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Summary: The Cross created a situation where the Son of God would call us His friends. How can that be?

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OPENING:

* I wonder why it’s such a compliment to tell a woman she looks like a breath of spring, but not to tell her she looks like the end of hard winter. Isn’t it the same thing?

* I wonder why it pleases her to say time stands still when you look into her face, but not to say her face would stop a clock. Why?

* I wonder why people who punish a child for lying will tell the same child, "Just say I’m not home."

* I wonder why, when the preacher says, "In closing..." he doesn’t.

* I wonder why a speaker who "needs no introduction" gets one anyway. It seems curious.

APPLICATION: Many things in this world could cause us to wonder. But one of the most striking is that God should want to call us His friends.

In John 15:14-15 Jesus said:

"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."

"Friends." That Jesus would call us friends somehow defies imagination. One of the primary reasons that would be difficult to imagine is because of what we find written in Romans 5:6-8 "You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us." (Ephesians tells us we were His enemies).

AND YET, Bible’s most potent scripture: John 3:16 tell us "For God so… what? (loved the world). That’s you and me!

I. The Cross is the highest symbol of friendship.

John 15: 13 tells us "Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends."

The symbol of the cross is so important to our relationships that God even used it for marriage:

Eph 5:25 "Husbands love your wives, just as Christ loved the Church and gave Himself up for her." There is no greater love we can show to another than to sacrifice for them.

ILLUS 1994 OCEANSlDE, Calif. (AP) In Mr. Alter’s fifth-grade class. it’s impossible to tell which boy is undergoing chemotherapy. Nearly all the boys are bald. Thirteen of them shaved their heads so a sick buddy wouldn’t feel out of place.

"If everybody has their head shaved, sometimes people don’t know who’s who. They don’t know who has cancer, and who just shaved their head" said 11-yeat-old Scott Sebelius, one of the baldies at Lake Elementary School. For the record, Ian O’Gorman is the sick one.

Doctors recently removed a malignant tumor from his small intestine, and a week ago he started chemotherapy to treat the disease, called lymphoma.

"Besides surgery, I had tubes up my nose. I had butterflies in my stomach" said Ian, who’ll have eight more weeks of chemotherapy in an effort to keep the cancer from returning.

Ian decided to get his head shaved before all his hair fell out in clumps. To his surprise, his friends wanted to join him - in a move reminiscent of the 1992 U.S. Olympic volleyball players, who shaved their heads in a show of solidarity with a bald teammate.


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Doug Lapointe

commented on Oct 14, 2014

Rev. Strite, I have been using many of your illustrations in my messages and wanted to thank you. On the written page, you stand out to me and I look you up specifically. Blessings.

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