Summing Up Relationship


by David Neal

The relationship that God desires can be summed up strictly with verses from the books of John and 1 John as follows: John 14:15-17, “If ye love me, keep my commandments. And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you. John 14:20-21, 23, “At that day ye shall know that I am in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you. He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him. Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.” 1 John 2:3-4, “And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments. He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him.” 1 John 3:24 , “And he that keepeth his commandments dwelleth in him, and he in him. And hereby we know that he abideth in us, by the Spirit which he hath given us.” 1 John 4:13, “Hereby know we that we dwell in him, and he in us, because he hath given us of his Spirit.” 1 John 5:3, “For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.” John 17:3, “And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.”

Notice in the preceding paragraph (from God’s Word) that our relationship is based upon our submission and obedience to Christ whereby we are given His Spirit. Christ’s Spirit is our assurance. Our love is our obedience to His will. When we do so, we dwelleth in Christ, and He in us. Now notice what is not in these verses – man’s religious requirements such as buildings, ceremonies, rituals, attendance, doctrinal adherence, religious servitude/works, membership, etc. If we are sincere in our worship of God, THEN we have the Word and we have the Spirit (who teaches, Jn 14:26 , 16:13 , 1 Cor 2:13 , 1 Jn 2:27 ), let us therefore obey and have fellowship in Christ. Forget about the requirements of man. Let us submit to the head (Jesus Christ).

Let us further consider the relationship that God desires. John 10:3-5, “To him the porter openeth; and the sheep hear his voice: and he calleth his own sheep by name, and leadeth them out. And when he putteth forth his own sheep, he goeth before them, and the sheep follow him: for they know his voice. And a stranger will they not follow, but will flee from him: for they know not the voice of strangers.” Jesus intimately (personally, uniquely) knows His sheep, by name (closeness). When Christ calls, His sheep know Him (a very real ongoing relationship). Notice that Jesus goes before His sheep (followers). Let us consider what “going before” means. Jesus was sent of the Father (Jn 8:42 ). Christ came to the earth as a man in the flesh (Jn 1:14 , Heb 2:16 -18). Jesus came absolutely submitted (humble, Mt 21:5, Jn 5:19 -20, 30) to the Father to do His will (Jn 6:38 , 8:50 , Heb 10:7). Christ spoke the Father’s Words1 (God’s message); did the Father’s works2 (love and compassion toward others); forsook the things of the world (didn’t please self, Rm 15:3)3; was filled with the Spirit (empowered, led)4; was tempted but did not sin5; came as a servant6; prayed fervently (for God’s will)7; was rejected and persecuted by self-seeking man8; and laid His life down in total surrender to God’s will to reconcile God and man9. To “go before” is to lead “the Way” by example. Jesus came to earth as a man and willingly (freely) and lovingly submitted to God the Father and obeyed Him in all things and led “the Way” for man back to God. Jesus then said, “come follow Me10.” – Thus, the true sheep follow Him. John 16:28 , “I came forth from the Father, and am come into the world: again, I leave the world, and go to the Father.” Jesus came and then led the way back to the Father (God). The sheep need not be concerned about anything but submitting and obeying the Lord’s direction (He does the leading). The opening paragraph revealed that through our obedience we show (reveal) our love. Jesus is leading us out of the rebellion of man and back under God’s authority. Jesus provided “the example” and now we conform to His image11 – in His likeness. Jesus is the express image of God12 (Father). We are always dying to self such that the life of Jesus (the way He lived on earth) becomes manifest (evident, visible, obvious noticeable), in our mortal flesh (the way we live, 2 Cor 4:11 , Rm 8:13 ). We do this by walking as He walked13. One never has true intimacy with another until they identify with them by following and participating in the same course of action. John 17:3, “And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.” We walk by His direction, we experience, and thus understand. You take up your cross and follow. You deny self, sacrifice, and suffer shame for His namesake – then you start to understand and truly know the reality of Christ. You become a new man (Eph 4:24 ). We must abide in Christ, for apart, we can do nothing (Jn 15:5). John 17:18 , “As thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world (also Jn 20:21 ).” We just covered how Jesus was sent into the world (what He did). Jesus instructs us to do as He was sent to do – we are to follow in His steps (1 Pt 2:21 -25). Therefore, following the example Christ set – We think upon, speak and live (keep) Christ’s Words (which came from the Father); we allow God to do His work in us (which is tearing down self and conforming us to Christ’s image); we forsake the world and seek God’s will in all things; we serve one another in love; and we fully and lovingly submit to God in all things with all our hearts (Deut 10:12-13). The path is very narrow (Mt 7:14 ) and sheep must have their eyes fixed upon their Lord (and follow His way). When we truly follow Christ, His Spirit will work in our hearts to make us Christ like (Lk 6:40 ). This is done by seeking God’s will and purpose over our own. Day by day, thought by thought, decision by decision, situation by situation, we are conformed to Christ’s image if you are being led by His Spirit (Rm 8:14, 2 Cor 4:16). Cumulatively, we are transformed into His likeness. We are in Christ and He is in us (Jn 14:20 ).

