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John 15:9-17

I am the Vine (l):
Receiving the sap - Obedience.

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John 15:9-17

9 “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. 10 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. 11 I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. 12 My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no-one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. 14 You are my friends if you do what I command. 15 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. 16 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. 17 This is my command: Love each other.

This is the final part of the mini-series looking at what Jesus said that will help us receive the sap – and move us closer to his heart. It is also the last in the whole series on ‘The Vine’ Display ‘us in Christ’ picture.

We saw in verse 5: We must learn to depend on Christ more.

Then in verse 7: We must not neglect God’s words.

Then in verse 9: We must receive Christ’s love.

This week we must learn to be obedient! We are going to look at verse 10:

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.

What is obedience?

- Doing what we’re told. - But it's also:

- Doing what is right.

Firstly then: Doing what we’re told

Look at Ezekiel 12:3-7

3 “Therefore, son of man, pack your belongings for exile and in the daytime, as they watch, set out and go from where you are to another place. Perhaps they will understand, though they are a rebellious house. 4 During the daytime, while they watch, bring out your belongings packed for exile. Then in the evening, while they are watching, go out like those who go into exile. While they watch, dig through the wall and take your belongings out through it. Put them on your shoulder as they are watching and carry them out at dusk. Cover your face so that you cannot see the land, for I have made you a sign to the house of Israel.”

7 So I did as I was commanded. During the day I brought out my things packed for exile. Then in the evening I dug through the wall with my hands. I took my belongings out at dusk, carrying them on my shoulders while they watched.

Notice verse 7: So I did as I was commanded.

Ezekiel was often told by the Lord to do odd things, but he obeyed without question.

How does the Lord speak to us?

Would we know if the Lord was speaking to us?

If we thought the Lord was speaking to us would we be obedient?

But obedience is also: Doing what is right

Let’s read Daniel 6:7-11

7 The royal administrators, prefects, satraps, advisers and governors have all agreed that the king should issue an edict and enforce the decree that anyone who prays to any god or man during the next thirty days, except to you, O king, shall be thrown into the lions’ den. 8 Now, O king, issue the decree and put it in writing so that it cannot be altered—in accordance with the laws of the Medes and Persians, which cannot be repealed.” 9 So King Darius put the decree in writing.

10 Now when Daniel learned that the decree had been published, he went home to his upstairs room where the windows opened towards Jerusalem. Three times a day he got down on his knees and prayed, giving thanks to his God, just as he had done before. 11 Then these men went as a group and found Daniel praying and asking God for help.

We all know where Daniel finished up. In the face of a command not to pray for 30 days, and knowing the consequences if we disobeyed, would we say ‘oh well, its only 30 days’ or would we immediately pray for help?

Being obedient is often surrender to power or authority.

Someone may command: ‘You will be obedient because I’m bigger than you and I can make you’.

Someone may command: ‘You will be obedient because I’m in authority here and I can make you’.

Sometimes we are obedient to our consciences. We say ‘my conscience wouldn’t let me’. Or again we may say ‘I felt I had to do it’.

Can we trust our conscience?

No – it is too variable. What is unacceptable today may be acceptable tomorrow. What we feel moved to do today fails to move us tomorrow.

Is obeying our conscience actually simply doing what we want?


Doing what we are forced to do

Doing what is right

Doing what we should

Doing what we are forced to do, or doing what is right, or even doing what we think we should is not the obedience Jesus is looking for.

It has to come purely and simply as a response of Love.

Is there a difference between doing what someone asks in order to show that you love them,

or simply doing it because you love them?

The obedience that comes from true love is automatic and has no other motive.

Look at verse 10 again

If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love

What is Jesus saying? Is this a command of authority? Or some sort of threat?

Does he mean ‘If you don’t obey my command I won’t love you anymore?

He goes on: ‘just as I have obeyed my Father’s commands and remain in his love.’ Does he mean ‘The Father only loves me because I obey his commands?

Look at John 10:17-18

17 The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life—only to take it up again. 18 No-one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again. This command I received from my Father.”

Perhaps the reverse may be helpful. Could anyone describe God’s despair if Jesus had refused to redeem the World? God’s only son – our only hope – choosing not to save us. What then would God’s feelings be towards his son?

The whole of God’s wonderful creation would be doomed from the start. God had no other plan, he relied totally on Jesus.

But because of his love Jesus was obedient.

Was it an easy choice for Jesus?

Look at Matthew 26:36-44

36 Then Jesus went with his disciples to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to them, “Sit here while I go over there and pray.” 37 He took Peter and the two sons of Zebedee along with him, and he began to be sorrowful and troubled. 38 Then he said to them, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.”

39 Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.”

40 Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. “Could you men not keep watch with me for one hour?” he asked Peter. 41 “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the body is weak.”

42 He went away a second time and prayed, “My Father, if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may your will be done.”

43 When he came back, he again found them sleeping, because their eyes were heavy. 44 So he left them and went away once more and prayed the third time, saying the same thing.

