Friends of God

“Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one's life for his friends. 14 "You are My friends if you do whatever I command you. 15 "No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you.” - John 15:13-15

The magnitude of God’s grace is seen nowhere more clearly than in His desire for us to be His friends. We, of course, may reject the terms of His friendship. And when we refuse to remain within His purpose for us, we put ourselves in a place where our Friend’s goodwill can do us no ultimate good. “You are My friends,” Jesus said, “if you do whatever I command you.” A choice must be made between the world’s friendship and God’s (James 4:4), and the statement in John 1:11 is a sad one: “He cam to His own, and His own did not receive Him.” Yet as long as life lasts, god is still inviting us to be his friends. No one has ever rejected God without breaking the heart of a Father who wishes to show us His love. We are staggered by this love when we hear Jesus say, even to Judas who led the mob when they came to arrest Him, “Friend, why have you come?” (Matt. 26:50).

So God’s desire to be friends with us is a truly amazing fact. But we should respond to this fact with more than mere amazement. We should seek God in a way that shows our gratitude for his offer, and our seeking should be characterized by the same faithfulness and obedience that God saw in His old friend Abraham. “Do you see that faith was working together with his works, and by works faith was made perfect? And the Scripture was fulfilled which says, ‘Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.’ And he was called the friend of God” (James 2:22, 23). All these many years later, friendship with God must work the same way in our own lives. To be His friends, through His Son Jesus Christ, is no passive or slothful thing. It is the active enjoyment of all the thoughts and words and deeds that flow back and forth between those whose love is strong enough to govern their character and their conduct. It is in His gentle friendship that our Greatest Friend is always asking, “I gave my life for thee, what hast thou giv’n for Me?” (Frances R. Havergal).

Diligently Seeking God (July 2) - by Gary Henry




Sunday Morning

Servant Leadership in the Bible:

Addition

John 15:9-17


I. Servant Leaders Add Value by Serving Others

a. John 15:11

b. John 15:12-13

c. John 15:16

II. Abram Took the High Road

a. Gen. 13:1-12

III. Jesus Gave a New Definition of Leadership

a. Mark 10:35-45

IV. Paul Encouraged Putting Others First

a. Phil. 2:1-11



Sunday Evening

Armed in Christ to Stand

Eph. 6:10-20


I. Our Adversary

a. 1 Pet. 5:8

b. Deut. 6:24

c. Gen. 13:8; Gal. 5:15

d. Gal. 2:11-14

II. Our Armor

a. Eph. 6:14

b. Eph. 6:15; Rom. 1:15; Rom. 10:14-15

c. Eph. 6:16; Heb. 10:35

d. Eph. 6:17; 2 Tim. 2:3

e. Eph. 6:18

III. Our Aim

a. Eph. 6:11, 13

b. Eph. 6:20

c. 1 Pet. 4:11; 2 Cor. 4:13

d. Acts 20:27

e. 2 Cor. 3:12; Mark 6:14-18

f. Eph. 6:20; Amos 7:10-17; 1 Thess. 2:2; Gal. 1:10

g. James 3:1

h. 2 Tim. 2:15; Eph. 4:15




Signs of victory

“...that this may be a sign among you when your children ask in time to come, saying, ‘What do these stones mean to you?’ Then you shall answer them that the waters of the Jordan were cut off before the ark of the covenant of the Lord; when it crossed over the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan were cut off.  And these stones shall be for a memorial to the children of Israel forever.” Joshua 4: 6-7

Effective servant leaders look for ways to use the successes of today to empower others for the challenges of tomorrow. Joshua did exactly that. Although God worked a miracle to allow the people to cross the Jordan on dry ground, Joshua wanted to communicate God’s greatness to the children of Israel yet to be born.

To accomplish his goal, Joshua devised a plan called “Stones of Remembrance.” He directed that twelve stones be taken from the middle of the dry riverbed -one for each of the Twelve Tribes who crossed the river -and be piled into a monument on the shore. The stones served as “handles” to communicate what God had done.

Good servant leaders always provide “handles” to enable others to grab hold of the vision. Effective servant leaders find a way to communicate future vision and past victories, because others need to be constantly reminded of both.