The Ruin of Rebellion
Charles F. Stanley
Scripture: 1 Samuel 15:1-28
I. Introduction: God has our best interests in mind. His commands are for our benefit, not to keep us from enjoying life. Disobeying the Lord usually makes our lives more difficult and complicated. Only when we are submitted to Him can we be assured of the full measure of His blessing.
At one point when I was a teenager, I questioned God about His commands and what He really wanted for my life. Back then, I felt like God limited me because my idea of fun and “living the life” were not congruent with the things I learned from His word. Just like any regular teenager, I went through a rebellious phase, refused to read the Bible and attend church because I felt like God was a kill joy.
I thank God for being ever so patient with me. I won’t say that He allowed me to live life as I wanted to, but He did bring me to points wherein I’d realize how much of a fool I’ve been, how the things of this world pass and don’t really fulfill.
Disobeying God did make my life very difficult, not because He was punishing me but because I was doing something OUTSIDE of His will for me. Remember that God always wants what is best for us, although at times we may not understand why things happen. When I finally submitted to the Lord’s will and allowed Him to direct my life, it was easier to accept things as they came and happened. Living a life devoted to Christ isn’t always easy, but you are assured of peace because you know that whatever life throws your way, you are able to face it because He is in you.
II. The Nature of Rebellion
A. Definition: Rebellion is an act against established order and authority. It can be defiance against God’s will or resistance to leadership He has ordained. When we insist on doing things our way, we reveal our pride and selfishness.
Not a lot of people know that I tried to get off the road God paved for me. In my mind, I somehow had an idea of where God was leading me but being young and stubborn, I found the waiting too long and I felt that He ordained me into a life of complete boredom. I’d say “Lord, I wanna do this.” “Lord I wanna do that.” It was “I” “I” “I”. I noticed that I didn’t ask Him too often what He’d like for me to do for Him.
B. Biblical example: Saul, the first king of Israel, paid a price for his rebellion against God. The Lord wanted to punish the nation of Amalek for how they had treated the Israelites. He commanded Saul to destroy the nation completely—putting to death not just their army, but all the people and animals as well. However, Saul spared the king and the best of the livestock.
When God commands something, we either obey it or we don’t. There is no such thing as partial obedience; disobedience is disobedience. I won’t say I have mastered this. I am NOT PERFECT but the Holy Spirit is quick to convict me if I am getting into something that is against God’s Word. Each day is a struggle for I battle against my sinful nature.
III. God’s View of Rebellion
A. Disobeying God is as serious as idolatry and witchcraft. Scripture says, “Rebellion is as the sin of divination, and insubordination is as iniquity and idolatry” (1 Sam. 15:23).
B. Rebellion isn’t limited to disregarding the Lord’s specific commands to us. It includes transgressing the moral guidelines given in His Word. They are designed to protect us in every area of our lives.
C. God has ordained two primary types of authority. He is the ultimate authority (Matt. 28:18). However, the Lord delegates authority to governments, business leaders, parents, pastors, coaches, and other leaders. Otherwise, we would have anarchy.
IV. We rebel against God by . . .
A. Refusing to obey His calling. Instead, we should follow the specific instructions God gives us.
Like I mentioned earlier, I have tried to get off the road God paved out for me. As His dearly loved children, we all have specific roles to play in the carrying out of the Lord’s plans. He has equipped us with spiritual gifts, skills and experiences which are unique to us, because we all have something to contribute to His will.
B. Pursuing what He forbids. When we violate the commands of Scripture, we are in rebellion. For instance, a man should not seek an intimate relationship with someone else’s wife.
The world and our culture have developed certain standards over the years that are accepted, but go against what the Bible commands. I have seen the example above sent in as a “confession” entry in a popular magazine. The contributor even tried to justify himself, saying that he was so tired of this wife and he felt that she didn’t fulfill her duties well, which forced him to go “seeking for comfort”. He did find comfort in the arms of another woman who was married to a man who she also grew tired of.
