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Jesus Unfiltered - Love
When we get past the poetic, ideal of love and dig down to the practical, day-to-day details, “love” begs some questions: What does it really mean? How does it think? How does it behave? In this third volume of his series Jesus Unfiltered, Chip Ingram explains, through John chapters 11-15, what love really looks like for those who call Jesus, Lord.More from this series
Verse 22, Jesus is confronted with Judas, (not Iscariot), “But, Lord, why do You intend to show Yourself to us and not to the world?”
Jesus replied, “If anyone loves Me, He will obey My teaching. My Father will love him,” and notice the change, not I, “we will come to him and make Our home with him.”
Are you understanding what He is saying? The Second Person of the Trinity, God in flesh, leaving, says, “I am going to be with the Father; I am the path. If you continue to follow and obey My teaching, I will reveal Myself to you. But as you do that, the Father and the Son, we will come and,” literally, “your heart, your inner person will become the home,” literally, “the dwelling place of the Eternal God.”
Have you ever, do you get that? Christianity is not like: be a good person, try really hard, have a little bit better morality, be nice. It’s about a supernatural relationship with your Creator, where the Spirit of God manifests, makes known.
And a little bit later, some of you are thinking, I’m not experiencing a whole lot of that, so you better get to that part soon. I will. Okay? I will.
And what you are going to see is it is so, Jesus is so profound and so simple and so clear and so loving. He didn’t write a book for rocket scientists and all of you Ph.Ds. – God bless you all. But there are some of us simple people. It’s just got to be clear. But what happens is we get it all “religious.” And we miss the point.
Finally, Judas gets his question answered and Jesus says, “All these things I have spoken to you while I am still here. But the Counselor, the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name,” here’s the promise, “He will teach you all things and He will remind you of everything that I have said to you.”
So here is My gift, “My peace I leave with You. I don’t give you peace like the world.” There is a supernatural peace of knowing the future is secure, the Spirit of God lives in you. You know where you’re going. I am going to take care of you, the worst that could ever happen to anyone is to die. And the moment that happened, you would be ushered into My presence. And there is a forever and an ever and an ever and an ever called “eternity.” I want you to know, that one is done. It’s solved. But in between times, I am going to give you a supernatural ability to not respond in fear and worry.
Literally this: “Let your heart not be troubled,” it’s, “Let your heart be at ease.” I might even translate it, “Lighten up. Lean back. I got this. I got this and I’ve got you. And it is going to be okay.”
And for some, I am going to deliver you completely out of some hard stuff. And for others, I am going to deliver you right through it. And for others, I am going to deliver you to Myself, because you are that precious. You can’t lose with Me.
“So be at peace. Don’t let your hearts be troubled. Don’t be afraid. You heard Me say, ‘I am going away; I am coming back to you.’ If you loved Me, you would be glad that I am going to Father, for the Father is greater than I. I have told you before it happens,” there are no surprises, guys! I didn’t say it was going to be easy, but there are no surprises.
“I told you before it happens, so when it does you can believe. Now, I am not going to speak to you much longer, for the prince of this world is coming. But he has no hold on Me.” There is a dark day coming. The world is going to get dark, and Satan is going to have his day, and he is going to think that it has all been won, because the Son of God is going to die. And when He dies, He is going to defeat death when He is risen from the dead. He is going to defeat sin and He is going to defeat Satan.
So He is going to say to these guys, notice the very last line, “I need to demonstrate My love for the Father, because I will do exactly as He asks.” How does Jesus connect His love for the Father? It’s with His submission and obedience to the Father’s will.
And could I remind you, emotionally? If Jesus was going with: If it feels good, do it – He wouldn’t have done it. Do you remember at the garden? Remember when He was praying? Remember when He was sweating great drops of blood?
Sometimes we think Jesus had a big “S” on His chest. When it got really hard, He turned into God. Fully God, fully man! Hypostatic union without confusion. He died as a man. Every emotion, every temptation, every struggle, every fear, every doubt that any human being has ever had, Jesus had as a man. And He did not turn on His “God aspect.” He came and as a man, He submitted to the Father’s will, powered by the Holy Spirit to give His life away for you, knowing He would be beaten to a pulp, knowing that there would be a moment in time when the Father would turn away because sin would be placed on Him for you and for me.
But who, for the joy set before Him said, “I will endure that,” – why? Because He loves you. He loves me. And He says, “I want the world to know I love the Father. And the example is why I obeyed Him.”
The connection, verse 15; the connection, verse 21; the connection, verse 31, “If you love Me, you obey; if you love Me, you obey.”
