Classic Christianity – Book of John Part 74 (09-18-19)
We are going to pick up in the 15th chapter of John. We will be discussing how the Christian life is to be lived. Again, we cannot live Christ’s life for Him. We have to allow Him to live His life in and through us. When we do not understand that truth, we come to Christ, and with no less than a noble effort, we go and seek out a life we cannot live. We go out and struggle and strain, but we cannot go out and live a life Christ told us to live. We must allow Him to live it in and through us. The illustration He gave us on that is the parable of the vine and the branches. There is no greater illustration of it than this. He says, “I am the vine”. The vine is the source of the fruit. You are the branch. We bear the fruit but only the vine can supply the fruit. There is a bondage between the two. Jesus is saying, ’I want us to work together. I do the production and you do the bearing of the fruit, and quite frankly it will look like you are doing it”. In other words, we have such a tendency to give credit to us, rather than the source. But he is saying, “It is not where the credit goes, but if you bearing the fruit of the Spirit, then it is evidence you are abiding on the vine. There is no bragging on this sort of thing. It is just where we ought to be. If we are a branch, we ought to be abiding in the vine. And he says, “I will produce the fruit. This is the fruit of the Spirit.
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
The greatest command that He gave us is love. If you do not have love, then none of the others count at all.
35 By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another
The world will know you are my disciples if you love one another.
9 As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love.
We know the love of the Father through the Son. Recognize the truth that Jesus spoke, “just as the Father loved me, I too have loved you”. That same love is passed onto you. Remain in that love. Don’t just grab a hold of it and forget about it. Hold onto it. Live by it. What does that mean?
When you run into trials and tribulations of life, how many times do people say, “Where was God in all these things?” That is not abiding in the vine. It is not that you cannot do that temporarily but ultimately, if you are in Christ, you will be pulled back to the fact that Jesus loves you perfectly and nothing can separate you from the love of God. We all go through trials and tribulations in life. We all question sometimes, “Why did this happen to me?” But did God not say that all things work together for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose?
28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.
So we do not need to be asking, “Why Lord did this happen to me?” or “Why Lord is this happening?” or “Why are you allowing this to take place?” The answer to that is the majority of our trials in life are brought upon us by other people. We all have a will and a choice and someone is imposing his will on you or you are imposing your will on them. We have to realize God gave us a will and He will not impinge upon that will. As the result of that, we will have evil in this world because people will choose evil over good.
How did God allow that to happen? He gave man a will. Otherwise we would be robots. We are so selfish many times that we say, “Yes God, but what about me?” We wonder sometimes. Are we so concerned about other people as we are ourselves? We get quite upset if it happens to us but if the identical thing happens to someone else we would care less. It shows us that in our deep nature we are quite selfish. So when we take a group picture who is the first person you look for? Yourself. So we need to understand that.
He is saying, “love is sacrificial”. That word “sacrifice” has almost gone out of existence, especially in our Christian world today. In our own lives, how many sacrifices do you and I really make? We sit here in full time Christian work. How much of a sacrifice do we really make? How much sacrifice is that in comparison to those overseas who are living in poverty? Are you living in poverty? My mind does not comprehend people’s thinking where we have no sense of sacrifice at all, but instead just satisfy my flesh and do what I want to get done. If I don’t I will pout and get angry when I do not get my own way. That is the flesh.
Sacrifice is reaching out to people. How many times do we sacrifice ourselves. In my particular case, I have gone overboard. I came out of a background that worked myself to death. I was in a church that had you going and going and going. I was busy and barren, totally working for Jesus 24 hours a day. When I got out of that. then we come over here and say, “We are not going to do anything”. It is like a pendulum swing the other way.
In my early Christian life, I probably had three evening bible studies a week and never bothered me. And, I was working full time ministry during the day. I am not saying everyone should do that. Can you have a bible study? Can you be teaching someone? “Oh, that would take a night out. I would not be able to be at home”. That would not be an attitude of sacrifice. Jesus sacrificed his life for you and me. The apostles sacrificed their lives for you and me. So we can be lazy? No, so we can see an example of what God has called us to do.