The contributor sought sympathy saying that they were two lonely and desperate hearts, finding a way out of their chaotic relationships. Sometimes, we know that what we are doing is wrong yet we find the pull so strong, and this makes it hard for us to get out. In times like this, we can’t always say “I’m so weak when faced with temptation.” Yes we are weak, that is a reality but that’s where our dependence on God begins. In our weakness, His strength is made perfect. (2 Corinthians 12:9-10; 2 Corinthians 1:8-9)
C. Pursuing the right things, but in the wrong way. There is nothing wrong with wanting a promotion at work. But if we criticize and gossip about others in order to appear more competent, our actions become rebellion.
Sometimes, we appear to pursue godly things yet our ways are wrong. To reach the right goal, the steps and processes we go through also have to be right. For example, you commit to become a good and responsible driver, taking full responsibility in the event of violating a traffic rule. To be able to drive on the streets of course, you will have to become a LICENSED DRIVER. That is a good goal, but let’s say you got your license through an under-the-table deal. The goal is right, but the process is wrong.
D. Pursuing godly goals, but on our schedule. God has not only a correct way for us to pursue our objectives, but also a specific time. For instance, a 16-year-old may find a wonderful young man she wants to marry, but most teenagers aren’t ready for the life-long commitment of marriage.
Before making any major decision, ask yourself, “What is the wisest thing to do?” Don’t make a move until you get a clear answer. Resist the temptation to compare your possessions with someone else’s. Instead, ask God what He wants you to have. When you surrender to the Lord Jesus, you will have life at its very best.
V. The reasons for our rebellion include . . .
A. Doubting the Word of God. At particular crossroads, disobedience to God can ruin our lives. He will forgive us but won’t always choose to eliminate the consequences (emphasis mine). For instance, Eve’s life changed dramatically because she ate the forbidden fruit (Gen. 2:17).
B. Pride. Arrogant people demand their own way—and want it immediately. The Devil lies to us and says that unless we get something now, we will never have it.
Unless we have fully comprehended what Christ has done for us on the cross, we find no reason to be proud for God extended grace upon us though we are undeserving. We’ve read and heard about it so many times–God sent His sinless Son to die for OUR SINS.
C. Bitterness and resentment. Some people rebel against God because they’ve been unable to let go of the past—they have an unforgiving spirit.
D. Selfishness. Many people see biblical guidelines as restricting. But no one can live in defiance of God’s laws and have genuine peace.
I can speak for this one. When I was younger, I often thought of God’s ways as boring. I thought that I’d always be branded as a “manang”, one who isn’t fun to be with because I don’t like getting drunk. It was selfish in the sense that I was thinking of people accepting ME, what they think about ME and what they’d say about ME. God again brought me to that point where He made me realize that it wasn’t about ME, it was about HIM.
VI. The Results of Rebellion
A. There are always consequences for rebelling against the Lord (Ps. 107:17-18).
· When the Israelites let fear prevent them from fighting for Canaan, God judged that generation and allowed them to die off in the wilderness.
· When Korah conspired against Moses, God caused the ground to open up and swallow the rebel and his family (Num. 16:1-40).
· King Saul paid a high price for his disobedience. Not only did the Spirit depart from him, but he also became mentally disturbed. Consumed with jealousy and bitterness, Saul spent his life chasing David.
B. What happens in your life when you rebel against God?
· Immediately, fellowship with Him is broken.
· Genuine happiness, peace, and joy will disappear from your life.
· You will make foolish mistakes and as a result, you’ll start to doubt that the Father really loves and cares for you.
· Your physical well-being may suffer. People tend to make unhealthy decisions when they are living in disobedience to the Lord.
VII. Conclusion: Our choice is simple—submit to the Father or rebel against Him. Either way, we will reap what we sow. But remember that obedience brings blessing; disobedience has consequences. No one who is in rebellion against the Lord has true peace, joy, contentment, or success in life. They may look successful from the outside, but they usually aren’t satisfied with their lives. Wise men and women choose to obey God and leave the consequences to Him.
The sermon THE RUIN OF REBELLION is by Charles Stanley. If you wish to listen or view the video, you can visit his website www.intouch.org and be blessed by the many messages about God.
*The words in PINK are my own comments/reflections. Those in black are lifted from the IN TOUCH website.