One of my favorite passages in the Bible is John 5:39-42.

“You search the scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me.”
“But you are not willing to come to Me that you may have life.”
“I do not receive honor from men. But I know you, that you do not have the love of God in you.”

I like that verse because it reminds me of me when I was a young Christian and believed all I had to do was read and memorize the Bible and I would be fine. But what I really like about this passage is how Jesus contrasted knowing the Word to knowing the Word Made Flesh, Himself. I think this is something that a vast number of Christians also need to have an awakening to.

“I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.”
Psalm 119:11

I stocked my head full of scripture, as all Christians should, and I started to notice a theme. That theme is God’s love for mankind through Jesus Christ, the promised Messiah / Savior.

So after a Sunday sermon that focussed on how terrible sin was and was meant to guilt us into right behavior, I asked the Pastor this question:

“Pastor, do you think the problem with Christians is that there is too much worldliness in the church?”

“Absolutely!”, was his immediate response.

To which I replied,”Well I think the problem with Christians is that there is not enough Jesus in the church.”

A quote by Martin luther king illustrates this principle well:
“Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that.”

The path of least resistance for all mankind is to assume we can earn all or some of our salvation, and our pride will also keep us from an intimate relationship with God. Knowing scripture, rules and principles, and correct doctrine are all great, but we should take care we don’t make the same mistake as those Christ was speaking to in our text by becoming pridefull about what we know and letting self righteous knowledge of the Word take the place of faith in Christ alone for our righteousness.

The Jews that Jesus spoke to in John 5:39-42 could have just as easily been me when I was younger, and many of my Christian friends and pastors today.

When a person realizes his or her predicament without a savior, they are typically afraid of death and suffering without Christ.
Thats why its called “salvation” or “saved”, so it makes sense at that point. The problem comes from not growing into a close relationship with God through Jesus Christ.

The goal is for us to become accountable to love for God and our relationship to Him through Jesus Christ His Son.

Our love for God will replace our fear of God as we realize the depths of God’s love for us.

“There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.” 1 John 4:18

Why do we love Him?
“We love Him because He first loved us.” 1 John 4:19

How did He love us?
The Cross.

“But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed. We all like sheep have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.” Isaiah 53:5-6

Why does it matter?
Because motives matter to God.

“Therefore judge nothing before the appointed time; wait till the Lord comes. He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of men’s hearts. At that time each will receive his praise from God.” 1 Corinthians 4:5

I used to read the Bible just because it has power to change me.

“For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.”Hebrews 4:12

Now I read God’s word in anticipation of getting to know Him better and for what a His word has for me to grow closer to Him.

“For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom his whole family in heaven and on earth derives its name,I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide, and long and high and deep is the love of Christ,and to know this love that passes knowledge- that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.” Ephesians 3:14-19

Fear of God is the beginning of wisdom, but love for God is our destination.

Because motives matter.