The Walk of Obedience
Community Group Discussion Guide

Sermon Summary: This is the first sermon in a series about the life of Christ when He walked upon this earth and how He dealt with the circumstances of life. This message draws its content from the very short history we have about Jesus’ childhood found in the Gospel of Luke. From this story we discover that Jesus actually grew in wisdom and stature and favor with God and man. The fact that He grew in wisdom indicates that although Jesus was fully God, He was also fully man. In order to take on human form, He had to limit Himself as to the attributes of God. In this limited form, Jesus depended on The Father for guidance and on The Holy Spirit for strength. He studied the Word of God in Scripture in order to know the right things to do. Because of this, Jesus was able to be a good example to humanity on how to live a Godly life and show each of us that walking the walk is indeed doable. The fact that Jesus listened to the teachers and asked questions teaches us the Christian Walk is to be a walk of learning. Finally, Jesus showed His respect, trust, faith and love for His parents by obeying them, and His obedience to His Heavenly Father teaches us “The Walk” is a walk of obedience.

Community Group Questions
 
1. Does obedience come naturally to you or do you sometimes struggle with the concept as a whole?

2. We are called as Christians to follow Christ. In your opinion, is it even possible for a person to truly walk the walk Jesus walked. In other words, is it doable? Why or why not?
Luke 6:40 (NIV) 40A student is not above his teacher, but everyone who is fully trained will be like his teacher.

John 12:26 (NIV) 26Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me.

3. As a young man, Jesus found Himself fascinated by the teachers at the temple. He not only listened to them, but also asked them a number of questions. Judging from the story, Jesus also answered questions from the teachers and amazed them with His answers. If Jesus Christ lived a life of learning, shouldn’t we also commit ourselves to a lifetime of learning? Why is this important and what are some ways we can continue to grow in our knowledge of Christ?
2 Pet 3:18  But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever! Amen.
2 Tim 2:15  Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.

4. Jesus lived a life of obedience from childhood all the way to manhood. Our obedience to God, or lack thereof, reveals volumes about our relationship with God. Discuss what respect, trust, faith and love have to do with obedience.

2 John 1:6  And this is love: that we walk in obedience to his commands. As you have heard from the beginning, his command is that you walk in love.
Psa 143:8  Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you. Show me the way I should go, for to you I lift up my soul.
Psa 143:9  Rescue me from my enemies, O LORD, for I hide myself in you.
Psa 143:10  Teach me to do your will, for you are my God; may your good Spirit lead me on level ground.
Psa 143:11  For your name's sake, O LORD, preserve my life; in your righteousness, bring me out of trouble.



The Walk of Obedience

A lot of people claim to follow Jesus as they walk the paths of life. They talk the talk, but do they walk the walk? Have they ever taken the time to examine the details of the life of Christ? What were His attitudes and His actions when faced with life’s ever-changing circumstances?

 Like us, Jesus faced anger, disappointment, temptation, ridicule, and rejection. Like us, He experienced the pressures and stresses that accompany daily life and yet He walked a walk of compassion, forgiveness, love, obedience, and trust. We’ve been called to follow in His steps. It’s time for those who talk the talk to walk “The Walk!”

Today we begin a series to examine how Jesus lived His life when He walked upon this earth. What were His attitudes and actions when He faced the circumstances of life? How can we learn from from the way Jesus actually handled things?

 If we're going to call ourselves followers of Christ, we must walk in His footsteps. We must examine His actions to know what He did, why He did what He did, and how He did what He did!

There's been so many amazing books written on the subject. "In His Steps" by Charles M. Sheldon back in the 1800's. "Just Like Jesus" by Max Lucado. "In the Footsteps of Jesus" by Bruce Marchiano.

"The Jesus I Never Knew" by Philip Yancey. "What Jesus Would Say" by Lee Strobel. "In His Image" by Michael J. Wilkins. "Like Christ" by Andrew Murray and the list goes on and on. In fact, scholars say there's been more written about Jesus in the last hundred years than the previous 1900 years combined!

The reason? It really, really matters that followers of Christ know Christ! That followers of Christ reflect Christ! That followers of Christ show the world a true representation of who Christ was and is!!

