God’s Plan of Salvation
Obeying the Gospel
This month we have been studying God’s plan of salvation. WE have examined the subject of grace (God’s part in our salvation), and faith (man’s part in our salvation). As we continue our study of salvation, today we want to discuss obeying the gospel.
a. Obedience, obey – ?pa??? , (hypakon - noun), ?pa???? (hypakou – verb) “a state of being in compliance.” “To follow instructions….be subject to.” (BDAG)
b. We understand obedience. It basically means what it says. You do what you are told to do, and you do it to the degree you are told. OR you DON’T do what you are told to NOT do.
If you are given details in those instructions you follow them. Even where reward or promises are involved, if you are given instructions you follow them as exact as possible.
c. In the Bible children are to obey their parents (Eph. 6:1), servants are to obey their masters (Col. 3:22), we are to obey (be subject to) the government (Rom. 13:1), wives are to obey their husbands (Titus 2:5), we are to obey our elders (Heb. 13:7), etc. All of these are straight forward and self-explanatory.
d. The greatest example of obedience is that of Jesus Himself – several passages speak of the obedience of Jesus.
Romans 5:19, “For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so also by one Man’s obedience many will be made righteous.”
Philippians 2:8, “And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.”
Hebrews 5:8, “though He was a Son, yet He learned obedience by the things which He suffered.”
Consider this in light of His prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane (Matthew 26:36-44). He did not want to suffer the torture ahead of Him and pleaded with the Father, “Let this cup pass from Me, nevertheless, no as I will, but as You will.” (39)
e. In scripture we find that those who believed obeyed God
Last week we noted that “faith” is a summary expression of our part in our salvation. True faith obeys. Consider Hebrews 11:8, “By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to the place which he would receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going.”
“Then the word of God spread, and the number of the disciples multiplied greatly in Jerusalem, and a great many of the priests were obedient to the faith.” (Acts 6:7)
“Through Him we have received grace and apostleship for obedience to the faith among all nations for His name,” (Romans 1:5, NKJV) (Also 16:26)
f. Obeying the gospel means that we do what we need to do to obtain salvation.
“Since you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit in sincere love of the brethren, love one another fervently with a pure heart,” (1 Peter 1:22, NKJV) “Do you not know that to whom you present yourselves slaves to obey, you are that one’s slaves whom you obey, whether of sin leading to death, or of obedience leading to righteousness? But God be thanked that though you were slaves of sin, yet you obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine to which you were delivered.” (Romans 6:16–17, NKJV)
“And having been perfected, He became the author of eternal salvation to all who obey Him,” (Hebrews 5:9)
“Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling;” (Philippians 2:12, NKJV)
“But Peter and the other apostles answered and said: “We ought to obey God rather than men.” (Acts 5:29, NKJV)
g. Those who do NOT obey the gospel – will be lost.
Romans 2:7–9 , “eternal life to those who by patient continuance in doing good seek for glory, honor, and immortality; but to those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness—indignation and wrath, tribulation and anguish, on every soul of man who does evil, of the Jew first and also of the Greek;”
Galatians 3:1, “O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you that you should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed among you as crucified?”
2 Thessalonians 1:8 , “in flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not know God, and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
1 Peter 4:17, “For the time has come for judgment to begin at the house of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the end of those who do not obey the gospel of God?”
II. What must one do to obey the gospel (be saved)?
a. When we use the term “obey the gospel” what we are usually referring to is one becoming a Christian. As we have already seen there is a need to OBEY the Gospel. There are consequences when one does NOT obey the gospel. So what does the Bible teach one must do to be saved? What are the steps of salvation?
b. Hear – this is where our salvation begins.
Romans 10:17, “So then faith comes by hearing…” But go back to verse 13 (13-17) where we are told to “call on the name of the Lord.” Paul then asks how can one call on the name of the Lord (obey God) without hearing what they need to do.
IN the book of Acts, EVERY single act of conversion (and even every allusion to conversion – this would include those passages that do not mention baptism) began with HEARING the gospel.
