This is the sermon for Wednesday October 14th, 2009
John part 63
The proof of the Disciple’s love for Christ
John 14:15-24 ESV – 15 “If you love me, you will keep my commandments. 16And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, 17even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you. 18“I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. 19 Yet a little while and the world will see me no more, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. 20 In that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you. 21 Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me. And he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him.” 22 Judas (not Iscariot) said to him, “Lord, how is it that you will manifest yourself to us, and not to the world?” 23Jesus answered him, “If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. 24Whoever does not love me does not keep my words. And the word that you hear is not mine but the Father’s who sent me.
Chapter 14 is really an encouraging chapter from the first verse to the last one. This Chapter would have been one that I would have loved to be personally present when Jesus spoke it to the Eleven. At first the disciples do not understand what Jesus is saying here. But later, all these words of Christ would come back to encourage them as they faced the dark forces of the world while they were advancing the Gospel.
Remember the setting: they only have a few moments of time with Christ. He is about to be arrested, put on trial, convicted, and crucified. Their world with their Master is about to be turned upside down. The one that they have forsaken all to follow is going to be betrayed into the hands of men while the Eleven scatters in fear. Peter, one of Christ closets followers will even deny that He knows Jesus. Dark days are ahead, not only for Jesus of Nazareth, but for the Eleven as well.
So far in Chapter 14 Jesus has been giving them comforting words, preparing them for what is about to take place.
Let’s now begin to look at verses 14-24 and see some of the wonderful promises mentioned as well as the proof that they (and all claimed Christians) are disciples of Christ.
What is the proof of love for the Lord?
We live in a time and culture that many people claim to be Christians.
They base this claim on many things:
- A sinner’s prayer.
- A public profession.
- Water Baptism.
- Giving in the offering.
- Church attendance.
- Good works.
While all these things are good and important, they are not the true biblical evidences that we have been saved or born again.
Let’s look at what Christ has to say first.
- Our evidence that we have been saved is that we love the Lord and are obedient to His commandments.
John 14:15 ESV – If you love me, you will keep my commandments.
John 14:21 ESV – Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me. And he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him.
John 14:23-24 ESV – 23Jesus answered him, “If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. 24Whoever does not love me does not keep my words. And the word that you hear is not mine but the Father’s who sent me.
At first glance these verses seem to indicate dogged Law-keeping and Legalism. Is Jesus referring to keeping the 10 commandments – line upon line – precept upon precept? Well, if He is then we would all be failures because we cannot keep the Law by our flesh and will. It just will not happen because the heart of man is deceitful in all its ways.
What commandments is Jesus talking about then? Well, it is the greatest commandment.
- Love God.
Matthew 22:37-38 ESV – 37You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. 38This is the great and first commandment.
- Love others.
Matthew 22:39-40 ESV – 39And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. 40 On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”
1 John 2:1-11 ESV – 1My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. 2 He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world. 3And by this we know that we have come to know him, if we keep his commandments. 4Whoever says “I know him” but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him, 5but whoever keeps his word, in him truly the love of God is perfected. By this we may know that we are in him: 6whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked. 7Beloved, I am writing you no new commandment, but an old commandment that you had from the beginning. The old commandment is the word that you have heard. 8At the same time, it is a new commandment that I am writing to you, which is true in him and in you, because the darkness is passing away and the true light is already shining. 9Whoever says he is in the light and hates his brother is still in darkness. 10Whoever loves his brother abides in the light, and in him there is no cause for stumbling. 11But whoever hates his brother is in the darkness and walks in the darkness, and does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded his eyes.
While this love for others does include the world, in 1 John the emphasis is on fellow believers.
Let’s look at a biblical example of what love for other believers does not look like.
James 2:1-4 ESV – 1My brothers, show no partiality as you hold the faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory. 2For if a man wearing a gold ring and fine clothing comes into your assembly, and a poor man in shabby clothing also comes in, 3and if you pay attention to the one who wears the fine clothing and say, “You sit here in a good place,” while you say to the poor man, “You stand over there,” or, “Sit down at my feet,” 4have you not then made distinctions among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts?
Here we see the sin of partiality. In context in this passage, the believers were being partial of people with wealth and fine clothes over the poor.
