I’ve explained many times that we always pray before reading scripture because
Without the help of the Holy Spirit
We cannot hope to truly understand or apply what we are reading
Without the help of the Spirit
Scriptures are just ink on a page
Like ink on the pages of any other book
With the Spirit’s guidance and enlightening
These simple words take on power
The power to change our lives
The power to challenge our thinking
The power to convict us of our sins
The power to convince us of the truth
The power to create faith in God
The power to introduce us to the Christ
Who is the living Word of God
Today’s scripture from John
tells us that this is one of the Holy Spirit’s gifts to us
This illumination of scripture
Teaching us everything
Reminding us of all that Jesus said
This scripture is also a perfect example of our need for the Spirit’s guidance
The scripture starts out with a couple of sentences that need interpretation
And don’t let anyone tell you that they don’t interpret scripture,
they just take it literally word for word
because it can’t be done
and this will prove it to you
Jesus said, Those who love me will keep my word
Certainly saying that loving Christ and obeying him are connected
But connected how?
Is this an if then connection
If we love Jesus, are we automatically moved to obey him
out of gratitude,
or overwhelming love?
or are Christians miraculously transformed from sinners to obedient servants?
Or is Jesus asking us to show how much we love him, by obeying?
And when we disobey (and we all do sometimes)
Is it because we don’t really love him,
Or that we aren’t really Christians,
Or is it simply a failure of our will,
a character flaw
that prevents us from expressing our love and our faith in the right way
And does any of that matter?
Maybe
I mean
Sin should make us feel guilty and ashamed so that we will repent and do differently
But should our sinning shake our faith to its foundations?
Make us doubt that we ever truly loved or believed in Jesus?
And even if the interpretation of this line matters
it probably isn’t a crucial difference
for most of us,
at least not very often,
but then there’s the next part
Jesus continues, the same sentence, with . . .
“and my Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them.”
And at this point most Christians hear the word “then”
If we love Jesus and if we obey his word Then God the Father will love us . . .
And then Jesus and the Father will come to us and make their home with us
But the word then isn’t there (at least not in the ink)
If we hear a cause and effect connection between God’s loving us and our loving or obeying Jesus
We have interpreted the scripture to mean that
If we decide
that there is not a connection between God’s love for us and our love for Christ (just 2 separate truths)
Or no connection between God’s loving us and our obeying Jesus’ word
We have interpreted the scripture to mean that
This scripture can be read to say hat God’s love is or is not conditional on whether we love and obey Jesus
And come to think of it, the scripture does not use the word obey, it talks about “keeping” Jesus’ word
Like keeping a promise?
Our promise to follow Jesus?
Or are we to keep Jesus’ promises to the world?
Are we to live in ways that make Jesus present to the world, in order to keep his promise to be “with us always, to the end of the age”
Are we to live in ways that keep Jesus’ promise to forgive?
Maybe it will help if we read the line before the scripture that the Lectionary committee picked out
One of Jesus’ disciples asked him, “Lord, how is it that you will reveal yourself to us, and not to the world?”
And Jesus answered him with the scripture we have just read
Those who love me will keep my word, and my Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them.
So maybe this is not about how we are supposed to behave in order to win God’s love or even in order to show how much we love Jesus,
Maybe this is about how we will come to know Jesus
Because apparently it’s about how Jesus will reveal himself to us
Those of us living after the resurrection
After Jesus’ ascension into heaven
After Jesus has physically left this world
Because, it’s pretty clear that ink on a page isn’t going to be enough to paint a clear picture of Jesus for us
Those of us who have longed for a savior
Those of us who have met Jesus in the caring of his disciples
Or simply read about him and been intrigued
Those of us who love him (and therefore want to know him better)
Are going to need some help!
And for this reason, Jesus promised that when we love him,
Jesus and his Father,
Because they love us
Will come and make their home with us
Jesus and the Father will know we love them,
Because we will be trying to keep Jesus word
I think, both trying to obey his word
And trying to keep his word (his promises) to the world
And so the Father sends us a great gift (in Jesus’ name)
The Holy Spirit
who will teach us everything
and help us to remember what Jesus has said to us
And of course, that will help us to love Jesus more
And that will make it possible and inspire us to obey him
And imitate him
And believe in him
In the end, I’m still not sure exactly how the cause and effect work
We love because we were loved
And we are loved because we love
And we obey and follow the one we love
Who, loving us, comes to us
It’s the opposite of a vicious circle
This is a gracious circle
A circle of love
And I may never understand how that circle of love works,
But I do know that I am grateful that the Holy Spirit is here
To teach me everything I need to know
And will help me to remember what I have learned
So that I can obey and love my LordLove, Keep, Know, and Obey

I’ve explained many times that we always pray before reading scripture because
Without the help of the Holy Spirit
We cannot hope to truly understand or apply what we are reading
Without the help of the Spirit
Scriptures are just ink on a page
Like ink on the pages of any other book
With the Spirit’s guidance and enlightening
These simple words take on power
The power to change our lives
The power to challenge our thinking
The power to convict us of our sins
The power to convince us of the truth
The power to create faith in God
The power to introduce us to the Christ
Who is the living Word of God
Today’s scripture from John
tells us that this is one of the Holy Spirit’s gifts to us
This illumination of scripture
Teaching us everything
Reminding us of all that Jesus said
This scripture is also a perfect example of our need for the Spirit’s guidance
The scripture starts out with a couple of sentences that need interpretation
And don’t let anyone tell you that they don’t interpret scripture,
they just take it literally word for word
because it can’t be done
and this will prove it to you
Jesus said, Those who love me will keep my word
Certainly saying that loving Christ and obeying him are connected
But connected how?
