Love and Obedience

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Jesus connects love and obedience in three passages in John 14.  They are John 14:15, 21-24, and 31.
John 14:15, “If ye love me, keep my commandments.”  John 14:21-24, “He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me:  and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.  Judas saith unto him, not Isacariot, Lord,  how is it that thou wilt manifest thyself unto us, and not unto the world?  Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.  He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings: and the word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father’s which sent me.”  John 14:31, “But that the world may know that I love the Father; and as the Father gave me commandment, even so I do.  Arise, let us go hence.”
Jesus and the Father
John 14:31 is the only passage in the New Testament where Jesus explicitly affirms that He loves the Father.  The love Jesus has for the Father motivates Him to obedience to the commandment of the Father.  Love disciplines the heart and makes compliance to its object a natural part of its relationship with the object.  The strength of love is tested by obedience.   In Jesus’ case, obedience meant facing death upon the cross for the redemption of the sins of mankind.  The writer of Hebrews comments on this, “Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered; And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him” (Heb. 5:8-9).
Consider the alternative which is disobedience.  Disobedience to the Father means a lack of love for the Father.  Lovelessness leads to lawlessness which causes a breach in relationship with God.  Disobedience involves the desire to fulfill one’s own will rather than God’s will.  This is selfishness.  Disobedience involves the desire to please self at the expense of relationship with God.  Disobedience is a failure to accomplish the desire of the (supposed) beloved.  When we say we love God and disobey Him, we lie.  The disobedient person really loves himself!
Jesus’ love for the Father was intense.  His obedience involves great suffering and sacrifice.  Where there is great love for God, there is authentic compliance to His Will.
Jesus and You
John 14:15, “If ye love me, keep my commandments.”  Love comes before obedience.  It is possible to obey God without loving God.  But, you cannot love Jesus and disobey Him.  In Mark 10:17-23, the conversation between Jesus and a rich young ruler occurs.  In this conversation, the rich young man asks what he must do to inherit eternal life.  Jesus tells him to keep the law (the man was under the Law of Moses at this time).  The man replied that he had kept the law from his youth up.  Jesus told him that he lacked one thing.  Jesus told him to sell all that he had and give it to the poor.  The man refused and went away sorrowful for he had great riches.  The man loved material things more than Jesus.  Jesus loved him, but he did not reciprocate that love.  Here is a man who kept commandments without loving God.  Without love, obedience is vain (I Cor. 13:1-3).
Obedience to God is a test of love for God.  Jesus said if a man love me, he will keep my words.  Jesus affirmed that the words He spoke were from the Father.  To reject Jesus’ words is to reject the Father.  The Father loves those who love and obey Jesus.  Jesus and the Father will come and make their abode with those that love and obey Jesus.  Disobedience indicates lovelessness.  Where there is no love for Jesus, there is no relationship with Jesus.
How can you be in covenant relationship with Jesus when you disobey His will?  In Matt. 7:21-23, Jesus mentions those that claim relationship with Him but, in fact, because they have not obeyed Him, they are not known by the Lord and identified as workers of iniquity.
No one has ever been saved by faith alone.  To affirm such is to affirm that love is not an essential part of one’s relationship with God.  Faith and love are both essential to salvation.  The scriptures teach that we must trust and obey and that we must love and obey.

Taxes and Obedience To God

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     Jesus said, “Render therefore unto Caesar the things which be Caesar’s and unto God the things which be God’s” (Luke 20:25).  The context in which He spoke these words is very interesting.  The chief priests and the scribes (Luke 20:19) set out to entrap the Lord through a devious design.  Luke reveals their intent, “And they watched him, and sent forth spies, which should feign themselves just men, that they might take hold of his words, that so they might deliver him unto the power and authority of the governor” (Luke 19:20).  They watched Him, sent forth spies to spy on Him, and were willing to twist His words to accuse Him.  They designed a question for the purpose of entrapment.  “Is it lawful for us to give tribute to Caesar, or no?” (Luke 19:22).  The question was designed to put Jesus on the horns of a dilemma.  If He answered yes, He would incur the displeasure of Jewish patriots who hated to pay taxes to Caesar.  If He said no, then He would incur the displeasure of the Romans who required it. 
     Jesus orchestrated a masterful escape from their devious intentions.  Jesus knew their diabolical hearts.  He asked, “Why tempt ye me?”  He knew that they were testing His faithfulness to God.  Jesus said, “Shew me a penny.”  The penny was a denarius–a Roman coin with an image of Caesar on it.  Jesus asked, “Whose image and superscription hath it?”  They correctly replied, “Caesars.”  Jesus said unto them, “Render therefore unto Caesar the things which be Caesar’s, and unto God the things which be God’s.”  Several observations on this statement are in order.
     First, paying taxes recognized the authority of Caesar.  The authority possessed by Caesar was delegated to him by God (Rom. 13:1; John 19:10-11).  Paying taxes was an act of obedience to the authority of Caesar (a delegated authority).
     Second, the coin had Caesar’s inscription on it.  The image of Caesar on the coin denoted a claim to ownership.  Jesus said, “Render to Caesar the things which be Caesar’s.” 
     Third, when Jesus said, “Render unto God the things that are God’s,” He recognized God’s ownership of the universe and of each of His creatures.  Every person was given life by God (Ecclesiastes 12:7; Dan. 5:23).  By virtue of the fact that He is our creator, we must glorify Him as God.  Every Christian is bought with the precious blood of Jesus Christ (I Cor. 6:20).  God makes a claim on us.  We owe God our obedience, homage and faithfulness.  We are created in the image of God (Gen. 1:26,27).  Render unto God the things that are God’s!  God’s authority is supreme.  Yes, you must pay your taxes.  But, you owe God everything.  You owe Him your life and your all. We glorify God when we accept His rule in our hearts.  We glorify God whenever we obey Him.