Sermon #100 — John’s Gospel

 

      Title:                                 So have I Loved You

 

      Text:                                 John 15:9

      Date:                                Sunday Morning—November 28, 2010

      Tape:                                John #100

      Subject:               Christ’s Love for His Elect

      Reading: John 15:1-27

 

John 15:1-27

 

1 ¶ I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman.

2 Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every [branch] that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit.

3 Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you.

4 Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me.

5 I am the vine, ye [are] the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.

6 If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast [them] into the fire, and they are burned.

7 If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.

8 Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples.

 

9 ¶ As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love.

10 If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love.

11 These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and [that] your joy might be full.

12 This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you.

13 Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.

14 Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you.

15 Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you.

16 Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and [that] your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you.

17 These things I command you, that ye love one another.

 

18 ¶ If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before [it hated] you.

19 If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.

20 Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also.

21 But all these things will they do unto you for my name’s sake, because they know not him that sent me.

22 If I had not come and spoken unto them, they had not had sin: but now they have no cloke for their sin.

23 He that hateth me hateth my Father also.

24 If I had not done among them the works which none other man did, they had not had sin: but now have they both seen and hated both me and my Father.

25 But [this cometh to pass], that the word might be fulfilled that is written in their law, They hated me without a cause.

 

26 ¶ But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, [even] the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me:

27 And ye also shall bear witness, because ye have been with me from the beginning.
Introduction

 

I can think of nothing more miserable on this earth than living with the thought, with the firm persuasion, that no one loves you, or even cares about you. —— But I can think of nothing more joyful than the knowledge of Christ’s love for me. It is my soul’s delight to contemplate it. Think of it. — “The Son of God loved me, and gave himself for me!” Truly…

 

“I stand amazed in the presence

Of Jesus, the Nazarene,

And wonder how He could love me,

A sinner, condemned, unclean!”

 

_________________

 

“O love surpassing knowledge,

O grace so full and free!

I know that Jesus loves me

And that’s enough for me!

 

O wonderful salvation

From sin Christ set me free

I feel the sweet assurance

And that’s enough for me!

 

O blood of Christ so precious

Poured out at Calvary

I feel its cleansing power

And that’s enough for me!”

 

I want to talk to you about the great, immeasurable, incomprehensible love of Christ for our souls, as he declares it I John 15:9.

 

(John 15:9) “As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love.”

 

Š      Here are deep green pastures, in which the Great Shepherd makes his sheep lie down, in which we find rest for our souls.

Š      Here are still waters beside which he graciously leads us to refresh our spirits.

Š      Here are paths of righteousness, in which our Lord graciously causes us to walk.

Š      Here is the table he prepares for us in the presence of our enemies.

 

(John 15:9) “As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love.”

 

What sweet rest I have found in this blessed assurance of his love. — “As the Father hath loved me,” the Son of God says to this poor sinner, “so have I loved you.”

 

The love of Christ is the great cause of our redemption and salvation. It is, as Spurgeon put it, “as the sun in the midst of the heavens of Grace.” May God the Holy Spirit enable us to plunge into these deep waters, and drink, and drink, and drink, until our souls are satiated and overflowing. — “As the Father hath loved me so have I loved you.” I want to know, and I want you to know “the love of Christ that passeth knowledge, that we may be filled with all the fulness of God” (Ephesians 3:14-19).

 

(Ephesians 3:14-19) “For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, (15) Of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, (16) That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man; (17) That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, (18) May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; (19) And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.”

 

I am in waters way over my head today. There is such depth and mystery in the love of Christ that it simply cannot be comprehended, much less explained. All we can do is taste it, experience it, believe it, and rejoice in it. Oh, that we may experience it more fully! Blessed Savior, bring us into your banqueting house this hour, let us see the banner of your love and rejoice, as we drink from this blessed fountain. — “Thy love is better than wine!

 

Come, O Holy Spirit, come! Come this day upon us. Take the things of Christ and show them to us by your grace. Show us, now, our Savior’s love!

 

Proposition: I want you to see and be assured of this one thing, — Every sinner who trusts Christ is loved by him, even as he is loved by God the Father!

 

(John 15:9) “As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love.”

 

Believe It

 

1st — The first thing I want to say to you about the love of Christ is this: — “Believe it!” Oh, may God enable us to believe it. May he give us grace and faith to believe it unquestioningly. If we trust the Son of God as our Savior, we have every reason to believe that which he here declares to us.

 

(John 15:9) “As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love.”

