Summary: Our relationships, like father-child relationships; are a reflection of our relationship with God. We model our relationships after Jesus’ relationship with His Father.
ABIDING IN LOVE
Scripture Text: John 15:9
Introduction: I really have hoped to tie this message today to Father’s Day by saying that all relationship issues that are healthy; especially a father and his child, are encompassed by Scripture….. and even exemplified in the gospel message itself. From the very beginning of Scripture, we see various dynamics in the family. Consider the loving relationship of Jacob to his son Joseph; and also the favoritism that he showed to Joseph over his other sons. We have much to learn about relationships from the many examples in Scripture; but I have chosen the ultimate example of a Father-Son relationship that impacts all us. May we be blessed today as we discover what the Scripture has to say about abiding in love.
While we want to consider today how the ultimate Father-child relationship impacts us; in contrast, I have to wonder what my relationship with my own dad would have been like had we not known the Lord. The complexities of our relationships that are affected by our culture, peers, and even our own selfishness need to be influenced by ‘goodness’. I lost my dad not too long ago; but I will always cherish the fact that our relationship was good. We are kind of men’s men… the kind that don’t show too much emotion because it appears that there is weakness or not enough control. Today, I hope that your relationships are strong and good; and that they have the quality of abiding love. I also pray, that if you don’t have that kind of relationship, that you will have restoration and hope in your life.
Propositional Statement: The relationship that I am explaining, is the ultimate relationship….the relationship of Jesus and His Father; which gives us an example to follow in our own lives. The mercy, love, and grace that the Father has shown you has its basis in the relationship that Jesus has with His Father. The Father loves the Son, and that love is reflected in the love that He has for each one of you. The Son loves the Father, and that love is characterized in the obedience that Jesus exhibited during His earthly ministry. You are given those same characterizations to model in your life today: The love of God and the responsibility for obedience in that love!
I. The Father Loves the Son – (in our passage) A fathers love is one of the most sought after an profound things in the world. What child doesn’t want to know that they are loved and hopefully every father wants to love their children. In some families the love comes easily; yet in others it is searched for as though it could not be found. It profoundly saddens me that some children are exposed to some of the willful and not-so willful mistakes of a Father. A common error is to blame our own mistakes on God.
A story I heard recently explained how some emergent church teachers have compared the crushing of Jesus on the cross by His Father to child abuse. Oh, what a wicked thought…. Even as Jesus was dealt a crushing blow on the cross to satisfy the justice of God; Jesus willingly laid down His life for each one of you. He loved His Father and He loves you! Titus 1:2 tells us that this plan between the Father and Son took place before the foundation of creation. It says, “in the hope of eternal life, which God, who cannot lie, promised long ages ago.” The question then becomes, “long ago” or literally “before times eternal” …. who was there? 2 Timothy supports this further when it says that God … “saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was granted us in Christ Jesus from all eternity….”
If we know that only God existed in eternity, then we also know that salvation was promised to Jesus by His Father before any time that we have any concept of. It is not as if Jesus grudgingly did what His Father wanted…no, there was a mutual love that allowed Jesus to follow His Father in total obedience. This obedience, of course; is in addition to Jesus’ utter sinlessness.
I personally regret some of the times that I was a poor Father; either by mistake or foolishness; yet I recognize as I hope you all do today, that we cannot project those mistakes on God. Despite circumstances that are caused by mistakes of a father, we should recognize; that the epitome of genuine love is grounded in Father God.
What does that genuine love look like?
A. Epitome of Genuine Love: In Luke 15, a son prematurely requests the inheritance that his father has worked for all his life. Not only was that inheritance supposed to be left at his father’s death; but it was also supposed to be first left to the oldest son. Despite the son’s foolishness, the father gave the son his share of the inheritance; which the son immediately went out and blew on lavish living and sexual sin. When the son thought that he might perhaps return to his father to be cared for again; what was the father’s response? Did he condemn the son for his foolishness?