Your Obedience is Required: How to Obey God

Preached on March 3, 2024

To be on the path to glory, one must follow Christ. To follow Christ one must obey God’s word. Are you living in obedience of the word of God? Obeying God’s word will lead to wonderful results that all should desire. Join Pastor McCrary as the “On the Path to Glory” series continues!


In order to make it down the path of glory, you must follow Jesus.  To follow Jesus, you must put your complete trust in Him!  Do you understand what it means to put your complete trust in the Lord?  In Matthew 7:13-27, Jesus speaks to what it means to put your complete trust in God.

In this familiar scripture, we will see where Jesus encouraged us to enter at the narrow gate (Matt. 7:13).  Again, the narrow path we walk is the path less taken.  It is a dark path that’s filled with many obstacles which makes it difficult to travel.  

In Matthew 7:15, Jesus tells us to beware of false prophets – false teachers and leaders – that are like greedy wolves.  Wolves are pack animals that seek to take advantage of their prey.  When they have the advantage, they will attack and destroy.  Such false leaders will prey on their victims and lead them to their destruction.

In my key verses, Jesus gives us even more critical information when it comes to following Him.  

24 “Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock: 25 and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock.


I want to put emphasis on the words “hears” and “does”.  We must pay close attention to these words from Christ.

What is Obedience?

What does it mean to be obedient?  I would like to think all of us know this one off the top of our heads, right?  As children, we learned that obedience meant that you better do what you were told.  If you had parents like mine, you didn’t want to go the route of being hard headed!

Jesus said that one should hear and do.  If we know what it means to be obedient, why do so many of us struggle to obey God?  So many of us go the route of stubbornness.  Our stubbornness gives way to not listening to the Lord’s instructions.  If you aren’t listening to the Lord, how can you say that you obey Him?  

The Cost to Follow Christ

As you have heard me say before, following Christ is not an easy task.  Jesus said, “whoever does not bear his cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple (Luke 14:27).”  If you desire to follow Christ, Jesus said:  if you build a tower, will you not sit down and first consider the cost (Luke 14:28)?

You see, it is costly to follow Jesus.  No, you don’t have to have money for a ticket to follow Jesus.  However, there is a sacrifice that one must make to follow Him.  No, not a sacrifice of flesh, blood, and animals, grains, but something else is required of you.  

If you love to say that you trust Christ, Jesus said that you must hear and do.  Simply put:  Jesus said that you must obey His every word to follow Him.  Do you think you can give your obedience to Christ?  Such a sacrifice has proven to be difficult for many.  

Yet again I say to you, you cannot say that you trust the Lord but don’t follow His instructions.  You can’t say that you’re following Christ but you don’t obey Him.  So, how do we obey God’s every word?

How to obey God’s instructions

The first step Jesus gives us is to hear His sayings.  Now there is a drastic difference between one who hears and one that is attentive to understand.  So, are you listening to God’s voice?  Some of us may struggle with hearing God’s voice while others might say they have never heard God’s voice.  So, how do we hear the voice of God?

Let’s turn to 1 Peter 5:5-9.  In this passage of scripture Peter speaks about living in submission to God.  

To teach this lesson, Peter starts off by speaking about younger people and elders.  Peter said, “you younger people, submit yourselves to your elders (1 Pet. 5:5).”  Peter uses this example to teach how those that lack wisdom should listen to those that have wisdom.   In this case, the elder has lived life and gained much knowledge in comparison to one who has barely started out in life.

Do younger people always listen to their elders?  No.  At some point when we were younger, we thought we knew more than our elders and stopped listening.  This led to unnecessary hardships and having to learn lessons the hard way.

Now, we will see in this same verse that Peter called on all people to be clothed with humility.  You see, in order to learn one has to listen.  To be able to listen, one has to humble themselves.  If you desire to listen to God, you have to first humble yourself.

The Lord, scripture says, “resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble”.  You cannot be filled with pride and be able to hear from the Lord.  In fact, the prideful person will never turn to God as they feel they don’t need to.  Some are even foolish enough to think that God needs us for our love, praise, and worship!

The pride of the fool doesn’t understand that God doesn’t need us.  What is that we can do for the Lord that would help Him?  You see, we need help to go down the path to glory.  God doesn’t need to love us but thankfully He wants to love us!  So, as Peter said, let us humble ourselves under the mighty hand of God so we can hear His voice (1 Pet. 5:6).

Listening and Doing

Once you begin to hear the voice of God, the next step in obedience is to do His sayings.  This is the point where obedience is required.  You see, your obedience will align you with Christ.  Your obedience will keep you aligned with the will of God.  Let us remember that God’s will is for everyone to have everlasting life in His kingdom (John 6:40).

God gave us His word with the intent for us to live by His word, not ignore it.  God’s word is not intended to lead to a mechanical response and action!  One of the biggest problems in the church today is dull hearing.  The word of God demands action but there is very little action.  Because of dull hearing, there is little growth in the hearts of those that profess to be a child of God!

This was an issue that James wrote on in James 1:22-25.  In his letter, James said, “be doers of the word, and not hearers only (Jas. 1:22).”  James said that it is imperative for you to do the word because he understood the importance!  Some of us simply try to read the word of God for knowledge and there is nothing wrong with doing that.  However, the word of God demands action, it demands obedience!

