Love By Obedience

Obedience is the key to expressed love and fellowship.

Scripture: John 10:17, John 10:24


Alright. Thank you very much. And hello again, radio friends. How in the world are you? Are you doing alright? Well, this is your good friend, Bob Cook. And I’m back with you, once again, for some precious moments, which we can invest together around the Word of God. We’re starting with John 10:17, “Therefore, doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again. No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself, by myself, or on my own. I have power to lay it down and I have power to take it again. This commandment, have I received of my Father.” Now, in the incarnation of the Lord Jesus Christ, there was a voluntary laying aside of His glory, as well as a voluntary subservience to the will of the Father. “I do always those things that please the Father,” said He. “Let this mind be in you, which was in Christ Jesus,” Paul says in Philippians 2:5, “Who, being in the form of God, thought it not a thing to be grasped at, to be equal with God, but humbled himself, made Himself of no reputation, emptied Himself.” The ‘kenosis,’ they call it. “And became of no reputation, was made in the form of a servant, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.” “I do always those things that please the Father.” There was obedience involved.

But one of the things He didn’t give up, was His right to decide what He was going to do. He said, “I have power to take, to lay my life down, and I have power to take it again. So therefore, doth the father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again.” Daniel was called ‘a man greatly beloved’ and he exhibited that same willingness to obey God, even at risk to himself. What’s involved here? Now, God loves everybody. “For God so loved the world.” That means everybody in it, doesn’t it? “That he gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him, should not perish, but have everlasting life.” And God loves the believer, “The life which I now live in the flesh, I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.” And so our Lord Jesus loves those, whom He seeks, and saves, by His matchless grace. “And we know that the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts, by the Holy Ghost, who is given unto us.” We read that in Romans Chapter Five, Verse Five, don’t we? So God loves all the world, He loves believers and we love Him, because He first loved us. “The love of God is shed abroad in our hearts.” And Paul says in Second Corinthians, Chapter 10, “The love of Christ constraineth us.” Chapter Five, I guess it is. No, it’s Chapter 10.

“The love of Christ constraineth us, because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then we’re all dead. And they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but for Him, who loved them, and gave Himself for them.” The love of Christ makes us do what we do. Alright? Well, what about it? So far as you and I, now, are concerned. Do you wanna think about that? What about it, so far as you and I are concerned? If, as Paul says in Second Corinthians 5:14, “The love of Christ constraineth us,” it makes us do what we do, then ought we not be giving more attention to this matter of explicit obedience to God? One of the things that bothers me, frankly, let me just let my hair down. And don’t any of you smarties say, “Which one?” I know. [chuckle] God likes my face so much, He’s clearing off space for another one on top. But let me just talk frankly with us here, just for a moment. You know, I find so many people in this old world, as I go around preaching and teaching, who profess faith in Christ, who are included then, in the group of believers, generally, but who are engaged, at some point or other in their lives, in deliberately disobeying God.

We are a bunch of God’s naughty children, at that point. Well, God said, “Whom the Lord loveth, He chasteneth and scourgeth every son whom He receiveth.” And so some of us have to be spanked, before we’ll agree to be good, I suppose. But God looks for obedience. He looks for obedience. My father used to have me read out of the old McGuffey Readers. He had a bunch of them, five or six, I guess, that he had salvaged from his own school days. And in those days, you learned to read, and what you read had values in it. Anymore, of course, we don’t teach values, we let people just grow up, and decide for themselves, oftentimes wrong. The old McGuffey Reader had in it values, and faith, and the teaching of integrity. [chuckle] One of the readings I remember, as I think about it just now, was this one about, ” ‘I love you, Mother,’ said Little Tom. Then forgetting his work, his cap went on, and he was off to play the live long day,” so on and so on. And then, “I love you, Mother,” said little somebody or other, and then she whined, and complained ’til her mother was glad when she got out of the house. And then the third one was, ” ‘I love you, Mother’ said little Fan, and taking the broom, she swiftly ran, and swept the sidewalk, and cleaned the floor, and changed the baby,” and then did some more, or whatever. [chuckle]

I can’t remember how it goes, but the point was, here were two little kids that said, “I love you,” and then didn’t do anything about it. And there’s the third one that said, “I love you,” and really did something about it. And the poem ended up, “Now, which of the three loved mother the most?” Well, you know, don’t you? Obedience is the key to expressed love. Obedience is the key to expressed love and fellowship. “Whatsoever He saith unto you,” Mary told the servants, as recorded in John 2:5, “Whatsoever He saith unto you, do it”.

