John 14:14
If you ask Me anything in My name, I will do it.
Sermons
Paul a Pattern of PrayerJ. Wilbur ChapmanJohn 14:14
Christian Work with an Absent RedeemerS. Martin.John 14:12-14
Greater than MiracleH. Allon, D. D.John 14:12-14
Greater Works than Christ'sJames Morison, D. D.John 14:12-14
Miracles in Nature and Grace ContrastedR. Best.John 14:12-14
The Activity of the Glorified ChristT. Whitelaw, D. D.John 14:12-14
The Believer Doing Greater Works than ChristJ. Aldis.John 14:12-14
The Disciple's Work Greater than His Lord'sFred. Brooks.John 14:12-14
The Eclipse of MiracleT. G. Selby., S. S. Times.John 14:12-14
The Works of the Ascended ChristA. Maclaren, D. D.John 14:12-14
Affectionate ObedienceJabez Burns, D. D.John 14:13-14
Asking in the Name of JesusD. Young John 14:13, 14
Christian PrayerJ.R. Thomson John 14:13,14
Love and ObedienceA. Maclaren, D. D.John 14:13-14
Love and ObedienceB. Beddome, M. A.John 14:13-14
Love and ObedienceF. W. Robertson, M. A.John 14:13-14
Love Better than the Mere Sense of DutyC. H. Spurgeon.John 14:13-14
Love Liberates Us for ObedienceH. W. Beecher.John 14:13-14
Love Makes Obedience DelightfulPercy.John 14:13-14
Love Makes Obedience EasyT. Watson.John 14:13-14
Love the Inspiration of Courage to ObeyJohn 14:13-14
Love the Motive Power of ObedienceH. W. Beecher.John 14:13-14
Love's Law and LifeC. H. Spurgeon.John 14:13-14
Obedience the True Test of Love to ChristR. Robinson.John 14:13-14
Prayer in Christ's NameR. W. Dale, D. D.John 14:13-14
Praying in Christ's NameWashington Gladden D. D.John 14:13-14
Praying in the Name of ChristE. E. Jenkins, LL. D.John 14:13-14
Sonship Manifested in LoveC. H. Spurgeon.John 14:13-14
The Divinity of a Christ-Loving SoulD. Thomas, D. D.John 14:13-14
The Reason for Delay in the Answers to PrayerH. H. Dobney.John 14:13-14
True Love for ChristJ. D. Geden, D. D.John 14:13-14
Great works involve great gifts. Our Lord, having assured his disciples that in the coming dispensation they should perform marvelous achievements, transcending even his own deeds of might and grace, now proceeds to explain how they shall be qualified for service so arduous and effective. Prayer shall be offered, and prayer altogether special and Christian; and in answer to such prayer the virtue and efficiency needed shall be bestowed.

I. THE PRAYER WHICH CHRIST SANCTIONS.

1. The petitions here encouraged are such as the disciples of Jesus offer. Not that any human being is forbidden to pray, but that there is special encouragement for those who are Christ's own scholars and friends, and that there is a special guarantee on their behalf.

2. The condition affixed to the direction and promise of the text is very instructive. What is asked must be asked in Jesus' Name. This was a new condition, one which up to this time it was not in their power to fulfill, but which henceforth would be felt by them to be most natural and appropriate. In explaining this condition, it must be borne in mind that Jesus was explaining the unity of his people with himself; so that on the one hand they were called to bring all their desires into harmony with his will, and on the other hand they were encouraged to trust in his mediation and advocacy.

3. The breadth of the Lord's promise deserves attention; When prayer is offered by those whom he describes, and in the manner which he prescribes, there is no limitation set. The expressions "whatsoever" and "anything" indicate alike the vastness of the Lord's resources and the liberality of his heart.

II. THE ANSWER WHICH CHRIST PROMISES.

1. It proceeds from himself. "I will do it," says the Master. In making this declaration our Lord asserts his own Deity - makes himself "equal with God," who alone hears and answers prayer. Wonderful indeed is such language, as coming from One who was about to be betrayed and crucified.

2. It corresponds with the petition. The very thing which the Christian desires, Christ promises to give. Such an assurance places all the resources of Omnipotence at the disposal of the lowliest disciple. It corresponds with the apostolic assertion, "All things are yours."

III. THE PURPOSE WHICH CHRIST CONTEMPLATES. The ultimate end of Christian privileges and Divine blessings is to be sought in God himself; and such an end affords to the soul a full and final satisfaction. When Christ's people receive the supply of all their need, through the advocacy of the Redeemer whom the Father has appointed, that Father's wisdom and benevolence are seen in the brightest light. It raises our conception of the dignity of prayer when we understand and feel that its effect is not merely upon ourselves, that its effect does not terminate here. There is an even higher purpose in this Divine arrangement that Christian petitions shall be answered; it is a revelation of the character and of the will of the eternal Father himself. - T.







Whatsoever ye shall ask in My name that will I do.
I. WHAT DOES THIS MEAN?

1. To obtain anything in the name of another supposes that your own name is an insufficient warrant. In the negotiation by which you secure it, your own personality is lost altogether. Thus an ambassador personifies the country he represents; he has no personal recognition when he sits in the councils of foreign potentates. So in familiar life we invest a subordinate agent with our own reputation and credit.

