Summary: Sermon five in a fourteen sermon series based on the popular Bible study by Henry Blackaby.
We have spoken in this series about how God calls us to develop an intimate and growing love relationship with Him. How is this done?
Well, it is all possible because of God’s initiative. God took the initiative in this relationship by giving His Son for us at Calvary.
“But God showed how much he loved us by having Christ die for us, even though we were sinful.” - Romans 5:8 (CEV)
Out of an appreciation of His love, we love Him.
“We love because he first loved us.” - 1 John 4:19 (NIV)
A love that properly appreciates God’s love will be expressed through obedience.
“If you love me, you will obey what I command.” - John 14:15 (NIV)
When a person first accepts Christ, it is as a response to the love of God demonstrated through the cross expressed by obedience to the Gospel.
“What will the outcome be for those who do not obey the gospel of God? - 1 Peter 4:17 (NIV)
Now, as ones who have obeyed the Gospel, we have come to know god personally and as a result, love Him all the more. This love should also be expressed through obedience. This is how we walk with God and grow in our love relationship with Him.
“And now, just as you accepted Christ Jesus as your Lord, you must continue to live in obedience to him.” - Colossians 2:6 (NLT)
As that love is expressed through obedience, God makes Himself more fully known to us and our love relationship with Him is deepened, as we grow to love Him even more.
With this understanding of how we are to grow in love relationship with God, I want us to consider that which God invites us to when he speaks to us.
1. God invites us to love Him -
We respond to this invitation when we accept the fact of God’s love being demonstrated to us through the cross. The cross is a "once-for-all" statement of God’s never-ending love for you and me!
By His love, God has provided us with the opportunity to know Him personally. We come to know Him personally through trusting His Son, Jesus as our Savior.
But having come to know Him personally, He invites us to know Him intimately. He invites us to know Him in intimate love relationship. God’s desire is that our chief motivation in our daily walk with Him be a growing love for Him.
When it comes to your friendships in life, which do you consider a true friend? A person who associates with you only when they need to borrow something from you, or one who associates with you just because they like spending time with you?
When you go to God in prayer, is it always because you need something? Do you seek His face and His presence just because you love Him? This is God’s desire for us in our relationship with Him.
He wants us to develop a true friendship with Him. He wants us to enjoy being in His presence. Note the promise that Jesus makes to those who are the friends of God:
“I’m no longer calling you servants because servants don’t understand what their master is thinking and planning. No, I’ve named you friends because I’ve let you in on everything I’ve heard from the Father.” - John 15:15 (The Message)
2. God invites us to join Him -
This is what obedience is, joining God in what He is doing. This is how Jesus walked in obedience to the Father.
“But Jesus answered them, My Father has worked [even] until now, [He has never ceased working; He is still working] and I, too, must be at [divine] work. So Jesus answered them by saying, I assure you, most solemnly I tell you, the Son is able to do nothing of Himself (of His own accord); but He is able to do only what He sees the Father doing, for whatever the Father does is what the Son does in the same way [in His turn].” The Father dearly loves the Son and discloses to (shows) Him everything that He Himself does. And He will disclose to Him (let Him see) greater things yet than these, so that you may marvel and be full of wonder and astonishment.”
- John 5:17; 19-20 (Amplified)
Note our Lord’s Example:
1) The Father has been working right up until now.
2) Now God has Me working.
3) I do nothing on My own initiative.
4) I watch to see what the Father is doing.
5) I do what I see the Father is already doing.
6) You see, the Father loves me.
7) He shows Me everything that He, Himself, is doing.
The key word here is watch!
“And let us run with endurance the race that God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus.” - Hebrew 12:lb-2a (NLT)