The Life of Loveliness
Introduction: John's Gospel deals with three things:
- The Source of Life Ch. 1-7 Features of Life.
- The Shining of Light Ch. 8-12 Fullness of Light.
- The Secret of Love Ch. 13-21 Fidelity of Love.
Our Lord's earthly public ministry closed at the end of John Chapter 12.
Chapter 13 is another kind of ministry.
The Lord will no more walk the roads of Judea preaching, teaching, and healing.
In John 13 to 17 we have a private ministry to His own. This is a heart ministry to His own before He leaves them and goes to yonder tree.
He will teach them things they need to know.
He will comfort their hearts.
He will predict things to come in these chapters.
There are 155 verses in these five chapters. These chapters have a weighty message for God's people. Passages like these cannot be mastered in a day or week. They cannot be explained on a few pages. They must be lived with, pondered, read often, and prayed over to catch the truth included.
Scripture can only be understood by the indwelling presence of the ungrieved Holy Spirit.
These Chapters were spoken under the shadow of the Cross. We see in the content of these chapters:
- The special ministry of Our Lord. It was indeed special—they needed it.
- The specific message for His Own. This was not to the world—He loved His own.
- The sobering mention of His Betrayal v. 21-31.
- The subtle movement of Satanic forces.
- The supporting might of the Holy Spirit.
The Lord talks of His ministry to the church.
- The strengthening manna for our souls.
Each Chapter seems to deal with a special phase of Truth—He speaks to His own about:
- The Life of Loveliness-13
- The Life of Hopefulness-14
- The Life of Fruitfulness-15
- The Life of Joyfulness-16
- The Life of Prayerfulness-17
Each Chapter could be set forth as:
- Chapter 13—A chapter on Adoration
- Chapter 14—A chapter on Consolation
- Chapter 15—A chapter on Communion
- Chapter 16—A chapter on Anticipation
- Chapter 17—A chapter on Supplication
These to whom He speaks are going to bear the responsibility of carrying the Gospel to those who sit in darkness.
They are going to need a lot of help. They need special training.
He is dealing with the inward state of the heart rather than outward service.
This is a chapter on the Life of Loveliness:
- The Loyalty of Love 1-17
- The Labour of Love 18-33
- The Lesson on Love 34-38 (36-38 are in John 14).
The Lord has preached a lot of sermons to the world—now it will be a heart warming message to His own—then on to us.
I. The Loyalty of Love v. 1-17
He is going to prove, that, love to the uttermost in this chapter.
The chapter opens with love and closes with love.
- The Assurance of His Enduring Love v. 1
- (a) See the Inducement of that love
The Loving Heart of the Saviour
The Lonely Hearts of the followers
- (b) See the Importance of that Love
The followers need it then. We need it now.
They will get none from the world.
- (c) See the intensity of that love
"To the end" "To the uttermost"
He sets no limits on His love—we do.
- The Abiding Evidence of His Love v. 2-11
This is where we see the Humility of Deity. We don't have much of it. We would be scantily clad if we were clothed in our humility.
Here we must notice:
- (1) The Sublime Saviour v. 2-5
The Saviour is about to manifest amazing condescension—washing feet.
- (a) See the Atmosphere of the Act
An atmosphere of Secrecy—no servants to do it.
An atmosphere of Self-seeking (Luke 22:7-14) (Having an argument over who should do it)
No servants to do it.
No disciples want to do it either.
An atmosphere of Solitude 13:1
- (b) See the Astonishment of the Act 13:3
Three things Jesus knew:
- His Dominion v. 3a
- His Descent v. 3b
- His Destination v. 3c
- The Highest becomes the Lowest
- The Sovereign becomes the Servant.
- (c) See the Antagonism toward the Act.
- None of them liked it.
- He comes to Peter—and if we are to examine Peter's heart and act, we would see three things:
- The stubborn Peter v. 8
- The startling statement v. 8b
- The specific study v. 10-11
- In the Stubborn Peter we see Peter's pride. It is stubborn pride. That sin of pride needs to be dealt with.
- The Startling Statement 8b
The Lord rebuked Peter's pride by an act. The rebuke wasn't easy for Pride to take. But the sin of Pride has to be dealt with. Pride must die in you or nothing from Heaven can live in you. Pride is a damning sin—Humility is a decent virtue.
- The Sensible Surrender v. 9
- The Specific Study v. 10-11
Peter is the man with:
- The Defiled Feet v. 6-7
- The Defiant Heart v. 8a
- The Desperate Cry v. 9
- The Appeal of Love Set Forth v. 12-17
We have seen:
- The Moment of the Act v. 1-3
- The Marvel of the Act v. 4-5
- The Meaning of the Act v. 12-17
Now we will look at the Moral of the Act v. 12-17. This is an appeal of love, and for love. He has been dealing with the "Cleansing of the Clean."
Before us we see the Master appealing for love to be shown.
- The Convenient Interrogation v. 12
- What have you learned—personal humility
- Has He wasted His time (Dr. Gray—Graduating Class, 1921)
- The Constructive Instruction v. 13-14
- See that the water isn't too hot
- See that the water isn't too cold—You wash mine.
- The Convincing Illustration v. 15-16
- The Continuing Demonstration of Love v. 17
II. The Labor of Love 18-33
We see here three matters as He enters into His Labor of Love, while meeting with Judas and Peter.
One Betrays Him: Judas, One Denies Him: Peter.
- Look at the coming Sorrow v. 18-20
- (a) The choice of Judas v. 18
God is going to prove that Perfection could remain perfection with a snake at His hand—Psalm 49:1
- (b) The Careful Reminder v. 19
When it would come to pass remember His words, and believe He gives the evidence before hand to nourish faith.
No one turned Jesus down because He had a traitor travel with Him. Be careful about your attitude toward the preacher.
- The Coming v. 21-30
- A Solemn announcement v. 21
- A Serious question v. 22-25
- A Substantial answer v. 26-29
- A Sad night v. 30
The Night of Discovery—John 1:39 when they found the Messiah.
The Night of Definite Teaching—John 3:1
The Night of Divine Deliverance—Jesus walking on the sea—John 6:7
The Night of Darkened Betrayal—John 13:30
The Night of the First Easter Day—a delightful visitor—John 20:19
- The Coming Separation v. 31-33
- He speaks about the Father's fellowship-fraternity v. 31-32
- He speaks about the followers' fellowship—no more in the flesh v. 33
- That separation would be:
- (a) Impending—"A little while I am with you."
- (b) Inevitable—"Ye will see me and not find me."
- (c) Impermanent—Temporary. He will be back—John 14:1-4.
III. The Lesson of Love v. 34-38
See two matters here on the Lesson of Love:
- "The New Petition v. 34-35
What a petition.
- What they are to do—Love each other. That is an attitude first.
- How they are to do it—"As I loved you." That is an activity. Love expresses itself in action always.
- Why they are to do it—"To show others." That is an advertisement.
- The New Prediction v. 36-38
- The Lord foresaw the meeting at the Cross (You can't follow me there).
- The Lord foresaw the martyrdom of Peter.
- The Lord foresaw the measure of Peter's denial.
- The Lord foresaw the moment of Peter's denial when the cock crowed, but the Lord loved him. John 14:1-4
In this chapter you have:
- Love's example v. 13
- Love's evidence v. 14
- Love's experience v. 15
- Love's endurance v. 16
- Love's excellence v. 17
- Love envisioned v. 18
- Love eclipsed v. 19
- Love enthroned v. 20