Summary: Jesus gives us a good reason to listen to His Word.
May 16, 2004 John 14:23-29
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. . . 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.
Do You Love Jesus?
Last Sunday was Mother’s Day. To be honest with you, I really don’t look forward to these days. They remind me of going on a first date with someone – you have to try and do that little something extra - put on some more cologne and be a little more pleasant and talkative. Just because someone (probably the florists) call a day Mother’s Day, then on this one day children and husbands are pressured to do something beyond just saying “thanks.” They’re supposed to buy some flowers, take them out to eat, or make them a card. I don’t like it when someone says I have to show someone love on a certain day. I’d rather do it when and how I want – not when someone tells me to. I also wonder how often these days just end up getting people more angry at one another because they don’t get treated the way they feel they deserve. Instead of promoting love, I think they more often than not end up in disappointment.
Do you love Jesus? If you do, how do you show it? You can’t buy him flowers. You can’t take him out to eat. You can’t give him a Happy Jesus’ Day card. But there are some other things you can do. In today’s text Jesus mentions two things you can do if you love him. Now, I want you to understand that this isn’t like the Mother’s Day celebration. Jesus isn’t drawing a line in the church and saying, “if you really love me, then do this.” He’s more stating a fact of what those who love Him will do. A better translation of this would be – “whenever anyone loves me – he will.” So I don’t want you to look at what Jesus tells us to do as something we have to do – but something we just naturally will do our of love for Jesus. Ever since our baptisms – this is just a natural thing. It’s like telling a kid to watch TV or play video games – it’s just something God makes us to do by His grace.
What does Jesus say we will do as loving Christians? Jesus literally says, “whenever anyone loves me, he will keep my Word.” The word for “keep” – threo - has a couple different meanings – “to hold, guard, obey.” When someone gives you something to hold onto, or to guard, or to keep, it depends on what it is. About five years ago my father gave me a Bible that was his father’s – it’s over one hundred years old. I now keep it on the shelf of my office – displayed in a prominent place. But we don’t do the same thing with all of our gifts. My son has a bicycle that he’s owned for about three years now. The front wheel is all bent, he’s needed the seat to be replaced. The back tire is completely worn down. But that’s ok with me. I wasn’t too happy when his old seat was broken, and I don’t like it when he just leaves it laying in the front yard. But I wanted him to use the bike. I didn’t want him just to put it in the garage. A part of keeping it means using it. It depends on what we get – how useful or expensive or fragile it is as to how we use it.
Jesus gave us His Word – and told us to keep it. In the Third Commandment we say how we “keep it” - by regarding it as holy and gladly hearing and learning it. This explanation is taken from God’s Word – which tells us what it means to keep His Word. Isaiah 66:2 says, “this is the one whom I esteem – he who trembles at my Word.” Think about what the Bible actually is. It is God’s Word. God chose to tear down the barriers – come down from the heavens – and communicate with us. We now have an inspired Bible – written by direction of the Holy Spirit. Think about how prized a possession an original Rembrandt or Da Vinci drawing or painting is. Think about how much more precious this Word is. If God appeared to you tonight in a vision and had some things to say to you – and wrote them down for you – how would you treat that book? You would keep it – be very careful in how you treated that book – and you would also read it very carefully. But keeping His Word regards more than just reading it and having it touch our brains. James 1:22 says, “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.” Jesus wants us to really dig into his Word and start applying it to our lives. He wants you to read all about what He did for you. He wants you to have a firm confidence in the way to salvation by His grace. He wants you to know how to live your life – how to love your spouse – how to treat your children. In other words – keeping His Word is more than putting it on a shelf. It means putting it in your brain and your heart, on your tongue and your fingers, on your face and on your whole life.