Pastor David B. Curtis

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Love Obeys

John 14:22-31

Delivered 03/04/18

We are continuing our verse-by-verse study of the Upper Room Discourse. This is a record of our Lord's final instruction to His disciples just hours before His death. The second half of this Gospel (12-21) is often called by scholars the "Book of Glory." Do you remember what I said about who this is written to? Unlike the "Book of Signs," "The Book of Glory" is addressed only to those who have believed. So in this Upper Room Discourse the Lord is teaching believers, those who have trusted in Him, those who are His children. This is a family discussion.

We ended our study last week with:

Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me. And he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him." John 14:21 ESV

Who is it that loves the Lord? It is the person who has and obeys the Lord's commands.

We have His commands, they are recorded in the Bible. But we have to spend time in the Bible to know what His commands are, and then we need to obey them.

"And he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him"—in the immediate context of verses 18-20, this was a promise that Yeshua would disclose Himself to the disciples after His resurrection, and an encouragement for them to continue obeying Him and loving Him.

Last week I said, If I can make an application of this to us it would be this; Some believers love Yeshua more than other believers do. This results in some believers obeying Him more than others, and enjoying a more intimate relationship with Him, and a greater understanding of Him, than others enjoy.

D.A. Carson writes, "'Jesus' words in 14:21 refer not only to the resurrection appearances to the first disciples but also to the corresponding self-disclosures of Jesus to His disciples in later times."

Believers, Christianity is not a religion, it is a relationship. A Christian is a person who has entered into a personal relationship with Christ through faith in Christ's finished work on the cross. And just like in any relationship the more you put into it, the more you get out of it. I fell in love with Cathy shortly after I met her. But 45 years later my love for her is much deeper and stronger. But even now our relationship is good or poor depending on what we put into it. We will grow to know Christ more intimately by obeying Him.

Judas (not Iscariot) said to him, "Lord, how is it that you will manifest yourself to us, and not to the world?" John 14:22 ESV

This is Judas not Iscariot. Judas Iscariot has already departed back in John 13:30 during the supper. According to Luke there were two members of the apostles named "Judas":

and Judas the son of James, and Judas Iscariot, who became a traitor. Luke 6:16 ESV

The one who asked this question was "Judas the son of James." He is probably the same man as Thaddaeus. Let's look at Mark's listing of the Twelve:

He appointed the twelve: Simon (to whom he gave the name Peter); James the son of Zebedee and John the brother of James (to whom he gave the name Boanerges, that is, Sons of Thunder); Andrew, and Philip, and Bartholomew, and Matthew, and Thomas, and James the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus, and Simon the Zealot, and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed him. Mark 3:16-19 ESV

So the Judas asking this question is one of the Twelve.

It's interesting that Lazarus includes more information in his Gospel about the other apostles than the Synoptic writers who mainly focus on Peter, and James and John. So Judas asks the Lord, "Lord, how is it that you will manifest yourself to us, and not to the world?"—Judas was confused about this because it was commonly believed in that day that when the Messiah came He would be revealed to the nations of the world as King and Savior as in the vision of the divine "Son of man" in Daniel:

"I saw in the night visions, and behold, with the clouds of heaven there came one like a son of man, and he came to the Ancient of Days and was presented before him. And to him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve him; his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom one that shall not be destroyed. Daniel 7:13-14 ESV

So how could Yeshua manifest Himself to them and not to the world? Wouldn't everyone see Him, wouldn't "all peoples, nations, and languages should serve Him"? How would the world not see Your Kingdom, Your power. Aren't You going to overthrow Rome and drive them out of our land?

Yeshua 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. John 14:23 ESV

Yeshua's reply is to again connect love and obedience. In John 14:15-31 Yeshua makes similar statements about love for Him and obedience to Him over and over:

  • "If you love Me, you will keep My commandments," 14:15.
  • "Whoever has My commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me," 14:21.
  • "If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word," 14:23.
  • "Whoever does not love Me does not keep My words," 14:24.
  • "If you loved Me, you would have rejoiced, because I am going to the Father," 14:28

So for the third time He says, "If anyone loves me, he will keep my word"this is a third class conditional sentence, which speaks of potential action. It means that Yeshua neither assumes that His followers love Him, nor assumes that they do not. But if they do love Him they will keep His Word.

So if someone is not living in obedience to Christ's teaching, do they love Him? No, love is not a feeling, it is obedience to the revealed will of God. Listen, believer, If you don't obey the Word of God, you don't love God no matter what you say. So you really shouldn't be singing, "O, How I Love Jesus" unless you are living in obedience to His teaching.