In fact, before we get to our specific lesson and text this morning, I want to share some over arching and under girding Scriptures which show why this series is so crucial. Jesus said this...

40A student is not above his teacher, but everyone who is fully trained will be like his teacher.
Luke 6:40 (NIV)

26Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me.
John 12:26 (NIV)

18And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.
2 Corinthians 3:18 (NIV)

Paul put it so beautifully when he wrote his letter to the Philippians...

1If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion,
Philippians 2:1 (NIV)

2then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose.
Philippians 2:2 (NIV)

This is one of the most important and aggressive series I've embarked upon. The implications are far reaching for each of us personally, for our families, for our church and our community.
Let's go to the Lord in prayer again and ask His anointing and blessing on this series. PRAY!!

The gospels are almost completely silent on the early years of Christ. Once you get past the birth narrative, we only have a brief glimpse of His life as a child. This brief glimpse, however, will serve as our guide to some of the most important lessons Jesus has to teach us as we Walk the Walk. Let's take a look...

39When Joseph and Mary had done everything required by the Law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee to their own town of Nazareth.
Luke 2:39 (NIV)

40And the child grew and became strong; he was filled with wisdom, and the grace of God was upon him.
Luke 2:40 (NIV)

By the way, this is all we have on Jesus' life from His birth to twelves years old!
Let's continue...

41Every year his parents went to Jerusalem for the Feast of the Passover.
Luke 2:41 (NIV)

42When he was twelve years old, they went up to the Feast, according to the custom.
Luke 2:42 (NIV)

43After the Feast was over, while his parents were returning home, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem, but they were unaware of it.
Luke 2:43 (NIV)

44Thinking he was in their company, they traveled on for a day. Then they began looking for him among their relatives and friends.
Luke 2:44 (NIV)

45When they did not find him, they went back to Jerusalem to look for him.
Luke 2:45 (NIV)

46After three days they found him in the temple courts, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions.
Luke 2:46 (NIV)

47Everyone who heard him was amazed at his understanding and his answers.
Luke 2:47 (NIV)

48When his parents saw him, they were astonished. His mother said to him, “Son, why have you treated us like this? Your father and I have been anxiously searching for you.”
Luke 2:48 (NIV)

49“Why were you searching for me?” he asked. “Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?”
Luke 2:49 (NIV)

50But they did not understand what he was saying to them.
Luke 2:50 (NIV)

51Then he went down to Nazareth with them and was obedient to them. But his mother treasured all these things in her heart.
Luke 2:51 (NIV)

52And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men.
Luke 2:52 (NIV)

Anybody here want to grow in wisdom, stature and in favor with God and man?
What is the key? What does this incident in the very young life of Christ teach us about "The Walk"?

 It teaches us …

"The Walk" is Doable!

I'm going to do something different this morning. I'm going to take the last verse of our text first!
In a message on walking the walk Jesus walked, some folks would be quick to point out, the divinity of Jesus.

They would actually use that as an excuse as to why they could never be like Jesus or walk like Jesus. They would say, "Jesus was God in the flesh, so that's why He knew what He knew and that's why He walked the way He walked. I'm not God, so you can't expect me to be like Jesus!"

Ok, I'm going to say something my dad used to say…"Hold your horses there buddy!"
Did you notice that last verse?
It says Jesus grew in wisdom and stature and in favor with God and man!"

Don't get me wrong, Jesus was fully God, but He was also fully man. In order for Him to be fully man, He had to limit Himself in the attributes of God. God is infinite and omnipresent (everywhere all the time), but Jesus limited Himself to a finite body and was at one place at a time.

God is omniscient, all knowing, but Jesus had limited Himself to a dependence on the Father and the Holy Spirit to lead Him in every circumstance. Our text says He grew in wisdom. By the time He was around 12 He had studied and learned so much that He amazed the teachers at the temple, but He was clearly a learner!

God is omnipotent, all powerful, but Jesus obviously limited Himself even to the point of growing tired at times, being troubled in His spirit, and even allowing Himself to beaten, ridiculed and crucified.

