Abiding Love

John 15:4-17 I. The Path to Faithfulness in a Christian’s Life (John 15:4-6) The notable Bible commentator Adam Clarke stated that this text list two essentials to salvation: 1) that we continue closely united to Christ by faith and love, and live in and to him; 2) that we continually receive from him the power to do good; for as the branch, however good in itself, cannot bear fruit from itself, through its own juice, which it has already derived from the tree, and can be no longer supported than it continues in union with the parent stock, neither can you, unless you abide in Jesus. As the branch partakes of the nature of the tree, is nourished by its juice and lives by its life, so you and I must be made partakers of Christ’s divine nature. We must be wise in Christ’s wisdom, powerful in His might and pure through His holiness.

II. The Love that Makes Joy Complete (John 15:7-11) The Methodist bishop Thomas Coke commented that verse 11 could easily be read and inferred to mean that Jesus was saying, “I have spoken these things, hoping they will influence you to keep my commandments, whereby you will continue the objects of my love; and, in the consciousness thereof, will be filled with the same kind of joy which I feel from obeying my Father’s commandments, and from the consciousness of his love. I have spoken these things likewise, that your eternal joy may be full in heaven, where you shall shine as stars, because you have turned many to righteousness.”

Many translate the passage thusly, these things have I spoken unto you, that my joy in you may remain.

“I have spoken these things, that, by your diligence in obeying them, I shall always have cause to rejoice, on account of your behaving as my apostles and disciples ought to behave; and you cause to rejoice in my friendship, in the honor I have conferred upon you, and in the eternal possession of heaven.”

III. The Supreme Test of Love (John 15:12-15) “This is my commandment” (verse 12) — That is to say, whether as apostles or private Christians; I require of you “that ye love one another.”

So that cordially and constantly; even, if it be possible, with as great fervency and constancy, “as I have loved you, love one another.”

It is as though our Lord was saying, “be ready to sacrifice your lives for each other, as I expose and give up my life for you.”

It is remarkable, that no one duty is more frequently pronounced, or more strongly admonished of the disciples, by our Lord, than that of mutual love.

“This is my commandment,” he says, as if it were the most necessary of all the commandments.

The reason might be, first, that as under the law, the prohibition of idolatry was the commandment more insisted on than any other, because God foresaw the people would be prone to that sin; so Christ, foreseeing that the Christian Church would be addicted to uncharitable contentions and divisions, strife and animosity. Thusly, our Lord thought it necessary to lay the greatest stress upon the precept of love.

Secondly, mutual love among Christians is a duty which both includes many other duties and has a good influence upon all: and to this duty, Christ’s love to us all should at once direct, animate and urge us. Even as Christ both showed us our duty in this respect and laid us under the most powerful obligations to perform it. Add to this, that Jesus was earnest in pressing His disciples to the duty of mutual love, not only because it was the great design of His gospel to promote it, but because this virtue exercised by his apostles and first disciples among themselves and toward all mankind, would be one great means of making their preaching successful; just as Christ’s immense love to men will always have a great influence in drawing them to him. (Benson)

IV. Bearing Fruit that Will Last (John 15:16-17) “These things I command you, that ye may love one another.” (verse 17) — This verse is characteristic of the structure of this Gospel, forming like verse 30 in chapter 5, at once a summary (to a large extent) of what has preceded and a transition to what follows.

All the great truths spoken by Jesus are intended to promote that which is the truest expression of the Divine, that which is the real ground and end of all existence — love. On the other hand, again, the mutual love of believers is the armor of proof with which we will be able to best withstand the hatred of the world. (Schaff)

Christ in the Text: John 15:1-27

Church Supply Pastor and Christian columnist, Dr. Wayne M. Williams, presently resides in Athens with his wife of 39 years, Lita. For additional study notes, see the Facebook page International Sunday School Lessons.

Church Supply Pastor and Christian columnist, Dr. Wayne M. Williams, presently resides in Athens with his wife of 39 years, Lita. For additional study notes, see the Facebook page International Sunday School Lessons.

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