"When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife." Matthew 1:24
I was giving a children's sermon one Sunday and had all the kids gathered in the front row. I had told a story about the importance of obedience and asked a question about being obedient. One of the little girls raised her hand and I called on her. She said, "Pastor Brad, we don't go no 'bedience at our house!" Out of the corner of my eye I saw two red-faced parents enduring an uncomfortable moment.
Fortunately for all of us, when Gabriel appeared to Joseph in a dream, there was obedience in the house.
Christmas could not have happened without obedience. There are several things that can be learned about obedience through studying Joseph.
Obedience is Imperative!
When God's will is revealed to you you basically have two choices, obey or disobey. Obedience allows God's will to be accomplished and many to be blessed. Disobedience is sin. It is that simple, you can obey or you can sin. There is no third option. There is no negotiating or dealing or compromising - there is obedience and there is sin.
Joseph was a righteous man. That means he was committed to doing what is right and for him, what God said through the prophets and the sacred writings and - in this case, the angel, was right. He didn't decide what was right for him, he left that to God.
Joseph was saved by his obedience and so were we!
Obedience is not an option. It is not multiple choice. If you have chosen to be a Christ-follower you have committed to obey Him, His Word, and His expressed will - every time! To obey is righteous to disobey is sin.
It is that simple and that imperative.
Obedience Is Immediate
The second important thing we learn about obedience is that it must be immediate. As soon as you know what God wants you to do you should do it.
I love what the Bible says about Joseph, "When Joseph woke up...." Joseph acted in obedience the moment he awoke. He didn't wait until later in the day or until the next day, he sprang into action on the first opportunity he had! That's obedience!
Joseph probably knew that delayed obedience is disobedience. Which it is. And disobedience is sin. Being a righteous man, disobeying was not an option.
I heard a story about a missionary family in Africa who had children. As believers they where doing their best to raise their children in the right was. One day the mother came out into their yard to hang up laundry and saw her little son playing at the edge of their lot. She also saw something else that alarmed her. In a very stern but calm voice she said to her young son, "Timmy, I need you to come here to me right this moment." He looked at her, dropped what he was doing and hurried toward his mother. The moment that he did, a huge boa constrictor fell from the tree branch above him. Had Timmy not obeyed immediately, he would have been crushed by the snake.
Immediate obedience saved him from the snake.
Joseph's immediate obedience saved him from the snake - and through his obedience, we can be saved from the snake.
As you celebrate Christmas this year I hope you will let it serve as a reminder that Christmas is about obedience - and obedience is imperative and it must be immediate.
Let me ask you a question, "Do have some 'bedience at your house?"
If you are a follower of Christ obeying Him is imperative and it must be immediate. Otherwise, you are sinning.
Have you been treating obedience as an option?
Where do you need to be obedient?
Will you do it now?