The Narrow Way Bible Study Lessons
The Motivation For Obedience
The Bible teaches about the importance of both faith and works in the Christian life. Our salvation is only possible by the grace of Christ, through faith in him. It is a free gift of God, and is not in any way earned or merited by any good works we may do. Yet on the other hand, it is impossible to be saved without good works. Does this sound like an oxymoron? It isn’t.
Let us read the following lines from the Spirit of Prophecy on this subject:
“Faith and works go hand in hand…. We hear a great deal about faith, but we need to hear a great deal more about works.” FW 47-50 “Genuine faith cannot exist without corresponding works…. Faith and works are two oars which we must use equally.” FLB 115 “While good works will not save even one soul, yet it is impossible for even one soul to be saved without good works.” FW 111
So we see that good works are the evidence of true faith. In this lesson we will study more about this often misunderstood subject of works of obedience in the Christian life, and the proper motivation for them. Do not allow yourself to be deceived by the “many in the Christian world who claim that all that is necessary to salvation is to have faith; faith is the only essential” (FW 47). Because God’s Word tells us that faith without works is dead (James 2:20).
1) How does the Bible define genuine faith?
“For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision; but __________ which ______________ by ________.” Galatians 5:6
According to this verse, genuine faith is a faith that works. Therefore, our works are an evidence of whether or not we have true faith. We are also shown here what the true motivation behind our works should be - love for God.
2) How does the Bible describe the relationship between faith and works?
“What [doth it] profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him?… Even so faith, if it hath not works, is ________, being alone.
Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: show me thy faith without thy works, and I will ________ thee my __________ by my __________…. But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?” James 2:14, 17, 18, 20
3) What two Bible examples are given in James of the relationship between faith and works? ____________________ and ____________________
“Was not ______________ our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar? Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect? … Ye see then how that ________________ a man is justified, and _____ __________________________. Likewise also was not __________ the harlot justified by works, when she had received the messengers, and had sent [them] out another way? For as the body without the spirit is dead, so ____________________________________ __________________________.” James 2:21, 22, 24-26
Clearly, both faith and works are necessary in the Christian life. You cannot have one without the other. They must always go hand in hand.
4) Who are the two masters we can serve? ______ or ____________
“No man can serve two ______________: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve ______ and ____________.” Matthew 6:24
“Know ye not, that to whom ye ________________________________ servants to obey, his ________________ ye are to whom ye ________; whether of ______ unto death, or of __________________ unto righteousness?” Romans 6:16
We cannot serve both God and Satan at the same time. We must choose one or the other. We must either be 100% God’s, fully surrendered and obedient to Him in all He asks us to do, or we will be fully Satan’s. There is no third option of just doing things my own way. There are only two options - God or Satan.
5) How may we purify our hearts, and by Whose power?
“Seeing ye have purified your souls in __________________________________ through the ____________ unto unfeigned love of the brethren, [see that ye] love one another with a pure heart fervently:” 1 Peter 1:22
God requires full obedience, but it can only be done through the power of the Holy Spirit working in us. Without that power, we could never obey God perfectly on our own.
6) How are we to know what God’s will is for us?
“And ye shall seek me, and find [me], when ye shall ____________ for me ___________
___________________________.” Jeremiah 29:13
“If any man will ______________________, he shall ________ of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or [whether] I speak of myself.” John 7:17
We must diligently search God’s Word as for hidden treasure, seeking and desiring to know and to do His will.
Secondly, we must live up to the light we already have, in other words, obey what we already know. Some people say, “I wish the Bible were more clear about what God requires of me.” But at the same time, they are not doing what they already know they ought to do. God will not give us new light if we are not living up to the light we already have. If we are holding back on God, not fully surrendered to Him, we will either not find what He wants us to do, or more likely, we will make excuses and be unwilling to obey when we do find it. It is a very dangerous thing to insist on waiting till every doubt and excuse is removed or cleared up before you will obey, because such a time will never come. There will always be room for doubts if that is what we’re looking for. God wants us to step out in faith and obedience as soon as His will is made sufficiently clear to us.
