Tom: We are continuing with the gospel. We’re in the Gospel of John, and we are in John 14. Dave, we’re going to pick right up with verse 13: “And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.” Is this a credit card, carte blanche, open door for…you know, we hear the name of Jesus used a lot.
Dave: Well, let’s go on and read the next one, Tom. They go together.
Tom: “If ye shall ask anything in my name, I will do it.”
Dave: Wow! That does sound like carte blanche. How could you miss? So whatever I want…
Tom: All you have to do is ask. There’s a mantra.
Dave: …and I just put “in the name of Jesus,” and then you get it automatically. Obviously, that’s not what it means. We have explained it before, Tom…
Tom: But maybe some listeners want to know…
Dave: …but maybe I could do it again.
Tom: I think it’s important.
Dave: When I was in the business world, I was sort of the alter ego of a very wealthy man. I managed his affairs, and there were powers of attorney registered in various counties and states. I could sign his name on anything. Checks—I could write out a check to myself for $100,000, and sign his name.
Dave: Pretty good! And there was nothing in the power of attorney that limited me. However, had I done that, a court of equity would have taken that away from me because, although it doesn’t say it on the power of attorney, it is understood that, of course, I am using his name for his benefit—not for my own, obviously. He doesn’t give me the power of attorney so that I can decimate his estate, and it’s the same thing with Jesus.
Tom: Well, it’s even more because if we had the power, Lord help us, is all I could say.
Dave: Well, it would be horrible. But this is very much like the New Age, Tom, as you know—you have studied this a lot, mind power. If I could just get the power to…whatever I think: “Think snow!” and it will snow; “Visualize peace!” Well, how come they aren’t visualizing peace over there in the Middle East?
And I’ve often said—you know, some people think, “Wow, if I could just get that power…and if we had that power, why, it would solve all the problems in the world!” No, it would create the worst problem you have ever seen! If every person out there in the street could get whatever they wanted just by the power of the mind, that wouldn’t bring peace. That would bring war like you have never seen. We’re all a bunch of Obi-Wans and Darth Vaders, zapping one another with psychic power, trying to get our own way.
This is not a license for selfishness, but it’s telling us, “Look, you ask in my name? Well, then you are asking what I would ask, and you have become my servant and my instrument.”
Well then how do I know what Christ would ask? I’m going to have to be walking very closely with Him in obedience to His Word and being guided of His Holy Spirit. And Jesus is saying, “If there is anything that I have led you to do, and you are in my will, you can ask it, and it will be done of my Father.”
I think, Tom, it calls us back to the seriousness of life, to recognize…well, Jesus himself said to the Father, “Not my will, but thine be done.”
Tom: Dave, I think of maybe somebody reading this for the first time or hearing somebody read it, and they said, “Oh, wow, ‘ask anything in my name’…what’s the catch? Well, there is a catch. It’s called godliness. “Oh, well that’s the catch! I don’t want anything to do with that.” But godliness is all that God has in His wisdom, in His love, in His goodness, He makes all of this available, and anything in that area that we ask according to His will. If it was against His will, how bad could it be? And how horrendous would be the fruit of something like that.
Dave: There’s a similar verse like it in Hebrews:11:6: “Without faith, it is impossible to please God: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is [that is, that God is], and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek him.” I can remember as a young Christian thinking, “Wow, now there’s a formula of success! I seek God and I can have anything I want!”
Tom: A reward, go for it, big time!
Dave: But then I realize, wait a minute! What does it say? He’s a rewarder of those who seek Him. Then what will He reward us with? Himself. And if I got something else—if I got the whole world instead of God—it would be a bad deal, wouldn’t it? So, we are self-centered; we are earthly minded, materialistic, sensual, and so forth, and Jesus is trying to draw His disciples away from that. “You ask anything in my name, I will do it.” Then He says, “If you love me, keep my commandments.” Whoa, that kind of sums it up right there.
Tom: “If you love me, keep my commandments.” Doing something for the love of God, out of God’s loving you—I know I’ve used this example lots of times on the program, but to me it’s one of the most wonderful. I think of the woman who, when Jesus was in the home of Simon the Pharisee, and the woman is there. She must be a prostitute, or a former prostitute, certainly, but she was recognized as that, and she is washing Jesus’…His feet with her tears and drying His feet with her hair. What an act…it’s not just an act of humility; this is an act of love. Never mind who’s looking! This is somebody who—her heart, her mind, her actions, all of that are committed to Him, and the Pharisees take offense.
But Jesus says, “She is doing these things—she loves much—because she is forgiven much.” This is what brings me back to this verse: “If you love me…” —think of all that Jesus has done for us—“…keep my commandments.” And this is not the Ten Commandments—certainly the moral aspects of it—but it’s everything that He has said, not just suggested.
Dave: So, we obey the Lord— not to get to heaven, not to get a reward, not to make points with Him, but because we love Him. And that’s why Paul, in 1 Corinthians 13, says, “I could give my body to be burned, I could give all my goods to feed the poor—if I don’t do it out of love, it is of absolutely no value for eternity.”
So, that’s why, I guess, the first commandment was “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, with all thy soul, with all thy strength, with all thy might.” If we do not love God, anything we do for Him is not going to please him.
Tom: Now, Dave, I mentioned just a moment ago that these aren’t suggestions. Jesus said, “If you love me, keep my commandments.” So, obedience—not for salvation but to demonstrate our love for Him—this is what we are to do, and the things that we are to do are things that are going to be so beneficial not only to us but to others.
Dave: It’s like a mother. I guess we’ve passed Mother’s Day and Father’s Day a little while ago.
Tom: No, Father’s Day is coming up.
Dave: Oh is it coming up?
Tom: I’ve got it on my calendar. I reminded all my kids.
Dave: I can’t keep track of these things, but by the time this program comes out, it will be past. But here is a child—he disobeys, displeases his mother all year long, but on Mother’s Day, oh, he gives her a card, tells her how he loves her, bouquet, and a present. Wait a minute! She would rather not have that at all and have a little obedience. And Jesus is saying,” Look, you say you love me, but you don’t keep my commandments? How can you say you love me? Because love seeks to please the one who is loved, not to please itself.” A lot we need to learn, Tom.
Tom: Dave, doesn’t this go back to the Garden of Eden, to Genesis? I’m thinking of Genesis:2:16-17, where God says to Adam, “You can eat of any tree in the garden, but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, you are not to eat that, because the day you eat thereof, you will surely die.” So this was a point of obedience for him but a demonstration of his love for God, if he would obey.
Dave: We’re not told whether Adam and Eve loved God or not—whether they even had that concept in their relationship with this One who had created them. These things are developed gradually in the Bible, and that’s why we need to search the Scriptures. I mean, the Bible, Tom, is so fabulous. We don’t go to the Bible to try to impose our view on it; we go to the Bible to be corrected.
Tom: To understand.
Dave: Let me go back and quote what Paul said again, that “the scripture is for doctrine, reproof, correction, instruction in righteousness.”
Tom: We could add a few more, Dave, comfort, counsel from the Spirit.
Dave: Right. Well, I was tempted to try to get on with verse 16, but it’s too much, and we are out of time.
Tom: No, we’re out of time. So, next week we will pick up with verse 16 onto 17.