Friends

 

Scripture: (John 15:15 NIV)  I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master's business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.

 

I want us to take a close look at the relationship that each of us has with God and each other. Remember how when Jesus was asked what the greatest commandment was He replied; “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul and strength, and the second was to love your neighbor as yourself.” Jesus was talking about our relationships. First and foremost our relationship with God then He stresses the importance of our relationships with our fellow man. This week I want to concentrate on our relationship with God. I am confident that as we are each drawn closer to Jesus, every area of our lives will experience improvement. There is one major difference that I want to point out from the above scripture; the difference between being a servant and a friend. The connection that I hope to make for us today is with the servant being the law and the friendship being of grace. The second point I hope to make is going to be found in the next verse where we will take a closer look at our purpose and calling. Finally I hope to tie the two together to develop a deeper love for serving the Lord. Let’s start by looking at how our relationship with God would be without Grace.

            The Old Testament is real clear in its teaching. You will be blessed if you keep the commandments of God and you will be cursed if you do not. So the relationship between God and man was one of omnipotent creator and rebellious servant man. Because try as we will the sin nature within us from the time of Adam up to Jesus has led us down a cursed path of disobedience. That is why we should not hold the Pharisees of Jesus’ day in such contempt. At least they tried, or made like they were trying, to keep a right relationship with God. We can see a lot of modern day Pharisees in the church today. It would seem from their attitude that they would never even consider doing half the things you are involved in. Jesus called them “white washed tombs.” They might look clean on the outside but inside there is nothing but death and decay. Have you ever felt that emptiness? Have you ever felt like you were dieing on the inside but tried not to let it show? Now imagine doing that for years on end and never letting anyone close enough to discover your pain. In order for healing to begin we all must expose our wounds to the great physician. When our hearts are broken we must take down the wall that we built around them for protection and let Love in. Some of us have tried the “Church thing” and have been either greatly hurt by it come out unfulfilled. Some of us have tried to “be good” only to fail and get discouraged with it all. We have tried to be servants and wound up unprofitable. Now it is time for reconciliation, now it is time we developed a friendship with God who paid the ultimate price to set us free.

            A dog that fears his master will sit at the door with its tail between its legs when the master comes home. A dog that loves its master will be waging its tail at the door as its master enters in. A dog on a leash will reluctantly follow its master. A dog that loves and trusts its master as its best friend in the world will stay happily at it masters heal, coming and going at the master’s beckon call. The law taught us to fear the Lord. We know, and it is true, that the beginning of wisdom is the fear of the Lord. The blessings and the curses of the Old Testament remain true but the difference if that the beginning of wisdom is the fear of the Lord but the end of it is Love. The Law says, “Thou shalt not.” Grace says, “I love you even if you do but please for your own sake don’t.” The Law has created legalistic hypocrites; grace builds up the believers, the community and the body of Christ. Now let’s go on to verse 16 and discover more of the plan that God has for our lives.

                    (John 15:16 KJV)  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.

            You my friend have been appointed, anointed and ordained from the foundation of the earth to bring forth fruit. OK? What kind of fruit? Well, if you are a Christian what kind of fruit would you bear? Look at it this way, what fruit does and apple tree bear? How about an orange tree? Then you being a Christian should be producing other Christians. How? By having the fruit of the Spirit clearly seen in your life. “Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faith and self-control. As a bee is attracted to the bright colors of a flower, your light should so shine among men. If we then lack any of these attributes of God let us ask for them in the name, and by the authority Jesus Christ our Lord. God desires that your life be full and abundant. Jesus Christ died upon the cross so that we would not have to live for eternity in hell. He rose from the dead and lives within our hearts so we would not have to experience a living hell on earth. Many people are living miserable lives. We can reach out to them with the love of God demonstrating His life changing power in the fruit of our own lives.

            So God desires to not simply be some distant demigod that dictates our actions but He wants to give us our hearts desire. God wants to and already has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavens through Christ Jesus. God’s plan for our lives is that we should prosper in every area of life. Today God wants you to know that you can trust in Him for all things. Jesus tells us in John 15: 14 that we will be His friends if we don’t just talk the talk. This is where the rubber of your faith hits the reality of the road of life. “If we do what ever He commands us.” It comes down to a right way of living and a wrong way. There is right and there is wrong. Sin is sin my friends and if you are walking in it you will not find fulfillment. God is saying to you that He loves you and has made available for you everything you need to find your way back to a full and fruitful life in Him.

            Jeremiah 33: 2 & 3 gives us this answer:  “Thus saith the LORD the maker thereof, the LORD that formed it, to establish it; the LORD is his name; Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and show thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not.” The God of all creation desires to have a rich and growing relationship with you. He desires to give you more than you ever could imagine. God wants to fill you to the overflowing with the abundance of His love. Jesus Christ knocks upon the door of your heart and asks you to let Him in. Let Him into areas of your heart that have been closed off because of the pain and He will turn your pain into joy. Give Him your sorrow and He will return to you peace like you have never known. Surrender your all to Him today and He will enter in and you will become His hands and feet. We who have Christ within us have redemption, sanctification, salvation, deliverance, freedom, joy unspeakable and full of glory and so much more. If you have never accepted this free gift of God I urge you to say yes to Jesus today. If you have known the Lord for many years but have grown cold in your relationship to Him I compel you to diligently seek Him and discover the richness of his rewards for those who do. If you are growing closer to God under the guiding of the Holy Spirit through the love and grace of Jesus Christ then today you are truly bearing fruit and are bringing glory to God by being a true disciple of Jesus. Now I want to pray for all of us. Those who desire a closer walk with Jesus and those who for the first time are deciding to leave the path of death and destruction and walk with God. We all can make even the smallest change in our lives that years from now will result in great things. Turn it all over to Him right now. Join me in prayer;

 

            Our Father, who art in heaven holy is your name. Lord we come to you in the name of Jesus and ask for your forgiveness. Draw us closer to you. Dear Jesus search our hearts and purge out all that which is unpleasing to God. Prune back all the dead branches that have been keeping us from bearing fruit. Change my live dear Lord. Make me yours. I surrender my all to you right now and ask the Holy Spirit to fill me with the presence of the living God. Revive within me the Spirit Of Jesus Christ that He may live through me for and to the glory of God. Meet the needs of each of us according to your richness in glory. For thine is the kingdom, and the power and the glory, forever and ever; In Jesus’ name Amen