Skip to content

Loving What Jesus Commands

May 25, 2014

Word & Sacraments

Click here to listen to this sermon.

Sixth Sunday of Easter                                                Trinity Lutheran Church

25 May 2014                                                                   Murdock, NE


+ Jesu Juva +


John 14:15


Check it out!  “If you love me,” Jesus says, “you will keep my commandments … Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me.”


Love in the Bible is an action not a feeling.  For example, “God so loved the world THAT HE GAVE His only Son,” (John 3:16).  That’s Christmas and Good Friday.  The Epistle put it this way:  “For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God,” (1 Peter 3:18).  The deliberate act of God doing what it takes to save sinners.  Jesus takes all our bad and then gives us all His good!  Your sin is His.  His righteousness is yours.  And more!  It just keeps flooding in as the Epistle declares:  “Baptism … now saves you, not as a removal of dirt from the body but as an appeal to God for a good conscience.”  “Baptism … now saves you … through the resurrection of Jesus Christ,” (1 Peter 3:21)!  We heard Paul preach the resurrection of Jesus to the Athenians today from the First Reading (Acts 17).


Behold God’s love in Christ for you the sinner!  It’s incredible.  Holy Jesus deliberately takes your sin in His Body.  He who knew no sin was made to be sin at Calvary and He gets damned with all your sin.  He does it to save you!  St. Paul declares this to you:  “God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us,” (Romans 5:8).


Now back to the text.  Jesus flat out says it:  “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.”


When Jesus says, “keep” He means, “to cling to, to guard, or to treasure.” You who are died for, baptized, and called to faith in Jesus by the Holy Spirit in the preached gospel  – WHAT DO YOU NOW WANT TO DO?  Seriously!  What do you want to do as a disciple of Jesus?


You want to be disciplined in the “keeping of His commandments.”  Right?  Of course you do.  “Keep,” that is, hang on to, guard as precious, or cherish the things that Jesus has entrusted to you.  What He has mandated and instituted.


So, I now ask you:  what has Jesus commanded for you to keep or treasure?


He mandates that you be forgiven in His Name, that is, that you hear the good news of His saving-sinners-gospel preached in His Name.  That’s Matthew 16; Matthew 18; Luke 24; and John 20.  You are to be baptized into His death and resurrection for you the sinner.  That’s Matthew 28; Acts 2; and Romans 6.  He mandates that you are to eat and drink His crucified and risen Body and Blood with the bread and wine – remembering that He died FOR YOU!  That His death on the cross was FOR YOUR SALVATION!


These are the “commandments” of Jesus.  It’s what you, the believer in Jesus, want to do because His love for you has had its way with you.  You want to take the time to cling to the preaching of the gospel, the absolution and the supper – so that you are freely forgiven as Jesus promises.  To be freed from your guilt and your shame and by that you live in and from your baptism in Christ.   “If you love me,” Jesus says, “you will eagerly receive these gifts from me.  You will let me wash you, feed you, cleanse and heal you, for this is my will and mandate for you.  I want you to walk in safety under the protection of my death and resurrection.  I want you to be disciplined in receiving the forgiveness of yours sin in My Word and Sacrament.” 


Too often, we do not love Jesus nor do we treasure His mandates that are for our salvation’s good.  Therefore, we need to repent of living outside of Christ’s love, resisting His gifts and avoiding or just being totally apathetic to His forgiveness.  Sadly, we ignore Jesus and listen to ourselves as if we have better words than Jesus!


Jesus isn’t stupid.  He knew our day would come.  He knew what life in 21st century America would be like.  He foresaw the smug decadence of those who declare:  “I believe in Jesus” but then never treasure what He gives in the divine service.  Jesus knew that a haughty arrogance would come over our congregations in which His humble but salutary mandates of baptism, absolution, preaching and the supper would be neglected, derided as dead Spiritless doctrines, despised as impediments to growing the church, doing mission and converting the world.


Jesus knew that many claiming His Name would deny His death and resurrection for them.  Good grief!  He saw the unbelief already at work in an apostle Judas Iscariot who betrayed Him – and the audacious hurt of Peter’s threefold denial.  The cynicism, mockery and unbelief were already present in the synagogue that opposed the preaching of the gospel by the apostles.  It was there in the dripping-wet-with-piety philosophical agnostics of Athens who made fun of Paul’s preaching of Jesus raised from the dead.  It is at work among us today in our lives, our congregation and the church at large, when we blow off, refuse and despise Jesus’ mandates.


He flat out says to eat and drink His Body and Blood.  His words are divine words.  But then we speak our own words.  Our own sermon.  To justify ourselves.  To litigate our case.  As if we’re little gods who have better words than our Lord’s.  It goes like this:  “I’m tired.  I’m busy.  I need my sleep.  My child needs his nap.  I have yard work to do. I have a ball game.  I just don’t feel like it.”


Seriously?  Your words are not better than Christ’s!  The words you preach to yourself to excuse yourself DO NOT TRUMP Christ’s mandates given in Scripture.  If you truly believe that your words are better than Christ’s, you’re in deep spiritual trouble.  You cannot say that you love Jesus and then persistently and purposely refuse to receive His gifts!  You cannot say that you’re a Christian and then never go to the Sacrament.  None of your excuses hold!  Jesus is the Lord.  You are not.


So, this is precisely why He declares in the text:  “If you love me, you will cling to MY commandments.”


Jesus binds you to Himself through His Word and Sacraments.  Through these means Jesus reaches down to you in your loneliness and isolation.  He reaches down from the right hand of God the Father and pours water on you in His Name and says:  “You belong to me now!”  He puts a bit of bread on your tongue and says:  “My body given for you.”  He gives a sip of wine and says:  “My blood shed for you.”  He gently speaks a word into your ears and heart that goes like this:  “I forgive you.”  Jesus lives in you by His Word and you live in Him by faith in His Word.  You’re saved because Jesus has you safe and secure in His Good Friday wounds.  And now what do you want to do?   You want to love Him and actively cling to His commandments because He is in you.


So too the Father and the Holy Spirit.  Jesus promises:  “I will pray the Father and He will give you another Comforter, to be with you forever.”  And:  “If a man loves me, he will keep my Word, and my Father will love him and we will come and make our home with him.”   In the Word and Sacraments God is with you and for you – for your salvation.  You have Jesus’ promise.


In the Name of Jesus.






Leave a Comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: