26 Apr Discussion Guide: Purple Book | Lordship and Obedience
Take the first few minutes of your time together to listen to what God is doing in one another’s lives and pray for any specific needs people in your group may have.
“If Christ is not all to you He is nothing to you. He will never go into partnership as a part Saviour of men. If He be something He must be everything, and if He be not everything He is nothing to you.” ― Charles H. Spurgeon
Mr. Spurgeon is giving us a tough pill to swallow, but it is good medicine for our souls. We live in a culture that resists any demand or restriction we feel robs us of our individuality. This is why we like 200 different coffee options, and make mine skinny with soy milk, half a pump, no whip and slightly above room temperature. We like the ability to define our own uniqueness and style because we feel it’s what sets us apart.
Or does it? The irony is that in the desire to be different we become just like everyone else…frustrated and confused, uncertain about who we are and what life is about. Fortunately, God, the Creator of the Universe, knows exactly how life is meant to be lived. He has told us about it in His Word, empowered us by His Spirit and given us His Son to both free us from our rebellion and show us how to live. This is what Lordship is all about. It is the recognition that His Way is best and out of my trust in Him and love for Him I will obey.
To do otherwise is to prove where our trust really lies. We cannot call ourselves followers of Christ unless we are actually seeking to follow Christ in every aspect of our lives. To echo Mr. Spurgeon, Jesus is either Lord of all, or He is not Lord at all. In this discussion we will talk about the purpose of lordship, how it affects our lives, and the freedom that comes with obeying Jesus as Lord.
Lordship & Obedience
Has there ever been a moment where you knew the right thing to do, but struggled to actually do it?
Why do you think it is so difficult to obey sometimes?
The Purpose of Lordship
How would you define the word Lord or Master?
dictionary.com defines Lord as, “a person who has authority, control, or power over others; a master, chief, or ruler. The Lord, or Master, is the one in charge, the one who gets to decide what’s right and wrong, acceptable and unacceptable.
From the time we begin walking till the day we die, submitting to authority seems to grate against the fabric of our very existence. How have you seen this play out in your life or the lives of others, and why do you think this is our natural bent towards authority?
There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death.
I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse. Therefore choose life, that you and your offspring may live, loving the Lord your God, obeying his voice and holding fast to him, for he is your life and length of days, that you may dwell in the land that the Lord swore to your fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give them.”
Why do you think God has a certain way we should do things? In other words, why does God want us to obey His commands?
God is the Author of life and as such He has designed it to function a certain way. God is also perfectly good and loving. Which means that His design for life is perfectly good and loving. He desires obedience for two reasons. First, God is concerned about His own glory. He wants to be the most important relationship in our lives and He wants others to know this as well. In other words He wants us to experience His glory and make His glory known through obedience to His Word. Second, it just so happens that God’s glory is directly tied to our joy. When we live life the way He has designed it to be lived we actually experience ultimate joy. We are doing what we were made to do. Therefore, God desires our obedience because it both reflects His glory and brings us joy. To disobey, then, is to choose a path that will result in something less than God’s best for our lives. As one pastor put it, God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him (John Piper).
The Fruit of Lordship
How does obedience to God’s Word impact your relationship with God?
How does obedience to God’s Word impact your relationship with other believers?
How does obedience to God’s Word impact our relationships with non-believers?
What would you say is the connection between lordship and our purpose in life (what we discussed in our previous discussion guide)?
(See leader’s note about) What God has commanded us to do is what God has created us to do. Lordship is not supposed to be some begrudging submission to a bitter and grumpy old man in Heaven who just doesn’t understand us and doesn’t want us to have fun. Lordship is simply doing what we were made to do. And, if we were made to do it then it is what will most greatly satisfy our souls. Therefore, Lordship is not the restriction of what you can do, it is the path for what you were created to do.
Charles H. Spurgeon
“When your will is God’s will, you will have your will.”
What do you suppose Spurgeon means by this?
Spurgeon is saying that when we desire what God desires then God will give us those desires. In contrast, when we desire what God does not desire then God does not give us what we desire. Both are the result of His love for us. He gives us what we need, and keeps us from what will harm us like any loving father would do. The only places in Scripture where God gives people what He doesn’t desire for their life is when they have hardened their hearts and denied God’s glory and purpose and are unrepentant in habitual sin (see Romans 1:18-23). But, when we submit to God’s will and ask for those things associated with it then our prayers will be answered. This is what John meant when He said, “And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us. 15And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of him.” (1 John 5:14-15)
The Freedom of Lordship
We are half-hearted creatures like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.
How would you describe the difference between making mud pies in the slum and taking a Caribbean cruise?
How does that correlate to the difference between disobedience and obedience to God’s Word?
For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.
Why does walking in obedience to God’s purpose bring about ultimate freedom in the different areas of life? Relationships? Finances? Sexuality? Etc?
Freedom isn’t just the ability to live without restraint, or to do whatever you want to do. Lack of restraint can lead to slavery and bondage very quickly. Just ask someone who felt free when they jumped out of the airplane, but when they pulled the parachute chord nothing happened. They do not feel very free at that moment. Freedom is the ability to do what you ought to be doing, not just what you want to be doing. If we are made to image God and reflect His glory in every aspect of life then that means true freedom comes when we do that. Therefore, obedience to God means our relationship will be free to be what God intended them to be. Our finances will be what God intends them to be. Our view of sex will honor God as He intends for it to. When this is reality then you can experience true joy in your relationships, finances and marriage.
but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
How does the message of the Gospel help us to trust and obey God with our lives?
The Gospel assures us of God’s love for us, His goodness to us, and His willingness to sacrifice for us, which in turn should show us how amazingly trustworthy He is. Therefore, we can obey God because we know that anything He would ask of us is coming from a good, loving, perfect heart that desires the best for us.
“If God is the Creator of the entire universe, then it must follow that He is the Lord of the whole universe. No part of the world is outside of His lordship. That means that no part of my life must be outside of His lordship.”
It is as we walk in obedience to God’s will that we not only grow in our understanding of who He is and how truly amazing His ways are, but we also paint an accurate picture to the world around us of what His Kingdom is really all about. Walking in disobedience essentially misrepresents Christ to the world around us and we deceive ourselves into thinking we are something that we are not. The question we must ask ourselves, at a spiritual level, is this, “what is the deepest desire of my heart? To honor God or please myself?”