Summary: Marks of servants of Jesus
Seven identifying marks of the friends of Jesus John 15:9-17
Did you know that there are certain words we say and things we do that seem to have their roots in scripture but they actually don’t. For instance, there are certain sayings like: Moderation in all things. Spare the rod and spoil the child. God helps those who help themselves. Money is the root of all evil. Cleanliness is next to Godliness. This too shall pass. God works in mysterious ways. And the eye is the window of the soul. Some of these might actually sound like scripture and others are based on what scripture teaches but none of them actually are.
And then there’s the story of the three wise men who came bearing gifts at Jesus’ birth and the account of these three men isn’t based on scripture but I think its foundation is in Hallmark cards. The scripture says there were three different gifts that were presented to the baby Jesus but we have no idea of how many people actually gave them. There could have been forty and they might have all chipped in on the three gifts. I mean, there could have even been several people who brought the same thing, after all that always happens at a shower. And then there’s always the possibility that one person brought all three gifts. As I said, the number of gifts is not necessarily an indication of the number of people who actually came to Bethlehem to worship Jesus. The fact is; we really don’t know how many wise men there were but history tells us that a lot of of them were known to travel with a large contingent of soldiers and servants, so, we could only guess at the number of people who were actually there. And the strangest thing is, whenever we see a picture or a play we always count to make sure all three are represented. It’s become so much a part of the story that we actually expect to see it.
Then there’s the sinner’s prayer which is a great prayer even if it isn’t in the Bible because it includes principles regarding salvation like confession of sin, repentance and accepting the Lord into your heart and although we agree with all these things but that doesn’t make the prayer Biblical.
And then there are the wedding vows. Many of these are different, some are even written by the couple and a few might even be based on scripture but none of them are actually found in the Bible, at least not as wedding vows.
The verses that I’ve heard used several times at a wedding are those of Ruth 1:16-18 which says, “And she said, behold thy sister-in-law is gone back unto her people and unto her gods: return thou after thy sister-in-law. And Ruth said, entreat me not to leave thee or to return after following thee: (And here’s where the wedding vows come from) for whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God: where thou diest, will I die, and there will I be buried: the Lord do so to me, and more also, if ought but death part thee and me.” And as I said, these are often used as wedding vows and I think they’re beautiful words that describe the kind of commitment we’re hoping the couple will make but the fact is, when they were originally spoken they had nothing whatsoever to do with a wedding. This is the commitment of a daughter-in-law to her mother-in-law and these words might reflect the kind of commitment we hope the couple will make but the words themselves weren’t actually based on a wedding service. And when you think of it, there are not too many people who would want to compare their love for their husband or wife with the love they have for their mother-in-law.
And not only do we misunderstand many things that are not in the scriptures but we also have a tendency to misinterpret a lot of what is there. So, what I want to talk about today are seven things Jesus said we will do if we’re really His friends. These are not things that we’ll just believe but they’re things we’ll actually do because we believe.
A few years ago there was a nationwide survey that found that 67% of forty thousand people that were polled, did not have what they considered to be a close friend. I think this tells us that there is an awful lot of lonely people in this world.
Friendship is an amazing thing. We can have all kinds of relationships with people but our friends are the ones that really count. A good marriage can be a friendship, a good business relationship is often a friendship, our children can even be our friends, any relationship we have that goes the distance can be a friendship. I think there are as many kinds of friends as there are friends.