Today we continue in our monthly focus on Living on Purpose, with a message called, “Loving on Purpose.”
We’ve been looking at John 15.
Two weeks ago, we looked at our dependence upon the sustenance of Jesus, just as a branch is dependent upon the vine.
Jesus is the Vine, and we are the Branches.
Our Heavenly Father is the Gardener who is able to remove fruitless branches and prune the fruitful.
Last week, we saw that we need to remain in Jesus, and He remains in us.
His Word needs to remain in us, as well. It has to get into us, FIRST, in order to then remain in us.
- Remain in Jesus
- Remain in His Word
Thus, in our dependence upon God, we must live by His Word.
In today’s verses, we will see that we are to remain in something else: the Love of God.
Let’s read from John 15:9-17
9 “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. 10 If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept 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. 12 My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. 14 You are my friends if you do what I command. 15 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. 16 You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you. 17 This is my command: Love each other.
- Remaining in Love
We can accidentally fall in love.
I recall when I first met Clover, she was one of many young ladies that I was attracted to.
I was a teenager, and had no ida how powerful love can be, until one day in 1980, I found myself falling in love with Clover.
We’ve been married since 1982, but that is not by accident. That was by sheer will power on Clover’s part, I can promise you.
Falling in love may seem random or even by accident, but staying in love is not.
We must live on purpose…we must love on purpose.
Jesus spent about three years teaching and preaching, making miracles and answering difficult questions of his day.
During that time, people were attracted to him, but when his ministry on earth came to a close, only his mother and one of his disciples, John, was with him.
All others had abandoned him.
Most likely if we had lived at that time, and had followed Jesus, we probably would have abandoned him, in his darkest hour, too.
Yet, the story of Jesus continues in that He arose from the grave on the third day after his execution, and he spent 40 days with his followers.
Then he ascended to heaven, but a short time later, sent the Holy Spirit of God to the people of God and formed the Church.
Remember, this building is NOT a “church” but it is a “building that houses a church.”
Jesus said that He would build His church and the gates of Hades would not prevail against it.
The church is Jesus’ body, and we are not able to take a break from being part of the church.
Either we are a healthy part of the church or we are an unhealthy part.
God the Father can separate us from His Church if we no longer produce fruit, and honestly, that is scary.
But, also, He prunes us that we would be more fruitful.
All of this is so that we would remain in love.
This is so that we would live on purpose. In fact, God calls us to love on purpose.
The best way to remain in love with someone is to spend time with them, which is why God has given us His Word and His Spirit.
But that is also why He has given us His Church.
The three gifts God gives to us:
- His Word
- Prayer (Spirit)
Are given that we might be able to live on purpose.
And to love on purpose.
We cannot remain in God’s Love and at the same time remain outside of the Church.
The Church is God’s Idea, not man’s.
In fact, what is wrong with any church community is not God’s fault, but it is the fault of people.
Yet, rather than linger on that negative thought too long, let’s look at that Scripture, again:
Notice that how often “Love” as a verb and as a noun is written. And note how often “you” is written or implied.
9 “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now [you] remain in my love. 10 If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept 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. 12 My command is this: [you] Love each other as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. 14 You are my friends if you do what I command. 15 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. 16 You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you. 17 This is my command: [you] Love each other.
Love: 9 times
You: 21 times
We are the “YOU” that He calls to remain in His love.
- How to Remain in His Love
- Honesty with God
An honest relationship is necessary.
David sinned greatly as a murderer and an adulterer, but throughout his life, we see an honest transparency between David and God.
David’s words are available for us, thus, we see that David, though he was the greatest king, was exposed for his kingdom and for us, too.
When we don’t see David being transparent before God is when he was sinfully involved with Bathsheba, and God has to send the prophet, Nathan, to rebuke and correct him.
Moses was honest with God about what he was going through, and that honesty allowed him to even receive instruction from his father-in-law.
Ruth, Hannah, Samuel, Elijah, Isaiah, Jeremiah and others were transparent and honest in their relationships with God and with other.
- Honesty with each other
God calls us to love Him and to love each other.
Isolation is not love.
Let us be people who love each other, and notice that the term love is used as a noun and as a verb in these verses.
- It is something we can remain in…
- and it is something we are to do.
And in both cases, Jesus commands this of us.
How can we do it?
First being honest with God, then with each other.
And, we must obey orders.
- Keep His Commands
How do we remain in His Love?
Keep my commands
In general, Jesus has affirmed all commands of the Old Testament relating to Morality and Righteousness.
He expanded the commands regarding murder and adultery to include hatred and lust.
Specifically, here, he gives this command:
Love one another.
How are we to do this according to Jesus’ teaching here:
- As he loved us
- He gave himself for us
- This is the greatest of loves
- As His Friends
- Abraham was a friend of God
- Jesus calls us into the same relationship
- Not merely servants
- As Chosen
- Jesus said he chose the disciples, they didn’t choose him
- As well, he has chosen us, we have not chosen him
- Since He has chosen us, how should we behave? He wants to choose others, too.
- As Obedient Ones
- Compliant with His Will, Word and Ways
- Obedience is how societies live in peace with each other, and rebellion is the opposite of this
- When we are obedient to God and His commands, then we will live according to God’s Love
- Why? Because God IS Love.
What we read today were Jesus’ words reported by John, but in John’s first letter, we receive words that are John’s sermon to the church in Ephesus, where he lived at the end of his life.
7 Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. 8 Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. 9 This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. 10 This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. 11 Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12 No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.
13 This is how we know that we live in him and he in us: He has given us of his Spirit. 14 And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. 15 If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in them and they in God. 16 And so we know and rely on the love God has for us.
God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them. 17 This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment: In this world we are like Jesus. 18 There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.
19 We love because he first loved us. 20 Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen. 21 And he has given us this command: Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister.
1 John 4:7-21
We are to love God.
We are to love each other.
We are to love on purpose.
When we read Scripture, we must read as not only written to us, personally, but to all believers.
Remember that during this focus, I want us to see how we can apply the message to the priorities of our lives:
Priorities in Life
God: When we love one another, then we are truly loving God.
Family: If we don’t love our families, then who will love them
(I’ve mentioned that every week, but it is true), and we must take care of our families.
But, we cannot allow our families to stand between us and the gospel.
Jesus didn’t, as his family thought he was crazy.
He warned us that family could stand between us and Him.
So, while we must love our families, we must love God, first.
This is helpful for us as parents, in that we must not give our kids whatever they want…that is not love…
Professions: If we are people who love one another, especially the church, but not limited to that, then we are able to share compassion with the world, which is what the world desperately needs.
Community: Our communities are changing.
For me, community is all around the world, via Facebook, What’s App, Email, Texting, etc.
If I love the community, and really love them according to the guidance of the Holy Spirit and the Word of God, then I will be a blessing to the community.
Church: This is where Satan loves to mess up love. He wants to destroy families and communities, and he often attacks a church.
But we must NOT GIVE UP. He can be stopped. We don’t need to give into the temptations of the World that says, “why go to that big church, or why go to that little church?”
Don’t listen to the flesh that says, “You don’t need church, and they don’t need you.”
And don’t listen to Satan who says, “The church would be so much better if they listened to you.”
God calls us to Love on Purpose.
He calls us to Live on purpose.
Not by accident
Let’s Pray and commit ourselves to loving God and each other, ON PURPOSE