Sermon: If You Love Me, for 5/17/2020
By: Philip Rohler, Pastor
Would you like to tell others how they can show that they love you? If we don’t tell our beloved what makes us feel loved, what is the alternative? Read my mind. Guess, guess what you can do to let me know you love me. Communicating what helps you feel loved can lead to you feeling loved.
We want to love God, we want a deep and satisfying love between us. And we need help in knowing how to love God. For the people of Israel, it wasn’t doing what other religions demanded. The nation would be showing their love for Jehovah by walking in his ways. By remaining committed to the God who brought them out of slavery and through the wilderness to a land flowing with milk and honey.
Telling the people of Israel (Deuteronomy 11:22), “Be careful to obey all these commands I am giving you,” sounds demanding and controlling. Yet it is God modeling the importance of telling the beloved, this is who I am; I showed my love to you by responding to you telling me you wanted to be freed from slavery in Egypt.
So I gave you Moses who with others led you to the land I promised you. Now show me you love me by having only me as your God. Show me you love me by honoring your parents and by telling your children what I’ve done. Show me you love me by taking care of yourself, enjoying a sabbath that includes resting and experiencing my creation.
“Be careful to obey all these commands I am giving you,” sounds demanding and controlling. Yet it is God modeling the importance of telling the beloved, this is how you can demonstrate your love for me. I love you and I brought you to your promised land, now to keep our relationship strong, here's what you can do to show me you love me.
Last week we celebrated Mother’s Day, I’m reminded of the stories my mom told about the love between her and my dad. Their love was expressed in a context provided by the church that emphasized biblical texts that said the husband is head of the wife and the wife is to submit to her husband.
My mom, however, understood the biblical context of those passages; she understood that mutual submission was actually what Paul was teaching when he wrote, Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. Ephesians 5:21. So when my mom and dad were talking about their life together, my mom would listen to my dad and gently express her opinion.
When he would ignore her opinion because he was the head and she was to submit, during their conversations she would continue to gently express her opinion. If he persisted in ignoring her, she would finally do the one thing that melted his heart to listen: in her frustration, she would cry. It was her way of getting him to hear her say, If you love me, here’s what you need to do for me. You need to consider my opinion in this decision.
When Jesus said (John 14:15-21), “If you love me, obey my commandments,” he was saying, I have heard you acknowledge your need for God to be with you so I came to earth to show you the father’s love. And now I’m telling you what I need from you so that I know you love me. Practice what I’ve lived and taught. Then I’ll know you love me. Amen.
Benediction: Brothers and sisters, as you practice what Jesus lived and taught, encourage one another, be of one mind, live in peace. May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God the Father, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all. Amen. (2 Corinthians 13)