Love and Obedience
John 14:15 If ye love me, keep my commandments. 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. 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. 30 Hereafter I will not talk much with you: for the prince of this world cometh, and hath nothing in me. 31 But that the world may know that I love the Father; and as the Father gave me commandment, even so I do. Arise, let us go hence.
These verses record a portion of the last lesson of our Savior to his disciples before his crucifixion. And in them he sets forth the spiritual character, and therefore the identity of the true church. It shall not be made up of, nor identified as an organization. It shall always be known as a spiritual organism! Ephesians 5:29 For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church: 30 For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones.
God is spirit! Therefore the only true believers are those who worship in spirit and in truth. John 4:23 But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. 24 God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth. It is not those who maintain a systematic routine of tradition on a particular day, at a particular time, but only those who worship – truly worship – which is exclusively done in spirit and in truth! These being sought by the Father, are therefore effectually enabled to the only worship acceptable to Him!
And all true worshippers are only those confessed, realized sinners, owning their righteousness to be from the atoning work of the Lamb of God, the Lord Jesus Christ! For the degree of worship is always in proportion to the degree of the awareness of their forgiven sin! If you are not much of a sinner, then a two-for-a-nickel Jesus will do just fine! But if your sin is an offense to the Holy God, you will need and worship a great Savior! Luke 7:47 Wherefore I say unto thee, Her sins, which are many, are forgiven; for she loved much: but to whom little is forgiven, the same loveth little. Revelation 5:9 And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation; 10 And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth. 11 And I beheld, and I heard the voice of many angels round about the throne and the beasts and the elders: and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands; 12 Saying with a loud voice, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing.
And in our selected verses of John 14, we have set forth for us the very essence of that enablement’s expression! – Love and Obedience! For to have the love of God – yea! the very God of love – within one’s being is to manifest unquestioning obedience to his commandments! 1 John 5:1 Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God: and every one that loveth him that begat loveth him also that is begotten of him. 2 By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments. 3 For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.
In verse 23 listed above, we have the Lord giving answer to the question posed by Judas, not Iscariot, as to how he would manifest himself to them and not to the unbelieving world. His assumption of God having to exclusively communicate outwardly to the human ear is still the assumption of the majority of religionists of today! But the Lord’s answer is that it would be an inward manifestation of God, bringing the effect of love within the heart and obedience to the mind!
Ask a practicing religionist of this day to define the church and you will get a far different answer than that which the Lord set forth. For he identifies his church to the world, throughout its entire existence as being identified by all therein as those who love one another! John 13:35 By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another. 1 John 4:10 Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. 11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another. 12 No man hath seen God at any time. If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us.
But we don’t know that today! We therefore don’t believe that today! For we assuredly ‘know’ that we are identified by our clothing; by the type of building in which we gather; by our symbols on our clothing and buildings. We wear our fishhook pins and our crosses for our jewelry, as the sole expression of our religious beliefs. In order to show their religion, some women don’t wear makeup. Some men only wear white shirts. Some wear different collars with robes. Some wear different hats with only dark clothing. But where are the true worshippers? Where are the true Christians?
Have you not had that driver with the fish symbol on his bumper cut you off in traffic? Have you not had a driver with other religious symbols on their vehicle angrily tail gate you, trying to force you to violate the speed laws and endanger other drivers, simply because they have yet to learn patience? Luke 21:19 In your patience possess ye your souls.
Christians are ONLY truly known by that which abides within, and not by that which is adorning the outside. 1 Samuel 16:7 But the LORD said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the LORD seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart. 1 Peter 3:3 Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel; 4 But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price.
Christians are only truly known by such inward traits as tenderheartedness, and not by our costumes! Ephesians 4:32 And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you. In becoming so religious, we have lost our true spirituality! Is it any wonder that the general population believes God to be dead to them?
