So far, in these discipleship lessons, we have studied several things that we need to do for each of our new converts. For each one, we need to:
- Love, nurture, teach, correct and exhort him.
- Pray for him, call him, visit him, get him to church and demonstrate to him true Christian friendship.
- Teach him that he is a child of God, that he is spiritually born again, that he is eternally secure, that he needs to be baptized, that he needs to witness [testify], and then we need to show him about Pleasing, Fearing, Loving and Obeying God.
Pleasing God – Everything was created by God for the express purpose of pleasing him, Rev 4:11. The trouble with men, in general, is that we want to please ourselves. As 2 Tim 3:2 and 4 show us, “men shall be lovers of their own selves,” and they are “lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God.” However, when we please ourselves, we cannot please God. Our supreme satisfaction in this life is in learning to please God. To do that we have to cut some ties with earthly things that keep us from being able to please God. Like Paul said in 2 Tim 2:4, “No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier.” After all, we are far better off following the example of Jesus, who said, “I do always those things that please him,” [Jn 8:29].
Fearing God – Ps 111:10 says “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.” The fear of God is a doctrine that is a little hard to grasp at first. Nevertheless, if we look at it simply, we can see some very understandable reasons why we need to fear God. For instance, it is the fear of God that convinces a man that hell is real and causes him to look to Jesus for the way out. The fear of God keeps a man from falling for the false teaching of evolution. The Bible says over and over again that God created the heaven and the earth. If a man fears God, he will believe that and won’t be deceived by scientists who say that God didn’t. When a man fears God, he won’t fear men and their idolatrous religions and false doctrines. They wouldn’t dare use a statue as an aid to worship or follow a religion of man’s invention. For a Christian, the fear of God reminds him moment by moment of his accountability to God. Like Rom 14:12 says, “So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God.” We often think of the early church as the ideal church. In Acts 2:43 we see that in addition to all of the wonderful, sacrificial things they did, they feared God. As a matter of fact, Paul tells us in Phil 2:12-13, “Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.” If Christians truly feared God today, we wouldn’t be in the doctrinal mess we are in right now.
Loving God – Deut 6:4-5 and Matt 22:36-38 are absolutely and unmistakably clear on this subject, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.” This is the first and great commandment. And lest you think that this is just an Old Testament doctrine, according to 1 Jn 4:19, “We love him because he first loved us.” Our relationship with Jesus started because he demonstrated the greatest love anyone could ever have for us. He said, “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends,” [Jn 15:13]. As a result, we are compelled to reciprocate his love. Ultimately, our highest objective should be to fall in love with the Lord and enjoy a continually growing love for him through our entire Christian lives. And as we fall in love with the Lord, the motive for doing things that please him will not be so much our fear of him as it will be our love for him.
Obeying God – God has specific things that he wants us to do and these are clearly stated in his words. Therefore, it is compulsory that we learnwhat these are and do them in obedience to his will. In Jn 14:21and 23, the Bible says, “He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me,” and “If a man love me, he will keep my words.” God has recorded his words for us in writing and he wants us to obey them. You will, if you truly love him. There is pressure today, however, to obey the will of people rather than the will of God. Nowhere in the Bible is this problem more clearly illustrated than in 1 Sam 15:22-24. After Saul disobeyed God, Samuel came to him and rebuked him for his disobedience. Here’s what happened. “And Samuel said, Hath the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams. For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because thou hast rejected the word of the LORD, he hath also rejected thee from being king. And Saul said unto Samuel, I have sinned: for I have transgressed the commandment of the LORD, and thy words: because I feared the people, and obeyed their voice.” Likewise you might try to excuse your disobedience by blaming “peer pressure.” But as you can see, there is no excuse for disobedience.