 Why would He choose to limit Himself like that?
So He could be an example to you and me on how to live a life like He lived!


 Throughout this series, we will see the steps Jesus took in order to overcome the weakness of humanity and to live such a life as to become the greatest example of a life well lived in the history of the world!

 Yes Jesus lived a perfect life, but it wan't just because of His divinity. It was because He studied the Word of God, had a consistent and persistent prayer life, and depended upon The Holy Spirit for strength and guidance.

It was because He made a conscious decision to live the way He lived so He could show us that it is doable!
You might want still want to make excuses, but God's Word will destroy every excuse you have...

 I'm not very strong!


13I can do everything through him who gives me strength.
Philippians 4:13 (NIV)

In fact I'm really very weak!


9But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. ” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.
2 Corinthians 12:9 (NIV)

I'm forgetful!


26But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.
John 14:26 (NIV)

I'm not good enough!

Join the crowd….

6We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all.
Isaiah 53:6 (NIV)

And, by the way, don't forget Isaiah is Old Testament and it says God laid on Him the iniquity (sin) of us all!! That's an Old Testament prophecy about Jesus!!!
So since Jesus took our iniquity "The Walk" is doable!!!!

What else does this incident in the very young life of Christ teach us about "The Walk"?

It teaches us…

"The Walk" is a walk of Learning!

46After three days they found him in the temple courts, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions.
Luke 2:46 (NIV)

A part of the growing in wisdom is the humility to admit you don't know everything, the ability to listen, and the willingness to ask questions.

 The verse that follows reveals the amazing wisdom Jesus already had, and yet He still wanted to learn and was asking questions.

47Everyone who heard him was amazed at his understanding and his answers.
Luke 2:47 (NIV)

 A follower of Christ must walk the walk of a lifelong student! We never quite learning! We must always be spiritually hungry and thirsty! Always seeking!!

7“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.
Matthew 7:7 (NIV)

8For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.
Matthew 7:8 (NIV)

 Peter alludes to this in 1 Peter...

2Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation,
1 Peter 2:2 (NIV)

3now that you have tasted that the Lord is good.
1 Peter 2:3 (NIV)

 Bruce Marchiano, who played the part of Christ in the film "Matthew," made a statement concerning his preparation to play the role of Jesus. It speaks to the issue of learning and should be a goal for every follower of Christ. Concerning the Word's of Christ, he said...

"It was of the utmost importance that the words become entirely second nature to me. Only then would my mind be free to concentrate on Jesus' behavior and actions toward others...

 ...Only then would I be free to fully and actively love people as Jesus undoubtedly did."

In the Footsteps of Jesus
pg. 31

Throughout this series we're going to see how Jesus used His knowledge of Holy Scripture to do spiritual battle! If you're gong to win the spiritual battles you'll face you must know the 
Word!! Jesus not only showed us His hunger for the Word, He spoke about the importance of desiring to know the truth…

6Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.
Matthew 5:6 (NIV)

Once again, Bruce Marchiano speaks of how the preparation for his role as Jesus has effected his life...

"I can't begin to list the times I've been in a situation and one of those Scriptures I'd memorized unwittingly would rise to the surface of my heart; sometimes convicting, sometimes encouraging, sometimes just giving a tender nudge in my spirit...

…Yes, I've become a big fan of memorizing the Word. As the saying goes, 'You are what you eat,' so feast on it, friend, and enjoy!"

In the Footsteps of Jesus
pg 32

There is one last, but very important lesson to learn from this brief look at the childhood of Jesus!

It teaches us…

"The Walk" is a walk of Obedience!

48When his parents saw him, they were astonished. His mother said to him, “Son, why have you treated us like this? Your father and I have been anxiously searching for you.”
Luke 2:48 (NIV)

49“Why were you searching for me?” he asked. “Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?”
Luke 2:49 (NIV)

50But they did not understand what he was saying to them.
Luke 2:50 (NIV)

51Then he went down to Nazareth with them and was obedient to them. But his mother treasured all these things in her heart.
Luke 2:51 (NIV)

 Jesus was very respectful to His parents and He obeyed them. In this brief look at His childhood, we find that He was an obedient child. He knew He was to honor and obey His parents.

