Jewish man builds a sukkah
Helpful Tidbits for the Disciple's Life                                                                             October 4, 2010

Loving is Obeying
My Reflections

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"Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter:
Fear God and keep his commandments,
for this is the whole [duty] of man."

Ecclesiastes 12:13
 -King Solomon-

Boys in front on sukkah
My sons, Keith and Keagan, in front of our sukkah
This last weekend marked the end of the biblical fall moedim or "appointed times." If you're unfamiliar with the three (fall) appointments-with-God, they are Feast of Trumpets, Day of Atonement(s), and Feast of Tabernacles. As a house church, we observed all three and reflected on the meaning of each.

"The LORD said to Moses, 'Say to the Israelites: On the fifteenth day of the seventh month the LORD's Feast of Tabernacles begins, and it lasts for seven days. The first day is a sacred assembly; do no regular work. For seven days present offerings made to the LORD by fire [i.e., if there were a Temple], and on the eighth day hold a sacred assembly and present an offering made to the LORD by fire [ditto]. It is the closing assembly; do no regular work'" (Lev 23:33-36).

QUESTION/TOPIC IN FOCUS: We can't be obedient to something we don't know
Loving is Obeying
A smattering of New Testament texts

Boys crashed in sukkah
"Train a child in the way they should go..." (my boys crashed in the sukkah)
  • "If you want to enter life, obey the commandments" (Mt 19:17).
  • "...and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you" (Mt 28:20).
  • "Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it" (Lk 11:28).
  • "If you love me, you will obey what I command" (Jn 14:15). 
  • "If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. He who does not love me will not obey my teaching" (Jn 14:23, 24).
  • "If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love..." (Jn 15:10). 
  • "For it is not those who hear the law who are righteous in God's sight, but it is those who obey the law who will be declared righteous" (Rms 2:13).
  • "He will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus" (2 Thess 1:8). 
  • "We know that we have come to know him if we obey his commands" (1 Jn 2:3).
  • "This is love for God: to obey his commands" (1 Jn 5:3).
My Reflections 

Sukkah drawingBy now, most of my readers know I harp on the responsibility we have to obey God's commands. By now, you also know I include the Old Testament commandments when I refer to God's commands. This, to be sure, has stirred up a fair amount of questions (as it should). Regardless of where you presently stand on this issue, there's one thing we can agree on: following God's commands are extremely important. In fact, according to the texts above, our love for God depends on it.

Here's a sad commentary. When I sit down with "mature" believers, I often bring up what's been popularly referred to as "The Great Commission" (see Mt 28:19, 20). Then I ask, "What are the commands you teach disciples to obey?" Almost always I get one of two responses: either a blank stare or a quick reference to the 'love God, love neighbor' text. Come on people! Is that it? Is that the best you've got?

Here's what I know. In the words of my friend Neil Cole, "The church is only as good as her disciples." So it stands to reason we'd better know how to make good disciples. To do that, we need to have a clear understanding of what Yeshua (Jesus) was saying when he said, "...and teach them to obey everything I have commanded you." Perhaps it would be a good idea to bring up the topic with your fellowship.
Hope this was of some benefit to you.

Traver Dougherty (bio)
The Banqueting Table