Monday, May 30, 2011

Sermon on John 14:15-21, for the 6th Sunday of Easter, "Spirit, Love & Obedience"

1. Jesus teaches about the work of the Holy Spirit and the shape of the new life Jesus called disciples to: “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.” How do we react?
a. If we don’t know the height and depth of law, might be unconcerned (“that’s doable!”)
b. If we know how Jesus taught the commandments, we might break out in a little sweat—aware of our own sinfulness (not only outward obedience, but from the heart) (“I could never manage!”)
c. Obedience might be grudging, reluctant or cheerless—pure duty
d. Might get the mistaken impression that we’re saved or justified before God because of our obedience (works righteousness). Can’t be…because “God has consigned all to disobedience, that he may have mercy on all.” (Rom. 11:32).

2. So is obedience impossible for the Christian? And if so, what does Jesus mean “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.” ?
a. True obedience should be an act of willingness and love. Adam and Eve failed to show their love of God by their disobedience to His command in the garden. Obedience to parents and authorities is to show honor and love.
b. Our obedience should be joyful and willing—as 1 John 5:3-5 says: “For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome. 4 For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith. 5 Who is it that overcomes the world except the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?”
c. So obedience to the commands of Jesus is not a matter of reaching a new standard of Law that has been raised above us, but living in and receiving the new identity that you have in Christ. Gospel indicative—statement of fact.

3. Holy Spirit given, so we can love and obey Christ & His commandments. Not on our effort, but the working of the Holy Spirit in and through you.
a. No longer a burden because Christ took the guilt of our disobedience to the cross. Paid.
b. His perfect obedience stands in our place to give us the right relationship with God (called justification). Our works are then also cleansed from every sin, and can be pleasing to God—not because of our perfect obedience, but Christ’s
c. New identity given in rebirth by water and the Spirit. This “helper” is with us forever—the Holy Spirit. Works in us

4. Jesus spoke about His coming departure—“I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. Yet a little while and the world will see me no more, but you will see me. Because I live you also will live.”
a. Jesus was going to have a short departure when He died on the cross, and they were left sorrowful—but His resurrection return brought them joy once again
b. Then Jesus was going on an indefinite departure when He ascended into heaven (we remember this Thursday, 40 days after Easter)—but He promises to return to Earth a second time to judge the living and the dead and bring the resurrection of all the dead
c. Is Jesus absent? How does He remain actively present (but hidden) from His disciples?
d. What does the Holy Spirit do for us in the present? Gives and creates faith, gathers believers, guides us into all truth in Jesus, enables obedience and love, reminds of all Jesus taught, keeps us in true faith till we die. Faith, love, and obedience are driven by the wind of the Holy Spirit that we cannot see, but is ever-present in our lives.

5. In conclusion, we love and obey because He first loved us and gave Himself up for us. This is the new identity that has been given us as we are born anew in Him, and the call for the life of holiness we are to lead in thanksgiving to Him.

Sermon Talking Points
Read past sermons at: http://thejoshuavictortheory.blogspot.com
Listen to audio at: http://thejoshuavictortheory.podbean.com

1. Why does a Christian desire to keep Jesus’ commandments? John 14:15, 21; 15:9-12; 1 John 5:1-5. Obedience shows our love of God—John 14:21; 1 John 5:2-3. Reflect on how Adam and Eve first showed their lack of love through disobedience to God. How does our disobedience show lack of love?

2. What enables the keeping of the commandments not to be burdensome to the Christian? Colossians 2:14; Romans 7:4-6; 21-25; John 14:16.

3. What is the significance of the new identity that is given to us when we are born of water and the Spirit in baptism? How does that new identity affect how we are able to live our lives and love God and neighbor?

4. What “departure(s)” was Jesus speaking of to His disciples? John 16:28. How would He comfort and provide for them? Would He be absent? Cf. Matt. 28:20; John 14:20-21; 15:4-6. When would He return? Acts 1:11; Matt. 24:27

5. What does the Holy Spirit do to preserve us in faith until that day? Calls us to faith in Jesus; gathers us into the Christian church as believes, teaches us everything that Jesus taught, leading us into repentance and faith and a holy life, gives us a new identity and spiritual gifts to enable our obedience, keeps us in the true faith.

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