Knowing it was for this reason he had come into the world, Jesus still pleaded with his Father – asking if there was any other way. Three times.

In order for us to understand better we need to try to imagine that we are God.

You’ve just made the most wonderful creation – but it has been spoilt by sin.

You know the solution. It involves the death of your Son. But you shy away from that and try to see if there might be another way.

You select one righteous man, and you flood the earth so that with his family he might start again. But sin is still present and it soon rears its ugly head.

You select another man and build a nation from him which will be special to you. You give them privileges above every other nation and develop a special relationship with them. But sin is still present and your nation turns its back on you.

You withdraw for a few hundred years and ponder if there might be another way that you could redeem the world that does not involve the sacrifice of your only son. Finally you allow Jesus to come into the world and become a man.

You watch over him for 33 years until finally it is the right time. The final Passover. There is no other way. You have been following Jesus closely during these last few hours. You know that the soldiers have already left their quarters and are on their way to Gethsemane. You also know that by this time tomorrow Jesus would be in the tomb and more than that, the redemption of your wonderful creation would be assured.

But what is happening? Your son, your only redeemer is coming to you in prayer, overwhelmed with sorrow: And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground. (Luke 22:44) And what was he asking? He is asking that he might be excused – he doesn’t want to go through with it. Not once, but three times.

What are your emotions as his father?

What are your emotions as God who so loved the world he has made?

How are you going to answer your son’s prayers?

What are your thoughts – knowing you cannot force your son to do this – you cannot even command obedience – it has to be his own response of love.

Love - - - - That’s the answer. All you can reply is ‘My son, I love you’. And then, you hold your breath.

God’s reply is not recorded for us, but because of his love for his Father, and for us, Jesus chose to be obedient. What was the feeling of God towards his son at that moment? Surely the whole of God’s amazing love was poured out on him as a response to that choice.

The obedience that love demands is not easy.

Jesus loves us because he is love.

We love him because he first loved us.

We are obedient only because we love him.

Now let’s look at Romans 5:8

8 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

If God demonstrates his love in the obedience of his son, could Jesus demonstrate his love to the world through our obedience?

Let’s go back to our verse again. What did John 15 verse 10 say?

If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love.

Again it might be helpful to look at the negative: (Display)

If you don’t obey my commands you won’t remain in my love.

Firstly – can the love of Jesus towards us ever be reduced by what we do or don’t do?

Of course not. Then this must be talking about some action we take.

Display shower head picture with person below - HERE

The shower head is fixed. If you want to keep warm you need to stand beneath the flow

– you need to remain in the flow

Display shower head with person moved - HERE

If you step out you soon start to feel cold

Change shower head picture to heart picture, with person below - HERE

There is a place where we need to be to receive Christ’s love. If we step away we soon grow cold

Stepping out of the shower doesn’t turn it off

Stepping out of Christ’s love doesn’t stop its flow

Backsliding believers often say ‘I just drifted away’ but the first step is always this one (point to person away from shower head)

What must we do to ensure we remain in Christ’s love?

Jesus said ‘If you obey my commands’. (verse 10) What are they?


Love God (Mat 22v36-40)

Love your neighbour

Love each other (John 15v17)

So our obedience is not I ought to (Display)

Or I must

Or I should

Or I have to

Nor do we obey out of a desire to prove our love.

It’s simply I want to

Free and glad surrender

There’s no point in attempting to do anything for Jesus unless it’s purely our response of love.

Obviously Jesus gives us work to do for him – but we are not commanded to do it. His command is only to love. Out of that love springs the desire to do something in return. Look at John 21:15-17

15 When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you truly love me more than these?”

“Yes, Lord,” he said, “you know that I love you.”

Jesus said, “Feed my lambs.”

16 Again Jesus said, “Simon son of John, do you truly love me?”

He answered, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.”

Jesus said, “Take care of my sheep.”

17 The third time he said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?”

Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, “Do you love me?” He said, “Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.”

Jesus said, “Feed my sheep.

Before Peter could continue in his service for the Lord, Jesus had to get him to stop coming out with glib answers or even right answers – he needed the truth. He wanted Peter to really consider where his heart was, even to the point of upsetting him. Remember it was only a few days ago that Jesus faced his Father in prayer and three times his love had been tested. Now Jesus asks Peter, the third time ‘Do you love me?’

Jesus cannot command us to love him. But he knows all about marriage break-ups and how that before the break-up there is often a careless drifting apart and as in our example, the person stepping out of the shower grows cold, so does love.

Two words are repeated many times in the first part of John chapter 15. Remain 10 times, and love 9 times. They are obviously important and travel together.

If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love.

So our verse this week is not a warning that we may loose Christ’s love, or that somehow he may withdraw it from us, but rather that it is possible that through our disobedience we may begin to carelessly drift away from it.

You are as close to Jesus as you have chosen to be.

John 15k John 16a NIV Copyright