Creflo Dollar - The True Meaning of Obedience - Part 1
Deuteronomy chapter 28, verses 1 through 13. I'm gonna read some of it here. He says, "And it shall come to pass, if thou shalt hearken diligently unto the voice of the LORD thy God, to observe and to do all his commandments which I command thee this day, that the LORD thy God will set thee on high above all nations of the earth: And all these blessings," blessings, "are going to come on you, and overtake you". But it's a condition to having the blessings come over you and overtake you. I don't know anybody that want to be blessed, but there's a condition that has to be met.
"If thou shalt hearken," or obey, "unto the voice of the LORD thy God". He says that's the condition. Your obedience in your actions, that's the condition. You have to show obedience in your actions in order to get all of the blessings. And then he goes on here in verse 3. He says, "Blessed shalt thou be in the city, and blessed shalt thou be in the field. Blessed shall be the fruit of thy body, the fruit of thy ground, the fruit of thy cattle, increase of thy kine, the flocks of thy sheep". He says, "Blessed shall be thy basket, be your basket and in your store". He said, "Blessed thou shalt be when you come in, and blessed shalt thou be when you go out".
And it continues to talk about all the blessings that happen, that, you know, "God will cause your enemies to rise up against you one way, but they'll be smitten before thy face, they shall come out against you one way. They'll flee," all of the blessings that you've ever heard. And he talks about the blessings that will come, the rewards and the blessings of perfect obedience to the law. The law is 613 laws. Ten of those are the Ten Commandments that came from God, and the law of Moses governed by rule and regulations, and he says if you can perfectly keep all 613, then you can walk in these blessings. It's not, you know, if you can keep about three or four of them and then you'll get these blessings. No, you had to perfectly keep all of them.
And so, since no one except Jesus has ever obeyed the law perfectly, please understand that no one except Jesus has obeyed the law perfectly. Nobody in here has obeyed the law perfectly. Please get that right. I don't care how long you've been in church, nobody in here has obeyed the law perfectly. Everybody in here got a issue, and it's nobody in here that has obeyed perfectly, all right? And he said, "Since no one except Jesus has ever obeyed the law perfectly, we're all disqualified from these blessings, based on our performance. But the good news is that these blessings are part of our inheritance, because we've been given the gift of the perfect obedience of Jesus".
So, once you got born again, Jesus gave everybody that just got born again the gift of perfect obedience. It was the gift of his perfect obedience. And so we are not blessed because we obeyed perfectly. We are blessed because Jesus obeyed perfectly. Please understand now that you're born again, because of the gift of perfect obedience that came when you believed and received Jesus, you get none of the curses. Jesus died and therefore removed the curse of the law from your life. You get none of the curses, but you get all of the blessings. And you're not blessed because you so awesome. You're not blessed because you're so good. You are blessed because of the perfect obedience of Jesus Christ. You are blessed because of Jesus. You're not blessed 'cause you pray in tongues more than everybody else. You're not blessed 'cause you come to church more than anybody else. You are blessed because of Jesus. Take Jesus out of the equation, and you can't be blessed. You most likely will operate under the curse. You are blessed because of Jesus.
Now, I don't know how many times you done heard, well, you've gotta do this, you've gotta do that, you've gotta do that. No, no, what you gotta do is believe Jesus, because without him, you don't get the blessings. If everybody understand that, say amen. Now, go to Hebrews 3, verse 18 through 19. Hebrews 3, verse 18 through 19. So, what does it mean to obey? Because over in Deuteronomy, in order to get the blessings, you had to give perfect obedience. But what does it mean to obey under this new covenant of grace that you and I live by? The Bible says in Romans chapter 6, you are no longer under the law, but you are under grace. Somebody shout, "I'm under grace". All right, now watch this. Hebrews 3:18 to 19, let's look at the New King James Version. Verse 18 says, "And to whom did He swear that they would not enter His rest, but to those who did not obey? So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief".
