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Love, Obedience & Fellowship

John  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  43:13
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Today we will be studying John 14:15-31.
This is a longer passage than we typically cover. However, in this passage, I found that Jesus is repeating two main concepts as he is seeking to comfort and encourage his disciples.
The main concepts we will be considering today are Love, Obedience and Fellowship. We want to see what Jesus says about them, and the connections between them.
Prayer
Why are we talking about Love, Obedience and Fellowship? Because in this section of scripture, Jesus repeats these several times.
Let’s read the first paragraph, and see if we can spot the concepts that are repeated in it, and also through the rest of the passage.
John 14:15–21 NIV
“If you love me, keep my commands. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you. Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them.”
Do you see the repetition? What is the connection?
First, what is the connection between love and obedience?

Love leads to Obedience

Who is loving whom? Those who love Jesus.
Look at John 14:15 and John 14:21. Jesus says the same thing, in two ways.
First he says that if we love him, we will keep his commands.
Then, in verse 21, he flips it around and says that whoever has his commands and keep them is the one that loves him.
There is a definite connection between loving Jesus and keeping his commands.
Those who love him will keep his commands. And, we can know those who love him by seeing who keeps his commands.
These same concepts are repeated in the following section, John 14:22-31.
However, before we move on, do you see the concept of Fellowship in this first section?
I see it in a few places.
John 14:16–17 NIV
And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you.

Fellowship with the Spirit

The disciples had enjoyed true fellowship with Jesus during the years prior to this night. Now that Jesus is going away, Jesus lets them know that the Father will be giving them another helper, the Spirit.

Side Note: the Spirit is God

As a side note, this is one of those passages to which we look in seeing that the Spirit is God, just as the Father and the Son are God.
There are two different Greek words for another:
ἄλλος - another of the same kind : Fuji and Fuji
ἕτερος - another of a different kind : Fuji and Gala
Jesus said that God was going to send another of the same kind of advocate or helper as Jesus to be with the disciples. Jesus is God. So, another of the same kind is the Spirit, who must also be God to be the same kind. This is just one evidence found in scripture.
Back on topic...

Fellowship with the Spirit

Where do I see fellowship? I see it in a couple ways.
First, Jesus calls the Spirit another advocate. He uses this same title for the Spirit in John 14:16, 26, 15:26, 16:7.
That term for advocate is παράκλητος. Now I don’t like going into the Greek a lot on a Sunday morning. But this morning we are because I think it is important.
This term, Paraclete (as many say in English), means one who comes alongside to encourage, exhort and comfort. That is Fellowship. Not having a meal together, but doing life together. Jesus said that the Spirit would be coming alongside the disciples to encourage, exhort and comfort just like Jesus had been doing with them for the past few years.
Not only that, but Jesus also says in John 14:17,
John 14:17 NIV
the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you.
He is with you, and will be in you. What does that mean? Well, the Spirit came on Jesus when he was baptized. The Spirit was in Jesus, so he was with the disciples when Jesus was with them. But, the Spirit would soon not just be with them, but IN them. That is close fellowship! The Spirit being in us! He is always there, to encourage, exhort and comfort us. He doesn’t go away and times and show up sometimes. We don’t need to beg for the Spirit to come. He is in us! He is always here! Praise the Lord we are never alone!
But that isn’t all. I see Fellowship again in this passage. Look again at verses 18 to 21.
John 14:18–21 NIV
I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you. Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them.”
Verse 18: I will come to you… when? We know he said he would be coming back to get us earlier in the chapter. Is that what he is talking about?
Verse 19: You will see me? How? Visions?
Verse 20: You are in me, and I am in you. Jesus will be living in us!
Verse 21: The Father will love us, and Jesus will love us and show himself to us.