Is this an if then connection
If we love Jesus, are we automatically moved to obey him
out of gratitude,
or overwhelming love?
or are Christians miraculously transformed from sinners to obedient servants?
Or is Jesus asking us to show how much we love him, by obeying?
And when we disobey (and we all do sometimes)
Is it because we don’t really love him,
Or that we aren’t really Christians,
Or is it simply a failure of our will,
a character flaw
that prevents us from expressing our love and our faith in the right way
And does any of that matter?
Maybe
I mean
Sin should make us feel guilty and ashamed so that we will repent and do differently
But should our sinning shake our faith to its foundations?
Make us doubt that we ever truly loved or believed in Jesus?
And even if the interpretation of this line matters
it probably isn’t a crucial difference
for most of us,
at least not very often,
but then there’s the next part
Jesus continues, the same sentence, with . . .
“and my Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them.”
And at this point most Christians hear the word “then”
If we love Jesus and if we obey his word Then God the Father will love us . . .
And then Jesus and the Father will come to us and make their home with us
But the word then isn’t there (at least not in the ink)
If we hear a cause and effect connection between God’s loving us and our loving or obeying Jesus
We have interpreted the scripture to mean that
If we decide
that there is not a connection between God’s love for us and our love for Christ (just 2 separate truths)
Or no connection between God’s loving us and our obeying Jesus’ word
We have interpreted the scripture to mean that
This scripture can be read to say hat God’s love is or is not conditional on whether we love and obey Jesus
And come to think of it, the scripture does not use the word obey, it talks about “keeping” Jesus’ word
Like keeping a promise?
Our promise to follow Jesus?
Or are we to keep Jesus’ promises to the world?
Are we to live in ways that make Jesus present to the world, in order to keep his promise to be “with us always, to the end of the age”
Are we to live in ways that keep Jesus’ promise to forgive?
Maybe it will help if we read the line before the scripture that the Lectionary committee picked out
One of Jesus’ disciples asked him, “Lord, how is it that you will reveal yourself to us, and not to the world?”
And Jesus answered him with the scripture we have just read
Those who love me will keep my word, and my Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them.
So maybe this is not about how we are supposed to behave in order to win God’s love or even in order to show how much we love Jesus,
Maybe this is about how we will come to know Jesus
Because apparently it’s about how Jesus will reveal himself to us
Those of us living after the resurrection
After Jesus’ ascension into heaven
After Jesus has physically left this world
Because, it’s pretty clear that ink on a page isn’t going to be enough to paint a clear picture of Jesus for us
Those of us who have longed for a savior
Those of us who have met Jesus in the caring of his disciples
Or simply read about him and been intrigued
Those of us who love him (and therefore want to know him better)
Are going to need some help!
And for this reason, Jesus promised that when we love him,
Jesus and his Father,
Because they love us
Will come and make their home with us
Jesus and the Father will know we love them,
Because we will be trying to keep Jesus word
I think, both trying to obey his word
And trying to keep his word (his promises) to the world
And so the Father sends us a great gift (in Jesus’ name)
The Holy Spirit
who will teach us everything
and help us to remember what Jesus has said to us
And of course, that will help us to love Jesus more
And that will make it possible and inspire us to obey him
And imitate him
And believe in him
In the end, I’m still not sure exactly how the cause and effect work
We love because we were loved
And we are loved because we love
And we obey and follow the one we love
Who, loving us, comes to us
It’s the opposite of a vicious circle
This is a gracious circle
A circle of love
And I may never understand how that circle of love works,
But I do know that I am grateful that the Holy Spirit is here
To teach me everything I need to know
And will help me to remember what I have learned
So that I can obey and love my LordLove, Keep, Know, and Obey

I’ve explained many times that we always pray before reading scripture because
Without the help of the Holy Spirit
We cannot hope to truly understand or apply what we are reading
Without the help of the Spirit
Scriptures are just ink on a page
Like ink on the pages of any other book
With the Spirit’s guidance and enlightening
These simple words take on power
The power to change our lives
The power to challenge our thinking
The power to convict us of our sins
The power to convince us of the truth
The power to create faith in God
The power to introduce us to the Christ
Who is the living Word of God
Today’s scripture from John
tells us that this is one of the Holy Spirit’s gifts to us
This illumination of scripture
Teaching us everything
Reminding us of all that Jesus said
This scripture is also a perfect example of our need for the Spirit’s guidance
The scripture starts out with a couple of sentences that need interpretation
And don’t let anyone tell you that they don’t interpret scripture,
they just take it literally word for word
because it can’t be done
and this will prove it to you
Jesus said, Those who love me will keep my word
Certainly saying that loving Christ and obeying him are connected
But connected how?
