Summary: On this Memorial Day weekend, let us remember that more than one million men and women have died defending our liberty. Most of all let us remember the One who sacrificed His life for our eternal freedom.
Remember the Greatest Love
Sermon by Rick Crandall
McClendon Baptist Church - May 27, 2007
*Memorial Day Video Clip: (“...under God” from HE IS FAITHFUL Films)
-“Greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.”
*On this Memorial Day weekend, as we spend time with family and friends, let us remember the over 48 million Americans have served in the military to help keep us free. Let us remember that over the life of our nation, more than one million of those men and women have died defending our liberty. (1)
*Most of all let us remember the One who sacrificed His life for our eternal freedom. Just hours before He died on that Cross, Jesus said, “Greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.”
1. This is the love that can change everything in your life! So remember the greatest love first of all, because it gives closeness beyond compare.
*Think about the importance of relationships in life. As Rick Warren once wrote:
-“I have been at the bedside of many people in their final moments, when they stand on the edge of eternity, and I have never heard anyone say, ‘Bring me my diplomas! I want to look at them one more time. Show me my awards, my medals, that gold watch I was given.’
-When life on earth is ending, people don’t surround themselves with objects. What we want around us is people – people we love and have relationships with. In our final moments we all realize that relationships are what life is all about.” (2)
*Now think about what Jesus said in vs. 9, “As the Father has loved Me, I also have loved you. . .” Can you imagine how close God the Father is to God the Son? No relationship could possibly be closer.
*In John 10:30, Jesus said: "I and My Father are one.’’
*And in John14, Jesus told His disciples:
7. "If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also; and from now on you know Him and have seen Him.’’
8. Philip said to Him, "Lord, show us the Father, and it is sufficient for us.’’
9. Jesus said to him, "Have I been with you so long, and yet you have not known Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father. . .
*The Father and Son are one. No love could be stronger, no relationship closer. But wonder of wonders, God wants to be that close to you! God Himself wants to be your Father and Best Friend!
*Jesus said, “As the Father has loved Me, I also have loved you. . .”
*What can we say about this great love, the greatest love? It is supremely attractive. It should draw us closer and closer to God. And it will be a lifetime supply of love for you. You can never get to the end of God’s love.
*But what should we do with the greatest love? In vs. 9, Jesus said, “abide in My love.” And in vs. 10, He said, "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.”
-The love of Jesus Christ is best experienced through obedience to the Lord. Obedience is the key.
*Does this mean that Jesus will stop loving us if we don’t keep His commandments? As Ken Gehrels asked, “Do those words mean that Jesus . . . is standing back with his arms folded over his chest, calling out, ‘I’m watching. If you blow it I won’t love you anymore!’ No!! No!! No!!” (3)
*Romans 5 tells us that Christ loves the ungodly and sinners, even His enemies. Jesus is not going to stop loving you! But John Gill explains that if we keep His commandments, we will continue to make further discoveries of His love, and see more clearly how much He loves us. We will “abide” or “remain” or “continue” or “dwell” in His love. (4)
*This word “abide” is very important. The original Greek word is “meno.” It is found 120 times in the New Testament, and Jesus used it 12 times in this chapter alone. Like in vs. 4&5, where Jesus said:
4. Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me.
5. I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.
*One of the translations of this word is “dwell,” and that helps us understand what the Lord is talking about here. Bob Deffinbaugh tells us that, “Because of John’s use of these terms, I would suggest that we render the term ‘meno’ [as] ‘make one’s home.’ To ‘abide’ in Christ as the True Vine is to ‘make our home’ in Him, just as He also ‘makes His home’ in us.” (5)