I want you to look at, put it on the screen one more time. I want you to look at this. Now, some people may say, "Well, I don't agree with that," and that's fine. But if you say, "I live by the Bible," it's not, 'cause the Bible is very clear. That's so interesting. You can't say you live by the Bible and look and see what the Bible says, and then say, "Well, I don't agree with that," 'cause you not supposed to change the Word. You're supposed to allow the Word to change you, amen? All right, so look at what he says. He says, "So we see that they could not enter in into that rest because of their unbelief". Unbelief kept them from entering in. Go back up to verse 18. Okay. "And to whom did he swear that they would not enter in his rest"? Who did he swear that to? "To those who did not obey".
So, right here in this verse of scripture, you can't enter in if you are in disobedience, right? Now go to verse 19 again. "So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief". But see, instead of saying those who did not obey, he uses the synonym unbelief. So, right here, verse 18 and 19, unbelief is equal to disobedience. So, in the New Testament, disobedience is unbelief. Under the covenant of grace, when you operate in unbelief, you're operating in disobedience. In the new covenant, when you operate in belief, that's called your obedience. You see, in the old covenant, obedience had to occur in your actions first. But in the new covenant, obedience occurs in your belief first, and then your belief determines your actions. If you do not believe, you are in disobedience. If you do believe, you are in obedience. If everybody understand that, say amen.
All right, now in light of God equating belief with obedience, our actions are not the first place where obedience must occur. So, it is no longer God looking at you saying, "You've got to be obedient by doing this, by doing that, by doing this". It switched. In the new covenant, he says, "No, no, no, no, let's get a little deeper". You are in obedience by believing this, by believing this, by believing that, and your belief will determine your actions. So, in light of God equating belief with obedience, our actions are not first place where obedience must occur. Obedience begins in the same place where everything else in our relationship begins with. Obedience begins and believing begins with the gospel. Do you believe Jesus? Do you believe the gospel? The gospel of grace, the gospel of Jesus. Do you believe? Because if you believe Jesus and his finished works, you are in obedience.
If you don't believe Jesus and his finished works, you are in disobedience. And so for us today, who are alive today, obeying God is a matter of believing the gospel of grace. Obeying God is a matter of believing the gospel of Jesus Christ. Why do I use Jesus and grace interchangeably? Because Jesus, full of grace. When I talk about grace, I'm talking about Jesus. Grace is not a curriculum. Grace is a person, Jesus full of grace and truth. And he says when you believe Jesus and when you believe the gospel, you are in obedience. If you don't believe Jesus and if you don't believe the good news about grace and the good news about Jesus Christ, you are in disobedience. So, you can't stand before God and say, "Well, God, I did this, I did that. Why are you saying I'm in disobedience"? "Because you didn't believe my Son. You didn't believe Jesus. You didn't believe the good news. You didn't believe the gospel".
When you don't believe Jesus, when you don't believe the gospel, that's disobedience. When you do believe Jesus, when you do believe the gospel, you are in obedience. Now, if you understand that, say amen. Now, you see why I've got to back up? Because I've got some radical stuff, but you've got to understand these issues in order to understand where we're coming from. So, now here's one more thing I need to put in there before I start teaching today. What matters as in the primary focus of a Christian? This is what matters. Because Christian people love spending time judging other people for some reason. For some reason, something whispered in your ear, "You're perfect," and now you think you can spend time judging everybody else while you ignore yourself. I don't understand that. And, you know, they used to say it like this: "A hit dog will holler the loudest".
In other words, the people that are judging you most likely are dealing with the same issue that they judging you about. Instead of shutting up, being quiet, and working on yourself, you talking about, somebody say, "I'm gonna pray for you". No, you need to pray for yourself. This is something that amazes me throughout the church. We judge the way people live. We judge what people wear. We judge, you know, what happened to people. We just judge folks instead of learning how to keep your mouth closed and say, "Lord, thank you that you're helping me. Lord, thank you that you're causing me to grow up". You still, how is it that you can do that? That person got a divorce. Mm-hm, they got a divorce.
