June 5

John 15

As we look into chapter 15, let’s remember John 14 had much to do with a deep love and union with the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Chapter 15 is just a continuation of 14.

Jesus continues to talk about union, being part of one another. His illustration is a vine with branches, branches finding life in the union with the vine. God is the vinedresser. Jesus uses the term “abide” seven times. The word abide means to dwell, to live. Jesus speaks of abide in this union of love and as a result of love, surrendered obedience. Obedience is not about our ability to perform. It never has been, even under the old covenant. In order to have a close relationship with God, we must surrender. When we surrender, we act in line with love. That’s obedience.

In addition to the seven times “abide” is used, take notice of how many times “in Me” or “in you” or “I in” or “in My” or “in His” are used – twelve times in verses 1-13. Again, this passage is obviously about union and love. Faith is based on a surrender to His love and acting in surrendered response; thus, abiding in Christ also includes abiding in His words.

From this intimate, intertwined union, we receive the power of God and whatever we ask for, we receive. This is a spiritual mystery, something that needs to be revealed and lived out to understand.

Then in verse 12, Jesus tells us to love one another, not just any kind of love, but to love others with the same deep love that we have known from Him. This kind of love will lay down its life for friends.

How many know that we can love people, but we can’t be the Jesus that fulfills people? Our love should point people to Jesus as the only One who can complete them and make them whole. Often people who do not know God will try to project their need toward us. They can become disappointed when we don’t perform for them. Just keep pointing them to Jesus. If they feel you failed them, you can agree that you will never be who He is meant to be for them.

In verse 16, we read that He chose us. He knew what He was getting into when Jesus saved you. He knows we are not perfect. He knows our flesh is drawn to self-sufficiency and sin. He still died for us. He still calls us. And in a union with Him, He says we can see accomplish things together. That’s amazing to me.

In verses 18-27 Jesus speaks about being hated by the world because they do not know the Father and they do not know the Son. Therefore, the only thing they know is a world run by self-sufficiency. God is opposite from the world. That conflict still rages today.

In addition, there are those who say they know the Father, but they only know about keeping the rules and trying to make things happen by their works. That doesn’t mean we aren’t active in the world, but we must take notice of where our sufficiency lies. When Christians are based in self-sufficiency, it’s often a worse opposition for faith than the world’s opposition.

However, Jesus tells us He gives us the Holy Spirit to be witnesses for Him to the world we are in. We not only represent His righteousness; but we represent His love. If we fail to demonstrate love, we fail to demonstrate Him.

2 Chronicles 17-19

Chapters 17-20 are records of King Jehoshaphat, a leader who lived in surrender to the Lord. King Jehoshaphat allied himself with the king of Israel, King Ahab, through marriage. In chapter 18, a prophet warns Ahab of death, and Ahab dies in battle.

In chapter 19, we see King Jehoshaphat returning to Jerusalem. Jehu said by the Spirit to Jehoshaphat that he should not be involved in relationship with the wicked. He was loving those who hated the Lord.

Today we also have to have discernment with whom we associate. If a Christian is rebellious and sins knowingly, then close fellowship should be withheld until repentance is made. New Testament scripture confirms this spiritual principle.

Jehoshaphat then brings reforms, instructing Levites and priests to act in the fear of the Lord. Let’s remember to reverence God in all we do. If we are ever found guilty before God, let’s be quick to repent and quick to obey!

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