Four times in this passage Jesus says that if we love him, we will keep his commands. This sermon with explore (1) why keeping the commands of Christ are essential to loving Christ; (2) why loving Christ is so difficult; and (3) how the Holy Spirit makes it possible for us to walk in love of Christ.
The same Spirit who led Jesus into the wilderness, then out again is the One who guides us into all truth, always reminding us of what Jesus said and sometimes even more. Indeed, the Holy Spirit is the faculty God has given us for hearing His Voice.
When Jesus “breathed onto” his disciples he intended to, not just sustain his ministry but to expand it with, in and through us. Through the Holy Spirit God dwells within the Body of Christ like he dwelled in the humanity of Christ. Through the Holy Spirit we may become, by grace, what Jesus was by nature. It is time for us to live up to that.
Obedience is the first and last lesson in discipleship: If we love God, we will obey him. But if we obey God, does that mean we love him? In fact, there are 3 reasons to obey God and not all of them are equal. To obey God for love is the highest form of obedience. What are the others? And how do we know which one motivates us?
The natural man is restless until he finds his rest in God. But once we have, the Holy Spirit re-orders our interior world with the personality of God. Here is the source of our peace, joy, love and hope. But how does this differ from our temporary moods and emotions? How does God’s Spirit stabilize us even when everything is under water?
As Christians, we believe Christ’s promise that the Holy Spirit is within us and active. Yet, why is it that some Christians seem to be more aware of the Holy Spirit “teaching and causing to remember” in their lives more than others? More specifically, why do some Christians seem to have a different passion and interest in Scripture?
To every believer, Jesus promised that the Holy Spirit would “be with us and would be in us,” that we would “not be orphans” but would “make our home” with Him. Yet many Christians struggle with the very problems this indwelling would resolve. One such problem is the assurance that we are Christians at all. What affect should God’s Spirit have on our capacity to love Him?
When Christ possesses us through His Spirit, we are never dispossessed of our (true) selves, rather we are infused with the personality of God. Unlike two objects, which cannot occupy the same space at the same time, the personality of God – together with our personality – is like two musical notes that can be blended into something new.
The way in is through love and obedience which are, in Jesus’ mind, inextricably tied together. That is, if we truly obey what we only say we love, we will come, over time, to love what we have so far only obeyed. Disobedience, then, is not so much a lapse of self-control as it is a lapse of love, or desire. To obey is the doorway into a bigger and better life. It is not, as we too often suppose, a sacrifice that we make to live the holy life.
In Jesus’ last conversation with his disciples, he said, “The reason I am leaving is so I can be with you,” and the way that He does this is through the Holy Spirit. Through the Spirit he is “with us forever”, he dwells or makes his home inside us, he teaches us all things and reminds us of everything he has said. So the transition from Jesus to the Holy Spirit is a transition from with-ness to in-ness. It is the blending of two into one.