Saint Paul's Lutheran Church of Irvine

Tomorrow Sunday May 25th at Saint Paul’s Lutheran Church of Irvine: “Whoever Has My Commandments” (John 14:21)

We worship at Crean Lutheran High School, located at 12500 Sand Canyon Ave. in Irvine, CA. From the 405 or 5 head East on Sand Canyon. Travel away from the ocean and towards the foothills. Finally pass Irvine Blvd and turn right on Saint’s Way which is just a few blocks to your right after passing Irvine Blvd. When you turn right onto Saint’s Way, you will be on the campus of Crean Lutheran High School. We worship at 9:30 am in the gym!


Dear Brothers and Sisters in the Lord,

The section in John’s Gospel that we are presenting tomorrow is extraordinarily important for understanding our lives in Christ and how we live the Christian faith. Here is the thought progression:
Premise 1: True believers love God.
Premise 2: If you love God, you will keep God’s commandments.
Conclusion: Therefore true believers keep God’s commandments.
But if you know the overall saving faith, you know that we are also sinners who always fall short of God’s commandments (not sometimes, but always), so what was St. John teaching through these words?
This will be what tomorrow’s sermon is all about and I rejoice for the wonderful grace and work of God that is described in this part of God’s Word (in St. John’s Gospel).
Additionally, not only will we pray to celebrate this 6th Sunday of Easter, but we will also pray in anticipation of the Ascension of our Lord that is coming up this Thursday. Furthermore, we will remember those who gave their lives for our country in the Prayers of the Church (this weekend is the Memorial Day weekend).
What is more we will — as always — distribute the true body and blood of our Savior Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sins. What a gift to poor sinners like you and me!
Finally, I would like to remind you that we have a short but very important voter’s assembly meeting tomorrow as we will by God’s grace establish our administrative leadership for 2014-2015 (the new parish council). Please help us ensure that we have a constitutional quorum.
Rejoice in the Lord dear people of God, the love of Christ prevails and He keeps you in the palm of His hand!
Here is an excerpt from tomorrow’s sermon:

“Whoever Has My Commandments” (John 14:21)

For Your Life in Christ the Sixth Sunday of Easter, May 25th, 2014

Saint Paul’s Lutheran Church of Irvine, CA (LC-MS)

Rev. Dr. Al Espinosa


Introduction: The Problem of “Cheap Grace”

  1. In his book Discipleship, Dietrich Bonhoeffer describes the tragedy of cheap grace: “Cheap grace means justification of sin but not of the sinner. Because grace alone does everything, everything can stay in its old ways. ‘Our action is in vain.’ The world remains world and we remain sinners ‘even in the best of lives.’ Thus, the Christian should live the same way the world does…Cheap grace is preaching forgiveness without repentance; it is baptism without the discipline of community; it is the Lord’s Supper without confession of sin; it is absolution without personal confession. Cheap grace is grace without discipleship, grace without the cross, grace without the living, incarnate Jesus Christ.” (43-44) What a great WARNING!


  1. The old saying “Talk is cheap” means that it’s easier to say something than do it. It’s easy to say you love someone. It’s really easy to say you love God. But again, talk is cheap. You know it, the people around you know it, and according to today’s Gospel, Jesus knows it. He doesn’t say, “If you love me, then say so,“ but he says, “If you love me, you will keep my commandments” (v15). As sinners, we would seem to have a big problem with this. What are we to make of these words? In our Gospel, the Lord describes the relationship that actually does make Jesus’ very difficult – and anything but cheap – “keeping” happen: (much of this outline is taken from Concordia Pulpit Resources, Volume 21, Part 2 March 13-June 12, 2011 Series A, the published outline was written by Pastor Espinosa).


Part I: By the Grace of God, Disciples KEEP [through Christ]

1. Disciples who love Jesus keep his commandments (v15).

2.  There are real signs and indicators that we love Jesus, that we are truly born again (Jn 3:3, 7).

3. Holy Baptism and Holy Communion

4. That we LOVE GOD. Agape love made known especially by what you DO!


McGrath: “True knowledge of God moves us to worship, obedience and the hope of eternal life.” (Roots That Refresh, 42)


  1. This is the love that God gave to you in Christ (Jn 3:16). No theoretical love here! He was crucified!


  1. So no love in a vacuum or again, no theoretical love.

John 14:15: “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.”

  1. Easy to misunderstand. This is NOT a rehashing of the Mosaic Law like a legalistic check-list.
  2. The word “keep” = like keeping a TREASURE!
  3. It is “taking care” of something very important.


Illustration: Raising a child: you don’t do it perfectly, but if you really love your child, you keep them, you take care of them no matter what!

  1. So Jesus is teaching: because you love Him, you strive to honor him.
  2. His commandments are the living out of his gifts of Word, worship, and your neighbor.
  3. If you love him, you will TAKE CARE of these with the highest care and devotion.


Part II:  Christ Keeps His Disciples in His Care Through The Gift of The Holy Spirit

  1. The problem is that as we strive to honor God, we FALL SHORT on account of our sin!
  2. We neglect devotion in the Word.
  3. We do not rightly hunger and thirst for the Sacrament.
  4. We do not love our neighbor as we should.


The Lord knows! So you must know what He DID ABOUT IT! {the rest of the sermon will get into this vital detail!}

In Jesus’ Love,
Pastor Espinosa
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