Doing What Jesus Said To Do - Introduction
“If ye love me, keep my commandments.” John 14:15
The first and greatest commandment, Jesus said, is this, that we love the Lord our God with all our heart, with all our mind and with all our strength. And the second is to love our neighbor as ourselves.
How serious is God about this? This, according to the Law of Moses, is what he spoke prophetically about the anti-Christ and those who speak for him. More specifically He spoke bout anyone who comes into the community of believers to dissuade them from follow God.
God clearly commands them not to go after other gods to serve them. Additionally, He had to prove to them where their hearts truly were. It was not enough to merely say, “I love You Lord.” That affirmation had to be tried for them to see and for God to show them if they were truly committed to serving Him exclusively. When the commandment says, love the Lord with ALL your heart, with ALL your soul, with All Your Mind and with ALL your strength, that means there is no room or shared space for any other God. All means All. If they could be dissuaded from following the Lord, the God of Abraham Isaac and Jacob, then they could not also love Him with all their heart, soul, mind and strength.
Why was it necessary to prove them? Because when God brought them out of Egypt (even with great possessions) they still did not know Him. They were well familiar with the many gods of Egypt and the cultural manners of the Egyptians, so they had to be purged of those notions and fully embrace the true God, their Deliverer and the One who protected and provided for them miraculously for all the time they wondered in the desert and brought them finally into the Promised land flowing with milk and honey. God could only show His goodness to and through an obedient people, who would believe and trust in Him. And this was not for their sakes only it was because of the plan of salvation for the whole world that would come through this nation as the offspring of Abraham through whom God promised the Messiah would be born.
“Now the Lord had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will shew thee: And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: …and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.” Genesis 12:1-3 (See also, Isaiah 11:1-4; Romans 11:26-27)
So, He warns them not to allow themselves to be fooled into serving other God’s even if they performed signs and wonders in order to convince them to worship and serve other gods.
“When a prophet or visionary gets up in your community and gives out a miracle-sign or wonder, and the miracle-sign or wonder that he gave out happens and he says, “Let’s follow other gods” (these are gods you know nothing about), “let’s worship them,” don’t pay any attention to what that prophet or visionary says. God, your God, is testing you to find out if you totally love him with everything you have in you. You are to follow only God, your God, hold him in deep reverence, keep his commandments, listen obediently to what he says, serve him—hold on to him for dear life! And that prophet or visionary must be put to death. He has urged mutiny against God, your God, who rescued you from Egypt, who redeemed you from a world of slavery and put you on the road on which God, your God, has commanded you to walk. Purge the evil from your company.” Deuteronomy 13:1-5
False witnesses, false teachers, false gods were prevalent in the nations God was sending them in to possess. They needed to be armed against the subtle trickery deceit and cunning of the devil, as he would try to rob them of their faith in God, just like he robbed Adam and Eve of their life sustaining communion with God and drew them away to believe him rather they be obedient to the commandment of God.
God told them do not eat of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. In the day you do you will surely die.
“And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.” Genesis 2:16-17
But the devil told them, you won’t die you will become like God.
"And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil." Genesis 3:4-5
God have given dominion over everything on the earth to Adam and Eve, and that dominion included the Serpent.
“And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.” Genesis 1:28
The question from that generation to this day is why did they do that? Why did they not exercise their dominion and say to the Serpent, you are a liar? God told us we would die if we eat of the fruit of that tree. We don’t want to die, so we’re not going to eat it. Why did they not banish him from the Garden of Eden for evening attempting to deceive them.
From that day to this death reigned on the earth unchecked until Jesus came and died for us all once and for all. In Him death will finally be swallowed up in victory. Our bodies are still subject to death but now through His blood death has no dominion over us. We, who are born-again by the Spirit of God, will never see death again. In Christ we were baptized into His death and raised unto new life with His resurrection.
“Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus. For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” Ephesians 2:5-9
Yes, we are saved by grace through faith in Jesus Christ, our Lord, our Savior and Redeemer. And our eternal life is sealed with the Holy Spirit in us. And yes we call Jesus Christ our Lord.
But Jesus challenges us with this WORD, “If ye love me, keep my commandments” John 14:15. Further, He put it to the disciples and through them to us, “But why do you call Me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do the things which I say?" Luke 6:46
This is the most penetrating question every believer must answer. Because we all fall short of doing all that Jesus said, until we learn to truly love Him with all our heart, soul, mind and strength. We all at some point are disobedient to His commandments. Thank God for His grace that we can confess our sins and be forgiven. We wrestle with the dichotomy of wanting to please Him through our obedience on the one hand and wanting to satisfy our human desires that are at odds with His will on the other.
The Apostle Paul struggled with the dilemma the same as we.
“… For what I am doing, I do not understand. For what I will to do, that I do not practice; but what I hate, that I do. If, then, I do what I will not to do, I agree with the law that it is good. But now, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me...For the good that I will to do, I do not do; but the evil I will not to do, that I practice… O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? I thank God—through Jesus Christ our Lord!…” Romans 7:14-25
I think most of us would agree that the Apostle Paul was a man of God and of uncommon faith and devotion to God. If he struggled with the contradiction of desiring to do what is good and yet still doing what is evil, we should not be surprised when we face the same temptations. They are common to every man.
But we are not left alone to grapple with this problem. We have an answer. And it is the same one that Paul discovered and relied on. Who shall save us from this? Thank God, through Jesus Christ we are and will be saved.
This may seem daunting, the idea that we can actually live holy and without sin as human beings in this world. But it should not be because Jesus has told us it is easy. [Matthew 11:27-30]
Like Israel coming out of Egypt, we, coming out of this world into the Kingdom of God, do not know Him by the ways we lived and the things we did in our old lives. Because of this He needs to reveal Himself to us and we need to take heed to His Word in order to know His will and His ways. The more we do His will the more we are transformed to our identity in Him.
He invites us to come to Him, to lean of Him, to be yoked to Him to be at rest in Him. So let’s seek to know what He has commanded us to do and then do it.