Oh, for a thousand tongues to sing, my great Redeemer's praise! Thou for it's of my God and King, the triumphs of his grace!
This is Lecce Bradley, Jr. welcoming you to another broadcast of the Baptist Bible Hour. Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me! I once was lost, but now am found, was blind, but now I see. Through many dangers, toils and snares, I have already come.
His grace that brought me safe thus far, and grace will lead me home. When we've been there ten thousand years, bright shining as the sun, We've no less days to sing God's praise than when we first begun. I again want to remind you about our new website. It is now the home of the Baptist Witness, and there are many other features that we feel will be of interest to you. The address is the same, BaptistBibleHour.org, so be sure to visit us there soon. Now today, the message we have is entitled, Loving Jesus, and certainly that's a theme that needs to be foremost in our minds and hearts, and I pray the message will be a blessing to you. If it is, let us hear from you.
Our mailing address is Baptist Bible Hour, Box 17037, Cincinnati, Ohio 45217. If you were asked the question, do you love Jesus? What would your answer be? Hopefully you would answer, yes, I do love Jesus, but it's possible to make that declaration, to sing the song, Oh How I Love Jesus, to go through various activities in the Lord's name. And still be lacking in love for Him. A person may live an upright moral life because they want to be respected by others. They may make great personal sacrifices because they want the honor that comes as a result of it. A person may be very active in religion, but the motivation is not because they love Jesus, but because they want to be observed by others and impress others as to their commitment and dedication. We come to a passage this morning in the words of Jesus Himself, where we learn what it really means to love Jesus.
We look at John chapter 14 and begin reading in the 12th verse. Verily, verily, I say unto you, he that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also, and greater works than these shall he do, because I go unto my Father. And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If he shall ask anything in my name, I will do it.
If he love me, keep my commandments. Loving Jesus. Now previously, we looked at this remarkable promise where Jesus tells His disciples that after He is gone, they will do greater works than He had done. Remember that these followers are disturbed because Jesus has told them He's going away.
They have not been able to fully grasp all that He has taught about His sacrificial death, His burial, and His resurrection. And from the very first verse of this chapter, Jesus has been comforting them and reassuring them. And so when He tells them that you're going to do greater works than these because I go unto the Father, He's saying you need not be so disturbed and grieved that I'm going away because something positive is coming out of it. As a result of my going to the Father, you're going to be able to do greater works. Of course, it did not indicate, although there were miracles that they performed because they had the gift of performing them in the New Testament time, but those miracles did not supersede or go beyond what Jesus had done. Jesus had fed the multitudes.
He had walked on water. He had raised Lazarus from the dead. So what is in view when He says you're going to do greater works? It is not just talking to those who were His disciples at that moment, but it's a promise to all who believe. So it's a promise to His people today. Well, we believe that the reference is to the fact that while Jesus administered primarily to the Jews and the place where the gospel was active at that point was in Jerusalem, there was soon going to be an amazing expansion of that. The Gentiles were going to be brought in. The gospel was going to be circulated all over the world. Acts chapter 1 verse 8, but ye shall receive power after that the Holy Ghost has come upon you and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem and in all Judea and in Samaria and unto the uttermost part of the earth.
Here's something that is beyond what they had ever envisioned. They were thinking of an earthly kingdom located in Jerusalem and among the Jews, and now he's talking about his kingdom, which is a spiritual kingdom being expanded and the gospel going to the end of the earth. In the 17th chapter of the gospel of John, verse 20, as he prayed to the Father, he said, Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also, which shall believe on me through their word. So there are going to be multitudes that will believe on me through the word that they deliver.
And think of it. Here's this small group of people. Judas has betrayed Jesus, so there's only 11 of the apostles. And at the time of Jesus' death, there was possibly 500 believers. But now on the day of Pentecost, there were 3,000 that were added.
A short time later, there were 5,000. And the gospel has been circulated till it's in so many parts of the earth today. And his promise was in Matthew chapter 28, and what is commonly referred to as the Great Commission, that as you go preaching and baptizing and instructing, I will be with you unto the end of the earth. And then we look briefly at those next verses. It says, And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do it, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.
What a promise. Whatever you need then with regard to the expansion of this kingdom, the proclamation of the gospel, its circulation in distant places, whatever you ask in my name, I will do it. What does it mean to ask in Jesus' name? It's not just words to be added on at the end of a prayer.