Paul said to the people in Philippi, “Those things that you have heard, and seen, and learned, and received from me, do, and the God of peace shall be with you.” Now, if you wanna get rid of your worries, pray about everything. Philippians 4:6-7, “And the peace of God will be with you.” But if you want the God of peace, Himself, His presence to be with you, then get to be a specialist in obedience. That’s what Paul was saying there in Philippians Four. So in what the Lord Jesus said here in John 10:17-18, you have the key to it. He said, “God loves me, the Father loves me, because I lay down my life, and I’m doing it, because I’m obeying Him. This commandment, have I received of my Father.” Would you give some thought this very day to some areas of your life where you need to start obeying God? I don’t know what they may be. It may be something very small or it may be some tremendous, gaping flaw, on which you and God need to start working together. I don’t need to know. You don’t have to tell your business to everybody. Just you and God can take care of an awful lot of things.

Somebody asked Dr OJ Smith, the beloved founder of the People’s Church in Toronto, my dear friend for many years, now with the Lord, but they asked him about this matter of confessing sin. He said, “If you’ve sinned against an individual, go confess to the individual. If you’ve sinned against a family, confess to the family. If you’ve sinned against the whole church, confess to the whole church. Just be sure that you keep those things distinct and separate.” Pretty good idea. A lot of things you don’t have to talk about. A lot of things you’ll carry with you to your grave, so far as sharing them with anybody, but you better get right with God, hadn’t you? See, obedience is the key to expressed love. Obedience is the key to expressed love.

Well, now, it says, “There was a division among the people, because of these things. Many of them said, ‘He’s full of the devil. He hath a devil and is mad. He’s crazy. Why do you listen to Him?’ Others said, ‘These are not the words of Him that hath a demon. Can a demon open the eyes of the blind?’ ” See, they’re harking back there to what happened, as recorded in John Chapter Nine, the blind man had been healed. It was at Jerusalem, the Feast of the Dedication, it was winter. And Jesus walked in the temple, in Solomon’s porch. And they came around Him, and said, “How long dost thou make us to doubt? If thou be the Christ, tell us plainly.” [chuckle] This is always the cry of unbelief, “Prove it to me. Prove it to me. Tell me, so I understand it.” Listen, your understanding will be enlightened when you receive the person. Jesus went on to say, “I told you and you didn’t believe. You believed not. The works that I do in my Father’s name, they bear witness of me, but ye believe not, because you’re not my sheep. As I said unto you, ‘My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. And I give unto them eternal life, and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all, and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand. I and my Father are one.’ ”

If anybody tells you that the Lord Jesus never claimed to be God, you refer them to this passage. Our Lord Jesus Christ is God the Son, just as much God as God the Father or God the Spirit. And He knew it, and the people knew it, and that’s why they decided to kill Him. Well, now, we go back to Verse 24, “The people came around and said, ‘Now, how long do you make us doubt? If you’re the Christ, tell us plainly.’ ” Always that ‘if,’ the ‘if’ of unbelief, and it continued right straight through to the cross. “If thou be the Christ, come down from the cross, then we’ll believe you.” See, the unbelieving heart always puts up a barrier and puts an ‘if’ there, so as to be able to defend it’s own unbelief. The nobleman, on whose arm the King of Israel leaned, said, when the prophet said in prophecy, “There’s going to be plenty to eat by tomorrow,” remember the story?

And this nobleman sneered. He said “Why, if the Lord would make windows in Heaven, might such a thing be?” Elisha said, “You’ll see it, but you won’t taste it,” and so it came to pass. Beware of the ‘if’ of unbelief. Beware of the desire to have everything neatly laid out and proved to you to your satisfaction, before you say “yes” to the Savior. You’ll find that your doubts are dissolved when you yield to the person who can do the dissolving. “Marvel not that I said unto thee, ye must be born again”, Jesus remarked to Nicodemus. You get right with the person who said it and you’ll find that you don’t have too many questions about it. Open your heart to Jesus this very day. Say, “Lord Jesus, come into my heart, and be my Lord, and my Savior, and forgive my sins, and make me a child of God.” Pray that prayer. He’ll answer it and you’ll know what it is to know God.

Father God, today, may we combine obedience with expressed love and walk closely with Thee. I ask in Jesus’ name, Amen.

Till I meet you once again by way of radio, walk with the King today and be a blessing!

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