“For this reason we also thank God without ceasing, because when you received the word of God which you heard from us, you welcomed it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which also effectively works in you who believe.” (1 Thessalonians 2:13, NKJV)
c. Believe – last week we discussed the importance of faith. We noted that “believe” is the verb form of the noun which is most often translated “faith”. That we need to believe cannot be disputed. NOR is it disputed among the majority who profess the need to follow Jesus to be saved (with the exception of universalists or true Calvinists).
John 3:16, Romans 10-9-10, Mark 16:16, etc. all call for believe.
d. Repent - means to “change one’s mind.” It is crucial to one’s salvation. You cannot be converted without repentance. Acts 2:38, 3:19, Luke 13:3,5, etc. (NEXT week, we are going to address repentance as part of our salvation in greater detail.)
e. Confess – Jesus Himself said, ““Therefore whoever confesses Me before men, him I will also confess before My Father who is in heaven. But whoever denies Me before men, him I will also deny before My Father who is in heaven.” (Matthew 10:32–33) While an examination of this text indicates this to not be a one time event (we must continually confess Him), it is so important that in becoming a Child of God we understand and publicly proclaim our belief in Jesus as our Savior.
Romans 10:9-10 bears this out clearly.
Like the Eunuch, we need to confess that we believe in Jesus before we are baptized (Acts 8:37)
f. Be Baptized – the word baptize is from a Greek word meaning to be immersed or “to dip.” It is continually referenced in scripture as necessary for our salvation.
Mark 16:16, Acts 2:38, 22:16, 1 Peter 3:20-21, etc. A study of examples of conversion shows that when one was baptized, rejoicing came afterwards.
In a future lesson (2 weeks) we will examine in greater detail the importance of baptism in our salvation.
g. It is NOT meritorious works – Ephesians 2:9. Let it clearly be understood that we do not earn our salvation by obeying God. It is still a gift of His grace. That’s Paul’s point in Romans 4:4, “Now to him who works, the wages are not counted as grace but as debt.”
“And if by grace, then it is no longer of works; otherwise grace is no longer grace. But if it is of works, it is no longer grace; otherwise work is no longer work.” (Romans 11:6, NKJV)
(NOTE: We will address this in our lesson this evening – Ephesians 2:1-10)
III. Obeying the gospel – faithfulness
a. A few years ago, I heard of preacher who had plans to publish a book entitled “Obeying the gospel” with daily readings for an entire year. I began to wonder, how can you get 365 lessons on the plan of salvation? But then it dawned on me, Obeying the gospel is more than the act of becoming a Christian. It is STAYING a Christian. “Obeying” is ongoing action.
b. Matthew 28:19-20 says, “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.”
As I read this I find that “making disciples” involves one becoming a disciple by “obeying the Gospel” and staying a disciple with the attitude I will “observe all things commanded.” Let us NEVER forget this.
c. 2 Corinthians 10:4–6, “For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ, and being ready to punish all disobedience when your obedience is fulfilled.” (, NKJV)
d. 1 Peter 1:13–16, “Therefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and rest your hope fully upon the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; as obedient children, not conforming yourselves to the former lusts, as in your ignorance; but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, because it is written, “Be holy, for I am holy.”” (, NKJV)
e. Abiding in Him – we need to live for Jesus and keep His word. He needs to be the continual influence in our lives, every day. When we are “obeying the gospel”, Jesus is dwelling in us. Colossians 2:6, “As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him,”
“Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”” (John 8:31–32)
John 14:15, 23-24, He told His apostles, “““If you love Me, keep My commandments.”
“Jesus answered and said to him, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him. He who does not love Me does not keep My words; and the word which you hear is not Mine but the Father’s who sent Me.”
f. Faithfulness – when we see the word faithfulness, we see a servant that can be counted upon. He is loyal and trusted. Our lives as Christians must be faithful – (cf. Matt. 25:21, 23). 1 Cor. 4:2 speaks of stewards being found faithful.
Revelation 2:10 speaks of being “faithful until death.”
And thus we can see the importance of obedience. In becoming a Christian, we need to obey the Gospel. And as Christians we must continue to obey the gospel. As James said about faith and works, ““But someone will say, “You have faith, and I have works.” Show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works.” (James 2:18) May we continually strive to live FOR Him.
By Tommy Thornhill Jr
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