HOUSMAIL HM#036 - LOVING JESUS MORE
13 September 1999
Jesus said two very challenging things about the relationship between love and obedience.
"If you love me, you WILL keep my commandments". (John 14:15)
"He who DOES NOT LOVE ME, does not keep my words." (John 14:24)
And with that He also left this truly wonderful promise - "If a man loves me, he WILL keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him." (John 14:23)
Think of it. This is no intangible, impossible future "pie in the sky"! Nor is it only a distant future "pie on earth"! It is a very real promise for this PRESENT LIFE! "We ARE (present tense Paul says) the temple of the living God". (2 Cor 6:16) To qualify for it, all we have to do is love Jesus enough to obey His Commandments!
If we can find the secret of that sort of love, God will no longer be remote "up there in Heaven", or "out there somewhere", wandering around His creation. He will be "at home" with us where we really live, within the innermost parts of our being ..... and so will Jesus!
And if that is true for us, then when we awake at the resurrection, it will become a glorious eternal reality. _________________________________________________________________________
How can we who are so painfully aware of our own frailty, ever love Jesus enough to believe and obey that way? How can we ever love Him enough to break the cycle of sin?
The Bible contains ONLY ONE SIMPLE ANSWER to that question. It is described in Acts 8:12 as:
THE (TWO PART) GOSPEL ABOUT:
2. THE GOSPEL ABOUT THE MAN NAMED JESUS
The things about the man named Jesus (who is also THE SON OF GOD) provide the necessary information about what is required of us, in order to QUALIFY for those conditional promises.
They describe the differences between those who will inherit the Kingdom, and those who will not. They describe the standard of judgement which will eternally separate between the two groups. They tell US each individually, what is wrong with US. They tell us what MUST be changed. They tell us what to do to please God. And they tell us HOW TO CHANGE!
LOVE - THE FINAL LINK
The PROMISE of the Kingdom, is certainly a powerful motivation. And KNOWING WHAT TO DO is essential. We cannot proceed without the foundation contained there. However if those things stand alone, without LOVE FOR JESUS, they will never be enough!
That is where the CROSS has its place. It ALONE offers the INSPIRATION for the LOVE which TRULY believes and obeys!
There we learn how seriously God views OUR SINS! There we see in graphic and repulsive detail, the terrifying TRUTH about what OUR SINS deserved.
There we learn the depth of the love of God for us, when He gave His own Son to suffer those things for us. There we learn the love for us that Jesus shared with His Father, when He took our penalty upon Himself.
NOTHING AT ALL can quench this love .... not rejection .... not reviling or mocking or false accusation .... not spitting in His face ..... not plucking the beard from His face ..... not the buffeting and bruising which marred his visage beyond recognition ..... not placing that fearsome crown of thorns on His head ..... not flogging the skin from His back ..... not even nailing Him unjustly to a Roman cross.
We see Jesus accepting all that was done to Him, loving us unconditionally, without retaliation or complaint. Nothing this side of death, nothing in all creation, or all eternity, can ever make this man, or the God who is His Father, cease from loving us. (Rom 8:38-39)
When we lay hold of the message of the love of Jesus properly, it will confront us with a demand to make our own personal choice about how we will respond.
When I face the terrible cost of my sin, and my PERSONAL responsibility for every last moment of that terrible suffering, I recoil in horror, and my heart cries out to God in contrition for my part in causing the need for death of Jesus.
And the words of Jesus echo down the centuries still, as I hear Him intercede for ME ...... "Father forgive them ....."
Such love compels my allegiance. Such love has broken my spirit and made my heart contrite for my sin. Jesus will not be denied. His love leaves me with no other choice than to love in return.
And when love begins to fade or grow cold, we must go back to the cross ..... AGAIN! ..... and AGAIN! ..... and AGAIN! ..... until we do believe enough, and love enough, to obey this KING who we love BECAUSE HE FIRST LOVED US! (1 John 4:19)
Then when repentance becomes more than lip service, and Jesus TRULY becomes our Lord, and love begins to produce its inevitable fruit in our lives,
not only will we know how
to obey, but we will also experience
the wonder of the promised presence of God within.