If you love me, keep my commandments (John 14:15). He who has my commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves me (John 14:21). If anyone loves me, he will keep my word (John 14:23). If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love (John 15:10). You are my friends if you do whatever I command you (John 15:14).
Anyone see a trend in these verses? He wants us to love Him and tells us how: Obedience.
With that in mind, the question before us is this: Is it possible to do something so loving, so affectionate, so Christ-honoring here on earth that Jesus will feel it in Heaven’s Throneroom?
Can I do something loving for Jesus here and have Him feel the love there?
We direct your attention to the woman of Luke 7:36ff.
Then one of the Pharisees asked Him to eat with him. And He went to the Pharisee’s house and sat down to eat. And behold, a woman in the city who was a sinner, when she knew that Jesus sat at the table in the Pharisee’s house, brought an alabaster flask of fragrant oil, and stood at His feet behind Him weeping; and she began to wash His feet with her tears, and wiped them with the hair of her head; and she kissed His feet and anointed them with the fragrant oil….
What courage it took for this fallen woman–known to be so–to enter a home where she was not welcome in order to see the Savior. What depth of love drove her to His feet where she wept and worshiped. Then, seeing what she had done and with nothing to dry the tears on His feet, she let down her hair and used it for a towel. Then–in for a dime, in for a dollar–she broke open a flask of ointment and began to anoint His feet. The fragrance filled the house. No one was unaware of her presence or of what she was doing.
A drama ensued. The Pharisee-host fumed inwardly, and our Lord turned it into one of Scripture’s greatest object lessons. We do love everything about this wonderful story.
It’s a lovely story. We admire this woman. And in some ways we envy her. We wish we had her courage, ignoring what people were thinking in order to do something that pleased Jesus.
What Christ-lover would not relish the opportunity to sit at the feel of our Lord and worship Him with our tears and our touch.
That day is coming, saints of the Lord. Be faithful.
There is a sense, however, in which we can do that now.
Here are two things we can do on earth today and have Jesus experience your love in Heaven…
One. When we do something loving for His children on earth, He feels it in Heaven.
Scripture teaches that Jesus takes it personally when we bless even one of His little ones.
“Inasmuch as you did it to the least of these my brethren–received them, fed them, gave them refreshment, clothed them, ministered to them–you did it unto Me.” (Matthew 25:40,45) Do not miss the emphasis here is on these my brethren. These are the redeemed. When we bless a redeemed child of God, we bless Him.
The church is called in Scripture the Body of Christ as well as the Bride of Christ. (Body: Romans 12:4-5. I Corinthians 12:12-27. Ephesians 1:22-23 and 4:12. Colossians 1:24) (Bride: Indirectly taught in places like Ephesians 5 and 2 Corinthians 11:2. Directly in Revelation 19:7. See Jeremiah 31:32.)
When someone blesses my body, I take it personally. When someone blesses my bride, it blesses me. And by the same token, for someone to hurt either my body or my bride would be highly offensive to me.
My daughter-in-law said, “This is my friend Angie. She’s on staff at our church.” I said, “Good to meet you, Angie. What do you do at the church?” She laughed, “I clean the toilets.” I said, “My friend, thank you for cleaning the Lord’s toilets. He loves that you do that so well. Your faithfulness blesses a lot of people and reflects well on Him.”
The writer of Hebrews has a great word for us on this. God is not unjust so as to forget your work and the love that you have shown toward His name in having ministered to the saints and in still ministering (Hebrews 6:10). Think of that: When we do our work for Him, we are showing love toward His name. And He promises to remember us for that.
When I sit here blogging His message, stand in the pulpit preaching it, or pray with a brother or encourage a sister, I am loving on Jesus.
He feels the love.
In Luke 14, after commanding that we reach out and bless “the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind,” Jesus gave a promise: “You will be repaid at the resurrection fo the righteous” (Luke 14:14). He takes it personally.
Two. When we obey the Lord Jesus’s command–especially when doing so is very difficult–He takes that as an expression of our love.
You give an offering when you need the money for yourself. You minister to others even when dealing with your own doubts and fears. You are hurting, but you go forward for Jesus. You endure great opposition but continue to be faithful.
You rejoice in adversity, persevere through persecution, and remain faithful when everyone around you urges you to quit.
Every single person listed in Hebrews 11, that hall of fame of the Old Testament’s faithful, is there for one reason: they obeyed under difficult circumstances. Noah built an ark at great expense, with great difficulty, and under great hostility. Abraham moved his family hundreds of miles away, never to return, “not knowing where they went.” Moses threw his lot in with the Hebrew slaves knowing it cost him a favored position in the nation. On and on the chapter goes. And, right in the middle of this great roll call, we read this treasured statement: “Wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God” (11:16).
God felt the love.
Job lost all his children and every possession of any value. Then he praised God. “Blessed be the name of the Lord” (Job 1:21). The Lord loved him for it.
The widow had very little money and a hundred uses for what she had. Yet, she gave it to the Lord. (Mark 12:41ff). Jesus loved her for that.
Yes, it’s hard sometimes. But serve Him anyway. It’s when you do your best work, when your service counts the most.
I was 27 and in my first winter pastoring Greenville, MS’s Emmanuel Baptist Church. It was cold and rainy that day, and I stood at the graveside doing that funeral, shivering in my thin suit. (Never blessed materially, Margaret and I were just out of seminary. I may have owned two suits and a sportcoat at this time. And thought nothing of it.) An hour later, after running home to change out of the muddy, wet clothes, I walked into the church office and found a large box on the desk from a local men’s store. Mrs. Ethel Keeling had gone straight from the funeral and purchased her young preacher a new London Fog men’s all-weather coat. It was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen.
Jesus was blessed by her act. I believe it with all my heart.
When Mrs. Keeling arrived in Heaven not many years later, I can imagine the Lord Jesus saying to this precious lady, “Thank you for my coat.”
Jack Hinton took a group from his church in New Bern NC on a mission trip to the Caribbean. One day they journeyed to the little island nation of Tobago to minister at a leper hospital, called a leprosarium. As the group fanned across the campus and visited with the patients, they had their hearts broken seeing what leprosy does to the human body.
After a bit, the administrator invited them into the chapel to hold a worship service.The Carolina group lined across the front of the chapel as the patients entered.
As Pastor Jack watched, a woman leper entered and sat down on the last pew, then turned to face the back wall. That was strange.
The Carolina group sang and shared testimonies and scriptures and prayers. After a bit, Pastor Jack said, “Folks, we have time for one more song. Does anyone have a favorite hymn you’d like us to sing?”
Now for the first time the little woman on the back row turned around.
Pastor Jack found himself staring into the most hideous face he had ever seen. Because of leprosy, the woman had no nose. And no lips. When she raised her hand to make a request, there was no hand there, just a bony nub.
She said, “Could we sing ‘Count Your Many Blessings’?”
Pastor Jack lost it. The tears welled up and choked off his voice and he couldn’t get a word out. He had to step out a side door and weep. Another person in the group led the song. One of the men walked outside and put his arm around his pastor and said, “You’ll never sing that song again, will you, Jack?” The pastor said, “Oh yes. But not in the same way.”
When that woman sings, Jesus feels the love.
What is Jesus feeling from you today? What message are you sending by your obedience under hardship and by your treatment of His people?
God help us to get this right.