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To recap, the first time Jesus spoke of the ‘new’ commandment – “Love one another” [John 13.34] – He showed us that this love was in the context of helping another disciple to have a part with us, just as He washed the disciples’ feet so that they would have a part with Him.  And the second time He preceded and defined His love for us with this line:  “As the Father has loved Me, so have I loved you.” [John 15.9] So that a higher, deeper expression of the love for one another is to love one another with the love the Father has for us.  Something that can be experienced by those who have the commands of Jesus and obey them… for as Jesus said, “Whoever has My commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves Me.  He who loves Me will be loved by My Father…” [John 14.21]

Now Jesus repeated this command a third time… “This is My command:  Love each other.” [John 15.17] And just before He said it this time, He told the eleven, “Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from My Father I have made known to you.  You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit—fruit that will last.  Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in My Name.” [John 15.15-16] This time the love of the other is for the one you choose to love.

In the first instance, the love of one another is for fellow disciples.  Understand this:  You do not get to choose who your fellow disciples are, for disciples are chosen by the Teacher, not by another disciple.  As such, you do not get to choose who are to have a part with you, but rather, the Lord does.  As an example, even though Philip brought Nathanael to the Lord, the Lord did not say to Nathanael, “Follow Me,” as He said to Philip.  And when the Lord chose His twelve, He chose Philip but did not include Nathanael.

The first application then of love one another applies to the others whom you did not choose, but who were chosen by the Lord for you.  In the second instance, those who are loved by the Father because they have the commands of Jesus and obey them have chosen themselves to be candidates who can fulfil the second way of loving one another and therefore to be beneficiaries of the second command.  They are the ones who, by their choice, have chosen to have the commands and obey them.

Be reminded again, dear reader, that not every disciple chooses to have the commands, as exemplified by those who left Jesus in John 6.66, and not every disciple chooses to obey the commands, as exemplified by the twelve who chose to stay until dark and then decided to go to Capernaum instead of setting out immediately to Bethsaida after the feeding of the 5,000.  So those who can love one another as the Father has loved them are those who have chosen themselves, but are not chosen by you as such.

However, this time the ones to whom the command applies are chosen by you, just as Jesus said, “You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you…” So this time the practice of this command applies to those you chose and appointed as your friends.

Now here is another aspect of the command to understand as part of your mastery, not just the practice of it.  In the first instance, “Love one another,” applies to fellow disciples.  In the second instance, it applies to fellow siblings, that is, brothers and sisters, for the standard is not, “As God has loved me so have I loved you,” but “As the Father has loved Me, so have I loved you.” A Father’s love can only be experienced by a child, not a student or disciple.

In this third instance, the command relates to friends you have chosen, that is, love one another as the friends you have chosen for yourself.  And this love is expressed by the fact that you chose them as friends, not for friendship, not for companionship, not for the benefit you would get out of it, and not even for the benefit they, your friends, would get out of it, but for the benefit the Father will get out of it.  For Jesus said, “You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit—fruit that will last.  Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in My Name.”  And earlier He said, “This is to My Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be My disciples.” [John 15.8]

If you bearing fruits as disciples of Christ brings glory to the Father, that is, if mere students can bring glory to the Father of the Teacher by doing well, that is, bearing fruits – the fruits of the Teacher’s teachings and commands – then can you imagine, can you see how much more glory the Father of any family can get when His children whom He loves, love each other as brothers and sisters, but more than that, love each other as friends?

So then the obedience and the practice of the command, “Love one another.  As I have loved you…” [John 13.34] when it is mastered, leads to disciples who are brothers and sisters of the Teacher, who chose each other as their friends because they each know their Father’s business.  And when the command is mastered, the minimal requisite standard need not be repeated… that is why the third time Jesus said the command, it was only, “Love each other.”

For when you, as fellow disciples, have confirmed your place as a son or daughter because you have been loved by the Father, as Jesus has been loved by the Father, choose and appoint as your friends your own brothers and sisters, then you already know and have achieved the standard set by Jesus when He said, “As I have loved you…”

For, those who have been chosen by Him as His disciples, who have paid the price of discipleship and hold onto His commands and obey them become His brothers and sisters because of their knowledge of the Father’s love.  You see, in every good family with a good Father, every child has a distinct direct and personal relationship of love with the Father Himself and not an indirect relationship through another sibling.  The father who expresses his love for his other children through one chosen child only is guilty of favouritism, but worse still, is guilty of depriving his children of the most precious gift they were born to receive – a father’s love (or a parent’s love).  And God is the good Father.  That is why He does not hold back from loving His other children directly to do it only through Jesus, but rather, He allows those who truly hold Him as Father to be loved directly by Him as well.

