“If you love me, you will keep my commandments”
Remain in Jesus and His love through obedience.
Nowhere in the scriptures is Jesus more intent on encouraging us than in this farewell speech at the Last Supper.
So often, we focus on a passage like this and only register “you will keep my commandments”, which leads us to feel like Jesus is demanding a slave-like obedience that burdens our lives.
When we do this, we detract from the larger message of the work of salvation.
Jesus is not prescribing a one-sided love to us, He is telling us that His entire purpose of the gift of salvation was love and it is through loving Him back, in an intimate relationship, that we realize His truth.
The Holy Spirit will be with us.
As a matter of fact, Jesus tells us that by loving Him, He will love us and the Father will love us; and this love is so profound that they will send a Helper to us who will make God’s will known and change our hearts to make obedience a joy and not a burden.
Understand, Jesus isn’t making a demand in the first verse, He is stating a simple fact.
If we love Him, He will love us, and He will ask the Father to give us help, and the Father will send the Holy Spirit into our hearts; which will lead to obedience.
The Holy Spirit = “Advocate”, “Patron”, “Helper”.
Additionally, the Holy Spirit has many roles.
The Greek used here for “Helper” is “parakletos”; in its’ proper sense means “advocate”, “patron”, and “helper”.
This is why you will see this word translated differently in different translations of the Bible, there is no single word in the English language that signifies all that the Holy Spirit encompasses.
First, we see in John 15:26 that the Holy Spirit will be an advocate that bears witness about Jesus:
Next, we see the Holy Spirit as a patron that gives us access to God’s kingdom in Ephesians 1:13-14:
Finally, we see the Holy Spirit as a helper, who helps us in our weakness and intercedes for us before the Father in Romans 8:26:
The Holy Spirit is as great, as actively engaged, as rejected, and as necessary as Christ.
Nevertheless, Christians often think of the Holy Spirit as an afterthought, but this negligence ignores some basic facts about the Holy Spirit.
Equally to the Father and Son, the Holy Spirit has authority as a member of the Trinity.
Also, the Holy Spirit is actively engaged in our lives and is the means by which we come into the presence of God.
Like Jesus was treated with contempt by the ancient world, the Holy Spirit is treated with contempt by the modern world.
In addition, the Holy Spirit is as necessary to Christians as Christ.
Two things happen at salvation; we are released from the penalty of our sins and we are re-born holy to the Lord.
Christ accomplished the first, the Holy Spirit accomplishes the second.
The world cannot receive the Holy Spirit.
Furthermore, the world cannot receive the Holy Spirit because He only comes in response to faith; as 1 Corinthians 2:14 explains.
To clarify, Jesus says that the Holy Spirit will have a personal indwelling in us and as the world loves itself and not God, the world will not receive the Holy Spirit because the Spirit is a gift of mutual love.
The Holy Spirit is a preview of end times for those who love and obey Christ.
Indeed, the expectation set by Revelation 21:3 is that God will dwell among his people in a personal manner when He establishes His kingdom on earth in the age to come.
At the same time, Jesus promised that what is expected at the end time would be experienced, in part, in the present time; through the Holy Spirit.
The Gift of the Holy Spirit is intimacy with God.
In addition, the function of the Holy Spirit is not restricted to spiritual gifts, or producing Christian character, but also includes a sense of intimacy with Jesus himself.
When the Holy spirit comes into our hearts, He is directly becoming an active part of our lives in a real, living, and working relationship.
Be a servant of righteousness
Obedience is not extraordinary for those who love Christ.
For this reason, Jesus says he will reveal Himself to people He knows will respond to Him and obey His teaching.
Equally important is the understanding that while obedience to Jesus is the key on the human side of the equation; we must not turn it into some sort of super-spiritual obedience that only extraordinary Christians can achieve.
The Apostles were not super-disciples deserving the gift of the Holy Spirit because of their extraordinary faith and obedience.
Just like us, they didn’t understand things and their thoughts were often not the thoughts of God.
But in contrast to those of the world, who did not love and obey Jesus, they did love Him and dedicated themselves to being His servants.
Love Brings the Holy Spirit.
The Holy Spirit brings obedience.
Similarly, when we love Christ and dedicate ourselves to being a servant of God, the Holy Spirit will enter us and we will began doing and thinking things that had never crossed our minds before.
