Summary: Jesus makes it clear that being a Christian is more than speaking in pious language, it’s more than a feeling or an experience. It’s being his partner in making love tangible.
St. John 15:9-17 – The Unmistakable Mandate
9As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love.
10If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love.
11These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.
12This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you.
13Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.
14Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you.
15Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you.
16Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you.
17These things I command you, that ye love one another.
There’s a little book called Life’s Little Instruction Book. The subtitle to the book is 511 suggestions, observations, and reminders on how to live a happy and rewarding life. Here’s a few of their points:
#173 Be Kinder than necessary.
#139 Never deprive someone of hope it may be all they have.
#123 Learn to listen. Opportunity sometimes knocks very softly.
#459 Don’t use time or words carelessly. Neither can be retrieved.
#1 Complement (at least) three people every day.
# 221 Don’t major in minor things. (Don’t sweat the small stuff- ain’t no need in you worrying about things you ain’t got control over no how – just turn over it to Jesus and let him work it out)
The book has some good advice.
A pastor in Texas told how one Saturday he bought a swing set for his children. The swing set included swings of course, a seesaw and a slide. And it all came unassembled in a large box. The pastor opened the box, emptied the contents, and jumped right into the assembly process without using the instructions.
After half a day’s work, he said paused to make an assessment and discovered his swing set didn’t look like picture on the box. He even had a few parts left over on the ground. It was then that one of his children asked, "Daddy, is it supposed to look like that?"
The pastor walked back over to the box he had thrown away and inside was a small yellow card with one sentence in bold print. "When all else fails ... read the instructions."
My brothers and my sisters that’s some good advice. "When all else fails ... read the instructions."
Where in the midst of a Presidential Campaign - Who’s going to be in control – Read the instructions - Ps 24:1, Prov. 21:1 - The king’s heart is in the hand of the LORD, as the rivers of water: he turneth it whithersoever he will.
When you look at your income and your outgoing, and you’ve got more going out than you do coming in – Read the instructions - Ps. 37:25
Night’s when you wish you wasn’t alone – Night’s when that fear factor would like to kick in – read the instructions – Ps. 91:10-11 - There shall no evil befall thee, neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling…
Following good instructions is always the right thing to do. For you do know that you don’t know everything. I know we like to believe that we do. We sometimes unknowingly act like we do. But reality is you ought to ask somebody something sometime.
We need good advice and that’s why we have the Bible. It is the authority on information and inspiration because it has Jesus, as the Master teacher. Jesus teaches about almost everything but more importantly, he acted out his teachings. There’s no contrast between what he said and what he did. No one could point out any indiscrepencies between his lifestyle and his message. He was the same all the time.
And if we dare to call ourselves Christians: Christ-like. We’ve got to put forth an effort in perfecting holiness. Perfecting – ing – denotes continual action – you won’t arrive at holiness in this life but you can put forth an effort. You’ll never be sinless but ought to at least be able to say with the writer who wrote ‘I have never reached perfection but, I’ve tried.”
It was also said concerning Jesus that he taught with authority. Meaning he did more than just give us a good nudge and point us in the right direction. Jesus commands us at times. Jesus doesn’t drop subtle hints he tells us this is what you need to do!