LOVE EQUALS OBEDIENCE
“And we can be sure that we know him if we obey his commandments. If someone claims, “I know God,” but doesn’t obey God’s commandments, that person is a liar and is not living in the truth. But those who obey God’s word truly show how completely they love him. That is how we know we are living in him. Those who say they live in God should live their lives as Jesus did.”
1 John 2:3-6 NLT
How many church goers today live in self-deception! Claiming to be “born-again” believers is no criterion unless obedience to Jesus as Lord accompanies the claim.
Jesus gave His disciples a simple test… “Do you love me? Then do what I tell you.” He asked a question of those who persistently followed Him without ever having any intention to be true disciples.
“So why do you keep calling me ‘Lord, Lord!’ when you don’t do what I say? I will show you what it’s like when someone comes to me, listens to my teaching, and then follows it. It is like a person building a house who digs deep and lays the foundation on solid rock. When the floodwaters rise and break against that house, it stands firm because it is well built.”
Luke 6:46-48 NLT
Obedience to Jesus’s teaching is the only proof that we are His disciples, in union with Him through the indwelling Holy Spirit and representing Him to an unbelieving world. Such followers experience the power of His life working in and through them.
Unfortunately, there are streams in the modern church that go after “signs and wonders” to prove their allegiance to Jesus. Some claim supernatural offices and accompanying “ministries” as their superior authority in the church.
“Not everyone who calls out to me, ‘Lord! Lord!’ will enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Only those who actually do the will of my Father in heaven will enter. On judgment day, many will say to me, ‘Lord! Lord! We prophesied in your name and cast out demons in your name and performed many miracles in your name.’ But I will reply, ‘I never knew you. Get away from me, you who break God’s laws.’ “
Matthew 7:21-23 NLT
Jesus set a different, simple test to authenticate a true disciple. “Knowing Him” is the real issue.
“And this is the way to have eternal life—to know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, the one you sent to earth.”
John 17:3 NLT
What does knowing Him mean?
King Jehoiakim, son of Josiah, failed to live up to his father’s example. He lavished his wealth on himself instead of caring for his needy subjects. God came down hard on him, revealing, at the same time, His criterion for knowing God.
“But a beautiful cedar palace does not make a great king! Your father, Josiah, also had plenty to eat and drink. But he was just and right in all his dealings. That is why God blessed him. He gave justice and help to the poor and needy, and everything went well for him. Isn’t that what it means to know me?” says the Lord.”
Jeremiah 22:15-16 NLT
So, we can only prove any claim that we know God to be true if we genuinely share Jesus’ heart for people. This means doing something about their needs if we can. Of course, we can’t save the world but, as Mother Teresa said, when challenged, “I can save this one!”
Jesus judges the nations by the same standard as He judges individuals.
“But when the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit upon his glorious throne. All the nations will be gathered in his presence, and he will separate the people as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will place the sheep at his right hand and the goats at his left. “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the creation of the world. For I was hungry, and you fed me. I was thirsty, and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger, and you invited me into your home. I was naked, and you gave me clothing. I was sick, and you cared for me. I was in prison, and you visited me.’ “
Matthew 25:31-36 NL
Just imagine, if the church, including those who fight about doctrines, claim illegitimate authority, or sniff out those who don’t believe or do what they do, cared more about loving Jesus by loving His people, what a witness to the world that would be!