The sheep do not hear the call of a stranger (the world, flesh, religiosity). Our walk in Christ is not a religious observance, but our very life. A stranger (devil) misled man in Eden by convincing him he could violate and transgress God’s will to seek his own (Gen 3:4-5). Man then led his own way (which always seems right, Pv 16:2, 21:2) in this rebellion which was opposite and away from God. Any stranger (those things opposite God’s will) will certainly mislead the sheep from the path (the way). Those who sincerely seek God will flee from such a call (voice). John 10:27, “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.”


1 Jesus spoke God’s Words – Deut 18:18, Jn 3:34 , 7:16 -17, 8:28 , 38, 12:49 -50, 14:10 -11

2 Jesus did God’s works – Lk 2:49, Jn 5:17 , 36, 9:4, 14:10 -11, 31, 17:4-5

3 Jesus forsook the things of the world – Mt 4:8-9, 8:20, Lk 4:5-6, 9:58, 22:27, 1 Jn 2:15-17, Js 4:4

4 Jesus was filled with the Spirit – Is 61:1-2, Mt 3:13-15, 12:18 , Mk 1:10, Lk 4:1-2, 14-15, 17-21, Jn 3:34, Acts 10:38

5 Jesus was tempted – Mt 4:1-11, Mk 1:12-13, Lk 4:1-13, Heb 4:15

6 Jesus came as a servant - Mk 10:45, Jn 13:4-5, 12-16, Php 2:7-8, 2 Cor 8:9

7 Jesus prayed – Mt 14:23, Lk 6:12 , 22:41 -44, Mk 1:35

8 Jesus was a reproach to religious man – Ps 35:12, Is 53:3-5, Mt 9:34, 12:10, 14, 38, 13:55-57, 17:24, 19:3, 21:15, 46, 26:4, 16, 60, 27:20-22, Mk 3:2, 6, 22, 5:40, 8:31, 10:2, 11:18, 12:12-13, 14:46, 56, 15:10, 29, 31, 27:18, Lk 4:28-29, 11:53-54, 14:1, 16:14, 19:47, 20:2, 19-20, 22:2, 23:35, 39, Jn 1:10-11, 5:16, 18, 7:1, 20, 25, 32, 8:6, 37, 59, 48-49, 9:16, 24, 10:20, 31, 39, 11:8, 50, 53-54, 57, 15:25, 18:30

9Jesus surrenders all and redeems – Ps 23:3, 69:4, Mt 6:10 , 26:42, Lk 11:2, Jn 15:13 , 2 Cor 5:18 -19, Gal 1:4, Eph 2:16 , Col 1:20 , Heb 2:17 , 1 Jn 3:16 , 4:9-10

10Jesus says, come follow Me – Mt 4:19, 8:22, 16:24, 19:21, Mk 2:14, 8:34, 10:21, Lk 5:27, 9:23, 9:59, 18:22, Jn 1:43, 10:27, 12:26, 21:19, 21:22

11Conforming to Christ’s image – Lk 6:40, Rm 8:28-29, 2 Cor 3:18 , 4:10 -11, Gal 3:27 , Eph 4:13 , 15, Col 1:20 , 3:10 , Heb 13:21

12 Jesus is the image of God the Father - Jn 14:9, 15:19, Heb 1:3, 2 Cor 4:4, Col 1:15, 2:19

13Walk as Jesus walked - Ps 119:3, 128:1, Hos 14:9, Col 2:6, 1 Jn 2:6, 2 Jn 1:6

Online books and articles by David Neal (includes a German translation)



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Liberty To The Captives Established in June 2001