Sermon Titled “The Revealing Power Of Love” (John 14:15-24) – Sunday 8th February, 2015; based on week 4 of the Experiencing God Study.
There is a recurring theme throughout John 14, and that is, that God is with those who obey Him. The problem however, as this study repeatedly reminds us, is that obedience requires some major life adjustments and “now” never seems to be a convenient time to commit to those adjustments.
The reluctance to commit stems partially from fear (fear of the unknown), but mostly because of the sinful nature we were born with. Self-centeredness is at the heart of sin, and unfortunately most people want to be the drivers of their own lives. I say “unfortunately,” because without God at the steering wheel, we’re opting instead to navigate our way through all of life’s trials on our own.
Henry Blackaby explained it like this:
- “Suppose you had to cross a field full of land mines, and a person who knew exactly where each one was buried offered to take you through it. Would you say to him, “I don’t want you to tell me what to do. I have free will! I don’t want you to impose your ways on me”?
Once we’re ready to let God take the lead however, which will only happen when we truly know God, He begins to build our character to match the assignments He has chosen for us. The bible says that God knew us before we were even born (Jeremiah 1:5), so He already knows what we’re capable of and which assignments our hearts will be drawn to; He just has some finishing touches to take care of first.
As we respond to His commands and do the things that God calls us to do, we begin to grow in our faith and understanding, and God chisels away even more at our character, shaping and molding us to perform more of the tasks that we were purposed for. Many Christians though, will occasionally turn their eyes and ears towards the call of sin, and slip back into a season of rebellion. The goal for us all therefore, is to quickly recognize those momentary lapses, so that we may repent and get our eyes back on the Lord.
The words from John 14:15-24 teach us some fundamental truths that should motivate us to stay in relationship with God:
- If we love and obey Christ, He will send us a Counselor (the Holy Spirit) – to be with us; to live with us.
- The Holy Spirit will help us to remain free of sin, by reminding us of Christ’s teachings; He will let us know, through the truths of scripture, and a sense of conviction, when we are moving back towards a self-centered focus.
- Whoever loves Jesus, also obeys His commands; obedience is the way that Christians show their love for God, and God in turn, loves those who are obedient (although, God loves us even BEFORE we love and obey Him).
Still, the choice to fully commit to to a God-honoring life is not an easy one. We are so conditioned to want to negotiate first, to say things like, “God, if I follow this path, will you please bless me,” or “God, if this path does not lead to blessing, please close this door and open one that will.” We fashion our responses around expectations based on past experiences and socially accepted norms, not realizing that if we just say “yes” to God, that He’ll reveal paths that we would never have imagined; paths that do bring about blessings, but only because the blessings are byproducts of our obedience.
So yes, there will be risks and sacrifices involved, but choosing to follow the path without God also involves enormous risk; it’s up to each person to do a risk assessment and decide what they value more – temporal pleasures, or eternal life. Which do you choose?