All or Nothing! Part 3 – What is our responsibility to God’s absolute authority and power?

There are 7 messages in this All or Nothing Series. To access them all, please use the following links.
All or Nothing Part 1
All or Nothing Part 2
All or Nothing Part 3
All or Nothing Part 4
All or Nothing Part 5
All or Nothing Part 6
All or Nothing Part 7

(a) We must love God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength, that is, everything.

Mark 12:29-3129And Jesus answered him, The first of all (pas) the commandments {is}, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord: 30And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all (holos) thy heart, and with all (holos) thy soul, and with all (holos) thy mind, and with all (holos) thy strength: this {is} the first commandment. 31And the second {is} like, {namely} this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these.

all in Vs 29 is pas (all) while all (the other four occurrences) are holos (all; whole; completely)
all (pas) appears to relate to numbers while all (holos) appears to relate to a quantity that cannot be easily numbered, maybe something like quality instead of quantity. Otherwise, each has the same quality of absoluteness, or completeness.

All the commandments” means there cannot be any exception, no commandment that can be dug up from somewhere else. Unless, of course, you introduce someone other than God giving the commandment (such as the pharisees in Matthew 15:9But in vain they do worship me, teaching {for} doctrines the commandments of men.)

Of course, satan would like to be acknowledged as one with authority too, but only one who has the authority of the Creator can issue commandments, and only God has such authority. And this commandment is the first (another absolute term) of all God’s statements to us by His authority. The word “one” (“one Lord” – Vs 29) is also one of those absolute words. Note the word “unique” (from uni = one) which means one of a kind, no other in existence other than this one. Therefore, if there is only one God, then by logic He is unique and there can be no other at all.

Our obligation to God is to love Him with:-

  • All your heart
  • All your soul
  • All your mind
  • All your strength

It is clear then that all authority desires, even commands, all worship, all love. Clearly, too, love or worship can only be to One in authority. Or by the authority of that One, such as in delegated authority. Remember there is no authority other than God’s authority, and that this same authority is that which has been delegated to all areas of life, including marriages and government. And all authority requires all love or worship. You cannot separate love from worship, ever, when it is directed toward One in authority. Note that authority comes from “author” which means “one that originates or creates” (Meriam Webster dictionary). Thus the One who creates all also has authority over all.

(b) We must love others as much as we love ourselves.

And the second commandment is like it, in that you are to love your neighbour as much as you would love yourself. You are to treat your neighbour as well as you would treat yourself. You are to respect your neighbour as much as you respect yourself. If we obey just these two commandments, then we cannot ever disobey any other commandment, for in these two alone all other commandments are included. Thus, in these two commandments are included all our responsibility to God!

Matthew 22:37-4037Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all (holos) thy heart, and with all (holos) thy soul, and with all (holos) thy mind. 38This is the first and great commandment. 39And the second [is] like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. 40On these two commandments hang all (holos) the law and the prophets.
Thus all the law is an absolute statement of totality.

(c) Those who desire to be first shall be last; those who desire to rule all must serve all.

Mark 9:35And he sat down, and called the twelve, and saith unto them, If any man desire to be first, {the same} shall be last of all (pas), and servant of all (pas).
More absolutes – “first”, “last”, “all”, “last of all”, “servant of all”….. Being first with God is not important. Being a servant for God is more important. It is more important to serve than to win the service of others.
Psalm 84:10I had rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God, than to dwell in the tents of wickedness.

Favour with God is not for the strong but the faithful, the ones who serve.
Corinthians 4:1-2
1Let a man so account of us, as of the ministers of Christ, and stewards of the mysteries of God. 2Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful.

(d) If we cannot totally forsake all (pas), we cannot be a disciple of Christ.

Luke 14:33So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all (pas) that he hath, he cannot be my disciple.
We can lay claim to absolutely nothing in this world as our right to have and enjoy! When we serve God, we cannot put conditions on that service. When we give anything to God, it can only be in its entirety, nothing withheld. Even “cannot” is an absolute word. It’s not “might not” or “may not” but “cannot”!

When we give ourselves to God as a living sacrifice ….. (Romans 12:1I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, {which is} your reasonable service.) ….. then we cannot determine what God can have and what we keep for ourselves – it’s all or nothing! And likewise in our service for Christ – forsake all, or forsake nothing!

