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Sunday, April 14, 2019

posted Apr 14, 2019, 9:14 PM by Site Administrator

IF YOU LOVE ME, YOU WILL OBEY WHAT I COMMAND

 

John 14:15-31

Key Verses 14:15,16

 

"If you love me, you will obey what I command. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever--

 

First, “If you love me, you will obey what I command” (15-20). Look at verse 15. “If you love me, you will obey what I command.” That’s Jesus’ understanding. If you love Jesus, then, naturally you will obey Jesus’ commands. That’s what Jesus expected from his disciples. The opposite is true too as Jesus says in verse 24. If anyone does not love him, he will not obey his teaching. Maybe, they will do some Christian things; maybe, they develop a lot of Bible knowledge. But eventually, they do not obey his teaching. Why? It’s because obeying his commands is challenging and costly. Not only obeying Jesus’ commands, but obeying anyone’s commands is not easy. Let’s say, your father’s command is that you eat breakfast together with the whole family at 7 o’clock. How is it? It’s not easy to keep it. Let’s say, your father is so generous that he says “8 o’clock breakfast”? That’s still not easy. Then, what about 11 o’clock brunch? Still not easy. Indeed, living in obedience someone’s command whoever that person may be, or whatever that command may be, is not easy. Then, what about obeying Jesus’ command? His way is higher than our ways; his thought is greater than ours. Sometimes, we have to do what we do not want to do; sometimes, there are a lot of pains and sorrows. Sometimes we have to sacrifice a lot of things we hold dear. Who are willing to bear such pains and sorrows continually to obey Jesus’ commands? Only those who love Jesus. They value Jesus far more than those things. What about those who do not love Jesus? They may try, doing this and that, doing many Christian things. But what? Eventually what do they choose to do? They choose what they really value; eventually, they cannot obey Jesus’ commands. So, in Jesus’ eyes, while everyone says, “I love Jesus,” only those who obey his commands are the ones who love him. Based on that fact, Jesus sees who is who.

 

When Jesus sees those who love him by obeying commands, he supports them by sending them the Holy Spirit. He says, “And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you foreverthe Spirit of truth.” Here, Jesus describes the Holy Spirit in two ways – another Counselor and the Spirit of truth. The title, “another Counselor” shows that the Holy Spirit’s main job for the disciples is counseling service, showing them which way to go and what to do and what not to do. The disciples could understand this term very well, “another Counselor,” because Jesus as their leader and shepherd had been their Counselor thus far. Even if Jesus would be gone, indeed, he would come back to them in the form of the Holy Spirit. The expression, “the Spirit of truth” shows the Holy Spirit’ truthful character. The Holy Spirit leads Jesus’ disciples into the way of the truth, showing them what is really right and what is wrong, what they must do and what they must not do. Through having fellowship with the Holy Spirit, the disciples come to know the truth and develop the truthful character too. In that way, they grow in Jesus as men and women of truth, knowing the truth and exercising the truth.

 

Look at verse 17. Let’s read this verse together:

 

17 The Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you.

 

The world does not acknowledge the Holy Spirit, so it cannot accept Him. But Jesus said to the disciples, “But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you.” At this, maybe, the disciples scratched their heads, wondering if they really knew the Holy Spirit; indeed, they were not sure of it. But Jesus confirmed with them that they did know him. On what basis? Jesus said to them, “For he lives with you and will be in you.” As the disciples served God’s work together with Jesus, the Holy Spirit was with them, helping them. The disciples had no idea about it, but that’s the fact, and that’s how they could do many great things by the help of the Holy Spirit. And later, when God’s redemption plan was fulfilled through Jesus’ death and resurrection, the Holy Spirit on the day of the Pentecost, would come into them and live in them, in their body.

 

Jesus says, “But you know the Holy Spirit, for he lives with you and will be in you.” When we serve God’s work, the Holy Spirit lives with us, helping us and guiding us. That’s why we have come to experience many amazing things. Sometimes, during Bible study with our sheep, we find ourselves speaking amazing things of God, which we have never thought about; sometimes, out of nowhere we see sheep jumping into our boats; sometimes, we see our midterms or finals are postponed for no reason, only to help us. The Holy Spirit, the Almighty God, lives with you to help you and support you in doing God’s work. What great life we enjoy then! You know the Holy Spirit, for he lives with you.

