Abide in My Love
Topic: Intimacy with God Passage: John 15:9–15:17
Intro: Love Tank in Marriage/Dating: If you’ve read more than one book on relationships, you’ve probably encountered the illustration of the love tank. When I fill my spouses love tank with kind acts, quality time, gifts, etc., it makes her feel loved by me…or it fills up her love tank. When I have negative interactions with her or hurt her feelings, then some of that love in the tank spills out. If you spill out too much without filling it back up, the tank becomes empty and the relationship becomes volatile or the relationship comes to an end. The point is simple, keep the love tank filled up and keep the relationship strong.
In Christianity, Christ has poured out his love on us. Jesus tells us to abide in that love, or to soak in that love tank.
Abide in My Love
This passage is abiding in the love of Christ and being friends of Christ.
Image: I came up with this image to illustrate what Jesus is saying. The Father has poured out his love on Jesus. Jesus has poured that love out on us. We abide in his love as we keep his commandments. His commandments are for us to love. As we love God and love people, we will keep all the commandments of Jesus. Disobedience takes us outside of the love of Jesus, not in the sense that we lose our salvation, but we step out of that sweet intimacy with him and we miss out on some of the benefits that come with abiding in his love. Jesus mentions 5 great perks to remaining in the love of Jesus:
9 As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. 10 If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father's commandments and abide in his love. 11 These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.
12 “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. 14 You are my friends if you do what I command you. 15 No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you. 16 You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you. 17 These things I command you, so that you will love one another.
Review: Abiding in Christ
Last week, Dean spoke about Abiding in Christ. He explained how abiding was necessary for…
• Bearing fruit
• Entering heaven
• Answered prayer
• The Glory of God
This passage is a continuation of the text that Dean covered, so you’ll see some similar themes. Dean spoke on abiding in Christ, and I will be continuing that idea by discussing abiding in the love of Christ.
TRANSITION: Jesus tells the 11 disciples in the upper room, and this morning he speaks to our own hearts and he reminds us…
1. You are a recipient of an incredible love.
9 As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you.
• The Love of the Father for Jesus
• The Father is the greatest lover in the universe. He has all knowledge, all power, and all resources. He uses these to love his Son.
o At Jesus’ baptism, the Father says, “This is my Son, whom I love. Listen to him.”
o The Father used his infinite resources to show His Son how much he loves him, and to gain for his Son ultimate satisfaction, fullness of joy, and eternal glory.
• How has the Father loved Jesus?
ï‚§ With chocolates and flowers
ï‚§ Sappy words
ï‚§ Hugs and kisses and walks on the beach
o The Father gave Jesus an incredible purpose
ï‚§ He Asked for unquestioning obedience
ï‚§ Sent Jesus to earth to die on the cross
ï‚§ Sent him to do something truly great
• The cross is the greatest act of heroism the world has ever known: God becomes man and dies in the place of sinners.
o Jesus gained great glory when he went to the cross.
o Jesus gained great joy when he went to the cross. For the joy set before him, Jesus endured the cross.
o ILLUSTRATION: I always thought it would be cool to be Martin Luther King Jr. To have some great cause to fight for, an issue where much of the world around you was in the wrong, and I was able to take the stage, take the microphone, and change the world. On Wednesday, August 28, 1963, King gave his “I Have A Dream Speech” before 250,000 supporters to lead the way in the fight for civil rights.
o To be that kind of hero, you need a BIG problem. And you have to be able to lead people to the solution. What bigger problem has the world ever faced than sin? What greater need have the children of wrath ever had in this life than rescue from the consequences of that sin? What greater enemy have we faced than death? Jesus faced the BIGGEST problem of the universe. He had the answer. He took center stage on Calvary and he saved the day!
• The cross is that heroic act Jesus conquered death!
• And the resurrection, which Christians remember today, is the greatest proclamation of victory the world has ever known. Jesus rose! Oh death, where is your victory. Oh death, where is your sting.
ï‚§ Through this act of heroism, Christ gained a bride for himself, great reward, glory and honor.
ï‚§ Phil. 2:9-11: “Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord…” Phil. 2:9-11
ï‚§ This was the intention of the love of God. This was the love that God poured out on his son.
ï‚§ And this is the kind of love that Christ gives to us.
