2010-10-22 - Friends
Originally Preached 2003-09-28
There was a popular sitcom about six friends who stuck it out through thick and thin through the years or at least the ten seasons of the show. That's what true friends do. Proverbs 17:17 tells us that "a friend loveth at all times". We all need and want friends like that.
Notice that anyone could go to the tent and speak to God. But, when Moses went to the tent, God came down to meet him. He came down not as father and son though he is our Heavenly Father or Abba Daddy. Nor did he come down as a master and slave though Paul and others often referred to themselves as His slaves or bondservants. Rather He came to Moses as a friend - a companion. Wow!
The real wow is that has been His intention all along. God came down to the Garden looking for Adam. Before the fall, Adam walked with God in Eden. God didn't create us just to be obedient worshippers but to be His friends.
Moses was not God's only friend. Surely Adam, Enoch, and Elijah who walked and talked with Him were friends although the scripture doesn't use that word to describe their relationship. Abraham is called "the friend of God" three times in scripture (2 Chronicles 20:7, Isaiah 41:8, James 3:23)
On earth Jesus was a friend to many. He called Lazarus "our friend" in John 11:11. The Lord wept over him. Then in Luke 12:4, Jesus referred to his disciples as "my friends". Of these, John was probably his best friend being the "disciple whom Jesus loved". For these friends, He washed their feet. I haven't read a version yet that excludes Judas from this group. In fact, at his betrayal he calls Judas "friend" in Matthew 26:50. He called the man as he was turning him over to die a friend. Why? Because Jesus loves us all and that's what a friend does he loves us at all times no matter what we do because like Proverbs 18:24 says, "there is a friend who sticketh closer than a brother". In fact it's noted in Matthew 11:19 and Luke 7:34 that the Pharisees referred to Jesus as a "friend to sinners". And for these friends, the sinners like me, what did he do? He died for them; he gave His own life for us.
A small boy once defined a friend as "Someone who knows all about you and likes you just the same." Jesus was that friend. But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:8)
Jesus knew the key of being a friend. That key is not found in asking, "What can I get out of this relationship?" Rather it is found in wondering, "What can I do for you?" He knew how to be a true friend. Proverbs 18:24 says we must be friendly to have friends.
Until then ...
All verses are from the King James Version unless otherwise specified.