1 John 5:1-4 Every one who believes that Jesus is the Christ is a child of God, and every one who loves the parent loves the child. By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and obey his commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome. For whatever is born of God overcomes the world; and this is the victory that overcomes the world, our faith.

We need to begin today with a brief reminder about responsibility. On the one had we keep hearing that no one is responsible, no one is accountable, and thatís why everything is broken. On the other hand, excuses have become as common as talking about the weather. Let me be quite plain, God doesnít care about what YOU want, and God can see through all excuses. This is very important for all to know, because while in this world, there may seem to be no accountability; God will hold all creation accountable, for there is a judgment day coming, and there is only one way to face that day without perishing: we must all acknowledge our sin, repent of our sin, and turn from our sin, --that is we must be faith trust in the promise of God, that the blood of Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior, can cleanse us from all sin, and live our lives according to the blood of Jesus given and shed for us.

Living by grace through faith in Jesus Christ, we have been given the power to overcome sin, and every temptation, by the Word of God which is in our hearts and on our lips. You see, Jesus died and rose, not that I might do as I choose, but that I might live for him. Jesus has made it quite clear, saying over and over again, if you love me, you will keep my commandments. We really shouldnít have to say any more, except that the world keeps on saying that we have a right to do whatever we want to do, and that no one can tell us otherwise. The world lies. There is no right to do what YOU want, and even if there was, you do not have the power to do it. You cannot do what you want, because you cannot make the day, or the air, or even the food we need. You cannot control the weather, or the length of your life, or the hairs on your head. So saying you have a right, is just another of Satanís deceptions, and playing along, is like playing a weekly lottery in which there is never a drawing, so-- you never loose, but at the same time, no one ever wins.

But in Christ we have a new and everlasting life, in Christ we are redeemed, forgiven and at peace with God. God does all of this for free, for that is what grace means. Yet at the same time, God knows that all who experience the love of God in Jesus Christ, will respond in love. And the response of love is to seek to do those things which please the person who has loved us. Jesus loves us, this I know, does not lead us to think -- now lets be naughty.

And perhaps that is one of the greatest problems today; that we do not know what love is. For while love is sacrificial, it gives of itself, true love calls a response out of people, and the response is that the one who is loved, loves. Jesus loves you, do you love Jesus? If so, keep his commandments. Simple. The rest is simply an application of - how do we keep the commandments. Luther knew this, and in explaining them, he not only told us what we will not do, but also what we in thanks will want to do. So according to the 8th commandment, we do not gossip, but we speak well and put the best construction on things.

So the question remains, do we love Jesus? And before you answer quickly, here is the second part of the question, if you love Jesus, do you also love other Christians? And this brings us back to the question of what real love is. Real love is not that you can do what you want, God makes it very clear, that real love is that love which trains you in the way of life -- that word is discipline. These days I can believe that there are a great number of people who are not loved, no one shows them or provides for them discipline. No one acts to them as father and mother, no one teaches right and wrong, and so the grow up unloved and undisciplined.

That is the way of the world, but it is not the way of God in Jesus Christ. So we are redeemed, forgiven, loved, and disciplined, so that our feet, once placed on the path that leads to life, may continue on that path to the place God in Christ has prepared for us. To assure us and guide us in this way, God has sent his holy spirit to dwell in our hearts, so that we might always be close to him. And it is no burden to be on the path that leads to life. So Jesus is the way the truth and the life.