Summary: A Friend's Day sermon
A Friend of God
Friend Sunday Sermon
September 13, 2015
(Loosely adapted from “How to Be a Friend of God” by Bruce Howell on SermonCentral.com.)
(A PowerPoint presentation is available upon request at firstname.lastname@example.org.)
TEXT: James 2:23 – “And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God.”
Illus. – Back in the 1980s Sam Rayburn, Speaker of the House of Representatives, learned that one of his friends had just lost his teenage daughter. Early the next morning Rayburn knocked on his door.
“I just came by to see what I could do to help.”
The father replied that there was nothing to do.
“Well,” Rayburn said, “have you had your coffee this morning?”
The man replied that they had not taken time for breakfast.
So Rayburn went to work in the kitchen.
While making breakfast, his friend came in and said, “Mr. Speaker, I thought you were having breakfast at the White House this morning.”
“Well, I was, but I called the President and told him I had a friend who was in trouble and I couldn’t come.”
We all want and need that kind of friend—one who’s there when you need him or her most. That’s the kind of friend God wants to be in your life. That’s the kind of friend that a man named Abraham had in God.
But James said Abraham was “a friend of GOD”—not that God was HIS friend. This isn’t the only place that Abraham was called the friend of God. In 2 Chronicles 20:7, Johasaphat referred to him in a prayer to God as, “…Abraham, thy friend for ever.” And in Isaiah 41:8 GOD HIMSELF referred to him as “…Abraham, my friend.”
Think about that: The great, almighty, ever-present, all-powerful, all-knowing, self-sufficient God Himself calls Abraham HIS friend. This wasn’t ABRAHAM’S assessment of his relationship with God; this is GOD’S view of His relationship with this unimportant, insignificant nobody named Abraham.
“Friend” is a very interesting description of a relationship between a human and God. We all relate to the word “friendship” on a human level. What IS a friend? [SHOW VIDEO, “WHAT IS A FRIEND?”]
We can understand what it is to be a friend of another human. We can also relate to God or Jesus being our friend, as expressed in the old hymn, “What a Friend We Have in Jesus." But what about US being the friend of GOD? Is such a relationship possible, that God would see you as HIS friend?—And can you enjoy that same kind of relationship with God that Abraham had?
The answers to those two questions are yes, yes and yes! To be the friend of God is the greatest privilege any person could ever have!
I. WHAT ARE THE QUALITIES OF ONE WHO IS A FRIEND OF GOD?
A. First, a friend of God HAS A PERSONAL RELATIONSHIP WITH HIM.
All here know a lot about President Obama, but he’s not our personal “friend.” He’s not your friend because you’re not personally acquainted with him. But anyone who trusts in Jesus as his Savior is instantly changed from one who just knows ABOUT God to one who knows God PERSONALLY.
Paul was a person who made knowing God the chief end of his life. In Philippians 3 he told about being a very religious person who dotted all the right i’s and crossed the right t’s of the Jewish faith as taught to him.
But he discovered that he had religion without relationship. Paul said he realized that religion without relationship was a waste. In Philippians 3:7-8, he said that he counted all the religious stuff of his former life as LOSS, even referring to it as “dung,” which is nice talk for “manure.”
In other words, Paul was saying that serving God religiously without a RELATIONSHIP with God is no better than a PILE OF MANURE. Then he went on to say that he gave all up his religious effort and affiliation for one single-minded pursuit: “That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death.” (Philippians 3:10)
All true friendships are based on a relationship…that is, knowing someone on a personal level. Let me ask you: do you have a personal relationship with God? Is He merely a religious figure you revere, or do you really KNOW Him?
I hope you do, but if you don’t, what better time to become a friend of God than on Friend Sunday at Grace Baptist Church?
B. Second, a friend of God loves Him—and PROVES IT WITH ACTION.
The Apostle John—who just happened to be Jesus’ closest friend on this earth— puts it this way in John 15:13 – “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” Our closest friends are those we trust with our most secret selves. They know us; they understand us; and they love us ANYWAY!