Sermon for 05.05.24 “Love God, love one another”

EASTER 6, May 5, 2024
Text: John 15:9–17
Theme: Love God, love one another
Other Lessons: Acts 10:34–48; Psalm 98; 1 John 5:1–8

(A) In the Name of the Father…Amen.
(B) The Gospel lesson serves as our sermon text for this morning.
(C) Grace, mercy, and peace be yours from God our heavenly Father through
His Son and our Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.
(D) Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, let us pray:

Gracious and Loving God, we gather in Your presence today, drawn by the
words of Jesus in John 15, where He calls us to abide in His love, just as
He abides in Your love.
We are grateful for this divine love, a love so profound that it transcends
understanding, a love that calls us friends rather than servants because
Jesus has made known to us everything that You have told Him.
Lord, we acknowledge the beauty and depth of this relationship, rooted in
love and chosen by You.
We thank You for choosing us to go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and
for the promise that whatever we ask in Jesus’ name, You will give us.
Help us to embody this love not only in our words but through our actions,
living out the commandment Jesus gave us: to love each other as He has
loved us.
In our worship today, remind us of the sacrificial love of Christ, who laid
down His life for us, so that we might live through Him.
May this truth resonate deeply in our hearts and inspire us to love others
sacrificially and generously.
Teach us to maintain our connection to Jesus, the true vine, so that our
lives might be fruitful, reflecting Your grace and truth in all that we do.
Lord, as we continue in prayer, fellowship, and worship this day,
strengthen our commitment to live out this commandment of love.
Help us to be bearers of Your peace, agents of Your grace, and witnesses to
Your transformative love.
May our community be a reflection of the love that You have poured out on
us, and may our relationships be marked by the selflessness and joy that
comes from abiding in You.
We ask these things in the name of Jesus, our Lord and Savior, who with You
and the Holy Spirit reigns forever in perfect unity and love. Amen.


