The love of God! – John 15:9-17
By Pastor Lee Hemen
October 25, 2015
Selena Gomez sings about how she is sick of the same old love, but the words in her hit song have to deal with how people mistreat one another in relationships. The artist Weeknd sings about being so deep in love his face goes numb. There must be literally hundreds if not thousands of songs that deal with love in some way or another. Love is such a frustrating and baffling thing for some of us that we sometimes misunderstand what real love is like.
Here in John’s gospel we discover the love of God displayed in the life of Jesus and now we learn what that loves is all about and just how truly wonderful it is. The love of God is complete, true, and open. When we see Jesus we see the love of God. Let’s discover what this means for us…
READ: John 15:9-17
If we say we love someone they expect certain things from us. Our words and actions should display what we say concerning our love for them, and our relationship with God is no different. In fact…
I. The love of God means we will stay in his love! (Vv.:9-11)
As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father’s commands and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.
1. Here in these verses are some wonderful truths that Christians experience that no other religion offers, namely the promise of God’s infinite love. Jesus tells his disciples, “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you.” His disciples experienced the same love God showed towards his Son, Jesus! And Jesus desired that they “remain in [his] love”, meaning that they actively abide, continue, dwell, endure, be present, remain, and stand in his love for them. The way a disciple of Jesus remains in his love is by obeying his commands. Remember, Jesus’ commands were to love God completely and to love others as we love ourselves; so if we love God and others we are obeying his commands, just as he obeyed his Father’s commands and remained in his love! Jesus had already told them, “If you love me, you will obey what I command.” (John 14:15 NIV) And he had taught that “If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him.” (John 14:23 NIV) This is why John would later write, “This is love for God: to obey his commands. And his commands are not burdensome.” (1 John 5:3 NIV) The idea is for Jesus’ followers to continually decide to walk with Jesus by displaying the love of God in their lives. Jesus taught this “so that [his] joy may be in [us] and that [our] joy may be complete!” Our lives are only complete and full when we walk in the love of Christ and when we do his joyfulness and delight is displayed in our lives! The love of God means we will stay in his love!
EXAMPLE: My Dad would tell us kids, “Show your mother that you love her by doing what she asks you to do the first time.” I did not fully understand that as a kid, but I do now. When we immediately did what our mom asked us to do it displayed to her and others our respect and love for her. The same is true for our faith walk with Jesus. If we say we love Jesus, we will remain in his love by displaying his love for him and others! The love of God means we will stay in his love!
Our joy is found in the love of God and our love for God is more than a feeling or state of being. In fact we learn that…
II. The love of God means sacrifice! (Vv. 12-14)
My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this that he lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command.
1. Far too often Christians want to experience the love of God without exerting any effort in the love of God. They think it should flow into their lives no matter how they live their lives. This is a totally self-centered and myopic view of God’s love. Jesus’ command for them was simple, “Love each other as I have loved you.” Jesus was not fooled; he knew this would be easier said than done. Yet he had loved them when they doubted him, disobeyed him, and even betrayed him. He loved them in spite of themselves and all of their foibles. This truth is the same for us this morning! While he was getting ready to die for them they were busy arguing over which one would be greatest in Jesus’ kingdom! This is when he taught them, “If anyone wants to be first, he must be the very last, and the servant of all.” (Mark 9:35 NIV) And then took a small child in his arms as an example and told them, “Whoever welcomes one of these little children in my name welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me does not welcome me but the one who sent me.” (Mark 9:37 NIV) Jesus loved his disciples far more than they realized and far more than we often realize. He loves us to death. This is why he told them, “Greater love has no one than this that he lay down his life for his friends.” Jesus laid his life down for us and we should be willing to do the same for one another! If we truly want to be great in God’s kingdom, we must learn to be the servant of all, even to death. His promise is, “You are my friends if you do what I command.” We are to love one another as he loved us. The love of God means sacrifice!
EXAMPLE: When my father developed heart disease it was devastating for our family. We all had to chip in and work in order to pay the bills, by food, and clothing. Our time, effort, and money was no longer our own. When my father left us to go work in Alaska for a year it hurt us emotionally and then when my mother went to Seattle later to earn a living that was hard for our family as well. I did not fully understand why this had to happen at the time, but now I realize that when families love one another, they are willing to sacrifice for the whole family. The same is true for the family of God. The love of God means sacrifice!
There are benefits to staying in the love of God and being willing to sacrifice our lives for him, we learn that…
III. The love of God means we are his friends! (Vv15-17)
I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit–fruit that will last. Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in my name. This is my command: Love each other.
1. Jesus’ relationship to his disciples was one of master and learner. He was their rabbi, teacher, and they were his disciples and pupils. In Jesus’ day it was often seen as a master servant kind of relationship, he taught them and they waited on him. But we do not see this kind of interaction with Jesus and his disciples, nor do we find it in our relationship with him either. He tells them, “I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business.” They should know what Jesus was about by now; he came to seek and save the lost through his death, burial, and resurrection. This is what his business was about. However, they were not his servants and he tells them, “Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.” Master’s do not share with their servants, but friends share with friends, and Jesus shared “everything” he had learned from God the Father as he walked the earth as a man. He taught them about the Father’s plan and that he did only what the Father asked him. Part of the plan was that they were chosen to bear fruit for his kingdom, “You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit–fruit that will last.” In fact Jesus had chosen them for a specific mission and in doing this mission, “Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in my name.” Again we find God’s promise to answer the requests of those he considers his own, those he has chosen, those who willingly sacrifice themselves to his kingdom plan. And Jesus finally reminds them again, “This is my command: Love each other.” The love of God means we are his friends!
EXAMPLE: Contrary to an old Christian song, friends are not friends forever. The friends we make can grow apart from us for varying reasons; distance, maturity, education, feelings, family or just the simple things in life can cause friendships to wane. However, the friendship we have with God was bought at a tremendous price; the death of his Son. His friendship is forever because he chose us not because we were nice to him, good people, or did what he liked; he chose us because that was his plan all along. And by the way, God is not our buddy; we are his friends because he decided it to be so. We are to remain in his love by exhibiting the love Jesus displayed in our lives. The love of God means we are his friends!
The love of God means we will stay in his love! The love of God means sacrifice! The love of God means we are his friends! Now, do you know what real friendship with God is all about?
This article is copyrighted © 2015 by Lee Hemen and is the sole property of Lee Hemen, and may not be used unless you quote the entire article and have my permission.