On January 4, 2015, pastor Darin preached a sermon from John 13:34-35; 15:1-17 entitled Being Filled with Joy Through Loving Others. The vision Iron Works focuses on being: 1) devoted to God; 2) devoted to one another; 3) devoted to Phoenixville. Today the focus is on being devoted to one another. We were created to be in community with others (rooted in the fact that God is Triune and lives in perfect fellowship/“community”). So, Jesus recognizes His days on earth are short as He is about to die on the cross for sins to give eternal life to all who believe. So, He gives His disciples instructions on how they are to live in community with each other. The main idea of the sermon is that Christ calls you to living in vital connection and communion with him, with the result that you would bear much fruit, have much joy, and bring much glory to the Father.
1. We must remain connected to Jesus
a. 15:1-6 - Abide in Jesus: Jesus came so that we would have rich life through our union and communion with Him. Just as a vine is the source and sustainer of life to its branches, so too Jesus is the source and sustainer of life to His people.
b. Dig deeper: how do we abide in the vine of Jesus? Notice in v. 2 that the Lord “prunes” the branches. While we must work out our salvation, we do so resting in God’s grace—that He is working in us to will and to do His good pleasure (see Philippians 2:12-13). The primary means He uses are His Word (vv. 7, 10), prayer (vv. 7, 16), and the community of faith (John 13:34-35; John 15:12-13). We must make diligent use of those means by God’s grace.
2. If we are connected to Jesus, we will produce fruit
a. Verse 16: we are chosen to bear fruit, so that whatever we ask God He will give us.
1) God changes our desires so that we desire what He desires. Psalm 37:4 – “Delight yourself in the LORD, and He will give you the desires of your heart.”
2) When my request is in alignment with God’s heart, His answer is “yes.”
b. Dig deeper: note the connection between bearing fruit, and receiving what we ask in prayer. The context of the prayer is related to fruit bearing. God will always answer this prayer. This is similar to James 1:5 - asking for wisdom, and He will give it to you.
3. The fruit that we produce: love for one another
a. Verse 12 – we are commanded to love one another. Dig deeper: this is not optional! Do you treat this as a command, or as something you can take or leave?
b. Verses 13and 15: Jesus speaks of the great love for His friends. Jesus came to create the fruit of friendship in the church. The idea of friendship is one of close relationship to other believers. Thus, Jesus calls us to love one another (emphasis is on other believers)
1) The basic ingredient to love is that you must be willing to be hurt.
2) This love proves to the world that we are his disciples.
c. There are two aspects to this kind of friendship/love:
1) Vulnerability – Jesus lets them in to relationship with Himself. Therefore we must not be closed off to others, and must not allow interaction with others to be surface level. Dig deeper: CS Lewis said, “To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken...”
a) Many in the ancient world were impressed by how the early Christians moved toward suffering and pain for the sake of others.
b) This is grounded in the example of Jesus’ sacrificial love for us. True love is costly, and He calls us to a community defined by the giving and receiving of costly love.
c. How do we produce the fruit of loving one another, where we live vulnerably and sacrificially?
1) It begins with God’s grace through faith in Jesus: Jesus demonstrated His love for us through His sacrifice on the cross. He made Himself totally vulnerable, and allowed Himself to be devastated by others, and to bear God’s wrath for sin, so that we might be brought into intimate relationship with God, and with others whom He calls out of the world by His grace.
2) Having tasted in seen the goodness of the Lord, we must be intentional in seeking out and connecting with others. This is what Jesus did: in verses 16–17, Jesus intentionally chooses those who would be His friends—who He would give such costly love and be in relationship with.o
Conclusion: May we be diligent by God’s grace to seek communion with Christ and relationships of love and sacrifice with others.