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Abide In Christ's Love - John 15:9-17


[John 15:9-17] Jesus said: “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. 10If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. 11These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full. 12This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. 13Greater love has no one than this, that someone lays down his life for his friends. 14You are my friends if you do what I command you. 15No 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. 16You 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. 17These things I command you, so that you will love one another.”

 

Abide In Christ’s Love

Does their friendship remain? Is their friendship drifting? Or are they friends no longer? By observing what friends are doing or not doing, you can see, fairly accurately, whether their friendship remains, is drifting, or has parted.

Do they call each other? Are they up to date on each other’s life events? Do they visit when one is sick or grieving? Do they call to celebrate? Birthdays, holidays?

Do they eat together? Do they gather together for their regular friendship gatherings? Your monthly breakfast. Your yearly camping trip.

And, for the best of friends, do they still, and can they still, reach out to the other for help. Personal help, money help, help with those things that you wouldn’t admit to everybody.

Or, are they drifting through lack of these things? As interactions become fewer and farther between, at what point does a friendship no longer remain? Friendships can drift – and families and marriage – but they can also be repaired.

What about the love and friendship that Jesus Christ has for you? How is that friendship the same or different? The love with which Jesus Christ loves you – each of you – is almighty, unbreakable, constant, and unconditional. His friendship is for the unfriendable, the undeserving. Jesus is the Friend of sinners.

But His love and friendship is something in which we must remain and can drift away from.

We probably don’t use the word “abide” many times a day, but the word here simply means “to remain in” or “to dwell”: “As the Father has loved Me, so have I loved you. Remain (Abide) in My love” – “Dwell in My love.” Remain in that friendship.  

Friendship with Christ has observable marks or indicators. Am I praying? Do I communicate with Christ about my day throughout my day? Does He hear from me and of my needs?

Am I hearing from Him in His written Word, the Bible? I read many things – do I read what the Lord has written to me? Do I listen to the speaking and preaching of His Word and seek more chances to hear it? In friendship there is speaking and listening.

Do I get together with the Friend of sinners, and with His friends? Or do I give my excuses too often or too easily? Am I invested in this friendship so that this Friend has a place as a priority in my calendar?

We know what marks those friendships that last for a lifetime, and we know those signs which indicate a relationship may be drifting. We should pay careful attention to our friendship with the Lord.

Of course, there are certainly differences between friendship with your friends and friendship with your Lord. If a friend says, “If you do what I say, then you’re really my friend” – that’s not a true friend and those words mean something that’s not good.

But it is the rightful place of our Lord and God to give us commandments. A mark of friendship with the Lord is being the people in this world who listen to His commandments to do what He says: “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” – “You are My friends if you do what I command you” [John 15:10,14].

“This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you” [John 15:12]. And, what we talked about last week, we also heard today: “By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and obey his commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments” [1 John 5:2-3].  

These are the moral commandments of Scripture. The Ten Commandments. His commands in the Sermon on the Mount, and elsewhere — His commands that we fear, love, and trust in Father, Son, and Holy Spirit alone as the only God; that we worship Him; that we call upon His name in every trouble —

— That we live a sexually pure and decent life; a life of marriage or a life of chastity; that we honor authorities; that we look to the interests of others; that we don’t lie; that we speak well of each other; that we be thankful.

Also, Jesus commands that you be a friend to Him by how you treat His unique friends: That you visit His friends, those who are ill, homebound, or hospitalized; that you feed and clothe His friends, those who are lacking in what they need; that you have mercy on His friends, men and women in prison; and that you welcome His friends, those who are outsiders or strangers to our group. [Matthew 25:31-46]

Jesus said, in words He will speak again on the Day of Judgment, “As you did it to one of the least of these My brothers, you did it to Me.” And, “As you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me” [Matthew 25:40,45].

A life of friendship with the Lord and of dwelling in His love is a life of keeping His commandments. “And His commandments are not burdensome” – they are a life of love, which comes from being loved by the Friend of sinners.

“Greater love has no one than this, that someone lays down his life for his friends.” Jesus laid down His life for the whole world [1 John 2:2; John 1:29] – and not for the righteous, but for the unrighteous: “For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly… God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” [Romans 5:6-8]

Nothing is greater than the friendship and love that God has for you through Jesus. Dwell in that love. Turn from drifting and back toward friendship. Be at the receiving end of His Word preached and His Supper given. Gather with His friends here.

He has loved first, and it is the strength of His self-sacrificing love on the cross that does and will keep you abiding in Him. Amen.

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