“Without friends no one would choose to live, even if they had all the other good things in life” (Aristotle.) We value our friendship highly, but can you imagine being a friend of Jesus? Well the good news is that if you are a follower of Jesus, then you are also his friend. But with such a friendship comes the responsibility of developing certain characteristics:-
1 – Conformity (v 14.)
“You are my friends if you do what I command.” Friends of Jesus will demonstrate the reality of that friendship by conforming their lives to his commands and doing what he says, the mantra being – “You’re wish is my command.”
Biblical example – David’s mighty men and the water from Bethlehem’s well (2 Samuel 23 v 15 – 16.)
Such commands are found in the Bible, and need to be absorbed and then obediently implemented.
2 – Closeness (v 15.)
The servant – “does not know the masters business” in that he is not confided in; so Jesus upgrades the metaphor to that of friend, the reason being – “for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.” Within the confines of this close and intimate friendship, Jesus is willing to open his heart and share something of his Divine purposes.
Biblical example – Abraham and the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah (Genesis 18 v 17.)
Christ’s friends are fused to him that he might reveal something of his heart and mind to them enabling them to be participants and collaborators in his purposes.
3 – Character (v 16a.)
This friendship is initiated by Jesus himself, who chooses, with the purpose being that we might – “go and bear fruit.” Such spiritual fruit being the hallmark of the authentic believer (Matthew 7 v 20) involving a character transformation (Galatians 5 v 22 – 23) that is both winsome and attractive to the unbeliever and that stands the test of time in terms of being – “fruit that will last.”
Biblical example – The in the Parable of the Sower and the different types of soil on which the seed of the Gospel falls (Luke 8 v 1 – 15.)
Short term harvests do not honour God, in that spiritual fruit needs to last.
4 – Communication (v 16b.)
Productive believer’s are then the recipients of a rather incredible promise – “then the Father will give you whatever you ask in my name.” This is not carte blanche to ask for and receive all that we want, the controlling factor is always the name of Jesus, meaning that what we are requesting must meet with his approval and be in line with his will.
Biblical example – Moses communicating with God in the “tent of the meeting” during the wilderness wanderings (Exodus 33 v 11.)
Knowing what God favours and what his will is, comes from time spent meeting with him in prayer and communicating with him, as with a friend.
5 – Compassion (v 12 – 13 & 17.)
Jesus finishes with a twice mentioned command – “love each other as I have loved you.” He commands not a feeling, but an act of will, having set the example that is to be replicated in terms of what such compassion should look like – “that he lays down his life for his friends.”
Biblical example – Jesus washing the feet of his disciples (John 13 v 1 – 17); and then his supreme sacrifice on the cross (John 10 v 11.)
If we are to love like Jesus then self denying, sacrificial love is the order of the day.
Challenge – Are you a friend of Jesus, who is displaying the characteristics of such companionship?
Theme: “Are you an F.O.G?”
Reading: John 15 v 12 – 17
Preacher: Chris Hughes
Led by: Chris Hughes