I'm aware that by talking about "obedience," someone is bound to accuse me of being legalistic. But what we need to understand is that to think that God's grace and our obedience are at odds is to misunderstand God's grace:

For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, Titus 2:11-12 ESV

Do you see what Paul is saying here? God's grace actually instructs us to live obediently. Now please understand this, no one but Christ lived a life of perfect obedience, but the direction of our life is to be toward obedience. Notice what Yeshua prayed:

"I have manifested your name to the people whom you gave me out of the world. Yours they were, and you gave them to me, and they have kept your word. John 17:6 ESV

Did you catch that last part? "They have kept Your Word." Really? In just a few hours they would all desert Yeshua. Peter would deny Him and Thomas would doubt His resurrection. But knowing all this, Yeshua says that they have kept God's word. They weren't living in complete obedience to the Lord, but that was the overall direction of their lives.

Believers, please understand this; Yeshua is talking to believers! Keeping Yeshua's commandments is not here made a condition of salvation. Obedience is simply the proof of love.

Let me give you some erroneous statements from some commentators on Yeshua's words here: "Obedience is crucial. It is the evidence of true conversion." Another says, "Within this text we have the simplest and clearest sign of a genuine believer. He loves Christ and shows this by his obedience." Another writes, "When the whole import of your life is to love and obey Jesus Christ, then it is clear that you are one who has been born again!" They have just made obedience a condition of salvation. Let me ask you, Where do you see conversion in these verses? According to Yeshua these men ARE redeemed:

Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you. John 15:3 ESV

By "clean" here He means redeemed. Notice what He said in chapter 13:

For he knew who was to betray him; that was why he said, "Not all of you are clean." John 13:11 ESV

They weren't all clean because Judas was still with them. So Yeshua says that those in the upper room with Him were clean, they are His children. Now with that in mind notice what else Yeshua says about those with Him in the upper room:

You heard me say to you, 'I am going away, and I will come to you.' If you loved me, you would have rejoiced, because I am going to the Father, for the Father is greater than I. John 14:28 ESV

Do you understand what Yeshua is saying to them? "If you loved me, you would have rejoiced"—"if you loved Me" is a second class conditional sentence, which is called "contrary to fact." "If you loved me, [which you don't] you would have rejoiced [which you are not].

Robertson's Word Pictures states, "If ye loved me" is a second-class condition with the imperfect active of agapao referring to present time, implying that the disciples are not loving Yeshua as they should."

Did they love Him? Yeshua said they didn't! He said that if they loved Him they would be rejoicing about His departure to the Father. But they were not, because they didn't love Him. Paul said in 1 Corinthians 13:

Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; 1 Corinthians 13:4-5 ESV

Love does not insist on its own way. The NASB says, Love does not seek it's own. We could say, Love is not selfish. This means: the loving person is willing to forgo their own comfort, their own preferences, their own schedule, their own desires for benefit of the person loved. So they weren't loving Yeshua because they were more concerned with themselves then they were for Him.

So obedience is a mark of love, not of salvation. It is those who are saved and only those who are saved that can love Yeshua. In our text we see those who are saved not loving their Lord. And when we don't live obedient lives, we don't love Him either.

Okay, back to verse 23:

Yeshua 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. John 14:23 ESV

To those who love Yeshua He says, "My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him"who is the "we" here? "We" is the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. This is the only verse in the New Testament that says that the Father indwells us. So all three members of the Trinity take up residence in us: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

The word here for "home" is the Greek word mone; the same word that we saw in verse 2, translated "rooms. "In my Father's house are many rooms." Verse 23 shows us that mone has the idea of dwelling. We will make our dwelling with Him.

Yeshua begun His teaching in chapter 14 by referring to rooms (monai, plural) that He would prepare for His disciples in heaven (v. 2). He now revealed that He and His Father would first make their home (monen, singular) in believing disciples on the earth. These are the only two occurrences of this word in the New Testament. They bracket this section of Yeshua's discourse and indicate its unity.

D.A. Carson writes, "The theophany of which He has been speaking occurs within the circle of love that displays itself in obedience to the Son's teaching." Yeshua stressed the principle that loving obedience always results in intimate fellowship.