“If you love Me,” doesn’t mean you don’t struggle, but you don’t log on to porn and you don’t have affairs, If you love Me. If you love Me, you don’t walk off with the trainer and leave me with two kids. If you love Me, you don’t say, “Oh, I’m on your team,” but not show up.
Love and obedience – obedience is not some external, I’ve got to do the right thing, I’m trying to earn someone’s favor. Obedience flows out of a…did you notice? Go through the text later this afternoon and every time the word “know” after the very first, circle it, circle it, circle it, circle. “If you knew Me, if you knew Me, don’t you know, don’t you know?” It’s about knowing and intimacy and love.
When you love someone, you care about their outcome and their concern more than yourself.
Now, I understand that is a clear story and this is history and what has happened. But as I go through things like this, sometimes I feel like maybe it’s the teacher in me or I tend to be pretty strategic and linear.
So what I did is I took everything that we have learned that I thought, I am going to put that in six clear points and just say, “Okay, because God loves me, here are six things that are true that come out of this text.”
And then I am going to give you just a little bit of warning. Here’s how I want you to list, because I am going to go through them very quickly. I want you to think, This is true of me, because God loves me, this is true of me. This is true of me.
So, are you ready? Let me just summarize what you have already learned.
Because God loves me, Jesus is preparing a place for me with the Father. I don’t know what you’re going through, but right now, at this instant, He is preparing a place for you personally, if you know Him.
Because God loves me, God sent Jesus to make a way for me to be with the Father. He is the path, He is the road, He is the way, He revealed the Father. It’s a gift.
Because God loves me, He sent Jesus to reveal to me what God is really like. You can know Him personally. It’s not some vague, religious concept. You can know His heart. The Holy Spirit isn’t an “it.” It’s not a force. It’s a person.
We can make Him sad, we can make Him happy, He wants to talk to you, He wants to speak to you, He wants you to know what He wants you to do. He wants to reveal things to you, He wants to put His arm around you, He wants to give you the kind of strength I saw at my breakfast where someone looked me in the eye in the midst of stage four cancer and said, “I’m not afraid.”
And then told me amazing things where God, people he hardly, or didn’t even know where God is beginning to minister to him to say, Hey, I just want you to know, you’re going through this, I love you. I haven’t forgotten you. And He wants you to get that.
Because God loves me, number four, He will use me greatly and hear me always. Isn’t it amazing to think that the One who spoke the maybe between one hundred and two hundred billion galaxies into existence is, like, Hey, I’d like you to be on My team. I made everything, but I would like you to be on My team and I want you to follow Jesus and I want you to reveal to people, by your words and your actions, exactly like Jesus did. And, by the way, I’ll give you the power. I want to know you. I love you.
Because He loves me, He sent the Holy Spirit, notice, to live inside of me to make known or to manifest the presence, the personality, and the power of Jesus, 24/7.
You have the ability to have a deeper, more intimate relationship with Jesus than Peter, James, John, or any disciple that walked on the face of the earth on those dusty trails. Deeper.
Finally, because He loves me, He gives me peace even in a world of turmoil by defeating death, sin, and Satan.
Do you know how free you are when you get really clear? Do I want to? Not anytime soon. I am not afraid to die. Peace. Sin, addictions, temptations – do I struggle with them? Yes. They have no power over me. I am not a prisoner. I have peace, I have freedom. Satan is an enemy. There is evil in the world, but greater is He who is in me than he who is in the world. That’s who you are.
How do we love Him?” And Jesus really laid that out. So, let me highlight. And if you have your pen, maybe you’re going to put a checkmark just next to one of these.
But this is what Jesus taught in this passage we have gone through. “If you really love Me, you will obey,” right? If you really love God, or better, because I love God, I will not fear, because my future is secure. That’s a choice. That’s where you let your mind go. I will not fear. There is a place for me. My eternity is settled. Now I work it backwards.
Second, because I love God, I will trust Jesus as the only way to eternal life. I’m going to respond to the offer. It’s a free gift. But I have to take that step and receive it.
Third, because I love God, I will make knowing God the number one priority of my life. Now, think of that. Now, some of you are in business, some in art, some in education, some in sports and athletics. I want you to think about what you’re most interested in. Let’s just pretend the three greatest CEOs that have ever lived said to you, “You’re in the business world, I’ll tell you what we’ll do. Three hours, three times a week, I would like to mentor you. I’ll come to your house.” Would you show up?
Or you’re into music and you say: the greatest violinist or the greatest pianist or the greatest harp player or the greatest guitar-whatever said, “You know what? I want to help you learn to play the guitar like me. I’m the greatest in the world. Three times a week, I’ll come to your house for three hours and I will work with you to help you be the greatest guitar player in the world.” Would you show up?