One of the issues we have today is what James writes about in James 1:23-24.  James said, “if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was.”

Many go to church each Sunday, hear the word of God preached, and they go back home still a sinner.  Many will pick up a bible, read the bible, and when they sit it back down, they are still a sinner.  You see, they heard the word of God but they weren’t attentive to it- they did not do it.  

If you are attentive to God’s voice, His word will dwell in you and you will live (move) according to it!  This is how we obey God’s word: humble ourselves, listen to Him, and move accordingly.  James wrote that those who look into the perfect law of liberty and continue in it will be blessed (Jas. 1:25).

The Importance of Obeying God

Again, in Matthew 7, the importance of obeying God is laid out before us.  First, in Matthew 7:21, Jesus tells us, “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven.”  However, Jesus said that those who do the will of His Father in heaven will enter the kingdom of heaven.  Without obedience, you cannot enter God’s kingdom.

Now, we are going to see more warnings from Christ that makes our obedience even more important.  Yes, the narrow path is filled with many obstacles that may hinder us on the journey but there is even more.  

Enduring storms on the path

Let us take a look at what Jesus said in Matthew 7:25, 27.  In both of these verses, we will see that Jesus spoke a couple things.  First thing Jesus spoke of is a mighty storm.  This storm was mighty as it had heavy rain, flood waters, and gusty wind.  The second thing Jesus spoke of are two houses trying to endure the mighty storm.

Now, we will see in between both verses, only one of the houses was able to endure the storm.  Why was one house able to remain standing while the other fell?  Jesus pointed to the foundation that the houses were built on.  One house was built on the rock while the other was built on sand.

For all of us bible readers, this scripture is a very familiar scripture, isn’t it?  So, we should know the moral of this story really well, right?  In this lesson, the houses, the foundations, and even the storm serves as a representative.  What is it that is being represented?

In my key verse, Matthew 7:24, Jesus said that those who hear His sayings and do them, are like wise men.  So, to be clear, those who obey God’s word, Jesus considers them to be wise.  The wise, Jesus said, build their homes on the rock.  This foundation represents a strong foundation.  This strong foundation represents Jesus- His word (the divine truth).

Paul said that there is no better foundation one can lay that is better than Christ (1 Cor. 3:11)!  If you choose to make the rock of Christ the foundation of your dwelling place, you have a good foundation!  The storm represents the trials, tribulations, and afflictions we face on this journey.  While these storms can be devastating, your obedience will help you endure every storm!

Disobedience leads to a fall

As for the house that fell, we need to pay attention to what Jesus said happened to it.  Jesus tells us that the other house fell because its builders built it on sand!  Sounds rather foolish to build a house on such an unstable foundation, doesn’t it?  Who would be foolish enough to build their house on such a foundation?

Jesus said, “everyone who hears these sayings of Mine, and does not do them (Matt. 7:26).”  Let’s not miss the fact that the way of the foolish is one that is chosen!  I want you to understand, while one may sin out of ignorance, they have an opportunity to be redeemed.  However, the true sinner are those who choose to disobey after hearing God’s word!  In that case, sin is a choice!

It is truly a real shame for one to have received God’s instructions but choose not to follow them.  The same storm that the one on the foundation of Christ is able to endure, the true sinner cannot endure.  Many people are being torn down today by the storms of life because they refuse to obey God’s word.

Be still and listen

Now, there are times where we who are in fellowship with God will struggle to listen and obey Him.  How does this happen?  Again, I am reminded of Peter when he desired to walk on water with Christ (Matt. 14:29-30).  Peter was doing alright so long as he kept his attention on Christ, but then he got distracted by the wind.  

Many of us struggle in our obedience due to distractions.  Like Peter, we often find ourselves distracted by the storms of life.  Our circumstances are often changing and there are times when the wind blows too tough for us.  Within such storms the devil likes to creep in and remind us that he is there.

In these moments, Peter said, “resist the devil and be steadfast in faith (1 Pet. 5:9).  We cannot let ourselves get distracted by Satan nor our trials and tribulations.  Satan, especially, would love for you to be distracted from listening to God and obeying His voice.

In the moments of our greatest storms, listen to the Lord, who says, “Be still, and know that I am God” (Ps. 46:10).  When our complete trust is in God, we must learn to put our mind at ease.  You and I must calm ourselves so that we can keep our focus on God and obey His directions on this path.  Our stillness will help us to endure whatever storm we go through on this journey.

The Reward of Obeying God’s Voice

In Deuteronomy 28:1, Moses said that those who diligently obey God’s voice will be set above all nations.  Moses said the blessings of God will also come upon and overtake them (Deut. 28:2).  Even more, Moses said that God will establish to Himself a holy people of the faithful and obedient.

While those words were given to the children of Israel, they are true today for those that live in obedience.  Jesus said, “Blessed are those who hear the word of God and keep it! (Luke 11:28).”  Jesus said, “Blessed are the poor in spirit (humble), for theirs is the kingdom of heaven (Matt. 5:3).”  

On the path to glory, your obedience is required.  Your obedience may be a tough thing to sacrifice but I believe the sacrifice to be worth it!  What about you?  If you agree, let us humble ourselves and obey God’s word in steadfast faith.  The kingdom of heaven is assured to all of us today who travel down the path to glory in this way.

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