. "…blessed are his children after him!" Proverbs 14:26: "In the fear of the Lord there is strong confidence, and his children will have refuge."

Those who live foolishly will experience loss. We've all experienced loss, because we've all gone our own way. We all have scars to show for it. Proverbs 11:19: "Whoever is steadfast in righteousness will live, but he who pursues evil will die." There's a loss of peace when we disregard God's Word. Proverbs 28:1: "The wicked flee when no one is pursuing, but the righteous are bold as a lion."

When we live contrary to God's Word, we live paranoid, we live scared, we run, we're always looking over our shoulder, we have a guilty conscience, but the righteous live as bold as a lion. We experience loss of reputation. "Like a muddied spring or a polluted fountain is a righteous man who gives way before the wicked." Loss of dignity. Proverbs 26:11: "Like a dog that returns to his vomit is a fool who repeats his folly."

Most tragically, a loss of intimacy with God. "If one turns away his ear from hearing the law, even his prayer is an abomination [to God] ." Here's the truth, gang. Most of the decisions we're going to make this week, we're only going to experience temporary consequences. Some will be severe. Some are going to hurt. But there's one decision you have to make, that all of us have to make: our decision on what we believe about Jesus Christ.

We all have to answer the question…Who is Jesus and what was he doing on the cross? To ignore the decision is making a decision, because Jesus makes it really clear. He says, "I am the way, the truth, and the life, and no one comes to the Father except through me." He is the way, the truth, and the life, and no one can be made right with God, be restored into a right relationship with God, apart from Jesus Christ. It's not about what you do or don't do; it's all in whom you trust.

The Bible says, "For by grace you've been saved through faith. It's a gift of God, not by works, so that no one can boast." Grace is God's unmerited favor. Here's the deal: none of us live obedient lives. We can't do it. We won't do it. All of us have rebelled against God. We're no different than Adam and Eve, every single one of us. "But God demonstrates his own love for us in this, that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us."

Jesus, who is fully God and fully man…fully God so as to be without sin and fully man so as to serve as our substitute… The God-man took our penalty on the cross. He died the death we deserved, and he was buried, and three days later he rose again, defeating sin and death and offering us life, that those who believe in him are justified and have peace with God. There is no greater decision you can make. You have to decide, "Who is Jesus?" Jesus is the only one who was fully obedient. Jesus is the only one who is the wisdom of God. Philippians 2 says:

"And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father."

Only one has lived the perfect life, and he's the wisdom of God. Note what Paul says in 1 Corinthians 1. Hang with me. Listen to this. First Corinthians 1, beginning in verse 18: "For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God."

What that means is what I just shared with you on how you can have a right relationship with God. The outside world just scoffs at that and goes, "Only a fool would trust in Jesus Christ. Only a fool would believe that the Bible is God's Word," but those who believe recognize, "No, no, no. This is the power of God."

"For it is written, 'I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and the discernment of the discerning I will thwart.' Where is the one who is wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe. For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God."

We don't seek to obey God and follow his Word in order to win his love. We seek to obey because we are loved, and there's a dramatic difference. It is Christ who tells us, "Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he is the one who loves me."

I want to close in showing you a short video which I think illustrates everything I've just shared with you. A picture is worth a thousand words. I think this video is going to show you. This one particular friend of ours who was sick and tired of being sick and tired and trying to find life apart from God, and then finally came to the end of herself and sought where wisdom is found, humbled herself. Let's watch her story.

[Video]

Female: I recall from a very young age being drawn to girls. I knew it was something that… It was just different, and I didn't understand why. I struggled with sharing, because I knew in my heart that it would be frowned upon. It was in my 20s when I decided that this is just the way God made me. I remember praying and saying, "God, you either need to open up my heart to a man or give me the courage to be the person you made me out to be."

It had been such a struggle for so long that I felt he was giving me the way to just say, "Be at peace. Live that life." And I did. From that point forward, I didn't look back. I just kept on praying for God to bring me a good woman I could share the rest of my life with. "Lord, bring me this good woman." And God did bring me a good woman, but he brought me a straight godly woman via my soccer team. She was inquiring about my old church, and she was telling me about her church, and she invited me to go.

One time I took her up on her offer, and I came to church, and I remember being captivated by the message. I remember wondering, "What makes it so different from what your pastor is saying than the pastor of what this other church that I've gone to? What's so different? Why is it that he's saying homosexuality is not good and this other pastor at this church is saying homosexuality is okay and that Jesus is okay with it? Who's to say that you're right and they're wrong?"

What she encouraged me to do was to keep reading. She gave me a book to read, and I remember really diving in, just absorbing and doing my own research. I wanted to prove the Bible wrong, because it had been so long that I had been trying and going to God and saying, "Change me," and all of a sudden, I was at peace with who I was, and then this. I read this book. God really opened the eyes of my heart, and he showed me. It said it's not just believing about God; it's believing in God. I was thinking, "Wow! I don't think I've ever done that."

Then I remember the next time I saw him on the cross, I understood what he had done for me. I understood that he had died for my sins, and I remember crying and being so thankful for what he had done for me. He was changing my heart. I remember driving one day and being so mad, because I felt that I had come out to him. I felt I had gone to him early on in my life, and now 20 years later, he started to do something. He was starting to change my heart and mind. It was so hard, because I didn't want to. I didn't know what I was getting myself into by living in this life with Christ.

He continued to pursue my heart, and I remember just yelling and being so angry with him and just being so exhausted driving and just talking to him. Not necessarily talking, but maybe yelling, and then feeling so deflated, just dejected, and again, turning on the radio, and he just spoke into my heart. He told me, "I want you to see me." I just felt it. I heard that in my heart so clearly. Then I started crying again, just being thankful, because every time he has taken me or I have gone to the point where I think, "I can't do this," he overwhelms me with his peace.

The first time I came to re:gen, I came again with my friend Cynthia. She invited me to come. It was so real, and I remember thinking, "Wow! Did they just share that? Interesting." It kept on bringing me back. Every time I would go, God really started something in my heart, because every story someone would tell about their testimony, I would be able to capture a little bit. God was just tugging at my heart.

So one time, I just went in there. I sat, and I went into the small group. I remember I would just say, "Alternative lifestyle," and then leave it at that. It wasn't until midway through it where I started getting to know the ladies that I started sharing a little bit more. Then we became fast friends. It was so beautiful that at the end of that I didn't say, "Alternative lifestyle" anymore; I said, "Homosexuality," because he had kind of wiped it clean at that time.

That's the beautiful part about re:generation, that people are able to relate to you. They're able to relate to whatever you may have or are going through, and they might be going through the same thing. I was met with nothing but compassion and love. I look back and I go, "Lord, wow! Five years ago, I was doubting your Bible. Five years ago, I was trying to prove your Bible wrong."

But now I know there is power of transformation in the Bible, and I know it to be true, because he did it for me. I didn't think it was possible to change, especially since I didn't want to change and I wasn't looking to change. That's how amazing he is. It is amazing. It's amazing the journey he has me on, and it is so fun, and it is so filled with peace.

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