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Grace Bible Church - Gatesville, Tx
Grace Bible Church - Gatesville, Tx

Episode 112 · 3 weeks ago

In The Upper Room: A Glorious Commandent

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

In The Upper Room: A Glorious Commandent

John 13:31-35

Dax Bryant - Preaching

We've Sung of God's greatness. We've seen our sin in the face of that, we've confessed that, we've been reminded of God's forgiveness and assurance of our sin. We've expressed our gratitude for that. And now we come, as the people of God, to be set apart by the word of God. So, as we look at John Thirteen together, will you first join me in prayer? Lord of Glory, Lord of love, your name is great and greatly to be praised. Your deeds are mighty and wonderful and in your infinite wisdom, you have revealed yourself to us in your word. You have preserved this word for us so that we might know you and worship you. So we ask for your help, Lord, help us now to hear from you to that end, to know you and worship you and be transformed by you through the power of your spirit. We pray these things in Jesus name. Amen. John Thirteen. Were continuing in John Thirteen this morning. The passage that was just read versus thirty one through thirty five. As you know, when we come to John Thirteen, it is the night before Jesus's death. We're in the upper room here and with every word spoken, with every passing breath, the moment of Jesus's Crucifixion Draws Nearer. Within hours, he will be arrested in the garden of Gath Simone. After enduring several trials throughout the night, he will be condemned, beaten nearly to the point of death and then fastened to a wooden cross on Golgatha. These things are all about to happen, but it is not as if these things are just spiraling out of control, that they're happening to him as a mere observer or a helpless victim. Not only does Jesus know that all of this is coming, but he is actually at work orchestrating all of these events according to his father's divine timetable and for his own glory. And so, on the eve of of all that is about to happen, Jesus gathers with his closest disciples in the upper room to celebrate the Passover, and as he does, we have the privilege, in John Thirteen through sixteen, of of listening in on what is, without a doubt, the most profound and intimate instruction recorded by given by Jesus in all of his ministry. But if you recall from the last couple of weeks, there are two problems that Jesus has to deal with. First one problem is the thick pride that permeates the upper room his disciples, who are always sort of jockeying for position. They come into the room, they see the towel, they see the basin of water, but there is no servant there to wash their feet and that task is so far beneath them that it would never even cross their minds to stoop down and perform that act for each other. And so Jesus gets up from the middle of the supper and he washes their feet one by one. So an object lesson in humility is how Jesus deals with that first problem of pride. But there's a second problem, one that we considered last Lord's Day, and that is that there is a traitor in the amidst at this very moment, thirty pieces of silver are...

Jangling in his pocket. That's the price of his betrayal. He is the epitome of hypocrisy, even though for the last three years he has listened to Jesus, he has preached alongside the other disciples. He has presumably even performed miracles alongside them, and just a moment ago in this passage, he allowed Jesus to wash his feet. When Jesus says there is a traitor in the room, the other Gospels Record that Judas says, surely not I and in that ultimate act of hypocrisy that we saw last time, Judas accepts the morsel offered by Jesus that expresses loyalty and friendship and honor, as if to say yes, Jesus, I I am your close friend and ally. And it's at that point that we read that Satan himself enters into Judas and Jesus then looks into the face of evil and says what you are going to do, do quickly, and Judas and Satan, who has possessed him, can do nothing but obey the command of the Living God and leave. And so the second problem is dealt with. So it's only at this point, then, that Jesus can speak freely to his men. What we have when we come to verse thirty one, are really Jesus's first words to his true little flock. This is the actual beginning of the upper room discourse here, and so as we pick up the conversation, starting in Verse Thirty One. Let me first give you two summary statements that, if we put these things together, this will help us find the big idea of this passage. Here's the two statements. Number One, the saving death of Jesus Christ sets forth the greatest display of God's glory, and number two, the saving death of Jesus Christ establishes the limitless boundaries of our love. The saving death of Jesus Christ sets forth the greatest display of God's glory, and that same event also establishes the boundaries of our limitless love. So let's since it's a brief passage, we're gonna read the whole thing again here, starting in Verse Thirty One. When, when he, that is Judas, when he had gone out, Jesus said now is the son of Man Glorified and God is glorified in Him. If God is glorified in Him, God will also glorify him in himself and glorify him at one. Little children, get a little while I am with you. You will seek me and just as I said to the Jews, so now I also say to you where I am going, you cannot come. A new commandment I give to you that you love one another just as I have loved you. You also are to love one another. By this, all people will know that you are my disciples if you have love for one another. So there are there are two major themes here, to two major concerns that Jesus has and he wants to convey, and and those concerns are easily observed in this text by their repetition and by the fact that they are framed around what Jesus says right in the middle of the paragraph. So...

