Summary: Exposition Of John
Text: John 14:15, Title: “If You Love Me…”, Date/Place: NRBC, 5/19/13, AM
A. Opening illustration: teach a parrot to repeat the teachings of Jesus, diagnosing fandom, never “becoming a man” because there is no transition; start acting like one—story about the man who decided to attempt to spend a year living out the OT as best he could, then wrote a book about it,
B. Context to passage: Quick reminder of scene. Jesus had just spoken of the fact that He was the earthly incarnation of the Father; they had seen/been with the Father for 3 years. But that he was going away to be with the Father. This was devastating; again he had been speaking about this for several hours now, and “here we go again.” But he says not to fear, they would keep up the ministry doing His works, and even greater works because He was going to the Father, the cross would be accomplished, salvation would be implemented, and they could pray in Christ’s name. So He keeps on giving them comfort with these next verses. That’s important to remember, because this is a verse that we can rip out, and beat people over the head with, especially with the textual variant. The comfort comes because Jesus is still telling them how they are going to continue on without Him, doing the works He did (and greater). Today, we are only doing the first part, but know there is more comfort coming, a whole night of it, weeks of it for us.
C. Main thought: Jesus tells us that if we love him, keep His commands
A. Not About Rules
1. As I said before, this is not about keeping rules. That is what Pharisees did. These were the people that Jesus had the harshest words for in the scripture. You want to see some names that you wouldn’t want to be called as a first century Jew, turn to Matt 23. It’s really unfortunate that some Baptist and other evangelical groups have taken holiness and the commands/demands of Jesus (which there are) and made them into laws. The original Pharisees would make a list of things that they could keep, but many others couldn’t, and pride themselves on their “goodness” looking down on everyone else.
3. Illustration: “For the original Pharisees this amounted to things like washing their hands before eating, observing the Sabbath by not lifting a finger, fasting twice a week, giving tenths of all they had to the temple…everything for show. For today’s Pharisee, certain cultural taboos serve the same purpose, such as smoking, drinking, dancing, R-rated movies, for instance…the system cleverly enables us to follow the law (as we’ve interpreted it) while passing judgment on all those who don’t follow it, can’t follow it, or simply couldn’t care less about our little charade.” –John Fischer in 12 Steps to a Recovering Pharisee
4. James calls the our faith the “perfect law of liberty” because he knew what it meant to try to keep the 613 commands of the OT. Are there commands/demands of Jesus? Yes! Does He have authority in our lives and the world to command things of us? Yes! Are we obligated to do them? Yes! But one of them is that our righteousness must exceed that of the Pharisees. Another is that we must love our enemies and pray for those who spitefully use us and curse us. Another is that we forgive infinitely those who have wronged us. Another is that we abstain from worship until we have fixed broken relationships with others in our faith family. Another is that we should stop worrying over normal life issues, stop being angry over temporal concerns. Another is that we fast, tithe, pay our taxes. Love God with all your heart. Keep your promises. Take up our cross and deny ourselves. Take the gospel to our neighbor, our world, and make disciples. Love one another, wash one another’s feet. But these are not to be done as a checklist. These are not to be a burden; in fact, His burden is light; it brings life and joy. These are to be done from love.
B. Really about Faith and Love
1. He has already covered the believe in me thing about 20X the other day. But this is the first time that Jesus has mentioned the disciples loving Him. He has talked about Him loving them, Him loving the Father, the Father loving Him, and them loving each other. But they are linked, note the other verses. “But beneath all this fruit(of keeping His word) is the fundamental reality of heartfelt love for Jesus—strong feelings of admiration for His attributes, abiding enjoyment of his fellowship, undying attraction to His presence, warm affection for his kinship, and strong gratitude for loving us before we loved Him.” –Piper. The whole of the Christian faith is about loving Christ. It is about treasuring Christ. It is about valuing Christ. It is about displaying worth with the decisions you make because of the commitment you have to Christ because of the importance of Christ. Biblical love is action based on decision based on affection and commitment based on value. And this love is the basis of the keeping of the commandment. “Love is not synonymous with commandment-keeping; it is the root of it.”