 

But that’s not all. At a certain time, when the right conditions are met, the Holy Spirit will come into you and live in your body. As a result, two persons – your own person and the Holy Spirit – will live in your body. This is a divine mystery, but this is really true. Many years ago, in regard to speaking in tongue, some people challenged me, saying, “How do you know whether it is the Holy Spirit praying in you, or an evil spirit screaming and cursing? If it is the Holy Spirit, do you know his prayer topics?” It was obvious to me that He lived in me, but their question was a kind of intriguing. I accepted their challenge. I went to God in prayer that night and pretended to be like a sullen kid, saying, “Lord, you say that you love me. But how can I know that you really love me, when you do not let me know what you pray for?” While I was praying, other disciples who were praying together with me in the church giggled. Later, they said that they had never heard that kind of prayer, so funny.  Then, God’s answer was: “I live in you despite your sins.” I was so embarrassed. The expression of God’s love for me was that despite my sins, the Holy God was staying in me, bearing with all my smelly and dirty sins. Suddenly I was reminded of my sins, and I felt so ashamed. At the same time, I could see his love for me – because he loved me, he was enduring such smells and filthiness. At this, I shouted, “I am sorry, Lord. I will never ask you such a thing. I repent.”

 

When the Holy Spirit lives in your body, the fellowship with Him becomes much more real, and your understanding of God and having fellowship with Him deepens. Jesus says that on that day, when the Holy Spirit lives in you, you will realize that Jesus is in the Father, and you are in him, and he is in you. When Jesus mentioned about forming oneness with the Trinity God, it sounded conceptual and theological, simply not so realistic – being one with the Almighty God???!!!. But when the Holy Spirit lives in them, they would really understand what it means for them to form the unity with the Trinity God, because it is a reality in their life.

 

After getting the answer and gentle rebuke from the Holy Spirit about his love for me, I thought about it a lot. It was really touching. Living with a proud person in a studio apartment, or even taking a class with a sinful person is hard; people cannot bear with such people; they hate each other or they become enemies; that’s why people marry because they think they love, but in two years, they hate each other and divorce. But the Holy Spirit, despite our smelly sins, lives with us, and even in us, bearing with all our sins and filthiness, with long suffering patience. That is the expression of his intense love for us, and that is the evidence of his amazing humility. Sometime later, as I was meditating on this, I was really amazed at His humility. His humility was perfect – nothing to add or improve, just perfect, so marvelous and beautiful. Through it, I could see what kind of person Jesus was, and how he dealt with all kinds of people – Jesus was so beautiful in his meekness. Then, I suddenly realized that I had been exposed to God’s person, God’s character – the perfection in humility. Then, out of the depth of my heart, praise and thanks rose; I praised the Holy Spirit with all my heart and strength. Then, for the next two days, I became like Him in humility, in meekness, speaking tenderly to my children. When God’s glory was reflected on me, I became like him, being so meek and humble. When I had humility like the Holy Spirit, nothing was bothering me. Then, my daughter Sarah said to me, “Dad, today you are different.” I answered, “Yes, I am different, because I have been exposed to God’s person.” Jesus says, “On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you.” Today, the Holy Spirit lives with you. Praise God! You can enjoy fellowship with him and do mighty works with him. But He also wants to live in you. Seek God’s kingdom and God’s righteousness with all your heart and strength so that you may be prepared as a vessel for the Holy Spirit to dwell in. Worship God in spirit, for God seeks such worshipers. Indeed, we are living in a blessed era – the last days when God pours out his Spirit on everyone, on anyone who is prepared.

 

Second, “And I too will love him and show myself to him” (21). Look at verse 21. Let’s read this verse together:

 

21  Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me. He who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love him and show myself to him."

 

          Everyone says, “I love Jesus.” But in Jesus’ eyes, only those who have his commands and obey them are the ones who love him. What commands? Notice here, “commands” in plural. Didn’t he issue only one command, that is, to love one another? Then, how come, “commands”? There are many commands Jesus issues for us: “Love one another” is his command. “Go and make disciples of all nations” is another command. “Feed my sheep” is another command. When we think about the expression, “Whoever has my commands,” we can see that having his commands is personal. You personally accept certain instructions or directions as Jesus’ commands. People do not show absoluteness toward the Sunday worship service, but you accept it as Jesus’ command for you, and thereby, you keep it absolutely above your family gathering or your business trip – they do not have this command, but you have it; no matter how other Christians do, you keep the Sunday worship service absolutely, arranging all your schedules around the worship time. You accept Jesus’ command to be a shepherd for his flock on college campuses personally, and thereby, you make complete devotion to it that despite such rejections and persecutions, you keep doing it, even shedding a lot of tears – you have Jesus’ command, but others don’t have it. People consider sin casually, saying, “No one is perfect. God loves sinners,” and they keep sinning. But some people have Jesus’ commands in regard to their sins, and thereby, fight against their sins wholeheartedly. There are many commands you accept as Jesus’ commands for you personally such as writing a sincere testimony and attending the Friday meeting absolutely, or honoring your physical and spiritual parents and obeying them. Having Jesus’ commands and obeying them is personal. You keep them absolutely no matter how others say or do.