I want to look first at verse thirty three to show you here how this is the hinge of what Jesus says, that that really applies to what he says before and after. But look at verse thirty three again, little children, yet a little while I am with you, you will seek me. And just as I said to the Jews, so now I also say to you where I am going. You cannot come. So, even even though this is going to break their hearts, Jesus says to his disciples, I am leaving and you cannot come with me. The time has come for me to depart. And and we'll see that this is a theme that Jesus is going to return to repeatedly on this night to prepare his disciples for his departure. Now what we'll also see is they don't want him to go. In fact, some of them will do things to try to prevent the events from happening that he keeps talking about. And it's understandable, because all of their hope, all of their faith, all of their trust is in him. Everything is tied up with Jesus, and so the thought that he is going to leave them, the thought that somehow their time with him is coming to an end, it's more than they can bear, and so I think it is very poignant the way he addresses them here. He speaks with gentleness and affection little children. He says, we don't see Jesus speak this way very often. Now he's told the religious leaders, who he refers to hear as the Jews, on at least two occasions that they will see him and not be able to find him and they can't come where he's going, though the content of the message here is the same, that the tone that he uses with his disciples is very different. He speaks gently, affectionately little children, and later he's going to tell these little children that he's going to prepare a place for them. We'll see that in chapter fourteen, versus one through three, that he tells these little children that because he lives, they are going to live too. We'll see that in chapter fourteen, Verse Nineteen. But but why all this talk of his leaving? Why all this talk of his departure? Well, it flows out of what he says in versus thirty one and thirty two after Judas leaves. Look at that. It says now is the son of Man Glorified and God is glorified in Him. If God is glorified in Him, God will also glorify him in himself and glorify him at once. That's his first concern. But what is he talking about here? Well, this is something that's been building throughout the course of John's Gospel. This this language that he uses, this event that he refers to. You can you can turn to these passages if you want, but we'll go through them quickly, just a couple of them. But back in John, Chapter Seven, verse thirty seven, Jesus says, if anyone thirst, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me. As the scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water. And then John adds right after that, for those of us who are reading this, he says now this. He said about the spirit whom those who believed in him were to receive, for as yet the spirit had not been given because Jesus was not yet glorified, and that that term glorified, there is a reference to his death that's coming up on the cross. And then in John...

Chapter Twelve, Verse Twenty Three. Remember this is when the gentiles, after the triumphal entry, the gentiles come. They're seeking after Jesus, UH and, and he says the hour has come for the son of man to be glorified. Well, what do you mean glorified, Jesus, he says in the next verse. Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone, but if it dies it bears much fruit again. His his glorification, is tied to his death, which is kind of interesting. I don't think that we that that's our first instinct when we think about the death of Jesus as is that it is an event of glory. Typically we think about the shame, the humiliation, the degradation, the pain that he's suffered. But it's interesting to note that when Jesus talks about the cross, he often refers to it as a moment in which he will be glorified. Look at it there, just in those first two verses again, Verse Thirty One and Thirty Two, that word glorified or glorify appears five times in just those two verses. You can't miss it, right there's there's nothing about the agony that he would suffer on the cross, there's nothing about the humiliation that he would endure in that place, nothing of the loneliness that he would experience on that day. Instead, five times glorified. There's there are those terms that become part of our our Christianese language that we use almost without thinking and we kind of lose the meaning. Glory, Glory, God's glory or to glorify God, I think, is one of those terms. So what do we mean when we speak about the glory of God? It's an important term here in these two verses. Well, I think many things are wrapped up in the glory of God, more than we have time to unpack this morning. But for our purposes we can say at a at a high level, that the glory of God simply refers to God's reputation, the character of God, who he is. It's in fact it's the sum that is greater than all of who God is. It's it's contained in his magnificence and his splendor and His Majesty. And the other thing about God's glory is that it is intrinsic to himself. It's it comes from within him. He is the source of it. So he he doesn't need anyone or anything to add to it. It is God who is in himself glorious. So then when we talk about giving God glory or glorifying God, what do we mean? And again there are many facets to that, but I think we can boil it down simply that to glorify God. When we glorify God, we are making God's glory known, we are making God's glory known, we are magnifying God's glory, we are reflecting something of God's glory, we are putting God's Majesty and Splendor on display in some way. And what Jesus is saying here when he repeats this term glorified over and over again, is that there is something that is going to happen that will set forth a great display of God's glory. Let's let's look at how Jesus breaks us down in very certain terms. So we'RE gonna go back to...

