Obligations

Discussion in 'General Baptist Discussions' started by drfuss, Jan 4, 2013.

  1. drfuss

    drfuss
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    Should a Christian support the church financially and give of his time because he is obligated to?

    Should a Christian serve the Lord because he is obligated to?

    Should a Christian witness to others because he is obligated to?

    If so, why?

    If not, then what should be his reasons?

    Your thoughts?
     
  2. Bronconagurski

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    Good questions.
    God loves a cheerful giver. I think that can be applied to our time and money. We should serve the Lord out of love, be we also were bought with a price and are not our own, so in that regard, yes, we are obligated. But the scripture plainly tells us that if we don't serve in love, then we really aren't doing anything.

    Dr. Fowler from Liberty taught me that we can be obedient, but not submissive in our actions. It took a while for that to sink in, but it is true.
     
  3. mont974x4

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    Nothing should be done out of a sense of obligation. I once heard a woman pray, "Lord, I know you want me to (insert action here) and I don't want to. I need you to change my heart so that I will want to because I want to live a life pleasing to You."

    I think that captures the essence of God's work in us:
    Php 2:12 So then, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your salvation with fear and trembling;
    Php 2:13 for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.
    Php 2:14 Do all things without grumbling or disputing;
    Php 2:15 so that you will prove yourselves to be blameless and innocent, children of God above reproach in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you appear as lights in the world,
    Php 2:16 holding fast the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I will have reason to glory because I did not run in vain nor toil in vain. (NASB, emphasis mine)
     
  4. Scarlett O.

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    Obligation is not a dirty word. I used to think it was and would always says that serving the Lord and His church should never be viewed as one, but I have sense changed my mind.

    I think it's important to view our service and obedience as a great responsibilty and do so accountably.

    To me, it's all about the mindset towards that obligation. Fulfill it with great joy and desire in pleasing God.
     
  5. mont974x4

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    You might have a point. Your post reminds me of the day I was saved. The preacher spoke about God's love as His motivation for sacrificing His own Son to save sinners. He also made it clear that I was among those sinners. I thought about that love and what that meant. I came to decide that the only proper response to that kind of love was to accept that free gift.

    Do you think that fits here:
    Rom 8:10 If Christ is in you, though the body is dead because of sin, yet the spirit is alive because of righteousness.
    Rom 8:11 But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.
    Rom 8:12 So then, brethren, we are under obligation, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh--
    Rom 8:13 for if you are living according to the flesh, you must die; but if by the Spirit you are putting to death the deeds of the body, you will live.
    Rom 8:14 For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. (NASB, emphasis mine)


    EDIT TO ADD:
    I have often summed up part of this section of Romans in the statement..."We are no longer slaves to sin, but to righteousness." Is that inline with the text, and does it fit this discussion?

    Has anyone done a word study on obligation? I haven't but if someone has it may be helpful to the discussion.
     
  6. Tom Butler

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    Exactly, Scarlett. If some don't like the word obligation, then let's call it commitment. If I agree to teach a Sunday School class, I have assumed an obligation to study, prepare----and show up.

    I understand the point. We should do what we do willingly for the Lord. The question is not whether we operate under obligation. It's whether we operate in obedience.
     
  7. OldRegular

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    Isn't it all about obedience?
     
  8. Oldtimer

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    As a layman, that simple prayer sums up the essence of this topic, IMO.

    Jesus didn't "require" any works from the thief on the cross beside Him.

    Jesus also gave us the two greatest commandments. When we pray for the Holy Spirit to help us abide by them with a joyful heart, "obligation" shouldn't enter the picture. The Holy Spirit will lead us to do what is pleasing to God, if we listen, without a sense of obligation.

    I'm obligated to pay taxes.
    Before retiring, was obligated to go to work everyday.
    I'm obligated to pay my bills.
    I'm obligated to go to the grocery store.
    I'm obligated to go to some family/social events.
    I'm obligated to appear for jury duty.

    I'll leave it to you to ponder what's in your heart as you meet similar obligations in your own life.

