Wednesday, May 30, 2012

What does it mean to Love/Please God?

This could probably also be called, How do we know we are saved?Perhaps we will address both by the time this message is complete.  This post may seem a little lengthy but it is not a subject to be taken lightly.
        John 14 alone is loaded with answers to these questions about loving God.
In John 14:6 Jesus said, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No man comes to the Father except through me".
In John 14:12 Jesus says, "Truly, truly I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father".
In John 14:15 Jesus says, "If you love, you will keep my commandments".
In Vs. 21 He goes on to say, "Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me.  And he who love me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him".
In Vs. 22-24 Judas (not Iscariot) asks Jesus, "Lord, How is it that you will manifest yourself to us, and not to the world?  Jesus answered him, If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him and we will come to him and make our home with him.  Whoever does not love me does not keep my words".
In John 14:31 Jesus says: "I do as the Father has commanded me, so that the world may know that I love the Father".
     I will not try to quote it all hear because it needs to be read in it's entirety but John 15 makes it pretty clear that if you are a genuine Christian and you are abiding in Jesus you (the branch) will bear fruit that will bear witness to your relationship/connection to Jesus (the vine).  Jesus makes the point in this chapter that if we truly are walking in God's love that we will "lay down our lives for each other" as Christ lay down his life for us, his "friends". In John 15:16 Jesus states to the disciples that "you did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide".  Jesus goes on in verses18-25 to clarify that the world will hate those who follow Jesus because they hate Jesus.  He states that we are not of this world if we are followers of Christ because He chose us out of this world and we should expect persecution.  So persecution is a fruit of being a follower of Christ among other things.  If everything is hunky dory, you should probably look at just how passionately you are following and obeying him.
         In Mark 8:34-38 Jesus says, "If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.  For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel's sake will save it.  For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul?  For what can a man give in return for his soul?  For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him will the Son of Man also be ashamed when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.
       Here is a truth that many do not think of as often as they should.  John 7:21-23 states, "Not everyone who says to me Lord, Lord will enter the kingdom of Heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.  On that day, many will say to me Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?  And then will I declare to them, I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness".
     James 1:27 states, "Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.
Read Matthew 25:31-46.  To sum up, it indicates that those who truly have a heart for God will look out for those in need.  Whether thirsty, hungry, a stranger, naked, sick, or in prison they are to be looked after by us, the Christian, the child of God, the follower of Jesus.  That in doing these things we are showing evidence of walking in his love and obeying, under his Lordship.  It indicates that those who do not include these actions as a part of their lives had better question where they stand with God because they will likely find themselves in HELL!  THESE ARE THE WORDS OF JESUS!
I know, I had never really realized this before.
          Read Matthew 7:13-23.  Jesus makes it plain, as he does in many places in the Gospels that small is the gate and narrow is the road that leads to eternal life and few will find it.  That there are many that believe they are going to heaven because of their devout religious commitment, but have no relationship with Jesus.  They have no idea what the bible says really pleases God.  They have simply empty works fueled by a selfish motivation.
         1 John 2:15 warns: "Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes, and the pride of possessions, is not from the Father but is from the world.
         Revelation 3:15-17 shows God saying: "I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot.  Would that you were either cold or hot!  So because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth.  For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing, not realizing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked.
        I am concerned by the prosperity message as it applies to material things because it is so easy for it to lead to a dangerous level of comfort and lack of a feeling of a need for God.  It can lead to a deceptive idea that "because I am successful and have prospered materialistically I must be pleasing God!  Or it can lead to the idea that because I have not attained riches, I must not be pleasing God.  Jesus gave everything up and made himself nothing.  He required that we give everything up and follow him.  Paul considered all things rubbish in comparison to knowing and serving Jesus!  Doesn't quite line up does it?

So what does all this mean?  Is our Salvation based on what we do?  NOT AT ALL!  

      Ephesians 2:8 says, "For by grace you have been saved through faith.  And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
    Phillipians 1:27-28 states: "Only let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving side by side for the faith of the gospel. And not frightened in anything by your opponents.  This is a clear sign to them of their destruction,but of your salvation, and that from God.
     Phillipians 2:14 says, "Do all things without grumbling or questioning, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world.
    In John 8:31 Jesus says, "If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and truth will set you free".  As I strive to live out God's love in my life for him and others, I ask God to help me fall more and more in love with Him and the people He created and less in love with me.  When you do something out of a selfless love, you do it out of a desire to help and please others and God, not out of obligation.
 To lay down your life for a friend (John 15:12-15) does not necessarily mean to die, rather to put that friends needs and desires before your own. To die to ourselves daily.  Jesus said that we are his friends if we do what he commands.  Jesus loved you so much that he gave his life for you.  Can we do anything less than to give our lives for him.  This is in essence what pleases him most.

So to sum up, God's Word makes it plain that Salvation without Lordship is no Salvation at all.  You are saved by grace not works for certain.  However, faith without works is dead (James 2:14-26).  If  your Salvation is genuine, the fruit of God’s Lordship in your life will absolutely be evidence of that.  Your obedience will be pleasing to God and a proof of your love for him.
In fact, 1Corinthians 8: 3 says, "that if anyone loves God, He is known by God".  If he knows you, that's different than, "I never knew you"....right? Talk about assurance of salvation.  If you want to know that God knows you, live out your love for him through your obedience to him and the way you love others.  Die to yourself and let your light so shine that others would recognize the love of Jesus in you.

I have given a lot of scripture here because I want there to be no doubt that the ideas presented here are not from my mouth but many of them are from the mouth of Jesus himself.  All of them are form the Word of God.  If these "truths" have created any concern about your standing with God then I pray that you would turn to God and reconcile once and for all the Lordship in your life that He is due.  And I pray, once you have done that that the "truths" in this message will inspire and motivate you to "work out your salvation with fear and trembling" (Phillipians 2:12)

As always, Love in Christ,


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