|Posted by First United Methodist Church Moheto. on June 16, 2020 at 4:15 PM|
Sermon theme: What A Friend We Have In Jesus
Text: John 15:13-15
Rev. Kennedy Mwita
Who is a friend?
A British publication once offered a prize for the best definition of a friend. Among the thousands of answers received were the following:
"One who multiplies joys, divides grief, and whose honesty is inviolable."
"One who understands our silence."
"A volume of sympathy bound in cloth."
"A watch that beats true for all time and never runs down."
The winning definition read: "A friend is the one who comes in when the whole world has gone out."
Bits & Pieces, July, 1991.
Another source gives this version and source:
A friend is the first person who comes in when the whole world goes out.
The Bible is filled with stories of friendship.
1.) Moses and Jethro
2.) David and Jonathan
3.) Elijah and Elisha
4.) Paul and Timothy
5.) Paul and the church at Ephesus
Open your Bibles to John 15:13-15
13 Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. 14 You are my friends if you do what I command. 15 I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.
Being a Friend of Christ means that you have His sacrifice (13)
Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.
Many years ago in Canada a young man, his wife, his two children, and another young man were pursued by a large pack of hungry wolves. When about to be overtaken, they shot some of the wolves. This stopped the wolves a short time while they devoured the dead ones. Again about to be overtaken, they cut the lead horse of the three-horse team loose. The wolves pounced upon him and devoured him. The people were trying to reach the place of safety; but, before they could do so, the wolves were upon them.
The young man who was with the other young man and his family said, "The only hope is for me to give myself to the wolves." Then he immediately leaped from the vehicle into the pack of wolves. Of course he was devoured immediately. Just as they reached the place of safety, the wolves were again upon them; but the family rushed in and was safe. They could scarcely rest. They said, "Our friend gave himself for us. We are living because he is dead."
Jesus sets a level for love that in a word is supreme. Jesus loves you with a level of love that you will never be able to fully comprehend. The standard He sets is higher than we may be able to understand. Jesus sets the standard with His own actions.
Jesus came to this earth with one purpose in mind, laying down His life for us. Jesus was born, so that, He could die. Think of it this way: Jesus loves you enough to sacrifice absolutely everything for you.
You might not realize it or maybe you’re ignoring it, but Jesus loves you with an undying love. This love that Jesus has for you is stronger than any other fact in your life.
The love of Jesus is stronger than any pain you may experience.
Jesus gives the promise that He will give us comfort in the midst of our deepest pain. He makes it clear that there will never be a time that He is not with us in our times of need.
The love of Jesus is stronger than any failure you may have committed.
Jesus loves us in spite of the things that we have done. Jesus not only promises to forgive our sins but He also forgets them. He simply wipes the slate of our lives clean and then refuses to remember what we have done
The love of Jesus is stronger than any problem you may have to face.
Jesus said that He will never leave us nor forsake us. He will be there in the midst of our joys. He will stand with us in our sorrows. He gives us confidence when we are strong and courage when we are weak. The love of Jesus is stronger than any fault that you may have. There is nothing that you can do to make Jesus love you any less. He loves you with an unconditional love. There are no strings attached. There are bargains to be made. He just loves us all the same.
Being a friend of Christ means that you have His service
You are my friends if you do what I command.
There is a bond that exists between friends. Friends share one another’s hurts and hopes, dreams and dilemmas, joys and jolts. There is a personal connection between friends that mirrors the kind of relationship that Jesus wants to have with you.
Jesus makes it clear here that we are to do what he commands if we are to be called His friends. At first glance this almost appears childish. How many times have you heard children give some kind of condition on their friendship? If you don’t do such and such, I won’t be your friend. This is not what Jesus is doing here.
What is it that Jesus wants us to do? The command that Jesus gives is in verse 17. This is my command: Love each other. The condition for friendship with Jesus is the simple fact that we follow His example. We are meant to love others as Jesus loves them. The only way to do this is to have a personal relationship with Jesus.
I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you
Jesus tells His disciples that they will not be considered servants but rather that they will be given the standing of friends. In ancient times, a rabbi or teacher would have followers and those followers were considered servants. Jesus is changing the relationship that He has with the disciples. He now calls them friends.
It is important to remember that the Last Supper has already taken place and Jesus is headed for the Garden of Gethsemane, where He will be arrested and then crucified. These were some of the last words that Jesus told His disciples before He died.
What exactly is Jesus trying to say here to the disciples? I believe that Jesus is showing them that their relationship with God is now complete. Jesus was sharing with them a deeper knowledge of God. He was taking them to a new level in their relationship. Jesus was giving them something extremely special here and If you’re not careful, you’ll completely miss it. Jesus was giving them Himself and the realtionship that he enjoyed with God, the Father.
The deepest desire in the heart of Jesus is to call you His friend but the choice is up to you. Just like the friends you have now, a connection had to be made to create that friendship. Jesus wants you to connect with Him today.
9 That if you confess with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved. Romans 10:9-10
Three steps to connecting with Jesus
A - Admit that you are a sinner
The term sin is not just about guilt. It is about the human condition. A fact that we all have to face. At one point or another, we have all failed God.
The Greek word most often used for sin, literally means to miss the mark or to make a mistake. When we admit the fact that we have sinned, it is nothing more than telling God: “I have messed up, I blew it or I failed” If you’re honest with yourself today, you can say that to God.
B - Believe in Jesus
Believing means to make something a common part of your life. It means to put something into practice. There is an old saying: “If you don’t live it, you don’t believe it.”
There are three things that you need to believe to become a friend of Christ
1.) Believe that Jesus died in your place on the cross
2.) Believe that God raised Jesus from the dead on that first Easter morning
3.) Believe that Jesus lives to bring new life to you
C - Commit your life to Jesus
Commitment is one of the things that seems to be declining in our society but it is one of the essential needs to being a friend of Jesus. When we commit to Jesus, we are not only allowing Him to save us but to change our lives. Jesus changes people from the inside out. When we turn to Jesus we are really turning from our sin.