"If You Love Me, You Will Keep My Commandments" (John 14:15)

ImageFor me as a pastor, one of the great joys is to listen to conversion stories.  Because in Baptist Churches we emphasize the new birth – an experience in which a person has been born again before they can join the church as a member – we listen attentively to the conversion stories.  We want to find out what happened, when it happened and what major changes have occurred as a result.

Inevitably, the newly converted person talks a lot about Jesus.  They do not know much church history or doctrine, they are not aware of all sorts of things that church people do or do not do, but they are aware of Jesus Christ.  They have met Jesus, they have experienced the love of Jesus, and now the most delightful subject to talk about is Jesus.

One can see similarities between two people who have fallen in love.  One year ago they did not care for one another even though they may have been in the same church or even next door neighbors.  However, now they have fallen in love and one of the things that want to do is to be with one another and talk about one another.

In the book of Revelation, Jesus speaks to seven churches and to one of the churches he says, "You have forsaken your first love."  (Rev. 2:4)

In our churches we often have to persuade people, to tell them of their obligations and of their commitments, yet Jesus tells us that if we are in love with Him, we will keep his commandments.  In fact, he expands that if we are in love with Him as He is in love with His Father, the keeping of the commandments will not be difficult.

Jesus illustrates this reality between us and Him with the reality that exists between Him and His heavenly Father. "Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one that loves me.  He who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love him and show myself to him."(John 14:21)

I am fascinated by this combination.  Jesus tells that before we boast about how much we love him, we should see how many of His commandments we keep. It is in the keeping of these commandments that we demonstrate our love for God.

If I declare that Jesus is the lover of my life, that I love him more than anything else in the world, I should seek to please him, honor him, and fulfill those commands that are clearly portrayed for us in the Scriptures.

Is there an inconsistency between your declaration of love for Jesus and your desire to love him in doing what He has commanded you to do?  It is impossible to say that you are in love with Jesus but you do not want to spend time with Him so that you can find out what He wants you to do.  At the same time, in all the things that you do, you will do them for His glory and honor because you are so in love with Him.

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Rev. Dr. George Hancock-Stefan

George Hancock-Stefan

Pastor George Hancock-Stefan completed 30 years as the pastor of the great congregation at Central Baptist Church in Atlantic Highlands in 2020. Those 30 years have been a blessed time for him, his wife...