Morning Bible Study
We are on the last night before Jesus’ death. Jesus and His disciples have
left the Upper Room and are making their way to the Garden of Gethsemane.
Last week we
looked at Jesus talking about “abiding”, the relationship we have with Him, and
the fruit that results from our connection with Jesus.
15:9-17 Abiding in
:9 “As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My love.
:9 as – kathos – according
as; just as, even as; in proportion as, in the degree that
My wife let me
make the gravy for our Thanksgiving dinner.
that you start off by mixing ½ cup of flour with ½ cup of butter. You use the same amount of both flour and
butter. The measure is the same. It’s kathos
Jesus says that the measure you use to measure how much the Father loves
Him is the same measure that measures how much He loves us.
Think for a
moment about the love that the Father has for the Son.
Peter had heard
God speak twice, once at the baptism of Jesus, once when Jesus was transfigured
on the mountain:
(2 Pe 1:17 NKJV) For He received from God the Father honor and glory when
such a voice came to Him from the Excellent Glory: “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am
(Jn 17:24 NKJV) “Father, I
desire that they also whom You gave Me may be with Me where I am, that they may
behold My glory which You have given Me; for You loved Me before the foundation of the world.
Jesus and the Father have always existed together in sweet fellowship, with
an amazing love.
Would you agree with that statement?
Jesus says that
this is the measure by which He loves us.
Let that sink in.
Jesus loves you as much as the Father loves Him.
Paul prayed for the Ephesians:
(Eph 3:18–19 NLT) —18 And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s
people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is.19 May
you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully.
Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that
comes from God.
:10 If you keep
My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s
commandments and abide in His love.
– meno – to remain, abide; not to
depart; to continue to be present
Obedience and Love
You are already loved. To continue or remain in God’s love, all we have to
do is to “stay
The way to
“stay put” is to live a life of obedience to God – keep His commandments.
Some of us actually do quite a lot of things in order to be loved or
some people, it goes back to your parents. And even though your parents
might be dead, there’s still a part of you that is trying to earn your father’s
love or your mother’s love.
some people it’s a relationship they’re in. Your husband/wife doesn’t do
a good job of letting you know that he/she loves you, and perhaps at times you
wonder if he/she does love you. And so you work a little harder, try to do
things a little better, all in hopes of getting that reward – that he/she might
express their love to you.
What is amazing
is that the greatest love of all, the love that God has for us, is already
there. God already loves you.
You can’t do anything to deserve it. You already have it.
need to learn to enjoy it, and stay at the center of His love.
Obedience is the thing that keeps us in the center of God’s love.
We don’t obey God in order to earn His love.
We obey God because He loves us, we love Him, and
obedience keeps us right in the center of that love relationship.
Obedience becomes much easier when we obey out of love rather than out of
There are a
couple of ancient stories of men who travelled the ancient world. Both men
supposedly encountered some of the same dangers, but they dealt with them
story is about Ulysses, also called Odysseus. In his travels, he heard from stories
about the island of the Sirens,
deadly bird-women creatures who made such beautiful music that the sailors that
passed their shores would become enchanted with their music, turn their ships towards
the shore, and die as their ships were dashed on the rocks. No one had ever
heard the song of the Sirens and lived. Ulysses was challenged by this and
decided to become the first man to hear their music and survive.
order to do this, Ulysses put beeswax in the ears of his crew and gave
them instructions to tie him to the ship’s mast. As they got close to the island, the music began. Ulysses
tried to get free from the ropes so he could swim ashore, but the ropes held
tight. He had heard their song and survived, but for the rest of his life he
was haunted by the music he had heard.
mythology tells of another ship that survived the Sirens. Jason and his Argonauts
needed to get past the island of the Sirens. He was advised to take a fellow
named Orpheus along
in order to survive. Orpheus was a gifted musician who played a lyre. When Jason and his
crew got near the island,
Orpheus began to play his lyre. His music was louder and sweeter than the Sirens, and Jason’s crew
were not tempted to steer their ship onto the rocks.
