Eternal Savior Lutheran Church

A member of the Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod

2688 North Park Drive
Lafayette, CO 80026
303-665-6105
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May 13 – Abide In Christ’s Love

Introduction:  Grace be to you and peace, from God our Father, and from our Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ.  Our text is the Gospel Lesson just read, John15:9-17.  We begin with prayer.

 

Dear fellow disciples of our Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ:

  • We can look at this whole matter of “Abiding In Christ’s Love” from the bottom up, in terms of what it means to me personally as I go through life, OR we can look at it from a wider perspective and see it as God’s great cosmic plan for all human life and being.  Our text presents it from both perspectives. 
  • The same is true when we think about parenting, and what a mother should truly desire for her children.  Of course she wants them to engage in good, healthy, loving and decent behavior, and to avoid all those things that have to do with our sinful nature – selfishness, pride, arrogance, greed, lust, and even self-deprecation and self-loathing.  As children we can look at this as Mom just trying to butt her nose into our affairs, or we could see it as Mom trying to help us live a great and good life. 
  • In our text it is Jesus our dear Savior and Lord Who is directing us to “ABIDE IN HIS LOVE.” And it is clear that He is not just addressing singular instances in our lives, but rather the whole totality of our life, including all of eternity – for believers in Christ already have “everlasting life.” So we want to see Christ’s will as broadly as we can – so that naturally, from the inside out, His love will affect every aspect of our lives.  First, Jesus wills that we:

I.  Know His Love For Us – By Means Of His Word, His Commandments

 

Text:  “As the Father has loved Me, so have I loved you.  Abide in My love.  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.”

 

Statement:  Now when we hear of “commandments,” we generally think of the Ten Commandments, and the rest of God’s Law.  However, Jesus is speaking more of God’s Word generally – including most importantly the blessed assurance of God’s gracious mercy, forgiveness, and love for us.  This is the real Word of God, God’s real self-revelation, for “God is love.” So to “keep” His commandments is first and foremost to have faith in God’s great love for in Christ Jesus – to “abide in My love,” that is, in Christ’s love!

 

Application:  How do we remain in this, in Christ’s love for us?  By keeping His Word, the Word of Holy Scripture, the Bible.  After all “These things were written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in His Name.” [John 20:31] For “he that believes the Son has everlasting life.”  That is, believing that He is the Lamb of God Who takes away the sin of the world,” and that “the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.”

 

Transition:  So we must understand that God’s greatest will for us is that we:

 

II.  Remain In His Love – By Repentance, Faith, And Joy

 

Text:  “Abide in My love . . . These things I have spoken to you that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.”

 

Statement:  Well, most people find it hard to equate repentance and honest acknowledgement of our sins with any thing even resembling joy.  That is because they do not “abide” in Christ’s love.  Yes, repentance is hard, sorrowful, and grievous – but the greater the repentance the greater the joy.  The opposite is also true – the less we repent, the less joy there is in Christ’s great redemption and forgiveness.

 

Application:  I have known a great many Christians who have very little joy, and who certainly do not have “fullness” of joy – even though this is Jesus’ will for us.  I myself struggle a great deal with this, and find that sorrow, discouragement, depression, and even despair come much more easily and frequently than joy does.  Why is this so?  Our sinful nature does not want us to “abide” in Christ’s love, and the world around us does not want us to have Christ’s joy, nor does the devil.  So while Christ tells us to abide in His love and to have fullness of joy, our sinful flesh, the world, and devil try to destroy this faith and joy. 

 

So we must “hear” our Lord Jesus Christ, and we must “keep” His Word – so that we abide in His love!

 

Transition:  And part of this joy is taking part in God’s great cosmic plan of love, and so we are called to:

 

III.  Abide In Christ’s Love By Loving Others – No Longer As Mere Servants But Now As God’s Friends, Knowing His Great Plan

 

Text:  “This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.  Greater love has no one than this, that someone lays down his life for his friends.  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.”

 

Statement:  This is a rather remarkable invitation from Jesus – to know, grasp, and understand what the Father, and what our Lord Jesus Christ are “doing.” It is simply a two-step process, but one that blossoms and flourishes into countless beautiful things:

1] that we know and believe the love that God has for us, abiding in His love by abiding in Christ’s Word; and

2] that we then love others as He has loved us, laying down our lives for others in a myriad of beautiful and loving ways

Application:  This is God’s plan – the big, huge, overarching plan for all of humanity, and if we are among those called to faith in Jesus and to love of one another, how truly blessed we are!  And as we continue in Christ’s love it will be as Jesus promises:  His joy will be in us and our joy will be full!  And obviously, all around us people will be blessed by His love flowing through us!

 

Transition:  There is but one last thing for us to remember, but it is quite an important thing:

 

IV.  Always, All Of This Is A Matter Of God’s Doing, Of His Work; His Choosing And His Blessing

 

Text:  “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.”

Statement:  So we are blessed to be chosen and invited and appointed for such a life of blessedness – to live in God’s love in Christ Jesus, and to live in love for those around us!  And such fruit abides – it is the treasure we store up in heaven, which cannot be lost, for “their works do follow them.”

 

Application:  We must remember that all is dependent upon Christ – He is the vine, we are the branches, and apart from Him we can do nothing!  So abiding in His love is remaining close to Him, hearing His Word, receiving His blessed Sacrament, living in repentance and faith! 

 

Conclusion:  Just as mothers desire the best for their children – not just singular aspects of their behaviors, though all of these are important – so also our heavenly Father wants this blessedness of love for all of us!  Jesus has made this known to us – and how blessed we are if we “ABIDE IN CHRIST’S LOVE.”  May He so choose and grant it to each of us, Amen.

 

Votum:  And the peace of God, which surpasses all human understanding, keep your hearts and minds in the true faith, which is in Christ Jesus, even unto life everlasting, Amen.