2. But in neither of these senses do we make mention of the name of Christ in our prayers. We may be said, it is true, to traffic with another's credit, and represent the authority of a sovereign in some conditions of intercourse with God; but praying in the name of Jesus implies a closer union than that of service. "If ye shall ask the Father (see chap. John 20:17). Prayer rises from outside, knocking into the tender confidences of family intercourse. We ask in the name of Christ because we have put on that name as a woman by marriage puts on the name of her husband, and with it his rank and property. When she asks anything in the husband's name she brings with her whatever that name merits or can demand. To deny her is to deny him, In the Scriptures our union with Christ is described by marriage. This is foreshadowed by the prophets (Isaiah 54:5; Isaiah 62:5), and God's name is used as an argument of deprecation as if somehow that name were bound up with the fate of His people (Jeremiah 14:21; Joshua 7:9; Ezekiel 36:22, 23). In Matthew 9:15, Christ accepts all this, and in His marriage parables. And so St. Paul (Ephesians 5:25-32), and St. John (Revelation 19:6-9; Revelation 21:2-9). Let the light of these statements shine on the text. In communion with the Father we have lost our name. He found us nameless, for we had not a name of any honourable distinction to lose or merge. The Saviour describes our condition as lost — without name, home, repute. He allured us back (Isaiah 62:2), and gave us His own name, and our miserable name was hidden and lost in the brightness of Christ. That name is ours, its renown and the vast treasures of grace procurable by its warrant (1 Corinthians 3:23).

II. THE POWER OF PRAYER MUST BE PROPORTIONED TO OUR ABSORPTION IN CHRIST.

1. It is the conscious weight of His name that gives its energy to faith. When that name is not predominant, we naturally dwell on our own unworthiness, etc., which produces distrust — the fatal sickness of prayer. Distrust blocks the way up to God, and no prayer can pass to Him (James 1:5-7). Not that no prayer can prosper unless faith be perfect, for then how could we pray for faith at all; but the chief condition of our receiving is a belief that Christ will do it (Mark 11:24). It is the name of Christ, and that only, that gives us such a confidence. With His name in our hands, or rather written on the covenant register of our love, we can no more fail with the Father than He can. When we pray in His name it is as if He prayed.

2. This nearness of fellowship with Christ explains the anything" of the text. It is not supposed that such a licence will be abused by caprice. The prayer of a depending love to a conferring love will interpret it by the extent of its wants, and the right it is permitted to assume.

3. The endearments of such a state are not sustained by great services. Whatever concerns you concerns Him; if in itself it be a trifle, it is not a trifle to Him if it affects you.

(E. E. Jenkins, LL. D.)

If ye shall ask anything in My name.
I. THE FACT WHICH IS THE ROOT OF THIS PROMISE is described in what our Lord says about the vine. The vine and the branches are one, the same name covers them. Whatever the branch asks for — that its blossoms may be abundant, and that its clusters may ripen — the vine asks for. And it was in immediate connection with this that our Lord said, "If ye abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatsoever ye will," etc. We are to pray in Christ's name because we are so undeniably one with Him that what we ask He asks. The use of His name, then, is not an incantation, nor is it one of a number of conditions of successful prayer. It is the one condition of both prayer and work. This promise is connected with that which precedes it. "He that believeth on Me, the works that I do," etc. Why? "Because I go unto My Father; and those who are one with Me share My glorified powers." It is the consciousness of this union that enables us to pray too and work for God with a large and happy faith that He will hear us and help us.

II. THE COMPREHENSIVENESS OF THE PROMISE.

1. It may be objected that when we pray in the name of Christ the range of our prayers must be narrowed. We must pray about Christ's affairs, and not about our own. We may pray, for example, that the gospel may reach the hearts of men; but can we ask in Christ's name that we may be successful in business, or that our children may be healthy and happy? When we pray for the strong help of the Spirit of God to enable us to practise all Christian virtues we may pray in Christ's name; but if we want to get an appointment which will bring us a larger income, to win a contested election, to escape a bad debt, protection, or better health — these are our own affairs. It is as if a minister of the Crown were to use his official authority for his own personal interests; or as if the representative of a commercial firm, who was authorised to sign cheques for the firm, signed cheques for the payment of his private and personal accounts. But have we any interests that are not Christ's? Should we really choose the better appointment and the larger income at the risk of becoming of less use to Christ? Should we care to win the contested election if success did not give us new opportunities for serving Him? Are we not carrying on our business as Christ's servants? And when we pray for our children, do we not remember with a leap of the heart that they are much more dear to Him than they are to us? Can we really desire anything for ourselves that Christ does not desire us to have? Can we desire anything for others that Christ does not desire them to have?

