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Summary: How to respond to another person’s emotional needs in a biblical way through the showing of affection

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(Meeting the Need for Affection)

Text: John 15:9-14

In his memoir, Education of a Wandering Man, the western writer Louis L’Amour repeats a charming story about two stage actresses of the late nineteenth and early twentieth century.

He tells how Sarah Bernhardt, the great French actress, attended a performance of Eleanora Duse (doo zay), the renowned Italian actress.

Overcome with the quality and passion of the performance, Bernhardt wrote a very quick note to send backstage between acts. The note said:

(Transparency)

“Sarah Bernhardt says Eleanora Duse is a great actress.”

Duse, busy changing her costume for the next act, didn’t have time to compose a reply, so she picked up a pen, added two commas to the note and returned it. Now the note read:

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“Sarah Bernhardt, says Eleanora Duse, is a great actress.”

It’s amazing how much significance can be packed into a comma or two, or into a word--even the shortest of words.

That is one of the things we will discover this morning, as we look into God’s Word and its application to our lives this morning.

Please join me for a moment of prayer:

Father,

we pray this morning

that you will help us so to speak,

so to hear,

and so to learn

that our minds may be enlightened,

our hearts may be touched

our hurts may be healed,

and our lives made more pleasing to you and effective for you,

in Jesus’ name, Amen.

As I said just a moment ago, it’s amazing how much significance can be packed into a comma or a word- even the shortest of words. Let me show you what I mean by asking you to turn to the Gospel of John, chapter 15. . . . John 15. . . .

Please find the 9th verse of that chapter, Jn 15:9, and follow along as I read verses 9-14:

9 "As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love.

10 If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father’s commands and remain in his love.

11 I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.

12 My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.

13 Greater love has no-one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.

14 You are my friends if you do what I command.”

Please note that Jesus says, in verse 12,

“Love each other as I have loved you.”

. . . . .

“Love each other as I have loved you.”

He says, in verse 9,

“As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you,”

and then he says,

“Love each other as I have loved you.”

Now, if you’re anything like me--

--and I know most of you thank God that you’re not--

but if you’re anything like me, you have read that verse dozens, maybe hundreds of times, and never stopped to reflect on that little word “as.”

But I am convinced this morning that there is far more in those two letters, in that short word, than we ordinarily understand,

more punch,

more power,

more purpose

in that little word “as”

than we think,

because that tiny word all by itself defines why this is a new commandment.

If you’ll turn to John 13:34, you’ll see virtually the same words Jesus speaks in John 15:12, except that he calls this a “new commandment.”

What was new about it? God’s people had been commanded for generation after generation to love each other. . . but it is a new commandment because Jesus commands us,

“Love each other as I have loved you.”

And that little word doesn’t just mean,

“Love each other because I have loved you.”

it doesn’t just mean,

“Love each other with the same feelings with which I have loved you.”

IT MEANS “LOVE EACH OTHER IN THE SAME MANNER OF LOVING WITH WHICH I HAVE LOVED YOU.”

And what way is that?

What is the “as” of verse 12?

Well, Jesus himself explains when he says,

Greater love has no-one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.

That’s the “as” of verse 12. . . .

Do you wanna love “as” Jesus loves?

Then lay down your life for a friend.

And you know what? Jesus was not only talking about dying on a cross for someone, or throwing yourself in the path of an oncoming car for someone. I believe wholeheartedly that it is what we have been discussing the past six weeks:

(Transparency)

Our current sermon series, “A Relevant Faith to Meet Real Needs,” is all about loving each other as Jesus loves, and showing the relevance of the Gospel to real people with real needs.

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