The primary idea you need to keep revisiting during this Following Jesus Pathway is that we are following and being formed by Jesus. This pathway can be learned simply or in great depth. We trust that you as a leader know your people and the dynamics of your group well enough to adapt and impart this topic with grace and wisdom.
This guide is designed to help you and others follow and be formed by Jesus. Remember to keep it Jesus-Centered.
We pray that you will be Spirit-Led and Spirit- Empowered as you lead and learn together.
Hear and Obey the Word Hand Motion
Researchers have found that moving our bodies and adding actions to our learning significantly increases our ability to remember. Here is a hand action you can add to the command to remember it:
Hear & Obey the Word; Step 1: Take your right hand and cup it behind your ear
Hear & Obey the Word; Step 2: Take both hands and put them together in front of you as if they are the front and back cover of a closed book.
Hear & Obey the Word; Step 3: Open your hands as if you are opening a book.
Summary of ‘Hear and obey the word’
Hear and Obey in the Old Testament are bound together in one word- ‘shema’. We are never meant to hear and not obey also.
The word that means “hear or listen,” shema (pronounced “shmah”) is an excellent example of the difference between Hebrew, which stresses physical action and Greek and Western culture that stresses mental activity.
Listening, in our culture, is a mental activity, and hearing just means that our ears pick up sounds. But in Hebrew, the word shema describes hearing and also its effects – taking heed, being obedient, doing what is asked. In fact, almost every place we see the word “obey” in the Bible, it is translated from the word shema.
There are two primary Greek words which are translated “word” in the New Testament.
The first, logos, refers principally to the totally inspired Word of God and to Jesus, who is the living Word. Logos is found in John 1:1; Luke 8:11; Philippians 2:16; Hebrews 4:12; and other verses.
The second Greek word translated “word” is rhema, which refers to the spoken word. Rhema literally means an utterance (individually, collectively or specifically). Examples are found in Luke 1:38; 3:2; 5:5; and Acts 11:16.
Brief Commentary and Context
Brief Commentary and Context- Matt 7:24-27- (Wise and Foolish Builders Parable)
After 30 years of relative obscurity and ordinary life in the hills of Galilee, Jesus leaves his vocation to launch out in obedience to his Father’s voice and the prophetic scriptures written about him. His ministry was to declare and demonstrate the Kingdom of God, defeating humanity's enemy and restoring all that was broken in creation. The way he lived was profound but simple, to hear and obey the Father. He embodied what he desired to reproduce in his first followers.
The gospel writer Matthew describes the beginning of Jesus’ ministry in the early chapters of his gospel. As this new Rabbi moved throughout Galilee the towns were stirred with curiosity and wonder. Crowds flocked to him and those in most desperate need pressed close with the hope of a miracle. Many of these were considered unclean and unfit for God by the religious establishment. Jesus welcomed them, healed them and began to teach them about his Father’s kingdom, now open to those never qualified before. He taught about a “surpassing righteousness” that flows from the heart manifested in love that fulfills the Jewish law. They were not aware but it was a righteousness he has come to fulfill on their behalf. Jesus had come to bring God’s blessing for all who had previously been trampled, forgotten and excluded. Line by line he stunned the masses as he reinterpreted their age-old law describing what it looked like to practice God’s kingdom way in all of life. They were left with a choice, their way or God’s way, the wide or narrow path. Would they forgive or harbor bitterness, stay faithful or break their covenant commitment, trust God or worry, serve God or money, live for God’s pleasure or human praise, show mercy or exude judgment, be generous or get even, love their enemies or only those who loved them? God’s way is not the easy way but it is the best way by far!
To close this masterful teaching, now referred to as the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus summed it up with a riveting parable about two groups of people pictured in a wise and foolish builder. The wise man, Jesus says, “hears these words of mine and does them” and “builds his house on the rock.” However the foolish man represents those who “hear these words of mine and does not do them” and “builds his life on the sand.” The warning is clear, the life built on hearing and obeying Jesus is solid and secure through storms. The one who hears but does not put these things into practice will not be able to withstand life’s many trials. Both groups hear Jesus’ words but what makes the difference is doing and obeying them. Will we build our lives upon the secure rock of Jesus’ way and will, or the sinking sands of self. Will we hear and obey, or only hear? Jesus modeled a life of continually listening to the Father and doing what he said. As his followers this is our calling as well. To hear and obey Jesus establishes our life in God and holds us in Him no matter what comes our way!
Core Truths from the Topic:
Summary Scripture: Luke 11:28- But he said, “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it!”
James 1:22-25- Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. 23 Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror 24 and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. 25 But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do.
Exodus 24:7- Then he took the Book of the Covenant and read it to the people. They responded, “We will do everything the Lord has said; we will obey.”
Deut 28:1-2- If you fully obey the Lord your God and carefully follow all his commands I give you today, the Lord your God will set you high above all the nations on earth. 2 All these blessings will come on you and accompany you if you obey the Lord your God:
John 8:54-55- Jesus replied, “If I glorify myself, my glory means nothing. My Father, whom you claim as your God, is the one who glorifies me. 55 Though you do not know him, I know him. If I said I did not, I would be a liar like you, but I do know him and obey his word.
John 15:10- If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love.
1 John 5:3- We show our love for God by obeying his commandments, and they are not hard to follow. (CEV)
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.
2 Timothy 3:16-17- All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17 so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.
Resources to help you Prepare
Shema - Listen The Bible Project
Simple tool of biblical exegesis; reminder of daily readings.