John 14.15 (2008)
Mature Christians Are Obedient Christians
A green recruit was put on sentry duty at the main gate of a military outpost. His order were clear: No car was to enter unless it had a special sticker on the windshield. A little later a big Army car drove up with a general seated in the back. The sentry said, “Halt! Who goes there?” The chauffeur, a corporal, said, “General Wheeler.” “I’m sorry. I can’t let you through. You’ve got to have a sticker on the windshield.”
The general said, “Corporal, drive on.” The sentry said, “Hold it. You really can’t come through. I have orders to shoot if you try driving in without a sticker.” The general repeated, “I’m telling you, son, drive on through!” The sentry walked over to the rear window and said, “I’m new at this, sir. Do I shoot you or the driver?”
“Trust and obey, for there is no other way to be happy in Jesus but to trust and obey.” Do you want me to tell you what is wrong with a lot of Christians? They are disobedient. Do you want me to tell you what is wrong with a lot of churches? They are filled with disobedient people. Do you want me to tell you why Christians are not happy in their faith? They’re saved but they’re enduring it rather than enjoying it. They’re simply not being obedient. Remember, there is no other way to be happy in Jesus us but to trust and obey.
· (John 14:15-21)
Obedience is something we don’t hear much about. We preach so much on salvation by grace through faith and we tell people that salvation is a gift of God. Sometimes if we talk about obedience people think we’re legalist, but I would have to agree with Martin Luther who said we’re not saved by faith and works, but we are saved by a faith that works. James said that “faith without works is dead.” There are so many things that hinge on our obedience.
1. The Motive of Obedience
Why do you obey the Lord? A love for Christ is the motive for obedience.
· “If you love Me, keep My commandments. (John 14:15)
There is no better motive for keeping the Word of God than love for the Lord Jesus Christ. Don’t tell me that you love the Lord Jesus if you’re not obeying Him, it’s just foolish and empty talk. As a matter of fact, our Lord makes it very clear and very plain that if we love Him we will keep his commandments.
· 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.” (John 14:21)
I don’t keep the commandments in order to get to heaven; my way to heaven is paved by the grace of God. I keep the commandments simply because I love the Lord Jesus Christ.
How should we love the Lord Jesus? Here’s a key passage that deals with loving our Lord.
· And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ This is the first commandment. (Mark 12:30)
a. The reality of love
We’re to love God with all of our heart. It’s to be a heartfelt love. It’s not to be a superficial love.
· ‘These people draw near to Me with their mouth, And honor Me with their lips, But their heart is far from Me. (Matthew 15:8)
Do you truly love Jesus with all your heart? Is there that burning, passionate, emotional love for the Lord Jesus? People sing a lot about love but they don’t really love the Lord.
We sing sometimes, “Faith of our fathers, holy faith! We will be true to thee till death!” And yet act like He doesn’t even exist sometimes.
b. The entirety of love
We are to love the Lord with all our souls. In other words, we should love with our entire self. Our entire person shall be given over to Him. There should be no area that is private, no area where we say, “Lord, keep out.” We should say, “Lord, everything is given to you. I love you with all of my soul, that is, with all there is of me, every part, every area is given over to you Lord.”
Many years ago, a group of preachers were looking for an evangelist for revival crusade. Some were saying they needed Dwight L. Moody. Someone spoke up and said, “We need Dwight L. Moody.” Another preacher protested and said, “No we don’t. Does Dwight L. Moody have a monopoly on the Holy Spirit?” Someone else said, “No, but the Holy Spirit has a monopoly on Dwight L. Moody.” That’s loving the Lord. He loved the Lord with all his soul.
c. The mentality of love
We are to love the Lord with all our mind. Do you love the Lord with all your mind. You can’t leave your mind out of it.
· Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. (2 Timothy 2:15)
d. The intensity of love
And then, we are to love the Lord with all our strength. With everything that we have, all our energies are to be focused in love for the Lord Jesus Christ. He’s not just talking about physical strength. Surely you ought to love Him with your physical strength, but there is more than one kind of strength. There’s emotional strength, there’s financial strength, and there’s all kinds of abilities and talents that you have and we’re to love the Lord our God with all that.
