JOHN: The Book Of Heartfelt Belief
Devoted Disciples Relating To One Another
Jerry A. Collins
When you think about it, which is more difficult, loving people whom you do not like or loving people who do not like you? Even though we may find this difficult to answer, we are often challenged to do these very things. Of course Gods Word deals with these very practical issues so that we can understand what God expects from us as we determine to follow Him every single day of our lives. In John 15 we are learning how to do this very thing.
In John 15 we have the assessment of the three major priorities of life. The first is devoted disciples relating to Jesus. This has supreme importance. This must be straightened out first before you can go further. Abide in me. The second is our message today. Devoted disciples relating to one another. What life is to be like in the community of faith! We are to love one another. The third is that of devoted disciples relating to the world. So what does Jesus say must characterize our relationships with each other in the church?
1.WHEN WE ABIDE IN CHRIST WE ABIDE IN HIS LOVE 15:9
Making the choice to stay vitally connected to Jesus will keep me vitally connected to His love. Abiding in Christ produces His love in my life. I cannot get to it any other way. I cannot manufacture it. I cannot imitate it. I cannot give it. It illudes me. I fail to grasp it otherwise. Christlikeness flows from Christ. To abide in His love, I must abide in Him or make my home in Him.
2. WHEN WE ABIDE IN CHRISTíS LOVE WE KEEP HIS COMMANDMENTS 15:10
Our love for Christ will provide the
motivation to keep His commandments. Our love for people will never provide the motivation we need to obey Christís commandments because people will fail and disappoint us. If you do not love people because you love God then you will fail to love people when they disappoint you. When that happens you are not obeying Christís commands and you are not abiding in Him. We are to keep His commandments (the gospels and epistles) just as he kept His Fatherís abiding in the Fatherís love.
3. ABIDING IN CHRIST WILL PRODUCE A JOYFUL LIFE 15:11
The benefits of well-being, pleasure, sufficiency and delight results from staying vitally connected to Christ. This kind of reality will not only exist within you but will fully express itself in every dimension of your life and in every circumstance. Do not ever doubt Jesus commitment to your enjoying your life (Jn 10:10). It comes from abiding in Christ not abandoning Him! When you abandon Christ, His commandments, then you forfeit these benefits. We are connected to Jesus in a way that changes everything else about us. A joyful life is only the product of an obedient one. (Gillia suicide).
4. WE ARE COMMANDED TO LOVE ONE ANOTHER 15:12, 17
This next section is bracketed with Jesus command to love one another. This is an imperative for us. We do not have an option here. It is not something we are to do if we feel like it. How can you command to love someone you may ask. Love is a feeling and some you love and others you donít! If you do not like them you cannot make yourself love them. This reveals a misconception about love. Love is giving to another person in such a way that their greater good is served and they cannot give back to me. A deliberate choice to exemplify the characteristics of love in 1 Corinthians 13 no matter how you feel. Have you ever considered how difficult it was at times for Jesus to love His disciples? They were just like us. They could be stubborn, quarrelsome, selfish, ambitious, presumptuous. they insulted Christ, ignored him and disobeyed Him. For instance Jesus said How long must I be with you (Matt 17:17). It was a strain to be around them at those times. The only way we can find the energy and inertia to love like this is when we are abiding in Christ. getting as close to the heart of God as we can possibly get.
5. WE MUST LOVE ONE ANOTHER AS CHRIST LOVES US
There are three aspects of love which mark the quality of Christís love for us with which we must love one another.
(1) LOVE LAYS DOWN ITS LIFE FOR ANOTHER 13-14
You can go no further than this. But he means more than just getting yourself killed on their behalf. If it meant that there would only be a few of us who could ever do this. This is a command to do this kind of thing repeatedly. It describes a process we are to set in place and honor. We are to give something of ourselves up for one another. Taking part of your life and give it up on behalf of someone else. It flows out of giving ourselves up for what Christ wants for us vs 14. Again, the vertical governs the horizontal. Who are you laying down your life for. How?
(2) LOVE SHARES SECRETS AND OPPORTUNITIES WITH ONE ANOTHER 15
We are Jesus friends in the sense that he has shared His secrets and life with us just as He did the disciples. He tells them what the Father had told Him about life, about death, about hell, about heaven, about relationships with one another, about history, about the world. More than that, Jesus had shared his struggles, his hurts with these. Soon they will share his greatest difficulty. That is the mark of love. We share our secrets with our friends and share opportunities with them too. If you get a hot tip on the stock market you make a call to your friend. If you find a bargain you share that news with a friend. So, Friendship is marked by intimate sharing. Sharing our struggles, fears, hopes and all that God has taught us and is teaching us from our lives experiences. Sharing our lives by unfolding secrets, bearing burdens, touching each other is loving one another.
(3) LOVE PRAYS FOR ONE ANOTHER 16
Jesus is saying that wherever you are remember I put you there. I strategically placed you in a relationship with those difficult people you have to work with and as you pray for one another knowing that all of us live by divine appointment, your praying will bring fruit and help it to remain. He prayed for His own. He will pray for them again in John 17 and His praying bore fruit in their lives knowing the divine appointments they would experience. The fruit in view here is Christlikeness. The compassion, gentleness, forgiving, self control, courage and mercy of Jesus revealed in us. Pray for me!