Summary: Go show are love of the Father
I would like to comment on one verse from our lesson this morning and the verse can be found John 14:23 where Jesus says:
If you love me you will keep my commandments
This is part of a discourse that Jesus had with his disciples – and in which he made the momentous claim
I am the Way the Truth and the Life, no one comes to the Father except through me (Jn 14:6).
And you might be tempted to think that Jesus is therefore telling the disciples that by keeping his commandments they will be saved.
You see- so often those - both inside the Church and outside - think that Christianity is all about keeping rules.
The picture they have of God is of a stern “Victorian Father” who doesn’t want us to have fun and has to be obeyed.
Yet I would suggest, this is not what Jesus is saying at all.
He said: If any one loves me he will keep my commands.
Or as he put it in John 14: 21
Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me.
We don’t keep God’s commands in able for God to love us
We keep God’s commands BECAUSE WE love HIM.
And that is a world of difference
We should want to do what God likes – defined by his commands - because we love him.
Story: Perhaps I can explain it better by telling you a story that the famous Canadian 20th Century Pentecostal missionary, Jonathan Goforth, used to tell to explain this.
When Jonathan was 16 and still living at home with his parents on the farm, his father bought a second farm.
He asked Jonathan to look after a huge field on that second farm and get it ready for harvest.
Jonathan loved his father and wanted to please him. And he was proud that his father entrusted him with that job.
So he ploughed and weeded the field.
He tilled it, bought the best grain and planted it in the field.
When the field was ready for harvest, Jonathan brought his father over to inspect it.
Jonathan’s father came and stood on a small hill overlooking the field and said nothing.
He simply surveyed the field to see if he could find weeds.
When he found nothing, Jonathan’s father simply smiled.
Jonathan Goforth used to say:
"It was the smile on my father’s face that was all the reward I needed.
So it is with our heavenly father when we do what he commands us to do."
God is interested not just in our deeds, but in our motivation for what we do.
Put another way, God is interested in our hearts.
Jesus told his disciples in John 15:9-10 to
Remain in my love. If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father’s commands and remain in his love”
You see Jesus’ emphasis again on our motivation.
Our goal is to remain in his love. How do we do this – by keeping his commands.
Can I leave you with one of my favourite proverbs to think about.
I must have chewed it over once for a whole year when I was in Basle some years ago.
“Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life” (Proverbs 4:23)
If you want to remain in the love of Christ, you will need to guard your heart and not allow it to chase after anything else.