Is this an if then connection
If we love Jesus, are we automatically moved to obey him
out of gratitude,
or overwhelming love?
or are Christians miraculously transformed from sinners to obedient servants?
Or is Jesus asking us to show how much we love him, by obeying?
And when we disobey (and we all do sometimes)
Is it because we don’t really love him,
Or that we aren’t really Christians,
Or is it simply a failure of our will,
a character flaw
that prevents us from expressing our love and our faith in the right way
And does any of that matter?
Maybe
I mean
Sin should make us feel guilty and ashamed so that we will repent and do differently
But should our sinning shake our faith to its foundations?
Make us doubt that we ever truly loved or believed in Jesus?
And even if the interpretation of this line matters
it probably isn’t a crucial difference
for most of us,
at least not very often,
but then there’s the next part
Jesus continues, the same sentence, with . . .
“and my Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them.”
And at this point most Christians hear the word “then”
If we love Jesus and if we obey his word Then God the Father will love us . . .
And then Jesus and the Father will come to us and make their home with us
But the word then isn’t there (at least not in the ink)
If we hear a cause and effect connection between God’s loving us and our loving or obeying Jesus
We have interpreted the scripture to mean that
If we decide
that there is not a connection between God’s love for us and our love for Christ (just 2 separate truths)
Or no connection between God’s loving us and our obeying Jesus’ word
We have interpreted the scripture to mean that
This scripture can be read to say hat God’s love is or is not conditional on whether we love and obey Jesus
And come to think of it, the scripture does not use the word obey, it talks about “keeping” Jesus’ word
Like keeping a promise?
Our promise to follow Jesus?
Or are we to keep Jesus’ promises to the world?
Are we to live in ways that make Jesus present to the world, in order to keep his promise to be “with us always, to the end of the age”
Are we to live in ways that keep Jesus’ promise to forgive?
Maybe it will help if we read the line before the scripture that the Lectionary committee picked out
One of Jesus’ disciples asked him, “Lord, how is it that you will reveal yourself to us, and not to the world?”
And Jesus answered him with the scripture we have just read
Those who love me will keep my word, and my Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them.
So maybe this is not about how we are supposed to behave in order to win God’s love or even in order to show how much we love Jesus,
Maybe this is about how we will come to know Jesus
Because apparently it’s about how Jesus will reveal himself to us
Those of us living after the resurrection
After Jesus’ ascension into heaven
After Jesus has physically left this world
Because, it’s pretty clear that ink on a page isn’t going to be enough to paint a clear picture of Jesus for us
Those of us who have longed for a savior
Those of us who have met Jesus in the caring of his disciples
Or simply read about him and been intrigued
Those of us who love him (and therefore want to know him better)
Are going to need some help!
And for this reason, Jesus promised that when we love him,
Jesus and his Father,
Because they love us
Will come and make their home with us
Jesus and the Father will know we love them,
Because we will be trying to keep Jesus word
I think, both trying to obey his word
And trying to keep his word (his promises) to the world
And so the Father sends us a great gift (in Jesus’ name)
The Holy Spirit
who will teach us everything
and help us to remember what Jesus has said to us
And of course, that will help us to love Jesus more
And that will make it possible and inspire us to obey him
And imitate him
And believe in him
In the end, I’m still not sure exactly how the cause and effect work
We love because we were loved
And we are loved because we love
And we obey and follow the one we love
Who, loving us, comes to us
It’s the opposite of a vicious circle
This is a gracious circle
A circle of love
And I may never understand how that circle of love works,
But I do know that I am grateful that the Holy Spirit is here
To teach me everything I need to know
And will help me to remember what I have learned
So that I can obey and love my LordLove, Keep, Know, and Obey

I’ve explained many times that we always pray before reading scripture because
Without the help of the Holy Spirit
We cannot hope to truly understand or apply what we are reading
Without the help of the Spirit
Scriptures are just ink on a page
Like ink on the pages of any other book
With the Spirit’s guidance and enlightening
These simple words take on power
The power to change our lives
The power to challenge our thinking
The power to convict us of our sins
The power to convince us of the truth
The power to create faith in God
The power to introduce us to the Christ
Who is the living Word of God
Today’s scripture from John
tells us that this is one of the Holy Spirit’s gifts to us
This illumination of scripture
Teaching us everything
Reminding us of all that Jesus said
This scripture is also a perfect example of our need for the Spirit’s guidance
The scripture starts out with a couple of sentences that need interpretation
And don’t let anyone tell you that they don’t interpret scripture,
they just take it literally word for word
because it can’t be done
and this will prove it to you
Jesus said, Those who love me will keep my word
Certainly saying that loving Christ and obeying him are connected
But connected how?
