We’re living in a really lawless era where the ideas of love and commands are perceived to be complete opposites.There is an assumed agreement in society that to be loved is to be equal (meaning without any hierarchy in relationships) and to be able to do exactly what one wishes with no requirement of any sort being made by the ‘lover’ of the ‘lovee’ ... the person being loved.And the point is that love costs … not just giving it but receiving it – because it lays obligations and responsibilities on us from start to finish.Now THAT is a piece of world view that needs confronting and rewriting before any of us can BEGIN to deal with the implications of Genuine Discipleship, or with the consequences of and consistent, proper response to being a person who has been loved bythe Lord Jesus Christ.Let me give you a human analogy that you really wouldn’t doubt to ensure that I’m communicating clearly here …My wife LOVES me … this will be no great revelation to you … we just don’t go on about it too much because it gets a little pukey and embarrasses the children.But the fact that she does lays an obligation on me … doesn’t it?If someone has given you their heart in RESPONSE to your affection … we’re not dealing here with stalkers … then you have entered a situation where you’ve a duty not to hurt them, not to prevail on their love, not to use or abuse them … and that’s a duty that’s enshrined there in the laws of every land.Christ has loved me.Deeply loved me.I am moved by that love.I am profoundly helped by that love.His love and wisdom and deity are all mingled in together … my LORD has loved me with an ever lasting love.And because He knows and loves me, and because He is all wise and all knowing … and because I know I am none of those things … His love is expressed towards me in commanding me to do what’s right and safe.Why does a GOOD parent command a child?Isn’t it because they DO know best, and know their child and LOVE them?Well of COURSE it is, and their commands do not make them bad parents.We will not get to grips with genuine discipleship to Jesus until we get away from the idea that the loving thing is to let me do what I feel like, and that love and commands are incompatible.The reverse is truly the case.Let’s hit the text …
So what’s the big issue in these verses … here’s a case where a wordle can help us …
This Wordle runs a Java programme that depicts the emphasis in the passage in larger text … so what would you say these verses are about?Well, obviously, commands, love and joy figure pretty large in there!In our world the big ideas in these verses are assumed to be simply incompatible.But that’s just an inconsistent assumption … because we’re not living along with its outworking in our relationships and in our daily lives.Commands, love, joy, friends … why can’t they and why shouldn’t they go together?If we’re lawless and self-centred and assertive … then it’s no wonder we have problems with these verses.But if we are converted, Christian people then we’ve repented of that and submitted to Christ’s loving authority.We’ve finished with living out OUR life, and we’re committed now to living out HIS.It’s what Paul talks about in Galatians 2:20 …
So … commands?In the Gospel?Yes!Commands!When Jesus started out His mission and His ministry He came issuing commands to the faith: Mk. 1:15 “the Kingdom of God is at hand. Repent and believe the Good News.”Now the Good News is that Christ forgives our sin and puts us right with God by grace through faith alone … isn’t it?But what IS it that SUCH faith believes?Such faith trusts and takes God at His Word … His Word that sin is actually bad and that it needs repelling and repudiating, not just letting go of … and such faith therefore repents of its sins.It needs to.It needs to because our God is HOLY … and His fellowship is for those who will leave off living for sinning in order to share a new life with Him.He won’t have fellowship with sinning … so the faith that believes what He says and that TRUSTS Him leading to rrepentance is the only way to walkk on with Him.Read v. 10 here …
If you’re going to remain in His love, then your salvation which is by faith (trusting Him) from first through ‘til last has got to break it off with a life lived for sinning in order to remain in His love.See?Just check these three slides here to summarise these points …
Now perhaps there are those out there who’ve believed the lies of the sinful for so long they begin to think that this sounds boring.It begins to sound hard, austere and miserable, and after all life's hard enough, right?So let’s ask this verse why we should do this …
Here comes why …
The very idea that repudiating living for sin’s pleasures makes you miserable and glum is an absolute lie of the devil!And neither does it leave you unpopular and unappreciated.You reckon with living not your life, but mine, says Jesus and I’LL be taking such great joy in you!Think back to what it meant to you as a child, to hear that your Mam or your Dad’s proud of you.Not everyone heard that.Not everyone who deserved it … but you might remember (as some of us do) how much that you frequently longed to?!And Jesus says this … if your faith leads to repentance and you stick with its lifestyle, then I will not only be proud but my joy’ll be in you.Tell me … where is Jesus at this moment in time in these verses?He’s at His last meal, because He’ll shortly be going to … His Father.So where’s He now?Jesus has gone to the Father.Today we look around MaesElfryn, but He looks around Heaven, and says if YOU keep my commandments my joy’s not SO much in Heaven as my joy’ll be found wrapped up in YOU.How would THAT be?“… I have told you this so that my joy may be in you.”But there’s more …“… and that your joy may be complete.”
