We Are Friends, Not Slaves

John 15:12–15, Part 3

Principle for Bible Reading

If you believe in, follow, and treasure Jesus Christ, he calls you his friend. Last time, we asked how we know if we are his friends. In this lab, John Piper reveals five one-sided ways Jesus befriends and loves us that we could never reciprocate.

View the outline.


Introduction/Prayer (00:00–02:17)

A Unique and Glorious Friendship (02:17–03:57)

  1. The main point of this argument is John 15:12. John 15:13–15 serve to support that verse, and to highlight the wonders of friendship with Jesus.
  2. The potential problem with talking about friendship with Jesus is that he demands obedience. (John 15:14)
  3. This does not mean our relationship with Jesus is not a real friendship. It simply means that it’s a unique friendship, in many ways — at least five — a one-sided friendship.

Five One-Sided Wonders of Friendship with Jesus (03:57–10:14)

  1. We are loved with the greatest love. (John 15:13)
  2. Christ laid down his life for us. (John 15:13)
  3. We obey. (John 15:14)
  4. We are informed (John 15:15). We are taught everything we need to obey him gladly, unlike slaves.
  5. We are welcomed into his family. (John 15:15)

Illustration: Love Your Enemies (10:14–11:57)

Study Questions

  1. What would you argue is the main point of John 15:12–15? What verse or point do all the other verses support?
  2. Jesus highlights some one-sided aspects (some asymmetries) to our friendship with him. How many can you point out in John 15:12–15?
  3. Both a friend (John 15:14) and a slave obey, so help someone understand the difference between the two in Jesus’s words here in John 15:12–15.
Piper: “Our friendship with Jesus is one-sided in several ways, and they’re all meant to help us obey him gladly.”