Words matter in John’s gospel, words are emphasized, God’s words, Jesus’ words, and Jesus as the Word (John 1:1). This pattern comes up a lot: God gives words to Jesus and Jesus passes them on to people. Jesus prays about that pattern in John 17 and reports to God his Father that the disciples believe his words are from God and are true. “I have revealed you to those whom you gave me out of the world. They were yours; you gave them to me and they have obeyed your word. Now they know that everything you have given me comes from you. For I gave them the words you gave me and they accepted them. They knew with certainty that I came from you, and they believed that you sent me” (John 17:6-8).

Note the process. The disciples believed that Jesus was from God, therefore they accepted Jesus’ words as from God, and they obeyed as a result. Believers follow that same process today. There is a connection that happens by knowing God through Jesus’ perfect life, death on the cross, and victory over death. The connection with him is the most wonderful part of life. Obedience flows from that wonder through faith. I like how Charles Spurgeon put it.

The Lord must first be your portion before you will be able to keep his words. How can a man keep what he has not received? Without God to be our portion, where will the strength come from to accomplish so difficult a duty as the keeping of God’s words? See to it, all of you, that you do not reverse the order. Do not, as the old proverb says, put the cart before the horse. Let all things come in their due course and keep due rank, for mischief comes of the wrong placing of things. First receive from divine grace until thou canst say, “Thou art my portion, O Lord,” and then give forth by daily service what God has worked within, and say, “I will keep thy words.” – Charles Spurgeon’s sermon “God Our Portion and His Word Our Treasure” Sep 2, 1877

Jesus taught his disciples this pattern in John 15. See if you can fill in these blanks.

I am the vine, you are the ____________ – vs. 5

If you ____________ in me you will bear much ____________. – vs. 5

If my ____________ remain in you, ask whatever you wish and it will be done for you. – vs. 7

If you ____________, you will remain in my love. – vs. 10.

If you can fill in all those blanks then repeat those truths about connecting with Jesus and keeping his words alive through you. If not, read up on John 15, and put his words to heart until you can.

Pastor John Riley

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