Summary: Obedience which does not proceed from genuine love to Christ has no reality in it; it is not the genuine offspring of the heart, the real act of the soul. It lacks the essential motive and inspiration of all Christian deeds.
OBEDIENCE: THE EVIDENCE OF HIS LOVE
Study Text: John 14: 15 - 21
- Jesus said, "If you love me, you will obey what I command”. Three motives for obedience exist: We can obey because we have to; we can obey because we need to; or we can obey because we want to.
- A slave obeys because he has to. An employee obeys because he needs to. But a believer obeys God's word because he wants to - for the relationship between him and God is one of love.
- Obedience is a central theme throughout Scripture. From the story of creation to the end of Revelation, it's difficult to turn a page that doesn't deal - directly or indirectly - with God's call for obedience.
- In our time, however, obeying God's commands often is ignored, dismissed, or glossed over. Why? Because obedience slaps us in the face. It confronts our sin. It challenges our lives.
- Yet God commands us to obey, not because he is on a power trip, but rather because he wants what's best for us. God's commands are not to kill our fun, but to increase our enjoyment
- God would have established Saul’s kingdom forever, but because of his disobedience, it was given to another person.
- Now obeying God is not like obeying anyone else. Even parents often lead their children wrongly by commanding wrong things of them. But God is perfect and all wise.
- He never commands of us that which is wrong. He loves us more than any other and would never lead us where it would not be for our ultimate good.
- We shall discuss the topic under three sub-headings:
1. The Subject of Obedience
2. The Strength for Obedience
3. The Stumbling blocks of Obedience
1. The Subject of Obedience 1 John 2: 1 - 6
- “If you love me you will keep my commandments,” says Jesus to us today (John 14:15). We could say that is a very strong statement by Jesus. Does this mean that every time we sin we do not love Jesus?
- Yes. Although we love Jesus, every time we commit sin we love something or someone else more than Jesus. If we love Jesus more than anything else we will keep ourselves free from sin for Jesus. If we love Jesus we will strive to give ourselves totally to him. When we sin we are giving ourselves to something other than Jesus or to somebody other than Jesus.
- And when we love Jesus with all our heart, soul, mind and strength we will not want to put anything, no matter how small, before Jesus.
- Four realities for obeying his commands are revealed in these verses.
i. Obedience proves our salvation (1 John 2:3)
- John is not answering the question, "How does one become a Christian?" He is not saying that if you want to be saved or receive God's grace or know God, then you have to obey.
- He is saying, "Here's how you know that you know God: it's manifested in the way you live. It's manifested in your obedience." In other words, we know that we know God because we keep his commandments.
- John is not teaching that salvation is conditional on obedience. John is teaching that salvation is evidenced by obedience. And, in turn, that obedience contributes to our assurance of salvation. Obedience is a sign that we know God, recognizing that God expects his people to live a certain way - His way.
- How do we know that we know God? The test is whether we keep his commandments. Do you obey God's Word? Is the Bible your final rule for faith and practice? Be careful how you answer for many people place a greater emphasis on traditions than on the teachings of the Bible.
ii. Obedience transforms our lives (1 John 2:4).
- His point is: If you claim to know God but your life is not changed by knowing him, then that is a certain sign that you don't know God.
- He is saying that the person who does not keep God's commands does not have the truth at all. Why? Because the truth of God turns our lives upside down. It changes us. It transforms us.
- Once you have the truth it fills you with a fire in your belly and a love for the living God; it changes everything. God's truth always leads to love; it always leads to obedience; it always leads to a transformed life.
iii. Obedience springs from our love (1 John 2:5).
- John seems to be saying that our love for God is a reflection of God's love for us and a response to it, so that our keeping of God's word could be a sign that God's love had done its full work in us. Made complete means that the believer's love is entire and mature.