Tuesday, June 30, 2009

You Know God; Does He Know You?

As a basketball fan, I know a lot about Michael Jordan. I could answer a lot of statistical questions you might or might not have about him. But if I tried to get in to see him, his security guards would ask not if I know him, but does he know me. The answer to that question is "no," by the way.

"Not everyone who says to me, `Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, `Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?' Then I will tell them plainly, `I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!' - Matt. 7:21-23

If Jesus will say, "I never knew you," to some people, how can I be sure that He will know me when my time comes? The easy answer, Love Him.

But the man who loves God is known by God. - 1 Cor. 8:3

God knows those who love Him. We like to say in our church that we are not trying to teach you how to join a religion; we are trying to lead you into a relationship with Jesus Christ. That relationship that He desires is one of mutual love. God showed His love for us in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. His act of love has already been carried out for every generation, so how do we show Him our love? How do we make this a two-way relationship?

Jesus replied, "If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. He who does not love me will not obey my teaching. These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me. - John 14:23-24

Jesus only gave us one teaching that specifically said, "This is how you show me that you love me," and it wasn't by singing certain songs or filling out certain formulas. You can't go down a check-list and make sure you have fulfilled your quota of good works.

To show our love to Jesus, we must live a life of obedience. If we love Jesus, we obey Him, and the love of the Father is on us. If we do not obey Jesus, we do not love Him. If we do not love Him, we are not known by Him. If we are not know by Him, we will not get in to the eternal kingdom which He has prepared for us.

A relationship is always a two-way street. God has already shown His love for us - He gave us Jesus. Will you choose to love Him back, and obey His word?


Sue W. said...

This is what I have to add to the conversation: Will it be on point? Who knows!! Cross your fingers!!!
I think that Jesus loves us in the present tense, not 2000 years ago.
I think His love is very specific to me, and to you, and to you, and to you.
His Love is specifically here, right now.
His Love floods us and washes us and calls us and pushes us, like a current in the water.
And He is not done loving us. He is not done showing it. Even though I am me. Even though you are you.
I think the relationship is not a two-way street. I think it’s a river. Going one way. We’re in it with Him. Not for Him. What is important to Him becomes important to us when we are swimming in it.
From Him and through Him and right back to Him are all things! Romans 11:36 It's a river in a circle!
The river from the Temple: Ezekiel 47:1-12

Ryan Budde said...

To call anything a "relationship" requires that there is more than one entity. When two or more entities are in a relationship with each other, each gives something to the relationship, and each receives. This is the two-way street I referred to in the post.

Jesus is all about relationship. Just look at the fruit of the Spirit - love, peace, patience, kindness, faithfulness, goodness, self-control, gentleness - all relational produce from a relational God. He loved the world, He loved us even when we were sinners, and calls us to love Him back. That is a two-way relationship.

I have to admit some confusion as to the river analogy to describe our connection with Christ. He has shown us His love by living, healing, and revealing Himself and the Father to us; and He continues to do so. And we show our love when we obey Him.

Obedience is the necessary outpouring of love for Jesus that every believer is called to carry out in order to show Him we are in this relationship of love with Him. This is what the scriptures in this post referred to: To love Christ is to obey Him - that is not individual, it is universal - for all of His people.

What is the role of obedience in our relationship with Christ, otherwise? Does it matter? Why?

Sue W. said...

I think a 2 way street is a very human definition of relationship.
Who said it’s human? His ways are higher.
I would say we show our love when we receive his love. And I could wax poetic again, but I release you from that burden! (Ask me later about fish lungs!)
If the only way we show our love is by obeying him, he must be sorely ticked right now.
Because I would be.
But what if He looks at our lack, and sees us full. He looks at us as we are, weak, and sees us strong. What if He’s right next to us, moving forward with us, and guiding us into that greatness. Not waiting on the other side for us to finally get there.
So I say Receive His Love! Get it deep down that He Wants Us!!
I say that what we believe is more important than how we behave. I say that when we really believe something, our life and fruit will line up accordingly. Kind of like out of the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks. I believe it starts in the heart. “Who do you say that I am?” The revelation that He is the Christ is the foundation that shall not be shaken.
I think we also have to understand that He’s not ticked. What shall separate me from the Love of Christ? Nothing.
“Okay, I know He loves me, but that’s just because He has to.”
No. He doesn’t have to. He wants to. Who does He want to love? You. So He loves you, why? Because He Wants to.
Hey Jesus, you rock!!
(Is there another inappropriate exclamation I can use? Super Groovy!)
(Way Cool!) (Jesus, Dude, You’re totally awesome!) (Hey, this is it: Phat!!:-)
Isaiah 55, Luke 6:45, Matt 16:13-19, Romans 8

Ryan Budde said...

And still, Jesus said, "If you love me, you will obey my commands." Why?

Paul said in Romans 1:5:

"Through him and for his name's sake, we received grace and apostleship to call people from among all the Gentiles to the obedience that comes from faith."

Faith brings obedience; love brings obedience.I'm not saying that obedience brings faith or obedience brings love. Faith and love are the relational motive - obedience is the outpouring of the two.

You said:

"I would say we show our love when we receive his love."

But what does scripture say?

"If you love me, obey me" - Jesus
"Obedience is the result of faith" - Paul

You can see why I am still of the mind that obedience is our calling. Jesus even said of His relationship to the Father in John 14:31:

"...but the world must learn that I love the Father and that I do exactly what my Father has commanded me."

He loves the Father, so He obeys the Father.

Peter, when addressing God's elect, said in 1 Peter 1:1-2:

"To God's elect, strangers in the world, scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia and Bithynia, who have been chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through the sanctifying work of the Spirit, for obedience to Jesus Christ and sprinkling by his blood:"

We were chosen by God, and sanctified by The Spirit for obedience to Christ.

No, Jesus is not ticked when we don't get it all right. That is not my point. But He has called us to obedience by His Spirit's power, through faith, because of our love for Him. It is the way He has given to show our love.

Are you ticked when your kids don't show you love? When your children disobey you, isn't it more of a sense of hurt and sadness that you feel? Deliberate and obstinate disobedience may make you a little angry, but when you know that kids have to learn obedience, you discipline them because you love them, not because you are ticked at them.

Look at Hebrews 12:6-7, then:

"...because the Lord disciplines those he loves, and he punishes everyone he accepts as a son."
Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as sons. For what son is not disciplined by his father?"

It is a relational comparison (and a human one) that God's word uses to describe the relationship He has with us. He disciplines, we endure - two-way street. He died and rose again for us, we obey Him - two-way street.

Otherwise, it is like Jesus said when He died for us, "I love you," and we just have to say, "Thank you." Try that with your spouse some time.

Obedience, by Jesus' own words, says more than just "Thank you;" it says, "I love you, too, Jesus."

It is the difference between giving Him my life, or just inviting Him into my life; between dying to myself, or just letting Him die for me; between claiming to believe, and living out our belief.

"And this is love: that we walk in obedience to his commands. As you have heard from the beginning, his command is that you walk in love."
- 2 John 1:6