If you’ve put your trust in Jesus (we call this thing ‘faith’) and have therefore turned from living for sin to living life following Him (we call this ‘repentance’) you’re living the life of complete human joy … and your God is rejoicing in you.Now I KNOW that we hear every day … all day long … that complete joy lies everywhere else.People tell you all those things to SELL things.People tell you those things to get you to go into things that they’re in, feel bad about, but will feel better if they see that you too are doing them with them!And then there’s non-genuine discipleship.Non-genuine discipleship claims to be genuine discipleship but looks as miserable as sin because … it IS sin.It poses as discipleship to Christ, but it lives much to close to its own selfish sinful ambitions … and it’s even more miserable than honest, open up-front sinning can make you!It lives the lie … and it tells you the lie … that obedience to Christ cheapens YOUR life.Let’s hear Jesus: “If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father's commands and remain in his love.11 I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.”OK then – for complete joy – what is it, O Lord, you want from us?You’re going – we get it – we’ll be on our own in this band of brothers soon now without you, so let’s be clear … what is the command you are giving us?
‘Here’s the thing,’ says Jesus … in case you haven’t seen the point of the last three years yet …‘what you’ve seen me doing for you in the context of our cosy little band of brothers over the last three years … all that talking and listening and caring and sharing, remember?And just now when we came in here and your feet were sweaty but nobody’d made any provision of foot cleansing for our tired, dusty aching feet? And I saw you were as tired as I was from the journey and bending over the bowl to wash your own feet was going to be a tedious pain in the back for you (hardened fisherman types from the North) … and I took it upon myself to get the towel out and wash off your feet?Do you really think all that was for nothing?Jesus has been showing them love for their little Gospel Community by caring for each other and carrying each others burdens so as to fulfil the Law of Christ and now (very near the end of the on-going lesson on how to live together as a Gospel shaped community conscious of the enormous love & care of God) Jesus says … you’ve HAD the demonstration.All of that was very intentional and purposeful.What you’ve been having from me was demonstration and example … but now I’m going … so here y’go: “love each other as I have loved you.”His conduct amongst them has been itself quite descriptiveIt portrayed and described for them the love of their God.Now on the eve of His departure He says ‘now this is prescriptive’.‘Be sure you Love each other as I have loved you.’He could see their varying characters, what was godly in each of them and what clearly was not … can’t you see that here was the biggest ask He’d make of them?He was going to need to say more about how …
The Lord’s commandment is to love … and here’s how you do it … you lay down your life for your friends.Who are the friends in this context?Firstly there are the disciples … Jesus is talking about His own love, which sets the agenda for the rest of us.It’s easy to forget in modern Western Christianity that discipleship means following, and we’re following a CRUCIFIED Messiah.He’s going (soon) to lay down His life for them – He calls them His friends.So secondly they are these other disciples, who are laying down their lives for one another.There’s the towel incident.There’s the example of all the loving, caring and sharing of the last three years’ ministry.And they’re going to have to learn to keep this up in His absence … whatever their natural differences … which are many.They’ll have to lay down their lives for one another.Thirdly, they are the friends of Jesus now (v. 14) … and all of them are going to be laying down their lives – eventually - for Him.Either from Scripture or from fairly reliable tradition … once Judas has left the room … those early disciples are so convinced and so transformed by the power of the love of Jesus Christ in their life that they will live the rest of it and lay down the rest of it in serving Him.That’s how to stay in His love.That’s how to BE His joyThat’s how to live in the complete joy Christ gives.Laying down your life for your friends because He laid down HIS life for you … who He’s made His friend.