Our Lord is saying. If you love me keep my commandments. Don’t tell me you love the Lord Jesus is you don’t keep his commandments. God is not impressed by that kind of love. Don’t tell me how many verses you know. Don’t tell me how often you attend church. If you are loving the Lord your God with all of your heart, with all of your soul, with all of your mind, and with all of your strength, then you’ll be keeping the commandments of the Lord.
Have you ever wondered why God didn’t just make us where we’d just have to love Him or we’d have to serve him? He could have, you know, but He wouldn’t have gotten a blessing from that.
Anybody remember pet rocks? It was a fad during the 70’s. Gary Dahl was the inventor. Even though the fad lasted only six months, ending Christmas 1975, it made Dahl a millionaire. He sold along with the pet rock, usually just a slick rock with eyes glued on, a manual on how to take care of the pet rock. It included instructions on how to tell it to sit and roll over. It needed some help with the rolling over part. The nice thing about pet rocks was that you didn’t have to feed them. They never died. They never broke your heart. They never disappointed you. But it was just a fad that died.
Why didn’t the fad last? Because people got tired of them just sitting there. They proved to be no blessing at all. God could have made us a bunch of pet rocks, where we couldn’t do anything but obey Him. But that wouldn’t be a blessing to God. God gave us a free will to love Him. And when, we love Him with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength, we will obey Him.
2. The Measure of Obedience
If the love of God is the motive of obedience, the Word of God is the measure of your obedience.
· Jesus answered and said to him, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word. (John 14:23a)
If you love him that’s the motivation for obeying, but what is the measure for obedience, how are you going to know what to obey, how are you going to know what to do? You’ve got to know the Word of God. You can’t keep His commandments until you have them.
The measure of your obedience, are you bringing your life into conformity with the Word of God.
You know, Saul failed to obey the Lord and he had a silly superficial excuse for failing to obey the Lord and Samuel spoke to Saul and said,
· So Samuel said: “Has the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, As in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, And to heed than the fat of rams. For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, And stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the Lord, He also has rejected you from being king.” (1 Samuel 15:22-23)
Did you know that if you’re not obeying God tonight that is, if you’re not bringing your life into conformity with this Word God classes that rebellion, that disobedience along with stubbornness, along with idolatry, along with iniquity, along with witchcraft. You see, to fail to obey God is sheer rebellion, to fail to bring your life into accordance with this book is sheer rebellion.
There may be some small little thing God is dealing with you. God may be telling you to go and apologize to someone. You say well, that’s such a small thing. It’s not a small thing to disobey God.
I mean, if I am not bringing my life into conformity with his Word then I’m not obeying him. The motive for my obedience is the love of God, the measure of my obedience is the Word of God, the degree to which I bring my life into conformity with this Word.
· “If anyone 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. He who does not love Me does not keep My words; and the word which you hear is not Mine but the Father’s who sent Me.” (John 14:23-24)
Now you want the father to love you? Then love the son. You want to prove that you love the son? Then keep the commandments of the Son of God.
But now notice: “and We will come to him and make Our home with him.”
Do you want Jesus to be real to you ? You want Jesus to show himself to you? It’s so simple, find his Word, start obeying his Word and Jesus Christ will suddenly become very, very real to you and you won’t have to be talking about why is God so far off?
Why is it that everybody else seems to be happy in Jesus but I’m not happy in Jesus? It’s because dear friend, you’re not obeying the word of God. Trust and obey, for there is no other way to be happy in Jesus but to trust and obey. It is so plain, if you want Jesus Christ to be real to you.
The way to understand the part of the bible you don’t understand is to obey the part that you do understand.
Suppose you come up to some commandment in the Bible and you refuse to obey it and then you read a few verses further and you say Lord, show me what this means and God says I’m not going to tell you. You say Lord, you’re not going to tell me, why, God, I really want know. God says you are a hypocrite, you don’t really want to know because if you really wanted to know then you would obey that that I’ve I ready shown you and when you start to obey what I’ve already shown you then I’m going to show you more.
Ladies and gentlemen there is no way, no way to really know Jesus in a vital way. There is no way to really understand this book in a living way except through, obedience. Now, look the love of God is the motive of obedience, the word of God is the measure of obedience, and just to put it the other way the love of Christ is the secret of obedience, the word of Christ is the standard of obedience, you’re going to obey him by his word.
