Summary: Sermon for the 6th Sunday of Easter
IF . . . THEN / John 15: 9 – 17
Intro: When I was in college I date a young lady. The relationship was getting kind of serious and I said to her one evening, “Do you love me?” Her answer, “What do you think?” I thought the answer was yes; but, she had other ideas. A few weeks later I happened to see her getting really chummy with another guy in the school cafeteria. When I confronted her I said, “I thought you said you love me and here you are with another guy.” With an amazed look on her face she answered, “I never said that I loved you.” --- So the big question here is this: How do you know when someone loves you? The word LOVE is used eight times in this passage. There are three words in Greek for love, EROS, PHILIO and AGAPE. Agape is the one used here in every instance. But, I’m not going to spend much time talking about love. There are some other words that bear looking at this morning.
I. VS. 11 – The first word is chara in Gk. It can mean cheerful, calm, delight, gladness or exceedingly joyful. In our text, it is translated as joy. “I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy by be complete.”
A. Jesus has shared with those around him what true love is and that once we have experienced it we have great joy!
B. I remember when I was going to get married to my first wife my father took me aside and shared a bit of wisdom with me. He said, “Son, there is nothing like marriage. If you marry the right woman, there is nothing like it. If you marry the wrong woman, there is NOTHING like it.” In his own way, I think my father was telling me what Jesus is saying here. If you have REAL LOVE you will be exceedingly joyful.
C. According to this passage there is only one way to experience REAL LOVE. The only real love comes from God through Christ Jesus. VS. 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.”
II. I has been written (syndicated columnist Cal Thomas), “Love talked about is easily ignored. But love demonstrated is irresistible.”
A. VSS. 12 – 14 explain exactly this same concept. The love Christ Jesus demonstrated upon the cross is irresistible. Christ says the greatest demonstration of love is to lay down one’s life for a friend.
B. History is full of illustrations of one individual giving up their life to save others, especially in times of war. Is this the only way to love? I don’t think so! In verses, 13, 14 and 15, there is another significant Greek word. It is the word PHILIOS. It can be translated as dear, a friend, an associate, or a neighbor.
C. VS. 14 – “You are my friends if you do what I command.” Christ Jesus demonstrated his love for us by setting aside his own desires and following what God asked of him. Therefore, to be a friend of Christ Jesus, we must be willing to put others and their needs ahead of our own. Not only think of others first; but, act that way. “Love talked about is easily ignored. But love demonstrated is irresistible.” Demonstrated love makes us friends with Christ Jesus and with others, perhaps even those who are not like us. What does it mean to us today to be Christ’s friends?
III. I believe we can find the answer to that question in VS. 16 – “You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit---fruit that will last.” Being a “friend” of Christ means that we are CHOSEN!
A. When I was a kid teams were often chosen by the teacher appointing 2 people to be the captains or leaders. They would be allowed to choose who they wanted on their team by choosing one at a time from the rest of the class. If it was a sporting event, I was always one of the last to be chosen. I dreaded the agony of being “chosen.”
B. The Greek word used in this text is eklego. It can be translated as selected, called, or chosen. We don’t like to think of the fact that God does the choosing. We want to kid ourselves into believing that we can choose whether or not to follow God. We believe we can choose to love or be loved. We believe we can befriend an individual or not. We are deluding ourselves if we think we are in control of anything.