2. But these answers, though good as far as they go, are incomplete. The real root of that vague discontent is in that dualism which divides human life into the religious and the secular; in one of which we know that Christ is interested, while the other seems to be of interest only to ourselves. That we should care for righteousness more than for everything besides we acknowledge frankly. To serve Christ well — that is what we desire above everything. If the chance were offered to us between a saintly character and the most splendid earthly position, not for a moment should we hesitate. But our nature is complex. Righteousness is the great good to which every inferior good gives place; but there are many good things besides. The worst of all evils is to sin against God; but it is a bad thing to be cold, hungry, friendless; to see the wealth which has been accumulated by skill, industry, and thrift, wasting away through the dishonesty of those we have trusted. It is the worst of all evils to be lashed day after day by a guilty conscience; but it is also a bad thing to suffer the physical tortures which are the result of some terrible forms of disease. From the worst evils we can ask in Christ's name to be delivered, that others should be delivered from them; but how is it with the rest? Have we forgotten that Christ created us body and soul? When a limb is broken, Christ's own creation is injured, just as the creation of an artist is injured when the marble which is the triumph of his genius is shattered, or when the canvas on which he has recorded some dream of beauty is rent. Christ's miracles were the signs of the depth of His compassion for the miseries of our race; and has He not made it apart of the service which we owe to Himself to feed the hungry, to clothe the naked, etc. In His name we are to relieve all forms of human want — in His name, when the want is our own, we may ask that the want may be relieved. If we serve Christ in common things, we shall be able to pray ill His name about common things; and perhaps it is because we alienate a large part of our life from His service that we are conscious of a certain incongruity when we try to pray about it.

3. But we may sometimes doubt whether relief from want, pain, trouble, is really good. It is right to ask, and to ask in Christ's name, for relief from it; but Christ may cancel the prayer, and put in its place a petition for a higher blessing. We pray that it may be removed: He loves us too well for the prayer to be answered. But when we pray for the great gifts, whether for ourselves or for others, then we know that our prayers are but the experience of the central thoughts and desires of the very heart of Christ; we know that we should not offer them were it not for our union with Christ; and therefore with perfect confidence we offer them in His name, they are less ours than His.

(R. W. Dale, D. D.)

In the common acceptation, the phrase "in my name" means the same thing as "for my sake" or "on my account." The common notion seems to be that if we present ourselves before the Infinite Majesty with any request and make use of this formula, our requests will be granted, no matter what they may be. The young soldier dying on the field sends by his wounded comrade a letter to his father at home, saying, "This is my friend; give him whatever he asks for, for my sake;" and although the requests of the wounded man are unreasonable and injurious, the father grants the petition, simply because of the love that he bears his son. Just so men go to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ with this text as their warrant. Another conception of the promise is that Christ has accumulated an infinite fund of merit by His death, and has put the Father under infinite obligations to Him. Those, therefore, who come to the Father in the name of the Son have a claim on Him which He is bound to recognize. The transaction, as thus conceived, is partly legal and partly commercial. To ask in Christ's name is therefore substantially the same thing as to present an order at a store signed by one of the joint proprietors, or a cheque upon a bank certified by the cashier. The name, as we say, is good for the amount. It matters not to us whether the persons to whom the cheque or the order is presented are friendly or unfriendly to us; nor to them whether the thing is good for us or not; there need be no acquaintance beyond simple identification. What they impart to us is not of grace to us but of debt to the one whose name we present to them. This view needs only to be distinctly stated in order that its credulity may be perceived.

I. WHAT IS MEANT BY ASKING IN CHRIST'S NAME? The name, in the New Testament, generally stands for the person. So always when miracles are wrought by the name of Christ, it is the personality and the power of Christ that are referred to. Believing in the name of Christ is believing not merely in a word but in Christ, with a glance, no doubt, at His trustworthiness. To ask for anything in the name of Christ, then, is to put ourselves in His place as nearly as we can, and to ask for the things that He would ask for, and in the spirit with which He would present His requests. Just in proportion as His mind is in us, and our lives reproduce His life, will our prayers be effectual. The same truth is put in another form in John 15:7, 16. It is only when the life of the Master quickens and invigorates the disciple, just as the life of the vine does that of the branches, that he can truly pray in Christ's name, and find a certain answer to his prayers.

II. THIS INTERPRETATION LIMITS THE PROMISE IN CERTAIN DIRECTIONS. That is really no objection to the interpretation.

1. Men have brought to God many strange requests for objects unworthy and injurious to themselves, and yet have supposed that by the use of this phrase they made good their demand upon Him. Those to whom, e.g., worldly prosperity would be a curse, who have no power to use wealth wisely, and would surely be corrupted by it, sometimes ask for it, and seem to think that God is not faithful to His promise because He does not give it to them.

2. Sometimes good people have hateful whims that they wish to have gratified. One good woman whom I knew prayed, so she said, in Christ's name all night, that her husband may be kept from joining a certain church. Thus she imagined this promise to be a weapon with which she could compel the Deity to gratify her small bigotry, her antipathy to another Christian sect.

3. Neither does the text encourage speculative or experimental praying. A proposition was made that Christians should pray for the patients in a certain ward of a hospital; and if these recovered more rapidly than those in other wards the result would be a demonstration of the power of prayer. But men who pray, just to see whether there is any use in praying or not, are not praying with the mind of Christ, no matter what phrases these may use; and there is no promise of answer to any such prayers. To ask a good man for a good gift, just to see what he would say, would be an insult; and it is not less offensive to approach God in this way.

4. Neither does this interpretation encourage the expectation that God will work miracles to relieve us of work. Some imagine that God will support them in idleness if they only pray in faith for food and raiment and shelter. We know, as well as we can know anything, that it is God's will that we should earn our livelihood by labour, and husband our earnings with prudence.