There is a hurting world out there and there are people that need to be discipled. If we do not do it, who is? The World Council of Churches? So we sit down in an attitude of sitting and soaking. We need to get out of that attitude. Jesus said, “There is only one command that I left you and that is to love one another”. Not this nebulous saying, “just love one another”. Love is patient and kind and good. Where there is a need, you meet that need. Where there is a place to go, go do it. There is a sacrifice in life. God has called us to that. A lot of times, we do not like to hear that, for it is a lot easier for us not to do those things. But that does not negate the fact of how important it is for us to be available to reach out to people. That is so important for us in the world today, to love one another.
15 “If you love me, keep my commands.”
God did not tell us to sit and soak but to get out into action. There are people all around you. There are places to go and people to talk to. That does not mean getting involved in some big organized deal. It means to be available wherever you and I are available to reach out to people with the good news of the gospel. If we have a business plan, we do not mind reaching out and talking to people. We got something more important than a business plan. It is Jesus. So why would we not reach out to hurting people with God’s comfort.
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.
Jesus is saying, “That is how you remain in my love, by putting into action what I have told you to do”.
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.
Do we understand that with the military? People have gone overseas where wars are taking place. People sacrificing their lives so we can be sitting over here to be free. That is an ultimate sacrifice a person can make is to lay down your own life for somebody.
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’ 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.
That was Jesus instructions to the apostles, to go and bear fruit, but was that also not true to us today? Yes.
What are you and I appointed to do by God? He said, “go and bear fruit”, not produce fruit. How can I go and bear fruit? Be willing to abide in the vine, who is the source, and then be willing to act out what He has told you to do. God’s love is not made complete when I sit here and say God loves me. Praise God for that. My love is made complete when I know God loves me and I pass that love on to you. Until I pass that love on, love is not made complete.
1 Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, 2 then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. 3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves,
He wants us to bear fruit. He wants us to be people who are full of joy and love and patience and kindness and goodness and long suffering, people who are thinking of others interests above ourselves. That is what sacrifice is all about, sacrifice for someone else. A mother taking care of her children is sacrificing her own life, desires and joys, for the sake of her children. A man who is out working and making a living, in many instances, is sacrificing what he likes to do. He is sacrificing instead of playing golf all day, those things he would rather do. Otherwise we would just be listening to our flesh. If all we did was give into the flesh, sitting around watching television, eating bon bon’s all day, then we would be fat as a hog and eventually be miserable.
Every thing our flesh tells us to do is to harm us. Sacrifice does not listen to the flesh. Sacrifice says, “I have a job to do and I am going to do it. There is a fire to put out and I am going to put it out. There is somebody to be reached and I am going to reach him”. The flesh says, “I would rather go play golf or do this”. Sacrifice says, “No, there are people to be reached”.
The Father will give you anything you ask in my name. 17 This is my command: Love each other. 18 “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. 19 If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you.”
If you are out among non-Christians, expressing Christian truths, calling sin what God calls sin, how well will you be received? When you call worry a sin, not a healthy concern, or homosexuality a sin, not an alternative lifestyle, or you call adultery a sin rather than just satisfying some needs, you will not be very popular with the world. The world does not believe in standards. The world believes everything is relative. There are no absolutes with the world. Everything is relative. It just kind of depends on things. When you stand up and voice your viewpoint, calling things what God calls them, you will be about as popular as the Titanic sinking. But you are not running for Sheriff anyway. And if you are, you probably should not be a Christian because you will not be elected anyhow. Why? The world hates truth. The world is under the control of the author of lies, Satan. Satan hates the truth. He does not want truth ever to get through to you or to me. If you loved the world, the world would love you as its own.
When you are lost, the world loves you. I knew that in my own life. We used to go out and drink together and have fun together. When I came to Christ, I do not know what happened to me. You have heard it said, “Oh, I have to give up all my friends”. You do not have to worry about giving up anything. They will get rid of you. Nobody wanted to be around me anymore. So I discovered coffee shops in Los Angeles. I did not know there was one until I was saved. I was not going to go to the bar so I went to the coffee shop by myself until I found some new friends. If you belong to the world, it would accept you. If you are in Christ, you are in the world, but you are not of the world.