7) What else does the Bible say about this matter of obedience? How important is it?
“Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any [man] will come after me, let him __________ ______________, and __________________________________, and _______________
____.” Matthew 16:24
“O that there were such an heart in them, that they would fear me, and _______________
_________________________________ always, that it might be well with them, and with their children for ever!” Deuteronomy 5:29
“Not every one that __________ unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that __________ the will of my Father which is in heaven.” Matthew 7:21
Clearly, obedience is a matter of eternal importance.
8) Is it safe to obey only in the areas I want to? YES / NO
“For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet _______________________________
__________, he is __________________________.” James 2:10
“He that is faithful in that which is __________ is ________________ also in ________: and he that is unjust in the __________ is ____________ also in ________.” Luke 16:10
Even things that seem of little significance, are not little to God. Nothing that He asks of us is too small or unworthy of our attention. To disobey God’s express will even in one area is very serious; so serious that God counts it as if we had disobeyed in every area and broken all of His law. Remember that love is not proven and tested from day to day so much by the great things, as by the little things we do or don’t do.
9) If we claim to be a Christian, but do not obey all of Christ’s commands, what does the Bible call us? ____________
“And hereby we do know that we ________ him, if we ___________________________ ________________. He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a ________, and the ______________________________________. But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him. He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to ________, even ______________ ________ .” 1 John 2:3-6
10) How can you recognize a true Christian?
a. “Ye shall know them ______________________________. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth __________________; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth ____________________. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither [can] a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. Wherefore ____________________ __________ ye shall know them.” Matthew 7:16-20
The fruits of righteousness and obedience in a persons life are evidence that they are a true Christian.
b. “My sheep __________________________, and I know them, and ________________
___________:” John 10:27
Another evidence that someone is a true Christian is that they recognize the voice of Jesus calling to them through His Word, and they follow where He leads.
11) What is to be our motivation for obedience? _________________________________
“If ye ________ me, ________ my commandments.” John 14:15
“No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of [this] life; that he may ____________________ who hath chosen him to be a soldier.” 2 Timothy 2:4
“But as we were allowed of God to be put in trust with the gospel, even so we speak; not as ________________________, but ______, which trieth our hearts.” 1 Thessalonians 2:4
If we have the Lord Jesus abiding in our hearts, we will want to do what pleases Him. Our question will not be, “How little do I have to do?”, or “How close can I pattern after the world and still be saved?”; but, “How much can I do to please Jesus, the One that I love?” This is to be our motivation in all that we do - love to God.
The Christian who loves God with all his heart will be eagerly searching the Bible to find out what pleases Him. If we find in the Bible that God doesn’t approve of something, there should be no further questions for the true Christian. He will let that thing go because he loves God too much to run the risk of displeasing Him. Likewise, if he finds out something that does please the Lord, he will willingly do it out of love for his Lord. He will also recognize the authority of God in his life. He will realize that he belongs to God, and will submit to Him as Lord of his life and put Him first in everything.
12) When we obey God from the right motive of love, is it a miserable experience?
YES / NO
“For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his _______________ ___________________________________________.” 1 John 5:3
No. Instead, it is fullest joy to do the will of God and render entire obedience to Him from a pure heart of love. Those who feel that obedience is a miserable experience that must be endured, are not surrendered to God and loving Him as it is their privilege to do. God gives us standards and guidelines to live by, not as arbitrary prohibitions to make our lives miserable, but as loving rules for our own protection, happiness, and eternal welfare.
13) What kind of person cannot understand God’s will for man? ____________________
“But the ______________________ receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are ______________________ unto him: neither can he know [them], because they are _________________________________________.” 1 Corinthians 2:14
The man or woman who does not have Jesus abiding in their heart will find no delight in the things that please Him, neither will they be able to understand clearly the Lord’s will. It will seem to them like a bunch of unreasonable rules and restraints. Surrendering my heart and life to Christ must always come first, and acceptance of God’s will and willing obedience to it will immediately follow.