• The Love of Jesus for Us: How has Jesus loved us?
o Very similarly to how the Father has loved him.
o Jesus asks us for unquestioning obedience
o He tells us, “Take up your cross and follow me.”
o Given us great purpose for our lives:
ï‚§ Bear fruit that will last (16)
ï‚§ Pray prayers that move the hand of God (16)
o Given us hope and an inheritance: This is the love of the Father and the Son for you ïƒ
o 1 Peter 1:3-4: 3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you…
o In Christ, we gain great reward, glory and honor
ï‚§ Treasures in heaven
ï‚§ Unimaginable Inheritance
o This is a love that wants the absolute best for the recipient. Not an easy chair that will make us weak, but a purpose and a challenge that will make us strong and gain us a great reward.
• Agape love.
o Unconditional – He loves you know matter what.
o Jealous – He wants us for himself like Hosea wanted Gomer. He doesn’t want to see us prostituting ourselves before the false gods of this world.
o Come just as you are love: You don’t have to change anything. Just come!
o Changing love: Saying, “God loves you just as you are, but he will not leave you as you are.
o Challenging: He puts us at odds with the world and even our own flesh. Jesus gives us his own shoes to walk in and his own cross to bear. When you sign up for his love, you sign up for persecution, hardship, and challenge.
o This is this love of Christ for you!
TRANSITION: The Father pours his love out on the Son. Jesus pours this love out on the saints. And Jesus says, to us STAY PUT! Remain in my love.
2. Soak in the love of Christ.
9 Abide in my love.
To abide is to stay. Hang out. Remain in the love of Jesus…like the steak remains in the marinade, like the health nut soaks in the mineral waters.
Dean: It is not for us to generate love, only to abide in it. He has acted to place us in the sphere of Trinitarian love; we must act to keep sin and selfishness for spoiling our enjoyment of it. Hard, but manageable.
Jude 20-21: 20 But you, beloved, building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit, 21 keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life. (Jude 20-21)
TRANSITION: The obvious question is: How? How do I abide in your love Lord? How do I stay put?
3. Remain in the love of Christ by keeping his commandments.
10 If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father's commandments and abide in his love.
• As we keep his commands, we remain in his love.
• And, as we remain in his love, that love empowers us to keep his commands.
• Energizing cycle: I abide in his love. This fills me with love for him. That love drives me to do what pleases him, so I obey him. Obedience keeps us in the love. And love manifests in obedience to his commands.
o I: Hot day. Want to swim. Indoor pool. But the door is locked. You want to dive into those refreshing waters, but you need the key. The key is obedience. The refreshing waters are the love of Christ.
o Immerse yourself in Christ’s love by keeping his commandments.
TRANSITION: So what commandments are we supposed to keep?
4. The great commandment is to love.
- 12 “This is my commandment, that you love one another...
o Here Jesus emphasizes the love that Christians are to have for each other.
o Matthew 22:36-40: Jesus tells us that the great commands are for us to Love God and to love people.
- A lawyer asks Jesus a question: “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” And he [Jesus] said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.” (Matthew 22:36-40)
- The great commandment is to love.
- In the past the standard of love was Mark 12:31: Love your neighbor as yourself. (Mark 12:31)
o That’s a pretty high standard: Just think about how much you love yourself. Love others like...YOU love YOU. You wake up in the morning and you hit the snooze button because you want to give your SELF a bit more sleep. You slide out of bed and into your comfy slippers, brush your teeth with your favorite flavor of toothpaste. You take a nice hot shower and just melt. Oh, we take good care of our SELF. We love our SELF.
o But Jesus ups the ante in verse 12-13 and sets a new standard for love:
o 12 “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.
o Warning! Warning! There’s a new standard. Now you don’t just love others like YOU love YOU, but you love others like Jesus loves YOU.
o If I love others like I love me, then I’m going to take real good care of them.
o But if I love others like Jesus loves me, then I am going to do good to them even at the cost of my own comfort and even at the cost of my own life.
- 17 These things I command you, so that you will love one another
- To Love God = Love His People: When people tell me they love Jesus, but they don’t love the church, a big red flag goes up in my mind. Jesus commands us to love His people. If you love Jesus, you’ll love Christians. And when someone says they are a Christian, but they don’t love the body, I think usually the truth is… They are not part of the body. If you truly love Christ, you will love the body of Christ. You’ll want to spend time with them. Encourage them and be encouraged by them.
