RSS icon Email icon Home icon
  • If You Love Jesus

    Posted on May 25th, 2008 admin No comments

    Belle Weaver knew exactly what to do in a time of crisis. She was there to intercede on Kevin Weaver’s behalf. Kevin was desperate for a miracle. Kevin needed Belle’s help.

    Kevin was a diabetic. One morning Belle sensed that Kevin was in trouble. Belle licked Kevin’s nostrils to smell his breath. Belle used her sharp sense of smell to recognize that Kevin’s ketone levels were out-of-whack. She started scratching Kevin’s leg to tell him he needed to adjust his sugar levels, else he could experience a seizure.

    Belle is not Kevin’s wife. Belle is a beagle – Kevin’s dog.

    Here is Belle, whining and scratching Kevin’s leg. Kevin thinks Belle has to relieve her bladder so he takes her outside. He comes back in the house and has a seizure that leaves him unconscious on his kitchen floor. Belle knows exactly what to do. She locates Kevin’s phone, bites the number 9, which is programmed to dial 911, and starts barking. Emergency dispatchers hear the intercessory cry for help and send life saving assistance. Hours later Kevin awakes to find that he is lying in a hospital bed, with Belle at his side.

    Belle knew Kevin better than Kevin knew himself. She was there for him, trying desperately to prolong his days, trying desperately to tell him, “something is wrong.” For whatever reason, Kevin was unable to understand Belle. When Kevin lost total control of himself, Belle did what she loves to do best – help Kevin in his weakness.

    Just as Belle was always there for Kevin, God is always there for you. God makes his home within you. God is accessible. To access God, there are no roaming charges; no long trips across the ocean; no short walks down the hall. God indwells those who believe in Jesus Christ.

    If you think God has left you alone, you will be tempted to live the Christian life on your own. You will look to yourself for spiritual power rather than to God. You will struggle to overcome the same spiritual problems year after year.

    That is no way to live the Christian life! God wants you to recognize you are weak without him. He wants you to fall before him, so that he can help you in your weakness. When you acknowledge your weakness before God, you are prepared to live the spiritual life – a life of dependence on God.

    We must answer one question: Where do you find power to live the Christian life? Where do you find power to do the good works for which you were created?

    Let’s look to the Gospel of John for the answer. We will be reading three verses in the Upper Room Discourse. John chapter 14, verses 15 through 17.

    15 “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.
    16 “I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever;
    17 that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you and will be in you.

    In the context surrounding our passage, Jesus and his disciples have managed to get away from the crowds. There has been yelling and screaming, pushing and shoving. There were misleading questions and marvelous answers. The disciples were with Jesus, but it was a very busy time until now. Now Jesus and his disciples are seated in private quarters. Stone walls form a barrier between what is happening outside the room and the heart-to-heart conversation inside.

    It is very quite inside. Jesus explains to his disciples that he must go. Soon he would leave his disciples.

    He is like a soldier down on one knee before his children, saying I must answer the call of duty. I must leave you. Like this soldier who tells his children, “If you love daddy, you will do what your mother says,” Jesus tells his disciples, in verse 15, “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.”

    There is an element of uncertainty in verse 15. Jesus could have assumed his disciples loved him. He could have left with the assurance that they would keep his commandments. Or, he could have commanded them to keep his commandments. But, Jesus chose to introduce the condition, “If you really, really love Jesus, then you will really, really keep his commandments.”


    Of course the disciples loved Jesus. They believed in him. They left everything to follow him! But, keep his commandments?

    What is Jesus talking about? He brings up this idea of obedience over and over (14:21, 23; 15:10, 14; 1 John 5:3). Does he want us to go back to Moses and chain ourselves to the Law? Does he want us to become more spiritual by following a list of rules? No. He is referring to everything he revealed which should reach the depths of our of hearts.

    Take all that that Jesus taught, wrap it into one package and you get John 13:34. “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another.”

    Love one another! That is a huge task! Jesus really wants us to take everything he taught and to actually do it! Jesus wants us to follow him so close that we begin to live like him! Jesus wants us to love other people so much that we are willing to lay down our life for them. That sounds too hard! We need help, because there is no way we can do what Jesus commands us to do if we rely on our own strength.

    Jesus gives us more at the beginning of verse 15. Your motivation to keep God’s commandments is your love for God.

    Do you really, really love Jesus? Then you will really, really keep his commandments.

    It is easy to fall back on the gracious character of God. We can be tempted to think, “When I sin I’ll just confess my sin and God will forgive me.” Yes, God will forgive. That is good. But, if our approach to the spiritual life is, “I can sin as much as I want because God will forgive me,” then do you really, really love Jesus?

    Put yourself in God’s shoes. Say, for instance, your spouse confesses that he or she made a mistake and had an affair. He or she says, but “I really, really love you.” You know that is true so you forgive them. A few months later it happens again. And again. And again. How long before you question if your spouse “really, really” loves you?

    Well, God is a gracious God. He will always welcome you back to him. But, remember that if we really, really love God, we will model our life after the life of Jesus.

    There is still one problem. In the spiritual realm there is a radical change that takes place within you when you believe in Jesus Christ. You are declared righteous! You are set free from sin! But in the physical, earthly, temporal realm there is not always much change. It is like dropping a big engine into a little car. You start the car and expect to make the little tires spin really fast. You slam the gas pedal and the car slowly goes 5, 10, 15 mph. For some reason, the power that is available does not get to the tires. There is no outward sign that you changed the engine.

    Why isn’t there outward change? Because you can combine all of your physical, mental and emotional strength and you still cannot accomplish spiritual work on your own. You need more power than you have on your own. You need someone to take control who knows you better than you know yourself. You need someone else to bite down on the number 9, to call for emergency assistance, to help you in your weakness.

