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Abiding Love - Friend

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Abiding in God’s Love – More than a feeling
As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. 10 If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father's commandments and abide in his love. 11 These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full. 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.
Introduction:
Today our Gospel speaks to us of a different kind of love. It is a love that is abiding and one that comes from God to us and us to Him. It is founded in the love the Jesus received from the Father and extends to us. It is more than a good, warm, fuzzy feeling love. It is a love that is unconditional demonstrating a power behind it that even the threat of death cannot stop nor inhibit it.
As the Father has loved me so I have loved you. It is love that began and remains with us. And Jesus tells them to abide in His love. Again we must remember this discourse between Jesus and His disciples is happening during the Last Supper. In a few short hours He will be captured through betrayal, brought before the Sanhedrin, tried, convicted, tortured, and executed.
With all of this looming ahead Jesus tells His disciples that His love for them will continue and foretells that He will be laying down His life for them. And this is true of His love for the Father that He will continue on the journey and mission He has sent Him to do for the world. And if we look closely it tells us of God’s love for us – For God so loved the world that He
Most of know the song by the Beatles – All you need is love… The chorus of it repeats this line and ends with Love is all you need. But the love that Jesus is talking about goes much deeper than what we have come to know through songs like these. It expresses a love that is more powerful
The disciples were to remain in His love and His commands. This is the joy that we have when we truly express our love for God and for Jesus. It is the joy of knowing that we are in a right relationship and that we will follow His commands. It is the joy being in His presence. That kind of joy brings blessings to us
The Psalmist wrote Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; 2 but his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night.
We share in the joy of our salvation and we pattern our lives not as society would have us pattern our lives but as God would have us pattern our lives. To love God and remain in His love is to remain in right relationship with Him and it defines not only ourselves but the community of believers.
The community is defined by God’s love – that we would love one another. It also means that we are willing to give all of ourselves for the community. The result of it is something that far exceeds ourselves. No greater love is there than one lays down his life for another.
Call you Friend You are my friends if you do what I command you. In this passage... You are my friends if you do... Commands Friends are more than acquaintances. Friends are people with whom you have a relationship with that goes deeper than being an acquaintance. Friends are people you can share your thoughts your feeling and your dreams.
A friend is someone you can count on. How would you describe a true friend?
If you opened your contacts in your address book or cell phone how many people could you call and know they would be there in an instant to help or listen to you. That was how someone defined a friend.
Jesus tells his disciples that he is their friend. A friend whom He could count on to carry out the message of His ministry and carry it on. Jesus let them know what was going to happen. He let them know as they would say the inside scoop. He did to give them the confidence that His words were true and encourage them persevere when He was captured and crucified.
Jesus calls us to be His friend, to be His disciple. If we follow His commands and hold them in our hearts – all not just what into our desire or our box then we are His friend. However if we are always trying to prove that He is real or that His commands and teaching are not for or need adjusting for today then we are His acquaintance rather than a friend.
Have we trials and temptations? Is there trouble anywhere? We should never be discouraged— Take it to the Lord in prayer. Can we find a friend so faithful, Who will all our sorrows share? Jesus knows our every weakness; Take it to the Lord in prayer.
God chooses those who love Him and will follow Him:
You did not choose me… I chose you.
Abraham story: You did not choose me I chose you…
3 And Abram said, "Behold, thou hast given me no offspring; and a slave born in my house will be my heir." 4 And behold, the word of the LORD came to him, "This man shall not be your heir; your own son shall be your heir." 5 And he brought him outside and said, "Look toward heaven, and number the stars, if you are able to number them." Then he said to him, "So shall your descendants be." 6 And he believed the LORD; and he reckoned it to him as righteousness.
Moses: God met with Moses in the tabernacle and spoken to him face to face and man would speak to his friend.
Jesus chose his disciples – He said come follow me… The disciples had to make a choice…and like the disciple we too have to make a choice whether we will follow or not…
Jesus tells the disciples and those around him what is required to be a friend. Friends have more than a casual relationship or acquaintance with someone. He calls us friends because we now know what we are to do for Him. Jesus calls us friends because we desire to be with the Father and do His will. We desire to follow Jesus and do what He commands. Slaves do not always like to do what their masters tell them to do... they do it out of obligation, out of requirement, out of necessity. But Jesus calls those who desire to do the Father's will friends – because we do it out of love for God and our desire to serve Him. He calls us friends because we are willing to tell others about His love, His grace and His mercy. He calls us friends because we willing desire to put on His character rather than our own. Paul writes in:
11 Here there cannot be Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free man, but Christ is all, and in all. 12 Put on then, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassion, kindness, lowliness, meekness, and patience, 13 forbearing one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. 14 And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.
God's revealed Love God's love is revealed through Jesus. It is revealed through Jesus' love for the Father. Paul reminds of how great Jesus' love is for the Father and the Father's love for us.
In Paul writes: And being found in human form he humbled himself and became obedient unto death, even death on a cross.
This the kind of love we are express to Jesus first and then to other... Even death on a cross. Death on cross may sound hard and the extreme but a death of a friendship can sometimes feel the same. The question really could be asked - "Do you love someone enough to tell them about Jesus and share God salvation and restoration through Jesus even if meant an end to that friendship. Do you love someone enough to share your faith with them or does your faith get put on the shelf or shoved under a bushel so as to be politically correct.
Joy of Obedience
10 If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father's commandments and abide in his love. 11 These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.
Jesus tells us that when we are obedient there is joy. Jesus found joy in doing what the Father had commanded. And one can only wonder why? But the true joy I believe comes as the Psalmist said from meditating on His word day and night. By doing what His word invites us to do for Him. Listen to what the Psalmist writes: 14 In the way of thy testimonies I delight as much as in all riches. 15 I will meditate on thy precepts, and fix my eyes on thy ways. 16 I will delight in thy statutes; I will not forget thy word. It is when we know God's love and when we abide, when we remain, when we keep, when we cherish, when we guard this love that we find our joy. When we do then God sustains us... Obedience is the key word here... and it is the key to our lives with Christ. It is in our obedience that we truly do find joy because in our obedience we remain with God and without obedience we are removed from God's presence. It is not He who leaves us but us who leave Him.
Conclusion:
Today each one of us has a choice. We can either be an acquaintance of Jesus or be called His friend. We can either know He exists and have a distance relationship or we can have an intimate relation and be part of the His kingdom. God is not some distance deity that sits in the heavens – He is intimate with His creation. He loves His creation and through His Son Jesus has restored the relationship that was broken. He restored it through the New Covenant made through His Son. And you and I have a choice to follow and be grafted into the vine, abide in Him, and share His love with one another and world.
Jesus wants to call you friend… If you have never been given your heart to Him – to say Lord I want to abide in you – Come into my heart so I can be grafted into the vine and follow your will… do it today… And if you ask Him to show you how you be closer to Him and share His love with others.
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