Teaching from the pulpit is intimidating by itself. And when I was praying for this message, I felt more intimidated as it will be the first time, I teach any passage on the gospels.
Normally I teach Proverbs on Wednesdays but I have the blessing to share with you guys in a Sunday (today) so I was praying as I cannot start and finish a book in one day. So, John 15 was to my heart -As you know here at Calvary Chapel we teach verse by verse, chapter by chapter, book by book-.
I had this passage in my heart and I remembered the first time I read it. My heart broke down and melted. This passage makes me worship Him even more and I want to try to explain you guys where my heart and mind goes when I read this. The whole Bible is a treasure for us and reading this kind of passages is incredible.
This study will be a verse-by-verse teaching in John 15:9-17 and we will be connecting and referencing to some passages in the same book of John. There’s a lot to say. I will try to keep it simple as possible.
The book of John is different than the other gospels. Mathew, Mark, and Luke are synoptic gospels and present similar information about Jesus’s life. John presents Christ as in a closer look with more detailed information and different events that are not present in the other 3 gospels.
These particularities make John a very interesting book. You can read it just as an overview and get the same understanding about Christ as God, with God the Father and God the Holy Spirit. You can understand how God loved us so much and how we are redeemed by His death in the cross. It is the book that people normally recommend to new believers to study first because this. AND if you study this book deeply, you will find how John presents Christ as the fulfillment of all prophecies and the perfection of His ministry in earth. This book is amazing as all the Bible is. The whole Bible is about Jesus.
Today we are studying a segment of one of the last conversations that Jesus had with His disciples. He is close to be put to death by the Jews and Romans just hours later and He is still ministering His disciples. During this time (as in His entire life of ministry), He poured everything out. He loved us until the end. He washed the disciples’ feet (including His betrayer), He ate supper with them, He talked to them, He loved them… He was with them as He used to do. The hour was near, and He was still loving us.
And now we will jump into the conversation. We just came and Jesus is talking. The good news, you can read what He has said in the book of John.
Abide in His love (John 15:9-10)
9 “As the Father loved Me, I also have 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.
The first thing we see here: They are One.
There is just one Name that saves. There is One who is almighty. There is One who is creator. There is One who is just. There is One who is Holy. There is one who is God.
We can do nothing outside of Him. Jesus is talking about His unity with the Father and our unity with Him. We should be one with Him.
Talking about God involves talking about His infinite love that sent His only begotten Son for our salvation.
Jesus came to save us and to show truly love. To DEMONSTRATE, to EXERCISE, to SHOW how real love looks like. He and the Father are One with Holy Spirit and, even though He decided to put aside His glorious throne to come to this Earth (to this fallen World) just to reconcile us with Him.
The infinite love of the Father towards Him and His love to the Father is revealed and shared to us by the work in the cross. At this moment Jesus’s words made less sense to the disciples as they didn’t understand yet that Christ was about to die and to resurrect later. For us in the other hand, we can see that He loved us until the end. Until death.
He loved us first now we love Him. There’s nothing like God’s love. He knows my heart. Even when I fail, I know He loves me. Being in His presence is the greatest gift I can ever receive. I surrender to Him now. I love Him now.
How is my love to God shown? With brokenness. How can I abide in His love? Obedience.
If I love Him, I will follow his commandments. It doesn’t say “If you love me you will share this on Facebook“ or ”If you love me you will put this in a bumper sticker, in a shirt, make it a tattoo…”. NO. It says: “You will follow my commandments”. To know His commandments, we have the whole Bible. No excuse.
Pay attention that says -IF you love me… You WILL follow…. You will follow because you love ME…- Our salvation, His love to us, our identity, are NOT based on the things we do (works). We love Him because He loved us, He saved us, He is Lord, He is God… and THEN (after we acknowledge all of this) we follow, we obey, we serve, we learn, we mature… Not the other way around. Sometimes people want to do and do without truly acknowledge Him.
Now, talking about God involves talking about holiness (His) and obedience (Ours).
Modern Christianity teaches that we can love God without any change in us. Without obedience without transformation, without maturity. That’s a lie. When you are really in Christ, your life will be different, and your delight will be to obey God. To love God, is to obey Him. It is a clear indication that you really love Christ. You cannot be the same. I need to die to myself and just walk to Him. I’m not saying that I won’t struggle, but I have my goal clear: Be more like Christ and less than me! I need to kill my sinful behaviors, quit to my old life, live for Him because I live because of Him. I have life because He died for me and now, I’m His.
I cannot say I love somebody if I do wrong to that person. I cannot say I love God if I still greave Him. I cannot say I love God if I love my sin more. I cannot love God without obedience. It is not just a Sunday morning thing. Come here and listen the sermon. No! I should be transformed (and be obedient) every single day. Be obedient in the little and in the greater things. I need to obey.
I have all His commandments in the Bible. How can I know His commandments if I don’t read His Word? And don’t say that you have read the Bible one or two or ten times during your life. The Word of God is alive, and we should be studying it every day until heaven. He is Holy and I am not, He is perfect, and I am not. He is God and I am not. I need Him.
Again, I cannot pretend to love Him without being transformed by Him. If I do so, I would be saying that I am enough and I don’t need Christ. The last time I checked in my Bible, there is no one good. None. Sanctification is a process that I need to walk and only with His presence and my obedience I will be able to grow. Abide in Him (John 15:4-5)
Joy and Peace OF Christ (John 15:11)
11 “These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full.
What things? Everything He said in His Word. All His commandments. The whole counsel of God. He was talking to His disciples and these last chapters about this conversation refer to everything He spoke before during His entire life. And everything He said even before His first coming (in the Old Testament). And we have everything recorded in our Bibles. So now we know everything that He revealed in His Word and by knowing all these things will are free.
