The 'Sermon on the Mount' Lifestyle of Radical Obedience
- Monday, May 27, 2013
“At that time his voice shook the earth, but now he has promised, ‘Once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heavens.’ The words ‘once more’ indicate the removing of what can be shaken—that is, created things—so that what cannot be shaken may remain. Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, for our God is a consuming fire” - (Hebrews 12:26-29).
God is shaking everything that can be shaken. That which is true and righteous will remain. He is awakening us out of slumber and apathy, and challenging us to a radically obedient lifestyle. There is not one of us who does not struggle in our Christian walk with the reality of radical obedience. We may obey in the big issues of life, but when it comes down to every single detail every day, we find it difficult. It is just too hard, but Jesus tells us in the Sermon on the Mount that we must be perfect in our obedience just as our Father is in heaven (Matthew 5:48).
How can this be possible? We know we cannot attain perfection in this life, but we can do this by seeking to walk in all the light that the Spirit gives us in every season of our life.
Let’s make this our primary goal in life: To walk in all the light we have and to live radically obedient for God.
If we look back in history, there are several instances where we see how God moved powerfully when His people walked in radical obedience. An obedient lifestyle is key to those who want a powerful prayer life. We read in James 5:16b: “The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.” This is an important verse for intercessors. We must walk in obedience and righteousness if we want a powerful prayer life.
The Sermon on the Mount Lifestyle
“In every detail of their lives—in business, pleasure, in Christian service, in civil duties—they took the Sermon on the Mount as a lamp to their feet.” Count Zinzendorf and the Moravians
The Sermon on the Mount is the greatest evaluation of an obedient lifestyle. It gets down to the nitty-gritty issues of daily life and of whether we are walking in obedience or not. The Sermon on the Mount is the core values of the Kingdom. It is the lithmus test to accurately measure our spiritual development and ministry impact.
The Sermon on the Mount was central for the prayer movement and for the revivals. Two examples in history where the practice of a Sermon on the Mount lifestyle brought great results in the spiritual realm were:
- Count Zinzendorf and the Moravians - Their dedication to prayer and the Sermon on the Mount lifestyle led to a 100-year prayer meeting and a worldwide mission’s movement.
- The Welsh Revival - Evan Roberts, the young man who was used so powerfully by God in the Welsh revival of 1904, prayed passionately that God would purify and bend the Church.
Evan Roberts prayed that God would break his own heart over the condition of mankind. His heart was set on obedience, and agonizing prayer was his daily life style. He believed and preached perfect obedience.
“Evan Roberts captured the spirit of the whole revival with the theme: Bend the Church and Save the World. James E. Stewart claimed that this is the secret of every true awakening. Christians must humble themselves and get right with God so that the Spirit can break through in converting power upon the unsaved. There must be no hypocrisy; the Christian must bend to all the will of God for His life in perfect obedience before the Spirit of God is released. When we are bent to the will of God we will be intercessors, because as He ‘ever lives to intercede’ for His people, if we are abiding in Him we will do the same.” Rick Joynor
Revival and Radical Obedience
Look at Joshua and how he obeyed God. From the standpoint of the human mind, walking seven times around Jericho did not appear to be a wise thing to do for spiritual success. Imagine the pressure and tension he was facing before that battle. Joshua obeyed God and was victorious. It was exactly what God wanted. He loves obedience even when it doesn’t make sense.
We must learn to say “yes” to the purposes of God every day of our lives. Many of us are praying for revival. If we want to see revival, you and I must be revived ourselves. God is after us—all of us. He is raising-up a Church that is steadfast and radically obedient.
When I was a brand-new missionary many years ago, living on an old ship that sailed from nation to nation preaching the Gospel and encouraging the Church, I remember how I felt after the ship left port from my own beloved country. We were sailing towards South America and would be there for the next two years.
I felt so lost and lonely, not knowing the language and so new to the whole mission’s world. Being young and inexperienced, I felt like two years on board that ship was a lifetime. We had no e-mail in those days, and I would call home only once a year. I was with over three hundred strangers from over forty nations on board and had left everything behind except for a few personal belongings. I was living in a tiny cabin with three others from three different nations, and we had nothing in common but our commitment to Christ.
Not being a seasoned sailor, I would often feel the movement of the seas and didn’t even know how to swim. And here we were, all sailing by faith towards South America in an immense ocean and with an unknown future. I was feeling deeply the cost of commitment and obedience to God. It was a big step for me during those days, but I knew that God was inviting me to live a life of radical obedience. Since that time years ago, God has challenged me again and again with the same level of obedience:
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