Summary: Accepting and not just giving lip service to the Holy Spirit. Just one of God's gift to us given out of an unconditional love.
Another Councellor John14 v15-31.
Love & Obedience:
Love is one of the most powerful emotions we have. The actress Joan Crawford once said “Love is a fire but whether it warms your heart or burns your house down, you can never tell!” Love can motivate, give pleasure, hurt even destroy. It can make us do bold, even stupid things. During the 17th century, Oliver Cromwell, sentenced a soldier to be shot for his crimes. The execution was to take place at the ringing of the evening curfew bell. However, the bell did not sound. The soldier's fiancé had climbed into the belfry and clung to the great clapper of the bell to prevent it from striking. When she was summoned by Cromwell to account for her actions, she wept as she showed him her bruised and bleeding hands. Cromwell's heart was touched and he said, "Your lover shall live because of your sacrifice. Curfew shall not ring tonight!" As Christians, portrayed in the bible as brides of Christ, who is the Bridegroom, we too have a lover who gives us life because of his sacrifice. We are told that one day the Bridegroom will return and we shall be reunited and honeymoon, so to speak, in heaven. Before the world of political correctness and equality, the marriage ceremony as printed in the 1662 Book of Common Prayer, made the bride, not bridegroom, pledge to obey the one they loved!
At the very beginning of today’s passage Jesus tells the disciples “If you love me, you will obey what I command.” I guess many of us have said similar things in our past. For instance, kids might say to their parents “If you really love me you’ll buy that new computer” or a wife might say to her husband “If you really love me you’ll stop going down the pub every night”
Just as important as what Jesus said is what He did not say. Jesus didn’t say, “If you keep my commandments, then you love me.” You can’t turn a cause and effect statement around without changing it’s meaning. “If you keep my commandments, then you love me” means that love is produce by obedience or love flows out of obedience. Now how many of you know that just isn’t true?
Anyone that has been zapped by a speed camera or pulled up by the Police and gets a fine and endorsement is likely to be a bit more careful in the future, especially if the lose of their driving licence is threatened. Our obedience to the law doesn’t come about by our love for the policeman who pulled us over or installed the camera. Even if they were nice or handsome like I used to be when in the police! Neither because we necessarily agree with the speed limit set, let’s be fair some are stupid, especially at night on empty motorways! So why do we drive slower? Because we don’t want a fine or endorsement!
What Jesus said was, “if you love me, then you will obey my commandments.” In other words, love produces obedience, or obedience to Christ’s command is the result of genuine love. It is possible to obey Jesus’ words, as we would a speed limit, and not love Him, maybe because of fear of God. However it should be impossible to love Him and not obey Him. I say should, because we often hurt the one we love don’t we! I am convinced that the Lord prefers obedience out of love more than out of fear! Wouldn’t you?
Jesus Promises the Holy Spirit but is it for all?: As Christians we often speak about God’s unconditional love, I’ve often preached on it. However on face value reading the first two verses of our reading “If you love me, you will obey what I command. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counsellor to be with you for ever – the Spirit of truth” it seems that conditions apply! Although God’s love is available for all mankind, as we read on it becomes apparent that the gift of the Counsellor, The Holy Spirit is only available for those who have a love relationship with Jesus. Those who not only know about him, but have invited him to be part of their lives, to indwell within their very body. A Christian with a capital C!
The importance of Calvary: It is abundantly clear that Jesus knew and fully understood he had to take the road to Calvary. Although there wouldn’t be any nasty policeman hiding behind bushes with speed traps, his journey would involve much more pain and punishment than we could ever imagine! If you think the M25 is the road to Hell as portrayed in the record by Chris Rea, it pales into insignificance to the road to Calvary that Christ took!