...verse thirty one and Work Our way back to verse thirty three where that hinge is. So first he says in Verse Thirty One, now is the son of man glorified. So that that should get your attention. He's going to be glorified in some way and given what we've read earlier in John's Gospel, this is likely a reference to his death on the cross. How is he going to be glorified in a humiliating death? I mean, if we were talking about his baptism, for example, we could understand that God the father, shows up, he speaks from heaven and says this is my beloved son, with whom I am well pleased. We can see how that glorifies Jesus. Or even on the amount of transfiguration, when Jesus Takes Peter and James and John Up and for a brief moment his glory bursts forth from behind the veil. They can see it. That's an obvious moment that that Jesus is glorified, but the cross, this is where he will be glorified. Yes, and not only that, the cross is the place of his greatest glory. Now is the son of Man Glorified? Son Of man, that's, as we've talked about, Jesus favorite title to refer to himself, and it emphasizes how the second person of the trinity came and took on human flesh in order to accomplish a specific purpose. In other words, God the Sun took on human flesh. He became God incarnate to display his glory at the Cross. Remember what he cried while he was hanging from the cross. They tell us die it is finished. What was finished? The redemption pry was paid for those whom God would save. The power of sin and death, even the power of Satan himself, was defeated. And so it becomes evident here that, first of all, the cross is the place where the glory of God incarnate would be displayed most greatly. But notice what he says next. So first it is now is the son of man glorified, speaking of himself, and God, meaning God the Father, is glorified in him. So at the cross, not only will the son be glorified, but God the father will be glorified in the saving death of the son. So the Father's glory will also be displayed at the cross. Now we tend to talk about the cross a lot, and that's because it's not something you can ever really move on from. If you want to understand something of the glory of God, then you must preoccupy yourself with the cross and what happened there. It's at the cross where God's power is glorified. It's at the Cross where God's justice is glorified, it's at the Cross where God's mercy is glorified. At the Cross is where God's love is glorified, and and undergirding and supporting all of that, it's at the cross where God's wisdom is glorified, because it is the culmination of God's plan from eternity past in which he could become both the both just and the justifier of sinful people. And so we see that the greatest display of God the Father's glory is seen at the Cross. So now is the son of Man Glorified and God is glorified in Him. And what will happen at the cross? Now? Notice Verse Thirty Two. If...

God and the and the tense here indicates not so much possibility but but reality. So I think a better translation would be, since God is glorified in Him, God will also glorify him in himself. That a little confusing. It is. I had to read that a few times. Since God is glorified in him, since the father is glorified in the son the father, God will also glorify the son in himself. So what's what's He's saying here? I think it's simply this. Since the son glorifies the father at the cross, the father will in return give the son the glory that they shared in eternity past. And I think we can we can see this if you keep your finger here and just turn a couple of chapters over, the chapter seventeen, verse four and five. This is the high priestly prayer that Jesus praised just before his arrest and gets so many John Seventeen, verse four, Jesus is praying to the father and he says I glorified you on Earth, having accomplished the work that you gave me to do. He's including his upcoming work of the Cross. It's to happen shortly. Verse Five and now, Father, because of that, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had with you before the world existed. I think it's the same kind of thing here in John Thirty two that, since the father will be glorified by the son's saving death, since Jesus's death will display the father's glory, then the Father will also vindicate the Son's Saving Death, how by raising him from the dead and returning him to the eternal glory that is rightfully his. In other words, Jesus's Resurrection is God, the Father's way of saying that he delighted in and accepted the finished work that Jesus had accomplished on the Cross. The resurrection is like God's exclamation point at the end of the Cross to indicate that his satisfaction is perfect and complete with what transpired there. Now there is more of the story then simply Jesus's death and resurrection. As I said, we talk a lot about the cross. We talk a lot about the empty tomb, and rightly so, but sometimes we we almost stopped there and forget the completion of Jesus's ministry after he was raised from the dead forty days afterwards he ascended into heaven. And what happened after that? Jesus took his place at the father's right hand and he he re entered into the glory that he shared with the father from before the world began, and the father, as it were, placed the scepter into Jesus's hand, and now he rules in the place of supreme authority over all of creation. This is Philippians two in a nutshell. Again, we've seen that passage kind of be related to what we've been talking about the last few weeks, where it says being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore, God has highly Exalted Him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus, every knee should bow in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every e tongue confessed that Jesus Christ is Lord to...

