John 14:23 Jesus answered him, "Those who love me will keep my word, and my Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them.
What does it mean to keep the Word?
For some people it is merely to own it.
For some it is to cage, contain and care for it, like a zoo animal. You might let it out, but if so you keep it on a leash. It will not escape, and it will not overpower you. Your job is to tame it.
Since the Word may be dangerous, some wish to make it safe, cut out any of the dangerous parts, that way anyone can keep it.
Others, frustrated with attempts to make the Word safe, substitute something else. Lets just keep the promises, and lets find some we can all agree on.
The first question we must ask, if we wish to get past all the others ways, and get to the real way, is do we love Jesus? Not did we love him once, but do we love him today, and do we plan to continue to love him, or are we here only so see what we can get. Do you love Jesus? Well, do you know who he is and what he has done, if you donít know of his love for you, and what he has done for you -- you canít love Jesus. So lets remember - his origin, his birth, his suffering and death for our sins, his resurrection, his ascension, his sending of the Spirit. When you know all these things and the Holy Spirit working through the word, has worked faith in your heart, then we can again ask the question --do you love Jesus? Its a funny question, because we need to ask it each and ever day, and when we ask, then we know what we are to do each day. If we donít ask, then there is always more to do, that there is day to do it in.
How do you keep the Word? Its more than having a Bible, its reading the Bible. For some, it means reading in a special way, reading so that you keep - so it doesnít go in one ear and out the other. And its not just reading, or hearing, but listening. Listening in such a way that moves us to action. You see the Word will call us to action. And the very first thing it does, is show us our sin, and then call us to repent. God makes repentance possible, the Word shows us what we must do. You see the word shows us that what we had been doing [sin] was evil, it calls us to stop fighting with our brother, stop talking back to our parents -- but it doesnít stop with what we are to stop, it goes on to talk about what we are to start. So we stop fighting with our brother and start loving him. We stop talking back to our parents and start obeying them. We couldnít do any of this by ourselves, or without Jesus, but God has given us many gifts [called grace] and by the grace of God, and by the power of the Spirit working through the Word, Jesus enables us to do things like repent of sin, and do good. Keeping the Word, is to listen and obey.
Why, well that brings us back to the beginning, do we love Jesus? Do we believe that He has a plan for our life. Do we trust in him for salvation? The Word guides us in the good way, which is Godís way, which is the way of salvation. If we are no following the Word, we are not on the path to salvation, but the other path, the one that leads to destruction -- do you want to travel down the road that takes you to Hell?
But thereís more! You see, there is a great promise that comes with hearing, listening, keeping, obeying and doing the Word. Its the promise of what God is doing for us.
John 8:51 Truly, truly, I say to you, if any one keeps my word, he will never see death."