(A) Our text for this morning is right in the middle of Jesus’ farewell
message to his disciples, John 13–17, which makes His words extraordinary.
(1) For in just a few hours, Jesus will experience betrayal, abandonment,
and unlawful arrest.
(2) Then He will experience cruel abuse and execution.
(3) Yet Jesus speaks of both His and the Father’s love.
(4) This is especially noticeable in the use of the Greek noun for love
(ἀγάπη) four times and the verb for love (ἀγαπάω) five times in the text.
(B) In last Sunday’s Gospel from John 15:1–8), Jesus spoke of his
relationship with his disciples and with us using the vine-branches
(1) He is the vine; we are the branches.
(2) The branches cannot exist without connection to the vine.
(3) In today’s text, Jesus expands on this analogy, specifically pointing
out the relationships of Jesus and the Father, Jesus and the disciples, and
the disciples to one another.
(4) And each of these relationships consists of each one loving the other.
(5) So that’s the focus of Jesus’ message to us today too.
(6) Our text teaches us that The Love of Christ Compels Us to Love.
(I) We fail to keep Christ’s command to love.
(A) We all know how sweet love is, but Jesus also gives us a command to
John 15:9–10, 12, 16 (NASB95)
9 “Just as the Father has loved Me, I have also loved you; abide in My
10 “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.
12 “This is My commandment, that you love one another, just as I have loved
John 15:16 (NASB95)
16 “You did not choose Me but I chose you, and appointed you that you would
go and bear fruit, and that your fruit would remain, so that whatever you
ask of the Father in My name He may give to you.
(1) How well do we fit these descriptions?
(B) How are you doing with these commandments?
Jesus says:
John 15:10 (NASB95)
10 “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.
(1) Because of our sinful nature, we break the commandments continuously
and constantly, so how could we possible abide in his love?
(2) Each one of us has our pet sins:
(a) Thoughts of lust
(b) Harsh words
(c) Violent temper
(C) Using Jesus’ analogy, as branches, how connected are we to the vine?
(1) Only when it is convenient for us, when it fits our schedule?
(D) How can we abide in his love if that connection is weak?
(1) We hardly love others as we are loved by Christ.
(2) We live in a world where the mindset is“after me, you first” prevails.
(3) Are we bearing abiding fruit?
(4) Jesus says to “go and bear fruit,” which might indicate the intention
to witness to others so that they may come to faith in Christ.
(5) That’s one of the most important ways we can love our neighbor.
(6) How evident is that fruit of yours?
(E) Jesus’ words certainly do not describe those who are unbelievers, those
branches who are cut off from the vine.
(1) Apart from faith in Christ, we are all spiritually blind, spiritually
dead, and enemies of God
2 Corinthians 4:4 (NASB95)
4 in whose case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the
unbelieving so that they might not see the light of the gospel of the glory
of Christ, who is the image of God.
Ephesians 2:1 (NASB95)
1 And you were dead in your trespasses and sins,
Romans 5:10 (NASB95)
10 For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death
of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His
(2) We all inherited this sinful nature from Adam and Eve.
(3) Because of this and the resulting actual sins of which we are guilty,
we deserve both physical death and eternal punishment in hell.
(F) We have all failed to keep Jesus’ command to love.
(II) But in that same love Christ calls us to repent and forgives us.
(A) Christ does not want us to perish spiritually and eternally, and in
love He calls us to repent.
(1) When we do repent, it is by God enabling us.
(2) He warns us by His Law—like the words we just heard—but then He makes
His loving purpose immediately evident as well.
(B) The Augsburg Confession teaches:
(1) True repentance is nothing else than to have contrition and sorrow, or
terror, on account of sin, and yet at the same time to believe the Gospel
and absolution (namely, that sin has been forgiven and grace has been
obtained through Christ), and this faith will comfort the heart and again
set it at rest. (AC XII 3–5, Tappert, German)
(C) When we repent, then God forgives us of our sinful nature and all of
our actual sins.
(1) He forgives us for the sake of Jesus Christ.
(2) How does He do that?
(3) By inspiration of the Holy Spirit, Paul writes:
2 Corinthians 5:21 (NASB95)
21 He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might
become the righteousness of God in Him.
(4) Sin was destroyed at Calvary even as Christ carried all of it for all
of mankind in His own body.
(5) At the cross, Jesus is your substitute.
(6) He suffered and died in your place to pay the penalty for your sins and
satisfy the wrath of God.
(7) And every Sunday we proclaim the Easter message that Jesus rose again
from the dead, victorious over sin, Satan and death, bringing us new life
in the face of death.
(8) And so forgiveness, life, and salvation are available through faith in
Christ Jesus.
John 15:13 (NASB95)
13 “Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his
(9) Christ has proved His great love for us by laying down His life for us,
and now He declares us His friends!
(III) Then Christ’s love transforms us to love too.
(A) Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, the Lord has declared us:
(1) to be forgiven of our sins,
(2) saved from death and the fire of hell,
(3) and given the gift of living eternally in heaven with Him.
(B) Yet even more than all that, the love of Christ is transformational.
(1) The evidence of faith in Christ is seen in the changes that take place
in our lives.
(2) Scripture uses words like:
(a) born again,
(b) rebirth,
(c) regeneration,
(d) renewal,
(e) and transformation to describe what Christ’s love does to us.
(3) We are not only free from sin and the effects of sin, but we are free
also from the power of sin.
(4) We are thus:
(a) free to keep His commandments,
(b) free to abide in His love,
(c) and free to bear abiding fruit—that is, free to witness, as Peter
proclaims in today’s First Reading:
Acts 10:43 (NASB95)
43 “Of Him all the prophets bear witness that through His name everyone who
believes in Him receives forgiveness of sins.”
(C) The Augsburg Confession declares:
(1) “sin has been forgiven and grace has been obtained through Christ.”
(2) It goes on to say:
(a) “Amendment of life and the forsaking of sin should then follow” (AC XII
6, Tappert, German).
(b) When we have been loved by Christ’s forgiveness, we love too.
(D) In order to strengthen and increase our faith, love, and obedience, God
gives us the Means of Grace, his Word and Sacraments.
(1) The Word of God transforms us as it’s:
(a) read,
(b) spoken,
(c) expounded upon,
(d) and prayed individually and in groups as in this Divine Service.
(2) The Word of God connected to the water of Holy Baptism drowns the old
Adam and raises us to a new life of love.
(3) The Word of God in Holy Absolution gives comfort and consolation in
having the forgiveness of sins applied personally and individually.
(4) The Word of God together with bread and wine nourishes us for living
lives of God’s love with the true body and true blood of Christ given and
shed for us.
(5) Obedience to God’s command to love does not earn His love, but rather
it is evidence that flows from God’s love applied to us individually in
these Means of Grace.
(6) As we heard in today’s Epistle:
1 John 5:3 (NASB95)
3 For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments; and His
commandments are not burdensome.


