John 15:9-11

Sunday Morning Bible Study

September 29, 1996


We are in the time of the last night before Jesus' death.

We've been looking at this message that Jesus has been giving His disciples using the analogy of a vine and branches.

The whole point has been to demonstrate that if the disciples maintain a close, living relationship with Him, that they would have "fruit" in their lives.

We've talked about how this "fruit" can be many different things, things that are a natural result of Jesus changing your life.

It can be people being led to the Lord through you.

It can be the fruit of the Spirit like love, joy, peace, patience, kindness ...

Last week we saw that one of the kinds of fruit that should result in our lives should be answered prayer.

Jesus said:

(John 15:7 KJV) If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.

If we are truly "abiding" in Jesus, then we're going to be seeing God answer prayers in our lives.

We now move on to look at two more aspects of the fruit that comes from our relationship with Jesus.

:9-11 Full Love, Full Joy

:9 As the Father hath loved me,

I wonder just how much we grasp of this.

Keep in mind who we're talking about.

This is Jesus, the one that caused such a stir when He was baptized, as Peter writes:

2Peter 1:16-18 For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of his majesty. 17 For he received from God the Father honour and glory, when there came such a voice to him from the excellent glory, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.  18 And this voice which came from heaven we heard, when we were with him in the holy mount.

This is Jesus, who has always existed together with the Father from before the very beginning:

(John 1:1-2 KJV) In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. {2} The same was in the beginning with God.

And from the very beginning, their relationship was one characterized by love:

Joh 17:24 Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me: for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world. (AV)

Jesus is talking about an incredible, eternal love that the Father has for the Son.

:9 so have I loved you:

Mathew Henry: As the Father loved Christ, who was most  worthy, so He loved His disciples, who were unworthy.


Jesus loves YOU as much as God loves Him.

Stop and think about THAT for awhile.

It's hard to grasp.

That's why Paul prays:

(Eph 3:16-19 KJV) That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man; {17} That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, {18} May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; {19} And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.

God's love is broad enough to include everyone, long enough to last forever, deep enough that we can't fathom it, and high enough that no enemy can get at us and nothing can separate us from it.

:9 continue ye in my love.

or, "abide in my love", Jesus uses the same word here that He's been using throughout, "abide" (gr. - meno)

He's going to tell us in the next verse what it means to "continue" or "abide" in His love.


It always starts with His superior love for us.

(1 John 4:19 KJV) We love him, because he first loved us.

The best we can do is just stay in the flow of His love.


Loving God comes when you're loved by God

If you're having trouble working up a little love for God, perhaps you've simply never allowed yourself to be loved by God.

"But I'm such a horrible person" - exactly

"But I'm such an ugly person" - exactly

"But you don't know what I've done" - God does

Maybe you're beginning to grasp the incredible depth of the love of God.

He knows about more of your crud than even you know.

And He still loves you.

Jer 31:3 The LORD hath appeared of old unto me, [saying], Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee. (AV)

:10 If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love;

We need to be careful and not turn this around and say something like, "If you don't obey God, He's not going to love you."

There is a sense of God's love for us that is unconditional.

(Rom 5:8 NASB) But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

God demonstrated His love for us not when we got our "act" together, but while we were still far away from Him.

But here we kind of get the idea that there's a greater sense of God's love in our lives as we walk in obedience to His commands.

Lesson #1:

Obedience brings us into the fullness of God's love.


When I was a youth pastor, we used to spend a week each summer at Forest Home, a conference center up near Idyllwild. Usually once during the week we'd take the kids up to the end of the road, park and then hike about a mile up to Forest Falls.

As you hike up the side of the stream leading up to the falls, the sound gets louder and louder, until you get to a little open area where the water is falling from the cliff into a small pool, and the sound is deafening.

Part of our yearly ritual was to go stand under the falls.

There is something totally awesome about standing under the force of rushing, pounding, freezing water. It literally takes your breath away as it overwhelms you with it's power. It has always reminded me of what it must be like to one day wake up and find myself in the very throne room of God.

God's love is also a lot like that waterfall.

You don't have to stand underneath it to get wet. The spray will get you soaked just standing near it.

But when you're underneath the waterfall, "wet" isn't quite a strong enough term for what you sense. You're totally, completely, through and through soaked. It takes a good fifteen minutes laying in the sun away from the spray to begin to thaw out.


You may not be obedient to God, and you will still be an object of His love. You can still be "soaked" in God's love, because God does love you.

But when you walk in obedience, you find yourself directly under the source of His love's outpouring.

We've seen this idea before:

(John 14:23 KJV) Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.

There is a special sense in which we will grow in our relationship with God, only as we learn to walk in obedience.

We will grow in receiving God's love in our lives, as we learn to walk in obedience to the Lord.

Lesson #2:

Get under the waterfall.

What if I haven't exactly been obedient to the Lord lately?

What if I've been under a load of guilt, and feeling like God doesn't love me anymore?

Repent from your disobedience.

Get on your knees and ask God for His forgiveness.

Go and change the things you've been doing wrong, and do them right.

Stop hiking away from the waterfall, and get back under it!

It's not that God doesn't love you anymore, but it's time to get out of the mist, and dive back into the falls.

:10 even as I have kept my Father's commandments, and abide in his love.

Jesus is our example.

His perfect submission to the Father kept Him under the Father's constant outpouring of love:

(John 10:17 KJV) Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again.

:11 These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you,

These things -

Jesus is kind of pausing in His talk with the guys, and reflecting over the things He's just spoken to them about.

