21 August 2012

Hey — I'm talking to you! (Or He is, anyway)

by Dan Phillips

Have you noticed how frontal and un-dainty and un-RPB the Bible tends to be? God doesn't tend to talk to X about Y. He just talks to X; then He turns and talks to Y.

For instance, we don't read, "Wives, see to it that your husbands love you as Christ loves the church. If they don't — make them suf-fer!" Nor, "Husbands, you deserve to have your wives subordinate themselves to you as the church does to Christ. If they don't — freeze them out!" No, it's "Husbands, you love," and "Wives, you subordinate yourselves."

The classic illustration is when Jesus tells Peter something that the  mouthy apostle (quite understandably!) doesn't want to hear about his coming path. It comes at the end of an already-uncomfortable conversation (Jn. 21:15-18). Unable to bear it any more, Peter looks about desperately, sees young John lolling about, and says "But-but-but, what about him?"

And "Jesus said to him, 'If I want him to remain until I come, what is that to you? You follow Me!'" (John 21:22).


NOTE: for those keeping score at home, this relates to PA19.

Dan Phillips's signature


Michael Coughlin said...


Unknown said...

This definitely hits home regarding living in such a way that it's evident we are different (holy) [1 Peter 2:12?]. I know this ties right into what Frank was trying to get at us the other day regarding the "necessary consequences of living the gospel".

It's easy to see the splinter in another's eye though, and MUCH easier to see the flaming effigy in the eye of the unbeliever (since they will be who they are). It starts and ends with me though. I have to commit myself to be committed to the Lord. Period.

Why is that so hard?


Randy Talley said...

... the key being three simple words from Jesus: "You follow Me."

It's interesting how so many of our smokescreens are exposed for what they are when the Word of God does its job of discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart (Heb. 4:12).

Anonymous said...

Solid. Thanks, Pastor.

Anonymous said...

But, my neighbor came knocking saying God had a word for me.

Unknown said...

Our failure to follow this illustrates our childishness (not child-likeness, which is another matter):

Father says to son: You do so and so.

Son replies: What about my brother?

Father: Don't worry about him, you do as I say.

Jesus to Peter: You follow me.

Peter replies: What about John?

See, we are no better. Ugh.

David Regier said...

I'd have a pithy comment for you, but I just bought five yoke of oxen.

JAKitch said...

"And say to Archippus, 'See that you fulfill the ministry that you have received in the Lord." (Colossians 4:17)

Interesting, that Paul doesn't tell Archippus to fulfill his ministry, but he tells the congregation to tell Archippus to fulfill his ministry.

I assume Archippus is serving the Colossian congregation in some sort of ministry leadership role. And there is an entire interesting dynamic of what that might require, depending upon how you understand the relationship of the letter to Philemon to Colossians (cf. Philemon 1-2).

But whatever the details, the Apostle tells the congregation to tell its pastor to make sure he is fulfilling the Biblical mandate given to him in ministry.

trogdor said...

Not sure if that comment was going this way, but might as well head it off anyway, because eventually someone will go there. Obviously this post isn't advocating a "just-me-and-Jesus" mindset that doesn't care about anyone else's obedience. The numerous commands to mutually encourage and exhort and rebuke and undertake church discipline and pursue wayward brothers and on and on - surely they must mean something. And that something is: exactly what they say.

In other words, this isn't a blanket command to butt out. It's a command to obey, even if all around you are rebelling - or not fulfilling the ministry they were called to. Exhort/rebuke as necessary, yes, but regardless of how they respond, you need to obey Jesus, all the time, no excuses, period.

DJP said...

Yes, thank you, that's a gate worth guarding.

I'd sum up my point as being (A) NOT that others' behavior is none of my concern, (B) BUT that others' misbehavior is no "note from God" excusing *me* from trusting-and-obeying.

trogdor said...

I've heard this verse used more than a few times from the anti-church crowd to justify their rebellion. Somehow they don't see the propblem with their argument that they're just focused on following Jesus, while deliberately necessarily disobeying any command that has the words "one another" or "each other".

But enough about the mis-use. This truth is the foundation of some of the hardest teachings in scripture - the need to obey even when those in authority over you are not, and even (especially!) when they are sinning against you.

Could any passage less popularly-acceptable now than 1 Peter 3:1-2? "Likewise, wives, be subject to your own husbands, so that even if some do not obey the word, they may be won without a word by the conduct of their wives, when they see your respectful and pure conduct." The whole idea of wifely submission is under attack enough as it is - but the thought of submitting even to an unbelieving husband? It's incredibly hard - but it's what God commands. The question is whether you trust God enough to obey Him when every impulse fights against it, and it would be so easy to justify disobedience.

Or consider the great "apologetics" passage of 1 Peter 3:15. Look at the wider context of 3:8-17 (and a parallel passage in Romans 12). Even when they are persecuting you, obey God - bless them, do good to them, and be completely upright. So far as it depends on you - you obey, no matter what they do to you.

And the ultimate "apologetic" is that you stay faithful to your Lord despite great suffering, when a moment of disobedience can make it all stop, and your goodness to them outweighs their evil to you. Obedience-no-matter-what is not just good for us, it is also a tremendous witness, even to our persecutors.

And it all depends on faith. Do we believe that God is truly sovereign over all our circumstances, even the painful and deadly ones? Do we trust in the cross and God's justice - that if our persecutors repent, their sins are atoned for, and if they don't, the debt will be fully satisfied?

Kerry James Allen said...

"Obedience rendered without delight in rendering it is only half obedience." CHS

O Young said...

Who do men say that I am? More importantly Who do you say that I am?

What others think and how they behave is important in how we minister to them with the gospel but in the end it is what we know about Christ that gives us a ministry at all. Will "I" surrender to the One that was revealed, by the Father, to me?

Morris Brooks said...

Ka-Zango. Nearly as good as Shazam.

donsands said...


Peter is the brother in Christ I can't wait to see in the flesh.

I thought of how Jesus also ssaid to him, "Peter, do you love Me?"
Peter: 'Yes, I love You."
Then go and tend My sheep, and feed My sheep."

The reason Peter di all he did, was becaused he loved Jesus his Lord.
The same must be for us. We must have hearts of love and affection for Christ, and so we shall hear Him, follow Him, and please Him.

Thanks for the good thoughts.

Linda said...

Jesus deserved Pilate bowing down before HIM and kissing his feet, he deserved all who spat on him and mocked him to adore him and tremble at the site of him coming. Jesus never said I deserve a little respect here. He didn't demand his rights...He fully submitted to the Father-

If we would only remember that we abdicated our rights to self when He saved us..."trust and obey" for Christ's yoke is easy and his burden is light"

"Let this mind be in you that was also in Christ Jesus. Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:"-Phil 2:5-7