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“Honk if you love Jesus!”

A great idea for a bumper sticker, but probably not great for drivers.  Another bumper sticker was probably better in theory and practice.  It read, “If you love Jesus, tithe.  Anyone can honk.”  Both have the same core idea: if you love Jesus, demonstrate it. 

The Holy Spirit helps us turn our hearts to the Lord’s love.  When we are obedient in our lives to Him (and yes, this includes our financial support of His enterprise as well), we will experience the love of the Lord.

Jesus is at the Last Supper (His final meal before His crucifixion) in our study through John’s Gospel.  He told them in John 14:15, “If you love me, keep my commands.”  Jesus again promises the Holy Spirit to them.  He continues in John 14:18-21

 I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.  Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live.  On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you. Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them.”  

John 14:18-21
New International Version

Even though He’s going away from them, He would not leave them alone.  He loved them too much for that. 

Soon the world would not see Him anymore, but His people will see Him.  Eventually, we will see Him with our eyes, but now we see Him with our spirits.

The disciples would get to see Him after the resurrection and before Jesus returned to heaven.  This is why Jesus told them in verse 20 “on that day” they would KNOW Who He was, and they would no longer have doubts.

Jesus loves His people, and He wants us to love Him back.  This has been the message in the Bible from the beginning.  He has already made the first move.  The response is up to us.

Let’s be careful here because Jesus isn’t saying our obedience initiates this relationship with Him.  Jesus is saying He and the Father respond to our obedience.  Big difference.

Scripture makes it abundantly clear: salvation is an act of grace, not something we can earn through obedience.  If we could earn it, we wouldn’t have needed Jesus in the first place. 

Jesus is talking to the seed of the church.  We are part of that tree.  As believers in Jesus, we need the Holy Spirit’s help to turn our hearts towards His love.  And when our hearts are turned towards His love, our behavior changes.

In church life, those in leadership will often struggle with how to determine spiritual growth in someone.  After all, the mission of the church is to provide opportunities for people to take the next step in sanctification. 

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But how can we know someone is growing?  The answer is behavior.  As we look more like Jesus, we are less tolerant of sin in our lives.  When we are less tolerant of sin in our lives, our behavior changes.

In other words, when we move toward Jesus, we will act more like Jesus.

Let’s consider what Jesus said in verse 21.  If you want to test your love for the Lord, ask yourself, “Do I obey Him?”

Instead of honking if you love Jesus, demonstrate it to yourself, your family, and your world.  Ensure your walk matches your talk.

When we are obedient to the Lord, we will prove our love for Him and experience more of the Lord in our lives. 

Are you obedient to His will in your life?

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