JOHN 15:23-25: “He who hates Me hates My Father also. If I had not done among them the works which no one else did, they would have no sin; but now they have seen and also hated both Me and My Father. But this happened that the word might be fulfilled which is written in their law, ‘They hated Me without a cause.’” NKJV
OBSERVATION: Can you love God without Jesus? This is a question that is at the center of what has come to be known in the church as Holy Week. It is the last week of Jesus’ life and ministry leading up to His crucifixion. And, at the very center of all that happened that week is the question,
CAN YOU LOVE GOD WITHOUT JESUS?
The Pharisees, Sadducees, and Scribes were convinced that they could love God without Jesus. In fact, they saw Jesus as a threat to their position and security. They ignored His teaching, dismissed His miracles, and did everything in their power to turn the crowds against Jesus. They were extremely successful in this campaign. The same crowds that cheered Jesus as he entered Jerusalem on a donkey changed their tune only 5 days later. Instead of Hosanna, they cried,
This is much more than a mere historical observation. This is the very center of the battle that is taking place in our culture today. The world is constantly looking for a way to dismiss Jesus and His teachings while claiming to be children of God. Instead of the narrow way that Jesus taught they are paving the broad road with gold and claiming that it is the way that leads to life. Truth is no longer something that Jesus revealed and taught. Truth today is one’s personal inward revelation of who he is and what he wants to do.
If you look closely at our culture, if you watch the entertainment industry and the news pundits, you will see a very real parting of the waters. Those who have embraced the concept of personal truth are applauded and celebrated. Those who proclaim the unchanging truth of God’s Word are vilified as haters, bigots, and dangerous. In this light, we need to once again affirm some of the last words Jesus spoke to His disciples.
- “Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” John 14:6 NKJV
- “He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him.” John 14:21 NKJV
- “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned.” John 15:5-6 NKJV
- “If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.” John 15:18-19 NKJV
Jesus was not rejected by the Jews because He was unrighteous. He was not dismissed because of the miracles that He performed. Jesus was hated because He revealed the truth of God’s Word and claimed to be the only way to have a relationship with the Father. Jesus confronted hypocrisy, exposed the enemy’s lies, broke the power of sin, and revealed the Father’s heart.
JESUS WAS CRUCIFIED BECAUSE HE IS THE WAY, THE TRUTH, AND THE LIFE!
Easter has been relegated to a second-hand holiday in our culture. You can tell this by the amount of marketing that is focused on this day. Jesus has been marginalized from our culture and in many churches. There is a growing attempt in some denominations to embrace the revelation of personal truth over the revelation of God’s Son. Moral standards are decaying as our culture claims to love God without Jesus.
YOU CAN NOT LOVE GOD WITHOUT LOVING JESUS!
Jesus came to this world to reveal the heart of the Father and to offer us salvation from our sins. He lived, died, and rose again from the dead so that we could have a relationship with the Father. He poured out His Holy Spirit upon those who believe so that we could experience His presence in our life. Jesus came to deliver us from religion and embrace us in relationship. Jesus is God the Son, Savior, Baptizer with the Holy Spirit, Healer and soon coming, King!
When you receive Jesus Christ as your Savior and Lord, the world may hate you, they may accuse you of being a hate monger, a bigot, closed-minded, and ignorant. However, we should not be dissuaded by this or think it strange. Jesus already warned us that this would happen. Rather, our focus should be on the blessings of knowing Jesus. It is only through faith in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord that we enter into these great and precious promises!
- “But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.” John 1:12-13 NKJV
- “Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” John 14:27 NKJV
- “These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full.” John 15:11 NKJV
- “You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you. These things I command you, that you love one another.” John 15:16-17 NKJV
- “He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life. These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life, and that you may continue to believe in the name of the Son of God.” I John 5:12-13 NKJV
We all have a choice to make. The cross is the dividing line between the world and Jesus. To deny Jesus is to also deny God. To believe in Jesus is to be restored in relationship with the Father and to receive the Holy Spirit. The cross stands between the two choices.
Lord, this morning I choose the cross. I choose to believe in Jesus Christ as my Savior and Lord. I choose to believe His Word and follow Him daily. I choose to lay down my life and pick up my cross. This morning, during this time of reflection, today and for the rest of my life…
I CHOOSE TO LOVE GOD BY LOVING JESUS!
In Jesus’ Name!