“but I have called you friends” John 15:15c
Are friends important? What are the characteristics of true friendship? How many true friends do you have? What does the bible say about friendship with God?
In the Old Testament Abraham, Enoch, Moses & others had a close personal relationship with God that could be similar to friendship. In James 2:23 Abraham “was called the friend of God.” However, in John 15:10-17 Jesus described His friends.
First, He described an intense personal relationship where friends “abide in His love” (v10) and “My joy may be in you” (v11).
Second, Jesus described the disciples’ responsibility “keep My commandments” (v10) and “My friends…do what I command you” (v14). A part of being His friend is obedience, not out of duty, but because of His love for us.
Third, friends of Jesus can bear fruit that remains for eternity… “appointed you that you would go and bear fruit” (v16b).
Fourth, friends have access to the Father in prayer through Jesus (v16c).
Fifth, Jesus says “love one another” (v12 & 17). Jesus expanded this command in Matthew 5:44 “love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you”.
I believe this personal identification as a friend of Jesus helped sustain the disciples through the explosive growth, persecution and adversity of the first century church.
This deeply personal friendship is available to all who believe in Him…John 3:16 “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.”
As I have walked in faith as a disciple maker I am more convinced that Jesus is more concerned about my relationship with Him as friend & disciple than my works for Him. When the friend relationship is right my service for Him will flow naturally out of grace and truth. I need to continually ask myself these questions:
-Am I filled with awe and wonder and gratitude for Jesus giving me an abundant life now and an eternal future with Him?
-Am I a friend of Jesus filled with His love, His Joy, the Holy Spirit, abiding in His commandments and totally surrendered to His Lordship?
-Am I memorizing and rehearsing scripture [at least 52 per year]
-Am I a person of prayer?
-Am I “loving others” even my enemies and the hard cases?
-Am I finishing strong? -Am I going “making disciples”?
Henry Luke 5/14/2014 Revised 3/3/2017