Just as I have loved you
Open your Bibles to John chapter 13 and I would like for you to listen as I read most of this chapter.
1 Now before the Feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart out of this world to the Father, having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end. 2 During supper, when the devil had already put it into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, to betray him, 3 Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going back to God, 4 rose from supper. He laid aside his outer garments, and taking a towel, tied it around his waist. 5 Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel that was wrapped around him. 6 He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Lord, do you wash my feet?” 7 Jesus answered him, “What I am doing you do not understand now, but afterward you will understand.” 8 Peter said to him, “You shall never wash my feet.” Jesus answered him, “If I do not wash you, you have no share with me.” 9 Simon Peter said to him, “Lord, not my feet only but also my hands and my head!” 10 Jesus said to him, “The one who has bathed does not need to wash, except for his feet, but is completely clean. And you are clean, but not every one of you.” 11 For he knew who was to betray him; that was why he said, “Not all of you are clean.” 12 When he had washed their feet and put on his outer garments and resumed his place, he said to them, “Do you understand what I have done to you? 13 You call me Teacher and Lord, and you are right, for so I am. 14 If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. 15 For I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done to you. 16 Truly, truly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. 17 If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them. 18 I am not speaking of all of you; I know whom I have chosen. But the Scripture will be fulfilled, ‘He who ate my bread has lifted his heel against me.’ 19 I am telling you this now, before it takes place, that when it does take place you may believe that I am he. 20 Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever receives the one I send receives me, and whoever receives me receives the one who sent me.” 21 After saying these things, Jesus was troubled in his spirit, and testified, “Truly, truly, I say to you, one of you will betray me.” 22 The disciples looked at one another, uncertain of whom he spoke. 23 One of his disciples, whom Jesus loved, was reclining at table close to Jesus, 24 so Simon Peter motioned to him to ask Jesus of whom he was speaking. 25 So that disciple, leaning back against Jesus, said to him, “Lord, who is it?” 26 Jesus answered, “It is he to whom I will give this morsel of bread when I have dipped it.” So when he had dipped the morsel, he gave it to Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot. 27 Then after he had taken the morsel, Satan entered into him. Jesus said to him, “What you are going to do, do quickly.” 28 Now no one at the table knew why he said this to him. 29 Some thought that, because Judas had the moneybag, Jesus was telling him, “Buy what we need for the feast,” or that he should give something to the poor. 30 So, after receiving the morsel of bread, he immediately went out. And it was night. 31 When he had gone out, Jesus said, “Now is the Son of Man glorified, and God is glorified in him. 32 If God is glorified in him, God will also glorify him in himself, and glorify him at once. 33 Little children, yet a little while I am with you. You will seek me, and just as I said to the Jews, so now I also say to you, ‘Where I am going you cannot come.’ 34 A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. 35 By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” ESV
My subject today is “just as I have loved you” – focusing on verses 34 and 35 but verses 1-33 supplies us with the background and context of these two verses
1. New Hope, the characteristic that we are recognized by is to love.
2. Love is the umbrella characteristic a pavilion over which we find the other qualities that we have been preaching about, i.e. discipline and forgiveness.
3. To explain this clearer; love is the major characteristic and a subset of love is discipline (you discipline one another because you love one another) and another subset of love is forgiveness (you are able to forgive one another because you love one another)
4. And all of this is wrapped up in love and the fact that I am a receiver of this love from almighty God by His grace, His unmerited favor upon me. And the older you get, the more you can understand this by realizing what the Lord had done and is doing in your own life
5. This text, John 13:34-35, makes three points; a new focus, a new standard, and a new outcome
6. Jesus’ commandment gives a new focus – listen to the commandment that these men would be familiar with from the law and the prophets, what we now call the Old Testament
Leviticus 19:18 18 You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against the sons of your own people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the Lord. ESV
7. We are to still love our neighbors yes but Jesus makes our love more intense and actually more direct
8. With your neighbor a question can be asked and answered; who is my neighbor and one can say anyone based on where you are.
