I. Intimate Knowledge of His Thoughts
“This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends. You are My friends if you do whatever I command you. No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you.”
Jesus has been with His disciples for three years, teaching and living with them.? Now He has come to the place where He is getting ready to leave them and will lay down His life on the cross.? He is now calling them friends.? Jesus is helping them to understand that they are more than disciples, they have been brought into a place of greater entrustment and intimacy.? Jesus says, “You are my friends if you do whatever I command you.”? It is easy to take this verse and maybe take a more “robotic” approach thinking, “Oh, I need to go look at the 10 commandments”.? But actually what Jesus is saying here concerning His commandments is in an ongoing tense.? He is calling them to continue in intimacy through hearing His voice, following His directions and yielding to His Spirit.? Through this sensitivity and yielded life comes the ability to follow after His heart.
“My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.”
Not only that, but He over the span of time with them has revealed the Father’s desires completely.? Over three these three years they had received a pure foundation of the Father?s nature. They have seen the Father in Jesus, they have heard His words.
For the first time Jesus shares, “This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.”? It is almost as if He is saying if you get this one all the rest will fall into place.? This is the commandment of Jesus, “Love one another.” Here is His command for His friends, those who walk with closely yielded lives to Him.? He has brought His disciples beyond the point of operating in a slave system and taken them into an organic living relationship.
II. Adopted Into God’s Family
“But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying out, ?Abba, Father!? Therefore you are no longer a slave but a son, and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.”
God loves adoption.? Through Christ we have been adopted into a family of love.? God does not place anyone in a room for second-hands.? Rather He brought us into a His living room of absolute acceptance and love.? He gives us His Holy Spirit that renovates our lives from the inside out, making us new creations in Christ.? The Spirit fills us with the love of God with increase upon increase as we consecrate our lives as habitations for His Presence.? In the verse above, we again see the picture where God has taken us out of a slave-system having brought us into His family as sons.? Our hearts have the cry of His Spirit bringing us into an intimate communion with the Father.? The same picture can be seen in that we are now saints, not sinners. The old life is gone and the new life has come.
III. A New Wineskin for New Wine
“And Jesus said to them, “Can the friends of the bridegroom mourn as long as the bridegroom is with them? But the days will come when the bridegroom will be taken away from them, and then they will fast. No one puts a piece of unshrunk cloth on an old garment; for the patch pulls away from the garment, and the tear is made worse. Nor do they put new wine into old wineskins, or else the wineskins break, the wine is spilled, and the wineskins are ruined. But they put new wine into new wineskins, and both are preserved.?
God has provided the new wine of His Spirit for His people.? With this new wine of His Presence there has to be a new wineskin.? The new wineskin is the foundation of our thinking and perceptions of God.? If we don’t have a right view of who God is then it will not be able to hold the new wine. An old way of thinking or wrong perception of God is a an old wineskin that will burst and cause a mess.? It is possible to have a measure of God’s Presence without grace.? Grace is the working of God within us, making? us like Christ from the inside out.? It is the grace of intimate communion with God coupled with a surrendered life that produces a fullness of God’s life within us.? Our minds have to have a right perception of God and His ways to avoid a mess of new wine being splattered and wasted.? It essentially comes down to not forcing things to happen through the outside-in, but allowing grace to work from the inside-out.? Lists, programs, laws and all of our works will not produce the righteousness of God.? Only God’s grace working from the inside-out will produce His righteousness.? ?
God is more than ready to create communities of His Presence that are filled with grace, with the essential elements of His Word and Spirit working together to produce lives that look like Jesus.? As we embrace the new wine of His Presence with a right perspective of God?s nature it will produce joy, love and peace with a purity of devotion to God and His purposes.
I. Intimate Knowledge of His Thoughts