A fellowship (colony) of people in obedience with Jesus creates a place where Jesus can be experienced deeply.
John 14:15–16 (NLT)
Jesus Promises the Holy Spirit
15 “If you love me, obey my commandments. 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, who will never leave you.
As “church people” we often present the idea of obeying Jesus as a burden and we try to guilt ourselves and others into being “more obedient.” If you’re a “church person” or was raised in a “church person” family you know what I’m talking about.
“If I was any kind of Christian at all I would…[pick one, or fill in the blank with your own]
go to church more.
give more money to church.
visit my parents/family more.
We attach an insinuation that if you did this list of actions you would be a better Christian, or less of an embarrassment to Jesus or your church or your family. I’m sad that it is embedded so deeply within us. But Jesus has good news, obeying Jesus doesn’t make you a better Christian, less of an embarrassment to Jesus or your church or your family.
Obeying Jesus means you are a maturing Christian and experiencing Him intimately.
There is no doubt that obeying Jesus because we love Him is accompanied with blessing. But God is blessing all of us, regardless of our obedience anyway. I know this because Jesus said so Himself. “Your Father in heaven gives his sunlight to both the evil and the good, and he sends rain on the just and the unjust alike” (Matt 5:45). So what’s the deal with this obedience thing?
Jesus promises that our love expressed through obedience brings us closer into the intimate relationship with Him. Our obedience is the doorway to intimacy. Our obedience is the way we open the gift of Holy Spirit (the advocate, the counselor). Our obedience teaches us how trustworthy He is. Our obedience doesn’t make us better, as in superior to other Christians. Our obedience is how Jesus leads us deeper into the experience of Himself. I know this because Jesus promised it to be so.
This same promise is made in something that is referred to as “The Great Commission.”
Matthew 28:18–20 (NLT)
18 Jesus came and told his disciples, “I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. 19 Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. 20 Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”
Do you see that? It’s “circular.” Following Jesus obediently is enticing to others, it draws people into our lives that are wanting to know more about Him and follow Him too. Our love for Jesus, not religion, is the prompt for us to obey Jesus commandments. Peter taught that the gift of Holy Spirit is given to us by expressing our love and allegiance to Jesus through obedience in baptism. Jesus promises we can be sure He is with us always. And those are words for truly living!