What Friends Are For

5/9/2021 Mother’s Day

Message Title: What Friends Are For
Even the Rocks Will Cry Out
Season: Easter
Main Text: John 15:9-17
Scripture Reading: Psalm 98
RCL Scripture: *Acts 10:44-48; Psalm 98; 1 John 5:1-6; John 15:9-17
Focus: Jesus charges his disciples to act as friends.
Function: To engage with the Chosen Family of God rather than divide.
Other Notes:
Mother’s Day

SCRIPTURE READING: Psalm 98 Sing to the Lord a new song because he has done wonderful things! His own strong hand and his own holy arm have won the victory! 2The Lord has made his salvation widely known; he has revealed his righteousness in the eyes of all the nations. 3God has remembered his loyal love and faithfulness to the house of Israel; every corner of the earth has seen our God’s salvation. 4Shout triumphantly to the Lord, all the earth! Be happy! Rejoice out loud! Sing your praises! 5Sing your praises to the Lord with the lyre—with the lyre and the sound of music. 6With trumpets and a horn blast, shout triumphantly before the Lord, the king! 7Let the sea and everything in it roar; the world and all its inhabitants too. 8Let all the rivers clap their hands; let the mountains rejoice out loud altogether 9before the Lord because he is coming to establish justice on the earth! He will establish justice in the world rightly; he will establish justice among all people fairly.


  1. Audience Engagement: How many Hoosiers like the TV show Parks and Recreation?
    1. For those who haven’t seen the show, it is not for everyone, the premise focuses on a small town Parks and Recreation department of a fictional town in Indiana. One of the main characters is a man named Ron Swanson. Through most of the show Ron is quite persnickety or difficult individual
    2. 3 and sometimes makes Leslie Knope work harder.
      1. Major Spoiler Alert: The ending of Parks & Rec includes a happy ending for the grumpiest Ron Swanson. He becomes the Superintendent of the new National Park of Pawnee, Indiana.
  2. Audience engagement: Do you know how many national parks Indiana has? Not State parks but National.
    1. The National Park Website lists 4:
      1. George Rogers Clark Historic Park
      2. Indiana Dunes National Park
      3. Lewis & Clark Trail (a stop on the trail, there’s a bicentennial park on the Ohio River.)
      4. Lincoln Boyhood National Memorial
    2. Bonus: Hoosier National Forest
  3. Sources:
    1. https://www.nps.gov/getinvolved/volunteer.htm
    2. https://www.nps.gov/aboutus/workwithus.htm
    3. https://www.nps.gov/libo/index.htm
    4. https://www.nps.gov/lecl/planyourvisit/maps.htm
    5. https://www.nps.gov/indu/index.htm
    6. https://www.nps.gov/gero/index.htm

TRANSITION: “Our 4 national parks and dozens of state parks are definitely something to boast about! We love to brag about our wonderful state. There are certain things we do for love.

In our text for today, we are continuing the conversation from last week. Last week, we learned about pruning in order to produce good fruit.

SCRIPTURE: John 15:9-17 we will read this in pieces

EXPLAINATION & INTERPRETATION: As Jesus continues the conversation with his disciples he steps away from the husbandry language briefly and towards the language of relationships.

vs 9-12 9“As the Father loved me, I too have loved you. Remain in my love. 10If you keep my commandments, you will remain in my love, just as I kept my Father’s commandments and remain in his love. 11I have said these things to you so that my joy will be in you and your joy will be complete. 12This is my commandment: love each other just as I have loved you.

  1. “Remain in my love”
    1. abide, dwell
  2. “Keep my commandments”
    1. What are his commandments? Love God and love others.
      1. His “commandments” boils down to “love”
  3. “so that my joy will be in you and your joy will be complete”
    1. This is before Jesus’ tragic execution and triumphant resurrection
    2. repeated theme in 16:20-22, 24(WP)
  4. love each other just as I have loved you”
    1. Jesus has set the example so far in his ministry. Little do the disciples know, on this very Maundy Thursday he will be setting an even bigger example of love.

vs 13-15 13No one has greater love than to give up one’s life for one’s friends. 14You are my friends if you do what I command you. 15I don’t call you servants any longer, because servants don’t know what their master is doing. Instead, I call you friends, because everything I heard from my Father I have made known to you.

  1. “to give up one’s life for one’s friends.”– Remember, we’re at Maundy Thursday. Jesus is preparing them for the biggest lesson of love. I will love you even to death and back again.
  2. “if you do what I command you”
  3. “I call you friends,” -Jesus has changed the language. This isn’t just about being faithful subjects who fear their master. Jesus is compelling his disciples to demonstrate what they have learned. Don’t just be my students or servants, be my friends. Be my chosen family.

Vs 16-17 16You didn’t choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you could go and produce fruit and so that your fruit could last. As a result, whatever you ask the Father in my name, he will give you. 17I give you these commandments so that you can love each other.

  1. “I chose you and appointed you”
    1. We don’t earn God’s favor with our actions, it’s been given to us out of God’s goodness. Because God is good, God loves.
    2. Jesus’ words point forward to Paul’s famous words of Ephesians, which James tempers.
      1. “For by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast.” Eph 2:8-9
      2. “17 In the same way, faith is dead when it doesn’t result in faithful activity.” James 2:17
  2. 17I give you these commandments so that you can love each other.”—We are faithful to Jesus’ commandments not because we are earning God’s love with brownie points but because we have been loved. We act out of gratitude, not fear.  

APPLICATION: To engage with the Chosen Family of God rather than divide.

  1. Today is Mother’s Day, and that can be a very complicated day for many.
    1. Statistics say 1 in 4 women have had an abortion and 1 in 8 have fertility issues. That alone brings pain to this day.
    2. Perhaps you have lost a mother or a child.
    3. You desire to be a mom, but something is limiting that.
    4. You are estranged from a child or mother.
    5. You feel society’s pressure to fit feminine roles.
  2. Mother’s Day can be a very joyful time and we have celebrated many wonderful women today.
    1. Amid the joy, we also notice that sometimes biological family don’t act like the family you need.
  3. Whether your family is one of joy or pain, the church is our Chosen family. God gathers us up into a new family. This one is stronger than blood. Our chosen family isn’t just about biology, but about intentionally engaging in relationships.
    1. Jesus calls his disciples friends. This was a way of saying they may not be blood, but they are his intimate companions. They are the ones he journeyed with.
  4. Sources.
    1. https://www.plannedparenthood.org/planned-parenthood-pacific-southwest/blog/1-in-4-american-women-will-have-an-abortion-by-age-45
    2. https://www.cdc.gov/reproductivehealth/infertility/index.htm
    3. https://resolve.org/infertility-101/what-is-infertility/fast-facts/

CONCLUSION:  You are welcomed into the family of God. We are not perfect people but we will love you.

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