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Partial Obedience is Disobedience

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Radio transcript for the week of July 02, 2017

Ricky Berger speaks on "Partial Obedience is Disobedience" on Seeking the Lost - International Radio.

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Our text today is 1 Samuel 15 where we find Saul responding to a command of the Lord. Begin reading in verses 1-9 and note the command given to Saul. We see the man Saul, a king of the people of Israel. Saul was given a command to utterly destroy the Amalekites, Agag and all of his people. These people were being blotted out because they had attacked the children of Israel upon coming out of Egypt. As the king of Israel, Saul was to be used to carry out the will of God. He was commanded to completely get rid of all of the people and animals of the land. We see in this passage that Saul only partially obeyed God. He spared king Agag and the best of the animals. Although Saul had done some of what the Lord commanded, God said that Saul had no obeyed Him in 1 Samuel 15:11.

In verses 14-23 the prophet Samuel told Saul that the animals he had spared had told on him for his sin. To make an excuse for his actions, Saul claimed that the animals had been spared to be used as sacrifice. Samuel let him know that God would rather have obedience than to have the animals for sacrifice. At the end of verse 22 Samuel says, "Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams". The same is true throughout history and today as well; God wants our full obedience. Because of Saul’s lack of complete obedience, we see the Lord’s thoughts in verse 23; "Because thou hast rejected the word of the LORD, he hath also rejected thee from being king". This sin eventually led to Saul’s downfall.

Today we are also to completely follow God’s commands. If we choose to obey the majority of what the Bible says but leave some commands unfollowed, like Saul, this will be counted as disobedience in our lives. To be wholly pleasing to the Lord, we must completely surrender to His will and commandments. In the way we are to worship, live daily and interact with those around us, we must be willing to follow all of the Lord’s commands. We cannot pick and choose what to obey as Saul did in this passage.

If we continue reading in 1 Samuel 15:24-28 we see that Saul begins to worry about losing the kingdom. He acknowledges his sin and begs Samuel to go with him to worship so that he might be forgiven. Samuel refuses and turns to leave. As he goes, Saul grabs his robe and it torn. Samuel says in verse 28 that in a like manner, the Lord has torn the kingdom of Israel from Saul and given it to someone who is better. What would make this new ruler better than Saul? A complete obedience. From Saul then and from each of us today, God demands total obedience. When we partially obey, we have missed the mark completely.


Jesus asked in Luke 6:46, "Why do you call me 'Lord, Lord' and do not do the things I say?" Hebrews 5:9 says Jesus is the author of eternal salvation to all who obey him.

Jesus said unless a man is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God - John 3:3.

We are born again though belief in and obedience to the gospel. He who believes the gospel and is baptized shall be saved - Mark 16:15-16. We obey the gospel by:

  1. Believing in Jesus’ Deity, his death for our sins and his resurrection (John 8:24; 1 Cor 15:1-4)
  2. Repenting of our sins (Luke 13:3, 5; Acts 17:30)
  3. Confessing Christ as the Lord (Romans 10:9-10)
  4. Being baptized, that is immersed, in water to receive remission of sins (Acts 2:38)
  5. Living faithful to the Lord until the end (Matthew 10:22; Revelation 2:10)

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