This is the promise of the New Covenant, the presence of God in each believer. It is the prophecy made to Ezekiel in 37:26:

I will make a covenant of peace with them. It shall be an everlasting covenant with them. And I will set them in their land and multiply them, and will set my sanctuary in their midst forevermore. Ezekiel 37:26 ESV

I see Yeshua as saying in our text that when we obey Him, then He will share more of Himself with us. Again, this isn't mystical, extra-biblical knowledge, but rather the knowledge of Him through His Word.

Whoever does not love me does not keep my words. And the word that you hear is not mine but the Father's who sent me. John 14:24 ESV

Here Yeshua restates the ethical point He had made in verses 15 and 23 in the negative. Lack of love for Yeshua will result in lack of obedience to His teachings, which are the revelations of God the Father.

"These things I have spoken to you while I am still with you. John 14:25 ESV

The implication is that He won't be with them much longer. "These things"—refers to the upper room teachings (chaps. 13-17). The Greek construction of "spoken" means: "I have spoken these things in the past, and the results of them continues on."

But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you. John 14:26 ESV

The word "helper" here is parakletos the same word used in verse 16. Parakleto refers to a legal assistant in a court who pleads someone's case before the judge. So here we see that the Paraclete is specifically identified as the Holy Spirit whom the Father will send in Yeshua's name.

"The Father will send in my name"—the Son had come as the Father's emissary, and soon the Spirit would come as the Son's emissary.

"He will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you"—this is one of many verses that contain proof that the Holy Spirit is a Person: He teaches. This is primarily a promise that the Holy Spirit will enable the apostles and their associates to write the New Testament.

The Holy Spirit taught these men by direct revelation. This is something which was special and unique to this small band of believers who had been commissioned by the Lord to carry the Gospel and establish the work of God's Kingdom. The only Bibles they had were copies of the various parts of the Tanakh.

These men had direct revelation by the Spirit. They were given the very Word of God. Paul put it like this in 1 Thessalonians 2:13:

And we also thank God constantly for this, that when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men but as what it really is, the word of God, which is at work in you believers. 1 Thessalonians 2:13 ESV

Paul gave them the Word of God, which had been given to him by the revelation of the Spirit. This means that we can have confidence that the New Testament is inspired by God. As Peter states:

For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit. 2 Peter 1:21 ESV

The word "carried along" in this verse literally means: "to be borne along" or "moved along." Peter says that men were carried along, much as a wind fills the sails of a ship and moves it forward, by the Holy Spirit. The personality of the authors can be seen in their works, but, ultimately, it is a book supremely correct in what it affirms, and without error because God is the superintending author. It is the very revelation of God Himself.

There are three terms that we must understand in relation to the Spirits work and the Scriptures. REVELATION—This is God unveiling Himself to man. Revelation is complete in the Bible. INSPIRATION—This is the infallible recording of what God has make known to us. This is what our verse in John is talking about, those first century disciples were given revelation and inspiration. Both revelation and inspiration are closed. God is done writing His Word.

Then we have ILLUMINATION—this is the Holy Spirit giving us an understanding of the inspired revelation. This doesn't mean that we read a verse and say, Lord teach me what this means and then God gives you insight into linguistics, and culture and history. I don't think we can understand the Bible apart from the Holy Spirit but there are three keys to illumination, they are humility, holiness, and hard work.

Humility—David prayed that God would open his eyes to the wonderful truths of His Word. I think that we should humbly pray and ask God to teach us before we ever look into His Word.

Holiness—by this I mean practical holiness. If you have known sin in your life and won't deal with it, you're not going to grow. God is not going to be illuminating His truth to you when you are not acting on what you already know. This goes along with our text and the idea of God manifesting Himself to us as we walk in obedience.

Hard Work—this is where so many fall short. We are not willing to labor at understanding God's truth. We want it to come to us by reading a devotional for ten minutes a day. Isn't God important enough to you for you to spend some time getting to know His revealed will for your life? The Scriptures themselves call us to hard work in order to understand them:

My son, if you will receive my words And treasure my commandments within you, Make your ear attentive to wisdom, Incline your heart to understanding; For if you cry for discernment, Lift your voice for understanding; If you seek her as silver And search for her as for hidden treasures; Then you will discern the fear of the LORD And discover the knowledge of God. Proverbs 2:1-5 NASB

We live in a different culture, speak a different language, and are historically separated by thousands of years. We live in an instant society, we want it now, but understanding of God's word takes time and effort. It's not for lazy people. N.T. Wright said, "One of the marks of human maturity is delayed gratification."