Forsaking all means putting aside the right to have all things, or even the right to have anything.
Philippians 3:8Yea doubtless, and I count all things (pas) {but} loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things (pas), and do count them {but} dung, that I may win Christ,
See Luke 14:33 earlier on – we must forsake all or we cannot be Jesus’ disciple. If we cannot carry our cross, we cannot be His disciple, nor can we be worthy of Him. There’s no half measures for the genuine Christian.

(e) Our commandment to teach all nations (the Great Commission) comes from the One who has all power in heaven and in earth.

Matt 28:18-2018And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All (pas) power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. 19Go ye therefore, and teach all (pas) nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: 20Teaching them to observe all things (pas) whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway (pas) {even} unto the end of the world.

Note all power (and authority) can only be of God Himself, the Supreme Ruler of the universe. And Jesus, Son of God who is God, has every right to claim all power in heaven and in earth. Only the sovereign Creator God can have absolute power!
Therefore, His orders are binding on all the universe, including particularly those who acknowledge His Lordship. We are to teach all nations; there are none who are to be passed by. (And that means all people of all nations, not some people from all nations! Scriptural consistency demands this!)

We are to teach them all things, not just what we think is important, or what we would prefer to leave out (like so many “Christians” today who live by a gospel with holes all through it). It’s the proper definition of “fundamentalism” – teaching the Word fully and truthfully without any personal additions or subtractions.
And if we are His, then Jesus will be with us always (another absolute, that same word pas = all) – no exceptions. You can’t get longer than “always”!

(f) Do all in the name of Jesus Christ and everything for His glory.

1 Corinthians 10:31Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all (pas) to the glory of God.
Colossians 3:17And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, {do} all (pas) in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.
If we cannot do it in God’s name, then we shouldn’t be doing it.

If you cannot invite God to be a part of your activity, then don’t do it! If you are ashamed of what you do, ask yourself if it is being done for the glory of God.
1 John 2:28And now, little children, abide in him; that, when he shall appear, we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before him at his coming.

More and more we can see from these verses that our responsibility toward God is absolute in every way. It’s all or nothing – there can never be a half-way acceptability. Whatever we do, all has to be to God’s glory, even that seemingly insignificant act which was done in secret, that private thought, that decision that denied God His right to lead.

(g) We are to be holy as God is holy. Holiness is a perfect standard, an absolute.

1 Peter 1:15-1615But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all (pas) manner of conversation (= behavior); 16Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.

God’s holiness is perfect, another absolute attribute of God. It is logically impossible for us to be perfectly holy while we live on this earth. However, our every striving must be toward this perfect goal. Blameless (“unblameable”) and above reproach (“unreproveable”), is the closest we can get to it while still living in the flesh, as in Colossians1:21-2221And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in {your} mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled 22In the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight:
“unreproveable” (above reproach) has the idea of being above the requirement of the law to condemn us. One who is above reproach is above accusatory words.

Holiness doesn’t just mean doing good things; it also means getting rid of the bad things in our lives.
2 Corinthians 7:1Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all (pas) filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.
Note again that the holiness of God is an absolute. And our holiness must be perfected in order to be perfectly holy, because anything less than perfect holiness is not holiness at all. A bit of leaven corrupts the whole …..
Galatians 5:7-97Ye did run well; who did hinder you that ye should not obey the truth? 8 This persuasion {cometh} not of him that calleth you. 9A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump.

And note here that “unclean” put with “clean” always results in “unclean” spiritually, never the other way around!
Haggai 2:11-14 11Thus saith the Lord of hosts; Ask now the priests {concerning} the law, saying, 12If one bear holy flesh in the skirt of his garment, and with his skirt do touch bread, or pottage, or wine, or oil, or any meat, shall it be holy? And the priests answered and said, No. 13Then said Haggai, If {one that is} unclean by a dead body touch any of these, shall it be unclean? And the priests answered and said, It shall be unclean. 14Then answered Haggai, and said, So {is} this people, and so {is} this nation before me, saith the Lord; and so {is} every work of their hands; and that which they offer there {is} unclean.
Note – even a small amount of unclean friendships or influences will destroy all our efforts at holiness.

(h) When we serve others (in particular other Christians) we must do it such that God receives all the glory for our service.

