How Do I love Thee?

Speaker: Pastor Insong Nolan
Date: 2014/02/16
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How do I love thee?

This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.   “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in His love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command.

John 15:8-14

We all have our love language. . .it can be time, tasks, treasures, touch or talk.  These are the things that fill our love tank.  God too has His love language, and for Him it is OBEDIENCE.  Often times we wonder what it is that we can do that will please God?  The answer is simple — we need to obey His commandments.

The reason why God gave us His commands is so that “these things I have spoken to you so that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full.”  But do we see this? Unfortunately we do not.  Instead we look at God’s commandments as burdens and end up complaining and grumbling.  We miss out on the fact that God gave us these commands for our own protection and for own joy.

One of these commandments is in verse 12 “ this is My commandment, that you love one another, just as I have loved you.” God’s love for us has been unconditional, and this is the same kind of love He expects us to give one another.  Jesus Christ Himself modeled this kind of love for us.  Verse 13 tells us that “greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends.”  and then tells us in verse 14 that we are His friends IF we do what He commands us to do.  This emphasizes the point — there is only one way that we can please God and that is to obey.  Not out of condition or obligation, not as a requirement but rather as an expression of our love for God.

If we claim to love God and yet are not willing to obey His commandments — there is some disconnection in that.  Because Jesus Himself pointed out that IF we are His friends, we will obey.  Even though we are undeserving, but because of God’s great love for us He sent His son to die for our salvation . . . And all He asks in return is for us to obey Him.

 Many think that as long as one has faith that is sufficient to please God.  James 2:17 says “even so faith if it has not works is dead being by itself.”  If we claim to be born again, then faith by itself is lacking.  Verse 26 furthers says “for just as the body without spirit is dead, so also faith without works is dead.”

 God requires of us obedience, and we now know that faith alone is not enough as an evidence of our relationship with God. . . This is the evidence of the new-ness of life.  If we claim to have faith and yet there is no evidence, no change in our lives . . . There is a great need to stop and reassess our lives.

 In the same way, if we say we love God but refuse to obey His commandments . . . Again we should stop and reassess our lives.

 Faith and Works go hand in hand in the same way that Love and Obedience go hand in hand.

 We are all beneficiaries of God’s grace because God’s grace is undeserved, unmerited favor.  And it is through the grace of God that he has allowed salvation to come to us.  Paul says in 1 Cor 15:10 “but by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace towards me did not prove vain; but I labored even more than all of them, yet not I, but the grace of God with me.” this tells us that there is a partnership.  Once we receive the grace of God, we can do the work by the grace of God. 

 We are saved by grace.  But it does not stop there. . . We are compelled to work for the kingdom of God not by our own efforts but through the power and grace of God working in us and through us.  This is why He gave us the Holy Spirit — to guide us, to teach us, to lead us, to give us the power to have victory over sin.

 When we first came to faith, we were on fire for God… willing to do anything and everything to serve Him but as time passed our passion, our fire has diminished.  That in the time that had lapsed, we have “left our first love”.  We have forgotten why we were on fire in the first place. 

 Matthew 22:36-40 36“Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?”37And He said to him, “ ‘YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND.’ 38“This is the great and foremost commandment.39“The second is like it, ‘YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.’  40“On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets.”

 LOVE.  But not just love unconditional love.  Love that has no boundaries.  When we learn to love God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. . . And are able to translate that into our relationship with others.  People will begin to see the difference in our lives.  And it is by their own witnessing of our changed and transformed lives in Christ that we can draw them to God.