- Karl pointed out: This is so critical for us to love each other because the world will hate is. We will be persecuted in this life, so we need to stick together!
5. Those who abide and obey get five incredible blessings.
1) Fullness of joy (11)
11 These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.
• Sometimes I think we can get overly fixated on the wrath and judgment of God and forget that Christ is a loving, joyful person.
• And the reason he stresses holiness so much is because holiness leads to happiness.
• I’d go so far as to say that, “Holiness is worthless unless it leads to happiness.”
o But John, people abandon holiness in pursuit of pleasure.
o Yes, I fully agree. The abandon holiness in pursuit of temporary pleasures that they think will make them truly happy, but ultimately those pleasures leave them empty and miserable…if not in this life, then for sure in the next.
o Holiness is of extreme worth because it leads to happiness: Holiness is the sure-fire path to happiness. And lack of holiness is the sure-fire path to sorrow:
ï‚§ Sin leads to sadness
ï‚§ Immorality to misery
ï‚§ Wickedness to woe
ï‚§ Evil to anguish
ï‚§ Unrighteousness to unhappiness
o Goodness leads to gladness.
ï‚§ Justice leads to joy
ï‚§ Righteousness to rejoicing
ï‚§ Holiness leads to happiness.
• Jesus is saying, “I’m telling you all these things about abiding in me, obeying my commands, loving the saints because I want you to be happy. I want you to have fullness of joy. My commands are truly for your good.”
• Holiness is pleasing to the Lord. It brings him great joy and happiness to be holy and to see his holiness manifested in our lives.
• And holiness, will cause us to be persecuted, mistreated and hated, but it will lead us into the most fulfilling life imaginable.
I want to be happy. And I can’t tell you what a relief it was to discover that my desire for happiness doesn’t have to be in conflict with my desire to glorify God. Why not pursue holiness for all your worth?
• Psalm 16:11: You make known to me the path of life;
in your presence there is fullness of joy;
at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.
TRANSITION: It is holiness that leads to the abundant life and this is why Christ commands the obedience of his friends.
2) Friendship with Jesus (14)
14 You are my friends if you do what I command you.
• People love to name drop: I’m related to John Wayne. I was best buddies with Joe Montana growing up. I want to school with Celine Dion. I shook hands with the president. Elvis Pressley shopped at our store.
• That’s nice: But the God who created the universe. He calls me friend! Top that!
• John MacArthur: “At the court of the Roman Emperor and at the courts of Eastern Kings, there was a very select group of men. These men were kind of like what we would call the 'kitchen cabinet' in America, except that they were intimate men. They were not just advisors who were schooled politically; they were dear friends of the King or the Emperor. They were his protectors as well as his advisors. They were the ones who were caring for his life, and at all times, they had immediate access to the King. They could enter into his bed chamber anytime they wanted. They could be with him whenever they needed to be with him. They had to gain no entrance from anybody because they were called the friends of the King. He talked with them before he talked with his generals.
• He talked with them before he talked with any other rulers of other nations or any other statesman. The friends of the King were those who had the closest possible relationship with the ruler. They had an intimate connection with him, and they had the right to enter his presence at any time. And that's exactly what Jesus is saying to us. You don't need any particular authority. You don't have to pass any particular formality. You have immediate and instant access into my presence at all time because you're my friends. We're not like slaves who have no right to enter the presence of the master. We're not like subjects who crowd the sides of the street and watch the King pass by and hope, once in a while, we catch a glimpse of his robe flapping in the breeze. We have a complete and total intimacy with Jesus Christ, the Son of God. That's what it means to be a friend of Jesus. ”
TRANSITION: Not only does he call me his friend, but he tells me all his plans. Perk #4 – Jesus shares with us the knowledge from the father.
3) Knowledge (15)
15 No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you.
• Jesus has invited us into his inner circle. He’s called us friends and he has shared with us his knowledge, his values and his plans.
• Knowledge is power!
• This is gospel knowledge. Knowledge of the holy, of the great one, understanding of the past, understanding of our purpose and understanding of the future.