What do I mean by those who truly hold Him as Father?  When you believe and obey the testimony of God about Jesus and His command about Jesus is when you truly hold Him to be a Father.  For God did say from the cloud of glory, “This is My Son…” [Matthew 17.5; Mark 9.7; Luke 9.35] which makes Him a Father who commanded as the Father, not as God, “Listen to Him.” [Matthew 17.5; Mark 9.7; Luke 9.35] So it is when you do listen to Jesus that you have begun to hold God as the Father He is, and until you accept God as the Father He is, you cannot expect to have Him as your Father either.

You can be loved by God as God loves His creatures, creation and mankind… for that, you only need to acknowledge and obey Him as God, and to do that, you do not need to listen to Jesus, only to Moses.  But to be loved by God as the Father who loves His children, then you need to acknowledge and not only acknowledge, but obey Him as Father.  And as Father, God commanded this of the disciples of Jesus Christ who were represented by Peter, James and John:  “Listen to Him.” So that it is as if we have gone full circle as it were… for we began this journey when the command, “Listen to Him,” was restored to us, elect.  Now it is this command, “Listen to Him,” that completes the formation of the Son in us… for Jesus said, “Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead?  Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion?  If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in Heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!” [Luke 11.11-13] For the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Sonship, and the giving of the Holy Spirit by the Father to all who ask is so that a son or daughter is formed in the recipient.

But if we do not accept God as the Father He is, how can He give the Holy Spirit as the Spirit of Sonship?  He cannot.  The Holy Spirit can come to anyone as the Spirit of Wisdom, Knowledge, Counsel, Fear of the Lord, Power, Understanding, Truth, Grace, Life, Revelation, Holiness and Glory, but as the Spirit of Sonship?  No.  You can have the wisdom, knowledge, counsel, power, fear of the Lord, understanding, truth, grace, life, revelation, holiness and glory, yes… but without the Spirit of Sonship, you can never be the son or daughter that God would want you to be.  A child, yes, and a servant definitely, but a son or daughter?  It cannot be done unless you accept the Fatherhood of God, and then the Holy Spirit who comes out from Him comes as the Spirit of Sonship.  And if we say, “Yes, He is the Father,” but yet do not obey Him by listening to the One He has chosen and appointed for us to listen to, what does that make us?  Disobedient children at best.  So should it surprise you that when we do not listen to Jesus, we experience God’s love as a Father disciplining, yes, disciplining the children He loves?

However, the obedience of the command does not make you a son who can be trusted with the keys of the Father’s kingdom, for if you only listen to Jesus and do not do what He says, (“…hears My words and does not put them into practice…” [Luke 6.49]) you are a foolish son, and no foolish son can be trusted with the keys of the kingdom of the Father either.

So you see, elect, it is full circle.  God is Love and the Kingdom of God is the Kingdom of Love.  As such, the keys of the kingdom must be the keys of love.

The servant Moses was given the commands: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength,” [Mark 12.30] and “Love your neighbour as yourself.” [Mark 12.31] These are the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven by the way, given to Peter and lost by Peter.  (Ouch!)  The Son, the Heir, was given the commands:  “Love your enemies,” [Matthew 5.44; Luke 6.27, 35] and “Love one another.” To the Son is given the keys of the Father’s kingdom… the true treasury of the kingdom’s power, joy, peace and righteousness, and not just of eating, drinking and talking.

Like all good masters and therefore all good fathers, just like the master who gave every servant a mina and waited to see what they did with the mina before entrusting them with even greater responsibility, so likewise, every disciple is given a mina’s worth of power.  That is why every disciple, including the 72 who were sent out, had power and even authority such that demons submitted to them.  However, the wise master and how much more the wise Father withholds further supply of the treasures of the family or kingdom from those who do not value what they were given.

So when the minas of power the apostles were given ran out, they were given no more, so that the record of signs and wonders done by them in the records of Luke the physician is not a record of increase in frequency and magnitude, but a record of diminishing frequency and magnitude until no more miracles were recorded.

You, elect, when your love for the Son is ‘phileo’, cannot be entrusted to look after the family members, but only the chattels of the family; its flocks but not its heirs.  When you lose that agape, then only the loss of your head for the sake of the word and the testimony can re-establish it, for then you have laid down your life as Christ laid down His life for His friends who are brothers of His.

So when you love those whom you have chosen and appointed as your friends from amongst your brothers and sisters (and this is a difficult hurdle for many, but it should not be) so that they can bear fruit that will last, such that the Father’s glory is the glory of the good Father whose wisdom is proved by His sons and daughters who love one another, not only as siblings, but as friends, even laying down their lives for each other, then you can be trusted with the keys of the Kingdom of God to access, use and distribute its treasures, authority, power and dominion as you wish and as you will.

For whatever you wish and will, whatever you plan, whatever you desire, will only add to the glory of the King the Father and His Son the King, and so it will be done for you.

Amen, amen and amen.

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