5. The same principle applies to suffering. One who violates a physical law the existence of which he knows or ought to know, and then thinks to escape through prayer from the penalty of that law, really insults God by his prayer. No one can pray really in the name of Christ who is not careful to obey every part of the law of God, natural as well as Biblical. The very first condition of asking in Christ's name is an entire and hearty willingness to know and to do the will of the Lord. To pray in the name or character of Christ is to remember that we are ignorant and that God is infinitely wise; and that what He chooses for us, though it may seem evil to us, is by far the best that we can only make known to Him our desires, and then leave ourselves with entire submission in His careful and powerful hands.

III. AFTER WE HAVE QUALIFIED THIS PROMISE IN ALL THESE WAYS IT IS STILL LARGE ENOUGH — So large that we shall never begin to realize all the good it offers us.

1. It does not forbid us to ask for temporal mercies, for the least of the good things that God provides, nor for the greatest of them. You may pray for health; that is a blessing that Christ gave to many while He was here. But it is a gift that He does not always give to those He loves best! and when you pray for it you must always say, "Nevertheless, not my will but Thine be done."

2. You may pray for success in business and for prosperity if you desire them for spiritual or benevolent rather than for natural and selfish reasons. But here, too, the dominating wish will be that God's will may be done. You may, honestly think that you could use wealth in such a way as to derive moral and spiritual benefit from it for yourself, and to confer benefits upon others; but the Omniscient One may know that you are mistaken about this, and, for your own good, as well as for His glory, He may therefore withhold what you crave.

3. There is one class of petitions, however, in which you do not need to make any of these reservations. When you ask for spiritual gifts, then if you are sincere you know that you are asking in Christ's name. "This is the will of God, even your sanctification."

(Washington Gladden D. D.)

"Pa said he liked us to ask him for whatever we wanted, and I asked him yesterday to get me a kite, and he has not got it for me!" said a curly-headed grumbler, on a cold foggy day in November. "Yes, and I asked him to give me a gold watch, and he has never given me one!" said a brother, two or three years older; "and I don't see the good of asking him for things." Six months passed away, when behold! one fine day in May, the father came in with a beautiful kite, which he gave to his little boy without saying a word. But it was eight or nine years before he called the other boy to him and said, "I suppose you have forgotten, when you were a boy in pinafores, asking me for a gold watch, haven't you?" "Yes, that I have," answered the now tall youth. "But I have not," said the father. "Here's the watch, my dear boy; you can value it and take care of it now! Ah, Christian, need I add a word? else I might say that prayers do not spoil by keeping, but are only put out at interest.

(H. H. Dobney.)

If ye love Me, keep My commandments.
I. ITS TRUE NATURE AND CHARACTER.

1. The text suggests a contrast with something besides which, while purporting to be the love of Christ, is not the very reality. There is a love of Christ which is —(1) Affected — that of Judas. but it was an illusion. How much of Christianity consists in acknowledgment of Gospel verity, respect for Christian institutions, etc.(3) Morbid, that perhaps of Thomas, which has its eyes turned in upon himself — a type of Christianity induced by persecution, the prevalence of wickedness, a high state of civilization, want of moral earnestness.(4) Partial and unworthy, that of Peter, who made the commonest of mistakes, overestimating His love. It was a genuine feeling; but not equal to all emergencies, and so vanished as soon as it confronted danger.

2. The love of Christ — what is it?(1) Acquaintance with Christ. How can we love what we do not know? How can we love Christ if we are ignorant of His Person, work, character, claims, promises, etc.? Of this knowledge our Lord makes the highest account, and provides for it by the gift of His Spirit. This knowledge is not the measure of love, but is its companion, and one of the spheres of its activity.(2) Affection for Christ. Knowledge may be divorced from any alliance of the heart or will. But the soul who possesses the love of Christ will be filled with a sacred passion for Him shed abroad by the Holy Ghost.(3) Obedience to Christ, which is Christ's own definition here. This is to live in —

(a)Piety towards God. Christ will recognize no love for Him which does not show forth the praises of His Father.

(b)Self-control and purity.

(c)Truth, love, justice to all men.

II. ITS BLESSEDNESS AND DIVINE EXCELLENCE. To love Christ is —

1. To be loved of the Father and the Son (ver. 21). The Divine Son is so dear to the Father, that love for Him in a human soul makes it dear to God.

2. To receive the manifestation of the love of God is the coming to the soul of the Father and the Son (ver. 23). Human love often remains unmanifested through lack of opportunity, etc. So there was a lack of the manifestation of Divine love before the Incarnation; but Christ promises to the disciples that He and the Father will "come." Believers shall know the love which God has for them, the Spirit Him. self bearing witness of the fact.

3. To enjoy this manifestation as a permanent condition of soul: "make our abode."Conclusion:

1. What bewildering and entrancing views of heaven does this scripture open before us? If God so loved us here, how will He love us in the mansions above!

2. To how great a height does the Christianity of the New Testament tower above that of most of its professors.

3. Let those who name the name of Christ be careful to keep His commandments.

(J. D. Geden, D. D.)

This is a chapter singularly full of certainties, and remarkably studded with "ifs."

1. Look at ver. 2. If there had been no place for us in the glory land Jesus would have told us.

2. Notice ver. 3. If the Lord Jesus should go away (and this is a supposition no longer), then He would return again in due time. His home going pledges Him to come, and compels us to look for Him.

3. The next "if" comes at the beginning of ver. 7. If we really know Christ, we know God. In fact, there is no knowing God aright except through His Son. If our scientific men get away from the Christ, the incarnate God, before long they drift away from God altogether.