Is this an if then connection
If we love Jesus, are we automatically moved to obey him
out of gratitude,
or overwhelming love?
or are Christians miraculously transformed from sinners to obedient servants?
Or is Jesus asking us to show how much we love him, by obeying?
And when we disobey (and we all do sometimes)
Is it because we don’t really love him,
Or that we aren’t really Christians,
Or is it simply a failure of our will,
a character flaw
that prevents us from expressing our love and our faith in the right way
And does any of that matter?
Maybe
I mean
Sin should make us feel guilty and ashamed so that we will repent and do differently
But should our sinning shake our faith to its foundations?
Make us doubt that we ever truly loved or believed in Jesus?
And even if the interpretation of this line matters
it probably isn’t a crucial difference
for most of us,
at least not very often,
but then there’s the next part
Jesus continues, the same sentence, with . . .
“and my Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them.”
And at this point most Christians hear the word “then”
If we love Jesus and if we obey his word Then God the Father will love us . . .
And then Jesus and the Father will come to us and make their home with us
But the word then isn’t there (at least not in the ink)
If we hear a cause and effect connection between God’s loving us and our loving or obeying Jesus
We have interpreted the scripture to mean that
If we decide
that there is not a connection between God’s love for us and our love for Christ (just 2 separate truths)
Or no connection between God’s loving us and our obeying Jesus’ word
We have interpreted the scripture to mean that
This scripture can be read to say hat God’s love is or is not conditional on whether we love and obey Jesus
And come to think of it, the scripture does not use the word obey, it talks about “keeping” Jesus’ word
Like keeping a promise?
Our promise to follow Jesus?
Or are we to keep Jesus’ promises to the world?
Are we to live in ways that make Jesus present to the world, in order to keep his promise to be “with us always, to the end of the age”
Are we to live in ways that keep Jesus’ promise to forgive?
Maybe it will help if we read the line before the scripture that the Lectionary committee picked out
One of Jesus’ disciples asked him, “Lord, how is it that you will reveal yourself to us, and not to the world?”
And Jesus answered him with the scripture we have just read
Those who love me will keep my word, and my Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them.
So maybe this is not about how we are supposed to behave in order to win God’s love or even in order to show how much we love Jesus,
Maybe this is about how we will come to know Jesus
Because apparently it’s about how Jesus will reveal himself to us
Those of us living after the resurrection
After Jesus’ ascension into heaven
After Jesus has physically left this world
Because, it’s pretty clear that ink on a page isn’t going to be enough to paint a clear picture of Jesus for us
Those of us who have longed for a savior
Those of us who have met Jesus in the caring of his disciples
Or simply read about him and been intrigued
Those of us who love him (and therefore want to know him better)
Are going to need some help!
And for this reason, Jesus promised that when we love him,
Jesus and his Father,
Because they love us
Will come and make their home with us
Jesus and the Father will know we love them,
Because we will be trying to keep Jesus word
I think, both trying to obey his word
And trying to keep his word (his promises) to the world
And so the Father sends us a great gift (in Jesus’ name)
The Holy Spirit
who will teach us everything
and help us to remember what Jesus has said to us
And of course, that will help us to love Jesus more
And that will make it possible and inspire us to obey him
And imitate him
And believe in him
In the end, I’m still not sure exactly how the cause and effect work
We love because we were loved
And we are loved because we love
And we obey and follow the one we love
Who, loving us, comes to us
It’s the opposite of a vicious circle
This is a gracious circle
A circle of love
And I may never understand how that circle of love works,
But I do know that I am grateful that the Holy Spirit is here
To teach me everything I need to know
And will help me to remember what I have learned
So that I can obey and love my Lord.


Last Weeks Sermon

LOVE, KEEP, KNOW, AND OBEY