TO LOVE JESUS
A Sermon by John Wycliffe
Whosoever thou art that desireth to love God, if thou wilt neither be deceived nor deceive, if thou wilt be saved and not fail, if thou wilt stand and not fall, study to have this name Jesus constantly in mind. If thou doest so the enemy shall fall, and thou shalt stand, the enemy shall be enfeebled, and thou shalt be strengthened-therefore seek this name, Jesus, hold it and forget it not. Nothing so quenches flames, restrains evil thoughts, cuts away venomous affections, or alienates from us vain occupations.
This name, Jesus, truly held in mind, rooteth up vices, planteth virtues, bringeth charity or love to men, giveth men a taste of heavenly things, removeth discord, produceth peace, giveth everlasting rest, and doeth away with fleshly desires. All earthly desires, all earthly things, it turneth into heaviness. It filleth those that love it with spiritual joy. The righteous deserveth to be blessed, for he hath truly loved this name, Jesus. He is called righteous, because he seeks earnestly to love Jesus. What can go wrong for him who unceasingly yearns to love Jesus? He loveth and he desireth to love, for thus we know the love of God to stand; for the more we love, the more we yearn to love.
It is said, “They that eat me shall not hunger, and they that drink me, shall not thirst.” Therefore the love of Jesus by itself is delectable and desirable. Therefore no joy shall be lacking for those that seek earnestly to love Him whom angels desire to behold. Angels see Him always, and ever desire to see Him; for they are filled so full that their filling doth not take away their desire, and they desire so much that their desire doth not take away their fullness. This is full joy, this is glorious joy.
Therefore many men wish to joy with Christ, but as they love not his name, Jesus, they shall have sorrow without end, whatever they do. And if they give all things that they have to poor men, unless they love this name, Jesus, they shall labour in vain. For only such shall be gladdened in Jesus who have loved Him in this present life. Those that defoul Him with vices and foul thoughts, and turn not again, there is no doubt but they are put out from the glory of God. Therefore a man shall not see the glory of God, that hath not joyfully loved this name Jesus.
In truth, an evil man findeth not Jesus; for he sees Him not where He is. He tries to seek Jesus in the joys of this world, where He shall never be found. Why therefore say ye idly, “We
shall be saved in Jesus”, while ye cease not to hate Him, without whom ye cannot have health?
I am not surprised that a man, being tempted, falleth, if he does not have the name of Jesus lasting in his mind. Truly this name cleanses the conscience, makes the heart clear and clean, and drives away fear. It gets a man warmth of love and lifts up the mind to heavenly melody.
O thou good name! O thou sweet name! O glorious name! O healthful name! O name to be desired! Wicked spirits may not abide Thee, when they behold Jesus, either in mind, or hear Him named in mouth. I sought to love Jesus, and ever the more I grew complete in His love, so much the sweeter His name savoured to me. Therefore blessed be the name of Jesus for ever and ever, and so be it. Amen.
This sermon is taken from a number of John Wycliffe’s writings found in an excellent book just written by David Fountain, John Wycliffe. The Dawn of the Reformation. The book contains a simple record of this gracious man’s life of devotion to Jesus Christ and His gospel. It shows the widespread influence of Wycliffe’s teaching as a foundational and preparatory to the Reformation in England.
The book is available from the Bookshop at Â£3.50 plus postage.