Summary: Message 40 in our journey through John's Gospel. This message explores Jesus' command to love one another in chapter 15.
Pastor David Welch
“Receiving and Reciprocating Divine Love” John 15:9-17
I. The public teaching and ministry of Jesus 2-12
II. The Private teaching and ministry of Jesus 13-17
A. Forgive as Jesus forgives
B. Love as Jesus loves
C. Practice pertinent truths that soothe the troubled soul 14:1-31
D. Stay connected to the True Vine to bear lasting frui 15: 1-8
What motivates one to stay connected to the vine? What motivates us to stay connected to anyone? The world’s greatest motivating force? LOVE! What will keep these devoted followers of Jesus bearing lasting fruit through the tribulations and opposition of the world, the flesh and the devil they are about to face? It is love! Realization of Christ’s love for them. Demonstration of Christ’s love for each other.
The vital experience of God’s incredible love for us motivates us to cling closely to the vine and bear the cleansing and pruning process necessary to bear much fruit. This passage focuses on the essential love relationship between the Father and the Son, and the Son and His followers evidenced by devoted trust and obedience or service. Many think that fear best motivates obedience. Jesus clearly asserts that LOVE best motivates obedience. If we fail to obey it is most likely because we fail to perceive the full dimensions of His love for us. Jesus lets His followers know (15:11) that receiving and reciprocating His divine love is the firm foundation for genuine joy.
"These things I have spoken to you so that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full.
There is a fullness and satisfaction that comes to the human heart that deeply loved. Over and over believers are addressed as “beloved”. Being loved generates joy. Being rejected breeds bitterness. Understanding and applying the truths concerning God’s love for us results in fullness of joy. Jesus gives us a here the key to receiving His joy.
E. Receive and reciprocate God’s love
"Just as the Father has loved Me, I have also loved you; abide in My love. "If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love; just as I have kept My Father's commandments and abide in His love. John 15:9-10
1. Receive God’s Love
a) The Father loved the Son
This isn’t the first time John declares the Father’s love for Jesus in his book.
"The Father loves the Son and has given all things into His hand.” John 3:35
The Father demonstrates his love for the Son by trusting Him with key responsibility. In John 5:20-23 the Father demonstrates his love for the Son by including Him in His plans and empowering Him to accomplish significant achievements. In Matt 12:18 the Father demonstrates His love by affirming the Son. The Father’s love appreciated the sacrifice of the Son and His willingness to give his life for others in John 10:17
Scripture records key affirmations of love by the Father to the Son.
At His baptism Matthew 3:17
and behold, a voice out of the heavens said, "This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well-pleased."
Up to this point Jesus had not yet even entered formal ministry. The Father’s affirmation focused on who he was and the delight of their relationship. Effective ministry then blossomed as a result of the depth of his godly character.
At the transfiguration Matthew 17:5
While he was still speaking, a bright cloud overshadowed them, and behold, a voice out of the cloud said, "This is My beloved Son, with whom I am well-pleased; listen to Him!"
We can understand only a limited aspect of this love between the Father and the Son. It is not based on any of the “loving the unlovely” aspects of love. It is based on pure intimate connection between them. The Father delights in the Son.
Jesus addresses the wonder of this relationship with His father in his prayer later (Jn 17).
It is important to try to really understand this eternal relationship of love between the Father and the Son because it is the basis of understanding the love Christ has for us. Remember, Jesus reminds them that He loves them with the same love and intensity that he has experienced from His Father.
b) The Son loves the Father John 15:10
How did the Son demonstrate His love for the Father? There are two responses mentioned here.
1 – keep or guard His commandments. 2 – abide in His love
Jesus reveals that in order to abide in this great love or receive the full benefit of the love of the Father he had to live his life according to the desires of the Father. If you really love someone you have a desire to please him or her.
God laid out principles and commands in His word to protect us. God gave his commands to enhance life and increase our capacity to enjoy life. Failure to follow God’s commands not only saddens the Father but also results in decreased capacities to enjoy life. If I choose to ignore God’s principles regarding sexual purity I will face a decreased capacity to enjoy life as he intended. In short, these commands were motivated by love. The Master Designer issued a manufacturers manual to explain how things were designed to best function. Deut. 6:24-25 Deut. 10:12-15 James 1:25 1 John 5:3