5 May 2013
Preaching at the local Methodist Church
Here’s a gift from God for you to use whenever you choose – the living presence of the Father and Jesus hidden within your heart. Probably you know about this gift and have been aware of it for a long time; if not, and you think you might like to have the gift please reach for your Holy Bible, New Testament page 128 John 14:23 “Jesus said,” If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him.”
Now that is a promise from God Himself to us who believe. It’s tied up with the First Commandment we know so well, “Hear O Israel, the Lord our God is One, and you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and mind and soul and strength.” We are commanded to love God with our whole being; if you are trying to do that, then you are in line for the gift. Now let’s fine tune it:
Jesus said, “if anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching”
His teaching taken as a whole – which means maybe you’ve got to skim through the gospels, identify them and work out how many you are obeying and how many you are ignoring. Sorry to give you homework, but if you are serious about receiving the gift of God’s presence you need to know!
Jesus said, “If anyone loves me he will obey my teaching”; and assuming you are being obedient, then the promise goes: “My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with Him/Her. That is a priceless gift and one worth having – to know that God the Father and Jesus have come to you and made their home with you. WOW! That’s life-transforming!
Now to help you a little: at the Last Supper, after Judas had left to betray Jesus, and Jesus had washed their feet, he said “If I, your Lord and Master have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet” (However you interpret washing of feet as an act of loving service); then Jesus said “a new commandment I give you: – Love one another – As I have loved you , then all will know that you are my disciples.”
[A handout distributed at this point]
Please turn to your handout. Jesus’ love for us is FOCUSSED; and taking each letter in turn it means:-
F: Jesus love for us is Faithful and True: we value friendship and loyalty from others: now be faithful and true to your fellow-Christians.
O: Jesus’ love for us is On-going and constant – no mood-swings here! Our love for our fellow-Christians must be on-going and constant, too.
C: Compassionate: Jesus always regards us with deep compassion as he pities us and helps us in our weakness: we are to be compassionate to our fellow-believers, too.
U: Unrestricted: Jesus love for His people, his enemies, his world is unrestricted: “God so loved the world that he gave….” Our love for our fellow-Christians of whatever language and culture should be unrestricted, too. In fact it should go out to any HUMAN BEING WE MEET.
S: Sacrificial : Love as I have loved you, focuses on the sacrificial offering of His life – he’s whole life, culminating in his offering for us on the Cross.
Our love for our fellow-Christians could have a good measure of self -sacrifice about it, too.
S: SURE : Jesus love for his church is constant and sure; there is no wavering, no doubt about it at all. Our love for our fellow-Christians must be FOCUSSED, like his.
E: Eternal : Christ’s love for His church has an eternal element and dimension, for Jesus is God, at the Father’s Right hand, ever praying for us. We who are in-Christ are called to show a quality of love for one another which is Christ-like and eternal. We are to love with God’s love, which never gives up.
D: Deliberate: An act of the WILL. Jesus’ love for his Church is quite consciously deliberate – there is no half heartedness about it at all.
– So must ours be to our fellow-Christians; feelings have very little to do with it – we may not feel very loving to our fellow-Christians, but that doesn’t mean we stop doing it – instead, by an act of our will, we deliberately do what is best and right for him/her.
Jesus said, “If anyone loves me he/she will obey my teaching, my Father will love him/her and we will come to him/her and make our home with him/her.”
Pause for reflection
In-as-far as we obey the teachings of Our Lord, to that extent we will experience for ourselves the Love of the Father and the eternal, dynamic presence of Jesus within us – a gift beyond price – priceless!!!
May we take God’s FOCUSSED love for us seriously as we follow-through in our love for and our obedience to God and our love for our fellow-Christians.