Tom: We’re continuing with the gospel, and we are in the Gospel of John. We are at chapter 14, and Dave, I think we left off—well, we can pick up with verse 24. That’s John:14:24: “He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings: and the word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father’s which sent me. These things I have spoken unto you, being yet present with you. But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.”
Dave, we were talking in our previous segment about legalism, on the one hand. On the other hand, there are things that we need to do to please the Lord: “He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings.”
Dave: Of course, that’s a follow-up from what he said in verse 23: “If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.” So that what we do is motivated by love, we do it because of love. Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 13, “I could give my body to be burned, I could give all my goods to feed the poor, and it wouldn’t be worth anything if I didn’t do it out of love.”
So, if I did it as this—going back to this gentleman, again, that he must punish his wife, and if he doesn’t, he is going to hell—if you do anything with that motive in mind, “because I don’t want to go to hell,” then it’s not going to keep you out of hell even on that basis, even if good works were essential, because you have done it for the wrong reasons.
And I sometimes say, Tom, I mean, this is a very difficult subject, eternal punishment, but I sometimes say that one of the reasons why when you are in hell, in the lake of fire, you’ll never get out, is because you couldn’t possibly want to get out for the right reasons. All you want to do is get out of there, and that is not the right motive for coming to Christ. Now, that can be used of God, I don’t want to be dogmatic about it.
Tom: Well, because it’s a reality! It’s like telling somebody the bridge is out at the end of the road, and if you go down the road you’re going to go over the precipice and you’re going to die. Well, that’s a reality.
Dave: Mm-hmm. But Tom, we have to be careful, because then it can become like Islam. They’ve got a machete at your neck (in Indonesia, they’re doing it every day, or Nigeria, or the government of Khartoum in South of Sudan, and so forth), and “You just repeat these words, ‘There is no God but Allah and Muhammad is his prophet,’ or we will kill you!” Now, the fact that you repeat those words doesn’t mean you believe it, but you’re just wanting to save your life—it’s expediency.
But the Bible says you must believe with all your heart. So again, I think a person could be talked into making some confession or profession out of fear of hell. Now I’m not denying that that would be a good motive. I had a great fear of hell when I was a boy, but we also must believe the truth. But when we seek to follow the Lord, He wants our hearts. He’s not trying to trick us; He lays all the evidence out. God says, “Come now, and let us reason together.” He gives us all the proof, and we love Him because He first loved us. And Paul writes in Romans, “God commendeth his love toward us in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”
So, we see God’s love. He’s not just some cosmic energy source. This wasn’t some impersonal act to satisfy justice, although it did satisfy justice, but this is the demonstration, the supreme demonstration of God’s love. And Tom, not to get off the subject here a bit, but I’ve been having a little—some discussions with Calvinists, and we have a book coming out down the line, as soon as Multnomah gets it into the mill.
Tom: I think it’s scheduled for February.
Dave: No, I think it’s November, maybe, I’m not sure, but it’s called Calvinism Debated: Five Points, Two Views. And one of the things that the Calvinist tries to say, because it’s very embarrassing not to admit that God loves everybody, so they try to say, “Yeah, God loves everybody, even the ones that He predestines to hell, because He demonstrates His love by giving them sunshine and rain and so forth.” I don’t think that makes sense—that it is loving to give temporal benefits to someone that you have damned for eternity. But the Bible…
Tom: Well, Dave, we have said in the past, it’s like a meal for somebody on death row about to go to the gas chamber or whatever. So they’ve had a meal. So they have treated them—what?—humanely? Not that we are against capital punishment, that’s not my point.
Dave: Yeah, it’s a little bit different from that because the guys on death row, they deserve judgment. They are there because they were convicted of something. So the Calvinist then would say, “Well, I mean, we are all guilty, these are people who are guilty,” okay? So the issue isn’t guilt. I mean, we are all guilty. The issue is does God love everybody or doesn’t He? And, did He predestine certain ones to eternal damnation before they were even born? And how can you call that love? But I was quoting the scripture, “We love him because he first loved us, and God commendeth, or God demonstrates, his love toward us in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” Now, if that is the supreme demonstration of God’s love, then how does God love those for whom Christ didn’t die? Because Calvinism says limited atonement, particularly redemption—Christ did not die for everyone.
It’s like the angel’s announcement at the birth of Christ: “Behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. Unto us is born this day in the city of David a savior.” But it’s not “good tidings of great joy” to those for whom the Savior didn’t come and for whom He won’t die and who have already been predestined to eternal torment. Anyway, I’m getting off the subject here.
Tom: Dave, let me bring you back to something that I think about from time to time. Verse 24: “He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings…” We’ve said over and over again, it should be absolutely clear to anybody who has been listening to this program—even for a few programs—we don’t believe in works-salvation. There is nothing you can do for your salvation.
On the other hand, Dave, there’s a lot about the Christian life that’s hard work. We have prayer and devotions in the ministry every morning. We begin with prayer and devotions and reading—going through the Scriptures, and one of the things we talked about a couple of weeks ago—prayer. Prayer—that’s work! And it’s a labor, and it’s a wonderful labor, but to get ourselves to do it, to keep going to the Lord in prayer to intercede for others—that is hard work! You’d say, “Well, it’s not physically hard.” Well, sometimes it is. Even the disciples at the Garden had trouble staying awake just for a time to pray with the Lord.
Dave: We could relate this to where we began back there with this lady breastfeeding her child. There’s nothing in the Scriptures: “Don’t breastfeed your child while you are driving.” Now that comes with common sense. It’s dangerous, and there would be laws against that, okay? But if we are Christians, “If you love Me…” you become a Christian, there is certain conduct that would be becoming for a Christian. You wouldn’t do things that Jesus wouldn’t do. You wouldn’t do something that would bring a reproach upon Him. If you really love Christ, then you are going to do what pleases Him and what would speak well of Him as His ambassador.
So, we are not under the law anymore, with ten commandments and so forth—Whoops! Do you mean you can do what you want to do? No, we have a higher law. Christ has become our life; Christ lives in us. Now what we do, how we live, is not according to the Ten Commandments but according to what would please Christ. He fulfilled the law. He lived without sin. So I must live as Jesus would live, and if I love Him…and the only motive He wants is not fear of falling into hell! But He wants me to do it because I love Him.
Then He says, “These things have I spoken, being yet present with you, but the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, He’s going to teach you all things and bring all things to your remembrance.” So, Jesus was about to leave them, He’s giving them some final instructions, but the power to bring this about, the power to live this life, and even to remember and understand what He said will come from the Holy Ghost, the Holy Spirit, whom Jesus would send to indwell each believer.
Tom: The scripture says, “Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, says the Lord.”