obedience as evidence, love as motivation

This Sunday I’ll be preaching on John 14 in the village of Bilyahilu (I’m driving a truck this time).  And this passage (vv. 30-31) in particular stood out to me during my studies:

I can’t talk with you guys much longer, because Satan’s coming; I’ll need to get going.  It’s not that he’s more powerful than me — Lord (that’s me) knows that’s not the case.  It’s just really important for the world to see how much I love my Father.  That’s why I do everything he says, because I love him.

My Thoughts

  • Jesus is leaving because Satan is coming.  It’s not an issue of power, though — Jesus isn’t afraid of Satan.  Rather he’s simply being obedient to his Father.  The Father wants Jesus to leave earth.
  • Why does the Father want the Son to leave earth?  I’m going to suggest (according to the context of John 14) it’s so the Holy Spirit can be sent to Jesus’ followers.
  • Jesus’s love for his Father compels him to do everything he is commanded. Love is Jesus’ motivation for obedience.
  • Jesus stresses the importance of showing the world how much he loves his Father.  It is through his obedience that this occurs.  Obedience, then, displays, and is the evidence of, love.

What I’ve Learned

  • There is a key relationship implied here — the relationship between love and obedience.  Love is to be our motivation for obedience to God, and obedience to God demonstrates to the world our love for him.
  • A Christian who is not obedient to God does not love him — and, then, is no Christian at all.
  • The world won’t be won over by our carefully worded arguments and intelligent thoughts.  Nor will they recognize us as belonging to God by our programs and events.  Rather they will know we love God by our obedience to him.
  • I believe one could make a very good argument that the best method or strategy for mission is simply being obedient to God.




Filed under evangelism, musings on the Word, obedience

8 responses to “obedience as evidence, love as motivation

  1. Pingback: Tweets that mention obedience as evidence, love as motivation | aliens and strangers -- Topsy.com

  2. i wish the word obedience didn’t carry a connotation of dogs and children – but nonetheless your spot on.

  3. I went for years without hearing it. But lately I’ve been hearing a lot of the song, “They’ll know we are Christians by our love.” I didn’t really appreciate the meaning of that when I first heard it years ago, but today it is a powerful reminder to me. How evident is my love?

  4. Linda M

    Hi Brett,
    I read something in Romans ch. 1 vs 5 which I thought was interesting.
    In this scripture verse it says that “…… , we received grace and apostleship to call people from among all the Gentiles to the obedience that comes from faith”.
    Here it seems to say that ‘faith’ also produces obedience in the life of the believer. In this scripture it may be speaking about the belief in God which produces faith for obedience to receive God’s salvation.
    My thought was that love may not be the whole of our motivation for obedience to God. Faith seems to play a part. And if faith plays a part what about Hope?

    I Cor 13:13 ‘and now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love’.

    • good idea, linda. i don’t think at all that love is the only motivation for obedience to God. it’s only clear that it is a motivation — and one of the purer ones. i think we do christianity a disservice (i’m very guilty of it though) when we separate things that aren’t meant to be separated. and we usually do it in pursuit of knowledge.

      yesterday i preached on our motivations for obedience, and i talked a bit about how, when i was young, i obeyed my mother because i was afraid of getting spanked. then later i obeyed because i wanted a reward or knew i’d get something in return for my obedience. but these days, i am neither afraid of my mother, nor do i “get anything” for obedience. rather, i do what she asks because i love her.

      my guess is that faith is what enables us get through that little progression to the love part. [not that the others shouldn’t remain a motivation — Jesus seems to make it clear that they should.]

  5. I wish I could have coffee every morning; God has asked me not to have caffeine, I think. I am having trouble laying it down at times.

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