Sunday, November 22, 2009
Hearing With Right Em-Pha-Sis
"If ye love me, keep my commandments." (John 14:15)
Jesus is in the Upper Room. Leaving a parting message with his friends. Explaining the equipment which is to be forthcoming for their mission to change the world.
It is at a time of departure that we attempt to communicate our intense feeling, our best encouragement, our most worthy advice, the particulars of our reunion.
Facing his perplexed travel-mates and students, he assures them of the soon arrival of another comforter and guide, the Holy Spirit. He then issues the marching orders abovementioned.
I wonder if we hear them right. There is a crucial point of emphasis. A world of difference between pain-staking duty of dubious sucesss, and grateful love which never fails in giving what the Master has requisitioned.
Have you heard Him say,"If ye love me, keep my commandments." If so be prepared for the long painful stretch of self-examination, frustrating set-backs and discontent in the Christian walk. This is law, and it will bring us to "wit's end corner".
But perhaps you have heard Him say, "If ye love me, keep my commandments". One's thoughts are drawn out of one's self to the object of love. His heroism. His spotless record. His many deliverances of the past. The courage and resolve which are even now quickening to the fulfilment of the will of the Beloved. We must please Him. And the Holy Spirit is the executor of this process in us. This is grace, and it is success.
Hear some of the comments of Matthew Henry on this chapter taken from his "Concise Commentary on the Entire Bible":
"Christ promises that he would continue his care of his disciples. I will not leave you orphans, or fatherless, for though I leave you, yet I leave you this comfort, I will come to you. I will come speedily to you at my resurrection. I will come daily to you in my Spirit; in the tokens of his love, and visits of his grace. I will come certainly at the end of time. Those only that see Christ with an eye of faith, shall see him for ever: the world sees him no more till his second coming; but his disciples have communion with him in his absence. These mysteries will be fully known in heaven. It is a further act of grace, that they should know it, and have the comfort of it. Having Christ's commands, we must keep them. And having them in our heads, we must keep them in our hearts and lives. The surest evidence of our love to Christ is, obedience to the laws of Christ. There are spiritual tokens of Christ and his love given to all believers. Where sincere love to Christ is in the heart, there will be obedience. Love will be a commanding, constraining principle; and where love is, duty follows from a principle of gratitude. God will not only love obedient believers, but he will take pleasure in loving them, will rest in love to them. He will be with them as his home. These privileges are confined to those whose faith worketh by love, and whose love to Jesus leads them to keep his commandments. Such are partakers of the Holy Spirit's new-creating grace."