...the glory of God the father. So are you tracking with all of this so far? Here just these first two verses. At the Cross, God incarnate will be glorified. At the Cross, God the father will be glorified and as a result of the cross, the Lord Jesus will rise from the dead, ascend to heaven, be seated at the father's right hand and thus be glorified in God. So so what is Jesus telling his little flock here? It's simply I am preparing to leave, and I know that upsets you, but you must understand that my leaving, what is about to happen will be the greatest display of God's glory that the world will ever see. In other words, the saving death of Jesus Christ sets forth the greatest display of the glory of God. And because that is true, then these disciples must commit to God's plan to glorify himself in Jesus's death, even if that means that Jesus must leave them. Okay, that's what Jesus is saying to them, but what does this have to do with us? It has everything to do with us. If you want to understand who God has revealed himself to be, not just who you might imagine God to be in your own mind, but who God has revealed himself to be, I think one of the best ways, I'll go ahead and say the best way, to know the character of God, is to examine who god is in light of the cross. I'm sure that that many of you have have studied the attribute of God at some point, if you've been a Christian for longer than a year or so. If you haven't studied those things, you should. It's it's who God has revealed himself to be. I'm talking about things like his his sovereignty, His Holiness, his faithfulness, his justice, his love, his his all knowing nous, those kinds of things. But but what is so helpful is when you take any one of those attributes and you think about how that attribute in particular is displayed at the cross, and it's a good checkpoint for your faith, because if you put that attribute of God up against the Cross and you can't reconcile that attribute with what you see happening at the cross, then that means you either have a wrong understanding of that attribute or you have a wrong understanding of the cross, because it is the cross that best revealed else to us the character of God, and that is why Christians must be preoccupied with the cross. That is why you must seek to understand the cross in order to know God more thoroughly and worship him more fully. And I promise you that is a lifelong endeavor. You will not know all there is to know about the Gospel before you die. I promise you won't. And if you're sitting there thinking, well, the Gospel is pretty basic, I mean, I think I've got a pretty good handle on the Gospel. It's not that complicated. I'm ready to move past the Gospel. That's a huge red flag, right. A Christian never moves past the Gospel. The Gospel ought to occupy the center of your attention for the rest of your living days and beyond. And if that's true of each one of us individually, how much more true is that of us as a church collectively? But, but don't we see this? Haven't you seen this in churches? And I use...

...that term loosely? Maybe other preoccupations divert and distract away from the centrality of the Cross and the centrality of the Gospel and they and they take away from the the primacy of Preaching Jesus Christ and him crucified. That might be a preoccupation with signs and wonders, for example. Not that those churches that emphasize that wouldn't affirm that the cross is important it's just perhaps not exciting enough, even though Jesus himself says that the Cross is the place where God's glory is most greatly displayed. You will find people chasing after the latest and greatest supernatural experience in a way that that seems to portray that the cross isn't enough. or it could it could be a preoccupation with a particular political or social agenda. But political and social preferences are not what unites the church, even on those things that we should all agree on right. Abortion is evil, adoption is good. I hope we all agree on that. But but even those things are not the rallying cry of the Church of Jesus Christ. Or it could be a preoccupation with numbers, bodies, bucks, buildings. Right when, when the focus becomes filling the seats and filling up the bank account, that can cause a church to move away from the cross. And that usually happens because the easiest way to grow a church bigger is to never cause offense, and so you avoid using terms like sin and hell and wrath and church discipline. Now, you might keep that on paper so it looks good, but in practice you just don't really ever bring it up, because you have to make religious things as attractive as possible to people to draw them in, and that's what a pragmatic approach to church is, that it means that the customer, not God, is always right. The point I'm trying to make is there are several things that that shift our preoccupation away from the Cross and away from the Gospel. And and what I want to say is that if this church exists for the glory of God, and if we don't, then we should just go ahead and lock the doors. But if this church exists for the glory of God, and the Glory of God is most clearly displayed at the cross, then are consuming passion must be to know and to proclaim the saving death of Jesus Christ as the greatest display of glory that the world is seen. That's the concerned that Jesus has for his disciples, and it's a concern that we must have as well. We need to be preoccupied with the cross because it glorifies God like nothing else. This verbal hinge in verse thirty three. Yet a little while I am with you, you will seek me and just as I said to the Jews so and now I also say to you where I am going, you cannot come. It's a clear reference to what's about to happen, to his death on the cross. It's tied to his glory, which we've just seen, and it's tied now to this second concern that he has for them and for us, and that is namely how they will relate to one another after he's gone. Now thank with a moment. Think of think for a moment with me here. What do we...