a. At home your neighbor may be the person living in the house with you, next door to you, across the street from you or even down the street from you
b. At work your neighbor may be the person who shares the office with you or work with or around where you work
c. On the highway your neighbor may be the cars around you or the one pull off on the side needing assistance
d. Traveling, your neighbor may be the one sitting in the seat next to you
e. Your neighbor may be someone you see on a regular basis or someone you meet once and may never see again
9. This new focus is that and so much more; from love your neighbor to love one another
10. So who is the ‘one another’ and it is here where the context is so important for it is in John chapter 13 where we find a good definition of the ‘one another’
11. Verse one; Now before the Feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart out of this world to the Father, having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end.
12. ‘One another’ here are the disciples and if we take a close look we see who they are when applied to ourselves
13. They are followers of Jesus who may include the biological family members, like Peter and Andrew and James and John but also may not include all biological family members like Jesus’ brothers and sisters, Peter’s mother-in- law nor his wife if she is still alive, and James and John’s dad.
14. In our day the ‘one another’ would be you and I, we who make up the local church, the local church membership
15. Notice something else here about the ‘one another’ only two characters besides Jesus are mentioned by name; Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot and Simon Peter and even though the commandment is given after Judas departure from the disciples, verse one still says that Jesus loves them to the end
16. So this new focus is about the love we are to have with the you and I people who makes up this fellowship called New Hope again the membership
17. The point is not so much to try to find who Judas is, remember the disciples asked is it I when the knowledge of betrayal was mentioned to them by Jesus.
18. But on the same level it is to love the ‘one another’ who are obvious, like Peter, you don’t know how many times I have identified with my name sake suffering from ‘foot in mouth’ disease. Or having the mouth in gear before the heart has been engaged
19. Jesus says; ‘a new commandment I give unto you, that you love one another!’
20. There is a new standard – ‘just as I have loved you’. The old standard was as you love yourself, but look at where the bar has been raised to, ‘just as I have loved you’
21. This is a statement that is both plural and personal, and not to be taken likely.
22. It is what you may call the high point of this sermon because it takes the image off of you the old commandment and places it on Jesus.
23. Again the context helps make this clearer
24. Look again at John 13:1-5
Now before the Feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart out of this world to the Father, having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end. 2 During supper, when the devil had already put it into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, to betray him, 3 Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going back to God, 4 rose from supper. He laid aside his outer garments, and taking a towel, tied it around his waist. 5 Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel that was wrapped around him.
25. Jesus who has humbled Himself and is about to suffer and die, humbles himself more in the awareness of who He is and the authority that He has; ‘Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into His hands, and that He had come from God and was going back to God, humbles Himself more by washing the disciples feet.
26. With this amazing awareness, Jesus takes on the role of a menial servant (a job reserved for a slave not a King and especially the King of kings)
27. Again, my man Peter foot in mouth disease, He has to be corrected, I don’t know about you, but I can identify with Peter again, if anything, I should be washing the King of kings feet and never lifting my head up! But He is setting a standard here.
28. What’s amazing is that from the context, Jesus also washes Judas’ feet knowing that he would betray him
29. Can you see the standard – just as I have loved you
30. It is in the standard ‘just as I have loved you’ listen
a. The remainder of John 13 speaks of this love; “having loved His own who were in the world, he loved them to the end.” How?
b. Jesus came to His earth, as the God Man – out of love
c. Jesus lived within His creation – out of love
d. Jesus served the Father – out of love
e. Jesus preached and taught – out of love
f. Jesus worked miracles – out of love
g. Jesus endured with us humans – out of love
h. Jesus suffered – out of love
i. Jesus took on all of our sins from the cradle to the grave – out of love
j. Jesus died on the cross – out of love
k. Jesus rose from the dead – out of love
l. Jesus ascended to heaven – out of love
m. Jesus sent the Holy Spirit – out of love
n. Jesus is our advocate – out of love
o. Jesus will come back for the church, for you and I – out of love
31. That’s the new standard
32. Love one another, just as I have loved you
a. Are you willing to be there for each other – just like Jesus did and Jesus does?