A. J. Gordon, one of the founders of Gordon Conwell Divinity School, told a story of being out walking and looking across a field at a house.
There beside the house was what looked like a man pumping furiously at one of those hand pumps.
As Gordon watched, the man continued to pump at a tremendous rate; he seemed absolutely tireless, pumping on and on, up and down, without ever slowing in the slightest, much less stopping.
It was a remarkable sight, so Gordon started to walk toward it.
As he got closer, he could see it was not a man at the pump, but a wooden figure painted to look like a man.
The arm that was pumping so rapidly was hinged at the elbow and the hand was wired to the pump handle.
The water was pouring forth, but not because the figure was pumping it.
You see, it was an artesian well, and the water was pumping the man!
Obedience produces God’s results.
Like the pump, when you see a person who is at work for God and producing results, recognize that it is the Holy Spirit working through them, not the individuals efforts that are giving results.
All we have to do is keep our hand on the handle by loving Christ and the Holy Spirit will guide our hearts.
What is this love?
Love is not a slave, but willingly serves.
In light of love, obedience is not a slave-like attitude but a willing conformity brought about through love.
In particular, this connection seems designed to teach that the proper temple for the dwelling of the Holy Spirit is a heart filled with love to Him; which actively lives for Him.
A little boy once declared that he loved his mother “with all his strength”.
When he was asked to explain what he meant by “with all his strength.”
He said: “Well, I’ll tell you.
You see, we live on the fourth floor of this apartment building; and there’s no elevator, and the coal is kept down in the basement.
Mother is busy all the time, and she isn’t very strong; so I see to it that the coal hold is never empty.
I lug the coal four flights of stairs all by myself.
And it’s a pretty big hold.
It takes all my strength to get it up.
Now, isn’t that loving my mother with all my strength?”
This boy gives us compelling evidence that love causes us to truly desire to serve those we love and to dedicate all our efforts to that service.
Love for Christ is not a shallow emotion; it is true faith.
Uniquely, love for Jesus is not sentimental, it is not a shallow emotion to be just talked about; but is expressed by keeping His commands and responding to all He taught with faith and obedience.
1 John 5:3-5 explains this idea.
As we see in this passage, Christian love is manifested as a believer obeys the Lord’s word.
Furthermore, the one who believes and obeys Christs’ Word is loved by the Lord.
Love for Jesus does not end in passionless obedience to His will.
Obedience is involved, but it leads to an experience of the love of the Father and the Son, and the revelation of Christ to the believer.
Love Christ more than anything and anyone else.
In other words, if you want to experience the providence, power, and love of God in your life; you must literally love Him more than anything and anyone else, including yourself.
Obedience keeps you close to God
After all, the greatness of Jesus’ love moved Him to lay down His life for us.
Accordingly, John concluded in 1 John 3:16:
Sacrifice of self for another’s good demonstrates the truth of Christ.
With this in mind, love means rejoicing to sacrifice your own good for the sake of someone else’s blessing.
Not only that, but Jesus’ command to love was intended to produce a compelling testimony to unbelievers.
It is to be demonstrated proof that His followers are Christlike, that the basis for human community can be found in Christ and that, by extension, what Jesus said about Himself and His work was really true.
Obedience brings you into communion with God.
For this reason, the Christian who spends time learning the Word and then goes out to live the Word, will enjoy a close, satisfying communion with the Father and the Son through the Holy Spirit.
Truly, to love Jesus is to obey Jesus.
If one does not obey Jesus, it is an act of lovelessness.
Obedience and love cannot be separated for the believer.
Explicitly, the new commandment of love is the all-embracing, single requirement of the new covenant through Jesus.
Obedience is a gift of love for the believer.
Obedience therefore is a gift; as John tells us in 1 John 4:7.
Slavery to sin is overcome by love that compels obedience to God.
All things considered, it becomes clear that obedience is the fruit of faith and part of the gospel itself.
Although that is not to say that a Christian does not struggle with obedience; but that the fear and excuses against doing God’s will are only overcome by a child-like love of God that compels us to obedience.
A child was riding their tricycle furiously around the block, over and over again.
Finally, a policeman stopped and asked the child why they were going around and around.