I Am A Friend Of God, He Calls Me Friend!
With the wrap up of our semon series Abiding in Him, yesterday we studied what it meant to be a friend of God. I don’t know about you but to me this is a crazy thought to think about, that I can be a friend of God and that it’s mutual. Are series has been taken out of John 15 and last Sunday we looked at verses 14 and 15 where Jesus is saying, “You are my friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you slaves, because a master doesn’t confide in his slaves. Now you are my friends, since I have told you everything the Father told me. ” In verse 14 I put the word “if” in bold because I believe it’s key to being a friend of God. Yes He loves you and cares for you and can’t stand the thought of eternity without you but He also requires us to obey. I believe that word obey was the one word throughout this 4 week series that I have said the most. If you notice what follows after the word if, “YOU do what I command.” Whenever we hear the word command our flesh tends to crindge a little becuase we have a distorted understanding of the word. Gods command are meant to protect us not to harm us; I tell my daughter no firmly when I see her running towards the street because I want to keep her safe from cars. Even though she may start crying and get upset becuase I love her I don’t want her to harm herself. Gods commands are meant to be looked at through His love for us and when we unite with Him it enables us to work more efficiently, think of Jesus saying, “take my yolk upon you. Let Me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.” Matt. 11:29-30
To be a friend of God requires a renewed mind. We all have assumptions about God when we first come to faith and if we aren’t careful we can develop the wrong assumptions even after we have walked with God for awhile. This renewed mind comes from obeying Gods commandments or His written revealed word given to man inspired by the Holy Spirit. It’s important to remember that in the Old Testament the Exodus of the Hebrew plays an important illustration, though a true story, of the renewed mind. The Hebrew people were slaves for 400 years to the Egyptians and all they knew in all their thinking was how to be a slave and live a life of bondage. That’s why before they entered the promised land God brought them to a mountain to give them His commands (word) to show them how not to live like a slave but rather a chosen people. Gods word for us today takes the believer out of bondage and teaches us the ways of Him and also teaches us how to be a son or a daughter, the renewed mind!
The benefit of this friendship is that as we obey His commands we show Him our love for Him and He reveals Himself to us. John 14:21 says, “Those who accept my commandments and obey them are the ones who love Me. And because they love Me, My Father will love them. And I will love them and reveal Myself to each of them.” Revelation through obeidence is imperative becuase it keeps us away from legalistic thinking of our heavenly Father. If we don’t stay in tune with the Spirit we miss what God is currently doing and stay in a mindset of what He has previously done. Revelation through obedience also keeps away from disappointment of how we think God should respond. I covered an example of this last point by showing how God reponded to the death of Lazarus. When Jesus was informed about His friend, (which if you read chapter 11 of the book of John you will find the word friend and that He loved him frequently which tells me the kind of man Lazarus really was, a man of obeience to Christ), that Lazarus was very sick and to come immidiately notice He stayed two days in the place where He was; one would think because Jesus loved him and called him friend that Jesus would go heal Lazarus immidiately right? Wrong! I wonder how many of us have ever been in a situation where knowing God loved us wasn’t the issue, but by being in a situation where where someone is dying or some financial opportunity didn’t happen, or maybe you may have lost a job that usually the first thing our flesh tells us to do is blame God. Praise God for those who consider it joy when trouble comes their way! Just because we want God to respond to our situation the way we want Him to respond does not mean He has to. God is under obligation by no one and never has and never will be but He is very interested in developing genuine faith in His children enabling them to do more for the kingdom that would require more faith. That’s the great thing about faith is that it comes from God as you trust Him in the difficult and uncertain times, believe me I know! The rest of the story we see Jesus going to Lazarus after he was dead for four days and raising him to life. It goes on to say that “many of the people who were with MARY believed in Jesus when they saw this happen,” which I found interesting because the ones that had knew and been with Jesus were there too so what did it do for them? When His disciples saw Jesus raise Lazarus from the dead this deepened their faith and revealed them to see Jesus as the resurrection and the life, verse 25. The disciples had seen Him raise a sick girl from the dead before but never someone who was dead for 4 days. In His delay God was showing them not only that He knew what He was doing, but also He wanted to do something extraordianry in their life. I believe the same applies for you and I. He no longer calls us slaves but friends and it’s up to us to accept His friendship!
I love you guys a ton and my family and I are so thankful we get to serve you guys. I pray the Lord bless you and keep you and that His face shine upon and give you peace. I hope you enjoyed the series as much as I did and pray that what was covered would be applied.
YOU ARE MY FRIENDS IF YOU DO WHAT I COMMAND!