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Do we really love Jesus? — Part I of “Loving Jesus”

1 “Do not let your hearts be distressed. You believe in God; believe also in me. 2 There are many dwelling places in my Father’s house. Otherwise, I would have told you, because I am going away to make ready a place for you. 3 And if I go and make ready a place for you, I will come again and take you to be with me, so that where I am you may be too. 4 And you know the way where I am going.”
John 14:1-4 (NET)

I’ve heard these verses preached many times as a way of looking forward to our Lord’s return.  But that is not what these verses (and this chapter) are all about.  The emphasis should really be on the tail end of verse 1:  “You believe in God; believe also in me.”  Jesus is telling us about His relationship with the Father.  They are one.  We see this as we continue reading.  We will also see a lot about our relationship (or lack thereof) with Jesus.

8 Philip said, “Lord, show us the Father, and we will be content.” 9 Jesus replied, “Have I been with you for so long, and you have not known me, Philip? The person who has seen me has seen the Father! How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? 10 Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father is in me? The words that I say to you, I do not speak on my own initiative, but the Father residing in me performs his miraculous deeds.
John 14:8-10 (NET)

Philip didn’t get it.  He wanted to get straight to God Himself, not realizing that God was standing right before him.  Jesus tells him that He and the Father are one.  On more that this occasion Jesus has told us that He does not act on His own accord, but rather does what the Father tells Him to do.  Here He says that He doesn’t even speak on His own, but as the Father leads.  Even the miraculous deeds that Jesus did were performed by the Father residing within Him.

12 I tell you the solemn truth, the person who believes in me will perform the miraculous deeds that I am doing, and will perform greater deeds than these, because I am going to the Father. 13 And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it.
John 14:12-14 (NET)

Now we’re about to see some of the meat.  Jesus performed miraculous deeds.  But the person who believes in Him will also perform miraculous deeds, and even greater deeds than these.  And why?  Is it the person who performs the deeds?  No.  It is Jesus.  He will do whatever we ask in His name (and other parts of the Bible clarify this even more).

But why will Jesus do this?  Well, clearly “so that the Father may be glorified in the Son.”  We are to perform miraculous deeds in His name so that Father God will get the glory.

First I’ll ask:  are you performing mighty, miraculous deeds?

Who will perform such deeds?  As stated it will be the person who believes in Jesus.  Turn it around and we see that whoever believes in Jesus shall perform great and miraculous deeds.  Jesus doesn’t say that it will be the person who practices the most; not the person who believes the best.  It won’t be the person who exercises his faith muscles enough.  It will be the person who truly believes and loves the Lord.

15 “If you love me, you will obey my commandments. 16 Then I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate to be with you forever –
John 14:15-16 (NET)

Some people will choke on this meat.  “If you love me, you will obey my commandments.”  Do you love Jesus?  We can test that.  His commandments are quite clear.

Obey His commandments.  That is the sign that you truly love Him.  Then He will ask the Father to send the Spirit to be with you.

20 You will know at that time that I am in my Father and you are in me and I am in you. 21 The person who has my commandments and obeys them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and will reveal myself to him.”
John 14:20-21 (NET)

Jesus tells us again that He is in the Father.  They are one.  But now He adds another part of the equation.  We are in Him and He is in us.  But this is not an isolated statement.  Some people preach this as if it were.  Yes, we are to accept Jesus in the sinner’s prayer or perhaps going up to the altar, and then it will be all right:  He will be in us and we will be in Him.

But Jesus ties this together, once again, He ties this to whether we love Him.  We are to have His commandments.  We are to obey them.  In this we show that we love Jesus.  Whoever loves Jesus will obey His commandments.  The one who loves Jesus will have the Father’s love, and thus will have Jesus love and Jesus will reveal Himself to us.  In this Jesus will show us who He is and will be with us and will help us.

But this is predicated by us showing that we love Jesus.  And we do this by keeping His commandments and obey them.

Let’s see this full and strong statement more clearly in the following verses:

23 Jesus replied, “If anyone loves me, he will obey my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and take up residence with him. 24 The person who does not love me does not obey my words. And the word you hear is not mine, but the Father’s who sent me.
John 14:23-24 (NET)

If you love Jesus, you will obey His word (commandments).  Only in this will we see the Father’s love and we, with Jesus, can reside in the Father.  We will be one.

But if you do not love Jesus it is because you do not obey His words (commandments).  The Father and the Son are One.  When we hear the Word, when we are given commandments, they are the Father’s (for Jesus does nothing on His own initiative but does what the Father tells Him to do).

It comes down to whether we love or do not love Jesus.

And this is manifest in whether we keep His commandments.  If we love Jesus we will keep His commandments.  If we do not keep His commandments then we do not show love for Jesus.  He tells us that if we do not keep His commandments, we do not love Him.

