Years ago, I read Robert Fulghum’s book, “All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten.” It was based on a simple idea: we learn many basic principles early in life. For example … play fair, don’t hit people, remember to flush when you’re finished.
Well, at least most people learned this stuff by kindergarten!
I have people ask me all the time, “Ken, when will I get this Jesus-stuff all figured out?” Why do they ask? Because, to them, it seems like it’s taking a long time. These are smart people — book smart, street smart. They’ve raised children and started businesses.
Their frustration isn’t the result of a lack of intelligence or desire.
But following Jesus isn’t the same as earning your college degree. It’s not a matter of signing up for class, passing your test, and graduating four years spiritually mature and just like Jesus.
While you can buy study guides about following Jesus, ultimately the process of becoming more like Jesus is a spiritual process.
And here’s a key point to remember: learning a spiritual process requires spiritual assistance.
The good news, we have a teacher. Jesus gives us the Holy Spirit so that we can to follow him better.
22 Then Judas (not Judas Iscariot) said, “But, Lord, why do you intend to show yourself to us and not to the world?” 23 Jesus replied, “Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them. 24 Anyone who does not love me will not obey my teaching. These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me. 25 “All this I have spoken while still with you.” – John 14:22-25
Jesus is continuing a theme we looked at last week = obedience. It seems silly to say, but following Jesus means obeying his teaching.
I personally believe Jesus is the smartest person who ever lived. Why? You might want to argue for Albert Einstein or Stephen Hawking, or Bob Dylan. But today’s passage is a good example of why I believe that way. Jesus understands that love is always a better motivator than fear:
“Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching.”
He doesn’t say, “anyone who is afraid of me will obey my teaching.” Or, “anyone who feels guilty will obey my teaching.” He certainly doesn’t say, “anyone who wants to impress me will follow my teaching.”
“Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching.”
Parents understand this. Which is better? To have you child be obedient to avoid punishment or to be obedient because they love and respect you?
If following Jesus means obeying his teaching, then we need to know what he taught. But how?
26 But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. – John 14:26
At this point, it’s important to know that the Holy Spirit is more than a divine database that simply stores all the information related to Jesus. A quick Google search can find the story of the Good Samaritan. The Holy Spirit teaches us what those stories and words mean.
Google will give you the facts about Jesus. The Holy Spirit will produce faith in Jesus.
Obedience isn’t knowing that in the story of the Good Samaritan there were four principal characters: a priest, Levite, Samaritan, and a beaten man. It’s more than knowing the two religious leaders didn’t stop to help.
Obedience springs from knowing why Jesus told this story in the first place. He is illustrating how obedience is the way you love your neighbor as yourself.
How does the Holy Spirit get involved? By teaching and reminding.
First, he teaches you the truth about God, his nature, and his will. Our primary source are the words the Holy Spirit inspired through the biblical writers — the Bible. After teaching us these truths, he then reminds us of them in moments when we need to apply them.
If you’re in high school, you probably know one or two (or more) other students who are the outsiders. They are the ones no one seeks out. No one invites them to eat lunch together. If you will be open to the Holy Spirit’s leading, he will take the story of the Good Samaritan and use it to remind you to love your neighbor as yourself … even at school.
Why is this important?
Parents, God’s wisdom will always be your most important tool for raising kids. Spouses, God’s wisdom will always be the most effective marriage advice. Students, God’s wisdom will always be the best way to plan your career.
But why is Jesus telling us this? Is the purpose of the Holy Spirit to help us live healthier, happier lives? Not exactly.
It is to help us be more like Jesus.
And when we are more like Jesus, we’ll have something that our culture can never provide: real peace.
27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. – John 14:27
Jesus understands human nature. He knows we will either turn to the world to find peace or to him. But what does the peace of Jesus mean? Is it just a feeling? Is it the absence of problems?
According to Jesus, his peace comes to us through the presence of the Holy Spirit.
If you’ve surrendered your life to Jesus, you don’t have to ask for Holy Spirit – you already have him. He came into your life the moment you chose to follow Jesus. This is one reason why we emphasize water baptism. Our baptism symbolizes more than just a change has happened … it reminds us how it happens.
Here’s how Apostle Peter describes it:
“38 Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off — for all whom the Lord our God will call.” – Acts 2:38-39
This gift of the Holy Spirit is a promise to all who choose to follow Jesus. It’s a promise God has made to all who “are far off” … whether that be 2,000 years later or if you’re 2,000 miles from the person God designed you to be.
Experience and Background
- 25+ years of senior leadership experience
- masters in business administration (mba)
- presenter at the WFX National Conference
- former president, Church Planters of the Rockies
- helped start 2 for-profit tech companies
To get a better feel for my style and personality, you can watch past sermons on our YouTube channel.
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I’ve written a few books that might help! You’ll find books on preaching, leadership, Ephesians, as well as my first novel. Follow this link to learn more.