Summary: What type of relationship does God want to have with you? God wants to be our friend.

I want to ask you to consider something as we enter this Fall season.

How would you describe your relationship with God?

That’s a personal question that I simply invite you to simply reflect upon.

I would presume that many of us find ourselves in many different stages and seasons.

You may just be searching… in a season of wondering… of openness

Faithful…committed… or perhaps unfocused…inconsistent

In and out / up and down…

We probably tend to think of this in terms of closeness. But of course that can mean different things at different stages in life. Just as we generally mature through stages of social development … so we develop in relationship with God.

For an infant… being close means the great provider called mommy or daddy is providing a bottle and wiping our bottom. (Some of us may still be in that stage.)

Or perhaps you can relate to the adolescent – teenage stage…. Outlook of being free to do our own thing… unless we get into trouble and need some help. (I have a feeling God sees a lot of humanity in that stage.)

Now let me flip the question around…

Another question: What type of relationship does God want to have with you?

This may be the most important question we could even dare to ask. Because the relationship you end up having with God will not simply be a matter of what you desire… but of what God desires.

> Here is the remarkable news: God desires you to become His friend.

Amazing… God desires you to become His friend. Not join his Facebook friend list… but become your best friend. He desires us to be a company of friends… intense and involved friends.

Friendship with God. There is something so basic yet profound in such a description.

What does it mean to become friends with God?

How do we become friends with God?

> These are questions we are going to engage and expound upon over the next several weeks in a series which I want to begin today simply entitled Becoming Friends with God.

This morning… begin with some foundations for discovering and developing such a relationship.

The potential to become friends with God begins with the heritage of Abraham.

James 2:23 (GW)

“Abraham believed God, and that faith was regarded by God to be his approval of Abraham.” So Abraham was called God’s friend.

"Abraham … was called God’s friend.” (c.f. 2 Chronicles 20:7, Isaiah 41:8 )

You may recall… that God begins His pursuit of humanity through Abraham… calls him out… promise… but he must respond. Later… the very son promised… told to sacrifice… trusts God… who provides.

> The very context is that of recognizing that Abraham represents what God seeks with all of us.

They referred to it as the ultimate amazing relationship that God had with their forefather.

It becomes clear that he represents what God has always sought… in particular… it wasn’t one who fulfilled all the rules… laws… there weren’t any. Abraham simply responded to what God prompted… he trusted the God who was calling him.

Romans 4:12 (MSG)

Abraham is father of all people who embrace what God does for them while they are still on the "outs" with God, as yet unidentified as God’s. It is precisely these people in this condition who are called "set right by God and with God"!

Being the friend of God was not a claim made by Abraham of himself, but by God through His prophets.

The promise was that through Abrahams lineage… would come one who would fulfill the blessing of all the nations on earth… and of humanity beyond just that lineage of the Jewish people.

> Jesus fulfills this… and describes this quality of establishing friendship with God.

Words of Jesus… as recorded in the Gospel of John…

John 15:5, 9-16a (MSG)

"I am the Vine, you are the branches. When you’re joined with me and I with you, the relation intimate and organic, the harvest is sure to be abundant. Separated, you can’t produce a thing.

9 "I’ve loved you the way my Father has loved me. Make yourselves at home in my love. 10 If you keep my commands, you’ll remain intimately at home in my love. That’s what I’ve done—kept my Father’s commands and made myself at home in his love. 11 "I’ve told you these things for a purpose: that my joy might be your joy, and your joy wholly mature. 12 This is my command: Love one another the way I loved you. 13 This is the very best way to love. Put your life on the line for your friends. 14 You are my friends when you do the things I command you. 15 I’m no longer calling you servants because servants don’t understand what their master is thinking and planning. No, I’ve named you friends because I’ve let you in on everything I’ve heard from the Father. 16 "You didn’t choose me, remember; I chose you, and put you in the world to bear fruit, fruit that won’t spoil.”

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