The Sin Of Rebellion

Below are notes to a sermon preached Sunday evening, March 5, 2000, at Gospel Light Baptist Church, Albany, Georgia. 


By Michael D. O’Neal              Pastor, Gospel Light Baptist Church              Albany, Georgia

Scripture Reading: 1 Samuel 15:13-23

Text: 1 Samuel 15:23

1 Samuel 15:23 For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because thou hast rejected the word of the LORD, he hath also rejected thee from being king.

Introduction: Rebellion and sin are almost synonymous.

Daniel 9:5 We have sinned, and have committed iniquity, and have done wickedly, and have rebelled, even by departing from thy precepts and from thy judgments:

To sin is to rebel, and to rebel is to sin. Rebellion, however, is an even more serious term than sin, however, because it involves a deliberate action of the WILL. To rebel is to CHOOSE to disobey the authority over you.

Contentions in churches, jobs, homes, and games are almost always a rebellion against authority! A baseball fan rebels against the authority of the umpire who has made a questionable call by crying, “Throw the bum out!” A wife rebels against her husband as she mutters, “No man is going to tell ME what to do!” An employee rebels against his employer as he marches in front of the business carrying a sign of protest. The citizen rebels against his government by burning his draft card. Church members rebel against pastors, because they were not asked for their input or did not get to vote on a decision about the direction of the church. By the way, God never called church members to direct the church; he called PASTORS to do that.

Rebellion is SERIOUS. It is said to be “as the sin of witchcraft” (1 Sam. 15:23). It should not be tolerated nor encouraged. It is mentioned with stubbornness, which is “as iniquity and idolatry.” If a son was stubborn and rebellious against his parents in the Old Testament, according to Deut. 21:18, he was to be stoned to death.


Genesis 14:4 Twelve years they served Chedorlaomer, and in the thirteenth year they rebelled.

The above verse is the first occurrence of any form of the word, “thirteen,” in the text of the Bible. It is also the first occurrence of any form of the word, “rebel.” There is an interesting connection between rebellion and the number 13. The word, “rebel,” occurs in 13 verses in scripture. Gen. 13:13 is the first mention of the sodomites, who rebelled against God and against nature. There were 13 American colonies who rebelled against England. Their flag had 13 stars and 13 stripes. Their motto was, “Don’t Tread On Me,” which has 13 letters. The greatest rebel to come will be the Antichrist, whose number, 666, is found in Rev. 13:18 (18 = 6+6+6). The number, 666, also occurs in Ezra 2:13 and 1 Chr. 9:13. There are 39 (3 x 13) books in the Old Testament, and the last word is “curse.” The curse was lifted in Acts 13:39 and Gal. 3:13, as Christ was made a curse for us. There are several 13s on the back of a one-dollar bill: the layers of the pyramid, the words above it, the stars, the stripes, the arrows, leaves, etc.

A. The Bible speaks of the first rebellion in heaven

  • See Isa. 14:12-14.
  • Lucifer was the first rebel.
  • Those who rebel against God are following Lucifer.

B. The Bible speaks of the first rebellion in humanity

  • Adam and Eve in the garden rebelled against God. By the way, do you realize that the first commandment in scripture was to avoid what we call a “public education”? Parents have no business letting the heathen educate their children!

C. The Bible speaks of the first rebellion in the heart

  • People are born in sin.
  • They go astray as soon as they are born speaking lies (Ps. 58:3).
  • Compare Isa. 53:6 for more insight on the sin of rebellion as “going our own way.”


Isaiah 1:2 Hear, O heavens, and give ear, O earth: for the LORD hath spoken, I have nourished and brought up children, and they have rebelled against me.

A. Rebels have rebellious looks

Proverbs 30:17 The eye that mocketh at his father, and despiseth to obey his mother, the ravens of the valley shall pick it out, and the young eagles shall eat it.

B. Rebels have rebellious lips

C. Rebels have rebellious lives

  • They rebel against superiors (authorities)
    • Wives against their husbands
    • Children against their parents
    • Church members against pastors
    • Citizens against the police
    • Students against teachers
  • They rebel against the scriptures – Job 24:13; Ps. 107:11.
  • They rebel against the Spirit of God – Isa. 63:10.


Numbers 20:24 Aaron shall be gathered unto his people: for he shall not enter into the land which I have given unto the children of Israel, because ye rebelled against my word at the water of Meribah.

A. Rebellion angers God

Joshua 22:18 But that ye must turn away this day from following the LORD? and it will be, seeing ye rebel to day against the LORD, that to morrow he will be wroth with the whole congregation of Israel.

B. Rebellion affects others

  • Jeremiah 28:16 Therefore thus saith the LORD; Behold, I will cast thee from off the face of the earth: this year thou shalt die, because thou hast taught rebellion against the LORD.
  • Jeremiah 29:32 Therefore thus saith the LORD; Behold, I will punish Shemaiah the Nehelamite, and his seed: he shall not have a man to dwell among this people; neither shall he behold the good that I will do for my people, saith the LORD; because he hath taught rebellion against the LORD.

C. Rebellion alters your future

  • People who rebel against the gospel and refuse to trust Christ will go to hell.
  • Christians who rebel against God lose joy, opportunities, rewards, and they receive chastisement.
  • The children of Israel rebelled against God and were not allowed to go into the Promised Land.


2 Timothy 3:9 But they shall proceed no further: for their folly shall be manifest unto all men, as theirs also was.

Numbers 32:23 But if ye will not do so, behold, ye have sinned against the LORD: and be sure your sin will find you out.

A. Rebels ruin everything they touch

  • It is like a cancer.
  • Rebels breed rebels.
  • Parents are fools if they allow their children to become companions with rebels.

B. Rebels reap what they sow

Galatians 6:7 Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.

C. Rebels regret what they have done

Lamentations 1:20 Behold, O LORD; for I am in distress: my bowels are troubled; mine heart is turned within me; for I have grievously rebelled: abroad the sword bereaveth, at home there is as death.

D. Rebels realize that it may be too late

  • Esau sold his birthright and never did get it back.
  • Hebrews 12:17 For ye know how that afterward, when he would have inherited the blessing, he was rejected: for he found no place of repentance, though he sought it carefully with tears.

If this sermon has rubbed your fur the wrong way, TURN THE CAT AROUND!

Daniel 9:9 To the Lord our God belong mercies and forgivenesses, though we have rebelled against him;


1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

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