Or, I know you have a heart for athletics. Get the story. I think we would, we would be there, wouldn’t we? No second thought. Make knowing God the number one priority of your life. Eternal life isn’t some gift that you get after you die. Jesus would literally say a few chapters later, “This is eternal life, that they know You, Father, and Your Son whom He has sent.”
And so, when we talk about: how do you know Him? He said, “Well, Your Word is truth. You can talk to Me anytime. I have put My Spirit in other believers.” So, through His Word and through other Christians, and as I talk to Him, here’s – make knowing Him your number one priority, before food, before family, before work, before anything. Because whoever you hang out with, you become like.
And if you become more and more like Jesus, you’ll have a better family and your work will be better and your world will be better and everything. But I will tell you what, we give lip service and say, “Oh, You’re really important to me, but I don’t talk to You much. You don’t talk to me much. My behavior and my priorities don’t reflect that knowing You, enjoying You, loving You is my number one priority.”
Fourth, because I love God, I will use my time and talent and treasure and platform or influence to make Jesus known to others.
Number five, because I love God, I will submit my heart and my mind and will obey the Holy Spirit’s direction through His Word, His people, and His promptings.
Can I encourage you to put a little asterisk here? This may be the pivotal point. Because a lot of what I have said, I am astute enough in my own life, and I know lots of you, is this idea that God is so personal and so real and He speaks and all this, is like you are going, You know what? Good for you, dude! I’m not getting a lot of that. Right? I don’t hear these promptings. I’m not having these amazing answers to prayer and I don’t really feel or experience God all that much.
Listen, listen carefully. Obedience is the organ through which intimacy with God is obtained. It’s not knowledge, it’s not religious activity, it’s not trying hard, it’s not trying to be moral. Jesus said over and over and over – what? “If you love Me, obey Me.”
So here’s the thing: Has God spoken to you? Has God spoken to you about something? If you respond to the light that He gives you, and it might be: Forgive so-and-so, or forgive your mom, forgive your dad, forgive your ex, forgive your business partner.
And down deep, No, I’m not doing that. Then guess what, you don’t get more light. He says, Deal with the lust in your life. Deal with your greed. Resolve this issue. He has been nudging you, Go to counseling and work on this marriage. No, I’m not doing that, but I’ll go serve in the church. He doesn’t want you to serve in the church!
He wants you to respond to the area that He has put His finger on, because He loves you. If you do take a baby step, He will give you more light. And as you take that step, He will manifest, He will make Himself known, there will be more power, there will be more joy.
Every time I take a step toward God, what He wants me to do: More, more, more. By the same token, the opposite is true. You can be involved in Bible studies and you can come to church and you can have a morality that is better than people. But if He has put His finger on, You have never forgiven your father. Or, You have this private addiction with TV or with the Internet, or, You’re trying to juggle your life.
How many times are your kids or your wife or your husband going to say, “Are you going to live for work? Or are you going to live for what really matters?” And you keep telling, “Yeah, yeah. Right after this big deal, it’s all going to be okay.” Stop! Knock it off!
Do what God is speaking to you to do, and I am going to tell you, and then you’re going to go, I can’t! Of course you can’t! And so you say, Lord, I can’t forgive him. But I choose to do it, and then I will tell you, this will open up. And then you will need people. And then He will speak to you. And then He will give you peace.
Now, are you afraid? Of course you are. Obedience to God requires faith and courage and usually help. Everything I am telling you, I can’t do. I praise God I’ve got a wife who walks through it with me and close friends who…all this is true of me. And He wants me to do that and I don’t want to do it. And then I realize I’ll be stuck.
How many of you are stuck? How would you like to get unstuck? Well, it’s not some big, big deal. Take the next step. Maybe He has been saying, I’d kind of like you to read My Word. I’d like to speak to you. Or maybe, Could you not rush talking all the time? Could we have a long, easygoing conversation? I don’t know what it is.
The final thing is: Because I love God, I refuse to worry. I’m just going to let my heart be at ease. Now you say, I can’t. Of course you can’t. Your mind goes certain places, you’re putting certain things in your mind. You can choose to put your mind on other things, and as you do, we have learned here how not to worry.
The very back page, which you all are there, I like the turning of the pages, that’s really good, is I bet you can, what is the relationship? Where do we start? What is the relationship between love and obedience? Love does what? Could you fill it in? Oh my gosh, I failed!
Love obeys. But, see, obedience that flows out of love is different than outward performance or moral conformity that flows out of guilt. It’s like night and day.