“If you love me, keep my commands. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be[c] in you. I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you. Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them.”
- John 14:15-21
“We don’t consciously and deliberately disobey God— we simply don’t listen to Him. God has given His commands to us, but we pay no attention to them— not because of willful disobedience, but because we do not truly love and respect Him. ‘If you love Me, keep My commandments’ (John 14:15). Once we realize we have constantly been showing disrespect to God, we will be filled with shame and humiliation for ignoring Him.”
- Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest
I read a quote from C. S. Lewis once that talked about how he’d tried to be naughty with someone and they hardly noticed, but when he had hurt someone, the hurt was over something entirely unintentional. Chambers is suggesting something similar toward God.
God wants a tithe from our first fruits, but is it not odd that the rich folk of the church wait until the last Sunday of the year so that they can give their ‘monthly’ pledge out of their huge bonus. It would be first fruit if it was given at the beginning of the year, but the rich folk need their tax break. I have no problem with giving a large chunk of a bonus, but they are giving their last fruits, not the first, and the church’s giving has been underbudget all year after planning programs based on a monthly pledge. Jesus said that we must love one another. Putting a strain on the church treasurer and basing giving on a bonus – that might not arrive – is not treating the poor guy with love.
And the other greatest commandment that Jesus mentioned was to love God. In fact, Jesus wants a personal relationship with each of us, but we hardly know Him. If we had the type of relationship that we have with Jesus with all our so-called friends, we’d be hermits. God speaks to us all the time through the Holy Spirit, but as Chambers mentions above, we ignore Him. Any sane individual will know a great deal about those who are his / her friends, yet too many people hedge after being asked the question, “Can you tell me about Jesus?”
Michael Green, of the Wales Leadership Forum, was on a video shared by Rev. David Robertson, the Wee Flea. He said that churches are in trouble due to three words: Fear, Coldness, and Ignorance. I may come back to this video in detail in another post, but Michael Green said that if I am going to introduce you to Bill, I need to know about Bill, and I need to know about you. I would simply be the go-between. For too many in the church today, they do not know Bill very well. As someone once said, “I can introduce them to the preacher, and he will explain it.” Hmmmm? The preacher will explain to a total stranger about how you have an intimate relationship with our Savior, but you cannot provide a single descriptive word? How does he do that? How is that possible?
And the Great Commission is Jesus’ parting words when He returned to the Father. We need to be prepared to talk about Jesus. We need to be able to show God’s love when we interact with others. And we need to be fearless.
The Scripture above tells us that Jesus said to follow His commands, but Jesus does not leave us empty-handed. The Holy Spirit is given to us to be with us and in us. We lack bravery in speaking out? Look to the Holy Spirit. We cannot seem to get our thoughts straight? Look to the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit can guide us, but what did Chambers say that our problem was? “We simply don’t listen to Him.”
Soli Deo Gloria. Only to God be the Glory.