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What a Friend We Have in Jesus!

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·        Please turn to John 15

·        My first two years of college, I had the same roommate for two years. At the end of our sophomore year, he recommended we split up so we could each mentor a freshman now that we would be "upper class." That fall, when my roomate arrived, it was not a young freshman, but a man almost 40 years old. I never would have imagined. It was a most "unlikely" friendship, but we are still good friends even today. In our text this morning, there is another "unlikely friend" each of us can have: Jesus Christ.

·        Rd. 15:12-17

·        THREE FEATURES OF OUR FRIENDSHIP WITH JESUS:

He brings an unexpected change (15)

·        Slave-master relationship – Jesus is creator, and we are His created beings, Jesus is King, and we are His subjects, Jesus is Master, and we are His slaves. He is Commander in Chief, and we are His foot soldiers. cf. Jn. 13:13, 16. But now… rd. v. 15

·        Friend – one who is on intimate terms or in close association;

·        A slave or soldier not owed any explanation – plowing up a field, mobilize troops and tanks. You just do what you’re told. Jesus did not merely tell us what to do. He actually revealed His redemptive plan to us.

·        Matthew Henry: “We may in some particular instance befriend a stranger; but we espouse all the interests of a friend, and concern ourselves in all his cares: thus Christ takes believers to be his friends. He visits them and converses with them as his friends, bears with them and makes the best of them, is afflicted in their afflictions, and takes pleasure in their prosperity; he pleads for them in heaven and takes care of all their interests there. Have friends but one soul? He that is joined to the Lord is one spirit, 1 Co. 6:17. Though they often show themselves unfriendly, he is a friend that loves at all times”

·        Our God is full of wonderful surprises! Who would have imagined the creator of the universe would become our friend! This is indeed an unexpected change. We must cherish this doctrine with deep honor and respect.

He gives an unprecedented charge (12-14, 17)

·        Love brackets this passage. It is the main theme.

·        “Command” in v. 12, 17, 13:34. This is not a suggestion, not some vague ideal, it is to be a daily reality. It is the mark of the people of God. Jesus gives a clear command, a divine mandate, a heavenly charge. You must love one another. Present – ‘keep on loving.’

·        The story is told of a new pastor who on his first week, preached a dynamic sermon. The members all complimented him after the service, “Excellent sermon, fantastic, challenging!” But he preached the same exact sermon and the same exact text again on the second week. Then again on the third week. Finally, the church leaders asked him what he was doing, to which the pastor replied, "Until you can show me you're putting it into action, I’m going to keep preaching the same sermon." Likewise, Jesus seems to repeat himself frequently in this section of John because we need to keep hearing how important it is to love one another!

·        Are we growing in this love? It is the condition of our friendship.

·        What makes so unprecedented is Christ’s supreme standard.

·        Rom. 5:7-8 For one will hardly die for a righteous man; though perhaps for the good man someone would dare even to die. But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

·        Likewise, our call to love is a call to self-sacrifice

·        Philippians 2:3-4 Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.  Lay aside my own plans, preferences, conveniences, for the sake of others. @home – time to talk vs. watch TV, hanging pictures on wall. @church – speaking in kindness and encouragement, celebrating diverse music styles, dress styles, forgiveness toward those who hurt us.

·        >>This brings us to our third point. An unexpected change, and unprecedented charge, and…

He makes an unconditional choice (16)

·        Rd. 16a

·        Our friendship with Christ was not initiated by us.

·        John 10:3 The sheep hear the shepherd’s voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.

·        God set His favor and affection upon us while we were still His enemies. He sent His only Son from heaven to enter time and space, to take on human flesh, to bear our guilt on the cross, to die as our substitute, to rise from the dead and to prepare a place for us, all while you and I were still dead in our sin. He sent His Spirit to breath life in us while we were still spiritual corpses.

·        Why? Out of His great love, so that He would show Himself as a sovereign and gracious God to whom all glory and praise is due. Listen to these verses:

·        Ephesians 1:5 He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will,

·        1 John 4:10 In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.

·        Of this we can be sure: If Christ had not chosen us, we would never have chosen Him. If He had not loved us, we would not have loved Him. We would still be dead and blind in our sin. For men love darkness rather than light.

·        The purpose of this choice: v. 16b. Continual going, bearing, and abiding.

Closing Applications:

·        We cannot continue to be friends with the world. Ungodly behavior. Sever old habits, old relationships. “Do you not know that friendship with the world is hostility toward God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God” (James 4:4)

·        Our relationship with God should be marked by intimate friendship – obedience, trust, prayer. “Whenever Moses entered the tent [of meeting], the pillar of cloud would descend and stand at the entrance of the tent; and the LORD would speak with Moses…The LORD used to speak to Moses face to face, just as a man speaks to his friend” (Ex. 33:11)

·        Our earthly friendships should reflect something of the nature of our heavenly friendship with Christ – love, forgiveness, and self-sacrifice; let the gospel enrich your friendships

· Let's pray

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