Summary: “He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him.” This sermon's goal is to teach what is meant by "My commandments" refers to.
This is our second week in considering John 14:21. It reads:
“He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him.”
Last week, I discussed the first part of this passage, which challenges us to have His commandments. In order to have Jesus’s commandments, we need to know what are, and what are not His commandments. As I said last week, there are many opinions on this. When asked, some will say the phrase, “My commandments” refers to the Ten Commandments. Modern Judaizers say it refers to the entire law of Moses. Some say it refers to the non-ceremonial portion of the law of Moses. Others say it refers to the Greatest Commandment given in Matthew 22; to love God with all your being, and to love our neighbor as ourselves.
Last week, I reviewed many scriptures to establish our freedom from the authority and condemnation from the Ten Commandments and the Law of Moses. Now, I want to address the last opinion, which is says the reference to “My commandments” points to the Greatest Commandment given in Matthew 22.
The Greatest Commandment
Jesus was once challenged by a lawyer. The lawyer asked Him a question to test Him. He said, “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?”
“Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.” Matt 22:37-40
In Mark 12:31, Jesus added to this, saying, “There is no other commandment greater than these.”
So the question arises, “Is this “greatest commandment” what Jesus referred to when He mentioned “My commandments” in John 14:21? My answer is, “No.” The reason the answer is, “No” is found in Luke 16, where Jesus said,
“The law and the prophets were until John. Since that time the kingdom of God has been preached, and everyone is pressing into it. And it is easier for heaven and earth to pass away than for one tittle of the law to fail. Luke 16:16-17
The lawyer asked what was the Greatest Commandment in the Law. Jesus didn’t separated the Greatest Commandment from the law. Jesus said, “On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.” And Jesus said :the law and the prophets were until John.”
Last week, we covered our freedom from the Law. And like the law, the Greatest Commandment also condemned us. We couldn’t keep the Law of Moses, and we can’t keep the Greatest Commandment. It requires us to “love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.” Is your heart of mind so pure that you can obey this? Our mind is constantly tempted to please the flesh. Once you covet, you’ve violated this greatest commandment.
If the greatest commandment was the culmination of all of God’s will, they why did Jesus give us a new commandment in John chapter 13?
“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another;
as I have loved you, that you also love one another.” John 13:34
This new commandment is confirmed in 1 John 3;
“And this is His commandment: that we should believe on the name of His Son Jesus Christ and love one another, as He gave us commandment.” 1 John 3:23
Take the word, “this’, and underline it. Then make it bold, and flashing in red. THIS is His commandment, to believe in Jesus and to love one another as He gave us commandment. The ending phrase, “as He gave us commandment”, refers back to John 13:34, where Jesus said;
“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another.” John 13:34
The first aspect of the His Commandment in 1 John 3 is to believe in the name of Jesus. This sets us free from the law and gives us righteousness by faith. The Greatest Commandment, though holy, couldn’t save us. This new commandment brings us eternal life and salvation. Without faith in Jesus, one remains condemned in sin.
New Testament Commands
To find New Testament commands, seek out scriptures that define them as commandments. It is a mistake to define every instruction as a commandment. Some internet sites say there are 1,050 commands in the New Testament. There were only 613 commandments in the Old Testament.
They arrive at the 1,050 count by including every instruction, even if those verses aren’t defined as a commandment. Why would Jesus die to set us free from the law, and then place us under more commands than were found in the law? He didn’t.