3. The Might of Obedience
You say, “I just can’t love the Lord that way and I just don’t have enough strength to obey him that way.” Well, you’re quite right and I don’t either. You see, the Christian life isn’t a hard life, it’s an impossible life and the only way that you’re going to obey the Lord is for God to give you supernatural strength to obey Him.
· “If you love Me, keep My commandments. And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever— the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you. (John 14:15-17)
Now, here if the task seems to great for you just relax because obeying the Lord is not in the strength of your flesh, it is the in the power and the might of the Holy Spirit of God.
You cannot love Him without the Spirit, you cannot obey him with out the Spirit and here when the Lord says I will send you another comforter, you can translate that correctly, I will send you a strengthener, someone to strengthen you, someone to stand along side of you, someone to guide you and energize you.
You’re not called upon to do it by yourself and that’s strengthener is the Holy Spirit of God. You know, people never really have understood how to live the Christian life. They miss it always because they leave the Holy Spirit out. There are some people who think the answer is intellectual, if they can just go to their library and study and we spend millions and millions of dollars on teaching programs and people study and study and study and they go to class after class after class with their heads getting more full and their hearts getting more empty.
Studying is not going to make you spiritual, it just will not do it and you can backslide with a Bible under your arm. The answer is not intellectual.
There are other people who think the answer is emotional and so they come into a certain kind of a service where everything is hyped up and there’s a certain kind of rhythmic music and a certain kind of a beat and there are certain kind of oratory from the pulpit and there’s a certain kind of give and take from the people, till people get themselves kind of hyped up and the nothing really wrong with emotion.
The answer is spiritual. The Holy Spirit is our comforter.
The Holy Spirit has a will for your life and there’s no need for us to be floundering around like a ship without a sail, a compass and a rudder on a stormy sea. I ought to be hearing the Holy Spirit saying to me, this is the way, walk in it.
· Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths. (Proverbs 3:5-6)
· For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. (Romans 8:14)
Now, what I’m trying to say is this that Jesus is saying that the strength for obedience, the might for obedience is the Holy Spirit and the Holy Spirit is a person. Now, if you don’t understand that the Holy Spirit is a person . And if you don’t understand that the Holy Spirit is a person you’re going to be so mixed up and messed up you’ll never be a victorious Christian.
Do you know why many people don’t obey the Lord? They don’t understand the principle of the Holy Spirit. They think that the Holy Spirit is some sort of a power that if they can get that power within them they can use that power, they think of the power of the spirit as some sort of a supernatural force that comes in and takes over their lives. The Holy Spirit is not a force that I use, the Holy Spirit is a person who uses me, you see, it is not for me to get more of it, it is for him to get more of me.
People are talking about having more of the Holy Spirit. Ha, he doesn’t give the Spirit by measure, it’s not whether. It’s not how much He has of me, it’s how much I have of Him. I’ll never serve the Lord until I understand that he is a person wanting to control me and take control of me.
“Another Helper” Another, the same.
Now, what Jesus is saying is you are better off with the Holy Spirit inside you than you are with me beside you, now never forget that, you are better off with the Holy Spirit inside you than you would ever be with me beside you, it is expedient for you, it is better for you that I go away.
Thank God for the work of the Holy Spirit in me, remember this, that if I love the Lord Jesus Christ that’s why I’m going to keep this commandment, love for Jesus is the motive for obedience, the word of God is the measure of my obedience. I cannot claim that I’m obeying if I’m not bringing my life in to conformity with this word but the Spirit of God is the might of my obedience.
I’m so grateful that I don’t have to do it myself and I know that as I yield my life to him he takes over and he’s changing me and he’s transforming me and he will do the same for you.
On June 6,1981, Doug White and his bride, Sylvia, were escorted to their hotel's fancy bridal suite in the wee hours of the morning. In the suite they saw a sofa, chairs, and table, but where was the bed? Then they discovered the sofa was a hide-a-bed, with a lumpy mattress and sagging springs. They spent a fitful night and woke up in the morning with sore backs. The new husband went to the hotel desk and gave the management a tongue-lashing.
"Did you open the door in the room?" asked the clerk. Doug went back to the room. He opened the door they had thought was a closet. There, complete with fruit basket and chocolates, was a beautiful bedroom!
Opening all the doors in a honeymoon suite is like obeying all the words of Jesus. Discipleship is the door to happiness.