Since they had gotten up from the feast (14:31), He had been talking to them about this whole vine - branch thing.

He's been talking about how important it is that they maintain a vital, living union with Him, that they "abide" in Him. (15:4)

He's been talking about how they are to do this "abiding", by staying in the Word, by praying, and by receiving answers to their prayers (15:7)

And now He's been talking about how important it is to obey what He commands them (15:10)

my joy might remain in you -

or, "might abide in you" - Jesus is still using this same word, "abide" (gr. - meno)

What is "joy"?

This is a difficult thing, because I have heard a lot of conflicting ideas on this:

a) On one hand, there are some who would define joy as uncontrollable laughter.

b) There are others who would give us the idea that it's not really an emotion, but something that you could have even if you're sad or something ...

Look at how the Bible uses "joy":

"Joy" is what a person experiences when he finds something that was lost:

(Luke 15:4-7 KJV) What man of you, having an hundred sheep, if he lose one of them, doth not leave the ninety and nine in the wilderness, and go after that which is lost, until he find it? {5} And when he hath found it, he layeth it on his shoulders, rejoicing. {6} And when he cometh home, he calleth together his friends and neighbours, saying unto them, Rejoice with me; for I have found my sheep which was lost. {7} I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance.

The difficult thing about joy is that though it may come from "happy" circumstances, the Jesus-kind of joy can be independent of circumstances:

(James 1:2-3 NAS) Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, {3} knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance.


I don't think the Bible is talking about uncontrollable laughter.

But I don't think it's talking about something that doesn't affect your emotions either.

Joy means ... joy.

Other words we might use:

"really, really, deeply happy"


It's Jesus' joy.

Not just any ordinary buy-off-the-shelf kind of joy.

Did you know that God is a "joyful" person?

Isa 65:19 And I will rejoice in Jerusalem, and joy in my people: and the voice of weeping shall be no more heard in her, nor the voice of crying. (AV)

Zep 3:17 The LORD thy God in the midst of thee [is] mighty; he will save, he will rejoice over thee with joy; he will rest in his love, he will joy over thee with singing. (AV)

In talking about the Messiah, Jesus, the psalmist writes:

Ps 45:7 Thou lovest righteousness, and hatest wickedness: therefore God, thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows. (AV)

Some people have the wrong idea about being a Christian.

Somehow, they've gotten the idea that being a Christian is no fun, that it's dull, boring, and very, very sad.


Even after Constantine had made Christianity the religion of the Roman Empire, there came to the throne another Emperor called Julian, who wished to put the clock back and to bring back the old gods. His complaint, as Ibsen puts it, was:

"Have you looked at these Christians closely? Hollow-eyed, pale- cheeked, ... all; they brood their lives away, unspurred by ambition: the sun shines for them, but they do not see it: the earth offers them its fullness, but they desire it not; all their desire is to renounce and to suffer that they may come to die."

As Julian saw it, Christianity took the vividness out of life.

Oliver Wendell Holmes once said, "I might have entered the ministry if certain clergymen I knew had not looked and acted so much like undertakers." Robert Louis Stevenson once entered in his diary, as if he was recording an extraordinary phenomenon, "I have been to Church today, and am not depressed."


There is joy in Jesus.

For those of you who would agree with Mr. Holmes or Mr. Stevenson, I would like to apologize.

It's not that there isn't true joy in Jesus, it's just that some of His followers have a harder time than others in learning to receive His joy, and in living in it.


Some people think its difficult to be

a Christian and to laugh,

but I think its the other way around.

God writes a lot of comedy,

it's just that he has so many bad actors.

-- Garrison Keillor, presentation at Goshen College, quoted in Reflections, Christianity Today.


Some gold prospectors had discovered an exceptionally rich mine. One of them said, "Hey, we've got it made as long as we don't tell anybody else before we stake our claims." So they each vowed to keep the secret.

Because they had to have more tools and provisions, they headed for town. After buying all the supplies they needed, they hurried back to the mine site. But they weren't alone. A crowd of people followed them because their discovery was written all over their faces.

If we've truly discovered a relationship with Jesus, we've found something far more precious than a gold mine, and it will show on our faces!

:11 and that your joy might be full.

Something hit me in how Jesus makes this statement.

It's the "my joy ... your joy" part.

When we get "His joy" in us, we find that "our joy" is full.

Jesus' joy is so much greater, so much larger, so much deeper, that when we get His joy in us, it always fills our little hearts right to the top.


It's like grocery shopping for a bachelor at Price Club.

A bachelor typically doesn't cook a lot for himself, and when he does cook, he isn't going to need a lot of stuff.

And so the guy decides he's going to save some money and shop at Price Club.

For his once-a-month omelette, he decides he's going to need some eggs, but all he can get is a package of 5 dozen eggs!

When he goes home, he'll have PLENTY of eggs!

full - pleroo - to make full, to fill up, to fill to the brim

Jesus isn't just talking about you pulling into His "Joy-Station" and getting a few quarters' worth of joy.

He's talking about filling your tank to the top!

One of the things that people are searching for in life is joy.

I believe this is one of the motives behind people dabbling in drugs or sex.

They're looking for happiness, a high, a rush.

But I believe that what they're really looking for is what the Bible calls joy.

And the joy that really satisfies, is the joy that comes from Jesus.

When we have Jesus' joy, our joy is filled right to the top.


True joy comes from abiding in Jesus.

And in context here, we see that abiding includes:

Staying in God's Word.


Receiving answers to prayer.


There's no need to go anywhere else.

Jesus, filler-up!