(Bible quotations are from the NIV unless otherwise stated)
Jesus loves you - pass it on
8th March 2008
Last week, we looked at the first few verses of John Chapter 15. Jesus was teaching that he was the True Vine and we were the branches. He explained that we have to be in genuine relationship with him in order to produce spiritual fruit that glorifies God. Here's what He said next:
Dear Christian, do you sometimes wonder how much Jesus loves you? He loves you as the Father has loved Him. The love of Jesus Christ for each Christian is like the love of God the Father has for His only begotten Son.
And Jesus wants each of us to remain in His love. And He tells us how to do it: by obeying His commands. Does obeying God's moral law seem burdensome to you? Or are you like the psalmist who said "I delight in your law" (Psalm 119v70)? Paul said in Romans 7v22 "in my inner being I delight in Godís law" although the context of that verse is Paul's description of the war that's waged within his being (and ours) between the desire to do right and the desire to do wrong. We all do wrong sometimes - we all need forgiveness. But, if you're truly a child of God, then something within you will want to do what's right - to please your heavenly Father. That's why you can mean it when you pray "Thy will be done".
It's no great feat of logic to realise that it's right to do right. And it should be obvious that it pleases God when we do what's right. But Jesus gives us another incentive: When we do what's right, we remain in His love. And not only that; when we obey Him, our joy is made complete. Are you suffering a bit of a joy deficit at the moment? It may be worth asking yourself if you're disobeying God - and then putting it right.
How do we know what God wants us to do? At least 90% of the answer to that is by reading the Bible. God has already written down most of what He will reveal to us about His will for us. But it is also important to pray and to listen to God, so that we can receive specific instructions that apply to us and not to others - such as which church to join, which job to do, which girl to marry, which house to live in and so on.
And the command that Jesus singles out here as the most important is: Love each other as I have loved you.
The best way to remain in Jesus's love is to pass it on.
Earlier the same evening, Jesus had said:
When Christians love other Christians, when local churches are loving, gentle communities of God's people, then Jesus Christ is glorified, and non-Christians get to notice that we're different. The reason Christians are special is not something that comes from us. It's the fact that Jesus loves us. And when we love each other, something of the love of Christ is manifested in us and in our churches.
And the world changes for the better.