Sermon for Easter 6 – May 9, 2021

+ Easter 6 – May 9, 2021 +

Series B: Acts 10:34-48; 1 John 5:1-8; John 15:9-17

Beautiful Savior Lutheran

Milton, WA

 

Love in Action

 

In the Name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

 

If the word of the day last Sunday was abide. “Abide in me,” Jesus says; then this Sunday the word of the day is love. “Abide in my love,” Jesus says. In four verses, Jesus uses the word love seven times.

 

Jesus’ definition of love, however, is far different than most people would define love. For many people, love is primarily a feeling, an emotion, warm fuzzies, rainbows, kittens, unicorns, or whatever.

 

For Jesus, love is more than a feeling. For Jesus, love is an action. God’s love is revealed most clearly in his actions. Love is YHWH clothing Adam and Eve even after their disobedience. Love is YHWH rescuing his people out of slavery in Egypt. Love is YHWH sending his eternal Son Jesus to rescue you by going to the cross

 

Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.

 

There’s a pattern here in John 15. It’s almost like watching dominoes fall one after another. The Father loves the Son from all eternity. The Father sends the Son. The Son loves us. The Son sends his disciples, sends us his people. We love others.

 

From Jesus’ words you get the sense that God’s love has a holy momentum, like a river that cannot help but move down stream. God’s love moves from the Father to the Son through the Spirit to you. And from you to others. This is why Jesus repeatedly tells us earlier in John 15 that he abides in us and we abide in him, and in him, in his love, in his life, in his promise, we bear fruit just as branches joined to the vine.

 

As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. 

 

As we spend some time in John 15 again this morning, it’s worth remembering that Jesus says all of these things – He’s the vine, we are his branches; abide in his Word, abide in his love – it’s all said in the context of Holy Week. Of that Thursday night before Good Friday. Just hours before he would go to the cross and reveal his love for the Father, and for you by laying down his life.

 

All of that is going on as Jesus teaches his disciples to abide in his love. To keep, cherish, treasure, hold on to, guard his commands. And here our English translations lead us of course a bit. We hear commandments and our mind jumps right to the 10 Commandments. But Jesus uses a broader word here. entolh (entolay). These are the words God speaks to us. Words from God. Not just “the Law” but all of God’s words.

 

To be sure, God wants us to strive and work at keeping his 10 commandments, but here Jesus is saying hold on to, treasure, guard, keep close to my words which are the Father’s words. Just as the Son has life in the Father’s words, we have life in the Son’s words. Not just some of his words. All of them. Words that reveal God’s love in action for us. Words that enact God’s love for us. Words like Absolution that declares you innocent. Baptism that unites us to Christ. Holy Communion where Jesus body and blood abides in us for the forgiveness of all our sins.

 

Jesus doesn’t speak these words in the midst of calling his disciples, as in, do what I say and then you are my disciples. No, it’s the other way around. Because they are his disciples they abide in his word, keep his word. The disciples’ entire life is surrounded by the love of God in Jesus.

 

So it is for you.

 

This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.

 

The key phrase there is, “As I have loved you.” Everything flows from Jesus’ love.

 

Think again about all that’s going on as Jesus says these words. He’s sitting with his chosen disciples in the upper room. Around a table. On the very night he is going to give his life for the life of the world. He knows his disciples, even better than they know themselves. He knows they’ll deny him. Betray him. Abandon him. And yet, he loves them. He lays down his life for them.

 

Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.

 

Jesus calls them not servants, but friends. This puts the disciples in good company. Only Abraham and Moses were called friends of God in the Old Testament. It’s a remarkable gift. Jesus reminds them that they’re not sitting around that table because they made all the right choices. No. He chose them. He took the initiative. He acted. He loved.

 

And that’s how it goes for us as well. That is the heart of God’s love. He takes the initiative. He chooses. He loves you. He loves the loveless. He loves his enemies, sinners. He lays down his life for you. He calls us his friends and shares his table with us.

 

And then, like his disciples, he sends us out as his branches joined to the vine, as his people with whom he abides, to love one another as he has loved you. How does that work? We wonder.

 

It works, not by focusing on our own love and works, but on Christ and His love for you and for those around you. It seems counterintuitive at first. We think that if you want to improve in some area, you focus on the area you need to improve and practice and work on it. And that’s generally true when you are talking about mastering skills such like axe throwing or baking or almost anything we do. But love isn’t a skill one masters. Love is the fruit that forms on a branch that is joined by faith to the Vine and draws is life from Jesus.

In other words, fix your eyes on Jesus, His love for you. Abide in His love. For greater love has no one than this that Jesus laid down his life for you.

In the Name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

 

 

Beautiful Savior

is a traditional Lutheran Church, faithful to God's Word and His Sacraments. We equip God's people to serve, love, and encourage one another as we grow in our personal relationship with Christ. We reach out to the community as beacons of light, sharing the love of God in Christ Jesus, our Savior.

Church Office Hours

Monday - Thursday 8:30am-3:30pm

Friday 8:30am-11:30am

The office is closed on Fridays during the summer months of June, July, and August.

Preschool Office Hours

August - May
Monday, Wednesday, and Friday
8:30am-12:30pm

By appointment only June and July

Contact

Address
2306 Milton Way
Milton, WA 98354
Phone
(253) 922-6977
Fax
(253) 922-6977
E-mail
staff@mybslc.com