Thursday, February 12, 2015

If ye love me, keep my commandments. . .

Adapted and expanded from a message given at the jail February 11, 2015

John 14:15
If ye love me, keep my commandments.

John 14:21
He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.

John 14:23
Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.

John 15:10
If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father's commandments, and abide in his love.

It is sometimes interesting to look at the negative of statements in the Bible. In this case, “If ye love me, keep my commandments.”, turn it upside down and this is the result, “If ye do not love me, then do not keep my commandments.

In other words, if you don’t love me. . . don’t bother. I believe this is a valuable insight into the intent of Jesus that is sometimes missed.

Again and again and again, I come back to, how did Jesus reply when asked what the most important commandment was?

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

Our foundation must be our love for God. Everything else must be built upon this basis. If you don’t love God, then following His commandments won’t do you much, if any good, and the reverse is that, if you do truly love Him with your entire being, then you will as a consequence of that love, be naturally led into obedience to His commandments.

Ecc 4:12
. . . a threefold cord is not quickly broken.

His love for us, our love for Him, and our submission to His commandments must be inextricably intertwined. If any one of these elements are missing, then our saving cord is snapped and we are lost. His love for us is an unbreakable given. He loves all, and it is not His will that any should perish, but there are those who will perish for their lack of reciprocated love for Him, and/or lack of submission to Him.

Jesus spoke of loving Him without obedience:

Matthew 7:21-23
Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.  (22)  Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?  (23)  And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.

Of being obedient to the rules of God, without love of God and love of your fellow man, Jesus often did battle with the Pharisee's, who were experts at following the rules of the Law of Moses, but who had forgotten about love. . .

Luke 14:3-6
And Jesus answering spake unto the lawyers and Pharisees, saying, Is it lawful to heal on the sabbath day?  (4)  And they held their peace. And he took him, and healed him, and let him go;  (5)  And answered them, saying, Which of you shall have an ass or an ox fallen into a pit, and will not straightway pull him out on the sabbath day?  (6)  And they could not answer him again to these things.

This is no game we play.  It is not mere stories to enthrall little children. . . Noah and the ark. . . Moses parting the sea. . . This is the power to overcome sin. . . This is the power to heal and restore. . . This is powerful medicine for an always fatal disease. . .

James 4:4-10
Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God. (5) Do ye think that the scripture saith in vain, The spirit that dwelleth in us lusteth to envy? (6) But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble. (7) Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. (8) Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded. (9) Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness. (10) Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up.

Strong words, but what does it avail to candy coat the message? To miss the target is to lose everything. The stakes are life and death. There is one way to a close relationship with God. . . one way to His plan of salvation, and that is to abide in His love. . . to love Him with everything you have, and to obey His commandments.

I love you God. . .
I thank you my Lord. . .
Help me love You as I should. . .
Help me obey You as I should. . .