    You need help. We all need help.

    To live the Christian life you need more power than you have on your own!

    In verse 16 Jesus says, “I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever.” Jesus addresses those who really, really love him and who are serious about modeling their life after him. He tells these disciples that he will respond to their obedience. Verse 16 begins with an emphasis on the “I.” Jesus himself approaches the Father with an inquiring heart. In approaching the Father Jesus is concerned for those who really, really love him.

    Jesus knows that the Christian life can be tough. He sees that his disciples love him, and that they want to follow him. Jesus knows they need more power. In his utmost interest in glorifying the Father, Jesus asks the Father to give his disciples more power. “Father give them what they need so that they can do what I’m telling them to do. Father, give them what you gave me! I couldn’t have made it through the wilderness without more power! I couldn’t have cast out demons and healed the sick without more power! I can’t glorify you with my life without more power! Father, give them what you have given me!”

    Jesus says he will ask, and the Father will send more power. This power will come in the form of another one, of the same kind as Jesus. He will come alongside the disciples, to encourage and strengthen them.

    Now, imagine being a Jewish believer in the first century. You’ve been taught your whole life that there is only one God. You have read that clearly in the Hebrew Bible. Recently you have followed this man named Jesus. You have heard him just say that he is in the Father and the Father is in him. You are starting to believe that he is God. And now, he says that he will ask the Father and the Father will send another Helper, who is, verse 17, the Spirit. This Father, Son, Spirit language would blow your mind. The Son asks the Father and the Father sends the Spirit. It is a picture of perfect relationship among the three persons within the Godhead. There is one God who exists as three persons: Father, Son, Spirit. We’ve walked with the Son. We’ve seen that he is consumed by bringing glory to the Father. And now, in this heart-to-heart conversation between four stone walls, Jesus introduces the first occurrence of several references to the Spirit (14:26; 15:26; 16:7-15).

    Jesus is about to leave, but another will come. Whatever you call him; a helper, a comforter, a counselor, an advocate; know that he is very God. He indwells those who believe in Jesus. He gives you the power you need to live the Christian life.

    The disciples knew that the Spirit of God empowered Old Testament saints. But now Jesus says this Helper, this Spirit of God, will always be with you; he will never leave. Contrast this idea with Psalm 51:11 where David prays, “Do not take your Holy Spirit from me.”

    Something has changed, then, hasn’t it? God has managed the human race differently through time. There was Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses, David, however you want to view the past, today is the age of the church. Today is different than former periods of time because the Spirit of God is with believers in Christ forever. Paul highlights this concept in Romans 8:9, “You are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you.”

    When we think about how blessed we are, we talk about family, health, finances, political and religious freedom. All of that is great, but the greatest blessing: God has given us his Spirit. He will never leave you alone.

    Just as Jesus is very God, just as the Father is very God, so is the Spirit who lives within you very God.

    He knows you better than you know yourself. He is there to help you in your time of weakness. He is there to provide more power so that you can live the Christian life.

    God provides power!

    Yes it is true, you need more power than you have on your own to live the Christian life. Yes it is true, God provides more power than you could ever need to live the Christian life.

    In verse 17 Jesus refers to the Spirit as the Spirit of truth. Earlier, in verse 6, he said, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through me.” Later he refers to the Spirit as the Spirit of truth again in John 15:26 and 16:13. The idea here is that he is referring to the Holy Spirit, the third person of the trinity, as the one who communicates truth. The Holy Spirit, the Spirit of truth, uses the word of God to guide you as you progress in the Christian life.

    The Spirit of truth uses the word of God to lead you into the will of God. He illuminates a path in a world of darkness and he expects you to walk along this path. That is Paul’s charge to the Galatian Christians in Galatians 5:16, “But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh.” The Holy Spirit leads you into the will of God, not into a world of darkness.

    No matter what time of day it may be, the Holy Spirit is always there to guide you into God’s will. The present reality of your Christian life is that the Holy Spirit is with you. The Holy Spirit lives in you. His indwelling gives you a fellowship with God that is even greater than the fellowship the disciples had with Jesus when they sat between four stone walls and listened to Jesus say, “I must go.” How is it possible that you can have more fellowship with God in Jesus’ physical absence than the disciples had in his physical presence? Well, whereas the Holy Spirit watched over the disciples, he lives inside you and offers to control you from within.

    As the Holy Spirit communicates truth to you, you must know the answer to this question: Do you “really, really” love Jesus? Are you willing to respond to the Holy Spirit’s work in your life by obeying him? Will you fall on the kitchen floor, acknowledging your weakness without God, and allow the Holy Spirit to guide you, to give you all the power you need to live the Christian life? Or, do you want to attempt the Christian life on your own, where you will walk back-and-forth on the same stretch of ground year after year without going anywhere?

    Living the Christian life isn’t about us. Apart from God, we can do nothing.

    We need more power. God provides power. Of course, you find power to live the Christian life in God!

    I have a friend who recently bought a beagle puppy. One day he called me aside and whispered something in my ear. He told me that he has started sharing his bed with his new best friend – the beagle. I’m not sure why he told me that, but he did.

    He continued to say that his new best friend has started spreading out during the night. He is taking control of his bed, so much so that this young man is forced to the very edge – almost to the point of falling on the floor. One more inch and life as he knows it is over.

    When you believed in Jesus, God in the person of the Holy Spirit, invaded your life. He wants nothing more than to take control. He wants you to keep rolling over – keep going, keep going. He wants you to assume the position – on the floor, pronate before him – so that he can do what he loves to do best – help you in your weakness.


    Leave a reply