Summary: The FOG is a fraternity whose presiding officer is a man named Abraham. I am talking about the Friends of God. James 2:23 says Abraham was called the friend of God. The phrase is also found in II Chr 20:7 and Is 41:8. Why was Abraham called the friend
May 29, 1994 - AM
THE FRIEND OF GOD
INTRO: (1) There is a political fraternity currently referred to as the FOB or Friends Of Bill. The reference, of course, is to the affiliates of President Bill Clinton. Today I want to increase enrollment in the FOG. I want us to think along loftier planes than that occupied by the president’s cohorts. You might even say that I would like to get your heads in the FOG this morning. The FOG is a fraternity whose presiding officer is a man named Abraham. I am talking about the Friends of God. James 2:23 says Abraham was called the friend of God. The phrase is also found in II Chr 20:7 and Is 41:8.
(2) Why was Abraham called the friend of God?
PROP: THERE IS NO OTHER FRIEND LIKE JESUS.
TRANS: I have located six evidences of Abraham’s friendship with God. Abraham was God’s friend
I. Abraham was God’s friend Because he built altars (Gen 12:7)
A. Abraham is seen in Scripture repeatedly building altars. An altar is a place of sacrifice and the picture of something “given up for God” is expanded by the fact that Abraham built the altar himself. The Lord had appeared to him and Abraham viewed the land as hallowed and therefore built a place of worship for the God who appeared to him ( p. 196, 222.1/Ke). Barnes says the word means, “place of slaughter.”
Altars become altars when the victim is slain. To have the former without the latter is like kneeling to pray without actually praying ( p.420, 222.111/Ba). When Abraham built an altar, he intended to use it because he was a friend of God. It was in this new land that The Lord appeared and an altar was built. Abraham built even the altar Isaac was laid upon (Gen 22:9).
B. Friendships have an invested cost to them. It cost Abraham to be God’s friend. Proverbs tells us that he who would have friends must show himself friendly (Pr 18:24). One cost Abraham was willing to pay was building and using an altar. The worship of Jehovah was established in his life. If we would be a friend to God, we must establish worship in our homes -- worship must be taken home and not left at church. It must find its place in the home which is not friendly to the world. A man or his family cannot simultaneously be friend to both God and the world (see James 4:4).
Family life very seldom includes an “altar” these days - a time and place where the members of a home make the sacrifice of meeting with the Lord. One traveling preacher once announced that he had been in hundreds of homes across the United States and only three of them held a time of family devotions while he was with them. Evidently there was a time when this was a regular practice in most Christian homes. What happened to the family altar? The principle is first mentioned in Deut. 6:6-9 where the nation of Israel is told to teach the Lord’s word diligently to their children. Diligence - now that’s sacrifice. One reason the Jews have survived so many catastrophes is that they had the benefit of family altars. One high school teacher once conceded in a conversation we were having that my profession at least had a foundation from which to counsel. If someone comes to me for counseling, I have the word of God to consult. If someone goes to this teacher, he has to work with little or no foundation. By making an altar in your home, you add to your foundation. I am not talking about a earthen construction, but an in-home commitment to meet as a family with the Lord. Here some thoughts on the family altar:
WHY WE SHOULD DO IT
1. Parents are responsible for educating their children.
2. Worship begins at home not the church.
3. Family worship times are things children remember in adulthood.
4. Many children’s groups do not worship.
5. It is harder to lead children in worship with a large group than it is in the home.
6. The church cannot focus on the real needs of a child like the home can.
7. Tuesday’s problem is not in the child’s mind on Sunday.
8. Those who know us best, lead us best.
9. The family altar helps make God part of everyday life.
HOW WE SHOULD DO IT
1. The practice ideally starts in one’s personal life before marriage and then develops into a routine observance before children arrive. The matter needs to be discussed with school-aged if the family altar is a brand new part of family life. You may even want to consider asking the help of a tutor family. Be careful not to take too big a bite to start with. It is better to be consistent than frustrated or discouraged because you are overwhelmed with what you have assigned yourself. Start small and be regular.