 

In Jeremiah 31, God talked about the New Covenant He would make. “The time is coming," declares the LORD, "when I will make a new covenant… This is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel after that time… I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people.” Writing his law on the peoples’ hearts indicates that it is personal. When God’s laws are written in your hearts, you struggle to keep them absolutely, while others who don’t have God’s laws just do whatever they want to do. They cannot understand why you do so; they just ridicule you as exclusive people, or as even legalistic people. Simply, they don’t have Jesus’ commands, and thereby, they don’t obey them. As a result, in their Christian life, there is no true turning to God, no true commitment, no mission, and no purpose; they just go through the motion and talk all kinds of things which they don’t know. Maybe, only their mouths are spiritual. Those who have God’s laws written on their hearts and thereby keep them are God’s people according to the terms and conditions of God’s New Covenant. Those who have Jesus’ commands and obey them are those who love Jesus really. Blessed are you when you have God’s laws in your hearts. Blessed are you when you have Jesus’ commands and obey them. You are God’s covenant people.

 

          Jesus says, “He who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love him and show myself to him.” When you struggle to keep Jesus’ commands, willing to lose your own dreams and desires in this life, how do you look in God’s eyes? You look so precious – God can see your heart’s love for him. While you keep looking for students, despite many rejections, how do you look in God’s eyes? You look so beautiful. Think about a child who struggles hard to do what his father wants him to do – the task is so challenging and painful for him to do, yet, he struggles all the more, shedding tears for pains and sorrows; while crying and crying, he still does what his father wants him to do. How does he look in the eyes of the father? So cute! In this way, when we have Jesus’ commands and struggle to obey them, we are so beautiful and precious in God’s eyes - we are indeed, his treasured possession. God’s heart goes to us naturally, and He loves us so much. God loves the world, yet his love for those who have Jesus’ commands and obey them is different – God’s treasured possession.

 

          Not only so, Jesus says, “and I too will love him and show myself to him.” Obeying Jesus’ commands is not easy, because he is holy and we are not holy, and because his ways are higher than our ways. But when we have his commands and struggle to obey them, he watches over us, and helps us. When our pain grows more, when we reach our limit, he reveals himself to us, usually, right before we collapse. He is always at the right time, and He is never late. When he shows himself to us in our struggle to obey his commands, there we experience him very personally. Experiencing him personally is the most amazing thing. Once you experience him, your eyes are opened to his beauty and his grace becomes real to you, and you love him all the more. There, once you experience him, you come to see everything differently – what is really beautiful and what is really important, what you must really hope for and pursue. There, everything changes – your life purpose, your hope, your desire. Long time ago, I experienced him. When I reached my limit, he visited me in my small common life room and showed his glory to me, saying, “I know you.” There, all sorrows and loneliness were gone from my heart; happiness and the sense of satisfaction filled my heart. The eternal life I tasted there was so good and wonderful. Then, everything changed. Until then, I pictured my Christian life as the life of a wounded wolf. My Christian life was so difficult – I had many wounds and scars, deep pains, sorrows and loneliness – I became a man of sorrows. Yet, still there was no other choice, because, as I was born again, heaven was real and the hell was real too, and I must not go to hell, but heaven. So, embracing all pains and wounds and scars, I was struggling to live as a Christian. But when Jesus showed himself to me, everything changed; Christian life was a wonderful life, having fellowship with him, and working together with him, and experiencing him. Wow!!! What a wonderful life it was! Then, my whole life purpose and hope changed: It was to meet him and know him, and for this, I would go wherever he led me. Do you want Jesus to show himself to you? Do you want to experience him? Then, have Jesus’ commands and obey them! Love Jesus by obeying his commands, and he will show himself to you.

 

          Third, “We will come to him and make our home with him” (22-31). Look at verse 22. Then Judas (not Judas Iscariot) said, "But, Lord, why do you intend to show yourself to us and not to the world?" During the upper room dialogue, Jesus revealed himself as God, the way and the truth and the life; he identified himself with God the Father, saying, “Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father.” And now he said that if they obeyed his commands, he would show himself to them. Thaeddius wondered how come Jesus didn’t show himself to the world so that all people would know him and worship him, if he were really God. How com he chose to reveal himself to only the 11 apostles. He could not understand Jesus’ way of working. Actually, we too think in the same way. If Jesus reveals himself to the world, many people would worship him. How come Jesus chooses to reveal himself to his disciples?

 

What was Jesus’ answer? Look at verses 23 and 24. Let’s read these verses together:

 

23  Jesus replied, "If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. 24  He who does not love me will not obey my teaching. These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me.