The chapter completes with this:

30 I will not speak with you much longer, for the ruler of this world is coming. He has no power over me, 31 but I am doing just what the Father commanded me, so that the world may know that I love the Father. Get up, let us go from here.”
John 14:30-31 (NET)

Jesus is returning to the Father.  The Holy Spirit will come to teach us.  But “the ruler of this world is coming.”  Satan is coming.  He is the prince of the powers of the air.  He is the god of this world.  But he has no power over Jesus.  We are to be in Jesus, so Satan has no power over us — if we are in Jesus; if we love Jesus.

How do we show we love Jesus?  We obey and do His commandments.

Look at verse 31.  Jesus is doing just what the Father commanded Him.  Jesus did the Father’s commands.  He obeyed them.  In this it is shown that Jesus loves the Father.  Jesus loves the Father and “proves” it by doing the Father’s commandments.

If we love Jesus we will do His commandments.

So what are His commandments.

Well, let’s start here.

36 “Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?” 37 Jesus said to him, “‘ Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind .’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 The second is like it: ‘ Love your neighbor as yourself .’ 40 All the law and the prophets depend on these two commandments.”
Matt 22:36-40 (NET)

This is a good place to start.  Love God with all you are and have.  In and about this you have to understand that with this kind of love you will do whatever God wants of you and you will do this before anything that you want for yourself.

What does this mean?  Well, as an example, we sometimes have things that we want.  We justify God’s position in getting our desire by saying that God loves us and wants to give us whatever our hearts desire.  And scripture tells us that God will give us what we desire (see John 14:14 above).

But when we seek our desires and use the bible in a manner to find scripture that tells us that God wants to give us our desires we put the relationship in backward order.  We want our desires and we place God in a position to show that He loves us by requiring Him to give us our gifts.

Scripture tells us that the relationship starts with us loving Jesus.  And if we love Jesus then we do his commandments.  Once that relationship is in place, THEN God will give us what we desire.

So we are to love God with all our heart, soul and mind.

After that we are to love our neighbors as we would desire to be loved (or as we love ourselves, which is usually how we want to be loved).  So what is the order of this?  We are to love … first.  Then we can expect the return — in this case the love of others.

So what other commandments might we get out of kilter?

19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
Matt 28:19-20 (NET)

We are to take the Gospel message to all nations.  Bring them into the family of God.  And we are to teach them the commandments.  It keeps coming up, doesn’t it.

So when was the last time that you shared the Gospel with someone?  When was the last time that you took the Gospel to the nations.  You don’t have to do this personally.  You can give to your church, assuming that your church does this.  There is accountability in this.  But in this manner you can help the Gospel message reach many nations.

Here is another commandment:

24 And let us take thought of how to spur one another on to love and good works, 25 not abandoning our own meetings, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging each other, and even more so because you see the day drawing near.
Heb 10:24-25 (NET)

“Not abandoning our own meetings” (or “Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together” in the KJV) means do not skip church meetings.  This doesn’t mean be there every time the doors are open, but you should attend service regularly.  It is how we learn.  It is how the pastor will spur us on to love and good works.  It is how we meet others and spur them on to love and good works.  (Which brings up a parallel subject of going to church and quickly leaving when it is over — thus not meeting our fellow Christian congregants.)  The point is so that Christians can build each other up and help each other to grow in love and good works.

Those are some examples of doing God’s commandments.  It means that we give of ourselves, outward, instead of looking to see what we can get.

Too many Christians are concerned with the part of the bible where God says that “If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it.” (John 14:14) and are not concerned with the doing of the commandments.  It is this latter that shows that you love Jesus.  So too many of us are overly concerned with Jesus giving us what we ask for (healing, prosperity, peace, etc.) when we haven’t showed that we love Him first.

And this is the confidence that we have before him: that whenever we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.
1 John 5:14 (NET)

Ahh, there is a more full look at the concept.  We can have what we ask when we ask “according to His will.”  This is when He hears us.  His will is that we do His commandments.  When we get that out of whack how can we possibly expect Him to give us our desires.  If we don’t do His commandments, scripture tells us that we don’t love Him.

20 If anyone says “I love God” and yet hates his fellow Christian, he is a liar, because the one who does not love his fellow Christian whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. 21 And the commandment we have from him is this: that the one who loves God should love his fellow Christian too.
1 Jn 4:20-21 (NET)

How many times have you looked at a person and said “I just don’t like that person.”  How can you say you like God, let alone love God.  That person was made in the likeness and image of God.

We often have an inward facing attitude.  It is how we feel about someone that will answer whether we will spend any time fellowshipping with them.  It is how we feel about getting out of bed that will answer whether we will go to church this week.  It is how we clench our firsts that determines if we will give up our money for a missionary cause — or whether that money is already earmarked…for coffee, hamburgers, movies.  Nothing wrong with these things, but take care of first things first.

Our inward attitude has us thinking about our healing instead of praying for others; thinking about how we will make more money instead of helping the homeless; thinking about what we will have for lunch or dinner instead of giving in the offering for the missions in Africa or India.

If you love me you will do My commandments.

So are we doing?  Do we really love Him?

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