We are slaves no more. We are not slaves of fear, of death, of sin. We are free and free indeed. We have the truth, and the truth is making us free.
He is the Way, He is the Truth, and He is the Life. (John 14:1-6)
What can I desire of this world? I have everything in Christ. I am now a child of God. He rescued me and I can say it at loud. I am a child of God! And this is my joy. He made everything: He rose and conquered the grave. Now I can walk unashamed through this life. His mercy and grace are bigger than my sin. He forgave me and gave me more than I deserved: He gave me life and ETERNAL life. He is the author of our salvation. He is the light of this world.
I can enjoy being in the Word everyday and I can have encounters with Him every time I open my Bible and every time I pray. I just surrender to my Savior. My joy, my peace, my love. My best friend (as we will see later).
He is our hope, and we are waiting for Him to come again. I can’t wait to see His glory. My soul should be waiting for Him. Worshiping adoring Him. We will be with Him. We need to start practicing now.
Everyday! Every new day I can see His hand in my life and other’s. He changes lives. He saves and transforms. There’s a lot of examples I can quote or tell but I want to talk about Jesus only. You know testimonies, you have witnessed some of them or maybe your life is one of these. Jesus changes lives and that is fact. How can I ignore this? I can do nothing but to worship Him and keep trusting in Him.
To this world, to difficulties, to fear, to despair, to evil, to nonsense… I can say: “This is not where I belong” I belong to Christ, and He is mine forever more because I am His forever more. My joy is full in Him. I don’t need anything else. His love will never fail according with His Word.
In this world you will have tribulation, but He has overcome the world (John 16:33). Do not condition your love or your trust in God according with your current situation or your feelings. No matter how big the challenge is, He is bigger, and He will never fail. That doesn’t mean that everything will be as we want, but He knows what to do and the reason why. Believe in Him. Trust and obey because who He is, not because what are you facing or experiencing or feeling. He is good no matter what, He is God no matter what. He made all! He is our joy!
If you have Christ, what are you lacking? If you don’t have Christ, what do you have? Find joy in Him. Joy is a byproduct of a right relationship with God. Joy comes because of Christ’s love and abiding in this love.
The Commandment (John 15:12-15)
12 This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends. 14 You are My friends if you do whatever I command you. 15 No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you.
Again: There is just one Name that saves. There is One who is almighty. There is One who is creator. There is One who is just. There is One who is Holy. There is one who is God. And that One who saves, saved me. The One who judges, justified me. The one who calls, called me. The source of infinite love loves me. He is my friend.
His love: has no beginning nor end, is close and personal, is unchanging. (Guzik)
God himself came to Earth to save us all. We were His enemies and now we are His children. God made it possible because His love. He revealed Himself in the Word and the Word became flesh to die for us. There is no bigger love.
“I have called you friends”! I would ask: Really? The same guys that were about to deny You and betray You? The same guys that do the same things every single day today? Yes. That is why He came. To offer salvation to all.
The Lord taught and gave us all the things we need. We have Him and the Word of God. He is our friend.
We can see it through all the Bible: Jesus revealed Himself in the First Testament and later Jesus Himself taught the disciples everything we should know for living in this world and walk to/with Him. He completed all, He made this possible and now we are His friends.
Man! Wow. We cannot boast of anything. We don’t deserve it. Don’t believe if someone tells you that you do. No, we don’t deserve it. Is because His love only!
In this verse again, we can see Jesus’s relationship with the Father. They are One. He sent the comforter later, the Holy Spirit. They are One. (John 14, John 16:8)
The disciples were His friends because they were obedient. Friendship with Jesus cannot be disconnected from obedience to His Word. Friendship with Jesus cannot be disconnected from knowing His Word. Friendship with Jesus cannot be disconnected of a constant communication with Him in Prayer.
Now: They were friends because Jesus didn’t keep secrets from them, but openly revealed what He had received from God the Father. There shouldn’t be “secrets” between you and God. He knows everything anyway. So, talk to Him. Get closer to Him. He is near. He revealed everything to us through the Word, now we can come to the throne and talk to Him.
Now Jesus command us to love one another. There is no discussion here. There is not IF’s here. LOVE ONE ANOTHER. “Unity instead of enmity, trust instead of suspicion, obedience instead of selfishness must rule the disciples’ common labors.” (Tenney). God served, loved, and died. There is no greater love. That’s the measure we need to compare our love to one another.
Love one another (John 13:31-35). This world will hate you (John 15:18-19), but you love one another.
To Him The Glory (John 15:16)
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 remain, that whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you.
We cannot boast of anything. We don’t deserve it. Don’t believe if someone tells you that you do. No, we don’t deserve it. Is because His love only!
We deserved death but He decided to make us His. Everything for His Glory and not ours. That you and I are here, is because of Him. All the Glory and the praise to Him alone. The disciples had a tremendous privilege and Jesus reminded them they cannot be proud of their calling as they didn’t earn it. Was His choice not theirs to follow Him. God is initiator, developer, finisher of all works and fruit in our lives.
And now, how do we respond to this calling?
Obedience. He commanded us to bear fruit and make disciples. Fruit in our lives and other’s lives.
His will for us is us to grow, mature and be sanctified, AND to drag others with us on the way. In Him, we will now that His will is perfect, and we can pray according to His will and be content. We can pray for strength, for wisdom, for peace, for joy. Everything in His will, not ours.
When we are truly in Christ, we will start bearing fruit. Everything is connected with our surrendering to Him. We will obey, we will love, we will grow, we will bear fruit.
THE COMMANDMENT (John 15:17)
17 These things I command you, that you love one another.
Emphasis here. It is not casualty this commandment is here again. LOVE ONE ANOTHER.