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Summary: What are the implications of loving Jesus?

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SMB 01-05-05

Story: "There is an old legend which says when Jesus had ascended into heaven, the angel Gabriel asked him,

"Lord what plans have you made for carrying on your ministry in the world? How will people learn of what you have done for them?"

Jesus responded, "I left that to Peter, James and John, Martha and Mary. They are to tell their friends and their friends will tell other friends until the whole world has heard the good news."

Gabriel then asked, "What if Peter is so busy with his nets and Martha so full of her housework and the friends so preoccupied that they all forget to tell their friends? Don’t you think you should make a “Plan B”?”

Jesus answered, "I have no Plan B. I am counting on My Children to spread my name and my love."

We are called to share the Good News of Jesus Christ – and the way we can do that is by living the Christian life.

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 anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching

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 taught. He said:

If any one loves me he will keep my commands.

Or as he put it two verses earlier in John 14: 21

Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me.

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 as story that the famous Canadian 20th Century Pentecostal missionary, Jonathan Goforth, used to tell.

When Jonathan was 16 and still living at home with his parents, his father bought a second farm. He asked Jonathan to look after a huge field on that farm and get it ready for harvest.

Jonathan loved his father and wanted to please him. 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. 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.

Jesus gave the Church a single great Commission.

If we really love him, we would be passionate about this.

He told the Church in Mt 28: 18-20

“All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age”

Making disciples does not mean that you have to walk around with a billboard on your back saying “Repent before the Day of Judgement” – and look thoroughly miserable.

Making disciples is I would suggest to you – one of the goals of the house groups that are being set up around the two Benefices.

It means more than Sunday Christianity. Dare I say it more than just coming to Church.

It requires PRAYER - for in that way we get to know the will of the Father.

Loving Jesus means that HIS WILL not mine must be done

It means helping others in the Church fulfil their God Given potential. And being happy with their success.

It means having a heart for the lost at St Mary’s Bay –even if it means giving up things in our own comfort zones

Like occasionally putting on services more accessible to the lost than we are used to.

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