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The Joy of being God's Friend

(31)

Sermon shared by Jim Miller

October 2003
Summary: If we remain in Jesus love, we’ll experience joy and know what it means to be a friend of Jesus.
Tags: Joy (add tag)
Denomination: Brethren
Audience: General adults
Sermon:
John 15:9-17
Feeling a little better now that we’ve slowed down a bit. Last week, went back and picked up how God prunes us, disciplines us, trains us to create his image in us. Tom Landry used to say, “The job of a football coach is to make men do what they don’t want to do, in order to achieve what they’ve always wanted to be.” Two other bones to chew on this morning.

Jesus wants us to remain in Him (like a branch in a vine) and to remain in his love (totally hooked into the way God deals with us). One of the results of that remaining, Jesus says, in v. 11, is that his joy will be in us and our joy will be complete. So as a follower of Christ, as one who is connected to him, the pipeline is flowing, one of the things I will experience is the joy that Jesus himself experienced. Now peace was another thing he wanted for us, and it seemed a lot of us wanted that for us, how about joy? Would you like to know and experience what Jesus means when he says his joy and in and our joy complete?
· Not talking about happiness. Not suggesting that as a follower of Jesus you will go through life happy, on a constant emotional high, always bubbly, no troubles. (Hate people like that, pretty sure they’re not being honest with me.) Already know Jesus says we will have troubles in the world. Happiness is an emotion, an emotional response to favorable circumstances. Completely dependent on whether things are going well or not. Happy or sad based on the circumstances.
· Joy is not an emotion; it is an attitude about life that is constant in any circumstance. Can define it as a constant awareness and knowledge of God’s presence and care for us. It is a gladness that results from knowing that God is in control and is on my side. One guy calls it the “great nevertheless.” Here’s all this bad stuff that’s going on in my life—nevertheless, I am God’s child, I am confident of His love, I know he is working for my good. 2 Corinthians 4:7ff.
· This attitude is rooted in an understanding of where our real joy lies, that this is not all there is to life, that real living begins when I am in the presence of Jesus. Hebrews 12:1-3. Jesus redefined the trouble of his life, namely the cross, in terms of God’s purpose and his final destination.
· Results of that for Jesus was a following through, an enduring, not giving up, pressing on to the end. And he tells us to fix our eyes on him so that we won’t grow weary and lose heart either.

Second thing to look at here too. When the movie Dances with Wolves came out, rented it, and not a big Costner fan, but got to the end, his Indians brother is calling to him from the hillside, “I am your friend, I will always be you friend.” Tears just running down my face, wanted a friend like that, needed a friend like that. I don’t think we’ve gotten our arms around the idea that what Jesus has done for us is that he has made us friends of the Almighty God. V. 13ff.
· This is the kind of relationship God has chosen to have with us. V. 15. When we talk about a personal relationship with God, this is what we mean! We are his friends! The result of God’s grace, of his forgiveness, of the cross is that we have been made friends of God.
· That’s what friends do, he extends grace to others. Jesus was accused of being a friend of sinners and tax gathers. Why? Because he loved them, cared about them, accepted
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