120513 John 15:9-17

Last Updated on Saturday, 23 June 2012 Written by Pastor Schmidt

Sermon Text: John 15:9 – 17

Theme: Rejoice that Jesus Calls You His Friend!

1. A Friend Who is Loved

2. A Friend Who is Loving

“As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father's commands and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master's business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit--fruit that will last. Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in my name. This is my command: Love each other.”

 

Think of your best friend. What makes this person your best friend? Maybe it is because they are always there for you. Maybe it is because they make you happy. Maybe it is as simple as you just enjoy spending time with them. Even though the person you thought of is your best friend, most likely you are able to think of a time when they let you down; when they failed to be your best friend. Today, you and I are able to rejoice that Jesus calls us his friends. Based on God’s Word in the Gospel Lesson for this weekend, we will see that Jesus loves us and that his love for us motivates and empowers us to show love to others. 

Our loving Savior begins, “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you.” Stop and think about this statement for a moment. This is an amazing fact! Jesus Christ says that he loves you and me. Could you stand before the Lord and say that you deserve his love? Before you start thinking too highly of yourself, remember that the holy and just God demands that you be perfect, that is, without any sin at all. You must not break the Law even at one point, or, the Bible tells us, you are guilty of breaking all of it. When we take a close look at ourselves and the lives we live, each and every one of us must confess that we are sinners in God’s eyes and not worthy of his love. 

Yet Jesus says, “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you.” Why does God the Father love his Son, Jesus? Because Jesus Christ, the only Son of God, was willing to come to this earth to live a perfect life in the place of sinful mankind. On the cross, Jesus suffered the very pains of hell, which you and I deserved because of our sin. Jesus Christ died the death we were supposed to die. Why was Jesus willing to endure all this for you and me? The answer is found in one, single word, “love”. The love Jesus has for sinners is greater than any love a human being is able to have; even greater than the love a mother has for her children. It is God’s great and perfect love. Jesus talks about how it was his love for sinners which moved him to die for them. For he says, “Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.” But, you and I know the Good News that Jesus did not remain in the grave. As we celebrate each Easter, Jesus Christ rose victorious from the grave. He is the almighty, victorious Lord. He is in heaven at this very moment preparing a place for us in the mansions of heaven. Because of what Jesus Christ accomplished while on this earth we are able to be called his friends. “I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends…You did not choose me, but I chose you…” In his great love for us, Jesus our Savior chose you and me to be his friends. 

Today is an opportunity for you and me to rejoice that we are loved by our gracious Savior in heaven. Jesus’ love moved him to die for the sins of all people. By the working of God the Holy Spirit through the powerful Word of God, you and I are close friends of our Savior. We enjoy the comfort knowing that all of our sins are forgiven; not because we are such special people, that we somehow earned this favor. We are forgiven because of the perfect life our Savior lived, the blood which he shed on the cross and the death he died. We are assured of that forgiveness because Jesus Christ did not remain in the grave. He lives! Because he lives, we are forgiven of our sins and know that we have life in heaven to look forward to. As Paul writes to the Romans in chapter 5, “God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Rejoice that Jesus calls you his friend; a friend who is loved by him. 

The fact that we are able to be called friends of Jesus, because you and I are loved by him, leads us to respond. What is the response? John writes in his first letter, “We love, because he first loved us.” How do you and I show that we are loving? The first answer Jesus gives to that question is this, “If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father’s commands and remain in his love.” While you and I aren’t able to keep the commands of our God perfectly, friends of Jesus show that they are loving toward their Savior-God as they make every effort, with the help of God the Holy Spirit, to obey what God commands. The Law of God, summarized for us in the Ten Commandments, is not a way to earn our place in heaven. Rather, it serves as a guide, a map, for our daily lives. 

A second way that you and I are able to show that we are loving is by showing that love to others. “My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.” We are to show others that we love and care about them. We can do this in a number of ways. The greatest love we can show to someone is to share God’s Word with them; to proclaim the Law of God to show them their sins and their need for a Savior; to proclaim the Good News of the Gospel that Jesus, and only Jesus, is the way, the truth and the life. You and I are able to show our love for others as we care for their needs. Perhaps they need clothing, or food or a warm place to stay. One final way that we can show love for others is to pray for them. As Jesus promises, “You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit—fruit that will last. Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in my name.” Prayer is a wonderful opportunity that you and I have as friends of our Savior, Jesus Christ. Our Father in heaven promises to hear all the prayers that you and I offer for others in the Name of our Savior, Jesus Christ, and he promises to answer those prayers according to his holy will. Rejoice that Jesus calls you his friend by showing love to him and to others! 

The hymn writer reminds you and me, “What a friend we have in Jesus, all our sins and griefs to bear! What a privilege to carry everything to God in prayer!...Can we find a friend so faithful who will all our sorrows share? Jesus knows our every weakness; take it to the Lord in prayer.” Today, rejoice that Jesus calls YOU his friend! Give thanks that you are a friend who is loved by your Savior. Show others that you are a friend of Jesus as you love others. “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love...This is my command: Love each other.”

 

Our Mission Statement:

Compelled by the love of Christ, St. Matthew’s Evangelical Lutheran Church and School seek to reach out to our families, community and world, using Law and Gospel to make disciples, growing and nurturing them in their Christian faith and life.

 

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Sunday
8:00 A.M. & 10:30 A.M.

9:15 A.M. Bible Study for All Ages

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818 West Wisconsin Avenue
Oconomowoc, WI 53066
262-912-6060

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