    God doesn't need our time nor our money. They are already His.
    God doesn't need our service. He holds all of creation in His hand.
    God doesn't need our witness because He can be His own witness.

    To sum it up.

    "I need you to change my heart so that I will want to because I want to live a life pleasing to You."
     
  9. sag38

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    I don't always feel like giving (I don't feel cheerful)but I do it anyway.
    I don't always feel like serving (I want to sit on my blessed assurance) but I do.
    I don't always feel love in my heart (I want to bust someone in the mouth)but I try to love anyway.
    I don't always feel like being nice, I feel grumpy, but I try to be nice anyway.
    Without obligation and commitment my feelings would rule my life. Sometimes I have to overrule how I feel and go on to to what I know is right.
     
    #9 sag38, Jan 5, 2013
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 5, 2013
  10. Bronconagurski

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    Why is that? Could it be that you love God? Love never fails.
     
  11. drfuss

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    Yes, we should fulfill our obligations. But what should be our motive in fulfilling our obligations?

    Consider I Cor. 13:1-3:
    "If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3 If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing."

    IMO, the prime motive for fulfilling our obligations should be love for God and for others. Fulfilling our obligations only because it is our responsibility is the wrong attitude. If we resent fulfilling our obligations we need to examine ourselves or change things so that we do not have those obligations if we can.

    In Revelations 2, the church in Ephesus served the Lord well and persevered; and it seems they were fulfilling their obligations; yet they were repremanded because they and lost their first love.

    IMO, serving the Lord is not about fulfilling our obligations, but is about love.
     
    #11 drfuss, Jan 5, 2013
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 5, 2013
  12. Bronconagurski

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    Exactly. Jesus said if you love me, keep my commandments. Now let us not forget that they are commandments, which do obligate us to do them. If we do not, however, we have to man up and say that we just don't love Jesus like we should.

    Then there is the challenge of if we don't love mankind, which we can see, how can we love God, who we can't see. Loving for the brethren needs to be the signature of our churches.
     
  13. stilllearning

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    A lot has been said about “obligation” & “commitment” & “obedience”.
    But here’s another way of putting it.......
    “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this [is] the whole [duty] of man.” (Ecclesiastes 12:13)

    It is our duty to follow the Lord’s instructions; And he will bless our socks off, when we do!
     
  14. drfuss

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    All of Jesus' commands are based on love.

    Matt. 22:37-40
    "37 Jesus replied: " 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.'38This is the first and greatest commandment.39And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.'40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.""

    Even the many commandments in the law are based on love. Therefore everything we do should be driven by love for God and for others.

    Performing obligations without love can lead to many bad things. Loveless obligations leads to finding fault with others for not having or doing the same obligations. It can also lead to setting standards for ourselves and others; which can lead to a works salvation.

    Loveless obligations can evenually lead to a slippery slope into a negative Gospel. It has happened in the past to me and maybe to all of us.
     
  15. gb93433

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    If you are a responsible person then you will do the responsible thing and not is not conditioned on feelings.
     
  16. drfuss

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    I am not sure I understand what is being said here. The love I am talking about is not about feelings, but is about committments and decisions.

    Fulfilling your obligations is the responsible thing to do, but love for God and love for others should be the motive for doing the responsible thing. Without love being the driver, it may not mean anything. See: I Cor. 13:1-3 and Rev. 2 concerning the church at Ephesus.
     
  17. gb93433

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    Because I love people does not mean I will have issues at times. I do not always like doing work that I am being paid to do but I must do it and that has nothing to with whether I love the work or people but because God blesses my commitment. Why should I give thought to what Satan can use such as whether I love the people or not. When I commit myself to do something there is nothing that should supersede that. My word must be my guarantee.
     
  18. drfuss

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    I think we are saying basically the same thing. Your commitment is motivated by your love for God and your love for people. Of course there are times that our commitment will require that we do things that we don't necessarily enjoy or have good feelings about. This is true in any lasting love relationship. The important thing is that our prime motivation should be from love, and not from obligation or guilt.

    Keeping our word or commitment should be a part of loving God and loving others.

    Okay?
     

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