(A) In Book Two of the classic Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien,
there’s a critical and striking scene.
(1) The “Company of the Ring,” consisting of four hobbits, a dwarf, an elf,
and three men, one of whom is a wizard named Gandalf, are in the dark halls
of the Mines of Moria.
(2) They make their way to an exit gate across the dangerously narrow stone
Bridge of Khazad-Dûm.
(3) Here they encounter a Balrog, a menacing creature of fire and shadow.
(4) So that his partners might escape, Gandalf, the wizard, stands on the
bridge between his companions and the Balrog.
(5) He calls out to the creature that it cannot pass.
(6) The creature then jumps on the bridge with him.
(7) Gandalf strikes the bridge with his staff, and the bridge cracks and
breaks, causing the Balrog to fall off into the abyss.
(8) But as it does, it snaps its whip, which catches Gandalf around the
knees, dragging him off the bridge into the deep chasm.
(B) There are many more examples in history and literature of loving so
much as to give one’s life for a friend.
(1) But no sacrifice comes near that of Christ’s love for us!
(2) As we learned during the Lenten season:
Romans 5:8, 10 (NASB95)
8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet
sinners, Christ died for us.
10 For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death
of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His
(C) Our sermon text for this morning began with Jesus saying:
John 15:9 (NASB95)
9 “Just as the Father has loved Me, I have also loved you; abide in My love.
(1) Jesus spoke all the words of today’s Gospel so that His joy may be in
us and that our joy may be full.
(2) Indeed, we ought to rejoice while abiding in His great love!
(D) Later on in our text for this morning, Jesus also said:
John 15:13 (NASB95)
13 “Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his
(1) That is exactly what Jesus did for us on the cross!
(2) Thanks to be God that our heavenly Father loved us so much that He sent
His Son to die to save us!
(3) May we love others as He has loved us! Amen.
(E) Let us pray:
Heavenly Father, we thank You for Your Word that speaks so powerfully into
our lives.

Thank You for the assurance that as Your children, born of God, we have the
victory through our faith in Jesus Christ.
Help us to embody this faith in every aspect of our lives, loving You and
Your commandments, and loving each other as You have loved us.
Lord, strengthen us by Your Spirit to overcome the challenges of this
world, holding fast to the truth of Jesus who came by water and blood.
May this truth resonate deeply within us, guiding us in all our actions and
As we depart from this place, keep us steadfast in our faith and fervent in
love, that we may be true witnesses of Your grace and power in the world.
We ask all this in the precious name of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior.
Hebrews 13:20–21 (NASB95)
20 Now the God of peace, who brought up from the dead the great Shepherd of
the sheep through the blood of the eternal covenant, even Jesus our Lord,
21 equip you in every good thing to do His will, working in us that which
is pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be the glory
forever and ever. Amen.
In the Name of the Father…Amen.