Sermon Titled “Do You Love Him?” (John 14:23) – based on Week 9 of the Experiencing God Study – Sunday 15th March, 2015
- John 14:23 Jesus replied, “Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them.
In last week’s Experiencing God study, the theme was “Obedience,” and Blackaby had this to say, “You will not obey God unless you believe Him; you cannot trust Him unless you love Him; and you will not love Him unless you know Him.”
That last stipulation is, I believe, the key to arriving at a level of faith where obedience comes naturally. Many believers feel that knowing about God is the same as knowing Him, but that kind of knowledge lacks intimacy, and without intimacy it’s impossible to wholeheartedly believe, trust, love, and obey. It’s also that kind of knowledge that causes a person to walk both sides of the fence, picking and choosing which of God’s commands to obey. The problem however, is that disobedience and double-mindedness generally results in decisions that produce both regret and consequences.
On the bright side, a little misfortune in the way of consequences can be just what a person needs to reconnect with, and get close to God. There are many examples throughout the Bible where faithful men and women did great things for God, after repenting of wayward sins. The consequences of their disobedience caused pain and suffering, but it also led them back to the arms of their loving Father.
When Christ revealed Himself to Peter, after His resurrection, Peter could hardly speak (I think it’s important to note here that Christ went to Peter; John 14:23 says that the Father will go to those who love Him). Peter was so emotionally wrought and disturbed by his lack of faith, that he could barely stand the shame he felt. He had shown such intense convictions about following and honoring Christ, yet when Christ was arrested and condemned by the crowd, Peter quickly denied knowing Him.
In John 21:16, Jesus said to Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” And Peter replied, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.” Jesus asked Peter the same question not once, but three times. He did so to emphasize that it was Peter’s love that He was looking for, not a confession. God knew that if Peter truly loved Him, then he would be unfaltering in his obedience, and ready to do all that he had been set apart to do.
As the Bible tells us, Peter’s ministry was quite remarkable, and indicative of an obvious transformation of heart and mind. In his earlier days of discipleship he had been very outspoken and quick to act, often giving Satan the opportunity to take hold of his emotional tendencies and use them as a manipulative vice.
We must also be careful not to make ourselves vulnerable to Satan’s deceptions, but sometimes that isn’t possible until we’ve experienced a season of spiritual growth. During such times, God waits patiently but also walks us through those seasons, quietly nurturing and shaping us into usable vessels.
If you’re someone who feels as if you’re in a growth phase, and not quite ready to obey God, allow Him to at least speak to you and draw you to Him; arm yourself with His truths so that you can withstand the temptation to lean on your own understanding. Satan will try hard to keep you from obeying, but if you truly desire to be led by the Holy Spirit and not by the flesh, then you need to progress from knowing about God, to actually knowing God.
- Know the ways of God so well that you will recognize deceit as soon as it appears, and know the ways of God so well that you will obey Him – because you believe Him, trust Him, and love Him.