In our day – it might be like this as well. It could also be people partial to one personality over another, a church service style, or other things.
Showing partiality one over another is sin and not truly showing the love of Christ; no matter how much our lips proclaim our love for Him.
Let’s now look at the biblical example of what it means to love one another in Christ.
Luke 10:25-37 ESV – 25 And behold, a lawyer stood up to put him to the test, saying, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” 26He said to him, “What is written in the Law? How do you read it?” 27And he answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.” 28And he said to him, “You have answered correctly; do this, and you will live.” 29But he, desiring to justify himself, said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” 30Jesus replied, “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and he fell among robbers, who stripped him and beat him and departed, leaving him half dead. 31Now by chance a priest was going down that road, and when he saw him he passed by on the other side. 32So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. 33But a Samaritan, as he journeyed, came to where he was, and when he saw him, he had compassion. 34He went to him and bound up his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he set him on his own animal and brought him to an inn and took care of him. 35And the next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper, saying, ‘Take care of him, and whatever more you spend, I will repay you when I come back.’ 36Which of these three, do you think, proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell among the robbers?” 37He said, “The one who showed him mercy.” And Jesus said to him, “You go, and do likewise.”
Though this person who was injured in the parable can be a non-believer, I want to apply it to the believers. There are many who are in the faith who are hurt and broken. We can show them our love by helping them and encouraging them through their dark, broken times.
Let’s look at another commandment that is important for us as Christians to obey.
- Do not love the world.
1 John 2:15-17 ESV – 15 Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16For all that is in the world— the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride in possessions—is not from the Father but is from the world. 17And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.
This passage is not saying that we should not love the lost sinner. It means we don’t love the world’s system or philosophies. World in Greek is kosmos (kos`-mos). It means, “world’s adorning, harmonious arrangement, order, government. Those hostile to the cause of Christ, worldly affairs, pleasures, and seducing.”
Actually, John gives us a great description in his first epistle of the world that we are to avoid loving:
- Desires of the flesh.
- Desires of the eyes.
- Pride in possessions.
In fact, James describes loving others and avoiding the defilements of the world as pure and undefiled religion.
James 1:27 ESV – Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.
Now having laid all this out, how can we truly love God, love others, and avoid the trappings of the world, and be obedient to Christ? Well if it is by fleshly legalistic obedience, it isn’t going to happen. We are going to fail.
How do we love God and be obedient to Him?
- First, God must give us a new heart.
Ezekiel 11:19 ESV – I will give them one heart, and a new spirit I will put within them. I will remove the heart of stone from their flesh and give them a heart of flesh.
You see, it is really not so much about us giving our hearts to Christ as it is Christ giving His heart to us. This is what happens when the Father draws us to Christ, He is giving us a new heart.
John 6:44-45 ESV – 44No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day. 45It is written in the Prophets, ‘And they will all be taught by God.’ Everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to me.
- This new heart that He has given us is the indwelling of the Holy Spirit which gives us the power and the desire to obey Christ.
Ezekiel 11:20 ESV – that they may walk in my statutes and keep my rules and obey them. And they shall be my people, and I will be their God.
Jeremiah 31:33-34 ESV – 33 But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the LORD: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be my people. 34And no longer shall each one teach his neighbor and each his brother, saying, ‘Know the LORD,’ for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, declares the LORD. For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.”
John 14:26 ESV – But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.
Romans 8:3-11 ESV – 3For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, 4in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. 5For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. 6For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. 7For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot. 8Those who are in the flesh cannot please God. 9You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him. 10But if Christ is in you, although the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness. 11If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you.
Now let’s close out by going back to the text in John 14 that I’m trying to expound upon.
In verses 15,21,23-24 “keep” in mentioned 4 times. It is the Greek word, tereo tereo (tay-reh`-o). It conveys the idea of watching over something or guarding: “to keep, obey, guard, and protect.”
It is more than just blind obedience, but watching over as if protecting something. We should hold God’s Word as precious and watch over it. We must do our best to study it and endeavor to rightly divide it before blindly following some errant misrepresentation of the Word.
As we conclude tonight, the true evidence that we are truly converted Christians is our obedience to Christ’s words. This only comes when He gives us a heart that beats for Him and He gloriously saves us.
We will look at the promise of the Holy Spirit next time.