 

He loves us infinitely! Others like to talk about his love as a general, meaningless love of benevolence toward all men. But our Savior here speaks to his own, and says, — “As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you.” He here assures us of his peculiar, distinct, and distinguishing love for his own elect, to whom he says in verse 16, — “Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you.

 

If we are in him, as the branches are in the vine, we are the objects of the Savior’s peculiar love. He speaks to us as his Church, as his choice Bride, and to each one personally, and says, — “As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you.”

 

Does the Son of God speak thus to you? Are those words addressed to me? Have we taken hold of Christ by faith? Has he saved us by his grace? Do we draw life from him? Is he our hope, our joy, our all? If he is, these words are spoken to us. With his own lips and here in his Word, our Savior takes us into his arms and whispers in our ears, as a man does the wife he adores, — “As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you.”

 

That he truly loves us, we may confidently believe. Though we might and do rightfully conclude that he loves us, when we begin to see what he has done for us, our Savior does not leave it as a matter to be inferred. No. He speaks the words. — “As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you.” Let me never doubt his words. They were spoken in the solemn night of his agony and recorded here in the Book of God.

 

The Parallel

 

2nd —— As if to confirm his love to us and seal it to our hearts, that we may be absolutely assured of it and know something of its indescribable greatness, our Savior draws a parallel to his love. He does not say…

 

Š       I love you as a man love a woman.

Š       I love you as a mother loves her child.

 

He says, — “As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you.” Would you dare doubt the love of the Father to his Son? I know you would not do so. The Father’s love for his Son is one of those unquestionable things we can never dream of questioning.

 

Now, listen. — Our blessed Savior would have us place his love for us in the same category with the Father’s love for him! He would have us be just as confident of the one as of the other. How does the Father love the Son?

 

God the Father loves his darling Son, as one with himself. The Father and the Son are, with the Holy Spirit, one God, one in an eternal, essential, indestructible union. As such, the Father loves the Son with a boundless, immeasurable love. The Lord Jesus loves us just that way, as one with himself, bone of his bone and flesh of his flesh, boundlessly and immeasurably! That is exactly how the Holy Spirit describes his love for us in Ephesians 5:23-32.

 

(Ephesians 5:23-32) “For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. (24) Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing. (25) Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; (26) That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, (27) That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish. (28) So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself. (29) For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church: (30) For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones. (31) For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh. (32) This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church.”

 

Think about that, and be assured of your Savior’s love! — Loving you, the Son of God loves his own body!

 

Because of his love for Christ, the Father chose him as his Servant. — “Behold, my servant, whom I uphold; mine elect, in whom my soul delighteth” (Isaiah 42:1). So it is that our Savior loves us, with an everlasting, eternal love. Because he loved us, he chose us to be his own. Do you remember how he puts it in the seventh chapter of Deuteronomy?

 

(Deuteronomy 7:6-8) “For thou art an holy people unto the LORD thy God: the LORD thy God hath chosen thee to be a special people unto himself, above all people that are upon the face of the earth. (7) The LORD did not set his love upon you, nor choose you, because ye were more in number than any people; for ye were the fewest of all people: (8) But because the LORD loved you, and because he would keep the oath which he had sworn unto your fathers, hath the LORD brought you out with a mighty hand, and redeemed you out of the house of bondmen, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt.”

 

He loved you because he loved you! Divine election flows from the fountain of God’s everlasting love. It was in love that he predestinated us unto eternal life and accepted us in the Beloved (Ephesians 1:3-6).

 

(Ephesians 1:3-6) “Blessed [be] the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly [places] in Christ: 4 According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: 5 Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, 6 To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.”

 

O my brother, my sister, hear this and rejoice. — The Son of God loved you before the world began, just because he would love you! He loved you in order that he might manifest his love to you. He loved you in order that you might be conformed unto his image, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren, and that you might forever be one with him in his glory, heir of God and joint-heir with himself!

 

Š      The Father loves the Son because he is his Son. — So Christ loves us (1 John 3:1).

Š      The Father loves the Son because of his perfect obedience unto death, because of the righteousness he brought in and the satisfaction he has made (John 10:16-18; Philippians 2:5-11). — So Christ loves us.

 

(John 10:16-18) “And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, [and] one shepherd. 17 Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again. 18 No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father.”

 

(Philippians 2:5-11) “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: 6 Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: 7 But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: 8 And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. 9 Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: 10 That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of [things] in heaven, and [things] in earth, and [things] under the earth; 11 And [that] every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ [is] Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”

 

Š      The Father loves the Son as the rightful heir of all things (John 3:35). — So the Son loves us (Romans 8:17-18).

