The Friends Of Jesus Christ
John 15:9 “As the Father hath loved me,
so have I loved you: continue ye in my
10 If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father's commandments, and abide in his love.
11 These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.
12 This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you.
13 Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.
14 Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you.
15 Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you.
16 Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you.
17 These things I command you, that ye love one another.”
1. Continue In Love
2. Abide In Love
3. Ye Are My Friends
Let me begin this study by saying this. Are you ready?
We came into this world as haters of God [as haters of Jesus Christ].
There is something else we will consider in this study.
We will find the strangest thing to our [human] mind and to our heart. It is this. How can someone WHO … that is hated by us … SAY [and PROVE] that HE loves us? Wonders of wonders, how can this thing be?
Now, you may have said, within yourself. “Well, I am no hater of GOD!”
“Well, I beg to differ with you, my friend.”
I have a BOOK that tells me different than that. [See Romans 1:30]
We are all haters of God, and what is more, to our grief, is that we are guilty of a whole bunch of things. According to this BOOK, we are: “Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents.”
We, by our first birth, are HATERS OF GOD!
This much is established in concrete.
1. Continue In Love
Here we are now, in verse nine: “As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love.”
I pray that you will KNOW this love. I have known this love ever since the time I cried out for Jesus to save me, while I was on board the USS Enterprise in 1973. What is more, I have continued in HIS LOVE.
What about you? Have you continued in HIS LOVE? If you, my friend, know this love, it is because you have received Jesus Christ, as your Savior. Amen!
Now, if you have “tasted” of the GRACE of GOD, then … you are now intimately connected to the TRUE VINE of Jesus Christ [saved by the BLOOD of the Lamb of God]. “If so be ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious” [1 Peter 2:3], you have experienced this TRUE LOVE. Have you ever tasted of this?
Let me build on this. Brethren [I am talking to Christians], then you must CONTINUE in the Son of God’s love.
CONTINUE … I say!!!
Now, get this. Since the FATHER loves the SON, and the SON loves US, then we need to CONTINUE in Jesus Christ’s love. Amen! The person who CONTINUES in HIS love is the person who bares the marks of HIS SAVIOR.
Let me take this further. The branch [in verse five] takes on the attributes of the TRUE VINE. This is nothing more, but what is described in Romans chapter eight, verse twenty-nine by the Holy Spirit.
Let me read from there: “For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.” [Romans 8:29]
The person who continues in Jesus Christ’s love … is a person who is being conformed to the image of HIS SON.
This PROCESS is called your sanctification. This sanctification is growing in grace and knowledge, and is shown by the apostle Paul in First Thessalonians chapter four, verse three: “For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication.” [1 Thessalonians 4:3] Abstaining from fornication is part of an ongoing PROCESS [of your sanctification].
Now, sanctification in the believer’s life is also, an EVENT, which occurred when we got saved.
This is shown by the Apostle Paul in Second Thessalonians chapter two, verse thirteen: “But we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth.” [2 Thessalonians 2:13]
Getting saved is an EVENT [you were sanctified].
Growing in grace and in knowledge is a PROCESS [you are being sanctified].
2. Abide In Love
Verse ten: “If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father's commandments, and abide in his love.”
There is that precondition again, which we already found in John chapter fourteen, verse twenty-one. “If ye keep my commandments”, keeps popping up all over the BOOK!
Have no fear!
This condition is naturally met by those who are truly connected to the True Vine … The Son of God.
The believers in the church of the Thessalonians kept HIS commandments. Paul said this in First Thessalonians chapter one: “Remembering without ceasing your work of faith, and labour of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ, in the sight of God and our Father.” [1 Thessalonians 1:3]
And this, in verse six and seven: “And ye became followers of us, and of the Lord, having received the word in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Ghost: So that ye were ensamples to all that believe in Macedonia and Achaia.” [1 Thessalonians 1:6-7]
This is my testimony also. From the day Rick St.James got saved, till this very day, the very bent [or tenor] of my life has been a strong desire to keep my Lord and my Savior’s commandments.
I am not alone. This, also, has been the testimony of millions of other Christians in this Age of GRACE. “And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it.” [1 Thessalonians 5:23-24]
Is this your testimony too? Oh, that it may be!
This whole thing is all about ABIDING in the True Vine.
The abiding in HIS love that we seen in verse ten comes from the abiding in the True Vine [first by being saved]. Amen!
3. Ye Are My Friends
Verse fourteen: “Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you.”
As I have said earlier, we came into this world, as haters of God, and as haters of Jesus Christ. This we have already proved. Amen! We will now delve into the strangest thing to comprehend in the human mind and in the human heart. We see, here, in verse fourteen, that Jesus Christ SAYS and PROVES, that HE loves us, because HE calls us FRIENDS.
There is not one religion of the face of this whole earth that has a “god” who has laid down his life to SAVE [all] his followers from the power of DEATH, and the sureness of HELL, EXCEPT the GOD of THE BIBLE.
Here we are … with perhaps what is the most known passage in the whole Bible as the proof text.
Are you ready for this? “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.” [John 3:16-17]
Now, what more can be said than this? Nothing!!! You will never find other!!! Amen!
Furthermore, there is not one religion of the face of this earth that has a “god” that has ever called one of it human adherents a friend, EXCEPT the GOD of THE BIBLE.
Search this thing out for yourself! Here we are in verse fourteen: “Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you.”
There you have it! The God of the King James Bible is calling the BELIEVERS in Jesus Christ [you and I] “friends”. Amen! Better than calling us HIS friends … Jesus Christ went ahead to Mount Calvary, and laid down HIS life for HIS friends.
Verse thirteen: “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.”
I dare you to find GREATER than this! No greater display of love for friends can ever be made than this. Amen!
This why God, having paid such a high price as laying down HIS life, and shedding HIS blood for HIS friends, COMMANDS us in verse seventeen: “These things I command you, that ye love one another.”
We need to LOVE the brethren.
Remember when we were in John chapter thirteen? We saw this same commandment given there. “A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.” [John 13:34]
We will end here with this. Obedience to this command: “That ye love one another”, is of utmost importance in the Body of Christ, which is the Church.
Why? Let me read First Peter chapter four, verse eight to you: “And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity shall cover the multitude of sins.” [1 Peter 4:8]
Charity shall cover the multitude of sins. There
you have it.