May 5, 2024


Text: John 15:9-17

Sunday May 5, 2024 -Easter 6

Trinity Lutheran Church – Creston/Mount Ayr.


       Grace, mercy, and peace is yours from God our Father and from our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ!


       Our text for this Sixth Sunday of Easter is the Gospel lesson from John 15 that was just proclaimed.


Let Us Pray:  Dearest Jesus, send your Holy Spirit to remind us that you came to us with your love, the saving work on the cross that you accomplished for each of us. Enabled by your love for us may we love others whom you gave yourself for, too!  Amen.


Dear Fellow Redeemed in Christ:


Our text is in the middle of Jesus’ farewell message to his disciples, John 13–17, which makes his words extraordinary. In just a few hours, Jesus will experience betrayal, abandonment, and unlawful arrest.


Then he will experience cruel abuse and execution. Yet Jesus speaks of both his and the Father’s love. This is especially noticeable in the use of the Greek noun for love four times and the verb for love five times in the text.


In last Sunday’s Gospel (Jn 15:1–8), Jesus spoke of his relationship with his disciples and with us using the vine-branches analogy. He is the vine; they, we, are the branches. The branches cannot exist without connection to the vine.


In today’s text, Jesus expands on the analogy, specifically pointing out the relationships of Jesus and the Father, Jesus and the disciples, and the disciples to one another. And each of these relationships consists of each one loving the other. So that’s the focus of Jesus’ message to us today too. Our text teaches us that


The Love of Christ Compels Us to Love.


We all know how sweet love is, but Jesus also gives us a command to love: “Abide in my love” (v 9); “keep my commandments” (v 10); “love one another” (v 12); “go and bear fruit” (v 16). How well do we fit these descriptions? 
How are you doing with these commandments?


Jesus says, “If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love” (v 10a). Because of our sinful nature, we break the commandments continuously and constantly, so how could we possible abide in his love?


Using Jesus’ analogy, as branches, how connected are we to the vine? How can we abide in his love if that connection is weak? We hardly love others as we are loved by Christ. We live in a world where “after me, you first” prevails.


 Are we bearing abiding fruit? 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. That’s one of the most important ways we can love our neighbor. How evident is that fruit of yours in your life and how you interact with others?


Jesus’ words certainly do not describe those who are unbelievers, those branches who are cut off from the vine. Apart from faith in Christ, we are all spiritually blind, spiritually dead, and enemies of God (2 Cor 4:4; Eph 2:1; Rom 5:10).


We all inherited this sinful nature from Adam and Eve. Because of this and the resulting actual sins of which we are guilty, we deserve both physical death and eternal punishment in hell.


We’ve all failed to keep Jesus’ command to love.


But Christ does not want us to perish spiritually and eternally, and in love he calls us to repent. When we do repent, it is by God enabling us. He warns us by his Law—like the words we just heard—but then he makes his loving purpose immediately evident as well.


The Augsburg Confession teaches:

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)


When we repent, then God forgives us of our sinful nature and all our actual sins. He forgives us for the sake of Jesus Christ. How?


By inspiration of the Holy Spirit, Paul writes: “For our sake [God] made [Jesus] to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Cor 5:21). Sin was destroyed at Calvary even as Christ carried all of it for all of mankind in his own body.


At the cross, Jesus is your substitute. He suffered and died in your place to pay the penalty for your sins and satisfy the wrath of God. 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.


And so forgiveness, life, and salvation are available through faith in Christ Jesus. “Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends” (v 13). Christ has proved his great love for us by laying down his life for us, and now he declares us his friends!


Friends of Christ, forgiven, saved, and living eternally. Yet even more, the love of Christ is transformational. The evidence of faith in Christ is seen in the changes that take place in our lives.


Scripture uses words like born again, rebirth, regeneration, renewal, and transformation to describe what Christ’s love does to us. We are not only free from sin and the effects of sin, but we are free also from the power of sin.


We are thus free to keep his commandments, free to abide in his love, and free to bear abiding fruit—that is, free to witness, as Peter proclaims in today’s First Reading, “that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name” (Acts 10:43).


Recall our words from the Augsburg Confession: “sin has been forgiven and grace has been obtained through Christ.” They go on: “Amendment of life and the forsaking of sin should then follow” (AC XII 6, Tappert, German). When we have been loved by Christ’s forgiveness, we love too.


In order to strengthen and increase our faith, love, and obedience, God gives us the Means of Grace, his Word and Sacraments.


The Word of God transforms us as it’s read, spoken, expounded, and prayed individually and in groups as in this Divine Service.


The Word of God connected to the water of Holy Baptism drowns the old Adam and raises us to a new life of love.


The Word of God in Holy Absolution gives comfort and consolation in having the forgiveness of sins applied personally and individually.


The Word of God together with bread and wine nourishes us for loving living with the true body and true blood of Christ given and shed for us.

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.


As we heard in today’s Epistle: “For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome” (1 Jn 5:3).


There are many examples in history and literature of loving so much as to give one’s life for a friend. But no sacrifice comes near that of Christ’s love for us!


As we learned during the Lenten season, “while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. . . . While we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son” (Rom 5:8, 10).


Our text began with Jesus saying, “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love” (v 9).


Jesus spoke all the words of today’s Gospel so that his joy may be in us and that our joy may be full.


 Indeed, we rejoice abiding in his great love! Amen.



Now may the peace of God which far surpasses our human understanding guide and keep us in the one true faith until life everlasting…Amen