 

(John 3:35) “The Father loveth the Son, and hath given all things into his hand.”

 

(Romans 8:17-18) “And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with [him], that we may be also glorified together. 18 For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time [are] not worthy [to be compared] with the glory which shall be revealed in us.”

 

Š      The Father loves the Son, and shows him all things (John 5:20). — So the Son loves us (John 15:15).

 

(John 5:20) “For the Father loveth the Son, and sheweth him all things that himself doeth: and he will shew him greater works than these, that ye may marvel.”

 

(John 15:15) “Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you.”

 

Š      The Father loves the Son because he is glorified in him (John 17:4-5). — So the Son of God loves us (Ephesians 2:7).

 

(John 17:4-5) “I have glorified thee on the earth: I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do. 5 And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was.”

 

(Ephesians 2:7) “That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.”

 

Now, hold on to your seat. This may shock you; but it will be a blessed shocking. —— The Father loves his Son as one who is worthy of his love, as one in whom his soul delights. And our Lord Jesus loves us as a people worthy of his love, made worthy by his love, as a people in whom his soul delights (Colossians 1:12; Romans 8:29-30; 1 Corinthians 6:11).

 

(Colossians 1:12) “Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light.”

 

(Romans 8:29-30) “For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. (30) Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.”

 

(1 Corinthians 6:11-13) “And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.”

 

Because of His Love

 

3rd —— Because of his great love, having chosen us in love, so great was the love of our Lord that he became a Man, became one with us, that we might be one with him! He, who “counted it not robbery to be equal with God,” became a Man that he might execute his eternal purposes of love toward us. It is written, — “For this cause shall a man leave his father and shall cleave to his wife, and the two shall be one flesh.”

 

That is what Christ did for us. — He left his Father that he might become one flesh with his chosen Bride. He took our nature so that he might be able to do for us and suffer for us what, otherwise, he could not have done and suffered. By taking upon himself our nature, the Lord of Glory established a nearer and sweeter union with His beloved Bride than could otherwise have existed. If He had never become the Babe of Bethlehem and the Man of Nazareth, how could he have been made in all points like unto his brethren? What love must that be that brought the Lord of Glory from the highest Heaven to become the Man of Sorrows for our sakes!

 

Having become a Man for us, the Lord Jesus died as our Substitute, in our room and stead, under the fury of God’s holy wrath and infinite justice, because of love. — “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends” (v. 13). The laying down of his life is the proof of his love. He died for us voluntarily, in all the pain, shame, and ignominy of sin, being made sin for us, forsaken of God and cursed, because he loved us! Behold how he loved us! Blessed Savior, let me never doubt your great love for me! He died, “the just for the unjust, to bring us to God.”

 

It was because of his great love for us that the Son of God gave us life by the power of his grace. Read Ezekiel 16 again. There you will see the condition we were in when he came to us in “the time of love.”

Š       Deserted

Š       Cast Out

Š       Filthy

Š       Dead

Š       Without One to Pity

 

There we were, lost, helpless, ruined, dead, and no one cared. — Oh, but he cared! Our Savior came to us and drew us by effectual, irresistible love to himself (Jeremiah 31:3).

 

(Ezekiel 16:1-6) “Again the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, (2) Son of man, cause Jerusalem to know her abominations, (3) And say, Thus saith the Lord GOD unto Jerusalem; Thy birth and thy nativity is of the land of Canaan; thy father was an Amorite, and thy mother an Hittite. (4) And as for thy nativity, in the day thou wast born thy navel was not cut, neither wast thou washed in water to supple thee; thou wast not salted at all, nor swaddled at all. (5) None eye pitied thee, to do any of these unto thee, to have compassion upon thee; but thou wast cast out in the open field, to the loathing of thy person, in the day that thou wast born. (6) And when I passed by thee, and saw thee polluted in thine own blood, I said unto thee when thou wast in thy blood, Live; yea, I said unto thee when thou wast in thy blood, Live.”

 

(Ezekiel 16:8-10) “Now when I passed by thee, and looked upon thee, behold, thy time was the time of love; and I spread my skirt over thee, and covered thy nakedness: yea, I sware unto thee, and entered into a covenant with thee, saith the Lord GOD, and thou becamest mine. (9) Then washed I thee with water; yea, I thoroughly washed away thy blood from thee, and I anointed thee with oil. (10) I clothed thee also with broidered work, and shod thee with badgers’ skin, and I girded thee about with fine linen, and I covered thee with silk.”

 

(Ezekiel 16:14) “And thy renown went forth among the heathen for thy beauty: for it was perfect through my comeliness, which I had put upon thee, saith the Lord GOD.”

