TEXT:  John 15:9-17
THEME: Being friends with Christ means that we receive
the gracious benefits of His friendship but it also means that we have the responsibilities of friends  in return.
TITLE: "The Friendship of Friends"

Series B
Sixth Sunday of Easter
Our Savior Lutheran Church
Pagosa Springs, Colorado
May 4, 1997

             

INTRODUCTION

(We are accustomed to thinking of Jesus as our friend, but friendship is always a two-way street. We know that from our human friendships...a real friend is one who not only receives the friendship of another, but offers friendship in return.)

I. BY THE GRACE OF CHRIST, WE HAVE THE PRIVILEGES OF FRIENDSHIP WITH THE
LORD.

A. Christ has chosen us as His friends. (v. 16)

    1. He has chosen to be our friend by choosing us when we couldn't choose Him.
        a. Choosing Him as a friend would necessitate that we be acceptable to
Him, but our sin prevented it. (I Cor. 2:14)
        b. To be a fiend of God requires holiness, perfection, flawlessness because God is holy and perfect and flawless.
        c. To be a friend of God requires that we love Him, but unregenerate man loves himself, not God...dead, blind, enemies of God was our spiritual condition.

    2. He demonstrates His friendship with His undeserved compassion and grace.
        a. ILLUS: We wouldn't serve our friend an omelet with two good eggs and one rotten one...Neither can we expect our tainted life of questionable words, thoughts and deeds to be acceptable to God.
        b. No, it is the freely given grace of God in Christ, that brings us into
fellowship with the living God of all Creation.

B. Christ is a friend who opens Himself to us. (v. 15)

    1. He becomes a baby like we all were...He is one of us.
        a. He determines to make Himself vulnerable to human pain and cruelty
        b. He even suffers the death of a sinner, but had no sin of His own.
    2. He lets us see Him as He is:
        a. Compassion/love that shows itself in Baptism, and the Lord's Supper.
        b. Compassion/love that is continually unfolded in His Word for us.
        c. In a world dying for the truth, He provides the one source of reality.

C. Christ is our friend who promises to give us what we ask in His name.

    1. But what is it that we really need?
        a. Don't we need patience, love and perseverance?
        b. Aren't their fellow Christians whose need we can bring to Christ in prayer and with assistance?
        c. Don't our homes and congregation have needs to which God can bring blessing?

    2. Prayer is not a means of grace, but it is truly a wonderful blessing!
        a. What would happen if we each took a congregational directory or a list of our friends and spent an hour or 30 minutes in prayer on behalf of them?
        b. We would be spending a hour or 30 minutes a day with our dearest
friend...sounds pretty good!


II. SINCE WE ARE CALLED TO BE GOD'S FRIENDS, WE ALSO HAVE THE
RESPONSIBILITIES OF FRIENDSHIP.

A. With the joy of friends, we do what our divine friend commands:

    1. ILLUS: Some approach the commands of God like a cat on a leash...

    2. Our friendship is shown when we bind ourselves to the biblical teaching of
God's Word.
        a. We do not chaff under it strictures, but enthusiastically embrace them
        b. Why? Not because of demanded obligation, but because therein is our joy! Our fulfillment! Our satisfaction! Our contentment!

    3. Therefore, we willingly bind ourselves also to practice in our lives and in our
congregation what accords with sound doctrine no matter how foolish the world may say we are.
        a. We do not need to apologize to other denominations or other religions for being faithful to God's Word.
        b. John 15:18-20

B. As friends of Him who loves us, we also love one another.

    1. In Christian friendship we are called to love one another as Christ has loved us...corporate and individual expressions of love!
        a. No unique in the faith, "...Forgive us as we forgive others."
        b. Friendship requires mutual trust and vulnerability to one another.

    2. In Christian friendship, we carry one another's burdens, overlook one another's faults and offer our own forgiveness in the name of Christ.
        a. No room for an "isolationist" friendship with God in Christ!
        b. No room for petty grudge-bearing in the Christian family nor beyond
that family either!

C. As friends of Christ, we are to bear the fruits of that friendship.

    1. This is true regardless of our circumstances or how we feel at the moment.

    2. No other accomplishment in life will last beyond the grave, save that which is
eternal in nature, an expression of our friendship in Christ.

CONCLUSION

It is our eternal joy to know that we are not alone in this universe! To know that our Creator has loved us and saved us through His Son, Jesus Christ, is to know the single most precious thing we will ever know. Now that we know and rejoice in our friendship with Christ, are we enjoying the great privileges of that friendship? Are we carrying out our holy responsibilities of being His friend? If so, then blessed are you, friend of Jesus the Christ! Amen!



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