He Dwells Within Us

Wednesday, September 6, 2017, 5:00 a.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song “My Jesus, I Love Thee.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read John 14 (Select vv. ESV).

Another Helper (vv. 15-17)

“If you love me, you will keep my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you.”

Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the second person of our triune God – Father, Son and Holy Spirit – was celebrating the Feast of the Passover with his disciples when he spoke these words to them. Satan had already put it into Judas’ heart to betray Jesus, and so Jesus told his disciples that one of them was going to betray him. Then, Jesus told his disciples that he was soon to leave them, and that they could not go with him then, but that they would follow afterward. But, then he comforted them with the knowledge that he was going to prepare a place for them, and that he would come again to take them to be with him. And, that comfort is for all of us who know him.

When Jesus spoke these words to his disciples, the Holy Spirit was present with them, but he was not living in them. The Holy Spirit came to dwell within the followers of Christ after Jesus Christ was crucified on a cross for our sins, buried, resurrected from the dead, and ascended back to heaven to be with the Father. Now, when we believe in Jesus Christ to be Lord and Savior of our lives, the Holy Spirit of God comes to live within us, to empower us to live godly and holy lives, and to teach, counsel, guide, correct, reprove, encourage and strengthen us in the faith. Yet, he does not dwell in all who merely profess faith in Jesus Christ, but in those who were crucified with Christ in death to sin, and who have been resurrected with him to newness of life, created to be like him in true righteousness and holiness.

If We Love Him (vv. 18-24)

“I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. Yet a little while and the world will see me no more, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. In that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you. 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.” Judas (not Iscariot) said to him, “Lord, how is it that you will manifest yourself to us, and not to the world?” Jesus 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. 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.”

When Jesus left this earth, shortly afterwards he sent his Holy Spirit to indwell all of his followers. When we believe in Jesus Christ, we are birthed of the Spirit of God, and the life of God now dwells within us and gives us new life in Him. Because the Spirit of God and Jesus Christ and the Father are one God, it is God living within us; it is Jesus Christ, in the person of his Spirit, living within us, and we, as Christ’s followers, are his body. He now lives out his life through us on this earth. And, we are his representatives. Because Jesus Christ lives, we now live and walk in the Spirit of God.

Yet, it is not enough to merely profess faith in Christ, or to pray a prayer to receive Christ, or to acknowledge Jesus’ existence or what he did for us in dying on a cross for our sins. We must walk (in lifestyle) in obedience to our Lord, not in absolute sinless perfection (See: 1 Jn. 2:1-2), but according to the Spirit of God and no longer in accord with our sinful flesh. This is love for God, to keep his commands. If we say we love him, or that we believe in him, but we do not do what he says, we are liars. If we are persisting in living sinful lifestyles (in practicing sin), we do not know God, and we do not have the hope of eternal life with God or of Jesus taking us to be with him when he does come back one day (See: Lu. 9:23-25; Ro. 8:1-17; 1 Jn. 1:6).

Peace from God (vv. 25-31)

“These things I have spoken to you while I am still with you. 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. 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. 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. And now I have told you before it takes place, so that when it does take place you may believe. I will no longer talk much with you, for the ruler of this world is coming. He has no claim on me, 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.”

If we are genuinely in Christ Jesus, through faith in him, we have God, in the person of the Holy Spirit, now living within us, teaching us all things, and empowering us to live godly and holy lives. So, if we continue living in rebellion against God in addiction to sin, we do so because we are choosing to disobey God and to go our own way, for he has made the way for us to come out from under slavery to sin, if we will just take what he has given us and apply it to our lives. God makes no provision for sin, nor does he allow excuses for sin against him. He is merciful, and he will forgive us our sins, if we are repentant, but if we continue on a sinful course, and yet claim to have fellowship with him, or to love him, or to know him, then we are mistaken and misguided (See: Gal. 5:19-21; Eph. 5:3-6; Ro. 8:1-17).

