Abraham's obedience in testing is a template for us to examine our lives and see whether we are living in the idolatry of our own choices or living in the blessing of life in God's kingdom.
A fuller introduction to the sermon can be found here.
If we think of obedience as duty, something we have to do, we will always fall short. Instead, scripture teaches us that God acts on our behalf first and then calls us to obey him as a response of gratitude to what he has already done for us.
In Joshua 7, as a result of sin left over from the battle of Jericho, Israel learned how dangerous it is to incur God's wrath. Obedience is not optional.
The battle of Jericho is detailed in Joshua 6. This is the battle the narrative has been leading to, with the descriptions of the preparation of the people and commands of God that required obedience.
In this chapter, further commands are given, and we see that sometimes obedience to God can demand that we obey commands that seem somewhat strange and perhaps even boring. Yet, just as Israel obeyed God through this, we are called to obey God completely as well. No matter how strange or mundane obedience seems, it is only through complete and total obedience that God's plan, and our role in that plan, will be revealed.
By using the word "gospel" more times in Philippians than in any other letter, Paul signaled the importance of the word for his statement in Philippians. Paul wants believers to be formed and shaped by the gospel and to work to spread the message of the gospel to others. In Phil. 2:12-18, Paul urges obedience and reveals that obedience does something. Far from being something that is between us and God, gospel obedience is evangelistic, enabling believers to shine like stars in the darkness around them.
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