Sermon – May 1
Text: John 14:23-29
Jesus answered and said to him, “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. 24 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.25 “These things I have spoken to you while being present with you. 26 But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you. 27 Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. 28 You have heard Me say to you, ‘I am going away and coming back to you.’ If you loved Me, you would rejoice because I said ‘I am going to the Father,’ for My Father is greater than I. 29 “And now I have told you before it comes, that when it does come to pass, you may believe.
There are Great Benefits in Loving Jesus
Dear fellow redeemed in Christ:
It is true that everybody wants to be loved. There is no doubt that we are recipients of great blessings because God loves us. We find peace and comfort in knowing how the Lord loves us. We rejoice that He has taken our broken lives and fixed them through His Son. Everyday we see the benefits of being loved by God. It is truly the difference between heaven and hell. It is also true that our lives would be empty if we did not love someone. Today we wish to talk about the great benefits of loving Jesus. We love Him because He first loved us, and there are blessings on both the receiving and giving end of that love. May God’s Holy Spirit open our hearts to receive His message.
1. You will have a vital connection to God
At the beginning of our text Jesus is answering the question of how He reveals Himself in the world. The answer is: through believers. We reveal Christ in us when we treasure what He has to say and act on it. Verse 23: Jesus says, If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word… He who does not love Me does not keep My words. Many times when you hear the word “keep” in the Scriptures it has to do with the idea of treasuring. With that treasuring comes obedience. It is a contradiction to say that you love Jesus, but don’t value what He has to say. This comes naturally to us in human relationships, but we many times have a blind spot in our relationship with Jesus and think that loving Him is just a mental exercise and doesn’t have any real life applications.
The Lord gives us His words and His commands because it is good for us to do them. When we love God and strive to follow His Word it is a way for us not only to show that love, but also to be safe and find blessings in that obedience. When you avoid idolatry (in whatever form) you are avoiding the danger of walking away from God. When you use God’s name and His Word as He intends, you will be drawn closer to Him and know more about Him and His goodness. When we love our fellow human beings as He instructs we will have better relationships with them.
Treasuring God’s Word is good for both our spirit and body. And while it is not a salvation issue, it is true that you are likelier to keep your faith in treasuring what your Savior has to say. It is also true that throwing away what He has to say is a sign that you don’t love Him and involves you in falling away from Him.
There are more benefits. Verse 23b, My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him. Just think about that! The Lord wants to be around us. He wants to live with us. In the Old Testament the picture of this was found in the tabernacle which was situated in the middle of the Israelites camp. It was a tent in which they worshiped God, and it denoted His presence. Revelation 21 talks about God dwelling with us in the life to come. But even in this life, He lives with us.
The result of this is that not only are we given the new man to battle against our sinful flesh and temptation. That is to say that God has made in us a new life that loves Him and wants to do what He says. With God dwelling with us – and even in us as Jesus rules our hearts – we have the most powerful ally in fighting against our enemies. He works to keep us safe. He props us up when we feel like giving up. He strengthens us against temptation. He prepares and helps us in our battle against our spiritual enemies. He works to remind us that we are in a battle for our heart in the first place. It all comes back to loving Jesus. When that is in the mix treasuring His Word and having Him make His home with you will follow.
2. You will have knowledge and peace
After Jesus ascended, it appeared to the disciples that He was no longer making His home with them. Before His ascension He had spent many, many hours instructing them. This was true both before and after His resurrection. What to do now that He ascended? No problem. Verses 25-26: These things I have spoken to you while being present with you. But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you. The Holy Spirit would now be their Teacher. At this point, nothing had been written down, but He would cause them to remember it.
The Holy Spirit is still able to teach us. He is not bringing to our remembrance events that we never saw, but He caused the disciples not only to remember but also to write them down. You may have confidence that the Bible is inspired by God’s Word. In this way we know what to treasure. With the inspired Word we not only learn to love God, but also learn how to show it. In the Bible we have laid out for us what God loves and hates, that we may act in a similar fashion.
It is in this Word and what we find out about Jesus that we find peace. Verse 27, Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. If that connection to Christ is severed, then we don’t have peace. Our hearts will be stirred up and agitated. We’ll be afraid. The world offers peace in terms of financial security or good health or other types of independence. But those all disappear when a crisis hits that wipes of health and wealth or military might. If nothing else, the peace that the world gives will not hold out in the face of death and what might happen eternally.
The peace that Jesus brings calms a troubled heart. In knowing that you’re forgiven completely by Jesus, you can face anything in life and even death itself. If we think that we’re responsible for our salvation, we will never be at peace. Say, for example, that the Lord would say, “In order to go to heaven, you must say the Lord’s Prayer perfectly one time” Easy you say? Could you get through it without thinking of something else? Could you do it knowing exactly and perfectly what you’re asking for? When we know that we’re not responsible for our salvation, but it is something that Christ has given to us, that is a huge sense of relief. It is peace.
3. You will be able to rejoice in His ascension
This peace would be hard for the disciples to grasp. Put yourselves in the position of the disciples of Jesus at His ascension. For them it was a sad occasion. It seemed that He was leaving and not coming back. The angels pointed out to them that He would return in the same fashion. Don’t worry He’s coming back! And when He does so it will be with great glory. You have heard Me say to you, ‘I am going away and coming back to you.’ When you love Jesus and His Word you will be aware not only of His ascension, but also of His return in glory. He had to go up in this way in order to come back down.
He will fulfill what we ask every time that we pray, “Deliver us from evil.” We are asking Him not only to keep evil away from us in this life, but also to give us a permanent deliverance by taking us to heaven. In this way, we can rejoice in His ascension. Yes, it means that we can’t see Him in His body in this life, but we know that the next step of His glorification is due to come. He is sitting at the right hand of the Father, but He will come again with glory to judge the living and the dead.
We continue in verse 28, If you loved Me, you would rejoice because I said, ‘I am going to the Father,’ for My Father is greater than I. This indicates that there would be a change in the way that Jesus is viewed. In His humiliation there was no glory to look at it. People easily mistook Him for just another human being while He walked the earth. At the time that He spoke this He could say, ‘My Father is greater than I’ because He was still in that state of humiliation. What would change in the ascension is that He would be assuming His rightful place on His throne. He says in Matthew 28, All authority has been given to me in heaven and on earth.’
In loving Jesus we are glad that He is where He is. From on high He rules us and takes care of us by not only causing good things to happen for the Holy Christian Church, but also for each individual Christian. With His authority He will help His people by rescuing them and destroying their enemies. From His position at the right hand of the Father He will see to it that all of His children are preserved until He comes again.
We have every reason to love Jesus. Loving Him is not a burden. It is blessing. Amen.