Self-righteousness is the only reason you can do that. Self-righteousness is thinking that you're right before God based on what you have done. Self-righteousness is comparing yourself and saying, "Well, at least I didn't do that. I know I ain't perfect, but at least I..." You're self-righteous. You still in sin. You self-righteous. You don't smoke, you don't drink, you don't do nothing no more. Now, you used to do all the stuff you judging everybody else about. I don't get it. I don't understand. How is it that so many Christians can judge other people? Like, you ignoring that you've got issues yourself. So, what matters, the primary focus in your life, now this is so radical, but listen to the whole thing, the primary focus in your life is not your lifestyle. 'Cause God is constantly working on us.
Some of us are better today than we were last week. You know, 'cause last week you cussed somebody out, talking about it was slipped. It didn't slip, it was right there on the corner. You hang onto that. You got a page out of a book of cuss you just keep in your wallet every now and then, just when you need it. The primary focus is not your lifestyle, but your belief system. The primary focus is your belief system. Because what you believe will directly influence your behavior. See, if you start believing the right things, it's going to influence living the right way. But we've been trying to live the right way, and we're not believing the right thing. We've been trying to live the right way without believing the right thing. We've been trying to do right without believing right. And your doing is all messed up because your believing is all messed up.
We've been preached a religious traditional gospel of "I've gotta do this in order to make God do that". We've been believing a gospel that says Jesus is not enough. He did that, but now I need to do my part. He can do his part, and I need to do my part. What's that song you sing? All I have to do is take one step, and he will do the rest. The truth about it is he took all the steps. Wasn't no step, ain't no step waiting on you to do. It's to believe all of his steps. Your wrong believing is reason why you keep having wrong actions. You keep living wrong 'cause you believing wrong. You keep struggling trying to get it right, struggling trying to do this. Lord, help me to do that. Lord, I'm trying to be holy. Lord, I'm trying to be righteous. Lord, I'm trying to get it right. And 20 years later, it's the same prayer. Lord, help me to get it right. Lord, I'm still trying. Ain't nothing changed.
You're still sweating, trying to be a Christian, and Jesus says, "Take my yoke upon you. For my yoke is easy, and my burdens are light". And you're still struggling trying to get something that happened, that Jesus has bled and died and presented to you the gift that says, "It is finished"! It is finished meaning everything it cost for you to have this has been paid. And you still trying to force your payment on heaven and heaven says, "It's paid for". "Yeah, Lord, but I'm trying to be righteous". He said, "It's paid for". "Yeah, but Lord, I'm trying to be redeemed". "It's paid for". "But Lord, I'm trying to get healed". "It's paid for". And this is one I love. "Lord, I'm trying to make heaven my home". "It's paid for". Are you following now?
So, what matters, our focus should be on what you believe, that's your focus. I've gotta believe. And what should I believe? I should believe this unrestricted love that God has for me, that God can now love me with no restrictions. Jesus died, paid the price for sin, paid the price for justice. You know, in the Old Testament, when you did something wrong, God is a just God. There was punishment for that. That's why you read the curses. You did something wrong, a curse came on you. You did something wrong, you go to hell. Yeah, that was the payment. But when Jesus died, he took your place, paid the penalty for everything that you supposed to have. You should've been the one getting whipped with a cat-of-nine-tails. You should've been on that cross.
All of us should've been in hell, but Jesus said, "They can't do it. Can I do it for them, Father? Let me do it for them. Let me pay the price for them". Father says, "But look, Jesus, you've never sinned". "I know, but can I take all of their sins so I can look like I sinned, so hell will allow me admittance? So, I could be admitted into hell, looking like a sinner, but I've never sinned before. And then I'm gonna pay the price for everybody who's supposed to be there," glory to God. "And then on the third day, Lord, you can raise me up from the dead". And he says, "If you do that, Son, my justice will be satisfied. And now I can love you even when you was crazy. I can love you when you spoke crazy, act crazy, did crazy in the booth, back corner in the dark. Nothing you will ever do because of the price Jesus paid will stop me from loving you. I can now love you with no restrictions".
