If You Love Me, You Will Keep My Commandments

            In John 14:15 Jesus make a very direct, easily understood statement. The KJV and NKJV capture the thought in John 14:23. “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.”

            Jesus built His church (Matt. 16:18; Heb. 12:22-23). He is the One the church is to obey (Matt. 28:20). Why then do we so commonly ignore Him in this most fundamental aspect of Christian response?

            Jesus is smart, hardly a revelation, yet a truth we can all too easily ignore. If the church is to address successfully the business of the Christ, it must love the Christ. If we love Him well, we will follow Him faithfully and zealously; if we do not love Him sufficiently, we will not. Simple, isn’t it.

            This love of Christ is to control us; it is the key to victorious service (II Cor. 5:14-15; cf. Gal. 2:20). Whatever the particular item of service might be, it is the heartfelt love of Jesus that will insure its pursuit. All the well-defined lists of doctrine and all the acknowledged biblical patterns will not, in themselves, bring us to obedience; love is the key.

            How do we come to have this love? What is the practical plan for developing this all-important key to service? We need no rocket scientist or brain surgeon; the answer is within clear sight of us all.

            We will come to love Jesus in the acceptable, substantive biblical way as we get to know Him. To know Him is to love Him. Where do we find our most direct encounter with the Christ? It is in the Gospels. Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, almost 48% of the New Testament, is the place where we see Jesus “in the flesh” (Jn. 1:14; 14:7-9).

            Yes, we must also come to know the mind of Christ as it is expressed to the church in the Epistles. The love of Christ would allow no other choice. Nevertheless, it is in the Gospels where we see Him in the form of His most personal appearance. The key is to loving Jesus is obvious. The Gospels must be read. Their picture of Jesus must be the source of our ongoing meditation and application (II Cor. 3:18). If we never tire of hearing the “old, old story,” we will never be far from the four books of “good news.”

            We have, at times, given our first look to bare doctrine, or to programs   and methods devised by men. Some have even said that Acts chapter two is the “hub of the Bible,” as thought the beginning of the church is more significant than its Builder (Heb. 3:3). We need to look first to the Christ (Col. 3:1-3). It is to Him we must go before our focus can be clear elsewhere (Matt. 11:28-30; cf. I Cor. 11:1).

            I purpose a prescription for increasing our love to Jesus. Read a Gospel a week, taken in daily doses. Read, marvel, meditate, and be captivated by Jesus. As we grow in love for Him, we will grow in our keeping of His commandments. As Philip told Nathanael, “Come and see” (Jn. 1:46).