Summary: A Christian is a friend of Jesus (Material adapted from Bob Tinsky's book, A Christian Is... God's Answer to Man's Question, chapter 6, pgs. 91-98)
A true friend is someone who thinks that you are a good egg even though he knows that you are slightly cracked- Bernard Meltzer
I had several friends when I was in grade school. We played Monopoly, fished in the pond, played hide and seek in the cornfields and woods, terrorized the pigs, played baseball, rode bicycles, explored the countryside, etc. I remember it fondly.
When we moved from the country to the city at the age of 13, things changed drastically. I had no friends my age. I felt all alone. The only friend I had was Jesus Christ when I was baptized that year. I prayed to Jesus Christ to give me some friends. He answered my prayers when I became involved in the Bible bowl team at my church. Enjoyed studying the Bible, enjoyed the competition, Enjoyed the team experience but mostly I enjoyed the friendships. Went to Bible college and had some good friends there. As I have gone through life I have found that true friends are rare. Cherish our friendships!
Today we rarely use the word “friendship” to describe our relationship with God. We usually think of Christians as servants or slaves to the One who is our Master. While that is true, Jesus also said this: “Greater love has no-one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.” John 15:13-15, NIV.
Jesus defines friendship in terms of obedience. We seek to please our friends. We seek to please Jesus Christ since we are his friends (John 15:14). We know our friend hates something so we do not do that thing. We know our friend loves this so we do that.
John 15:15- Friendship with Jesus is more than a casual acquaintance; can be described as a partnership on a personal level. A slave is seldom given a reason for the work assigned to him; he must perform it because he has no other choice. Friends share the hows and whys behind a project or purpose and friends voluntarily share in the purposes and projects.
Some might object that Jesus was just calling His Apostles friends in the Upper Room. We are not apostles so we should not call Jesus our friend. We must call Jesus our friend because of Abraham. Throughout the OT, God calls Abraham his friend. The NT says the same thing in James 2:23: ““Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness,” and he was called God’s friend.” We are children of Abraham through faith in Jesus Christ. “Understand, then, that those who believe are children of Abraham.” Galatians 3:7, NIV. One person was baptized here because we talked about Jesus Christ as our friend, something she rarely heard in the church she attended.
God has always wanted a close friendship with people. We see the friendship with His creatures began way back in the Garden of Eden. In Genesis 3 we have the picture of God walking in the Garden in the cool of the evening so that He could spend time with Adam and Eve. Not that much of a stretch to see friendship here. God wants us to be more than his servants or his creatures; He wants us to be close, intimate friends.