How many of us want to be in Christ and blend in with the world at the same time? How many of us have the attitude of the world in us? Realize God told me to be in it but not of it. You do not belong to this world and the world does not belong to you. It is like a ship. A ship is in it. That is fine. But if it becomes of it, you are in trouble. That is why the world hates you.
How many of you have experienced rejection from lost people? Who were they rejecting, you or Jesus that you represented? Jesus that you represented. That is why the world hates you because they hated Him first. Remember the words of Christ.
20 Remember what I told you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also.
Are you a servant of Jesus or are you a master of Jesus? If you are a servant, then you are not greater than Him. So you think, “It is okay for you, Jesus, to go wash the disciples feet, but not mine. It is okay, Jesus, for you to do these things but not me. I got better things to do. I need to feed my flesh. I need comfort”. How much comfort did the apostles have? In the last days of the apostle Paul, he is asking for them to send him his cloak. No servant is greater than his master. “If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also”. Have you ever been persecuted? “If they obey my teaching”, obey yours as well, for your teaching should be His teaching.
21 They will treat you this way because of my name, for they do not know the one who sent me.
They will treat you this way because of my name, because of who you believe in. You will get treated a certain way. They claim to know God. Everybody claims to know God. The Buddhists and the Mormons claim to know God, but it is not the god of the bible. They do not know Him.
1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was with God in the beginning. 3 Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.
14 The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.
That is God and they do not know Him.
22 If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not be guilty of sin; but now they have no excuse for their sin. 23 Whoever hates me hates my Father as well. 24 If I had not done among them the works no one else did, they would not be guilty of sin. As it is, they have seen, and yet they have hated both me and my Father. 25 But this is to fulfill what is written in their Law: ‘They hated me without reason.’
John 16:9 (TLB)
9 The world’s sin is unbelief in me
Jesus is saying, “If I had not spoken to them, they would not be guilty of that sin of unbelief in me.”
23 Whoever hates me hates my Father as well.
Jesus is saying, “He who hates me hates my Father as well. If you worship the Father, worship me.”
24 If I had not done among them the works no one else did, they would not be guilty of sin. As it is, they have seen, and yet they have hated both me and my Father.
“The miracles I did, raising Lazarus from the dead, turning water into wine, if I had not done these things in front of them, then they would not be guilty of sin. But they still rejected the Son of God. Yet they hated both me and my Father, the one who did miracles through me.”
25 But this is to fulfill what is written in their Law: ‘They hated me without reason.’
What is the reason to hate Jesus? He loved people. To the woman caught in adultery, and after everyone dropped their stones to stone her, he said to her, “Get up and sin no more. Where are your accusers? Neither do I condemn you. Leave your life of sin.” What is there to hate about someone who makes a blind man see? What is there to hate about a person who calls Lazarus from the grave? Why do people hate Jesus? Because he calls truth what it is. People will believe in anything except the truth. Jesus stands up for truth. They would rather believe lies.
26 “When the Advocate comes, whom I will send to you from the Father – the Spirit of truth who goes out from the Father – he will testify about me. 27 And you also must testify, for you have been with me from the beginning.
A counselor is the Spirit of Truth. He is the extension of the Father, and the extension of Jesus. He is Truth just as Jesus is Truth. The role of the Holy Spirit is to bring honor to Jesus. The role of the Holy Spirit is to testify of Jesus.
Jesus is saying, “You also must testify”. Why? “You have been with me from the beginning. It is our job to communicate to the world what I have communicated to you”. He is also saying to us, “you who have been with Him since your new birth, that you too should testify about Jesus, just as the Holy Spirit is doing”. He is not saying these things to hamper us. He is saying these things so we will not go astray. His disciples were put out of the synagogue for preaching the truth of Christ. How many of you have been kicked out of church because you taught the truth of God’s grace?
1 “I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. 2 He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. 3 You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. 4 Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.
5 “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. 6 If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. 7 If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. 8 This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.
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.