Summary: Jesus says that to remain in his love, you’ll obey his commands, and his command is this--love each other.
Clip from Grease, “Hopelessly Devoted”
Just wanted to remind you about how God feels about you—except He’s hopefully devoted, crazy about you! Last week: Jesus uses image of Him as vine, us as branches to picture how we cooperate with God to experience the life he desires for us. If going to experience life, if going to be transformed, it will be because we do what’s necessary to stay connected to the vine, remain, get hooked up, keep that pipeline flowing (noticed how quickly gas prices have dropped?)
Now Jesus is going to dial that up a little, talked about vertical relationship, need to be connected, but that’s not all it’s about. So he takes this idea of being connected and changes the focus. V. 9.
· What does Jesus tell us to do? Wants us to remain in his love. Again, a command, a choice, to hook in, let the pipeline flow, live immersed in the love of God.
o Why remain in his love, not his holiness, justice?
§ We start with the truth that God is love. What is your picture of God? Too often we base our understanding about life and faith on a false picture of who God is. Stern disciplinarian, Santa Clause type of figure, fearful, full of judgment, You cannot experience the life God wants if you don’t properly understand Him, because you will never be able to trust him if you have a false picture of who he is. Don’t know of any other way of finding out who he is than be checking out what he says about himself. Jesus says that he is simply reflecting the Father’s love. Is God just? Yes. Holy? Yes. Is he intolerant of sin? Yes. But you have to understand all of those things in light of the fact that first and foremost, God is love.
§ Once we immerse ourselves in that truth, that’s when we begin to trust God more deeply, we experience the assurance that God is on our side. V. 11.
§ As I hook up to God’s love, I begin to reflect the same kind of loving behavior that Jesus does. (Ephesians 3, to be filled to the measure of the fullness of God.)
· V. 10 Last week talked about several different ways to go about remaining in the vine. Jesus is pretty clear here about how to remain connected to the love of God—how? Obey his commands. And what are his commands? V. 12. To love each other as he has loved us.
· Let me get this straight: If I’m going to keep the pipeline of living in God’s love open to me, and all that implies about meaning, understanding, purpose, I will do that by loving you. (Not saying that God loves me because I love you—V. 16—but I stay hooked up to God, impacted by God’s love, by loving others.)
o There is an intimate connection between my relationship with God and my relationship with you. All that I can experience of God’s love, mercy, grace and acceptance is dependent on how I love you. I 1 John, John says it this, “If a person claims to know God and love him, but hates his brother, he is a liar. The truth is not in him.”
o If there’s division between you and someone, unresolved anger, bitterness, unforgiveness, then you are not obeying the commands of Christ, you are not abiding in his love, you’re living outside of the power and strength that God offers.