Sermon Title: It’s Still the Greatest Commandment
God so loved the world that he sent his only Son Jesus to die so we might live. This is the greatest truth in history. It is the nature of reality—at least reality as it was meant to be.
Love God and love others is the outflow and the overflow of God’s love. It has three main objects.
ONE: Love God. How do you love God? Read these passages and write down your best answer to how you love God/Jesus: John 14:15, 21; 15:9-10. How well are you doing at obeying Jesus’ teaching and commands? That is how well you are doing at loving Jesus!
TWO: Love others (and that means love other Christians, too). Read John 13:34-35; 12, 13, 17. While this next question may seem terribly basic, it is crucial. What does it look like to love other followers of Jesus? What will love do and what will love avoid? Real love! Not pretend love. Not superficial love. Not love in words, but love in action! And what about love in action when another Christian believes differently than you do about a political issue? What does real love look like then?
So, how are you doing with this kind of love? And, of course, because this is THE command of Jesus, and to love Jesus means you obey his command to love others, are you loving Jesus the way Jesus wants you to?
THREE: Love your enemies. Read Matthew 5:43-48. What do you learn about loving enemies? Who are some commonly identified enemies that Christians tend to not love? Who do you not want to love? Aren’t you glad that Jesus loved his enemies? (See Romans 5:6-11.) Because you were once an enemy of God, and yet, when you were his enemy he loved you.
When you love your enemies (and sacrifice yourself for them) you are about as much like Jesus as you will ever be. And when you hate your enemy, you are about as much unlike Jesus as you could be. And when you choose not to love an enemy, you also choose not to love Jesus, because Jesus commands us to love enemies. And we love Jesus when we obey him.
How do you feel led to pray after this devotional?
As you read each chapter this week, keep these reflection questions in mind:
• What does this chapter teach me about Jesus’ character?
• What does this chapter teach me about what Jesus is doing?
• What difference will reading this chapter make in my life?
• What does this chapter tell me about what Jesus wants from me?
Then pray and look to “practice the presence and pursue the purposes of Jesus” according to what you have read.
Jesus is leaving his disciples and, naturally, they are upset. They want to know the way to where he is going. Jesus comforts them and continues to remind them that he is a picture of the Father and he is the way. Jesus also promises his followers that they are not alone. They, and us, are going to receive the Holy Spirit.
Jesus loved to speak in metaphors. Maybe he knew how difficult it is to understand deep teaching without concrete metaphors. In this chapter, Jesus refers to himself as a vine and we, his followers, as the branches. We are to abide, or remain, in the vine. What do you think of when you hear the word abide?
Jesus’ words could be confusing. In verse 18, the disciples are confused. This is one of many instances in the gospels where Jesus’ followers were confused. Thankfully, over 2,000 years later, we have the gift of knowing how the story would play out after Jesus’ death! Has Jesus ever asked hard things of you? Are there teachings of Jesus that you find confusing?
This chapter contains Jesus’ longest recorded prayer. Who does he pray for during this prayer? He prayed for his disciples because he knew he would soon be leaving and they would face a lot of danger for being his followers. But he also prays for us. That’s right—you and me! The Son of God, the Messiah, spent the moments before his arrest praying for us, for all of his followers who would come later. What does Jesus specifically want for us? Why do you think unity was so important to Jesus?
- Songs We Sing
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