Most people in our culture are looking for a biblical band-aid: If they're having problems in their marriage, they want a message on marriage to fix it; or its always about what will a message do for me practically speaking. But it is understanding of God and His will that give us strength for daily living, and that comes from a consistent study of His Word. Understanding comes in time to those who put in the effort. So I would ask you to put in some effort in understanding this great book. Read it on a regular basis, over and over.

Yeshua knows that there is much of His teaching they have not understood. After His death, after His resurrection, after His ascension to the Father and the gift of the Spirit to believers, then the Spirit will teach them "all things and remind" them of everything Yeshua had said to them.

The Father's truth is passed on to the Son, and then to the Spirit, and then to the apostles to be recorded in Scripture, and then to us. Then, the Spirit of God, resident in us, becomes the interpreter, the illuminator:

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. John 14:27 ESV

"Peace" is from the Greek word eirene, which is from the Hebrew shalom. It was a customary word of both greeting and farewell among the Jews. Yeshua used it here as a farewell. This again reflects the shortness of time, He is soon to leave them.

Peace is used twice here and I see them are referring to different meanings of peace. First there is the peace that we receive when we are justified or reconciled to God.

Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Yeshua the Christ. Romans 5:1 ESV

Who is the "we" in this verse? It is Paul and the Roman Christians. Paul is addressing believers, the family of God. "Since we have been justified by faith"—the Greek here uses the aorist passive "having been justified." The aorist points to a past act by God (divine passive) to declare sinners righteous "Since we have been justified" indicates that God has already accomplished this work.

"We have peace with God through our Lord Yeshua the Christ"—what does peace with God mean? It means the war is over, it means that God is no longer our enemy, no longer promising judgment and death. Peace with God is the new status between God and the believer which flows from the reconciliation accomplished in Christ. By virtue of Christ's death on the cross has made it possible for men who were separated from God to become the friends of, to have peace with God. That peace with God may be what our Lord means when He says, "My peace I leave with you."

Peace is one of the fundamental characteristics of the Messianic Kingdom anticipated in the Tanakh and fulfilled in the New Testament.

The first kind of peace, the peace with God is linked with expiation. Then Yeshua says, "My peace which I give you," and this is linked with Christian experience. One is peace with God; the other is the peace of God of which Paul speaks in Philippians chapter 4.

do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Yeshua. Philippians 4:6-7 ESV

When you really know God and are trusting in Him, you will have His peace.

You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you. Isaiah 26:3 ESV

No matter what problem you're facing, if you understand who your God is, that He is sovereign over every thing, He'll give you peace.

Notice what this peace does —It guards your heart and mind. The word "guard" is the Greek word phroureo, it means: "to mount guard as a sentinel, to hem in, to protect." God's peace guards hearts and minds from anxiety, worry, doubt, and fear when we trust Him.

So Peace in our text is used in both an objective sense, restoration with God, and a subjective sense, a feeling of security or stability amidst difficult circumstances.

"Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid"—this is a present passive imperative with negative particle which usually means: "stop an action already in process." The peace that Christ gives is the reason that they need to stop being troubled. This is a repeat of the command given in verse 1, "Stop letting your hearts be troubled."

The word "afraid" is in the Greek deiliano, meaning: "cowardly fear." It is only used here, but the same root word is used as an adjective by Matthew for how the disciples felt in the terrible storm on the Sea of Galilee in Matthew 8:26.

"Not as the world gives do I give to you"—His peace is not based on good circumstances. We can have peace in the midst of the worst circumstances.

You heard me say to you, 'I am going away, and I will come to you.' If you loved me, you would have rejoiced, because I am going to the Father, for the Father is greater than I. John 14:28 ESV

Yeshua is still dealing with what is troubling His disciples and causing their fear, which is his repeatedly announced departure.

"You heard me say to you, 'I am going away, and I will come to you"—they certainly did!He said this over and over. In chapter 7 He said:

Yeshua then said, "I will be with you a little longer, and then I am going to him who sent me. John 7:33 ESV

Then in chapter 8 he said:

So he said to them again, "I am going away, and you will seek me, and you will die in your sin. Where I am going, you cannot come." John 8:21 ESV

He said it again in chapter 13:

Little children, yet a little while I am with you. You will seek me, and just as I said to the Jews, so now I also say to you, 'Where I am going you cannot come.' John 13:33 ESV

In chapter 14 He said, "I'm going to the Father." So yes, they had hear Him say this, He has even detailed that this going away involves death and resurrection and ascension.