4. The next variety of "if" is in ver. 14. Taking it for granted that we ask mercies in the name of Jesus, a glorious certainty is linked thereto — "I will do it."

5. Again, you have "if" in ver. 23. Respect to His wisdom, and obedience to His authority, will grow out of love.

6. The chapter almost closes at ver. 28, by saying, "If ye loved Me, ye would rejoice," etc. Where there is an intelligent love to Christ we rejoice in His gains even though we ourselves appear to be losers thereby.

I. THE "IF" IS OUR TEXT IS A VERY SERIOUS ONE. It goes to the very root of the matter. Love belongs to the heart; and every surgeon will tell you that a disease of the heart may not be trifled with. Solomon bids us keep the heart with all diligence, "for out of it are the issues of life." If the mainspring fails, all the works of a watch refuse to act.

1. Our Saviour puts this "if" in such a way as to teach us that love must be prior to obedience. Obedience must have love for its mother, nurse, and food. The essence of obedience lies in the hearty love which prompts the deed rather than in the deed itself. A heart at enmity with God cannot be made acceptable by mere acts of piety. It is not what your hands are doing, nor even what your lips are saying; the main thing is what your heart is meaning and intending. The great flywheel which moves the whole machinery of life is fixed in the heart: hence this is the most important of all suggestions, "If ye love Me." When the heathen killed their sacrifices in order to prophesy future events from the entrails, the worst augury they ever got was when the priest could not find a heart; or if that heart was small and shrivelled. It is so in very deed with religion and with each religious person. He that searches us searches principally our hearts.

2. Love to Jesus is put first because it is the best reason for our obedience to Him. Notice: "If ye love Me, keep My commandments." Personal affection will produce personal obedience. There are some men for whom you would do anything. The Saviour may much more safely than any other be installed in such a position. This is the spring and source of all holy living — love to the Holy One.

3. It was greatly needful for our Lord thus to address His disciples. We should never have doubted one of them. We now know by the result that one of them was a traitor, but no one suspected him. Ah! if that question, "If ye love Me," needed to be raised in the sacred college of the twelve, much more must it be allowed to sift our churches, and to test ourselves. Perhaps you have almost taken it for granted that you love Jesus; but it must not be taken for granted. It is most kind of the Saviour to give you an opportunity of examining yourself and seeing whether you are right at heart.

4. Remember, if any man love not the Lord Jesus Christ he will be anathema maranatha, cursed at His coming. This applies to every man, even though he be most eminent. An apostle turned out to be a son of perdition — may not you?

5. The question is answerable. It was put to the apostles, and they could answer it. Peter spoke as all the eleven would have done when he said, "Thou knowest that I love Thee." It is not a question concerning mysteries. A man may know whether he loves the Lord or not, and he ought to know. Do not be content with merely longing to love Jesus; or with longing to know whether you love Him. Not love Jesus I It were better for me not to live than not to love Him.

II. THE TEST WHICH IS PROPOSED IN THE TEXT IS A VERY JUDICIOUS ONE. "If ye love Me."

1. The test indicated does not suggest a lawless liberty. Let us never enter into the counsel of those who do not believe that there are any commandments for believers to keep. Those who do away with duty do away with sin, and consequently with the Saviour. Jesus does not say, so long as you love Me in your hearts, I care nothing about your lives. He that loves Christ is the freest man out of heaven, but he is also the most under bonds. He is free, for Christ has loosed his bonds, but he is put under bonds to Christ by grateful love.

2. The text also contains no fanatical challenge. We do not read, "If ye love Me, perform some extraordinary act." Hermits, nuns, and religious mad caps find no example or precept here. Every now and then we find members of our churches who must needs leave their trades and their callings to show their love for Jesus: children may starve and wives may pine, but their mad whims must be carried out for love of Jesus.

3. Why does the Saviour give us this as a test? Because —(1) It tests whether you are loving Christ in His true position, or whether your love is to a Christ of your own making, and your own placing. Moses never used an expression such as our Saviour here employs. He might say, "Keep God's commandments"; but He would never have said, "Keep My commandments." By obedience you own Christ's sovereignty and Godhead. We do not love Jesus if He is not our Lord and God. Love Him, and belittle Him! It is absurd.(2) It proves the living presence of the object of your love. Love always desires to have its object near, and it has a faculty of bringing its object near. A gentleman has faithful servants; he goes away, and leaves his house in their charge. They are not eye servants, and so they work none the less because he is absent. If he does not see them, yet the eyes of their love always see him, and therefore they work as if he were at home. So Christ has gone away, but He is made present to us by our realizing love; and the proof of our love is that Jesus is so present that He constrains our actions, influences our motives, and is the cause of our obedience.(3) By keeping our Lord's commandments we are doing that which is most pleasing to Him, and will most glorify Him. There is the answer to every rapturous inquiry.(4) Moreover, the Saviour knew, when He bade us try this test, that it would prepare us for honouring and glorifying Him in many ways. When a friend is dying, and he asks you to prove your love by such and such a deed, he may ask what he wills; you give him carte blanche. Baptism and the Lord's supper will never be slighted by those whose hearts are fully possessed with love to Jesus. They may seem trifles, but if the Lord Jesus commands them they cannot be neglected.

