Summary: Exposition of John
Text: John 15:12-17, Title: Circle of Love, Date/Place: NRBC, 8/11/13, AM
A. Opening illustration:
B. Background to passage: You know it, but I probably should repeat it by now. Jesus, again repeating himself, saying that he loves them, and they should love each other like that. He told them that in chapter 13. Even says that the world would know that they are His if they love one another. But like the last time he repeated himself, we are given more information.
C. Main thought:
A. Sacrificial love (v. 12-13)
1. Jesus defines for us the greatest kind of love: laying your life down for your friends. This was a familiar concept in the Roman era. It was recognized as being so, supreme duty and honor of friendship was to give your life for that of another; to sacrifice your own for that of another. And of course, they didn’t look forward and see the cross at this point, but back later. But the implication for us is less about taking a bullet, and more about, taking minute. You see Jesus gave His life in an act of obedience that we cannot help but think about when we read these words, and granted there are Christians in this world who still die (about 105K/year), most of us must die daily to self for each other.
3. Illustration: Pete and my conversation about sacrificing BB guns for each other. Mothers know about this, and dads think about this after they finish and realize that mom didn’t get any peas (but they should’ve made some more),
4. It’s going out of your way to check on someone. It’s getting someone else their meal for the night. It’s a small gift to someone in the congregation. It’s stopping by and bathing the twins so mom can get some things done. It’s cooking Wed night meals each week. It’s opening your home to college students coming from other countries to study and ABAC. It’s fellowship with other people in the congregation. It’s putting down the things in your life that you want to do, and picking up the things that other people want to do. What is it that you have not done for someone this week?
B. What makes a friend (v. 14-16)
1. Jesus speaks about friends here, and he makes a distinction between friends and servants. Both are obedient, servants because they don’t have a choice, friends because they want to, but he says that friends because he chose them (which was opposite from what normally took place in the rabbi/disciple relationship), and because he was intimate with them in the fact that they knew all of the business of the Father. In the traditions of the kings of this culture the “friends of the king” had access to the king at all times. They were closer than the military leaders, governors, and statesmen. He would seek counsel with them first, and they would know all that was in his heart. Jesus says, what makes a friend is close knowledge and vulnerability.
3. Illustration: “Our churches have become nothing more than gathering places for strangers.” Jamie Kinsley has been working with our youth since January and a member of our church for over 4 years now, and some of you could not identify her. Benny was telling us in Deacons mtg how he’d pursued
4. So look around this room, do you have friends? We all have friends in our lives that are closer than a brother, and that is good. But there are some that should be within the church. We are the family of God. Many of you call me Bro Jason, but if I call someone sister so and so, it’s funny. The church is a faith family. This is one of my issues with a big church. Really it’s one of my issues with a church our size. That doesn’t mean that we should grow smaller, just closer. One of the best ways you do that is by getting involved in ministry and a small group. If you are not in a bible study of some sort, you cannot connect with others on the level of intimacy. It’s just impossible. To share your life with someone you must get down on a small, small group level, and really a Sunday School class of more than 9 people is too large for most people to share anything vulnerable. Time needs to be spent that is unstructured. Time around the table meant the table bond to the Jews. Can you picture what Jesus looked like with Matthew’s sinner friends? And this doesn’t mean that you have to be great friends with everybody in the church, that is not going to happen either. But as Jesus chose, we should, pursue friendships.