The theme of John 15-16 is developing an effective Christian Life and Ministry.
In this Message, Jesus covers 5 important RELATIONSHIPS that we need to get right, for us to be effective, successful and fruitful in our Christian lives and ministries.
In John 15:1-11 He dealt with the first and most important of these RELATIONSHIPS - our relationship with Christ. Now we will study the other 4 relationships.
RELATIONSHIP 2. Our Relationship with the Brethren: LOVE and UNITY (15:12-17). “This is My commandment,(singular: it all boils down to love)
that you love one another as I have loved you” (v12).
A. His Love is Sacrificial and transformational: “Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one's life for his friends (enemies)” (v13).
He saw His enemies as friends and died for us to make us friends.
Love sees the potential in others and lays its life down to develop it.
“You are My friends if you do whatever I command you” (v14).
B. His Love is Intimate, sharing His thoughts with us, wanting partners rather than slaves. That’s how He wants us to relate. we are partners together, not to dominate and manipute others to do our will. “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.” (v15).
C. His love is Gracious, Pro-active, and Life-Giving (Initiates)
“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. (a reminder that we bear fruit through prayer dependance on God, not personal strength)” (v16).
“These things I command you, that you love one another” (v17)
- the summary structural marker.
RELATIONSHIP 3. Our Relationship with the world (COURAGE to WITNESS) (15:18-16:4). To be a fruitful Christian, we must also be ready to overcome the problems of a fallen, godless world. Jesus did not say it would be a bed of roses. If He left them with that impression they would get discouraged and quit when opposition hit. So Jesus had to prepare them for future trouble, and call them to courage in facing it. His path leads to glory but it will be difficulty.
Mark 4:16,17: “These are the ones sown on stony ground who, when they hear the word, immediately receive it with gladness; and they have no root in themselves, and so endure only for a time. Afterward, when tribulation or persecution arises for the word's sake, immediately they stumble.”
A. Be Prepared for the Hatred of the World: “If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you” (v18). We are sharing in His suffering.
i. Why does it hate? You are different from them.“If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you” (v19).
ii. Why does it hate? - You are identified with Christ:
“Remember the word that I said to you, "A servant is not greater than his master.' If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you. If they kept My word, they will keep yours also. But all these things they will do to you for My Name's sake, because they do not know Him who sent Me” (v20,21).
iii. Why does it hate? - You reveal their sin rendering them without excuse:
“If I had not come and spoken to them, they would have no sin, but now they have no excuse for their sin. He who hates Me hates My Father also. If I had not done among them the works which no one else did, they would have no sin; but now they have seen and also hated both Me and My Father. But this happened that the word might be fulfilled which is written in their law, "They hated Me without a cause” (v22-25).
B. Call to Respond by witnessing to Jesus by the power of the Spirit: “But when the Helper comes, whom I shall send to you from the Father,the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father (TRINITY) (1) He will testify of Me. (2)And you also will bear witness, because you have been with Me from the beginning” (v26,27). Qualifications to be a witness: Personal experience, inward conviction, courage to make outward confession. He calls them to speak, encouraging them by the Help of the Spirit. The world may exert its power but we can respond with a greater power. They may be shooting at us, but Jesus says ‘hold firm’ and shoot back with your testimony of Jesus by the Spirit. If you are too concerned with what the world thinks, you will be intimidated in saying anything, ashamed to be associated with Christ because of the trouble it brings - just wanting to fit in, and so you will be unable to bear much fruit for Christ.
John 16: “These things (concerning the world) have I spoken to you that you should not be offended” (this structural marker summarises the purpose of the section - 15:18-27, repeated in 16:4 which is the final end of the section). They will put you out of the synagogues; yes, the time is coming that whoever kills you will think that he offers God service. And these things they will do to you because they have not known the Father nor Me. But these things I have told you, that when the time comes, you may remember that I told you of them. And these things I did not say to you at the beginning, because I was with you” (v1-4).
RELATIONSHIP 4. Our Relationship with the Holy-Spirit:
CALLING and RELYING upon His HELP (16:5-15).
RELATIONSHIP 5. Our Relationship with ourselves in the New-Creation:
KNOWING who we are in Christ (16:16-33).