...know about this group of men who are gathered in this room? Who? WHO's there? There's Matthew, a Jew who sold out to the Roman government, extorting money from his own people. Somewhere across the table, there's Simon, zealot, who is desperate to overthrow that Roman government that Matthew worked for. There's James and John, who want to call down fire from heaven to consume a village of unbelievers. There's Philip, the pessimist, Thomas the doubter, there's Peter, the big mouth, many of them arguing about who is the greatest among them, and all of that happening while Jesus is physically present with them. That's how they act when he's there. What's IT gonna be like when he's gone. So, having announced his departure, having informed his men that they cannot come with him, Jesus begins to lay out what he expects of them after he leaves. Verse Thirty Four. A new commandment I give to you that you love one another just as I have loved you. You also are to love one another. I'm reminded it's not always the things that are difficult to understand in the Bible that are actually the most difficult. This is simple to understand. It's another thing to live out. It's a new command Jesus says. He's already used that word new this very night, not in John's account, but over in Luke's account of this event where he institutes the Lord Supper. He says this Cup that has poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood. It's the same word. He's saying there that, just as God promised in the Old Testament, he is he is preparing to deal with his people in a new way, that the spirit of God is going to come actually transform people from the inside out and then dwell within those people and those people become the body of Christ. The New Covenant Community The church, and if you belong to God's New Covenant Community, then you have a new obligation. Jesus says that you love one another. And perhaps if you know your Bible, you're thinking, well, that commands not really new. You should love your neighbor as yourself. That's in the Old Testament. Moses wrote that. What's so new about this commandment to love one another? We've seen that before. It's not the content that's new. What's new is the standard. See It, just as I have loved you, Jesus says, you also are to love one another. Now, to love your neighbor as yourself, to love anyone else as much as you love yourself. That's already a high standard. Now the bar is raised. Believers are to love one another to the same degree that God demonstrates his love for us in the sacrificial death of his son. So not only does the saving death of Jesus Christ set forth the greatest display of the glory of odd but...

...secondly, here the saving death of Jesus Christ establishes the limitless boundaries of our love. Christians, you are to love other believers in the same way that Jesus has loved you. That is simple enough for a child to memorize and yet profound enough for a mature believer to be brought to his or her knees at the thought of just how greatly you have failed at that. Jesus, he's just exemplified this standard of love this very night, right washing his disciples feet. But since we've already seen the foot washing, even itself points ahead to Jesus's death. They are soon going to appreciate an even greater understanding of love. They'RE gonna they're gonna see a new standard of love as they come to understand what is happening on the cross. Have you ever thought about this? I was struck this week thinking about this. The more you recognize, well, first of all, but the longer you've been a Christian, typically the more you recognize the depth of your own sin, and the more you recognize the depth of your own sin, the greater you appreciate the love of Jesus for you. And the more you appreciate the love of Jesus, the higher his standard of love appears, and the higher his standard of love appears, the more you recognize the depth of your own sin. And it's a cycle and we realize that none of us, none of us, are perfectly obeying this new command. And while we're still trying to wrap our heads around that, verse Thirty Five, I think, just levels us, or it ought to. Jesus says by this all people will know that you are my disciples if you have love for one another. Now, think about what that means. Think about what Jesus is saying here. He is giving all people the world the right to judge the authenticity of your discipleship based on your demonstrable love for other Christians. Think about that. And so I assume, like me this week, you have to ask yourself these same kind of questions. Do I love other Christians or have I limited my love to certain Christians? Are there some Christians that I simply refuse to love? But, brothers and sisters, this is not presented to us as an option. It is not a new option, it is a new command and I want to take the time to show you this here. I know you know this, but let me show you from God's word. Turn to first John, past all the epistles, past Hebrews and James, pasted first and second Peter, First John, chapter three, John, the same author of John's Gospel. First John Three, verse twenty three. Does this? Does this sound familiar? And this is his commandment that we believe in the name of his son, Jesus Christ. Okay, we got that. Next word. And love one another, just as he commanded us. He commanded us to do that in the...