Fellowship with the Father and the Son

Not only will we have the Spirit living in us, but the Father will love us, and we will be in the Son, and the Son will be in us! He is with us, always!
What did he mean by show himself to us? I believe we see Jesus by knowing him. He reveals himself to us in his word and his works. He is in us and gives us understanding. We know him because he shows himself to us. We have fellowship with him.
This was good news, but the disciples were not quite tracking with Jesus.
John 14:22 NIV
Then Judas (not Judas Iscariot) said, “But, Lord, why do you intend to show yourself to us and not to the world?”
Why not show himself to the world? Because he is talking about revealing himself in an intimate way with his own disciples. Jesus replies:
John 14:23–24 NIV
Jesus replied, “Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them. Anyone who does not love me will not obey my teaching. These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me.
Again, we see the same concepts repeated.
Love and Obedience
Anyone who loves Jesus will obey him. That makes the offer of salvation and fellowship with God open to everyone.
For those who love and obey, they will have
Fellowship with the Father and the Son.
The Father will love those who love and obey Christ. The Father and the Son will make their home with them. The Father and the Son will make their habitation in those who love and obey Christ.
Then Jesus points out that the converse is also true. Those who do not love Jesus will not obey his teaching.
Jesus goes on to say:
John 14:25–26 NIV
“All this I have spoken while still with you. But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.
The disciples were not getting everything that Jesus was saying. If I am honest. I don’t get everything that Jesus has said yet either.
But the good news is that the Spirit will teach us all that we need to know. The Spirit will remind us of the things we have been taught by Jesus.
Illustration of Ewa. Spirit taught her things she needed to know.
Illustration of talking with someone and a specific verse or truth comes to mind.
We are not alone! The Spirit is in us to encourage, exhort, comfort, teach and remind. We have the best helper at our side constantly!
John 14:27 NIV
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.
Peace is not the absence of trouble. Peace is the calm we have in the face of trouble.
Jesus was leaving the disciples. Jesus was being betrayed, and he would shortly be tried, beaten and executed. The disciples would mourn and be under great trial. However, Jesus wanted to calm their hearts in the midst of the trouble.
That is what Jesus wants to do for you and me. He wants to give us peace - an inner calm in the midst of trouble.
Jesus was telling these things to the disciples to settle their hearts. Remember, he does not want us to live in fear. Fear will come. But when it does, we need to replace the Fear with Faith. We need to trust Jesus. We need to trust him that the Spirit is within us to guide us and help us. We need to trust Jesus that the Father does love us. We need to trust that the Father and the Son are in us! We have Fellowship with the Spirit, the Father and the Son.
John 14:28 NIV
“You heard me say, ‘I am going away and I am coming back to you.’ If you loved me, you would be glad that I am going to the Father, for the Father is greater than I.
Jesus was returning to his natural place at the Father’s side. He is fully God, however, his role is under the authority of the Father. We should be happy for Jesus that he is once again glorified by the Father’s side.
John 14:29 NIV
I have told you now before it happens, so that when it does happen you will believe.
John 14:30 NIV
I will not say much more to you, for the prince of this world is coming. He has no hold over me,
I love this. With all that was coming—the trial of the disciples, Jesus’ own trial, beating and crucifixion—none of it was because Satan had the upper hand.
Satan did not in any way defeat Jesus at the cross. Jesus went to the cross out of his own power of obedience.
John 14:31 NIV
but he comes so that the world may learn that I love the Father and do exactly what my Father has commanded me. “Come now; let us leave.
Jesus does what the Father commands. In that same way, we should do what the Father commands.

Conclusion:

This passage is a continuation of what Jesus started sharing in John 13, during and after the Last Supper he had with his disciples.
The disciples were troubled by the prospect of Jesus leaving, by the prospect of Jesus’ betrayal, by Satan sifting them, and by them denying Jesus.
Jesus loved them to the end and tries to comfort them. He tells them to trust Him.
He goes on to say that if they love him, they will obey his commands.