Y'all don't hear what I'm saying. Oh, Lord, have mercy. Lord, have mercy. And we still got church people trying to do stuff. And then we judging people on what they're trying to do. You don't come to church, you know the control that's in church? You know, y'all better give your tithes. If not, you're gonna go to hell. That ain't true. Do you think the God who loves you with no restriction is gonna send you to hell for not giving 10%? Oh, I done rubbed up something now. I'll teach on it later. "Well, you know, I messed up last night, and I told a big lie, and then somebody say it's a white lie". You have to say it's a white lie because you're trying to find an excuse to not be judged for your sin. But Jesus made sure that all of your sin has been judged, but you don't believe it enough.
So, you judge yourself. You judge other people. You got issues. Church folks got issues. Church people don't know how to live. We come to church in bondage, and we don't shout until I start preaching on your trauma. So, when I start preaching on your trauma, you like, "Oh, yes, hallelujah"! But when I tell you the answer, you sit there. What the heck? If I sit up there and say, "Y'all know, you remember how it was when you got beat up, and you were let down, and you didn't have no money to buy no food". "Oh, you preaching now".
Well, what am I saying? I'm stirring up your trauma. Mm-hm. I remember the time. Don't you remember the time when you were betrayed? And you got so betrayed, hallelujah, you got messed up in your mind. You were in depression. You used to be on cocaine. You sold your body, hallelujah, for $5.50. And then you say, "You'd better say it, you'd better say it". So, what we have done, we have become proficient at doing church, and we still don't know how to do life. We know how to do church. Hey! See, we know how to do church. We know how to do church. We don't know how to do life. I can't take it no more. I seriously sat there and think, "Oh my God, was I that deceived"?
Here I am trying to get Jesus to go on the cross. If Jesus had to go on the cross every time somebody sinned, he might as well get some coffee and tea and just stay there. Jesus, why did you want to come off the cross? "Well, they want me to go every time they sin". And the truth of the matter is, are y'all ready for the truth? The sin nature has been defeated, but you still missing the mark somewhere in your life. You still missing the mark. You know what concerns God more than you trying to act and play church? You know what concerns him? He's concerned about how we treat one another. And we still don't get that.
You think you can come to church and put on your church voice, and wear your church clothes, and walk around like you all deep and everything. "Hallelujah, I'm anointed. Back up". You ain't anointed. You ain't. Sit down. 'Cause if you can't walk in love with people, what kind of anointing is that? Where's your anointing flowing from? I'm tired of it. I ain't playing church no more. All the clowns have been dismissed. We ain't doing that no more. No more church circus. It's time to find out who Jesus is.
This is the reason why people don't want to come to church no more. They tired of the games. They tired of the religiosity. They tired, they tired of the tradition. And like I said the other Sunday, most of the stuff that Christian people are struggling with, they got it from the church. The judgmentalism, they saw it at church. They got it from church 'cause we don't even know what we're doing, but we have perfected playing church. We pick up what everybody doing in church, and we call ourselves holy by that, because we don't know Jesus. Being a Christian is about having a personal relationship with a Jesus who can help you mature while you on the earth.
You're never gonna get it perfect until he show up, then you gonna be just like him. But you gonna always be overcoming some issues. Everybody has them. All of us, me, Taffi, we all have them, issues. You know, I can be real moody and ornery sometime, but the Lord is still helping me. So, you want to judge me for being... now, see, that's sin. Well, joker, we gonna point to you, too. No, you just point at me, back at ya. There's no space to do no pointing. But the thing we celebrate today is that we have a Jesus who is committed to our transformation.