III. TRUE LOVE WILL ENDURE THE TEST. "If ye love Me, ye will keep My commandments." This is the Revised Version, and I hope it will be written out in capitals upon our revised lives! If you love Christ —

1. Set to work to find out what His commandments are.

2. Be always true to your convictions about what Christ's commandments are. Carry them out at all hazards, and carry them out at once.

3. Take note of every commandment as it concerns you. If there be a commandment which you do not relish, it ought to be a warning to you that there is something wrong in your heart that needs setting right.

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

The keyword of the preceding context is "Believe!" and that word passes now into "Love." The believing gaze upon Christ kindles love and prompts to obedience. There is another very beautiful and subtle link. Our Lord has just been saying, "Whatsoever ye shall ask in My name that will I do." The Lord does as the servant asks, and the servant is to do as the Lord commands. On both sides there is love delighting to be set in motion by a message from the other side.

I. THE ALL-SUFFICIENT IDEAL OR GUIDE FOR LIFE. The authoritative tone which Christ assumes is noteworthy. He speaks as Jehovah spoke from Sinai; and quotes the very words of the old law. There are distinctly involved, in this incidental utterance, two startling things — one the assumption of the right to impose His will upon every human being, and the other that His will contains the all-sufficient directory for conduct.

1. What, then, are His commandments? Those which He spoke are plain and simple; and some people crow loud if, scratching amongst rabbinical dust heaps, they find something that looks like anything that He once said. What does that matter? Christ's "commandments" are Christ Himself. There is the originality and uniqueness of Christ as a moral teacher, that He says, "Copy Me."

1. Its law is to be found in His life.

2. And then, if that be so, what a change passes on the aspect of law! Everything that was hard, repellent, far-off, cold, vanishes. We have no longer tables of stone, but fleshy tables of a heart; and the Law stands before us, a Being to be loved, to be clung to, to be trusted in, and whom it is blessedness to know and perfection to be like.

3. It is enough for conduct, for character, and in all perplexities of conflicting duties that we listen to and obey the Voice that says, "Keep My commandments."

II. THE ALL-POWERFUL MOTIVE. The Revised Version reads, "If ye love Me ye will keep," etc., making it an assurance and not an injunction.

1. The principle that underlies these words is, that love is the foundation of obedience, and obedience is the sure outcome and result of love. We all know that love which is real delights most chiefly in knowing and conforming to the will of the beloved. And you have only to lift that which is the experience of every true heart into the higher regions, to see that Christ has invoked an omnipotent power.

2. That is exactly what lifts the morality of the Gospel above all other systems. It is not for want of knowledge that men go to the devil, but for want of power to live their knowledge. And what morality fails to do with its clearest utterances of human duty, Christ comes and does. The one is like the useless proclamations posted up in some rebellious district, where there is no army to back them. The other gets itself obeyed. Here is the road plain and straight. What matters that if there is no force to draw the cart along it. Here stand all your looms, polished and in perfect order, but there is no steam in the boilers; and so there is no motion and nothing manufactured. What we want is not law, but power. And what the gospel stands alone in giving us, is not merely the clear revelation of what we ought to be, but it is the power to become it.

3. Love does that, and love alone. The true way to cleanse the Augean stables, was to turn the river into them. It would have been endless to wheel out the filth in wheelbarrows loaded by spades. When the ark comes into the Temple, Dagon lies, a mutilated stump, upon the threshold. Christ, and He alone, entering my heart by the portals of my love, will coerce my evil and stimulate my good.

4. Here is a plain test and a double-barreled one.(1) There is no love worth calling so which does not keep the commandment. All the emotional and the mystic, and the so-called higher parts of Christian experience have to be content to submit to this plain test — do they help us to live as Christ would have us, and that because He would have us? Not that in regard of each action there must be the conscious reference to the supreme love. The colouring matter put in at the fountain will dye every drop of the stream; and they whose inmost hearts are tinged and tinctured with the sweet love of Jesus Christ, from their hearts will go forth issues of life all coloured and moulded thereby.(2) There is no obedience worth calling so which is not the child of love; and all the multitude of right things which Christians do, without that motive, are made short work of by the principle. Obedience which is mechanical and matter of course, or which is forced upon us by dread, is nothing. This is a sieve with very small meshes, and there will be a great deal of rubbish left in it after the shaking.

III. THE ALL-SUBDUING GAZE. This is not included in the text, but it is necessary to complete the view of the forces to which Christ here entrusts the hallowing of life. Nothing will kindle a man's love but the faithful contemplation and grasp of the Redeeming Christ.

1. Here is a man, dead for nineteen centuries, expecting you and me to have towards Him a vivid personal affection which will influence our conduct and our character. What right has He to expect that? There is only one reasonable ground, and that is, that He died for me. And such a love towards such a Christ is the only thing which will wield power sufficient to guide, to coerce, to restrain, to constrain, and to sustain my weak, wayward, rebellious, and sluggish will.

2. Here is a unique fact in the history of the world, that not only did He make this astounding claim, but that it has been responded to, and that today there are millions of men who love Jesus Christ with a love warm, personal, deep, powerful — the spring of all their goodness and the Lord of their lives. Why do they? For one reason only. Because they believe that He died for them, and that He lives an ascended yet ever-present Helper and Lover of their souls.

(A. Maclaren, D. D.)

