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My God is…My Friend John 15:12-14

John 15:12-14 My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this: to

Love one another

lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.

You are my friends if you do what I command

I know, I know, I have said it time and time again. God’s love is unconditional. It is not what we do, but what He does. And even though at first glance this verse would seem to contradict that, I believe it doesn’t. Here’s why: It is not that he would not be our friends, it’s that doing what he commanded is evidence of our friendship with Him.

So what is Jesus commanding us to do? 

I included verse 12 in our reading for today to make it clear what command Jesus was talking about when He said, “You are my friends if you do what I command.” Verse 12 says, “My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” He is telling the disciples (ahead of time) that they will see evidence of His love for them as he dies on the cross, and here He is calling them, and us, to “Love each other as I have loved you.”

A tall order

Jesus is calling us to love others as He has loved us. Yeah, but wait – he died for us. That’s a pretty tall order. I’m pretty sure most of us will not be called to lay down our life for someone else, but perhaps it also includes putting other people’s needs before our own. It reminds me of the JOY method my boys learned at their school in St. Louis. The Joy method is putting Jesus first, Others second, Yourself third.

Loving others is a response to knowing Jesus

In Bible study on Tuesday night, in preparation for studying Philippians, we went to Acts to learn about how the people of the church at Philippi came to know the Lord. We heard about Lydia and her family. How the Lord opened her heart and she believed. As soon as she believed she was moved to be baptized and then showed the others that she loved and cared about them by inviting them into her home. We also learned about the jail guard who was present when God opened the jail doors and loosened the chains around Paul and Silas. He thought they had escaped, but when he saw they were still there, he asked, “What must I do to be saved?”. They told him Believe in Jesus. He and his whole household believed. Then he cleaned their wounds (they had been beaten badly before ending up in jail), and as soon as they were cleaned up, the guard and his family were baptized. Then he gave them something to eat. But then guess what…Paul and Silas returned to their cell.

Loving Others isn’t always easy

Sometimes people make it really hard for us to love others and be their friend. They treat us poorly or worse yet treat someone we love poorly. It makes us angry and blocks our relationship with them and Jesus. Only when we focus on what is most important, our relationship with God, can we treat others with love, even when they don’t deserve it. Let’s be honest, most of the time, I don’t deserve other people’s love. I can be cranky, unkind and self-centered. But others love me despite my faults. I pray I too can do that with others.

Is loving others easy for you?

 
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Posted by on November 15, 2012 in John, My God is My Friend

 

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My God is…Commanding John 15:12

John 15:12 – This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.

Love one another as I have loved you

Love one another as I have loved you

This is my commandment

In John 15:12, Jesus is talking with His followers, trying to give them the low-down just before He is going to go to the cross. They don’t know what’s coming, but He does. To be commanding means to draw attention or priority. Here Jesus is trying to put His ministry in a nutshell, His elevator pitch of sorts. This is what I want you to do. This is what I want your priority to be. This is what I want you to give your attention to doing. Jesus said, of all of the things He could have commanded, “Love one another as I have loved you.”

Love one another

Easier said than done, right. We all have known our share of unlovable people, haven’t we? I remember way back when I was teaching (for a whole year and a half), there was a little boy named Howard. Howard was super smart. You couldn’t get anything past Howard. He didn’t do his homework much, but he probably already knew everything I was teaching at the time anyway. Needless to say a bored, creative, young man was bound to push the boundaries a little. I remember one day he had been less than nice to a younger student who was annoying him. He said to me, “You can’t make me like him.” I said I didn’t care if he liked him. I told him the Bible didn’t say we had to like people, it said we have to love them. That means treating them kindly and not threatening to beat them up. He, in his wisdom, thought that made a lot of sense. He was thrilled, “So I don’t have to like him? ” he asked. “Nope, but you do have to love him.” I said. “I can do that.” He said and ran outside to play.

Love vs. Like

Are we always likable? No, I don’t think we are, but Jesus loved us anyway. He loved us so much that He laid down His life for us, so we could spend eternity with Him in heaven. So how do we love the unlovable. Sometimes, for me, it seems like loving the unlovable is best done by doing the opposite of what I want to do. I see someone I don’t particularly care for, or am uncomfortable around and my tendency would be to look the other way or walk away. God would call us to reach out to that person with care and concern. How about the person who has stabbed you in the back. It may be a bit much to think you’re going to go out of your way to find ways to love them, but perhaps even just forgiving them and being cordial in their presence. Not easy, but it is what we’re called to do. We don’t have to like them, but we’re called to love them. How about at church? Are there people who get under your skin? Maybe they said something that was off-color or unkind, and you don’t want anything to do with them. Even if you can’t bring yourself to go up to them, you might add them to your prayer list, and maybe even pray that one day you would be able to show them love.

WARNING – if you pray something like that, you’ll probably be given an opportunity to see if you can love them. EEEK!

That you love one another as I have loved you

Jesus calls us to love one another as he has loved us, unconditionally. He doesn’t love us more when we’re good and less when we’re bad. He just loves us. And he loves us so much He died for us. The verse that follows the verse above says how we are to love one another.  “Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.” We have to put others needs ahead of our own, like Jesus put our needs above His own desires. This is His command for us. This is what He wants us to pay attention to in our lives. This is what we need to make a priority in our lives. Love one another.

 
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Posted by on October 16, 2012 in John, My God is Commanding

 

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