 

At a first glance, Jesus’ answer sounds incoherent; it seems that his response is not related to the question. But it was. Jesus says, “He who does not love me will not obey my teaching.” Even if Jesus reveals himself to the world, even if he proves himself as God, still eventually people will not obey his teaching, because they do not love him. Then, his point was: What’s the point of showing myself to the world? In his eyes, no point at all. But what about his 11 apostles? They loved him, and thereby, obeyed his teaching. So, he chose to show himself to them continually. What do you see here? We see here the ultimate result Jesus expects from us, that is, we live the life of obeying his teaching, obeying his commands. That’s the ultimate goal, real essence of our Christian life. Only those who love Jesus live that kind of life, and Jesus shows himself to them continually, and thereby, they come to know him more and more. In such peoples’ life, God’s creation order is restored. This is what the Bible is talking about from Genesis to Revelation. In Jesus Christ, we finally live in obedience to God’s commands, God’s will and purpose. This is what Christian life is about – not that we live a religious life, having Christianity as our religion, and doing some Christian things just in the same way the Muslims do Islam things, but that we live the life of obeying God’s commands, God’s laws. That is the real essence of our Christian life. Do you love Jesus? Then, have Jesus’ commands and obey them. That’s what Jesus expects from you. Without it, your Christian life has no purpose, no direction and no point. Only those who love Jesus do so, while those who do not love him don’t. When you do so, Jesus will show himself to you continually, and you will be really happy with him.

 

          Look at verse 23 again. Jesus says, “If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him.” Here, pay attention to the expression, “We will make our home with him.” God the Father and God the Son comes to you and make their home with you – this is very touching. When you love Jesus by obeying his commands, God the Father and God the Son offer you a home environment relationship. At home, you relax; you don’t have tension. You sit around the table with Jesus and God the Father, and you talk mouthful. There you are free to talk to him and enjoy fellowship with him; you can talk about anything. Indeed, there you enjoy freedom.

 

          Here we see great contrast. As you have Jesus’ commands and obey them, you show absoluteness toward his will and purpose, no compromise, but absolute loyalty and faithfulness, just like well-disciplined and reliable soldier. Your obedience to Jesus’ will and purpose is complete. Then, God offers you a home environment relationship so that you can enjoy life together with them freely. This is the real picture of our Christian life. We love God above all other things and thereby, obey his commands, his will and his purpose absolutely. As we do so, we come to enjoy such wonderful fellowship with Him. Think about Abraham. He enjoyed such wonderful fellowship with God. But when God’s command came, he was absolute, even obeying the command to sacrifice his only son Isaac as a burnt offering to God. He was indeed free to love God and serve Him. This is what Jesus talks about when he said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth and the truth will set you free.”

 

          It is all Christians’ dream to have this kind of wonderful fellowship with God the Father and God the Son – a home environment fellowship with God. But the problem is that they don’t have God’s commands and they don’t obey them. Without doing their portion, they just claim that wonderful fellowship. It does not work. They must love God. How? By accepting God’s calling, God’s will as God’s commands for them and obeying them absolutely. They must do their portion first so that they can have real fellowship with God.

 

Look at verses 25 through 27. So far, in his upper room dialogue, Jesus talked to his disciples very heavy messages and it seemed that his disciples neither understood nor accepted his teaching. But despite their objections, Jesus did not despair because he knew that when the Holy Spirit came to them, He would teach them all things and help them remember his teaching. So entrusting all other matters into the hands of the Holy Spirit, he blessed his disciples, saying, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”

 

Look at verses 28 through 31. Let’s read these verses responsively:

 

28"You heard me say, 'I am going away and I am coming back to you.' If you loved me, you would be glad that I am going to the Father, for the Father is greater than I. 29I have told you now before it happens, so that when it does happen you will believe. 30I will not speak with you much longer, for the prince of this world is coming. He has no hold on me, 31but the world must learn that I love the Father and that I do exactly what my Father has commanded me. "Come now; let us leave.

 

Dying on the cross was painful and shameful. But he died willingly, of his own accord. Why? Because he wanted to obey God’s command by any means. Thus, he proved that he loved God more than anything—even more than his own life. As the time of his crucifixion was approaching, he became victorious in spirit, because his death on the cross was his victory that, despite such difficulties, he obeyed God’s command. Despite such difficulties, he did not forsake God’s mission or make any excuse, but he obeyed God to the end. He was so victorious that he said, “But the world must learn that I love the Father and that I do exactly what my Father has commanded me.” If we love Jesus, we do what he commands us to do no matter how hard and costly it may be. Then, we become victorious, having a powerful testimony, saying, “Despite such difficulties, I have obeyed God’s command.” Even in a seeming difficult situation, we become powerful like warriors. Think about you saying this with cracking voice in your death bed, “The world must learn that I love the Father and that I do exactly what my Father has commanded me.” An electric shock will go through their bodies, and they will have goose bumps. When you have this testimony, you are true victors in life.

 

One Word: If You Love Me, You Will Obey What I Command

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