John 14:15-16 "If you love me, you will keep my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, to be with you forever.
What day is today? The answer depends on who you think you are – for the church, this is the 6th Sunday of Easter – for the world it is Mother’s Day. Many people ask, why doesn’t the church celebrate Mother’s day? The answer is that the 4th Commandment teaches us that we should honor our parents every day, and not just one day a year. You see, while the world seems to have forgotten the 10 commandments, they are still central to the life of the church. Why? If for no other reason – that for the very Word of Jesus which tells us what we all know – If you love me you will _____________ - What was that? If you love me you will ___________________. Yes, keep my commandments.
Why do we keep the commandments? Because we love Jesus. It is not that we are better than anyone else – nor is it because we think we can earn heaven.
What commandments are we to keep? First of all it is the 10 commandments. This has always been and will always be God’s will for mankind.
Second, there is the new commandment, the one Jesus gave in John chapter 13 – that we love one another and Christ has loved us.
Third, that we remember Christ’s death – that is that we regularly celebrate and come to the Lord’s Supper – Jesus body and blood given and shed for the forgiveness of sins.
How can we keep the commandments? By ourselves we cannot. We know that by ourselves we are spiritually blind dead and enemies of God. By ourselves we cannot overcome the devil the world or our flesh. And so we turn to Jesus, and we ask him to come into our hearts, to strengthen our faith and to help us to turn from temptation and turn to following our savior.
And that is where the promise of our lesson come in. Because Jesus does not leave us alone to see if we can do it by ourselves. In order to help us – Jesus has promised to send the Holy Spirit, who comes to us by the word – who came to us in Baptism – and the Holy Spirit give us the grace and strength to live the new life we have been given – to live as the children of God.
We will never be perfect in this life – but that’s no excuse to stop trying – rather it is every encouragement to come to our Lord, to ask his grace and his mercy, and to believe that the Holy Spirit is at work within us, helping us to resist temptation and over come sin. Today as we thank God for the Easter victory, and for the gift of salvation in Jesus Christ – we also look around us – and we give thanks that the promise of Jesus – to send another counselor, has been fulfilled – for through the Holy Spirit we have been enabled to live as the children of God by grace through faith in Christ.