I. WHAT IS INCLUDED IN KEEPING THE DIVINE COMMANDS?

1. That we retain them in our memory, so as not to forget them. This is necessary to all other ways of keeping them (Deuteronomy 8:7; Deuteronomy 17:18). The heart of every Christian should be a sacred ark, containing the two tables of the law, that they may be ready for use, and secured against all hostile attempts to deprive us of them (Psalm 119:61, 93; Hebrews 2:1; 2 Peter 1:12, 13).

2. That they have a place in our affections; we must love them, and delight in them. A thing may be lost to the memory, and yet be kept in the heart; the words of a discourse may be forgotten, and yet the savour of it be retained. But God's commands require to be kept in both these respects. The believer loves the Divine law, on account of its Author; and the subject matter of it, on account of its own intrinsic excellence.

3. That we preserve them unadulterated, pure and entire. Nothing is more displeasing to the Lord, than to blend human inventions with His institutions (Deuteronomy 4:2; Revelation 22:18).

4. A decided and persevering obedience to the Divine will, regardless of the consequences (Matthew 7:24-29; Revelation 22:14).

5. That we recommend them to the attention of others.

II. HOW OUR KEEPING THE COMMANDMENTS IS AN EVIDENCE OF OUR LOVE TO GOD.

1. It is a very rational evidence, for all love is active and influential. Obedience without love is in many instances found to be impracticable; with it, it is almost unavoidable.

2. It is a scriptural evidence, very frequently inculcated (vers. 21, 23; John 14:14).

3. The evidence is simple and easy. This is the love of God, that we keep His commandments; and His commandments are not grievous.

4. It is an obvious and convincing evidence (Matthew 7:20; 1 John 2:4, 5).

5. It is such an evidence that without it no other kind of evidence would be sufficient. Reflections: The subject teaches us —

1. That love is the foundation of Christian obedience.

2. To judge of our love by our obedience, and not of our obedience by our love.

3. Love and obedience will bear a proportion to each other.

4. They will at last be consummated together.

(B. Beddome, M. A.)

Nothing can be love which does not shape itself into obedience. We remember the anecdote of a Roman commander who forbade an engagement with the enemy, and the first transgressor against his prohibition was his own son. He accepted the challenge of the leader of the other host, met, slew, spoiled him, and then, in triumphant feeling, carried the spoils to his father's tent. But the Roman father refused to recognize the instinct which prompted this as deserving the name of love. Disobedience contradicted it, and deserved death.

(F. W. Robertson, M. A.)

I. CHRIST MERITED THE HIGHEST ESTEEM OF ALL HIS PEOPLE.

1. In Himself He is the most lovely of objects.

2. From Him the disciples have received the most delightful instruction.

3. He has died to save them from the direst of evils and lives to procure for them the highest blessings.

4. His laws are the conditions upon which our well-being is secured.

II. THERE ARE IN CHRIST'S DISCIPLES SUCH THINGS AS RENDER THEIR LOVE TO CHRIST SUSPICIOUS.

1. Sad neglect of public worship.

2. Backwardness in prayer.

3. Reluctance to study the Scriptures.

4. Passion easily agitated.

5. Fear of death.

III. THE METHOD OF GETTING RID OF ALL THAT RENDERS OUR LOVE SUSPICIOUS. Obedience:

1. Universal.

2. Constant.

3. Self-denying.

(R. Robinson.)

I. THE IMPORTANT PRINCIPLE OF LOVE TO JESUS CHRIST. Consider this principle —

1. As to its nature. Love to Christ implies several things.

(1)A knowledge of Christ.

(2)Satisfaction with Christ.

(3)Esteem for Christ, and delight in Him.

2. In its causes. "He first loved us."

3. Consider this love in its characteristics. What should be the features of this love?

(1)It should be ardent. A flame burning intensely on the altar of the heart.

(2)It should be progressive. Cannot stand still.

(3)It should be preeminent.

4. In its importance (see 1 Corinthians 16:22).

II. THE EVIDENCE OF ITS POSSESSION. Obedience is the essential fruit of a renewed heart. Christ's commandments —

1. Are revealed. They are left on the pages of Holy Writ.

2. They are sometimes difficult. Hence self-denial and cross-bearing are always so.

3. They are always practicable. "I can do all things through Christ strengthening me."

4. They are indispensable. Not to be despised or neglected. Essential to Christ's favour, and our own comfort.Application:

1. Right obedience to Christ is humble, universal, and hearty. It does not question, or choose, or obey reluctantly.

2. Christ's order seems this: Hear, repent, believe, be baptized, and then do whatsoever else I command you.

(Jabez Burns, D. D.)

Several boys were playing marbles. In the midst of their sport, the rain began to fall. Freddie S. stopped, and said, "Boys, I must go home: mother said I must not go out in the rain." "Your mother — fudge! The rain won't hurt you any more than it will us," said two or three voices at once. Freddie turned upon them with a look of pity, and the courage of a hero, and replied, "I'll not disobey my mother for any of you!"

When the Bible prescribes Christian graces, it always implies love as the motive power; as when we speak of rearing harvests it is always implied that there is a soil. Without love there is no soil for any Christian grace. If there be little of it, the fruit of Christian feeling will be poor and scant. If there be much, there will be great fruit, and easily grown. All things are easy to love. It tames all passions, inspires all affections, feeds every generous sentiment, gives both softness and potency, as its needs require, to the will, makes the understanding luminous and by making the whole man like God, makes it easy for him to be godlike to his fellow men.

(H. W. Beecher.)

