The Joy of Obedience

by Jeffrey W. Hamilton

Text: I Peter 1:3-9


I.         Despite the persecutions Christians faced in the first century, there was joy - I Peter 1:3-9

            A.        A great joy, an inexpressible joy, was had knowing that they were saved

            B.        That joy overrode all the hardships of life

II.        This attitude is strange to a number of people

            A.        How can people be happy while being concerned with keeping a bunch of commands?

            B.        If you have to watch every little thing that you do, so you don’t lose your salvation, how can that be fun?

            C.        To many, it seems that commandment keeping would kill joy.

            D.        Yet, Christians find God’s way a blessing - Psalms 128:1-2

            E.        There is a delight in God’s commands - Psalms 112:1

III.       Consider the Philippians

            A.        Philippians 2:12

                        1.         They always obeyed.

                        2.         They were commanded to work out their salvation

                        3.         If that was not enough, they were to do this with fear and trembling.

            B.        Philippians 2:13-14

                        1.         They were to do all things without grumbling or disputing

            C.        Obviously, these Christians were expected to continually work at keeping all of God’s commandments. So where is the fun?

            D.        Continue on Philippians 2:15-18

                        1.         Did you see the end note? Rejoice in the same way!

                        2.         Philippians 3:1 - Rejoice in the Lord.

                        3.         Philippians 4:4 - Rejoice in the Lord always.

            E.        You can keep commandments with fear and trembling and always rejoice in the Lord at the same time!

            F.        I would go so far as to say this is the only way to have true joy.

IV.      The same thing was taught in the Old Law - Deuteronomy 28:45-47

            A.        Notice the parallel phrases

                        1.         Because you would not obey the LORD your God by keeping His commandments

                        2.         Because you did not serve the LORD your God with joy and a glad heart

            B.        Here is an illustration of the point - Malachi 2:13-16

                        1.         God charges the Israelites of worshiping Him with tears instead of joy because He no longer favors them

                        2.         Why? Because they had been violating their marriage covenants

                        3.         The implication is that if they had honored their covenants, they would have joy at home and joy in worshiping the God who told them the right way to live.

            C.        Having joy and keeping commandments are not opposites, they go hand-in-hand together.

            D.        In giving Israel rules concerning His worship - Deuteronomy 12:5-9

                        1.         Consider that we, too, have not reached our rest (heaven)

                        2.         Are we doing what is right in our own eyes instead of obeying God?

                        3.         Do we rejoice in the tasks that God has given us? Even the difficult ones?

                        4.         Are we glad to worship God? - Psalms 122:1

V.        It requires a change in attitude toward God’s requirements

            A.        Realize that God commands what is right and what is good for us

            B.        Do we appreciate what God has given us?

            C.        Will you not, this day, experience the joy of keeping God’s commandments?

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