We often face
all kinds of dangerous situations where we are tempted by the enticing music of
We can try to face it like Ulysses, and tie ourselves up
with guilt, rules, and legalism.
We may get through a few temptations, but it is agonizing
And even after the temptation, we’re still haunted with fears
of falling into sin.
can handle it like Jason, and listen to the sweet melody of the God’s
love for us.
It’s not that we abandon discipline. But we will find that as we fall deeper in
love with Him, the world’s temptations don’t have the same kind of pull
We obey because
we love Him.
stay in His love through obedience.
things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy
may be full.
– meno – to remain, abide; not to
depart; to continue to be present
It’s the word we’ve seen translated several times already as “abide”.
– chara – joy, gladness
:11 be full
– pleroo – to render full, to fill to
the top; fill to the brim
The Joyful Life
God’s desire is that a Christian’s life be full of joy.
It’s a sad thing when some Christians think that they are more spiritual
because they never smile and never enjoy life.
Wendell Holmes once said, “I might have entered the ministry if certain
clergymen I knew had not looked and acted so much like undertakers.”
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.”
Keillor wrote, “Some people think it’s difficult to be a Christian and to
laugh, but I think it’s the other way around. God writes a lot of comedy, it’s
just that He has so many bad actors.”
If we’re not careful, we can fall into the trap of connecting happiness
with the wrong things.
Some fall into
the trap of thinking that happiness comes from a bottle or the end of a needle.
happiness comes from a sexual experience.
Some think of
joy as getting a new dress, the latest smart phone, or a new car.
Full joy comes
from obedience. Obedience keeps us in the center of God’s love.
A bagpipe player
tells a story…
As a bagpiper, I play many gigs. Recently I was asked by a funeral director
to play at a graveside service for a homeless man. He had no family or friends, so the service was to
be at a pauper’s cemetery in the Kentucky back country. As I was not familiar
with the backwoods, I got lost and, being a typical man, I didn’t stop for
directions. I finally arrived an hour late and saw the funeral guy had
evidently gone and the hearse was nowhere in sight. There were only the diggers and crew left
and they were eating lunch. I felt badly and apologized to the men for being
late. I went to the side of the grave and looked down and the vault lid was already in place. I
didn’t know what else to do, so I started to play. The workers put down their
lunches and began to gather around. I played out my heart and soul for this man with no family and
friends. I played like I’ve never played before for this homeless man. And as I
played ‘Amazing Grace,’ the workers began to weep. They wept, I wept, we all
wept together. When I finished I packed up my bagpipes and started for my car.
Though my head hung low, my heart was full. As I opened the door to my car, I
heard one of the workers say, “I never seen nothin’ like that before, and I’ve
been putting in septic tanks for twenty years.”
What’s that have to do with my point? When you do the right thing, your heart is
And … I thought it was a funny joke, and if you can’t
laugh at a funny joke, I think you have a problem.
Joy is supposed to be a part of the Christian life.
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.
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.
What’s written all over your face?
:12 This is My
commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.
How has He loved us? What’s the measure of His love?
:13 Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his
:14 You are My friends if you do whatever I command you.
:15 No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his
master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I heard
from My Father I have made known to you.
– doulos – a slave; metaph., one who
gives himself up to another’s will
There is a sense in which we never stop being “servants” of Jesus.
Jesus Himself encouraged us to embrace the role of a servant.
(Mk 10:43–44 NKJV) —43 Yet it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to
become great among you shall be your servant. 44 And whoever of you desires to
be first shall be slave of all.
Yet here, Jesus shows us that our relationship with Him goes beyond being
He also calls us “friends”
:16 You did not
choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit,
and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father in My name
He may give you.
:16 I chose you
The common practice was for a “disciple” to choose his teacher.
It’s kind of
like choosing which college to go to. You do your research and then you apply
to the colleges that fit best with what you’re looking for.
disciples didn’t pick Jesus. He picked them.
God has chosen us as well.
Some people get weird when it comes to God’s choices.
Personally, I’m glad I’ve been chosen.
remember going through Jr. High School with the worst softball batting average
in history. I never hit a softball through my entire lunchtime one-pitch
It eventually got to the point where I was always the last
one picked, the one that each team was trying to make the other team take.
