Sunday, May 6, 2018 Abiding Love (John 15:9-17)

In this small passage the word love is used so many times by Jesus; almost to suggest that Jesus wanted his audience not to mistake what he wanted from them.  In this passage we truly learn that it was Jesus who chose us.  We did not choose him. We are Jesus’ friend because we have agreed to be obedient.  Out of his abiding love, Jesus has chosen us for a reason.  William Barclay, in The New Daily Study Bible (Gospel of John) lists the following reasons why Jesus chose us:

1.  Chosen for Joy:  It was David who recounted the importance  of joy when he cried to God to restore the joy of salvation.  “Restore to me the joy of your salvation and uphold me with a willing spirit.” (Psalm 51:12).  Choosing to be a Christian is, in itself, choosing the way of joy.  A Christian, even when faced with all kinds of challenges, believes in the joy that God has put in us.  A joy of knowing that we are redeemed sinners and we are pilgrims going to a home where no pain is known, no fear, no aging or anything that prevents us from enjoying the fullness of life.  The joyful living is an intentional willing ness to live a life full of happiness.  It is one’s willingness to look for positives in a world where the negatives tend to take a center place.

2.  Chosen for love:  Jesus, as he was leaving his disciples, reminded them about the importance of love.  “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; just as I have loved you, you also have to love one another.  By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” (John 13:34-35).  As Christians we are called to be the salt and the light of the world.  We are not called to compromise the world, not to compete, dispute or even quarrel, but we are called, not to love the to the standards of the world, but to be transformers of the world through the love that we share.  “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing, you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”  (Romans 12:2).  Our main goal should be to love God and to love our neighbor. When Jesus teaches us or reminds us to love one another, that is something he did himself.  He gave his life for us because he loved us so much.  What a love that a friend would lay his/her life down for a friend.  This is exactly what Jesus did for us.

3.  Chosen to be friends:  We have to remind ourselves often that it was Jesus who chose us to be his friends, not the other way around.  Jesus saw something in you and me worthy of calling us friends.  That is why we sing that important song, “What a friend we have in Jesus.”  Our challenge is to see ways in which we can foster friendship in Jesus’ name.  We have to be aware that we are not invited to be friends with the sinful part of this world but rather in Jesus’ name we open ourselves to the people seeking to know more about God and help them learn and navigate their journey as they individually seek to know Christ more.  As friends of God we occupy a special place and a direct access.  The doors are always open for a friend.

4.  Chosen to be partners:  We are all invited into the Lord’s vineyard.  We are co-workers in God’s kingdom. Our partnership that God invites us into makes disciples for the transformation of the world.  This partnership is based also on our faithful to allow Christ in our lives and our willingness to do that which he wills us to do.  We know our partnership is not as equal partners but as a partner willing to work with God and follow the directions that we are given.

5.  Chosen to be ambassadors:  An ambassador is a representative of the country, company or organization to the world.  We represent Christ in the world as Christian ambassadors.  If one is an ambassador of a certain country, they have a number of duties:  a) Represent the country they come from; b) They become the voice and the face of the country they represent; c) They can only expend the policy that the mother country allows them to.  In other ways, they become the face of the country they represent.  As ambassadors for Christ then, we should live and extend the values that God has put in us through Jesus.  We represent Christ and Christ alone.  That is why Paul said his prayer that he might decrease so that Christ might increase.  We are the hands and the feet of God in the world.  Paul says that we are letters to the world.

6.  Chosen to be advertisements:  We are called to go out and bear fruit.  Bear fruit that is able to stand the test of time.  It is by living a true Christian life that we are able to attract others to God’s kingdom.  People will admire what they see in us and wish to have it themselves. Our duty is not to force anybody to God’s kingdom or scare them with fire to accept Christ if they don’t but to live a life that will speak to them and wish to live the same life themselves.  We are a crowd of witnesses and many are watching us as they try to make a decision to follow Christ.  We are the visible part of God’s love in action.  We can see that we have to ask God’s help everyday to represent him in the best way humanly possible.

7.  Chosen us to be privileged family members:  As members of the family of God we are invited to be part of the team.  It is a prayer of faith that changes the lives of people. “And the prayer of faith will save the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up…” (James 5:15).

 

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