Hello everyone. Our slogan, "Be a friend of God," requires serious meditation in regard to our JG text today. We have been and will be discussing through the rest of the month the subject of friendliness and friendship. In no setting can that discussion be more important than in the context of John 15:14. Jesus said, "You are my friend if you do whatsoever I command you."
There may be some in our nation (and our world) who do not believe in God. I heard a radio talk show here in America, quote some statistics that said about 4 % of our nation do not believe in God. Around the world, that number is no doubt higher. But, of those who do believe in God, nearly all of them want to say they are a friend of Jesus.
Jesus explains in this verse what it takes to be a friend. I would like to apply this on two levels, personal friendship, and church friendship. Would you say that you are friendly with the Lord? Would you say your congregation is friendly with the Lord?
To be a friend would involve doing all that Jesus said to do. "Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God" (Matt. 4:4). In Matt. 7:21, Jesus said, "Not everyone that says unto me, Lord, Lord, (part of obedience, mg) shall enter in the kingdom of God, but he that does the will of my father who is in heaven" (complete obedience, mg).
Again, in Matt. 28:18: "And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. 19: Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: 20: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever (emphasis mine, mg) I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen."
- Being a friend to Jesus (a follower, Lk. 9:23) would mean we pray (1 Thess. 5:17), but we also turn away from sin (Luke 13:3).
- It means we love our family and friends (Mt. 5:45-47), but we also forgive and pray for our enemies (Matt. 5:44).
- It would mean we lean upon our faith (Rom. 5:1-2), but we also are cleansed through the washing of water (Eph. 5:25-26).
- It means we like and are unafraid to talk about our Lord (Matt. 10:32), but we also are daily meditating on what he actually says in his word (2 Tim. 2:15).
- It means a congregation is benevolent when opportunity and ability are before them (Gal. 6:9-10), but the also love enough to discipline the erring (Matt. 18:15-18).
- It means we are striving to be one (John 17:20-21), but we are not accepting everyone (2 John 10; 1 John 4:1).
Brothers and sisters, friends, in order to do what Jesus says, we must be diligent students to know what he said. We cannot accept what our parents, friends or preachers say without knowing it for ourselves (Acts 17:11). Are you a friend of Jesus?
It is also true that to be a friend to Jesus, we must do no more than what he says to do. We must change nothing in what he says.
- We must do only what he authorizes (Col. 3:17). Jesus has given us a "limited power of attorney." All we do must be in his name, but only what he authorizes may be done. Our speech, our acts, even our thoughts must be as he has authorized. Anything more is sin (1 Thess. 4:11, Col. 3:17: Mt. 5:27-28).
- Our gospel must be the gospel of the first century (Gal. 1:6-9; Rev. 22:18-19). We cannot change the worship he authorizes, the plan of salvation he taught, the godliness he demands.
Are you a friend of Jesus? Is your congregation friendly to Jesus?