1 Peter 4:11If any man speak, {let him speak} as the oracles of God; if any man minister, {let him do it} as of the ability which God giveth: that God in all things (pas) may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom be praise and dominion for ever and ever.

All glory belongs to all-majesty. The Sovereign of the universe alone can be given glory.
Isaiah 48:11For mine own sake, {even} for mine own sake, will I do {it}: for how should {my name} be polluted? and I will not give my glory unto another.
No other being in the universe may be worshipped, not even satan who desires worship but must be denied this to the end, being just another created being like all mankind. And only the Creator may be worshipped. “for ever and ever” (1 Peter 4:11) is another absolute – without end!

(i) We will all come under God’s judgment.

2 Corinthians 5:10For we must all (pas) appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things {done} in {his} body, according to that he hath done, whether {it be} good or bad.
All will be judged, not just those who are lost. All Christians have a responsibility to act in such a way that we may be commended rather than accused. No-one misses out; this is an absolute!

(j) We are to praise God always for all things that He ordains or permits to come into our lives. That means everything without exception.

Ephesians 5:20Giving thanks always for all things (pas) unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ;
This is self-explanatory. You shouldn’t have anything in your life that you cannot give God praise for. And everything God permits to be in your life is included in the all things that we thank Him for. I’ve heard many excuses over the years for why we cannot thank God for everything that He permits into our lives. Many of them seemed very reasonable and logical. However, reason and logic do not apply in all cases when absolutes are required. And not only is it for all things; it is also always, another absolute term (pantote = all when or all times – derived from pas + hote)!

(k) We must obey in all ways those in authority over us.

Colossians 3:22-2322Servants, obey in all things (pas) {your} masters according to the flesh; not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but in singleness of heart, fearing God: 23And whatsoever ye do, do {it} heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men;
We are bondservants of God, and our obedience is absolute (“in all things”). If we choose to disobey in but one thing, then we are in reality disobedient. To be truthful we must never tell a single lie. Just one lie makes us a liar, but only a lifetime of truth can make us truthful! And likewise for other aspects of our obedience, not just in telling the truth.
in singleness of heart” is another absolute requirement; it means a singleness of intention without hypocrisy. We may serve only one master, whether it be God or mammon (the world).

(l) Do not love the world for all in the world is not of the Father.

1 John 2:15-1615Love not the world, neither the things {that are} in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16For all (pas) that {is} in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.
We cannot seek and find God in the world which lies in wickedness (1 John 5:19). Not everything in the world is evil, but the world system in general seeks to ensnare and enslave all to be controlled by satan. Our responsibility toward God is to seek Him first and His righteousness! (Matthew 6:33)
This doesn’t mean that we cannot be fed, clothed or housed etc by the world; we all have needs that have to be met in order to survive. But it’s the love of the world that defines where we shouldn’t go!

(m) Our prayers must be for all people, in particularly for those in authority over us.

1 Timothy 2:1-41I exhort therefore, that, first of all (pas), supplications, prayers, intercessions, {and} giving of thanks, be made for all (pas) men (anthropos); 2For kings, and {for} all (pas) that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. 3For this {is} good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; 4Who will have all (pas) men (anthropos) to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.
Pray for all people, especially those who are in authority over you. It is said that if your pastor is struggling, and you are tempted to criticise him, then instead, you should consider praying for him and his needs. The godliness of our lives depends upon our desire to pray for others, even our enemies, according to Jesus. And you do not know just who is seeking God among those to whom you talk. God desires that all be saved (not just the calvinist-elect!), and nothing we do should in any way compromise this goal.

Note that “first of all” is also an absolute; there can only be one thing that is first of all! But even though this is “first of all”, it is also for “all men” (pas anthropos)! That’s a wide-sweeping “first of all” indeed, all men without exception! And remember that this isn’t just for the elect either!
(Note regarding the “elect” – that the election is not unconditional, but conditional, that is, dependent upon the free-will decisions made by mankind which God determines by His perfect foreknowledge – see 1 Peter 1:2, also Romans 8:29 demonstrates God’s foreknowledge in predestinating Christians to be conformed to the image of Christ.)

There are 7 messages in this All or Nothing Series. To access them all, please use the following links.

All or Nothing Part 1

All or Nothing Part 2

All or Nothing Part 3

All or Nothing Part 4

All or Nothing Part 5

All or Nothing Part 6

All or Nothing Part 7

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