It concerns our whole outlook, our whole attitude in prayer influences what we're praying for. In the gospel of Matthew chapter 6 verse 10, Jesus is giving the model prayer and says, Here's how we're to pray. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth as it is in heaven. It means then that if we're praying in Jesus' name, we're praying for His will to be done. Whatever is going to be to His glory and His honor, Thy will be done. John chapter 15 and the seventh verse, If ye abide in me and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will and it shall be done unto you. See, this doesn't open up the opportunity for any kind of a selfish request to be made and the assumption being because Jesus said, Whatever you ask, I'm going to grant it, that He will just give you your whim of the day.
No, this promise belongs to those who are abiding in Christ. You'll be able to ask what you will if His Word is abiding in you. In other words, your thought, your interest, your concern is that His name be honored.
You're acquainted with what He taught. And so what you're praying for is in harmony with it. Pray in Jesus' name is to acknowledge our unworthiness.
In other words, we're not coming in our own name saying, Lord, look at my record, look at my accomplishments, look what I've done. Will you bless me because I'm entitled to it? We come acknowledging, as Jacob of old said, I'm not worthy of the least of his mercies. So we're admitting we're undeserving but praying that we will be blessed for Jesus' sake. Matthew chapter 5 verse 3, Jesus said, Blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
So it means that you come acknowledging your poverty, your unworthiness, your need, and looking for the blessing to come for Jesus' sake. Furthermore, it means to pray with a desire for God's glory. Verse 9 tells us that our interest must be to the glory of His name.
Chapter 6 that is. Matthew chapter 6 verse 9, After this manner, therefore, pray ye, our Father, which art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. That's the way Jesus says we are to begin our prayer. I think we have a tendency because we're burdened about many things to rush into prayer and begin to lay out our requests.
But to put things in the proper order, we need to begin here where Jesus says we are to begin. Our Father, which art in heaven. How wonderful to know that we are praying not to a God who is at such a distance that He would be unacquainted with us or with our need, but to God who is our Father. Therefore, He loves us, has great interest in our welfare, but we're praying, not selfishly, but praying hallowed be thy name. May thy name be praised. May thy name be set apart.
May thy name be honored. See that changes the whole outlook. Some advocate the idea that if you just have enough faith, it doesn't matter what you ask for, God will give it to you. The health, wealth, and prosperity doctrine that is popular in many places brings people with that concept that whatever I determine I want, if I can just generate enough faith, I can be assured of having it.
But we're reminded that our selfishness must not be in the picture. James chapter 4 verse 3, ye ask and receive not because ye ask amiss that ye may consume it upon your lust. If you're asking something just because you want more money, you want bigger and better things, it's just something that is a selfish request, he says don't be surprised that you don't get it.
You ask but you don't have it because you're not asking in the right spirit for the right reason. You're not praying that God's name may be glorified. As Jesus makes this promise then and encourages prayer, it is interesting to follow through in the early church and see that prayer is essential to doing great works.
Now the promise is that you're going to do greater works than that that I have done and prayer is vitally connected with it. In the book of Acts chapter 1, this is prior to the day of Pentecost, the people were met to pray. Acts chapter 1 and the 14th verse, these all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus and with his brethren. So then you come to chapter 2 and verse 1, and when the day of Pentecost was fully come they were all with one accord in one place and suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind and it filled the house where they were sitting and so then the blessing of the Spirit of God came upon them. Peter preached in power and three thousand souls were converted. Let's look at chapter 4 verse 31, and when they had prayed the place was shaken where they were assembled together and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost and they spake the Word of God with boldness.
What was it that preceded this blessing? Speaking the Word of God with boldness, the very place where they met was shaken by the power of the Holy Spirit. They prayed. They were prayerful.
How easy it is in the busy rush of life to neglect prayer or to let it hold only a minimal place of importance in our daily activities. In the sixth chapter of the book of Acts we find them selecting men that we believe to be the first deacons. And verse 6 says, whom they set before the apostles and when they had prayed laid hands on them.
Now what was the result? The Word of God increased and the number of the disciples multiplied in Jerusalem greatly and a great company of priests were obedient to the faith. The point being that before these times of special blessing the outpouring of the Spirit of God upon them and numbers of people believing there was prayer. They were claiming the promises of God that if you ask anything in my name if you're asking it for the glory of the Father then I will grant it. So then we come to these words of Jesus as he continues speaking to them, preparing them for the fact that he will soon be departing.