b. Are you willing to live with each other – just like Jesus did and Jesus does?
c. Are you willing to serve the Father for each other – just like Jesus did?
d. Are you willing to preach/teach each other – just like Jesus did?
e. Are you willing to endure and put up with each other – just like Jesus did?
f. How about work, suffer, and even die for each other – just like Jesus did?
g. Are you willing to be an advocate and intercede for each other – just like Jesus did?
33. It is the commitment to say yes to these questions and the covenant to hang in there no matter the cost, is what church membership is about
34. A familiar passage like John 3:16 means more to us or we understand this clearer
35. Warning – there will be spiritual warfare in this area like no where else.
36. You and I will be attacked more than others because
a. You and I will not always be lovely
b. You and I will not always be lovable
c. You and I will be challenged in obeying this commandment
d. What I am saying is that some of our greatest temptation will center around loving and being loved by each other
e. Is there a solution to these attacks?
37. I feel that the solution is in the statement ‘one another’ and understanding that the ‘one another’ is you and I who make up what is called today church membership
38. It is because I am a member of New Hope Baptist church, I am committed to you and you are committed to me, we are committed to one another. And because of this commitment, we have also covenant or made agreement to be there for each other, I will love you with Jesus as my example and role model.
39. There is a new outcome; “By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”
40. By this – all people will know, not wonder, not guess, that you are my (Jesus’) disciples
41. All people means believers and nonbelievers, church goers and non church goers, spiritual and worldly
42. This is an evangelistic tool
43. This is a disciple making tool
44. This is a church edification, church building, tool
45. All people will know that you are the disciples of Jesus. Jesus says that all will know that you are not just disciples of something but disciples of someone – Jesus Christ
46. Are there good illustrations of this in the modern world? And I feel that the Word of God says yes
47. One way this is illustrated is in local church membership a commitment of local believers who are in covenant; and another way it’s illustrated is marriage, a commitment of two people who are in covenant
48. Listen to Ephesians 5:22-33 and pay attention to the reference to the Lord (Jesus Christ)
22 Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. 24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands. 25 Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, 26 that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, 27 so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. 28 In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, 30 because we are members of his body. 31 “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” 32 This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church. 33 However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband. ESV
49. I leave you with this thought and question – can you think of any reason why Jesus would divorce his bride the church? So why do we? And if we are to love as Jesus loved us, why are there splits in our local churches resulting in members no longer having relationships or contacts with each other but both sides will confess that they love the same Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and are doing His work?
50. What is that saying to the world about who we are and whose we are?
51. Just as I have loved you! Listen
12 “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no one than this, that someone lays down his life for his friends. 14 You are my friends if you do what I command you. 15 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. 16 You did not choose me, 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. 17 These things I command you, so that you will love one another. ESV
52. Lord we have gone through ups and downs, agreements and disagreements, love talks and not so loving talks. Your commandment to us is clear and it is not difficult to understand. Help us and remind us of You and what You did, not just for everyone, but for me, when I am faced with loving one another and the temptation is to feel unloved and not loving. Help me to love anyway. When it seems that we are moving off track, let me be the eye for the body and stay focus on the right track in a loving way. When it seems that there is noise, destructive noise all around, Lord, let me be the ears for the body that hear sweet psalms of praise and adorations. When all indications are to run or move or change and go some place else, let me be the feet for the body and remain steadfast, unmovable, abiding in the work of the Lord. Lord help me to love this membership, this fellowship just like you have loved and you are still loving and will continue to love me. In your name Jesus, I pray - Amen
Thank you Lord for this day!
Peter Wilson McCreary Jr. 5/19/2007 9:19 AM