• Revelation 1:1: The revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show to his servants the things that must soon take place. He made it known by sending his angel to his servant John. (Revelation 1:1)
• Part of our inheritance in Christ is to know what our Master is doing, and to do it with him (15). This is key to peace in Christian life and ministry.
• People say, “If I could see into the future, I could pick the winning lottery numbers and be incredibly rich.” Well, you can see into the future, and there’s 3 words you need to know to become incredibly rich: “Believe in Jesus!” Jesus tells us at the end of the age, the world will be separated into 2 groups, those who believe and those who do not. Jesus has given us this knowledge, so we can plant ourselves firmly in his camp…so at the end, he will say to us, “Well done my good and faithful servant, enter into my rest, my peace, my joy…receive an inheritance that no winning lottery ticket could compare to.”
TRANSITION: Not only does Jesus let his friends in on his knowledge, but he also promises them an inheritance in the future and purpose in the present. That purpose is to produce…
4) Lasting Fruit (16)
16 You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you.
• Jesus gives us something to live for. We are not like the existentialists who wander through this life trying to find purpose in a meaningless existence. Jesus gives us REAL PURPOSE!
• He chooses us for himself and he appoints us to do 2 things:
1) Go and Bear fruit
• GO and bear fruit: Not passive, but active! Go: to your knees, your Bible, your computer, your phone, your dining room; your neighbor, your friend, etc. GO and bear fruit.
• What is this fruit?: Dean discussed this last week:
o Increased Knoweldge: We grow in the knowledge of the Word, our God, the gospel.
o Character: love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, gentleness, kindness, faithfulness and self-control.
o Spirit-led Service: including sharing the gospel with the lost and building up the saints
2) Bear fruit that will last (abide)
ï‚§ Rome didn’t fall in a day, but it did fall.
ï‚§ The greatest of human achievements crumble to dust over time. Karl does construction…and everything you’ve built Karl, it’s all going to crumble. And Dean, all those books you’ve written. They’ll all be forgotten. And I know the business I’ve built, it will one day be a thing of the past. Mercy Hill Church will only last so long.
ï‚§ But the fruit Jesus is talking about here, the fruit that comes from the lives of the saints… It will last forever.
5) Answered Prayer
16 You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you.
• Whatever you ask: Jesus has given us a blank check.
• In my name: Keep in mind that his signature is on that check. He says whatever you ask “in my name”.
o According to my purposes
o According to my will
• You got it!
Jesus friends are chosen to be prayer warriors, men and women who pray prayers in the name of Jesus. Men and women who pray prayers that move the hand of God to accomplish the will of Jesus on this earth.
• Jesus tells us to pray over and over and over.
• He wants us to pray in such a way that those prayers get answered.
• In such a way that those prayers accomplish something for the kingdom of God.
Oh, what would happen at Mercy Hill if we started praying prayers like this…prayers that move the hand of God? What would happen if we started asking?
Jesus wants us to ASK! – I want to make that bold. I want to underline it. And highlight it. Mercy Hill, start praying. Start asking. And we will start seeing some amazing things happen!
• Jesus implores us over and over to ask.
• He promises the SKY if we will become a people of prayer.
"And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it" (John 14:13-14).
7 “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened… Your Father who is in heaven give[s] good things to those who ask him! (Matthew 7:7-11)
Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. (Mark 11:24)
The Persistent Widow (Luke 18:1-8)
7 And will not God give justice to his elect, who cry to him day and night? Will he delay long over them? 8 I tell you, he will give justice to them speedily.”
The Persistent friend (Luke 11:5-13)
9 And I tell you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. 10 For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. 11 What father among you, if his son asks for a fish, will instead of a fish give him a serpent; 12 or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? 13 If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”
"'Have faith in God,' Jesus answered. 'I tell you the truth, if anyone says to this mountain, "Go, throw yourself into the sea," and does not doubt in his heart but believes that what he says will happen, it will be done for him. Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours." (Mark 11:22-25).
Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. (John 14:13)
If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it. (John 14:14)
If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. (John 15:7)
Whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you. (John 15:16)
Whatever you ask of the Father in my name, he will give it to you. (John 16:23)
ïƒ Until now you have asked nothing in my name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full. (John 16:24)