And that’s what authenticates genuine discipleship, genuine following of genuine Jesus.
So where does that ‘clash’ with the idea of Grace-based salvation?I was going to have a whole second heading here … having opened up the text and just sorted out what it was saying I was going to deal with the ‘problem’ it raises of keeping commandments being the authenticating element of Grace-based salvation.So that’s why I’d put up here: ‘The clash with grace-based salvation’ … but it doesn’t.Because faith is God’s gift which (when you believe the facts He teaches and trust the One Who’s speaking) leads to repentance … simply because we’ve come to believe that what He says is true and right and what we’ve been acting on is false and wrong.What we repent from is living in defiance of His commandments and what we repent into is trusting Him and (however feebly and however much we depend on fresh forgiveness each day) therefore keeping His commandments.There IS no clash with grace-based salvation!
Genuine discipleship is characterised by the faith that leads to repentance and follows Jesus into the radical and world changing area of loving one another.Not niggling and striving and nit picking each other.Loving one another.It is a HUGE challenge … but it’s also a huge practical part of the life and challenge of Genuine discipleship.And huge trenches of Welshmen and Welshwomen see nothing but inauthentic discipleship and on the basis of what they see reject the course of Genuine discipleship to Genuine Jesus, and pass into the night.And that’s tragic.And I can’t imagine that Jesus won’t have a lot to say on that subject, on the day that He returns in Glory.Mebbe it’s time to abandon the category ‘chapel’ and embrace loving, living, life-shaping Gospel community?
Obedience and faith john 15 vv 10 14
John 15:10-14• Introduction
John 15:10-14• Introduction• The text, vv. 10-14“If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just asI have obeyed my Fathers commands and remain in his love.11 I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and thatyour joy may be complete.12 My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.13 Greater love has no-one than this, that he lay down his lifefor his friends.14 You are my friends if you do what I command.”
John 15:10-14• Introduction• The text, vv. 10-14 – Commands?!
John 15:10-14• Introduction• The text, vv. 10-14 – Commands?! V. 10 • “If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Fathers commands and remain in his love.”
John 15:10-14• Introduction• The text, vv. 10-14 – Commands?! • “If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Fathers commands and remain in his love.” • Jesus commands
John 15:10-14• Introduction• The text, vv. 10-14 – Commands?! • “If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Fathers commands and remain in his love.” • Jesus commands • Jesus obeys His Father’s commands … It’s a following of Him!
John 15:10-14• Introduction• The text, vv. 10-14 – Commands?! • “If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Fathers commands and remain in his love.” • Jesus commands • It’s a following of Him • (Thus) you will remain in my love
John 15:10-14• Introduction• The text, vv. 10-14 – Commands?! – Why?!
John 15:10-14• Introduction• The text, vv. 10-14 – Commands?! – Why?! • That my may be in you
John 15:10-14• Introduction• The text, vv. 10-14 – Commands?! – Why?! • That my joy may be in you • So that may be
John 15:10-14• Introduction• The text, vv. 10-14 – Commands?! – Why? – What? (vv. 12-14)“My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.13 Greater love has no-one than this, that he lay down his life forhis friends.14 You are my friends if you do what I command”
John 15:10-14• Introduction• The text, vv. 10-14 – Commands?! – Why? – What? • Here’s what, v. 12 “Love each other as I have loved you”
John 15:10-14• Introduction• The text, vv. 10-14 – Commands?! – Why? – What? • Here’s what • Here’s how, v. 13 “Greater love has no-one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.”
John 15:10-14• Introduction• The text, vv. 10-14 – Commands?! – Why? – What? • Here’s what • Here’s how • Here’s what authenticates followers of Jesus v. 14 “You are my friends if you do what I command.”
John 15:10-14• Introduction• The text, vv. 10-14• The ‘clash’ with Grace-based salvation?
John 15:10-14• Introduction• The text, vv. 10-14• The ‘clash’ with Grace-based salvation• Conclusion
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