John part 67
Friendship with Jesus
John 15:12-16 ESV – 12 “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. 13Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. 14You 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. 16You 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.
There is an old song sung in the church: “Friendship with Jesus; fellowship divine; Oh what blessed sweet communion; Jesus is a friend of mine.”
There is a wonderful truth that is given in the words of that old song: Christians have a wonderful relationship with the one who redeemed them – Jesus Christ. This friendship and fellowship we have with Him permeates every area of our lives.
The context of tonight’s sermon is after finishing the Passover meal, Jesus and His disciples are on their way to the garden. He still has many things to say to them. Let’s look at what He has to say about this friendship that His true disciples have with Him.
Christ’s friends love one another as He loved them.
John 15:12-13 ESV – 12 “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. 13Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.
Jesus lays out His commandment for His disciples. He hasn’t had to leave them guessing as to what His love looks like, for they have been with Him now 3 ½ years. As He is about to leave them soon, one thing that will remain is His love and the examples of love that He left them.
Today as disciples of Christ, this command of our Lord is just as authoritative as it was the day that He gave it! We are to love one another just as Christ loved us! We can’t work up this kind of love, it must be birthed in us by the Holy Spirit and it is birthed into every true believer in Christ at our new birth.
Let me quote from the Life Application Commentary of the Book of John page 312: “We are powerless to obey Jesus’ command to love unless He lives within us. He must enable us to love in His way. Consider all the provisions He gives us to enable us to love others:
- He frees us from the tyranny of self-love.
- He frees us from crippling guilt.
- He focuses our thoughts on others, not on our own problems or shortcomings.
- He restrains our selfish desires.
- He comforts us by the Holy Spirit.
- He challenges us with His own example of patience and concern for others.
- He encourages us with the support of Christian brothers and sisters.
With His powerful life within us, we can be channels for His love for others.”
What does this love look like?
- It should be with the same tender affection as Christ has for us.
- It must be willing to endure trials.
- It practices self-denial.
- It is even willing to lay down their lives for one another.
1 John 3:16 ESV – By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers.
Jesus showed us the highest expression and best definition of love by laying down His life for us.
Romans 5:6-8 ESV – 6For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. 7For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die— 8but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
Friends of Jesus obey Him.
John 15:14 ESV – 14You are my friends if you do what I command you.
Let me be clear: obedience to Christ and His word is not what saves you; It is the proof that you have been saved!
There have been many who claim Christ as their Savior, but show no signs of obedience. Obedience is a natural by product of a life that has been renewed in Christ.
Jesus is our perfect example:
- Jesus has always abided with the Father.
- Jesus has a perfect love for the Father.
- Because of this love, Jesus humbled Himself to the Father’s plan and became the sacrifice for sin.
- Because of the Father’s love for Christ, He, the Father draws the elect to Christ.
You may truthfully acknowledge that while you love the Lord and desire to obey Him, your obedience is lacking. Let me assure you: It is the Father that gave you this desire to obey Him. Trust Him to help you in being obedient to the commands of Christ.
Friends of Jesus have the privilege of relationship and insight.
John 15:15 ESV – 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.
Jesus is not stating that the disciples would not be His servants, for Paul and many others declared themselves as servants in their writings (Romans 1:1; James 1:1; 2 Peter 1:1; Jude 1; Revelation 1:1).
What He meant is the relationship would be much deeper than mere servant-hood. It would be a close, loving relationship where secrets are shared because of trust. What do I mean by this? Well, Jesus trusts us with the secret of the Gospel and His Father’s Word. He proves His trust by sharing the secret of the gospel with us.
Why can Jesus trust us? Not because we are trust-worthy; but because He has first loved us, chose us, and called us.
Friends of Jesus have the privilege of being chosen by Him.
John 15:16 ESV – 16You 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.
In the Jewish culture of Jesus day, the disciples of a rabbi would often choose to follow that rabbi over others. But in this case, they did not choose Christ, but He chose them. He chose them, not on their merit, but because of His grace.
For the Eleven, Jesus chose them and appointed them to spread the gospel and bear fruit.
To all the elect of God – we have been chosen for the exact same reason.
Let’s talk about the last portion of v. 16, “whatever you ask the Father in my name, He may give it to you.” Does Jesus mean that we can pray carnal prayers and expect them to be answered? Well, we need to look at the immediate context that this statement is found in.
- The disciples were chosen and appointed.
- The purpose of their election was to bear much fruit and that this fruit should abide or remain.
I like how Vincent Word Studies explains this phrase: “He has appointed them (the Eleven) that they should bring forth fruit and that they should obtain such answers to their prayers as would make them fruitful.”
As we conclude, be thankful for this wonderful friendship we have with our Savior – Jesus Christ. Also, ask the Lord to help you to love other fellow believers as Christ has us.