Love leads to obedience

We often say that we love Jesus. Do we? Do we love Jesus as much as we sing about?
How can we know?
If we obey his commands. If we love him, we will obey. If we obey, we know we love him.
And, in Jesus own words, those who do not love, do not obey. The Lack of obedience points to a lack of love.
So, what commands do we need to obey? All of them. However, the context here is:

Love on another as I have loved you

That is the command in the context of this whole speech. We may be breaking this up over several weeks because there is so much in here to learn. However, if we read the whole context, we will see that the main command in focus is that we Love each other.
John 13:34 NIV
“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.
John 13:35 NIV
By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
John 15:12 NIV
My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.
John 15:13 NIV
Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.
John 15:17 NIV
This is my command: Love each other.
Do you get the picture?
The way to test if we love Jesus is if we obey his command to love each other. So, the question is, do we love Jesus? Do we love each other?
John got this message loud and clear. Listen as he emphasizes this same thing that Jesus emphasized in his letter:
1 John 2:3–6 NIV
We know that we have come to know him if we keep his commands. Whoever says, “I know him,” but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in that person. But if anyone obeys his word, love for God is truly made complete in them. This is how we know we are in him: Whoever claims to live in him must live as Jesus did.
1 John 2:9–11 NIV
Anyone who claims to be in the light but hates a brother or sister is still in the darkness. Anyone who loves their brother and sister lives in the light, and there is nothing in them to make them stumble. But anyone who hates a brother or sister is in the darkness and walks around in the darkness. They do not know where they are going, because the darkness has blinded them.
1 John 3:15 NIV
Anyone who hates a brother or sister is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life residing in him.
1 John 3:16–17 NIV
This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person?
1 John 3:23 NIV
And this is his command: to believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and to love one another as he commanded us.
1 John 4:19–21 NIV
We love because he first loved us. 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. And he has given us this command: Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister.
Do we truly love one another? And not just in word, but in truth? Are we laying down our lives for one another? Are we serving, helping, encouraging, exhorting, and comforting one another? Is there any brother or sister in Christ you are not loving? You cannot say you love Jesus and hate a brother or sister.

Fellowship with the Father, Son and Spirit

The command to love one another is a great challenge. It is an exhortation from Jesus.
The Fellowship Jesus promised is a true comfort. We do not have to beg the Father, Son or Spirit to come. We do not have to beg and wonder if they hear or will come. Jesus told us they are in us. They are making their abode, the habitation, their dwelling in us. We need to trust they are there. We need to count on their presence. We need to rely on the Spirit to minister the truth to us, to teach and remind us of what Jesus has said.
But have you ever felt distant? If so, may I suggest something from this passage? They will not leave. They have made their permanent dwelling within us. But if there is a distance, it is because we are erecting walls. We are separating ourselves from them. How?
By not following the commands. Specifically, by not loving one another. If we are not loving another brother or sister, we cannot be walking in the light, in fellowship with God who is love. We need to confess, and see that fellowship restored. We need to confess our lack of love. We need to confess, and then we need to walk in love. Not just say we love, but truly love. Come up with a game plan to show Christ-like love to that brother or sister. If we are loving on others as we were commanded, there is no way we won’t enjoy the Fellowship that Jesus talked about in this passage.
John 14:15 NIV
“If you love me, keep my commands.
John 14:16 NIV
And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever—
John 14:21 NIV
Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them.”
John 14:23 NIV
Jesus replied, “Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them.
Homework:
Read John 14:15-31. Make a list of the repeated phrases. How many times does Jesus speak of loving him and obeying his commands? Read the context of John 13-15. What command does Jesus have in mind?
Read 1 John. Make a list of the passage that speak about loving God and loving others. Is there anyone whom you are not loving? Why is it impossible to say you love God if you do not love a brother or sister?
Read 1 Corinthians 13:4-8. Make a list of the descriptions of Love. Ask the Spirit to teach you. For each description, write out one way that you can do that toward someone that you find difficult to love.
Read John 14:15-31. Make a list of the verses referencing our fellowship with God. What does having the Spirit, the Father and the Son living in you do for you? What encouragement does that bring? Take time to thank God for that Fellowship.
Read John 14:16. Jesus said the Father would send another Helper. This verse is one evidence that the Spirit is God, because he is the same as Jesus, who is God (John 1:18). What other passages can be used to see that the Spirit is God? (If you get stuck, try https://www.gotquestions.org)
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