When we trust in Jesus Christ to be Lord and Savior of our lives, we have peace with God, but not peace as the world gives. The world is looking for absence of conflict among all people via compromise of faith and conviction and acceptance of all religions as viable and tolerance of sinful lifestyles. But, Jesus said he didn’t come to bring peace, but a sword, and to turn even family members against one another. What he meant by that is that he didn’t come to bring peace as the world defines peace, for if we follow him in obedience and surrender to his will, we will be in conflict with the world of sin, and the world will hate us because we have come out from the world.

The peace Jesus gives us is peace with God in that we are no longer in enmity towards God when we submit to his Lordship over our lives and trust him to deliver us out of slavery (addiction) to sin, because of what Jesus did for us in dying for our sins. For, Jesus died that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. He died that we might no longer live for ourselves, but for him who gave his life up for us. He as crucified on a cross in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who walk no longer after the flesh, but according to the Spirit. And, He “gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works” (Tit. 2:14; 1 Pet. 2:24; 2 Co. 5:15, 21; Ro. 6:1-23; Ro. 8:1-17; Eph. 4:17-24).

Jesus told his disciples that the “ruler of this world is coming,” but that he had no claim on Jesus, for Jesus did as the Father had commanded him. And, that is why Satan (the ruler of this world) hated him, because he obeyed the Father, and that is why he hates us too, when we do the Father’s will, who is in heaven. And, Satan did come after Jesus, to have him arrested and then hung on a cross to die. But, it was God’s will that Jesus should suffer and die for our sins, and then to be resurrected back to life, so that we might be delivered out of Satan’s stronghold, and no longer be under his control. So, Satan was not the victor in this, for he was conquered through Jesus’ death and resurrection, and on our behalf, so that we might be free from slavery to sin and be bondservants of Christ and of his righteousness, and all for the glory and praise of our God. Amen!

My Jesus, I Love Thee
William R. Featherstone / Adoniram J. Gordon

My Jesus, I love thee, I know thou art mine;
For thee all the follies of sin I resign.
My gracious Redeemer, my Savior art thou;
If ever I loved thee, my Jesus, ’tis now.

I love thee because thou hast first loved me,
And purchased my pardon on Calvary’s tree;
I love thee for wearing the thorns on thy brow;
If ever I loved thee, my Jesus, ’tis now.

I’ll love Thee in life, I will love Thee in death,
And praise Thee as long as Thou lendest me breath;
And say, when the death-dew lies cold on my brow,
If ever I loved Thee, my Jesus, ‘tis now.

In mansions of glory and endless delight;
I’ll ever adore thee in heaven so bright;
I’ll sing with the glittering crown on my brow;
If ever I loved thee, my Jesus, ’tis now.

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Love for God

Friday, July 14, 2017, 7:47 a.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song “My Jesus, I Love Thee.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read several scriptures (in the ESV) on the subject of Love for God.

Keep His Commandments (Jn. 14:15, 21, 23-24; 1 Jn. 5:2-3)

“If you love me, you will keep my commandments.” “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.” “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. 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.”

“By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and obey his commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome.”

Love for God is not some emotional feeling, or a religious belief or practice. It is not, in and of itself, singing praise and worship songs in a worship service with hands lifted, although if done sincerely, and in truth, this truly is part of how we express our love for God. It is also not merely confessing him as Lord and as Savior of our lives, or going to gatherings of the church, or serving in some ministry capacity within the local fellowship of believers. For, it is possible to do all of these and still not have love for God.

Love for God is to do what he says. If we do not make it our practice to do what our Lord says, i.e. to obey his Word, then we don’t really love him. Yet, we are not speaking here merely of keeping the 10 commandments, although not one of us could keep them perfectly, otherwise Christ would not have had to die for our sins. Obeying God is not just keeping a list of rules, but it is listening to him day by day, following his lead, doing what he tells us through his Spirit, and obeying his instructions to us, which are written down for those of us who believe in Jesus Christ, in his Holy Word.

More Than These (Jn. 21:15; 1 Jn. 2:15; 1 Jn. 3:10)

When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Feed my lambs.”

“Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.”

“By this it is evident who are the children of God, and who are the children of the devil: whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is the one who does not love his brother.”