...passage that we're in. Go to chapter four. First John, Chapter Four, verse seven. Beloved, let us love one another. Pay attention to this next part, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Do you catch that? One of the one of the proofs that you have truly been born again is your love for other believers. If you are a Christian, then you ought to love other Christians, and you have. You ought to love being with other Christians. First John Four. If anyone says I love God and hates his brother, he is a liar, for he who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love god, whom he has not seen. Brothers and sisters. It really is this straight forward and simple in God's words. So I need to ask, how are we doing with this around here? I'm not I'm not saying that we can all be best friends. Right, we all have different personalities and and interests. God has wired each individual in in a different way. There are going to be people in this body that you connect with more naturally than you do with others, and that is okay. That is a good thing. That is how God designed it to be. God is not after nameless, faceless uniformity in the church. God is interested in something that is much more rarely seen, and that is unity within the midst of diversity. God doesn't have a Christian cookie cutter designed to stamp out identical little replicas of his children. Instead, God is after people who, though the maybe the only thing they have in common is the gospel of Jesus Christ, they still gather together, they still love one another and they still sacrificially meet one another's needs. Do you understand this? Friends? Let me tell you this. This passage has slapped me in the face several times this week because I have struggled with this myself. The next time that you're tempted to draw a line with another believer, especially of another believer in your own church body, and say that's it, I'm done loving that person, might I recommend that you just turned to that last little clause in John and read these words, just as I have loved you, and then ask yourself, do do I have the right to draw a line here? Do I have the right to say I will not love this person anymore? It's the cross that establishes the extent of the boundaries of your love. What would the world think if they saw Christians loving each other like this? What would they think of our marriages and our families and our churches? But the sad truth is what the world often sees, especially perhaps in the age of social media, is Christians bickering and infighting amongst each other. They hear Christians gossip about each other, they hear Christians complain about the other Christians and their church. They see all of your posts about Jesus on social media, and then they see you in real life, talking and thinking and acting just like they do,...

...living your life in such a way that it contradicts the faith that you profess and that that damages those that you claim to love, other Christians, in the process. Here's my point. We need to love each other in such a way that the only explanation for that love is our connection to each other in Jesus Christ now that's that's not that we tolerate sin, it's not that we become doormats to abuse or abusive behavior, but rather it's that someone's sin or abuse does not keep us from lovingly calling that person back to the cross. So when a person, when an unbeliever, asks O, how can you continue to put up with that from that person? How can you keep loving that lady in your church after what she's done? Your response ought to be something along the lines of because that is the way that I have been loved by Jesus Christ, and where that is the standard, I have to be very careful about setting limits where he has not friends. I recognize that there are some situations that require nuance here. They require discernments. God disciplines those whom he loves. Sometimes the most loving thing maybe a parting of ways. But what I want us to do is is to first consider the cross before you arrive at that decision, to look at how you have been loved. This is I the cross is central. This is why we ought to be preoccupied with the Gospel, because when your love for other believers is motivated by the cross, instead of guilt or obligation or a sense of duty if it's obligated by the cross, that love becomes stronger and more enduring because it is fueled by the reality of how you have been loved by God. So we look at this glorious commandment to love one another, it's not merely the obligation of believers and how they ought to respond to the God who has loved us in the death of his own son. Now it's nothing less than that, but even more than that, it is also a privilege which, when rightly lived out, proclaims the glory of God to a watching world. It is the saving death of Jesus Christ that sets forth the greatest display of the glory of God, and it is the saving death of Jesus Christ that establishes the limitless boundaries of our love for one another. The Cross is our preoccupation, as it glorifies God, and the Cross is our motivation to love one another and to bear witness to the glory of God. And friends, Jesus has so much more to say to us in the upper room. He's just getting started. Let's pray. Lord Jesus, at the Cross, you were both the sacrifice Er and the sacrifice in your glorious offering of love at...

...the cross that you made once for all time, you not only extinguish the fire of divine wrath, but you caused a holy flame of love and peace to burn there instead, a flame that is now kindled in every heart of every person who belongs to you. Lord, may we be ambassadors of your love in such a way that brings you glory both now and forever. Amen.

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