Summary: How believers relate to other believers is important. That’s because division will destroy a body of people quicker than any other single thing. Division destroys the body of Christ, the fellowship of believers, and the witness of believers.
Last week we talked about the relationship of Jesus to believers. We got into a lengthy discussion about the joy that only God can give. We saw that as God loves His Son Jesus Christ, so Christ loves us.
Tonight Jesus talks about the relationship of believers to believers. How believers relate to other believers is important. That’s because division will destroy a body of people quicker than any other single thing. Division destroys the body of Christ, the fellowship of believers, and the witness of believers.
Too many believers are known more for their grumbling, griping, complaining, and divisiveness than for anything else. Nothing cuts the heart of Jesus more than such self-centered and divisive behavior so the relationship of believers to each other is of critical importance.
READ v. 12 - 13. The supreme command of believers is to love one another. Believers are to love one another as Jesus has loved them. And Jesus is pretty clear about what He means. He loved man so much that He paid the ultimate price. He died and sacrificed His life for man. He paid the ultimate price of love by dying for His friends.
READ v. 14-15. Believers form a bond of friends. The supreme bond of believers is the bond of friends. It’s a spiritual bond founded by Christ Himself. But note two things:
1. Being a friend of Jesus is conditional. A person has to know and do His commandments in order to be a friend of His. In other words, there’s no way to be Jesus’ friend apart from knowing what He says. It’s His Word that tells us about Him. So we have to seek to learn His Word and do what He says in order to know Him and to become His friend. Friends relate and commune with each other. Friends share and respond to the word of each other. Friends rejoice when the word or conversation is that of joy. Friends help when the word or request is that of need.
2. The bond of friends is based upon revelation, that is, upon Jesus Christ Himself. Jesus revealed and made known exactly what God told him. It’s the Word of God that gives birth and structure to the bond of friends. So the friends of Christ are built upon and centered on the Word of God.
READ v. 16. Our supreme purpose as believers is to go and bear fruit. We, as believers, are the chosen and appointed of Christ, and we have been given the very same purpose of Christ Himself: to go into all the world and bear fruit among men. Let’s note two things about this great verse of Scripture.
1. Believers are chosen and appointed by Jesus. We don’t choose Him nor do we appoint and send ourselves out to serve Him. It’s God who approaches and draws us. It’s God who appoints us to live for Him and to serve Him.
2. Believers are chosen and appointed for three very specific purposes.
a. To go forth as ambassadors for Christ, proclaiming the message of God and Jesus Christ. Believers aren’t called to be an exclusive club of retirees who have it made and who can go about doing what they want, knowing they are eternally secure. Believers are the ambassadors of Christ in the world. Once they have been saved, their duty—their sole reason for being appointed and left in this world—is to deliver the message of their King.
b. To bear fruit.
c. To receive the things of God.
The conclusion is forceful and it’s found in v. 17. Love each other.
There’s a popular song that most people remember entitled “We Are Family!” That is how we should look at the church. We are FOREVER FAMILY. We live in a mobile, changing, lonely society. People are looking for family. The average person can expect to have twelve different jobs/careers in a lifetime. Often rootless people have nothing left but the church. We need to learn to love everyone who comes through these doors as FOREVER FAMILY. IF WE LOVE EACH OTHER, WE ARE OBEYING GOD’S COMMAND.
Jesus says, “This is my command: Love each other.” In Chapter 14, Jesus said, “If you love me, you will obey what I command.” Christian love is not a manufactured feeling. Christian love is learning to treat each other the same way God treats us. Love is a matter of the will, not of emotions. Jesus also said, “My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.”(v.12) How does Jesus love us? He forgives us and he is kind to us.
We must choose to love. It is a conscious act of our will. Each of us must determine, “I will put him/her first. I will be kind to her/him. I will be patient.” The more we deliberately will to love one another, the more our emotions begin to change. Worship then becomes more meaningful when we are family. We want to spend time with family whom we love. Time flies when we are having fun.