Life of Love
Last week, we looked at Jesus declaring himself to be the true vine and we are the branches.
The purpose of the vine is to bear fruit.
It has no other useful purpose.
It is not good for making furniture, be used in construction, nor is it good for making fire.
Its sole useful purpose is to bear fruit.
The purpose of Christian life is also to bear fruit.
We are not called to just believe in Jesus and be saved, but to expand God’s Kingdom here on earth.
Our ultimate purpose is to bring glory to God, and God is glorified when we live the life that bears fruit.
And we can only bear fruit when we abide/remain in Jesus.
v. 5 – “I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.”
When we abide in Jesus, we will bear fruit, and we will find meaning and joy in our lives.
To abide in Christ is not a passive thing.
It requires our will, strength, and might.
There are many things in this world that tempt us, but we must put those things aside and make commitment to abide in Christ.
I pray that we all will bear much fruit in our lives, by committing to abide in Christ through our will, heart, strength, and might.
I pray that the joy of God will be full in our lives, as Jesus promises us in verse 11.
Our text today tells us what abiding in Jesus Christ looks like.
To summarize in one sentence, the life of abiding in Christ is the life of love.
vv. 12, 17 – “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you… These things I command you, so that you will love one another.”
To abide is Christ is to love one another.
Today, we are going to look at three things about this life of love.
First, what does this life of love look like; second, what is the end result of this life of love; and finally, the motivation behind the life of love.
First, what does this life of love look like?
John is a disciple characterized by love.
He called himself the disciple whom Jesus loved.
He puts lots of emphasis on love.
There are few words that means love in Greek, and two that occurs the most in the Bible are agape and phileo.
In Matthew, agape is used 9 times and phileo 5.
Mark, agape is used 6 times and phileo once.
Luke uses agape 14 times and phileo twice.
But John uses agape 44 times and phileo 13 times.
It is because John was written later than the other synoptic Gospels, and thus reflects the mature theology of the late 1st century Christianity that emphasizes love.
Love is vitally important to Christianity.
As all of commandments can be summed up into loving God and loving neighbors, love takes center stage in our faith.
Then what does this love look like?
Love is not a feeling, but will and commitment.
Often times, people associate love with feeling and emotion.
When you see someone, your heart beats faster, your head gets lighter, and you feel something different inside of you, and you call that love.
When we are attracted to something we called that love.
Of course, this is not completely wrong.
We are designed to be attracted to things and people we find appealing.
But this is not what love is all about.
Feelings and emotions comes and go, and do not last.
That pretty girl, beauty won’t last.
Well, un-pretty can’t even start at all. (LOL)
True love is present when one is devoted, committed, and acts.
v. 13 – “Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.”
True love is living for others, even through sacrificing one’s own life.
That is what the love of parents are so great.
Today is Father’s Day.
Particularly in Korean American culture, the Father’s Day is often just glanced over.
May be it is because the love of mother is so grand.
People tear up when they hear the word “mother.”
But what about father?
Their love, sacrifice, and dedication to their family are amazing.
(When you look at many of the gifted students, you learn that the role of the father is extremely important.)
They work so hard, but unfortunately they are often under-appreciated.
Here’s to all the fathers out there.
Parents sacrifice themselves for their children.
Whenever there is an accident or tragedy, parents often put their own safety at risk for the safety of their children.
That is true love.
I wonder if we are ever able to love this way.
It is difficult to sacrifice one’s own life for the sake of others.
There is no greater love than this.
But there are smaller steps we can take to love others.
We need to put others before ourselves.
It is thinking about the needs of others before I think about my own benefit.
It is understanding the other person and embracing them for who they are.
Even if it costs me something, it is being dedicated for the sake of others.
I pray that this love will richly over flow in our lives.
Secondly, what happens when we do love?
We became friends of Jesus.
vv. 14-15 – “You are my friends if you do what I command you. No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you.”
When we obey the words of Christ, we become his friends.
There is only one person who was directly called a friend of God – Abraham.
Then, what a privilege it is for us to be called Jesus’ friend!
This is amazing grace and blessing.
But what does the word friend mean here?
The Greek word used here refers to the friend of the court.
It refers to those who are close confidant of the King.
They know the will of the king and acts upon it.
They know what the king wants and they carry it out.
It is like David’s friends, who knew that David was thirsty when they were on the run, and risked their own lives to find water and brought it back to David.
So to be the Lord’s friend means to know what the Lord wants and living the life that Lord desires.
It is the life of loving one another to the end.
Lastly, how then can we live the life of love for others, even to the point of sacrificing our own?
This is the motivation of the life of love.
We love, because we were loved first.
v. 16 – “You did not choose men, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you.”
We can love, because Jesus chose us and appointed us to the life of love.
We did not choose Jesus, but he chose us first.
He chose us for what? – the life that bears fruit, the life of love.
And when he chose us, he did something for us.
He died for us.
In order to appoint us to the life of love, Jesus demonstrated the life of love to the end.
He gave up his life for us.
The one who said “greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friend,” actually laid his own life down.
But you know what is amazing?
People can sometimes lay down their lives for their absolute close friends.
They can lay down their lives for their family or for their country, perhaps.
But no one lays down their lives for their enemies.
And that is precisely what Jesus Christ did – he laid his life down for his enemies.
Who are his enemies?
It is you and me.
We sinned and rebelled against God, and became his enemies.
When we went against God’s will, we have become his enemies.
But I have not really been that bad, you might say.
Do you know why it was the nose that grew when Pinocchio lied?
It is because there is no limit to the length of nose.
If Pinocchio’s mouth grew or his eyes became bigger when he lied, this punishment is restricted by the size of Pinocchio’s head.
But there is no limit as to how long his nose can grow.
What does this mean?
It alludes to our capacity of lying.
Some people say that our languages developed into what it is today in order to accommodate our lies.
This is just one portion of our depravity, but it goes to show how wicked and evil we are.
But Jesus gave up his life for such evil people as us, sworn enemies of God.
Romans 5:6-8, 10 – “For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person – though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die – but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us… For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life.”
What an amazing love of God!
This is Christ’s love for us.
He chose us, gave up his life for us, and loved us to the end.
And he now calls us to love one another.
If there is anyone here today who do not yet know this love of God, I ask that you go to God and ask him to show you this love.
Pray that this amazing love of Christ come and melt your heart.
May the Spirit of our Lord come into your heart so that the love of God may spring up within you.
And to all of you who know this love, please…share this love.
May you abide in Jesus, share Christ’s love, and bear much fruit in your lives.
Putting others’ interests first, sacrificial and loving life…
May that kind of love over flow in each and every one of us here at the True Light Community Church.