"If you loved me, you would have rejoiced"—this is a second class conditional sentence. "If you loved me, [which you don't] you would have rejoiced [which you are not]. Their fear was a result of failure to love Him as they should. They should have "rejoiced" that, even though His departure meant loss for them, it meant glory and joy for Him.

What Yeshua assumes here is that love means seeking the other's best good. It was good for Him to return to the Father. Thus, if the disciples loved Him, that would be their desire for Him and they would rejoice that it was at hand. Too often we say that we love someone, but we mean that we like what they do for us. If we love them, we will want what is best for them whether it is pleasant or painful for us.

The bottom line here is all they can think about is what Yeshua leaving means to them, how it's going to affect them. Their faith is weak and they are selfish. Their sorrow is really completely self-centered, and that is why Yeshua says this to them: "If you loved Me, which you don't."

And now I have told you before it takes place, so that when it does take place you may believe. John 14:29 ESV

He is talking to believers, who when they see the things happen that Yeshua told them about, their level of trust in Yeshua will increase. After Christ's resurrection when they reflected upon Yeshua's predictions, the disciples will come to see that He was in complete control of the situation as only God Himself could be.

There were plenty of things that Yeshua that the disciples didn't understand at all. For example, in John:

When therefore he was raised from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this, and they believed the Scripture and the word that Yeshua had spoken. John 2:22 ESV

They had trouble understanding Him until after the resurrection. What jogged their memories? What gave them understanding? The coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. It was the Spirit's coming that enlightened them.

I will no longer talk much with you, for the ruler of this world is coming. He has no claim on me, John 14:30 ESV

The reason Yeshua gives that He does not have much more to say is that the ruler of the world is coming. The "ruler of this world" is Satan. This is Lazarus' second of three references to Satan using this title (John 12:31; 14:30; and 16:11). The soldiers and Judas who are coming to arrest Yeshua represent the coming of the Evil One, and it is possible in light of the statement in 13:27 (that Satan "entered into" Judas) that for Lazarus, the coming of Judas indicates the coming of Satan himself.

Satan had tried to kill Yeshua when He was a baby through Herod's decree that all two-year-old male children would be executed. Satan had tried to tempt Him at the beginning of His ministry and cause Him to fall. He had continuously confronted Yeshua. Everywhere He went He was confronted with demons, but Yeshua said:

"He has no claim on me"—this is a Hebrew idiom frequently used in legal contexts that means: "Satan has no legal claim on me." His perfect, sinless, blameless life kept the devil from being able to lay claim on Him and justifiably put Him to death. The death of Christ was not as that of a sinner deserving death, but as the One perfect sacrifice willingly offered without spot or blemish on behalf of sinners.

but I do as the Father has commanded me, so that the world may know that I love the Father. Rise, let us go from here. John 14:31 ESV

This is the only place in the New Testament where the Lord explicitly says, "I love the Father." As the love of Yeshua's disciples for their Master is demonstrated by their obedience (vv. 15, 21, 23), so also does the Son Himself remain in His Father's love by keeping His commandments (8:29; 15:10). Yeshua's love for and obedience toward His Father are supremely displayed in His willingness to sacrifice His own life.

Everything that happened in the incarnation, including Satan's apparent victory, has all been planned and commanded by the Father. The Son, who loves the Father, does exactly what His Father commanded (14:31). Christ's death may look like a defeat, but it is in fact the final evidence of the Son doing the work of the Father. Christ's death is the culmination of the Father's saving work in and through His Son, planned and purposed before the beginning of time.

Christ is saying here, "I am demonstrating to the entire world that I love the Father by doing exactly as the Father has commanded Me." It was the Father's will that Yeshua die (cf. Isa. 53:10; Mark 10:45; 2 Cor. 5:21).

"Rise, let us go from here"—this could mean that Yeshua had left the Upper Room and was teaching along the way to Gethsemane. But in light of 18:1, it seems that this did not signal a real change of location—but only an anticipated change:

When Yeshua had spoken these words, he went out with his disciples across the brook Kidron, where there was a garden, which he and his disciples entered. John 18:1 ESV

It could mean that Yeshua simply stood up at this point to finish the discourse before departing. If you have had guests or relatives in your home then you know that it is common for guests to say they are leaving, and then stay quite a bit longer before they really leave. Either way the time of the departure from the upper room is not critical to a correct interpretation of Yeshua's teaching.

What we need to see in these verses is that a believers' love for Yeshua is demonstrated by their obedience to His teaching. If you don't obey Him, you do not love Him. So can you sing, "Oh How I Love Jesus"?

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