If you love me keep my commandments. Love for Christ is an evidence of grace. By nature we do not love him. By nature we do not see his beautiful qualities. By nature he is not attractive there's nothing appealing.
That's made known to us in the prophecy of Isaiah chapter 53 verse 3. He is despised and rejected of men a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief and we hid as it were our faces from him. He was despised and we esteemed him not. If you love someone you esteem them.
You see qualities in them that are attractive. You appreciate them but we did not esteem Jesus because by nature we were enemies of God. Jesus called his disciples friends but that was after grace had been bestowed upon them.
In nature we are enemies. We do not see his greatness, his beauty, his power, his love, his grace, his marvelous works. But we love him if indeed you can say today of a truth I love Jesus. We love him because according to first John chapter 4 verse 19 we love him because he first loved us. So it wasn't a matter that there came a day that by our study and by something of a change of attitude we finally concluded that Jesus is worthy and we started to love him.
If you love him today it's because he loved you first. He loved his own from before the foundation of the world. God made choice of the people, gave them to his son and he loved them. Titus chapter 2 verse 14 says that he gave himself for us that he might redeem us from all iniquity. So he demonstrated his love by giving himself for us. His love was not just in word.
We are told that we are not to love in word only but in deed and in truth. God demonstrated his love by giving his son. The son proved his love because he gave himself. He went to the cross that he might redeem us from all iniquity.
So then second Corinthians chapter 5 verse 14 says the love of Christ constraineth us. We now love him because we see his superiority. We see his greatness, his glory, we see his works. We sing to him how sweet the name of Jesus sounds in a believer's ear.
It soothes his sorrows, heals his wounds, and drives away his fear. Surely you could say today that there's no other name to compare with the name of Jesus. If you hear somebody in conversation talking about Jesus it catches your attention and you want to kind of tune in on the conversation. What's somebody saying? They're talking about my Savior.
I want to hear what they have to say. You hear a hymn that describes his beauty and his greatness, the marvels of his work, and you're touched by it. You come here in the worship service and sing hymns of praise to Jesus Christ.
You're made to love him. And what is it that motivates you? The love of Christ constraineth the love of Christ constraineth us. No other motive is acceptable as far as any service that we render to the Lord. You could be very diligent at a variety of tasks done even in the name of Jesus, but if the motivation is not love, it's all empty.
It's all empty. Just going through the motions, going through the routine, but there's nothing to it if it's not out of love for Jesus Christ. We love him because there's been an inward change.
Something had to happen on the inside. It wasn't that somebody could just come along and talk us into the idea that it would be a worthwhile thing to love Jesus and that we just decided that sounds good and I think I'll start loving him. No, there had to be an inward change because since by nature we are sinners, since we are at enmity against God, not loving him, we had to be transformed.
Titus chapter 3 verse 4. First verses have been describing our fallen state. We were foolish, disobedient, deceived, but verse 4 says, after that the kindness and love of God our Savior toward man appeared. What brought about a change?
There's an intervention. It's the Lord himself intervening, not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us with the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Ghost which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior. Here's an inward transformation, the washing of regeneration, the renewing of the Holy Ghost. He shed it abundantly on us and you see nobody can take any credit for it as though they participated or gave some portion to that which was necessary to bring about this change because it says it's not by works of righteousness which we have done, but it's according to his mercy that he saved us.
You understand that truth today? You understand that it's not in any part relying upon some worth or merit ourselves, but according to his mercy and grace that is given us in Christ Jesus. So love for Christ is an evidence of grace. Jesus is saying, if you love me, you're going to keep my commandments. That's going to be the proof and test of it.
That's the evidence of it. My Jesus, I love Thee, I know Thou art mine. For Thee all the follies of sin I resign. The love that God had in sending His Son into the world to save sinners is something beyond our ability to really comprehend. We believe the fact of it, the truth of it. God has proven His love by giving His Son and we now love Him because He first loved us. Our love is often so weak as compared to what it ought to be, but love for Christ is an evidence of divine grace. I hope today that you're numbered among those that can say, indeed, though I see my own weakness and frailty, I do love Jesus because I believe on Him as the Savior of my soul. Now until we greet you again next time, this is LeSare Bradley Jr. saying, may God richly bless you. Jesus is now.
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