Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Will you be my friend....

This past Sunday we met at the Hill household for our communion time together. We shared a Mexican fiesta (not siesta) of south-of-the-border style casseroles and sides.

During this past week Sharon and I were discussing the word friend as it pertains to the body of Christ. One of the worship songs that we sing on occasion is “Fire of God”, and the chorus says:

Fire of God, burn in me,
Consume all my wickedness
So I will not love this world
So I will not be a friend of this world any longer
So I will not be a friend of this world any longer

When we were thinking about this chorus these questions came to mind; what does it mean to be a friend of the world? What does it mean to be a friend of God?

The chorus of this song is a reference to the scripture in the epistle of James:

"Do you not know that being the world's friend is being God's enemy? So whoever chooses to be a friend of the world takes his stand as an enemy of God." (James 4:4 AMP)

The interesting part of this passage is that the intended audience is the church. It is addressed to those who claim to know and follow Jesus. The friendship with the world that James is referencing was happening inside, not outside, the church.

So how do we become friends of God instead of the world? Let’s look at another passage in the book of James:

“Was not our forefather Abraham [shown to be] justified (made acceptable to God) by [his] works when he brought to the altar as an offering his [own] son Isaac? You see that [his] faith was cooperating with his works, and [his] faith was completed and reached its supreme expression [when he implemented it] by [good] works. And [so] the Scripture was fulfilled that says, Abraham believed in (adhered to, trusted in, and relied on) God, and this was accounted to him as righteousness (as conformity to God's will in thought and deed), and he was called God's friend." (James 2:21, 22 &23 AMP)

Abraham believed God and proved it by obeying Him. Jesus said the same thing in the Gospel of John:

“This is My commandment: that you love one another [just] as I have loved you. No one has greater love [no one has shown stronger affection] than to lay down (give up) his own life for his friends. You are My friends if you keep on doing the things which I command you to do. I do not call you servants (slaves) any longer, for the servant does not know what his master is doing (working out). But I have called you My friends, because I have made known to you everything that I have heard from My Father. [I have revealed to you everything that I have learned from Him.].” (John 15:12-15 AMP)

The only thing that Jesus requires is obedience and He calls us friends. What a wonderful promise. Jesus will be our friend if we just obey. What a novel concept!

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