Obedience is freedom, when we have learned to love the lips that command. We are set free that we may serve.

(H. W. Beecher.)

Love obeys with delight. It is not a burden to pray, but a pleasure. Hard duties become easy to love and the time seems not long nor tedious; as Jacob for the love of Rachel (Genesis 29:20). Seven years to love seems but as one day. One day spent in a holy duty to one who hath love, seems to pass away sooner and with more delight than one day spent in flesh displeasing duties where there is no love to take off the tediousness of it to the flesh.

(Percy.)

Love is like wings to the bird, like sails to the ship; it carries a Christian full sail to heaven. When love cools, obedience slacks and drives heavily, because it wants the oil on it which that love used to drop.

(T. Watson.)

Men will do far more from love than we might dare to ask as a matter of duty. Napoleon's soldiers frequently achieved exploits under the influence of fervid attachment for him, which no law could have required them to attempt. Had there been cold-blooded orders issued by some domineering officer, who said, "You shall do this, and you shall do that," they would have mutinied against such tyranny, and yet when the favourite little corporal seizes the standard, and cries, "Come on!" they will rush even to the cannon's mouth, out of love to the person of their gallant leader. This is the difference between the law and the gospel. The law says, "You shall, or you shall be punished;" but the gospel says, "I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have forgiven all your trespasses; now my love shall sweetly constrain you, and the influence of inward principle shall guide you in my ways, my law shall be written, not upon stone, but upon the fleshly tablets of your hearts." The old covenant in all that it did only provided precepts; but the gospel provides the power to keep the precept. The law drove us, but the gospel draws us. The law came behind us with its dog and stick, as our drovers do from the cattle markets; but the gospel goes before us, as the Eastern shepherd before his sheep, and we cheerfully follow where the gospel leads the way. This is the difference, then, between the old law and its inability to sanctify us, and the gospel and its wonderful power to purify.

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

Outside, in the streets, a man's companions will do him a kindness, and the action performed is friendly; but for filial acts you must look inside the house. There the child does not lend money to its father, or negotiate business, yet in his little acts there is more sonship. Who is it that comes to meet father when the day is over? and what is the action which often indicates childhood's love? See the little child comes tottering forward with father's slippers, and runs off with his boots as he puts them off. The service is little, but it is loving and filial, and has more of filial affection in it than the servant's bringing in the meal, or preparing the bed, or any more essential service. It gives the little one great pleasure, and expresses his love. No one who is not my child, or who does not love me in something like the same way, would ever dream of making such a service his speciality. The littleness of the act fits it to the child's capacity, and there is also something in it which makes it a suitable expression of a child's affection. So also in little acts for Jesus. Oftentimes men of the world will give their money to the cause of Christ, putting down large sums for charity or for missions, but they will not weep in secret over other men's sins, or speak a word of comfort to an afflicted saint. To visit a poor sick woman, teach a little child, reclaim a street Arab, breathe a prayer for enemies, or whisper a promise in the ear of a desponding saint, may show more of sonship than building a row of almshouses or endowing a church.

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

I. AS LIVING A DIVINE LIFE. The life is that of keeping Divine commandments.

1. This is the effect of loving Christ. Here is a law of mind. He who really loves another is naturally desirous of acting in accord with the wishes of the object loved. We see this in families and among friends, and the professing Christian who is not obedient from love, is not obedient at all.

2. This is the evidence of loving Christ (ver. 21). There may be the most glowing songs of praise, etc., but love is only proved by practical obedience. The true Christian is an incarnation of the God of love. Worldly men only embody and work out the current notions of their age. "I will run the way of Thy commandments when Thou shalt enlarge my heart."

II. AS POSSESSING A DIVINE HELPER (ver. 16).

1. He is the gift of the Father — free, sovereign, priceless

2. He is the messenger of reality — "the Spirit of Truth." The world is under the dominion of falsehood and shams. False ideas of God, life, duty, happiness, and greatness prevail. The Paraclete comes to scatter delusions, and to bring souls into contact with the morally real.

3. He is exclusively for the Christ-loving — "And I will pray the Father...whom the world cannot receive," etc. Love is the receptive and recognizing faculty (1 Corinthians 2:14). As soon may a man, who has not attained the faculty of reading, see in. "Paradise Lost" the genius of Milton as the man who has not the love of Christ, see and receive the Spirit of God.

4. He is the spiritual presence of Christ (ver. 18).

5. He instructs in the things of Christ (ver. 26).

III. AS ENJOYING DIVINE COMPANIONSHIP (vers. 20, 21). Love to Christ makes the soul the residence of God. Such a soul He enters, not as a passing visitor, but a permanent guest (1 Corinthians 3:16).

IV. AS PARTICIPATING IN A DIVINE PEACE (ver. 27). Peace with our own conscience, with society and God. Not as the world giveth.

1. As to quality. The world gives inferior gifts, Christ gives the highest. The world gives non-essential gifts. Men can do without the best of the world's gifts, but Christ's is indispensable.

2. As to manner.(1) The world gives selfishly, looking for something in return. Christ gives from infinite disinterestedness.(2) The world gives limitedly. It has neither heart nor capacity to give much. Christ gives unlimitedly.(3) The world gives occasionally, and according to its moods. Christ gives constantly.(4) The world gives to its friends. It loves its own. Christ gives to His enemies.

(D. Thomas, D. D.)

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