12-31-2016 & 01-01-2017
Rev. Trevor Johnston
Obeying God at Midnight
- Think back over this past year and name some of the ways God has been faithful to you.
- Read Matthew 2:13-18:
When they had gone, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream. “Get up,” he said, “take the child and his mother and escape to Egypt. Stay there until I tell you, for Herod is going to search for the child to kill him.” 14 So he got up, took the child and his mother during the night and left for Egypt, 15 where he stayed until the death of Herod. And so was fulfilled what the Lord had said through the prophet: “Out of Egypt I called my son.” 16 When Herod realized that he had been outwitted by the Magi, he was furious, and he gave orders to kill all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity who were two years old and under, in accordance with the time he had learned from the Magi. 17 Then what was said through the prophet Jeremiah was fulfilled: 18 “A voice is heard in Ramah, weeping and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children and refusing to be comforted, because they are no more.“
What thoughts or questions come to your mind as you read this passage?
- In this passage, God divinely intervened to protect the life of His Son Jesus. It was part of God’s plan for Jesus to give up His life voluntarily later, but this wasn’t yet the right time or the right situation for Jesus to die. Explain why – if Jesus had died in these circumstances – His death would not have accomplished what God planned – to pay for the sins of the world.
- The subject that Trevor focused on in this passage is: Obedience is a sign of love and friendship between you and God, and it’s a sign of your spiritual maturity. John 14:23 says: Jesus replied, “Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them.”
What do you notice in John 14:23?
- Note from Matthew 2:14 that it was “during the night” that they had to get up and flee to Egypt. Imagine what it would have been like for Joseph to get this dream in the middle of the night telling him that they should move to Egypt right at that moment, even with all the hassle of packing up and moving with a baby.
How would you have reacted if you had been Joseph or Mary in this situation?
Three lessons we learn about obedience from this passage:
- Sometimes God will ask you to do something difficult and inconvenient.
- Why do you think some preachers teach that following Jesus will make you healthy, wealthy and successful?
- The teaching in question 6 is not biblical. Jesus promised in John 16:33 that in this world, His followers would have trouble. Trevor said, “Following Jesus won’t necessarily make your life easy, but it will make your life better.” Explain what Trevor meant by that.
- Read Philippians 4:7: And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Describe how you’ve experienced what Philippians 4:7 described when you were in a difficult or inconvenient season of your obedience to God.
- Sometimes God will ask you to do something without delay.
- Trevor said that “Delayed obedience is actually disobedience.” What did he mean by that? Why is delayed obedience a problem in our walk with God?
- Read what the Psalmist observes in Psalm 119:60: I will hasten and not delay to obey your commands.
What are some benefits of following God’s commands without delay, right when you sense He is telling you to do something?
- John Maxwell speaks of having a “Mañana Habit” – where you don’t feel like starting something right now, so you tell yourself you’ll do it tomorrow. But Maxwell said this often causes us to lose a divine opportunity.
Describe a time when you put something off, and the delay ultimately led to a lost opportunity.
- Sometimes God will ask you to do something that will cause you to stand out.
- Joseph’s obedience required him to move quickly in the night to another country, which meant that he had no chance to say good bye to friends and family. This may have offended or disappointed his family and friends, but Joseph realized that sometimes, in order to fully obey God, you can’t please everybody else.
Describe a time in your life when you had to give up your desire to please other people in order to obey God.
- Trevor summed up by pointing out three common hindrances to obeying God.
Which of these three is currently challenging you? How can you overcome it so that you can respond in full obedience to God?