Summary: From the life of Abraham--an example of how he, and thus, we can be God’s friends.
How to Be a Friend of God
21 Was not our ancestor Abraham considered righteous for what he did when he offered his son Isaac on the altar?
22 You see that his faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did.
23 And the scripture was fulfilled that says, "Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness," and he was called God’s friend.
24 You see that a person is justified by what he does and not by faith alone.
25 In the same way, was not even Rahab the prostitute considered righteous for what she did when she gave lodging to the spies and sent them off in a different direction?
26 As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead.
During the reign of Queen Victoria, a London doctor visited a 72-year-old lady named Martha Vincent. Her husband had abandoned her some years earlier. She was poor and lived in very humble surroundings. She was undernourished and had neither warm clothes or wood for a fire. The doctor couldn’t believe her friends would allow her to live like that. When asked about it, Maria said she had no friends. Later in the discussion she corrected herself. She admitted that there might be one, but was sure that she had forgotten about her. The doctor pressed her for the identity of the friend. And finally Maria told him that it was the Queen herself. She said that the two of them had been childhood friends.
The doctor left, not sure that he believed Maria, but when he got home he wrote the Queen a letter relating the incident. A few days later he received a letter from the Queen. The story was true. The Queen had not forgotten. Enclosed in the letter was enough money to provide for all of Maria’s needs. For the remaining years of her life, Maria Vincent lived comfortably as a friend of the Queen.
1. The Greatest Opportunity Given to Man
Perhaps you can think of an individual with whom you would like to be good friends—a wealthy businessman, a famous athlete, a television personality.
All of us here today know a lot about President Bush, but he is not our friend. He is not our friend because we are not personally acquainted with him.
However, when someone receives Christ into his life and trusts Him as his personal Savior, he is immediately changed from one who know about God to one who knows God personally. How does this kind of relationship come about? It is the result of meeting Him and talking with Him and listening to Him.
A Friend of God Loves God. Verse 24 of our scripture portion tells us that Abraham loved God and proved it by serving Him. He wasn’t perfect in his performance, but his heart was set to do God’s will. He wanted to please God.
Sometimes we get a distorted idea about what love is. One night a man decided to show his wife how much he loved her. So after dinner he began to recite romantic poetry, telling her he would climb high mountains to be near her, swim wide oceans, cross deserts in the burning heat of the day, and even sit at her window to sing love songs in the moonlight. After listening to him go on for some time, she asked, “But will you wash the dishes?”
Abraham proved his love for God. He left his homeland; he went to a land and culture that he was unfamiliar with; he was even willing to offer his one and only son to God.
If we truly love God, we’ll do more than just talk about it or sing about it. We’ll prove it by our obedience, fleshed out in action. Yes, a friend of God loves God.
Illus.: Wise Use of Tools
James S. Hewett tells of a neighbor he had who was trying to put a TV antenna on his roof, but was having a terrible time. Hewett decided to give him a hand. He went over and took with him his best tools and soon had the antenna up. His neighbor asked him what he made with such fancy tools. Hewett replied, “Friends, mostly.”
A Friend of God Shares God’s Interests
God had a goal. He was going to raise up a nation by which He would bless all the nations of the earth. Abraham shared His dream. He believed God. In fact, according to God’s plan, Abraham would father this nation.
What are the interests of God? How do we discover them? Well, to begin with, we will never understand the heartbeat of God unless we search His Word.