Bible Studies & Devotionals
From Olive Branch Ministries
By Mark and Tinsley Baker
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Being Godís Friend
In the past we have discussed many aspect of our relationship with God the Father. We have talked about being born again, new creatures in Christ, joint heirs with Jesus and sons of the living God. We have talked about how a personal relationship with Christ changes us, changes our lives, and we should show it by the fruit we bear.
Letís look at an aspect of our relationship with Christ that is not discussed as often. It is our friendship with Christ and through Him our friendship with God the Father.
-- King James
Proverbs 18:24 "A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother."
This verse is taken from the Old Testament, but it is referring to Jesus Christ. He is the friend who sticks closer than a brother. Letís look at what Jesus said about this very subject.
John 15:12-16: "12. "This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. "Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one's life for his friends. "You are My friends if you do whatever I command you. "No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you. "You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you."
Jesus tells us many important things about being his friend in this passage.
First letís define the word friend. Nelsonís Bible Dictionary defines friend as a person whom one loves and trusts, a close companion or comrade.
Websterís Dictionary tells us that a friend is someone you know or like who is likely to support you, favor or help you.
Friends are generally loving, amiable, warmhearted, loyal, forgiving and generous. A friend brings you comfort. I would venture to guess that even as you are reading this, someone you consider your friend has come to mind. But let me ask you, have you ever put God and Jesus in this category? I know until recently, I havenít. I was so busy thinking about being a child of God, a joint heir, the righteousness of Christ that I never stopped to consider the simple pleasure of being a "friend of God." I have recently had the opportunity to meditate on this and it was brought again to my mind through a worship song we sing at Church entitled "I am a Friend of God." It goes something like this.
"Can it be that you are thinking of me?
That you love me?
I am a friend of Godís
I am a friend of Godís
I am a friend of Godís, He calls me friend.
God of wonder, God of glory, You have called me Friend!"
I think this is a wonderful song and it ministers to me ever time I sing it, I am a friend of Godís! He thinks of me, he loves me Ė He calls me friend!
That is such a powerful thought!
Jesus tells us in our previous verse that we are to love one another. He goes on to tell us why this is important. Because He loves us enough to die for us. He said, Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one's life for his friends.
He is telling us how great His love for us is. It is so great that He was willing to lay down His life for us! That is true love, to be willing to die for someone, so that they can inherit eternal life. Jesus tells us to love each other with the same love. In fact, He commands us to love each other with the same love. Verse 12 tells us it is His commandment to us! Then in verse 14 He tells us we are his friends if we do love each other with the strength and depth of Godís love!
He says " you are my friends if you do my commandments." So if we love each other, we are doing His commandments and we are His friend!
There are definite benefits to being Godís Friend. Exodus 33:11 tells us that God met with Moses in the Tabernacle of Meeting and "spoke with him face to face as a man speaks to a friend." We are no different than Moses, if we will open ourselves up to the Holy Spirit, God will reveal himself to us and talk with us as with a friend. Jesus referred to the Holy Spirit as the Comforter. A friend is someone who brings you comfort. In many ways the Holy Spirit is Godís manifestation of his loving friendship for us.
Jesus tells us in John 15:15 that he no longer calls us servants, but friends, because He tells us everything the Father has made known to Him. The actual events surrounding this passage is the night before the crucifixion, He is speaking to His disciples, who were Jewish. At this time, the Jews were considered the servants of the most High God, Jesus was telling His disciples that all that was about to change.
They were no longer servants, but friends, because He made know the will of the Father to them. This is very true in our lives today. Through the Holy Spiritís guidance we will know what the Fatherís will for us is today. Godís will is revealed to us through His Word. It is up to us to pray and seek understanding and wisdom and because we are Godís friend, He will give it to us. Isnít that wonderful!
So we have learned several things, We are to walk in love toward everyone, to obey Jesusí commandment to do this and we become His friend. This friendship brings us into a relationship with God that enables Him to speak to us in friendship, and give us understanding of the things of God.
Jesus goes on to tell us in this passage that we did not choose Him, but He chose us.
Verse 16: ""You did not choose Me, but I chose you.."
Why is this important?
- Living Bible
Ephesians 1:4-6: "Long ago, even before He made the world, God chose us to be his very own, through what Christ would do for us; he decided then to make us holy in his eyes, without a single fault--we who stand before him covered with his love. His unchanging plan has always been to adopt us into his own family by sending Jesus Christ to die for us. And he did this because he wanted to! Now all praise to God for his wonderful kindness to us and his favor that he has poured out upon us, because we belong to His dearly loved Son.
God the Father chose us before the foundation of the world to be holy and blameless, righteous before Him, to stand before him covered in His love. What does that mean? That we stand before him today, made clean and righteous by the blood of Jesus Christ! This was Godís plan all along! But, it doesnít stop there, we are to bear fruit!
John 15:16: "Öand appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you."
We are to bear the fruit of love, for we have been chosen and appointed to do so!
We are also to bear the fruit of answered prayer, all because we love God, trust Him, walk in this love toward others and are His Friend!
There are definite benefits of to being friends with God. Glory to His name!
If you truly want to know for sure that you are a friend and child of God, then I would like to invite you to earnestly pray this prayer.
Dear Heavenly Father, I come to you in the name of Jesus. Your word says, "Öand the one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out." (Jn.6:37),
So I know You wonít cast me out, but You take me in, And I thank you for it. You said in your Word, "whoever calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.'' (Ro. 10:13).
I am calling on Your name, So I know You have saved me now, You also said, "Öthat if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes to righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made to salvation." (Ro.10:9,10).
I believe in my heart that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. I believe He was raised from the dead for my justification. And I confess Him now as my Lord, Because Your Word says, "Ö with the heart one believes to righteousnessÖ" and I do believe with my heart, I have now become the righteousness of God in Christ. (2 Cor. 5:21),
And I am saved! Thank You, Lord!
I can now truthfully say, I see myself as a born again child of God!
Glory to God!!!! Amen.
Daily Confession: "I am a Friend of God, He calls me Friend!"