I love the idea that God has chosen me.
things I command you, that you love one another.
:15 I have called
you friends – philos – friend,
to be friendly to one, wish him well
I often hear people abuse this concept of being a “friend” of God.
They call God
their “buddy”, the “big guy” in the sky.
Pay careful attention to the correct qualities of a “friend”.
Jesus lays out
three qualities of friendship in this passage (vs. 15-17)
These might be qualities you could evaluate your own friendships with.
These might be qualities you could evaluate your marriage with.
These might be qualities that you evaluate your relationship with God by.
NKJV) Greater love has no one than this, than to
lay down one’s life for his friends.
Friends come first, even to the point of laying down your
life for them.
demonstrated His love for us by laying down His life for us.
We ought to love each other with the same kind of
In marriage, we see this reflected in God’s command to the husband:
(Eph 5:25 NKJV) Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the
church and gave Himself for her,
Notice the connection between “love” and “sacrifice”. Look what this man will do to get his wife
the best salmon …
“Best Salmon” clip
“Endures the worst to bring you the best.” I like it!
happen when we learn to lay down our lives.
entire nation experienced revival when John Knox prayed, “Lord, give me Scotland,
or I die.” But what many people don’t know is what Knox wrote concerning the
answer to that prayer. The Lord responded in his heart, saying, “First die, then I’ll give
twist on this comes from Tozer:
Strange as it may seem we often win over our enemies only
after we have first been soundly defeated by the Lord Himself. God often
conquers our enemies by conquering us.... When God foresees that we must meet a deadly
opponent, he assures our victory by bringing us down in humbleness at His own
feet. After that, everything is easy.
We Travel an Appointed Way, 14.
“Make this relationship work, or I’m going to die,” we pray. “Die first,”
the Lord says, “And we’ll see what happens next”.
How do your friendships measure up to this principle? Are you willing to
lay down your life?
(Jn 15:14 NKJV) You are My friends if you do whatever I command you.
Jesus put is in terms of obedience, but I like to think of it more in terms
of going the same direction, of having the same heart.
Friends go in the same direction
(Am 3:3 NKJV) Can two walk together, unless they are agreed?
don’t “obey” your friend because he orders you, you obey him because you are
traveling on the same road, going in the same direction.
You obey your friend because you trust him and give him
the benefit of the doubt.
In marriage, as
in other relationships, you see this reflected in the word “submission”.
We usually think of “submission” as belonging something
the wife is responsible for:
(Eph 5:22 NKJV) Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord.
But don’t forget the context. Don’t forget what Paul just
wrote to everyone, including husbands:
(Eph 5:21 NKJV) submitting to one another in the fear of God.
Is there a sense of mutual submission in your friendships? Or are you the one who makes all the
(Jn 15:15 NKJV) …for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have
called you friends, for all things that I heard from My Father I have made
known to you.
Friends don’t keep secrets from one another.
was called the “friend of God”.
God did not keep secrets from Abraham. When God was planning on
bringing judgment on Sodom and Gomorrah for their great sin, God let Abraham in
on the secret.
(Ge 18:17 NKJV) And the Lord
said, “Shall I hide from Abraham what I am doing,
result of God sharing with Abraham, Abraham’s nephew Lot was rescued
from the judgment that was going to happen.
God’s ideal is that we are completely honest with each other.
(Ge 2:25 NKJV) And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not
get caught on the word “naked”. It’s all about being truthful – being open and
honest. It’s about not having secrets from one another.
There should not be things in our lives that we say to
someone, “Oh, I hope my wife never finds out…”
As friends of God, God has many things to share with us.
Oswald Sanders used to tell his staff, “Each of us is as close to God as
we choose to be.”
hear much from God about what He is doing and where He wants to lead us as
we read and study the Bible.
receive much from God as we learn to pray and listen to God.
How do your “friendships” match up?
How does your marriage match up?
How does your relationship with God match up?
Are you ready to follow Jesus? Are
you ready to respond to this One who loved you so much that He died for you?