So Jesus walked a walk of obedience even at a young age. Why is obedience so important? Obedience reveals some very important things about our relationships. Our relationship with our parents, our spouse, our employer, and most importantly with our God.

The willingness to obey someone reveals multiple things about the level of relationship with a person.
The level of respect.
The level of trust.
The level of faith.
The level of love.

Jesus walked His life in obedience to His Heavenly Father. In a very innocent way, Jesus asked His parents, “Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?”

Jesus' response to His parents showed both His respect for His Heavenly Father and His earthly parents. He knew deep down inside He had a work to do. A responsibility from His Heavenly Father, a calling on His life!

However, it was not yet time for Him to begin His earthly ministry and He knew enough about His earthly parents to respect their God-given authority in His life.


Jesus obeyed His parents out of respect, and He had good reason to respect them. Remember, the Angle said of Mary, "You are highly favored, The Lord is with you!"

And we know the kind of man Joseph was in the way he tried to protect Mary even before he knew the child forming insider her was conceived of the Holy Spirit. From these things we can surmise that Joseph and Mary were model parents for Jesus.

When you respect someone as much as Jesus respected His parents, you naturally obey them. Why? Because you trust their motives! You have faith in their decisions! And because you love them, you are willing to obey them.

So Jesus walked a walk of obedience. Beginning as a young boy all the way to manhood, Jesus lived a life of obedience. Now you might think a life of obedience would be the most distasteful way to walk through life: Restrictive, binding, total lack of freedom.

Actually the opposite is true. When you understand God is for you and not against you, when you understand God has amazing plans for your life that could never be discovered except through a life of obedience, you begin to see obedience in a different light.

 Jesus could have chosen a different path. He could have walked a different walk, but He respected, trusted and loved His Heavenly Father. He knew The Father's plan was best, so He obeyed. Even when it did not make sense to His human side.
Remember what Jesus prayed just before His crucifixtion…

42“Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.”
Luke 22:42 (NIV)

Had Jesus not obeyed, history would be very different. We would probably not even know His name. Had Jesus not obeyed, I don't even want to think of where I would be today. Had Jesus not obeyed, our hope for eternity would be forever lost.

 The importance of obedience is found throughout the Bible, from the Old Testament to the New Testament.

 You might remember the story of King Saul. He decided to take matters into his own hands instead of obeying God's command. He decided to make a sacrifice to God instead of obeying God. Here's what God's prophet told him...

22But Samuel replied: “Does the LORD delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the voice of the LORD? To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams.
1 Samuel 15:22 (NIV)

To obey is better than sacrifice.
We can make a sacrifice by simple giving up something. We may give up something out of obligation to make a payment, or to as an attempted bribe to get something we want, or simply because of fear. However, true obedience flows from respect, trust, faith, and love.

There's an old hymn that talks about "The Walk" and the importance of obedience...

"When we walk with the Lord in the light of His Word, What a glory He sheds on our way! While we do His good will He abides with us still, And with all who will trust and obey! Trust and obey, for there's no other way to be happy in Jesus, But to trust and obey."

"Then in fellowship sweet, we will sit at His feet, Or we'll walk by His side in the way: What He says we will do, where He sends we will go, Never fear, only trust and obey. Trust and obey, for there's no other way to be happy in Jesus, But to trust and obey!"

Remember, we can talk the talk, but if we're going to walk the walk, we must obey.
God's Word says...

5Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus:
Philippians 2:5 (NIV)

6Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped,
Philippians 2:6 (NIV)

7but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.
Philippians 2:7 (NIV)

8And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death —even death on a cross!
Philippians 2:8 (NIV)

9Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name,
Philippians 2:9 (NIV)

10that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
Philippians 2:10 (NIV)

11and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Philippians 2:11 (NIV)

The Walk is Doable
The Walk is a walk of Learning
The Walk is a walk of Obedience

 So you've just listened to a whole sermon on "The Walk", but I'll leave you with the words of Dietrich Bonhoeffer...

 "One act of obedience is better than one hundred sermons."

Let's Pray!!