Where are the other cheek turners? Where are the second mile goers? Where are those who will volunteer their overcoat when someone takes their coat? Where are those who will give their neighbor a yard when he is trying to take a foot of their property? Where is Christ to be found among all this religion today?
Where are the true, God-called preachers who seek not to please men, but God? Galatians 1:10 For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ. And where has the preaching of the gospel of Christ gone? 1 Corinthians 9:16 For though I preach the gospel, I have nothing to glory of: for necessity is laid upon me; yea, woe is unto me, if I preach not the gospel!
And how have these celebrations of every kind of social event gotten so deeply rooted within even the halls of even ‘orthodox’ religion? Galatians 4:9 But now, after that ye have known God, or rather are known of God, how turn ye again to the weak and beggarly elements, whereunto ye desire again to be in bondage? 10 Ye observe days, and months, and times, and years. 11 I am afraid of you, lest I have bestowed upon you labour in vain.
May God have mercy on this generation of professing religionists who are speedily on their way to eternal destruction! 2 Corinthians 11:3 But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.
Revelation 3:14 …These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God; 15 I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. 16 So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth. 17 Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked: 18 I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see. 19 As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.
For traditional, religious “work” without the Holy Spirit is but a work of iniquity! Matthew 7:21 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.
Would you agree that the Lord Jesus went to the cross not only to purchase the believer’s salvation, but also to set the pattern of the believers life? Acts 20:28 Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood. 2 Corinthians 4:10 Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body. For if the christian life is but the life of the Lord Jesus within us, then we can only express the spiritual life, by dying to the traits of the natural man.
“Dying with Jesus, by death reckoned mine;
Living with Jesus, a new life divine;
Looking to Jesus till glory doth shine,
Moment by moment, O Lord, I am Thine.”
D. W. Whittle
Carefully read verse 31 of our above listed text. And carefully seek through these easily understood words just one slight implication of his going to the cross to save sinners. – We assuredly know that this is the result of his sacrifice. – But, still, you cannot find that set forth here. But you will find that in this final teaching session to his apostles, he sets forth the foundation of true Christianity which he establishes as the chief corner stone! – That of his own Love and Obedience! He plainly and most clearly states that he is going to the cross in order that the world may know of his love to the Father! And, as has already been set forth, this will continue throughout the history of the church’s existence in the world – that all would know of the true christian by their love – not their songs. creeds, clothing, or architecture – but by their love of one another! Again – where is the true church; where are the true christians of our day? Where are those following in the spiritual example of the Lord Christ? 1 John 2:6 He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked.
Then he states a very emphatic command. Arise, let us go hence. Now he is not going to leave that upper room until it is recorded in John 18:1: When Jesus had spoken these words, he went forth with his disciples over the brook Cedron, where was a garden, into the which he entered, and his disciples. So what does this phrase mean which was spoken just after his clear and simple definition of his reason for subjecting himself to such a horrible death? It must surely mean that this was the sovereign command of the King of the universe, (John 17:2 As thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him.), to end the natural and literal expressions of the Old Testament, by fulfilling it in the spiritual expression of the New! And he was anxious to get that accomplished! Luke 12:50 But I have a baptism to be baptized with; (referring to his crucifixion), and how am I straitened ( i.e. “pressed,” or, “urged”), till it be accomplished!
He is taking away the first covenant, and forever establishing the second as a spiritual kingdom! Hebrews 10:9 Then said he, Lo, I come to do thy will, O God. He taketh away the first, that he may establish the second. 10 By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.
Dear soul, you have no other actual evidence that the Lord Jesus made it back to the Father, or that the Holy Spirit is within your own heart, other than having Love and Obedience dwelling within you as a constant way of life! For these are those spiritual qualities provided only to those given to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ! The world cannot provide such! John 14:20 At that day ye shall know that I am in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you. 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.
And just how essential is this to the soul? It is even so to the God-man Himself. For he abides within his Father’s love by his own obedience to the commandments! 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.
Pastpr Gene Breed
March 6, 2015