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Summary: Examines the primary means of displaying your love for Christ - Obedience. Examines how to study your Bible.

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SHOWING OUR LOVE FOR CHRIST

It’s that time of year again, and in spite of the best efforts of some college presidents, homeowners’ associations, and local governments, manger scenes, Christmas tress and lights are sprouting up all over the place. There may not be any snow on the ground around here, but the mall parking lots are full, Wal-Mart is filled to over-flowing, traffic is horrendous, tempers are shorter than usual, and ads fill the newspapers. Our children are inundated with the latest toy commercials, the airports have delays, and people are being trampled at sales. The jewelry stores have all designed new sets. Folks are filling their credit cards, buying junk they don’t like, for people they don’t like, with money they don’t have. You can once again buy popcorn in a can and soap on a rope, mistletoe, and underwear in red and green packaging. Soap and body-oil sets line every aisle. Men’s shaving and cologne sets cover the end caps; mixers, waffle irons, and socket sets are on sale, and the sales clerks are in such sweet moods.

Mama’s upset because of packages she doesn’t yet have wrapped, and the cards she sent that have not been answered. Daddies are trying to decide if Mama will prefer a frying pan, vacuum cleaner, or gym membership. He’s a bit concerned because he picked the wrong one last year. Evidently the iron he bought her was the wrong color. He’s in no real hurry though, because he still has plenty of time. The kids are anxious because the days are dragging too slowly, and it seems that school will never let out.

There’s a tree now filling ½ the living room that’s shedding needles all over the place. The children are doing plays and concerts, while the churches are having cantatas. You’re spending evenings at parties with people you don’t even want to work with, and there’s junk food everywhere you turn. There is someone with a red kettle ringing a bell at the entrance of every store, the cheerleaders are selling Chik-fila calendars, and the grape vines are dying along the roadsides.

Yes, it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas. Doesn’t it bring a lump to your throat? It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas, but I wonder; is this how we celebrate Jesus’ birthday? Is this how we show Jesus we love Him?

This is to be the time of year when we especially focus on Christ. It is the time of year when we remember the great gift that God gave us 2000 years ago. Is our love for Jesus measured by the length of our light displays? Is it to be measured by the size of Nativity scenes, or the fervency with which we sing Christmas carols? Are we to prove our love for Jesus by refusing to buy from any store that sells “Holiday Trees” instead of Christmas Trees? Do we prove our love by insisting that folks say “Merry Christmas” instead of “Happy Holidays?”

Oh, for crying out loud. I believe the whole mess would probably sicken Jesus. Let me share with you what Jesus wants for His birthday. Let me show you how He says you can show your love for Him.

- John 14:15-26

Jesus says, “If you love Me, keep My commandments.”

> Romans 5:8 But God proves His own love for us in that while we were still sinners Christ died for us!

God showed His love for us, by having Jesus die for us when we were at our worse. In turn, Jesus says, “You can show your love for Me by keeping My commandments.”

When folks have birthdays, we sing to them, and buy them gifts, and give them birthday cakes. We do that to celebrate with them and to show them we love them. Jesus says He wants something else. He wants a different gift.

There is one thing that demonstrates your love for Jesus. There is one word that Jesus understands as love for Him. That word is not cantata. It is not gifts. It is not manger, or nativity, or carol. It is not Santa, or shepherds, or sleigh bells. The gift that Jesus wants is Obedience.

> John 14:15 If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.

Obedience. If you love Me, Obey!

No need to wrap it. You don’t have to worry about the size, or the color. It will never become old fashioned or antiquated. They’ll never have a newer model. He’ll never return it. There is one thing Jesus wants for Christmas and that is obedience. He says, “If you love Me, Obey!”

Listen. You can tell your wife you love her all day long, but if you do not demonstrate it with your actions, it means nothing. You can tell your children you love them, and you should, but it means nothing if your actions do not match your words.

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