Love for God is to make him first priority in our lives, but not just that, but to make him truly Lord (owner-master) of our lives. We should love him above all else, which means we should follow him wherever he leads us, even if it means leaving all else behind, including our friends and family. Nothing should be more important to us than obeying our Lord, going where he sends us, and doing what he has called us to do. We should obey him, even if everyone else rejects us, hates us, and abandons us, too.

This also translates to not loving the world (sin, worldliness) with the kind of love we should have for God. In other words, we should not take pleasure in, long for, or esteem the values, morals, philosophies, attitudes or behaviors of the ungodly world. We should not prefer what the world prefers, either. We should not pattern our lives after the ways or the will of the world, as well. We ought not to submit to the culture of our society or to immerse (engross) ourselves in it. Included in this is that we should not be entertained by the world of sin and its values, morals and wickedness, too.

Obeying God results in practicing righteousness. And, righteousness is what God approves, what is deemed right by the Lord, and what is approved in his sight (1). If we do not practice (follow, live out) divine righteousness, then we are not of God. Basically, if we walk (in practice) according to our fleshly desires, we don’t know God, we don’t have the hope of eternal life with God, and we will perish in our sins. But, if by the Spirit we are putting to death the deeds of the flesh, we will live with Christ for eternity (See: Ro. 6:1-23; Ro. 8:1-14; Lu. 9:23-25; Gal. 5:19-21; Eph. 5:3-6).

Love In Truth (1 Jn. 3:18; 1 Jn. 4:19-20; 1 Jn. 1:5-7)

“Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.”

“We love because he first loved us. If anyone says, ‘I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen.’”

“This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.”

Some people say they love God, but it is lip service only, for their hearts are far from God, they do not do what he says, nor do they submit to him and to his will for their lives. They can get all emotional in a church service, especially as the music gets louder and more intense, and is repeated over and over again, but then they leave, go home, and live just like the world (the ungodly). We can mouth the words “I love you,” but if we are going our own way, living in spiritual adultery and idolatry, and we are not submitting ourselves to our Lord and to his cross, then we don’t really love him. True love, whether between two people or between people and God is not words only, but it is action and it is honest and sincere (not superficial).

If we say we love God, but we don’t love other humans, then we don’t really love God, for God is love, and he lives within those of us who are truly his. And, again, this love is not emotional feelings, but it is action and it is truth. For instance, if a man or a woman cheats on his or her spouse, then lies about it, but then proclaims that he or she loves the other, he or she is a liar. The same applies to our love for God. If we say we love God, but we go after “other lovers,” i.e. worldliness, wickedness, and selfishness, and then we lie to God and to ourselves, and we convince ourselves that God is ok with us living in adultery against him, because of his grace, then that is not love, either, for God or for our fellow human beings.

If we keep on (practicing) sinning, we don’t know God, and we don’t have the promise of eternal life with God (Jn. 8:34; 1 Jn. 3:6-9; 1 Jn. 5:18). But, if we walk (in lifestyle, in conduct) in the light (truth, righteousness), and according to the Spirit of God, not only do we have true spiritual fellowship with other believers in Jesus, but the blood of Jesus, shed on the cross for our sins, cleanses us from all sin. So, if truly we want to love God and know God, then we need to walk in his love, do what he says, follow him where he leads, and surrender to his will for our lives.

My Jesus, I Love Thee
William R. Featherstone / Adoniram J. Gordon

My Jesus, I love thee, I know thou art mine;
For thee all the follies of sin I resign.
My gracious Redeemer, my Savior art thou;
If ever I loved thee, my Jesus, ’tis now.

I love thee because thou hast first loved me,
And purchased my pardon on Calvary’s tree;
I love thee for wearing the thorns on thy brow;
If ever I loved thee, my Jesus, ’tis now.

I’ll love Thee in life, I will love Thee in death,
And praise Thee as long as Thou lendest me breath;
And say, when the death-dew lies cold on my brow,
If ever I loved Thee, my Jesus, ‘tis now.

In mansions of glory and endless delight;
I’ll ever adore thee in heaven so bright;
I’ll sing with the glittering crown on my brow;
If ever I loved thee, my Jesus, ’tis now.

(1) http://biblehub.com/greek/1343.htm