Summary: Outside the bounds of Jesus’ love, there is a hunger that is never satisfied because it longs for true joy and happiness and yet it never gets fulfillment.
JESUS’ LEGACY OF LOVE
Text: John 15: 9-17
"An ancient clay tablet inscribed about 4000 B.C. tells of a mystic who believed that the secret of life could be discovered by going without food, he died. Those who attempt to live without love meet the same fate". (Herb Miller. Actions Speak Louder Than Verbs. Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1989, p. 68). … "Why does the love section contain the largest number of pages in most quotation books? Because love is one of our greatest needs and one of life’s most obvious truths" (Miller, p. 69). Jesus gives His disciples the commandment to love one another as He had shown His love to them (John 15:12). Jesus’ commandment to love one another was a legacy to Jesus’ disciples then as much as it is also a legacy to Jesus’ disciples today and in every generation. The kind of love that Jesus is talking about is the kind of love that "does not count the cost or keep score" because love in its true godly form is unconditional and fulfilling. Jesus was and is calling His disciples to remain in His legacy of love. Outside the bounds of Jesus’ love, there is a hunger that is never satisfied because it longs for true joy and happiness and yet it never gets fulfillment. The human heart hungers for the fulfilling love of Jesus. The human heart starves for Jesus’ love when it seeks fulfillment in a counterfeit---materialism, substance abuse, immorality.
KEEPING THE CONNECTION
To remain in Jesus’ love requires that we do our part to stay in the relationship with Him. You cannot watch any amount of TV without seeing the VERIZON commercials where the guy is continually walking around and stopping every so often to ask, "Can you hear me now?" In order for us to hear Jesus now, we have to stay connected in our relationship with Him. That responsibility means that effort is required on our part because it is not automatic. Staying in touch with Jesus means that we have to make a conscious and attentive effort. How is our connection with Jesus? Can we hear Him now?
Static interferes with our connection. When we talk about the phone, the radio or the TV as it relates to reception, we call it static when there is an interference. Have you ever noticed how irritated you and I get when we are talking on the phone, especially the cell phone, watching the ball game or one of our favorite TV shows only to have interference that annoys us? Satan tries to create interferences in our spiritual lives in the hope that we will get frustrated with the connection and give up. Satan tries to divert our attention by deceiving us and tempting us. He tries to use all of the negative things in life to cause enough static and interference in our perception so as to frustrate us in our daily devotion to Jesus. He also tries to hinder the fellowship that we share with our fellow brothers and sisters. Satan cannot stand the sight of Christians abiding in the love of Jesus Christ that sets them free even in spite of the hardships of life. Again, that is why Satan tries to use the negative circumstances and hardships of life to distort our perceptions of the benefits of how we abide in Jesus’ love.
"The intensive care waiting room is a different world. No one is a stranger. They help one another. They grieve with one another and shed tears of joy together. There is no distinction of race or class. Vanity and pretense vanish. Everything focuses on the next doctor’s report or the next telephone call. Here in this anxious stillness it becomes clear that loving someone else is what life is all about. Why does it take the intensive care waiting room to teach us to forget our irritations and love one another?" (Herb Miller. Actions Speak Louder Than Verbs. Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1989, p. 71). It is our irritations and the way that we insulate ourselves as we pass by on the other side of another’s need or grief that we avoid the needs of others. It is then that a crisis provokes us and reminds us once again of our need for God to find affirmation through remaining in Jesus’ love and loving our neighbors.
MAINTAINING THE COMMANDMENT
Maintaining the commandment is to remain and abide in Jesus’ love. 2 Timothy 2:4 says: "No soldier on service gets entangled in civilian pursuits, since his aim is to satisfy the one who enlisted him" (RSV). We could not celebrate Memorial Day if we had outfits in the military that were full of soldiers who wanted to do their own thing. We celebrate Memorial Day because we honor soldiers who are no longer with us. They died on the battlefield while fighting to preserve our freedom. These soldiers were people who were willing to lay down their lives for their friends who were fellow soldiers as well as their friends who were fellow countrymen. Jesus said "Greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends" (John 15:13 RSV). These soldiers whom we honor today on Memorial Sunday were even willing to lay down their lives for countless friends whom they had never met or would meet in their own generation and generations to come.