 

Because of his great love for us, the Lord Jesus Christ, God’s darling Son, has…

Š       Forgiven us, blotting out all our iniquities!

Š       Justified us!

Š       Sanctified us!

Š       Kept us!

 

As I look back upon my own life, I am filled with adoring gratitude and thanksgiving. Surely, goodness and mercy have followed me all the days of my life! When all the days of my life are threaded on time’s string, what a bracelet of mercies they make! What shall I say of my Lord’s love? If I liken it for height to the mountains, I see Alps piled on Alps. — “Your mercy, O God, is in the heavens.” If I compare it to depth the sea, I am again lost in wonder. I can only cry, — “O the depth!” Let us not doubt his great love. He has proved it beyond sufficiency. Has he not? Let us, then, be ravished with his love!

 

Because of his love for us, our Savior has made us one with himself. Who can describe this union of love and grace. It is inexpressible. We are married to him, joined to him, cemented to him, grafted in him, built upon him, members of his body, one with him in a living, loving, lasting union! — He has made us to be identical with himself! I can hear people screaming when they hear that — “He has made us to be identical with himself!” “You just can’t say that. People will carry it too far! You’ve got to explain that. You’ve got to qualify it. People will carry it too far!” ——— Well, go ahead and try. Try to carry that too far! — He has made us to be identical with himself!

 

‘Twixt Jesus and the chosen race

Subsists a bond of sovereign grace,

That hell, with its infernal train,

Shall ne’er dissolve nor rend in vain

 

Hail! sacred union, firm and strong,

How great the grace, how sweet the song,

That worms of earth should ever be

One with incarnate Deity!

 

One in the tomb, one when He rose,

One when He triumphed o’er His foes,

One when in heaven He took His seat,

While seraphs sang all hell’s defeat.

 

This sacred tie forbids their fears,

For all He is or has is theirs;

With Him, their Head, they stand or fall,

Their life, their surety, and their all.”

 

Š     The righteousness our Surety is our righteousness!

Š     His obedience is our obedience!

Š     His death is our death!

Š     His life is our life!

Š     His future is our future!

Š     His glory is our glory!

 

This is love, indeed! Our Savior says, “As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you!” — “Who shall separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord?” This eternal oneness is the security both of Grace and Glory to our souls. The saints of God around the throne are not more fully loved than we are; and they have no stronger reason to be assured of our Savior’s love than we do.

 

What more can I say? What more can he say? — “As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you!

Š      Personally!

Š      Freely!

Š      Eternally!

Š      Intimately!

Š      Immutably! — Without Beginning — Without End — Without Change!

Š      Completely! — With complete complacency, satisfaction, and delight.

Š      Faithfully!

Š      Immeasurably!

Š      Amazingly!

 

Continue In

 

4th —— Now, look at the last line of our text, and I will send you home. Our Savior says, to you and me, — “As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love.” I take that to mean, “Ever abide in the confident awareness of my love, never doubt it, never call it into question!” I know that is what this means, because he says as much in verses 10-16.

 

(John 15:1-8) “I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman. (2) Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit. (3) Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you. (4) Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. (5) I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing. (6) If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned. (7) If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you. (8) Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples.”

 

(John 15:10) “If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love.”

 

(1 John 3:23) “And this is his commandment, That we should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, as he gave us commandment.”

 

(John 15:11-16) “These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full. (12) This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you. (13) Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. (14) Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you. (15) Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you. (16) Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you.”

 

Continue in the Savior’s love, and you will find his love to be…

  • A Balm for all your woes.
  • A Consolation in all your sorrows.
  • Strength for your journey.
  • A Fire to melt you, make you tender, and inspire you.
  • A Delight to rejoice your heart.

 

(John 15:9) “As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love.”

 

(Romans 5:8) “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”

 

(1 John 4:9-10) “In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. (10) Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.”

 

This, truly, is perfect love! And the assurance of our Savior’s perfect love for us takes away all fear (1 John 4:15-19).

 

(1 John 4:15-19) “Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in him, and he in God. (16) And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him. (17) Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world. (18) There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love. (19) We love him, because he first loved us.”

 

Therefore, our Savior says, “Continue ye in my love… Ever abide in the confident awareness of my love, never doubt it, never call it into question!”

 

(Jude 1:21) “Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.”

 

Take this word of grace home with you. Dream about it tonight, and walk in this light all the days of your life.

 

(John 15:9) “As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love.

 

Amen.

 

 

 

 

 

Don Fortner

 

 

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