14) What does God promise to do for us when we surrender our lives to Him?
“A __________________ also will I give you, and a ____________________ will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an ____________________________. And I will put my spirit within you, and __________
________________________ in my statutes, and ye shall ________ my judgments, and ____ [them].” Ezekiel 36:26-27
“For this [is] the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will ______________________________________________________, and ____________________________________________________: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people:” Hebrews 8:10
“And I will give them an __________ to ________ me, that I [am] the LORD: and they shall be my people, and I will be their God: for they shall ____________ unto me with their __________ heart.” Jeremiah 24:7
God promises that when we give our hearts to Him, He will give us a new heart and a new spirit, so that we will want to live for Him and do the things that please Him. This does not mean that obedience will no longer require a moment-by-moment death to self, or that we will always feel like doing right, but it means that in our heart we will want more than anything else to do what pleases our Savior, Who we love; and we will choose from principle (even though it may go against all our natural feelings) to obey Him.
15) What promises are given to the obedient?
“But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and _____________________ [therein], he being ___________________________________________, but a ________ of the work, this man shall be ______________ in his deed.” James 1:25
“If ye ________ my commandments, ye shall ________________________________; even as I have kept my Father's commandments, and abide in his love.” John 15:10
“But this thing commanded I them, saying, __________________________, and I will be ________________, and ye shall be __________________: and walk ye in all the ways that I have commanded you, that it may be well unto you.” Jeremiah 7:23
“Wash you, make you clean; put away the evil of your doings from before mine eyes; cease to do ________; Learn to do ________; … If ye be ______________ and ________________, ye shall eat the good of the land:” Isaiah 1:16, 17, 19
“And whatsoever we ask, we ____________________________, because we ________ his commandments, and ____ those things that are pleasing in his sight.” 1 John 3:22
“Blessed [are] they that do his commandments, that they may ______________________
_____________________________________, and may ________________ through the gates into the city.” Revelation 22:14
16) How are the saints described?
“These are they which were not defiled with women; for they are virgins. These are they which __________________________________________________________________. These were redeemed from among men, [being] the firstfruits unto God and to the Lamb…. Here is the patience of the saints: here [are] they that _____________________
__________________________________, and the faith of Jesus.” Revelation 14:4, 12
God’s faithful children, those who will be saved, are obedient to all His commands, and they follow Him wherever He leads. Those who reason away the counsel given in the Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy as not applicable to them, who only live up to a standard of their own making rather than the Bible standard (and think that they are pretty good people the way they are), or who keep hesitating and putting off full obedience for a more convenient time, will not be found among the saints.
17) What does God say of those who willfully continue in a way that is displeasing to Him? __________________________________________________________________
“Therefore to him that ___________________________________, and _____________
__________, to him __________________.” James 4:17
“For if we sin willfully __________ that we have received the _____________________
______________________, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, But a certain fearful looking for of _________________ and _________________________________, which shall devour the adversaries.” Hebrews 10:26
In the judgment, we will be held as accountable for the good things that we knew and did not do, as for the wrong things that we did do. It is a very serious matter what we do with the truth when God reveals it to us. If we hesitate to obey, or make excuses for our disobedience, we are hardening our hearts against God, and will one day find it too late to surrender our hearts and make the changes necessary to bring our lives into harmony with God’s will.
18) Are there areas in your life which you know you have been holding back from God, and if so, are you willing to surrender those things to Him right now, and to joyfully do whatever He asks of you? Are you willing to ask Him to show you if there are any other areas in your life that are not pleasing to Him, and what He would have you do about them? God loves you more than you can understand, and He will only ask of you what is for your best good, even if it does not seem like that to you now, so trust Him. Don’t keep anything back from Him Who gave His all for you. Write your commitment below.